Meet 10 month old Kiwi who lives in Menton.
Last Friday evening, Robbie, Essley, and I checked into the gorgeous W City Center hotel in the heart of downtown Chicago’s Loop for a weekend staycation. Our three year wedding anniversary was two days earlier, so it was perfect timing for a celebration – and for the first time, as a family of three. For how much traveling we do, we have admittedly spent very little time playing tourist in our own city (especially right downtown where all the action is), so this was pretty exciting for us. We ended up having a really wonderful weekend that was the perfect mix of relaxation and adventure, and we’ve already decided that we need to make this an annual event.
Our room at the W was beautiful (my favorite part being the rad typographic lamp art that read, “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” – spot on!), so we decided to spend the first night in with a pizza from good ol’ Chicago staple Lou Malnati’s. We are terrible Chicagoans in that we never order deep dish pizza, but since we were playing tourists and all, we went for it. (And thank goodness we did, because omg you guys. So good.) We spent the evening sprawled out on the massive chaise lounge in the room gorging ourselves and relishing in the luxury of doing nothing. (In truth, Robbie watched baseball playoffs and I went back and forth between playing with Essley, experimenting with the delicious smelling Bliss body products from the W’s bathroom, and reading, but this was as close to doing nothing that we’ve gotten in a long time. And it was glorious.)
On Saturday morning, we awoke to discover that it was unseasonably cold and rainy outside. But we were determined. After leisurely sipping on coffee and eating a late breakfast, we bundled up, were greeted by the W’s super friendly elevator carpet (had to snap this picture), and headed outside toward Michigan Avenue with plans to check out the Magritte Exhibit at the Art Institute. The Art Institute is one of my favorite places in the world, and was one of the things I missed most during the 14 years I left the area. Despite our lack of making time for tourist things around here, I do try to make it here about once a year. I have not, however, ever visited on a weekend, and wow was it busy. I’m so grateful that we had a member card because the line to get in stretched around the block and we were able to bypass it. Sadly though, the Magritte exhibit was way too crowded to navigate with a 9 month old baby, so we had to give up after a few minutes and instead headed toward the Modern Wing, which is my favorite area of the museum. I’m especially smitten with the Contemporary Art After 1960 galleries, and it was pretty cool to see Essley react so positively to some of my favorite pieces. (Lots of bright colors and contrast and simple lines make for visually pleasing stuff to babies.) This was her first visit to the Art Institute (outside the womb, anyway) and aside from some jolly-but-intense high pitched screeches in line for the Magritte exhibit, she behaved really well and seemed to genuinely enjoy the experience. I can’t wait to bring her back when she’s a little older.
After a few hours at the museum, we headed across the street to Millennium Park. And here is where I become completely transparent about what a really bad Chicagoland native I am: this was the first time I’d ever visited the bean. To be fair, it didn’t exist until 2006 (and even Millennium Park itself didn’t while I was growing up), but I’ve spent enough time in the park (Chicago’s fashion week runways shows are held there, among other events I’ve done for work) that it’s a little silly that I’ve somehow repeatedly missed what is arguably the most famous part. So for our first stop, the bean it was. It was drizzling and Essley has fallen asleep in her stroller during the short walk, so we let her sleep, snapped a few photos (the sculpture is pretty bad ass in person), and took a stroll around the park. The leaves were just beginning to change and many of the gardens still had flowers, so there was a lot of lovely things to look at as we walked. From there we explored for a while, mainly just to be present and look at things we normally forget to appreciate (there really is some seriously stunning architecture in this city!) and eventually, headed back to the hotel to regroup and figure out dinner.
We ended up getting a little too comfortable in our room (the beds at the W City Center are like clouds, dudes) and dozed off for a few minutes next to Essley. It felt decadent to stop our busy lives for even a brief moment to just relax together. After waking up hungry, we did a little online searching for closeby dinner options. (We had brunch reservations at the hotel’s restaurant, IPO, for the following morning or we would have eaten there as the dinner menu looked stellar.) Our goal was to find something casual that was kid-friendly but not a big chain, and somewhere that offered some good vegetarian options for me. So I may have let out an audible scream when I realized that Native Foods, a seriously scrumptious vegan restaurant, was right around the corner. We put Essley in the Ergo and just a few minutes later, were sitting a table awaiting what ended up being one of the best dinners I’d had in a while. I had a vegan reuben sandwich and an Ebel’s Weiss beer; Robbie had a vegan gyro health bowl, sweet potato fries (which Essley sampled as well and seemed to adore), and a lavender lemonade. And we shared the best vegan buffalo wings I’ve ever eaten.
When dinner was done, we walked back to the W, and spent a little while checking out the gorgeous lobby and their lounge (called the Living Room). If we’d been sans baby, we definitely would have spent some time chilling over cocktails there. It’s a cozy space with a beautiful vaulted gold flecked ceiling, comfy couches, and the coolest oversized lamps. We then headed back up to the room and got Essley ready for bed, then settled into bed ourselves and watched a movie. It was a perfect end to a perfect day.
On Sunday morning, we packed up our bags (boooo) and headed downstairs to the IPO Restaurant for brunch. The first thing I noticed (of course) was that the space was beautifully styled – I want a set of their hanging light fixtures for my house, and I think Essley does as well. We started off with coffee and a bakery plate filled with freshly baked pastries and sides of orange marmalade and Nutella. (The croissant was to die for.) After much contemplation, I ordered the eggs benedict (with the canadian bacon on the side for Robbie, who loves his meat y’all) and breakfast potatoes, and Robbie ordered a cheddar, asparagus, and chorizo omelette. Our meals came out fast and were absolutely delightful. I couldn’t pinpoint exactly what spices they used for the potatoes, but wow. Hands down, they were the best breakfast potatoes I’ve even had, and I will without a doubt visit IPO again for this very reason. We left full and happy (which when it comes to brunch, is the ultimate way to feel), said our goodbyes to our magical downtown staycation, and headed back to reality with some fantastic memories.
If you live in the Chicagoland area and are thinking about taking a staycation, I can’t recommend the W City Center highly enough. The hotel staff is absolutely wonderful and the rooms are both comfortable and chic. The location is incredible for really experiencing the heart of the city, and the restaurant is more than just convenient – it’s fresh, delicious, and interesting. And the overall vibe of the hotel is great as well – whether you’re bringing the kids like we did, looking for a romantic atmosphere, or planning a fun weekend with friends. You can check out more about the W City Center for yourself right here, or via their Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts. During your stay at the W, I also suggest paying a visit to the Art Institute and Millennium Park like we did – both are not to be missed. The Sears Tower (now called the Willis Tower – but not to Chicagoans!) is also steps away, and both the Goodman Theatre and Cadillac Palace Theatre are less than a mile from the hotel. If you’re in the mood for shopping, the famous Magnificent Mile is a short few block walk away. Or even if you just want to enjoy a luxurious weekend of lazy bliss in an exquisitely designed room with a heavenly bed – this is the place to do it. I hope you love it as much as we did. Thanks for following along!
This post was in collaboration with W Hotels/Starwood Hotels. I received a complementary stay at the W City Center, but was not monetarily compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.
Meet Ulysse, a beautiful Shetland Sheepdog I met in Gorbio village last Sunday. He’s 11 years old and lives in Carnoles.
'Bad rule!' Dog breeders tell USDA about new standards
From Russell terrier owners in Lexington, Ky., to miniature Australian shepherd fanciers in Red Oak, Texas, dog breeder organizations – and some feline allies – are challenging the Agriculture Department's imposition of tougher standards on pet …
Read more on Sacramento Bee
Ceva study shows need for better oral care for pets
Micky Blackburn, Logic marketing executive at Ceva Animal Health, said: "With nearly two-thirds of pet owners stating they would seek advice from their vet on dental care, veterinary practices could be capitalising on the importance of routine dental …
Read more on Zenopa
Aratana Therapeutics Announces Presentation Of Clinical Data at Annual …
Aratana Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: PETX), a pet therapeutics company focused on licensing, developing and commercializing innovative biopharmaceutical products for companion animals, today announced its first appearance at the Annual Veterinary Cancer …
Read more on Benzinga
We’ve got just a few hours left until our next Event Barkers Twitter party: #MyHappyDog! This party, sponsored by Look Who’s Happy natural, USA-made dog treats, is going to be a LOT of…
[[ This is a summary only. Click the title for the full post, photos, videos, giveaways, and more! ]]
I have an idea. Let’s make this a week where we all walk away with at least one new idea, one way to make things better for the animals we work with and/or love.
ETA: I’m actually going to pause and take a little more time with this idea, and hopefully get more ideas and more people involved! Stay tuned!!
Today, I want to remind everyone of the best way to approach a nervous dog, featuring a short clip from Dr. Yin:
I chose this for a few reasons:
1. I don’t know any people who teach their kids to do this;
2. I don’t know any vet offices who teach their staff to do this;
3. I don’t do this (that will change)
It’s no wonder that pets who routinely come to the clinic to get stared at head-on, tackled and/or pinned for a nail trim and then get their temperature taken have no interest in coming back. I am so glad my OB/GYN doesn’t take that approach; there’s really no reason we can’t make some changes for our pets too.
A simple change in body positioning can make all the difference to a nervous dog, which is better for the dog and better for you. If you work with animals, make a promise to try it this week and report back. And if you don’t, make a promise to try it with a pet you meet out and about, or teach your kids to try it out. Please, please teach your kids to try it out, if they are of the “I love and want to meet all dogs” variety.
For all you Instagrammers, I propose a #lowstress tag this week where you post a picture of a good low stress handling technique. There may be prizes. Let’s make this a good week, what do you say?
Pet$ aver Healthy Pet Superstore was named a Eastern Regional Finalist for the U.S Chamber of Commerce DREAM BIG Small Business of the Year award.
Thinking about pet treats a little differently? Veterinary Nutritionist Dr. Julie Churchill’s offers some healthy alternatives you may not be thinking of for your dog. http://www.umnvets.com.
Video Rating: 0 / 5
Protecting the innocent both onscreen and off, actress Maggie Q– who currently stars as Lieutenant Detective Beth Davis in the CBS drama series Stalker– recently stepped into her role as…
[[ This is a summary only. Click the title for the full post, photos, videos, giveaways, and more! ]]