Chicago! (Again!)

It’s a great thing, being a Notre Dame alum who has an event in Chicago. The Windy City’s proximity to the Golden Dome means it’s a Mecca for the postgraduate Irish faithful. One of my very favorites, Laura, has joined their ranks and graciously hosted me for the long weekend that was Melissa’s wedding.   I also enjoyed the added bonus of getting to meet her beau, Drew, for the first time!

Yeah, that sums up the weekend in a nutshell right there.

After arriving late afternoon in a deluge of Biblical proportions, Laura wisely decided that the only way to properly introduce me to Chicago was through food and drink (of the non-deep dish pizza variety). We headed off to Mas, a fantastic gourmet Mexican place, for cranberry-habanero salsa, mixed taco plates, and a smoky gin beverage that had both of us initially wrinkling our noses and eventually finishing the glass.

Haymarket Brewery, our next stop, is owned and run by the husband of Laura’s yoga teacher. The brewery was packed, but we found perfect corner spots at the bar in the back-room “Writing and Drinking Theater.” I couldn’t have been more excited to have the bride and maid-of-honor come join us for a beverage! It was so great to catch up with Melissa and Theresa before the wedding insanity really got into full swing.

After a quick glass of wine at City Winery, we headed off to bed and enjoyed a super quiet morning the next day…featuring my favorite poodle, Fiona!

The Chicago Riverwalk made for the perfect early stroll when accompanied by Dunkin’ Donuts coffee (iced coconut coffee is officially my new favorite treat!) and plenty of sunshine. We stopped to admire the views and give Fi a chance to sniff every dog that passed by. I loved the bonus girl-time while Drew slept in…it offered a long-overdue opportunity to get up to speed on life (and, of course, to gossip about Drew. No shame.).

Laura had cousins in town, so we headed in the direction of the Willis Tower to meet up with them. While we didn’t brave the ascent (I suffer from a paralyzing fear of the sensation of falling, so the whole Skydeck thing wasn’t really my thing), we did plan on lunch after they finished up. Little did poor Laura know that Yelp was leading her to a destination she thought was three blocks closer than it was…the exhausted and hungry little five-year-old in our crew was NOT a fan. Fortunately he cheered right up when he had a chance to “share” (consume all of) Laura’s fries and take selfies with her. What a cutie, right?!

One of my other Notre Dame faves, Marina, also calls Chicago home (and STILL calls EY her employer! What a saint!). I texted her on a whim and we ended up meeting up with her for a fantastic afternoon of rooftop day-drinking! She’s  headed off to Argentina with EY this fall for a global rotation, which made the added bonus of seeing her extra-sweet.

Saturday’s rehearsal dinner couldn’t have been lovelier or more delicious. It was, in fact, so delicious I 100% failed to take a single photograph. Hosted at Maggiano’s Banquet, we all gorged ourselves on Italian food and wine while catching up with old friends and meeting new faces. This was also my first introduction to Melissa’s fiancé, Jordan, who is quite possibly the only person in the world who could manage to make it seem like meeting me was the pinnacle of his rehearsal dinner evening. Go Jordan! You’re a gem, and I’m sure glad Melissa found you.

As the wedding was a Sunday, the weekend’s fun was far from over, but I was on the verge of an alcohol-driven collapse from exhaustion by about 10pm on Saturday night. Laura and Drew picked me up from the rehearsal dinner and drove my tipsy self home for early bed. Wedding day was on its way!...but as this is getting obnoxiously lengthy, and I’m getting obnoxiously tired and repetitive, that’ll have to wait for another day...Ciao, campers!