I thought I would pop in to say hello and share last week’s recap post! Last week was quite the week, so there is a bit for me to share! I typically like having these kinds of posts up by Monday evening, but sometimes things come up.
So let’s get to it!
Off to Grandma’s House I go!
Last Wednesday, I hopped on an airplane and headed over to Chicago.
Rather than taking the day off, I chose to work while travelling. The PDX Airport happens to have great wifi which is great when you are trying to work 🙂 As for my airplane, I ended up purchasing their wifi to get all of my work done during my 4 hour flight. I actually really enjoy working on flights.. which may be a bit strange now that I think about it.
Once I landed, my grandma picked me up from the airport and we were off to Bohemian Crystal for some Bohemian food! I love eating Bohemian food with my grandma. There used to be a Bohemian restaurant called Bohemian Garden that was near my grandma’s old house. We used to go there as a treat and enjoy eachothers company over pork, sauerkraut and dumplings. My grandma used to go there with her mother and sisters which made the Bohemian Garden a special place for our family. Unfortunately, a few years ago the owners of Bohemian Garden closed their doors for good and we were left looking for a new Bohemian restaurant to catch up at. Fortunately, the Bohemian Crystal is located near my grandma’s new place – so that worked out well for us!
When my grandma picked me up from the airport and asked me if I wanted to go to Bohemian Crystal with her, I was more than excited! It had been around 2 years since I had last enjoyed Bohemian food with her!
And oh boy was our food good! Eating Bohemian food with my grandma made me feel so at home. I need to learn how to (successfully) make pork and potato dumplings. Sauerkraut is pretty easy to make, so at least I have that down!
Thursday – lots of running around
After staying up all night chatting with my grandma, I was up bright and early for work. Thankfully I am able to work while travelling due to my company’s flexible work culture, so I was able to work from the comforts of my grandma’s home! It was awesome 🙂
After work, my grandma and I headed to Oakbrook Mall for last minute gifts. That upcoming Saturday we would be attending my great aunt & uncles 50th anniversary, so I wanted to get them gold themed gifts. Before heading to Chicago I had purchased part of their gift but still needed a card and one other item to make the gift feel complete.
Once we left Oakbrook we were absolutely exhausted. I was so exhausted that I actually took a nap. For those of you who did not already know, it is very rare for me to nap. I think I napped a total of 3 times throughout my college experience. I hate napping. I have a hard time waking up and feeling refreshed. I usually wake up groggy and wanting to go back to sleep – making me feel more tired than I did before taking a nap. Anyway, I am telling you this because I want you to understand how tired I was to actually take a nap.
After napping for an hour, I hung out a little more with my grandma, finished Where the Crawdads Sing (book review post coming soon!), and watched a bit of the Democratic Debates before heading back to the airport to pick up Ian.
After picking up Ian, we headed to our hotel and were shocked as to how nice our room was! I was actually a bit bummed that it was already 10 pm and we would be checking out that next afternoon. I would have loved to spend more time working on my laptop in this hotel room!
Friday – more running around + city fun
That next morning we headed to down to the lobby and ate our complimentary hotel breakfast.
I noticed that our hotel had free copies of The Wall Street Journal available, so I enjoyed sipping my coffee and reading the news. I rarely read the news these days, so it was nice catching up on what is going on in the world.
I decided to take Friday off from work, so I enjoyed hanging out in the room working on the blog, watching Youtube videos, and editing a photo for a book review post I am working on writing.
Around noon, Ian and I decided to grab some coffee and explore the city a bit. Despite drinking coffee for breakfast, I was still feeling a bit groggy and knew that espresso might work a bit better for me.
I spotted a coffee shop across from our hotel that looked super cute, so I dragged Ian in with me. Once inside, the baristas told me about their new shipment of pumpkin spice.. so I ordered a latte with just under a pump of pumpkin spice syrup. The latte was reeeeally good.. but I think my sensitivity to sugar is increasing because even though I asked for just under a pump of syrup.. my coffee was still too sweet for me. Ahh. It looks like I may need to give up on the pumpkin obsession I have – or at least just with my coffee.
After grabbing coffee, Ian and I walked around the city for a bit and I could not help but snap a few photos of the Chicago River. It is crazy to me thinking about how I used to race on this river back in high school. Oh how time flies.
Walking around for a bit worked up our appetites, so we began our search for a spot to have lunch. We ended up stumbling on a place called Pink Taco.
It kind of reminded me of Broken English (another fun taco pub in Chicago) with all of the bright decorations and artwork.
Their decorations were actually really cute and thoughtful. I got a kick out of the Patron flower vases that they had out on every table.
I mean even their bathrooms were cleverly designed. How funny is that neon sign?!
While their decorations were cleverly thought out.. their service and food were not so impressive. Our waitress recommended that we try their chips and salsa sampler.. but we ended up getting our chips and salsa after getting our main entrees. By the time it had arrived, I no longer was interested in chips and salsa
As for our entrees, they were okay. I ordered their carnitas bowl and Ian ordered their street tacos. Both options were tasty but I honestly think that the food at Broken English is far better. The tacos at Broken English are incredible.. but these were just ok, which is fine! Maybe Pink Taco was having an off day.
After Pink Taco, Ian and I walked around for a bit more and then met up with my Uncle Jason and Aunt Jun. They had no eaten yet, so we joined them at a cute burger joint in Old Town called Small Cheval.
I did not have room for a bugar after eating at Pink Taco, but the burgers there looked amazing. Everyone eating there seemed to be very impressed.
After Small Cheval, we all went for a walk around Old Town and the Gold Coast. I could not stop gawking at a few of the gorgeous homes that we saw.
I mean, come on. Someone lives here??
We ended up stopping in Restoration Hardware and let me just say.. wow. Portland has a Restoration Hardware on 23rd, which is gorgeous, but the one in Chicago had the most gorgeous cafe inside. My Aunt said that she wants to spend her birthday there and now I know why.. it was so pretty.
I think I may need to come back to the 3 Arts Club Cafe sometime and enjoy a nice cup of tea.
As for RH, we walked around the building a bit and looked at their furniture. They have a rooftop patio, so we spent a bit of time relaxing outside.
My Aunt and Uncle are so cute 🙂
Once we were done relaxing on the rooftop patio, we headed back outside and headed towards Michigan Avenue.
We happened to pass the Ghirardelli near Water Tower Place and just had to stop in…
We then walked along the lake and took in the gorgeous views!
After walking 4 or so miles, we were back at my aunt & uncle’s place. We finished off our evening by watching Shameless with my aunt & uncle and were off to bed!
Saturday – Ian meets the whole gang
The next morning we were up bright and early. We quickly got ready for my great aunt & uncle’s 50th anniversary party and headed to La Fournette for some pastries and coffee. My aunt and uncle raved about how delicious their pastries were, so we just had to try them out for ourselves!
Ian and I split their ham and cheese croissant and we were very impressed BUT the real star of the show was their almond croissant. WOW. My aunt ordered one for us to try and honestly, I do not think I have had a better almond croissant. It was SO good.
As it turns out, La Fournette was created by World Baking Champion Pierre Zimmermann and his wife, Michele, after moving to Chicago back in 2010. Apparently Pierre Zimmermann’s family had owned a family bakery in Schnersheim (France) where they had developed their recipes over 4 generations! No wonder their pastries were incredible!!
After enjoying pastries and coffee, we headed back to my aunt and uncles place and were off to Arlington Heights for the anniversary party. We had never been to Cooper’s Hawk Winery before but we were certainly impressed. Their reception area was beautiful and their food was amazing.
It was so nice being able to enjoy good food and see relatives that I had not seen for years. A few of my cousins I had a chance to catch up with I had not seen for 6 or so years, so it was nice finally seeing everyone. I am sure that Ian had a Brittany’s family overload this weekend 😂
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), I did not remember to take many photos during the party. I was so caught up in trying to say hi to all of my cousins in the short 2 hours that I had, that I forgot to take photos. I truly was living in the moment and enjoying time with my family 🙂
After the party, we headed over to my Aunt Jen & Uncle Marshall’s house. Ian had never been to Elmhurst before, so I thought I would show him around a bit.
Elmhurst has a free trolley that goes around town during the summer months, so we thought we would hop on and enjoy the ride. It so happens that Saturday was the trolley’s last day of the season!
After walking around town for a while, we decided to head indoors and enjoy a bite to eat. It was 80 or so degrees outside and we were kind of dying from the heat. Portland has been consistently 70 degrees or so… so we were being huge whimps.
We found a cute restaurant and bar called One Fifty One Kitchen | Bar, so we decided to give the place a try.
I loved their decorations and atmosphere. I am a huge sucker for wood, brick, and plants.. so this place hit the spot!
I also loved how their water glasses were made from old wine bottle bottoms. Such a cute idea!
Wanting to save room for pizza with my aunt and uncle later that night, we chose to share an appetizer while we hung out at One Fifty One. The waitress we had recommended that we tried their pork belly and I am glad she did. It was incredible. I don’t know what I liked more, their pork belly.. or the risotto is was served on. Wow.
If this the rest of their food was as good as this appetizer was, I highly recommend coming here.
After enjoying our appetizer at One Fifty One, we walked around Downtown Elmhurst for a little more and then hopped back on the trolley and headed to my aunt & uncles house. We spent the rest of our evening eating pizza with my aunt & uncle, catching up, and watching “Ghostbusters” on my aunt & uncles new 3-D TV. My uncle has been raving about this new tv of his for a while and now I see why. It was so cool watching a movie in 3-D but in the comforts of a home rather than in a movie theatre. My uncle is the coolest.. but don’t tell him I told you all.
Sunday – news & blues
Sunday morning around 4:30 am, Ian and I woke up and headed to O’Hare Airport to catch our flight back home to Portland. It poured on us as we hopped into our Lyft and it felt kind of fitting. We were lucky to have gorgeous weather while spending time with my family and the storm clouds seemed to roll out for our departure. It is always hard leaving Chicago and not knowing when I will next see my family, but I am sure I will see them again soon.
To both of our surprise, Ian and I slept the entirety of our flight and woke up just before landing. I think we were both pooped from running around and catching up with so many of my family members.
After landing, Ian’s mom came to pick us up from the airport. We then learned that his grandmother had passed away this past Friday evening. His mom had wanted us to enjoy our time in Chicago instead of feeling sad or worrying, so she waited until then to break the news to us. We were all sad but understood that she was no longer in pain. His grandmother passed away at 90 years old and had lived a long but full life.
The rest of our Sunday we spent taking it easy. In fact, I actually napped again on Sunday. By the evening we were both very hungry but had little to no energy to cook, so we ordered Thai food. I hate ordering food to be delivered, since I usually want to just save money and get it myself, but I was not in the mood Sunday. Sometimes you just have to take it easy, you know?
And there you have it! My week in a nutshell. It has been one heck of a week full of ups and downs, but that is life. I am currently working on writing a book review for Where the Crawdads Sing, so feel free to read the book if you haven’t already so that we can have a little book club discussion on this blog 🙂
Now a few questions for you!
~ What was the highlight of your week last week?
~ What are you most looking forward to this fall?
~ Are you a fan of napping? Or do they make you feel more tired?