Sunday, July 10, 2011

San Antonio to Chicago Day 1!

Last week, I had the great fortune to travel to San Antonio for a work conference and then take a fun trip to Chicago for the Fourth! Here's the recap of our time in San Antonio through most of our first day in Chicago. Lots of pictures ahead!! :)
The conference was held in a fabulous hotel near San Antonio's famed Riverwalk and they had the most beautiful chandeliers in the lobby.
Our first stop once we got checked in was lunch. We went to a wonderful downtown restaurant called Schilo's. I highly recommend it!
Here's our fabulous crew! I'm so thankful to work in the department I do.
Schilo's is known for their Reuben, split pea soup, and homemade root beer, so i had to try it all! It was some of the best stuff I've ever eaten!
After some very informative sessions, I met my cousin Caroline for some yummy Mexican food at Los Barrios. Bobby Flay did a throw down here once, making the puffy tacos this restaurant is famous for!
The next day after a morning filled with educational sessions, we headed to the King William district for lunch at the Guenther House.
This little girl was precious as we waited for our table. We visited the fun gift shop and toured the museum part of the house.
Sweet Daddy and Daughter pic
Yay! We finally got our table and I quickly snapped this sweet family pic, too!
And the other part of our fabulous table in the original dining room of the Guenther house no less!!
Let me just say that this plate of yumminess was worth the wait. The blackberry preserves were divine!
After filling our tummies, we headed back to the conference to fill our minds with more info.
After Friday's sessions, I headed to my aunt and uncle's house for a wonderful home cooked meal before heading to the Woodlawn Theatre to see my uncle perform in Miss Saigon. I had never seen the show before, so I was looking forward to watching the plot unfold before my eyes. My uncle was phenomenal as always! It is always such treat to watch him perform on stage!
When we got back to the house, we enjoyed a yummy dessert and headed to bed. My cousin Caroline and I would be up early the next morning to catch our flight to Chi Town! I was so thankful for Aunt Patty's willingness to rise early as well and take us to the airport to begin our adventure!
On the plane and headed to the windy city!
We had a brief layover in Minneapolis where I had dreams of reenacting the beginning of The Mary Tyler Moore show complete with hat toss, but we didn't quite have enough time before takeoff. I'll put that on my list for next time...
We did, however, have time to buy the latest copy of People and catch up on the latest news with Bachelor couple Brad and Emily. In fact, I think that issue must have been very popular as I saw many copies open at our gate.

Finally, we arrived in Chicago and were greeted by the absolute hostess with the mostest...Miss Rosalie!!
We were so happy to see her! Our next step was onto the el for our ride to downtown Chicago!
Downtown bound!
It was so fun to ride the el because one of my absolute favorite movies is "While You Were Sleeping" where Sandra Bullock plays a character who works for the el. I'm looking forward to revisiting that movie soon to see if I recognize some of the backgrounds in the scenes. If you have never seen this movie, I highly recommend it!

Soon, we arrived at our home away from home, got settled, and ventured out for lunch.
Happy sisters!

Rosalie took us to this fun place called Wow Bao. They have fabulous rice bowls and yummy steamed dumplings. I had never heard of the restaurant before, so I looked forward to trying something new!
I ordered the Thai curry chicken rice bowl and it did not disappoint! Delish! Also, this restaurant makes its own ginger ale, so I just had to try that, too. I thought it was unusual that I was able to taste two homemade sodas within the span of three days!
For dessert, we each ordered a Bao, which is a steamed cake with a tasty filling inside. I ordered coconut and the girls tried chocolate.
Then, we were off to explore this fabulous city. The building above with the steeple is actually the church we visited on Sunday. Isn't it beautiful?
The famed Oriental Theater
Of course we couldn't miss a fabulous photo op at the downtown Marshall-Fields, now Macy's!
Our next stop was the Chicago Cultural Center pictured above. Rosalie told us that after the Chicago Fire, Queen Victoria sent money to the city to build a library, so the current Cultural Center is housed in the former Chicago Public Library. It is gorgeous inside, too!
A beautiful archway beckoned us in.
I loved the beautiful detail.
Many great programs currently office in this building. This is the door for After School Matters, a program that provides incredible after school programs throughout the city. Students can choose programs in a variety of subjects. The city is filled with artwork created by these talented students. You can find out more about this fabulous program by going to
More stunning accents. I loved the abundant homage to books since this used to be the library!
The stained glass in the ceiling was gorgeous.
A view of the same ceiling, but further away.
This room is perfect for a fabulous gala! I loved the intricate ceiling and the beautiful windows.
References to famous authors along the archway
I just couldn't get over the ornate artwork!
And then yet another stunning stained glass ceiling!
Around the outer edge of the stained glass is a beautiful quote that reads,
"Books are the legacies that a great genius leaves to mankind which are delivered down from generation to generation as presents to the posterity of those who are yet unknown."

I've included images of the quote below:
The beautiful light fixture hanging from the stained glass.
More wonderful quotes!
My sweet cousins!

Then, we were off to Millenium Park to see this little "bean" everyone talks about!
I thought it was so fun that an entire wedding party was taking pictures at "the bean" or as the artist named it, "Cloud Gate".
The bean up close
If you look carefully, you might even spot this photographer and her cousins in the reflection! :)
Beautiful Chicago! It was so surreal to be in the midst of downtown!
The flowers were stunning!
The Millenium Monument in Wrigley Square...I'm thinking Wrigley is an important name in this town!
Next, we headed toward that Magnificent Mile!
A skyscraper decked out for the Fourth!
View from the river
I had to snap a picture of this little newspaper some of you may have heard of! So fun to be so near these places I have only heard about and seen on TV. After strolling further down Michigan Avenue, we decided it was time for a quick nap before we headed to dinner and Navy Pier!
Since this post is already very long, I think I'll pause here and continue our Day 1 adventures tomorrow! Thanks for hanging with me! :)
Hope you are having a good weekend!

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