3 Chicks in Chicago

Girl’s Weekend!  My sister Becky along with our best friend since grade school, Patti aka Trish, and I took on Chicago this weekend for a glorious girl’s only experience which featured food, fun, music and, of course, wine.  Oh. Yeah.  WP_20160604_19_17_07_Rich (2)

We have been best friends for 45 years believe it or not.  I know, how can that be???  We all look so young!  From swimming at our neighbor’s pool every day in the summers to sneaking smokes in the field between our houses, we have been through life’s challenges and celebrations-divorce, death, weddings, births, businesses, etc. with lots of tears and laughter along the way.  I truly don’t know what I would do without these great women in my life.

After meeting up in our amazing suite at the Warwick Hotel on the Magnificent Mile complete with complimentary champagne and chocolate covered strawberries, we headed out for a walk by the waterfront, enjoying the blue sky and warm temps and then through historic Astor Park where the multi-million $ brownstones are to-die-for gorgeous.  Next on the agenda was a late dinner at Volare.  Even with reservations, the place was packed and it took awhile to get our table and food.  A HUGE appletini for Patti and wine for me eased the hunger pains but then the food arrived and LOTS of it–mushroom risotto, caprese salad, minestrone, pasta–all to share and sample.  YUM.

Becky and I are the “walkers” with matching FitBits so we got up early leaving Patti to her beloved sleep and took off for a walk by the river from bridge to bridge.  Satisfied that we were well on our way to 10,000 steps, we pried Patti out of bed with the temptation of a Saturday brunch at a neighborhood café where we sat outside until the rain began but not before a courteous street dude walked right up to us, declared, “Charlie’s Angels” and walked away.  You betcha!

It proceeded to mist on us as we ventured out of the downtown core to the Hyde Park Art Fair.  I have no artistic skill whatsoever so am in complete awe of the interesting creations that the artists were showing.  I saw an interesting cross necklace made out of antique silverware (only $35!) and pounced on it to purchase.  Patti and Becky also wanted one so they are going to order online at:  Silverware Artistry.  Later we hit the Magnificent Mile and shopped till we dropped at Nordstrom’s (and the Rack), Anthro, Victoria’s Secret and Banana Republic.  All my favorite stores and the stars were aligned for us all to find stuff we loved to take home.  New Kate Spade shoes.  Check.  New Anthro white jacket.  Done.  Ring at 50% off.  On my finger.

Nothing says “Girls Weekend” like a concert by awesome artists so, lucky us, got to go see Sean McConnell and Kris Allen at City Winery on Saturday night.  I’ve seen Sean play in Seattle, opening for Griffin House at Columbia City Theater and, believe me, he is destined for greatness.  His new album comes out July 2nd and he is touring as the headliner in the fall, coming to Columbia City in Seattle on August 19th and Neurolox in Boise on 9/3.  Go see him before he blows up and is playing at huge arenas.  Seriously, if you like rich lyrics and soulful tones, you will enjoy Sean’s music.  Plus, I modeled my new hairstyle after his-seriously.  I told him that story after his performance when Becky and I talked with him so she could buy his CD.  He laughed.

Next up was Kris Allen and his band who got the crowd engaged, singing and clapping.  Thom and I saw him just last week in Seattle at The Triple Door and he was equally entertaining.  Singing by himself or with the group, Kris is a true talent that I have enjoyed since he was on American Idol.  He is a hard worker with a brilliant voice.  I hope he gains a wider audience and enjoys great success.  WP_20160604_22_04_53_Pro (2)

After a lovely evening with wine, great food and wonderful music, we once again got a quick Uber (I’ve even made Becky an Uber lover!) and off to the hotel for some rest.  The next morning Becky and I again wandered the neighborhood, walking to the lakeshore to get in our 10,000 steps.  Then, it was off to the train to South Bend to see Mom.  These 3 chicks had quite the time in Chicago and we vowed to make this a yearly event!  Cheers!IMG_8119 (2)

 

Musical May

Thom and I treated ourselves to fantastic musical experiences in May by a wide variety of talented artists, emerging and exiting, that ranged from The Who to Griffin House to Billy Joel to Kris Allen to Jewel to Marie Miller to Gavin DeGraw.  WOW.  As my mom remarked, “Boy, you get around!”  Yes, we surely do and enjoying every  lyrical moment of it.

I truly appreciate how hard these artists’ lives are travelling from city to city, leaving behind family and their homes to sing their hearts out for us.  Of course, The Who and Billy Joel may be flying around in style but the majority of musicians are probably packed onto rented buses, staying at Arbnb and eating fast food.  Tough way to make a living.

Coolest concert moment for me was seeing parents trying to get their kids to buy into the classic music of The Who that shaped a generation or two.  Yes, these dudes were OLD but still had clear voices and energy to play for hours.  Good for them and better for us!  While everyone knows of Billy Joel, I hadn’t played or heard his music for years.  As he played hit after hit on his piano, memories in my life that were linked with his tunes all came flooding back to me.  He is quite the showman and even strapped on a guitar for a few songs.  So much talent!  With an opening act as strong as Gavin DeGraw, who was amazing, it was quite the concert.   Splurging to share a VIP suite, Thom’s biggest delight was the designer lotion in the bathrooms.  Appreciate everything, expect nothing!

Swinging from 30,000+ in Safeco Field for Billy to 100+ The Triple Door, Marie Miller, opening act for Kris Allen, shared with us how she was a late fill-in to sing for the Pope on his US tour last year.  She was asked to share her “6 foot 2” song that she felt was rather shallow for such a dignitary but, hey, it was the biggest crowd she had sung for so she went with it and got to sing one other, “You’re Not Alone” that actually had a stronger message.  Check her out-great young talent.  Kris Allen, American Idol winner, is back with a new album and much improved stage performance with a killer band too.  I’m so excited to see him again next weekend with my sister and best friend in Chicago at City Winery.  Yes, I do get around, Mom!

One of the most special evenings was sharing favorite indie artist, Griffin House, with my daughter in Boise at the beautiful Egyptian Theater.  She actually first turned me on to his music and then Thom and I were able to see him play in NYC and Seattle and now Boise.  No, I’m not a stalker-just a music fan!  Griffin and his guitar and soulful original songs make for a great evening of music appreciation.  Then Jewel came on by herself and two guitars and shared her emotional journey from homeless teen to just separated 40 year old mother trying to make a musical comeback.  She has the best voice we’ve ever heard.  I don’t usually buy concert apparel but felt compelled to support Jewel and bought matching “Only Kindness Matters” sweatshirts for Hannah and I.  And really, ain’t that the truth!  If only our politicians would heed this important message.  But that’s another story.