Twenty-Four Hours in Chicago Part TWO

Start here for part ONE.

Twenty-Four Hours in Chicago Part TWO

I really can’t emphasize enough how beautiful Chicago is in the summer. I do not miss the endless winters, but I miss Chicago in the summer. A vibrant energy, after being cooped up all winter, is unearthed. We experienced near perfect weather during our twenty-four hour stay. Chicago gets humid in the summer, but we were quite fortunate!

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Twenty-Four Hours in Chicago Part ONE

Twenty-Four Hours in Chicago Part ONE

Jordan and I decided to visit our families in Chicago around Phoenix’s first birthday months ago. Chicago comes alive in the summer, which is why it’s our favorite time of the year to visit! I thought it’d be nice for Jordan and I to get away for a night, but I didn’t know if it’d actually work out. Thankfully, Phoenix started sleeping through the night a few weeks before, so I felt pretty confident we could make it happen!

Keep reading to see how we spent our twenty-four hours in Chicago!

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Phoenix’s First Visit to Chicago

Michigan Avenue

Since moving to Nashville, when visiting our families, Jordan and I attempt to fit in a day to explore Chicago. It doesn’t always happen, but my parents live too close to not try!

We lucked out with amazing weather (for Chicago in November). Chilly, but sunny! You can’t ask for anything better. Chicago had their first snowfall the following week. While I actually enjoy snow at this time of the year, I didn’t really want to have to navigate it with Phoenix. The snowsuit I thought Phoenix could fit in this winter is too big on him right now. He’s such a little peanut!

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Retracing Steps in Chicago

The Bean in Chicago

Many of our visits home to Illinois sadly don’t involve extra time to venture into Chicago. When we are able to extend our trip by a day or two Jordan and I make it a point to spend an afternoon in one of our favorite cities. I greatly miss it.

Even though February is typically one of the worst months to venture outside in Chicago, Jordan and I decided in advance of our recent trip we would make the best of it, snow or shine! Thankfully, the weekend we visited was rather mild for a midwestern winter. The sun was not shy!

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Family Photos When Nothing Has Changed

© Kate De La Rosa

Jordan and I used to send out yearly holiday cards. The photos weren’t professional — just something fun from the previous year. When we started trying to expand our family and subsequently ran into issues, my desire to send out cards vanished. I envisioned that our yearly photos would serve to document our expanding family.

“It has to be this year, right?” Or “At least by my next birthday.”

With each passing year, I found it increasingly more depressing to send a photo that still included two people. Even though we’ve been making a lot of great changes (moving across the country, starting a new business, traveling etc.) On the outside it looks like everything has stayed the same. Why document it?

Writing this out sounds pretty pathetic, but it’s the truth.

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Our Visit Home + What I Ate

Summertime in Chicago

Leading up to our visit to Chicago, homesickness had really set in; The three rounds of infertility drugs I recently finished, while mild compared to some, took me on more of an emotional roller coast than I cared to admit. Our trip home came at just the right time. Jordan and I finagled our calendar to pack as much as we could into our week. Somehow we managed to accomplish almost all of our plans — including visiting grandparents on both sides!

Jordan and I stayed in Chicago on Friday night, the first evening of PitchforkJordan had a photography session scheduled for sunrise at Millennium Park on Saturday morning. Chicago is a magical place and it wasn’t until we walked the streets early in the morning that I realized how much I missed this city. Nashville is wonderful, but the cultural diversity, Lake Michigan, architecture, and FOOD Chicago offers is incomparable. Thankfully, we’ll continue to visit so I won’t have to ever say goodbye.

mother and daughter

^ My dad’s garden makes for a beautiful background!


On this trip I decided to give myself a pass on adhering to my gluten and mostly dairy-free diet. My indulgences were few and carefully selected, but they certainly happened! After our photo shoot was over, we walked to Intelligentisa Coffee. We had to wake up extra early to ensure we were prepared for the sunrise, which was a struggle at first, but we also had plenty of time afterwards to enjoy our coffee and prep before leaving for Pitchfork.

Intelligentsia serves my favorite espresso and this vanilla latte was everything I remembered and more!

Shake Shack opened two locations in Chicago last fall. I forgot about it until we walked right past one! Jordan and I decided to eat lunch there Saturday before making our way to Pitchfork. I didn’t want to go too crazy with gluten and dairy (I wasn’t entirely sure how my body would react) so I chose a Chicago style hotdog and ate it without a bun. It was delicious!

My skin didn’t immediately freak out, but I currently have a few breakouts on my face from this trip.


^ His and hers.


On Tuesday, Kate (one of my favorite people!) took family photos of Jordan and I. I’ll share more about that later, but after the shoot wrapped, we had time before we needed to head home. At this point, we still hadn’t eaten any pizza. Chicago is synonymous with deep dish pizza, but most of the time locals eat thin crust cut into squares. Don’t get me wrong, deep dish pizza with a corn meal crust is something to seek out, but it’s a lot of commitment for an average Tuesday. To get the full experience, you really need to dine-in.

Our favorite pizza place downtown is Pizzeria Uno, but the cooking time is a solid hour — event dining at its finest. We didn’t have that amount of time, so we chose Lou Malnati’s instead. Their pizza isn’t as thick as most deep dish, thus the wait time is closer to 25-30 minutes. I do love LM. The sauce is sweet and their crust has just the right flaky texture.


We celebrated birthdays and new beginnings, reconnected with friends and family over Dairy Queen blizzards and rounds of Scattegories. There will never be enough time to do it all, but I couldn’t have asked for a better visit.

Until next time, Chicago!

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*All photos (besides the one in the garden) taken with our iPhones.

Pitchfork Music Festival 2015

*All photos taken with our iPhones. Only press are allowed to bring cameras with detachable lenses into the park.

Pitchfork Music Festival Chicago

Jordan and I love seeing our favorite bands play live but we had never attended a music festival together. This was not because we lacked the desire. I think because we lived so close to Chicago (the location of so many awesome festivals), we took “going next year” for grated… that is, until we moved!

Jordan received a press pass for Pitchfork Music Festival last summer. He was only able to go one day. The plan fell together semi last-minute, so I wasn’t able to get off work, which was a huge bummer because Jordan saw St. Vincent play (ahh!). Chicago in the summertime is a special place, so after deciding to purchase three-day Pitchfork passes for this year, we created a full trip out of it! I’ll be sharing more about the rest of our trip later.

I’d love to talk about our experience at the festival and some of the bands we saw. Cool? Let’s do it!

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Weekend Links / / Wanderlust


^Oxford, UK 2013

Throughout the week I scroll through my Bloglovin’ feed, marking posts that I want to revisit. Usually on Wednesday or Thursday, I spend time ultimately choosing which posts I’ll share. After looking over my list, I think a theme developed – clearly, I am ready to travel!

/ / Last year, we ate lunch at Longman & Eagle in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago. The atmosphere of their restaurant/inn is chill, the food is fresh and seasonally prepared — all for a great price. When Jordan and I discussed where we wanted to stay for our anniversary, L & E was our first choice, but all the rooms were booked! Kate’s getaway pictures are absolutely beautiful and only makes me wish we would have found a chance to stay a night before our move to Nashville.

/ / I absolutely love reading travel logs. Before we left for Europe in 2013, I spent a lot of time reading blogs for research/tips. I learned so much through different vacation recounts. Traveling to Amsterdam never really crossed my mind until Naomi and her family went in 2013. The beautiful houses along the canal are reason enough to visit!

I followed Hannah as she traveled through Amsterdam on Instagram and am so glad she recapped it on her blog. I now wish Jordan and I would have considered taking a train to Amsterdam from Paris! I didn’t realize how close they are.

/ / Rebecca reminisced on the 10 things she misses the most about living in NYC. First of all I loved that she had a photoshoot with her friends à la SATC when she moved away. After moving away from home, I now realize how specific certain experiences are to our environment/city. I hope to savor this time in Nashville because if we ever move away, some things won’t come with me (currently I appreciate how GF/Vegan baked goods are readily available in coffee shops!).

/ / Speaking of travel planning, Jordan and I have spent several nights researching places we want to visit when we go to Toronto this spring. This website has been really helpful. Have you been to Toronto? If so, I want to hear your suggestions and tips!

Any travel plans coming up??

Happy Weekend!

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/ / Linking with Meagan and Ashley.

Weekend Links / / Eggscussions


/ / Are you caught up on the Serial podcast? The penultimate episode was released yesterday morning and last night Sarah Koenig appeared on The Colbert Report. She gave insights to why she decided to tell this specific story in a serial format.

/ / My friend, Kate, shared several wintry photos on her blog last week. Chicago during Christmastime is extra magical. I’m not exactly going to miss the harsh weather realities of January and February (and March and April), but I will miss the extra glow illuminating the city streets from the twinkle lights.

/ / I love listening/watching people being interviewed about their craft. During each awards season, The Hollywood Reporter gathers actors, writers, directors, and producers together into groups for roundtable discussions. These conversations are interesting, candid and remind me that no one is living without challenges (even big Hollywood stars). Did you know that the writers for Dallas Buyers Club began working on that screenplay 20 years before the movie was green lit to be filmed?!? I’m pretty sure I would have given up. Assuming that if my script wasn’t selling it must not be good. Talk about perseverance!

/ / After eliminating dairy (except butter) and gluten from my diet, I have become hyperaware of people who live with severe allergies/intolerances. I won’t break out in hives or be admitted into the hospital if I eat bread (I’ll just wake up with a new pimple) but I know people who will. I’ve become all too familiar with vegan recipes and generally flax seeds are the replacement for eggs. When Amy shared her cornstarch version I was really intrigued. Have any of you experimented with flax or cornstarch “eggs”?

Happy Weekend, all!

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/ / Linking with Meagan.

A Night at The Symphony


Jordan and I value time spent with each other and our loved ones. I’ve seen far too many people live a lonely existence as they allow friendships to fizzle with age. We’ve realized that being proactive in planning special events throughout the year is essential. Life gets busy and unless you really think in advance, date nights or get-togethers with friends become infrequent. Because of this, Jordan and I fill our calendar with parties, day trips, vacations and concerts sometimes six months in advance.

Back in September, our friends mentioned that the Nashville Symphony was putting on a special Christmas production of Home Alone. While I wasn’t even thinking about Christmas in September we decided to purchase the tickets and make a double date out of it. I love how, after a busy couple of weeks preparing and traveling for Thanksgiving, we already had a fun night planned to reconnect.

The Schermerhorn Symphony Center is located downtown and we arrived a little early so we could walk around the city. December in Nashville is downright perfect. I haven’t had to wear my winter coat yet!

Even though I’ve seen Home Alone countless times, watching it communally with live music renewed my love for this holiday classic. Laughs were shared during the McCallister rush to the airport, shrieks echoed throughout the hall as Harry and Marv stepped on Christmas ornaments, and happy tears were shed when Kevin and his mother reunited.

I hope they do this again next year because it was such a great experience.






/ / Have you have seen a production like this before?

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