Chicago Recap

Disclaimer: You may need about 14 hours to get through this
As soon as I got into the airport, my flight was delayed two hours. I was flying business on Virgin America so I was lucky to get access into their lounge. I had a few mimosa's, free wi-fi, a little breakfast, and then walked to the plane with Mr. Josh Groban. 

We were off to a good start.

Once I landed I took a cab into the city to celebrate Sara and Sean's engagement. I had planned to take them out to dinner, but instead, Sean cooked us a delicious dinner at their house and then Sara and I went out for a drink in Old Town.

We walked back to her place, put on our matching PJs and talked in bed like the good old days. 

Normally when I get time to see my girlfriends in Chicago it's such a production that we don't get a chance to just laugh and relax, so this was a nice treat.

I took the train from the city back home to my parents in Crystal Lake. My mom had to run some errands so we spent most of the morning shopping and running around.

When we got home, we went and took a look at the lot that my parents just bought in our neighborhood. They are closing on it this week, and will start building the new house as soon as they can. It's going to be their dream house, and I'm just so excited to have it built.

We had dinner at the country club, which is my favorite place in CL. We've basically spent our entire lives there growing up with swim lessons, or tennis, or whatever and every time I'm home I have to go back. I love running into all of my parents friends, catching up with the waitresses that I've known for 15 years, and ordering all of my old favs; duckhorn wine and filet mingon!

We went home pretty early, hung out with Haley (my parents pup, who is also a cockapoo like Roscoe) had some more wine, and went to bed pretty early.


My mom and I walked the lake in the morning, and then went to starbucks and the nail place. I got my nails done in LA, but they let me sit in their massage chairs and read a magazine while my mom was busy, so I was more than happy.

Thursday night we had a kick-off wedding party for my cousins Dan and Mikie. The weather held out long enough for us to all hang outside at their new home - and it was really nice to be able to spend some time with the bride and groom since weddings get so crazy, you never really get a chance to visit with them.

We decided to head up to the city early since my sister Nellie had driven in from Kentucky and stayed downtown with my other sister Hannah., Joel was on flying in that night as well, so it just made more sense for us to be in the city.

The hotel for the wedding was The Thompson, right in the Gold Coast, which turned out to be a great location - and hotel - for us all to hang out in.  


Only my parents attended the rehearsal dinner, so after we saw them off, we went to dinner on our own.

We had a phenomenal dinner at Eduardo's Enoteca on Dearborn and met up with my cousin Amanda, and Hannah's boyfriend Garson.

 After dinner we crashed the rehearsal dinner and met up with my cousins, parents, and some friends. 

Joel's flight landed about thirty minutes early, so he was able to meet us and party for a few hours on Friday night which was an added bonus.


The day of the wedding, Joel and I woke up slightly hungover but ready to get in six miles along the Lake Shore. 

It has probably been three years, at least, since I've had a run on my favorite trail in the world. The miles go by so fast because there are so many people running and biking on the trail, you get so busy people watching that you forget you're running.  The views aren't bad either.

After our run, we all hung out in my parents suite, ordered a bunch of room service, watched the US open, and just hung out as a family as much as we could.

My sister Nellie did my make-up for the wedding, and by the time we were all ready to go, we had a legitimate photoshoot before anyone was even allowed to pop the champagne.

And you should know, taking pictures with myself and sisters is not fun. We have to take like 1,000 pictures, make sure their perfect, change the lighting, change the filter, instagram it, twitter it, snapchat it, the whole shibang....everyone ends up sweating and self-conscious.

It's exhausting, and the poor guys think we are all nuts, but we got a few some pictures out of the mere 600 we took.

We popped a few glasses, and got ready to celebrate Mikie and Danny's wedding. 


The mass was at Holy Name, and after they were married, everyone boarded buses and went to the reception at the Saddle and Cycle club just a few miles north. 

We had so much fun at the wedding - it's just a blast being with all of my cousins, dancing, drinking, and being together. I've never missed living in Chicago as much as I do right now.




I think we got into our rooms on Saturday night at like quarter to three, so after sleeping in a little and having brunch we said goodbye to Hannah and Garson, and made a quick trip over to my cousin Nick's new home to celebrate his twin's 3rd birthday.

They loved all the fun toys my mom got them, and it was nice to see all of my cousins from the other side, even though it was only for a few hours. 

When we finally got back into Crystal Lake, Joel and I only had two requests; deep dish pizza and some damn good wine.


Both were accomplished and both were DAMN good. Everyone hung out for as long as we could hang and then pretty much passed out as soon as our heads hit the pillows.

Monday we spent most of the day with Joel's Parents and his brother Jake, sister Lauren, and two kids Luke and Gracie. I think I was so nearly out of it come Monday that I didn't have the energy to take any more pictures - and they were such sweet moments that I wish I had captured.

Luckily we have a Shields New York City trip planned in October, so I'll have lots of time to make up for it! 

We flew home late Monday night, were home by 9, and are clearly still recovering from the roller coaster trip we were just on.


My LA friends should stop reading now.....

....because, holy cow did I leave my heart in Chicago. That city is my home, and there is just no denying it. My family, my life, my soul....it's in Chicago and it was like a knife in my heart to leave yesterday. There is just nothing like home, and I really, really miss it. 

Life just doesn't work out for us right now to move back (read: right now) so in the meantime, I'm thankful for airplanes and skype and long-distance delivery Lou Malnait's. 



  1. Looks like you guys had a BLAST --- and damn that Elivette is *so* good. So looking forward to stealing some of your NYC time next month :)

  2. Wahhh. I love your Illinois recaps and I am right there with you. It's so hard to leave. Awesome about your parents new house!!

    Quite frankly, I wish this actually did take me 14 hours to read. Glad it was a blast!! xo

  3. Yall look like you had so much fun!! A good weekend spent with friends and family is always what the doctor orders and definitely makes me miss home so much! I am still so obsessed with your hair also- and your makeup looks amazing! Have a great week love!

  4. Wow, looks like lots of great family time and a beautiful wedding! I've never visited Chicago before but it's been on my list for quite awhile (and this post makes me want to visit even more!).

  5. I kind of want to be one of your sisters, because holy crap you are all SOOOO GORGEOUS. Life is not fair.

    Also, it breaks my heart that you can't move back home. Even though California seems like a perfectly beautiful, awesome "home" too.

  6. Gal, my heart breaks for you that you can't be in Chicago with your fan. I totally understand your heartache because family is the BEST!!! Your pictures and recap is so much fun to read. That wine is AMAZEBALLS too. We went to the Spring Mountain vineyard in Napa and it was our favorite!!! That elivette is incredible. My brother joined the wine club, so I still get to drink it occasionally!