Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Sisterhood

Just got back from a much needed "girls getaway" weekend in Chicago, with my gal pals. It was truly a vacation as I left my laptop at home, which rarely ever happens since starting Inkspot Workshop, plus working a full time medical sales job. We had a total of 6 of us representing Phoenix, Atlanta, Cleveland, DC, Richmond and Overland Park, KS. All of us have known each other since the 7th grade and a few in the group since kindergarten and grade school. We all grew up in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio called North Olmsted.

The coolest part of this group of ladies is not just the fact we are still friends, but how much fun we still have together. It's a rare oddity {we know} to have such a tight knit group and we've been this way since the '80s. The reason for this trip is because we are celebrating our 40th birthdays this year. This is also the same group I spent most of my teen birthdays with too! We constantly discuss how we "look exactly the same" but are a bit confused as to how much of that is reality or the generous amounts of alcohol we typically consume when together.

Our trip consisted of laughter, funny stories from the past and present, eating, drinking and tons of walking! {not necessarily in that order} We happened to be in the Windy City during The Blue's Festival, so people watching became a popular spectator sport for us. Chicago is a major metropolitan town with it's fair share of crack dealers, sharp dressers and security personnel alike.

All kidding aside, Chicago is an absolutely beautiful, lakefront city and I was amazed at how clean it was, plus how well thought out are all the different flower beds and pond areas.

We started off the trip with a real treat of a dinner at Osteria Via Stato. All I can say is WOW! We did their famous "Italian Family Style" dinner and it lived up to all expectations. Our favorites were the Parmesan encrusted sweet onions, of which each of us ate no fewer than 17 servings. At the end of the meal the server brought out dark chocolate and some dried fruit and nuts and smashed it up on the table {cool effect} so we could have just a small nibble of salt and sweet, perfect ending for a perfect meal. Of course, I was wearing my new white jeans and crisp shirt and the chocolate was dark... that's all I have to say. Oh and then I had to buy a Tide Pen - coolest invention ever - Thanks Lisa!


Then off to Rockit Bar for some shots! 6 loud, lively, girls usually make quite a scene on a Thursday night anywhere, but here in Chi town, the locals dubbed us as the "Hot Birthday Moms" which we thought sounded much better than hot BMs:)


There is probably no such thing as a bad meal in Chicago and we surely had our fare share of tremendous food! Similar to Cleveland, Chicago has many different neighborhoods with small, "local" restaurants and taverns. Definitely something I miss here in the South. Some locals we met at the Blues festival suggested we try Mario's, in order to get a true taste of local, friendly and neighborhoody.

It was everything we had hoped for and MORE! Mario, himself greeted us at the door and enthusiastically gave us his favorite menu suggestions. Then off he went to the bar and appeared like a magician with 6 Limoncellos! I'm so glad he told us to "sip" them because all these years I have been downing them as shots. Ugh. Mario's pizza was wafer thin crusted, completely opposite of the well known deep-dish pizza found in Chi town pizzerias. It actually melted in your mouth and if you get the chance to eat at Mario's, don't be shy, you can eat a whole 10 inch pizza all by yourself. We also had some pasta dishes like the carbonara and by the end of the night and 27 different dishes later, we opted to walk back to the hotel. PS. we ordered his Tiramisu just for kicks and it was like eating air!! I'm also pretty sure there were 0 calories as a result of being so light?

Not having any pre-set agenda was our goal for this trip. The next day we spent walking around and investigating all parts of the city. Our resident lawyer and map reader got us these super cool shirts, which we proudly displayed all over the city. You too can have the artist make some up for your BFFs, check out the site http://www.firedaughterclothing.com/ They are not listed on the site, but you can send her an email.We were on the hunt for Oprah, because surely once she saw us in our cute shirts and heard our story, she would want to do a show about us? right? Ok, then at the very least she would want to give us new cars or something? Ok, you are right, once she heard we were celebrating our 40th birthdays, she would probably give us each a walker:) Instead we settled for an interview with Hugh Heffner at the local PlayBoy offices

Truth be known, the poor guy who took this picture was just innocently getting his dry cleaning, then was accosted by this motley bunch of tourists moms. His day could have been worse, right?

In fact, I liked these shirts so darn much I got inspired to make a new line of folded notes and you can get a set at Inkspot Workshop.

Another thoughtful girlfriend gift given was an adorable book called "Friends To The End" The True Value of Friendship, written by Bradley Trevor Greive.

This book is choc-full of cute pictures, just like the cover, along with cute captions relating to friendships.
I also wanted to help commemorate our 40th getaway trip and enlisted the help of fellow Etsy seller Christen Largent, of BD Designs.

Not only is she too from Ohio {how befitting} she is an amazing silver smith who made us each these lovely silver bracelets. My picture does not do it justice, check out her store where she has tons of great stuff, all able to be personalized/customized. She is a true artist! plus especially nice to work with.



Saturday, we took the Architecture Boat Tour along the river and it was definitely something for a first time visitor. My camera was dead, but will post pictures from the trip as I receive them.


When we were not having extravagant meals or people watching, we had a few sandwiches and cocktails/Guinness's at this fantastic Irish Pub called O'Callaghan's of course. Very cozy, like Cheers, only in Chicago.
Our final night and official 40th birthday party celebration was held at Aigre Doux. The chef made us this delicious birthday cake.

I wish I cold remember this dinner with vivid detail, however by the time we arrived we had already made a couple visits to O'Callaghan's. Not to mention the air conditioner was broken at the restaurant, meaning the nice, cold drinks went down too easily! Take a look at the tangerine, something, something we are all drinking on the table. It was made from fresh squeezed juices and some kind of liquor and was SOOOOO GOOD! and also the reason I am unable to recall with vivid clarity the dinner we had, but rest assured it was just as memorable as the rest of our Chicago trip.

As I draw this long memoir to a close, I again want to say Happy 40th Birthday to my N.O. Girls! I am so proud to know each of you and even prouder of the wives, mothers and friends you have become. I miss you and can't wait until out next get together. In fact, I'm starting to fast right now:)

1 comment:

kathleenssugarandspice.com said...

Stacey,

Why am I crying right now?!?

Your story is precisely the same. I already purchased the magnets, gonna head to Zazzel and buy those exact same shirts after viewing your post!

7 of us have rented a Beach house in Southern California. I wanted to make a gift basket for each of these ladies as a token of our 40th. Your Magnets INCLUDED!

Please contact me, I will feature you on my blog (odviously!) when posting about this terrific weekend. I would love to do a magnet give away on my site to drive traffic for the both of us! I was planing on using one of the magenet sets I ordered as my lure, wanna add anything eles?

Where have you been all my life??

Warmly,
Kathleen

www.kathleenssugarandspice.wordpress.com

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