Edited to Add:
This post is extremely ‘late’. There are two words to explain why: lost luggage. I had my laptop in my carry on, but my power cord in my suitcase; my battery doesn’t last more than 45 minutes – sweet. After the longest day of travelling ever [car –> train –> ‘L’ –> 6 hr. flight –> shuttle –> car], I wasn’t about to wait for my luggage to possibly come in on the next delayed flight. I couldn’t hear out of my left ear, and my nose was gushing like Niagara Falls… little did I know, I had a full-on ear infection. Once home, the only way to reach the rest of the world was with my phone that, too, had a red battery level. The past 48 hours have been a huge test of my patience, as I’ve waited for the FedEx guy to knock on my door with my 42 lb. suitcase, that’s been keeping my Garrett’s caramel corn hostage + a few other semi-important items. Unloaded and recharged, I can finally get on with my life…
* * *
It felt like a dream, really… a dream I never wanted to end. My heart has been smiling non-stop the past four days. Travelling to Chicago for the Healthy Living Summit was one of the best things I’ve done for myself lately; I can’t think of a recent time when I’ve been happier. I was too busy having a blast being a tourist and making new foodie friends to post about my adventures in the wonderful
windy humid city.
I’m currently sitting on my flight West and have
a moment 6 hours to reflect. The excitement is over, but at least I have a great deal of photos, so I can cherish this experience forever. They are each worth 1,000 words.
Part I: Yum Yum
After riding the ‘L’ from Midway Airport with my aunt and Courtney, we arrived in the city overlooking State Street.
We drug our suitcases a few blocks in the humid air to our historic destination, the Congress Plaza Hotel on Michigan Avenue. Rumor has it, it’s haunted ; )
After freshening up a bit, my New York roommate and I joined a handful of other early-arrival bloggers heading to the Pilsen district for a free launch party for YumUniverse.
We spotted a few special guests right away! : ) Please ignore the awful humidity glow going on.
We chatted with other HLS attendees and sampled fair trade quinoa vodka + acai spirit. It was too humid in the crowded brick building for my appetite to want to try any of the raw/vegan treats. Though, I heard they were quite yummy.
Sticky with sweat, we set out in search of cooler air. Courtney + I both hadn’t eaten much in the way of dinner, so we strolled down the street with a group of bloggers to a casual outdoor cafe and shared a late-night pita + hummus plate while getting to know new friends from all around the country. I knew right then and there, the rest of the weekend would be epic!
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Part II: A Taste of Chi Town
After a cool night’s rest, Courtney and I were up early on Friday to meet-up with the early-risers for breakfast. We walked right on down Michigan Avenue to The Corner Bakery for oats ‘n’ iced coffees.
I spy Lake Michigan.
California & New York meet Chicago.
Up the street we strolled to the infamous Millennium Park.
I was wishing I had my swim suit with me.
It was the cool place to play.
Our quest wouldn’t be complete without visiting “The Bean”.
Chicago’s latest public art installation is “Eye”, a 30 foot tall eyeball.
The Magnificent Mile
… and a massive mural.
After our bright, sweaty walk up and down Michigan Ave, Courtney, Nienke, and I met up a few other hungry bloggers. It was somehow difficult to decide on a place to grab a bite to eat for lunch, but about 14 blocks and 1 sticky hour later, our 7 glowing faces agreed on The Berghoff.
Beers were ordered right away. I shared a few sips of Kath’s ale.
For lunch, six out of seven of us ordered the same item: roasted sweet potato panini with fig confit, roasted red pepper, goat cheese, arugula, and caramelized cipolline onion + a huge pile of thick, homemade potato chips. We couldn’t resist!
* * *
Part III: In Good Spirits
We made time for fro yo before finding our way back to The Congress for the summit check-in and cocktail party pampering. After one sketchy cab ride, my posse and I made it to LaSalle Power Co. for the summit kick-off!
Open Sky put on a great party for the 200+ attendees. I had loads of fun chit-chatting with foodies, runners, and writers from all over the country.
A handful travelled from Canada, like Callie. Photo courtesy of Callie.
Photo courtesy of Allie.
Caitlin is so fun!
Miss Emily & I. Photos courtesy of event sponsor.
As the cocktail party came to a close, Kath and I shared a Manhattan for our final spirit. Then a couple girls and I flagged down a taxi in the rain and returned to our room on the 13th floor [notice the date]. All was swell until my throat suddenly became sore…
STAY TUNED FOR MORE!