The majority of my group of girlfriends turned 30 last year, and we decided that we wanted to celebrate together in a city outside of southern California. I had been to Boston and New York for undergrad and grad school respectively, and my group of girlfriends have traveled to Vegas many times. I had worked in Baltimore for a year and had also been to DC to visit my brother. We considered Houston, but I had spent the first three years of my life there and had visited a few times to visit relatives and for my brother’s college graduation. A couple of friends were also going to be visiting Houston the spring before our trip, so that city was out. We flirted with the idea of Vancouver, but that location was nixed based on price of airplane tickets alone. A few of the girls had taken girls’ trips to Hawaii and one had taken a cruise starting from Florida. I was the only girl in my group who had gone to Chicago and everyone was pretty excited about going there, so that’s how we chose “Chicago, Chicago, that toddlin’ town.”
We planned the August 2012 trip beginning in December of 2011, so by the time August of 2012 came along, we were all set to go.
My outfit for the plane ride and first day in Chicago:
I like wearing jersey dresses when going on the plane because I find that they’re not restrictive. The one I’m wearing is from Gap from 2005 or 2006 (similar dresses at Old Navy here, here, and maxidress version here). I also wore a lightweight cardigan from H&M (old; similar here), gold T-strap sandals (mine were from Wet Seal, the real deal here), and a grey scarf (here). Assorted bangles and jangles were gifted from relatives and the studded wrap bracelet is from BaubleBar. I’m wearing square mirror studs from Forever 21 (similar here). My convertible crossbody clutch/purse is from Ross (last seen here).
Jessica, Mia, Sam, Em, Lola/R1, Elle, Me (QfFS)
We got into Chicago on a Tuesday afternoon. Our first evening in Chicago was pretty low key. We walked around and took touristy photos.
We had plans to try Chicago pizza on Thursday and we were having nice dinners on Wednesday and Friday, so we decided to have sushi at a nearby restaurant because the fare would be light, the meal would be moderately priced, and the location would be convenient.
We also stopped by a Chicago Trader Joe’s for snacks and beverages to enjoy in the hotel room.
We stayed at the Raffaello, a boutique hotel located close to the Water Tower. We spent our first evening relaxing at the hotel and went over a girls’ bonding activity. It was my idea. Yep, I’m cheesy like that.
In various leadership development seminars, I’ve always enjoyed activities where we got to know each person better, and I thought it would be nice to be able to conduct a similar activity within my group of girlfriends. We’re kind of a ragtag group who somehow found each other, mainly through R1 and Elle. A few weeks before we went to Chicago, I sent the girls a form response to fill out on each other, then I assembled the questionnaires into little packets.
For each girl, we needed to answer the following questions:
1. How did you get to know X?
2. What are three words you would use to describe X?
3. If X were an animal, which animal she would be and why?
4. What is something you secretly like about X?
5. Hypothetical situation: X is a contender to be on a reality game show. You need to describe her to studio executives. What do you say?
6. What are your top five memories of hanging out with X?
7. If our Chicago trip was going to be the last time we were to hang out together, what would you want X to know?
We then went over each of the answers aloud while drinking wine and shots of tequila. The activity took about three hours, but we learned a lot of new, surprising, interesting, and hilarious information. Some of the girls had forgotten how they had met or had gotten to know each other (some of us had met in high school, others in college or through hanging out at different social gatherings) and many gave conflicting stories, then blamed their age and failing memories when the real story was revealed. We had a lot of laughs and came up with a lot of new nicknames for each other, and I think we became closer as a group because we were able to share that experience with each other.
More stories to come!