Happy Tuesday friends! Don’t you just love a holiday week?!??!? We sure do…. shortened time in the office, there is a buzz of anticipation in the air…. and you are making your lists and checking them twice (or 43 times of you are like me!). Holidays are such a special time… and although this little Pinterest loving, social media scrolling, holiday look wearing gal loves all the pomp and circumstance so much, the truth is the privilege is to have the ability celebrate (not being in a hospital, blessed with financial resources, a peaceful season with family, no fires or floods, no war torn towns)in a safe, warm, and peaceful place. My theme for this year has been LINK “present over perfect” – and as the year progressed it simplified even more to just joy. Bring joy where I am, choose joy in all circumstances…. and this holiday season I plan to work extra hard on letting perfection go and focus on bringing joy where I find myself. This really should be its own post… but a I got on a roll…… Happy Thanksgiving week!
Sooooo today’s post during the week of joy is looking back on one of our highlights of 2018: our trip to Chicago! Ya’ll we had a blast. I have always loved Chi-town since my summer internship in high school sent me to work there and I also have enjoyed it with family. Then taking Danny back the summer of 2017, he too fell in love we have been waiting to get back. As luck would have it 2018 brought the very best reason to get back there: my brother Grant and his girlfriend Kelly moved there from New York this summer! So we nabbed the first long weekend we could all make work and spent our Labor Day extended weekend in Chicago!
When planning this post I realized it is going to have to be a two (or three… we will see how many pictures I use 🙂) part post. We had such a blast and did so many fun things…. it would be crazy to cram it all in here. So get ready for just a bit of picture overload and more to come.
The best part of this trip was the chance to experience those who call this great city home favorite parts. We stayed with my brother and Kelly and even though they had only been there for a few months…. the had taken a lot of care in selecting their neighborhood and even more time settling in and soaking it all up. Seeing this place through their eyes was such a treat: you get to enjoy some really cool aspects Chicago, but from the perspective of someone who loves it so much they call it home. It is the best way to see a city.
We flew in late Thursday night so we could wake up Friday at our final destination. My brother’s dog Rico was not sure why anyone would want to travel that late….and then proceed to come into an apartment, make drinks and stay up hours beyond midnight catching up…. but he did his best to cope.
On Friday I got up and enjoyed a little quiet time in their sitting area. It is the most picturesque spot for starting your day: I can sip my coffee, enjoy the feeling of a cozy nook for my prayer and reading time….. yet look right out into the middle of the neighborhood. Where they live in Wicker Park area is one of the cutest parts of the Chicago…. Danny and I totally fell in love with it and dreamed of what it might be like to call this place home. The area feels like a neighborhood but just a few streets down and you have the hustle and bustle of city living: resturants, stores, the L …. all within blocks. Yet if your on their back porch, you feel out of the fray. Such a great place!
And just a little bit of Heppes humor….. who were the first ones up? Grant and Jackie…. yes folks fight it as you may, when you grow up you become your parents and in this way Grant and I are 100% my dad.
After the rest of the gang rose, we went to a cool little walkway the 606 to get some fresh air, enjoy seeing different housing options in their area, and get Rico to a dog park. It was the perfect start for the day and getting us jazzed for just jumping right in and walking the city!
But in true Jackie fashion vacation does not begin without a margarita…. so we took the scenic route and hit up the cutest Mexican Resturant: Big Star Bar with expansive outside seating, endless taco options, and pitchers of margs! I don’t have a great picture – but if you are looking for a little sneak peak check out my Chicago Highlights on my instagram!
That is actually true for ALL of the things we saw and enjoyed in Chicago: lots of great detail is captured over there and if you are planning a trip I would encourage you to check it out.
After taco eating and margarita drinking we needed to move a bit and continued walking and exploring their neighborhood. My favorite part was how one part would feel sorta modern city with cool shops, new restaurants pop ups, and all sorts of people watching. Yet, the charm of old school urban life was everywhere with beautiful brownstones. Danny and I often dream of Chicago living (and may have just done some research while up there….) and we both agreed after walking around: if someone handed us an apartment in this neighborhood and a couple of jobs – we would take it in a heart beat! Food for thought….
As the afternoon rolled in we realized we had done all the eating and walking and ice coffee drinking we could…. time for a different speed. Yet we couldn’t decide if that was a speed of going and doing something, or being low key until our dinner plans. Luckily Rico had the perfect solution: Dog Beach! We drive to get there and can see different parts of the city, once there you can walk or play ball or get in the water or just sit….. plus there are puppy dogs EVERYWHERE! Perfect solution Rico!
Finally day one ended with special dinner. Growing up Danny had a kiddo the same age move in right next door. Nick and Danny became best friends and over sports, video games, playing outside, and running a muck with the neighborhood kiddos. In middle school Nicke moved and although they somewhat remained in touch, it has been more recent years they have reconnected (our trips to Chicago help). Nick is now a musician that lives in the Windy City so Friday night we all had dinner. Again it was wonderful to hear about his love of the city and why both he and his wife Renee feel Chicago is for sure home. We would see Nick a little later in the weekend for another unique experience…. but this evening of catching up was a great start.
So there you have it… Day 1!?!??! Now you know why I may need a couple of posts to share our tip. Stay tuned for the rest later this week….
Thank you so much for reading and remember to make it a great day!