Warning: This post is full of links that will cause you to get hungry, want to travel and spend money on fun products.
Sometimes it barely takes anything for a road trip to occur. Sometimes it's out of a need to get away and sometimes it is for a bit of fun or celebration. Most recently it was for the latter. My friend Sarah and I decided to go away for a weekend to celebrate our birthdays, which are 2 days apart.
Short story here....ready? When Sarah was born she was born at a hospital. I know, you are saying, wow that's wonderful. Well, 2 days later I was born at that same hospital. See, this story is already exponentially better than before! Well a few years ago when I started working at the bookstore, who should be working there but Sarah. This is how we, I suppose you could consider it, had a reunion. Sarah ended up being a step ahead of me in the store. She started as a seller, then went into working on displays, then ended up in the cafe. I pretty much followed her, although I never wanted to work in the cafe, but was trained when our cafe was remodeled as an extra worker. After a while we got to know each other and found out how we originally 'met'. This became the start of an awesome friendship.
So last year we both turned 30 but neither of us did anything very exciting to celebrate. This year we decided we would go on a trip. Normally we go to Chicago, actually Chicago should seriously consider paying us to be their word of mouth spokeswomen as much as we tell people about the stores we shop at as well as the restaurants we eat at. We both love trying new places, but also have our regular stops.
For instance, on a normal trip to the Chicago area, we would either go downtown or up to Schaumburg. Wondering where to eat or shop or visit?
1. Eat at P.F. Changs Try the Lettuce Wraps and you won't regret it
2. Visit the Museum of Science and Industry (link goes to my favorite exhibit that I can't wait to revisit!)
3. Visit the Art Institute (I love the exhibit I linked to here)
4. Check out Millennium Park: take your photo in Cloud Gate, get your feet wet at The Crown Fountain and enjoy the beautiful Lurie Garden (audio tours are available for download to your mp3 player here)
5. Go to a musical. Last year I saw Mary Poppins, Fiddler on the Roof, and of course Wicked.
6. Go to WaterTower Place and check out Lush. It's my favorite store for natural body products. I love and continue to use their shampoo bars, pot of conditioner, bar of deodorant and their soap. If you save your wee black pots you can return them to the store as part of their Many Happy Returns program.
1. Eat at Sweet Tomato is probably our favorite restaurant to eat at when we shop here. They are constantly changing their food selection monthly, such as February is potato month. But they have a wonderful salad selection. A walk through of the restaurant: Walk in, grab a tray and a plate or two...pick out a pre made salad, they have 4 or 5 to choose from, there are also a number of vegetables to add to your salad or eat on the side. You then pay and get your drink. Grab a table and then, this is my favorite part, head up to the other area. The 2nd area is full of 6 or so soups to choose from, which they also change regularly, several breads and rolls, and an area for ice cream. If you are trying to stay healthy, this is a great place to eat at. Several of the food choices are healthy and delicious. Sign up for the newsletter like I have and receive coupons and the latest updates on their monthly specials.
2. Stop in to Woodfield Mall. I'm not a shopper but this mall is somewhere I love going. It has a number of shops that I can't resist including, but not limited to the Apple Store (to see the Mac's that I am still saving gift cards up for, Gap (only place I find jeans that fit), H&M, Hollister (although I'd love it a lot more if I didn't have sonar smell capabilities...the cologne gives me a headache..).
3. Of course, while you are at Woodfield, eat at PF Changs (yup this is a repeat), and then go to the Cheesecake Factory and grab a slice of cheesecake or two.
4. Drive by the Hummer dealership and look for the pink Hummer.
5. You can't miss the big blue and yellow building near Sweet Tomatoes called IKEA. I love my floor lamp.
You might wonder then...where we went on our trip? Chicago or Schaumburg. Well we decided to try somewhere new and ended up somewhere old. Check out part II in a day for where we went!
Disclaimer: This post was not paid for, I just love recommending places to friends. Enjoy!