Chicago Take Two

12/13/19 4:45pm

Well, I’m back in what might possibly be one of my favorite cities! The hubs and I are in Chicago for a few days just to explore the city around Christmastime and to visit some friends!

We flew out of Cville, which is definitely the cutest airport I have ever been in. If you get the chance, totally fly out, or through there. But anyways, we flew out of Cville to Atlanta, had an hour layover (Yikes, time was tight), then from there went to Chicago!

Took the metro in and now we are just killig time in this adorable hole in the wall coffee place called Emerald City Coffee, until our friends are here. (Coffee rating 5/10- not awful, not mind blowing)

Now that you unnecessarily know what my intinerary was…I’m so looking forward to sharing this trip with everyone! I’ll be updating the blog daily with little bits about my day and maybe even some pictures, so definitely check back in!

Are any of you taking trips this weekend, for the holidays, or just anytime soon? If you are, drop them in the comments! I’d love to hear what you are up to!

Cheers!

Tori

12/13/19 5:15pm

Quick update: Totally still in this coffee shop…and people are honking their horns, yelling, and rushing around and this is honestly feeding my city girl soul. I didn’t realize how much I missed the noises and the hustle and bustle of city life until this moment. Don’t get me wrong! Charlottesville is amazing, but it feels more like a small town than a city. If you’re from a city, and you feel me, let me know!

K, that’s all haha!

12/17/19 12:22p

So… clearly I am horrible at keeping up with things. BUT! I have a good excuse! For awhile, I didn’t have access to wifi where we were staying (mainly because I kept forgetting ask for the password, but hey…whatevs, right?) and we were SO. BUSY. I mean, there were days that we left and didn’t come back until dinner time!

We are currently in the air and on the way to ATL, so I will try to summarize everything we did 🙂

First, you all should know that we came not only to see sweet friends, but also so that my architect husband could see architect-y things for work. He went to something called the Biennial that was held in Chicago, and from there he saw some other famous buildings and such.

I, however, was waay more tourist-y. (I like to think I wasn’t but really, I think I kinda was) I really wanted to do Safehouse Chicago (spy themed resturant), the German Christmas Market, Lincoln Park Zoo Lights, and the Museum of Science and Industry. I got to do all of the aforementioned things as well as try a bunch of delicious resturants (which I will list below) and best of all, spend time with friends! (Naomi, Renan, Heather, and Nick, I’m thinking of you all!)

The first evening we were there, we got to try this amazing tapas place called Cafe Ba Ba Reeba. If you ever visit Chicago, I would highly recommend this place! It was delicious, unique, and pretty quirky, which I loved. The food was top notch, the service was pretty good (not fantastic, but good enough that I would go back), and the atmosphere was so fun! Definitely a great place to go if you are going with a group since everything is shareable and you can try all the things.

Our first full day was pretty relaxed, which I needed. Davey went ahead of me and did his architecting at the Biennial downtown and I met him in the afternoon (I slept in, nothing really exciting, unless you are me who never sleeps in lol). Once downtown, he and I explored a bit, did some shopping and basically just hungout downtown until all of our friends met us at the German Christmas Market! It was honestly the cutest thing I think I have ever seen; It was all lit up, they had gluhwein (mulled wine), beer, streusel, pretzels, and more. The vendors were all bringing wares from various pats of Germany, and it was wonderful to see! 10/10 would recommend! Ended the night with delicious Indian food with friends.

So…I definitely thought I uploaded the second half of this post. Lol Guys, I can’t with technology lately lol

Okay, so, where was I?

The second day was equally as great as the first in my opinion.

Davey and I had the day to ourselves Sunday and Monday, which was really nice! It provided some great exploration time and time to go be children at the science museum! We basically spent the first free day we had going to the University Of Chicago campus, which, OMG so beautiful! I went into a museum (Oriental Institute) while the hubs toured Robie house. Then we went to Safehouse aka a spy themed resturant aka the best time ever!

As you may have noticed, Davey and I really love places that are primarily meant for families or children. Is that bad? I think we are just kids at heart. Anyways! Safehouse was such a fun time! While I can’t reveal everything about it (because DUH it was a secret mission), I can tell you it is worth a visit! The food is honestly nothing special, but the experience more than makes up for it. I will say it forces you out of your shell, so if you hate interacting with others and being goofy in public…maaaaaaybe don’t go lol

The second full day that we had to ourselves we spent at the Museum of Science and Industry! and WOW. This place is huge. It truly took us the whole day to get through all of the exhibits. Again, a very family friendly activity and so worth it! To cap off the last evening, we got some classic Chicago deep dish pizza and saw the Lincoln Park zoo lights! Another thing I would definitely recommend; It was so well done and a wonderful and completely FREE activity.

Basically the moral of this story is go visit Chicago if you haven’t yet! And don’t be afraid of the cold season! Having been there both during a heat wave and in the winter, I actually think that I loved being there in the winter season much more! The fact that it was almost Christmas made the city even more beautiful since it was all lit up and decorated to the nines.

Sorry for the disjointed post guys- lets be real: It’s the holiday season. Everyone is busy and I for one have been forgetting everything and so busy.

BUT HEY. It’s up and done and I consider that a win. Much love to you all! Thanks for going with me on this journey!

Talk soon,

Tori

Chicago, IL

OMG YOU GUYS!

I have a new favorite city! Chicago was the stuff of dreams! (Pictures at the bottom!)

Davey and I had a wedding to go to in Indiana, and so we flew into Chicago and drove the rest of the way, thinking that after the wedding, we would spend some time in Chicago before our flight back. Gosh, am I glad we did! It was such a beautiful city…I absolutely loved that you could take a walk along the river, and there were so many places to sit and have lunch; I loved the bridges, the architecture (blame my husband), THE PARKS, and just the whole vibe the city gave off! It felt very magical to me.

I don’t really know where to begin on this post- so forgive me if I am all over the place!

First, we were only there for like…24 hours. Which totally sucked and I so want to go back!

Secondly, IT WAS SO FLIPPIN HOT. Maybe this is TMI, but I got so sweaty. We both did haha! There was a heat warning that had been issued and it was going to get close to like 100 degrees or something absurd like that, but we explored regardless of the warnings! Stupid of us? Yes. Worth it? Totally.

We basically just walked anywhere we could from our hotel; We went to Millennium Park, we walked to the piers and dipped our feet in the blessedly frigid Lake Michigan, we took tons of pictures, gawked at beautiful architecture…it was amazing. I would have to say that my favorite thing in the park was this swooping and arching walking bridge- while you were on it, you just got the best view of the city. The big bean was pretty cool too, but I found out that it was kinda gross…everyone touches it..and that just makes me cringe. I touched it and immediately felt the need to scrub my hands lol. So. Many. Germs.

We also had deep dish pizza for the first time, and for someone who grew up with NY style pizza,  it was quite the experience. It was SO GOOD. Super weird, but super good. I didn’t know you could make pizza that thick!! We went to this place called Giordano’s, it’s supposedly some of the best DD pizza in Chicago (according to the internet). It takes them an hour and a half to make ONE pizza. Because it is so dang thick. That just blew my mind. The wait was crazy long, but we were exhausted and decided to just wait it out, and I think I can safely speak for both of us when I say, we were so happy we waited! Our waiter kind of forgot about us for a while at first, but it all ended well when our pizza arrived! I’m pretty sure I waddled out of that restaurant.

Moral of this insane post is: Go to Chicago and do all the things. You can do and see a lot on a budget, which was a plus for us. Explore and just walk around! You won’t be disappointed! The people are super nice, and the sights are breathtaking!

Until next time!

Much love,

Tori xx

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Nashville, Tennessee

Have you ever just had an itch to get up and go? That’s basically what this trip was for Davey (the husband) and me. I had bought him tickets for his birthday to see a favorite band of his that never comes to the U.S.! (Theocracy! Woo!) It was in Nashville, in December. His birthday was in September! You’d think we would have planned out the trip and had everything down before we went, right? WRONG. Not what happened. We didn’t book our Airbnb until 2 weeks beforehand. We also decided it was a great idea to go see Lighting of the Lawn (happens every year at UVA…SO FUN) the night before we were leaving at 5:00am the next day. Welp, we stayed up until 2:00am. So a grand total of 3 hours of sleep right before a road trip. Perfect. We woke up exhausted and grumpy, but said our sad farewells to Fiyero (the cat) and left. Grabbed breakfast on the way out of town and we were off! Honestly, the drive wasn’t too bad! I took first shift and was surprisingly able to stay awake! (If you’ve known me for any length of time, you know that getting in a car is like rocking me to sleep. I ALWAYS fall asleep. Every. Single. Time.)

Before I knew it, we were rolling into Nashville! We couldn’t go straight to our Airbnb because it wasn’t check-in time yet, so we decided to visit Centennial Park. YOU GUYS. They have a freaking FULL-SCALE MODEL of the Parthenon!!! (I’m a huge history buff…so things of this nature excite me lol) They have a small museum inside, explaining how the building was made, and they even have some castings of parts of the original Parthenon! It was SO cool! The best part, however, had to be the 12.8m (40 ft) tall statue of the Greek goddess, Athena they have on display! It’s covered in gold leaf and is incredibly intricate. I mean, these sculptors went all out on this one. If you ever find yourself in Nashville, do yourself a favor and go see this place! It was super chill, and so awesome!

4:00pm hit, and we were able to go to our Airbnb! We got there and completely crashed for about an hour. We then (like the insane people we are) got ready for a night out on the town! We drove around the downtown area and ended up eating at Hard Rock Cafe, which was pretty delish. After dinner, we decided it would be fun to go to a bar, and just relax a bit after a full day of travels. We thought we would be able to find a bar fairly easily. But guys…we couldn’t. Now that’s not because there weren’t any, which, I’m sure is what you’re thinking; Its because there were SO MANY BARS. I can’t even begin to describe how overwhelming those few blocks were! Some bars were three stories tall! And those three stories were jam-packed with drunk humans!!! Basically, every building you passed was a bar that had live music going on, so the entire atmosphere was loud and charged to the max! Everyone was partying, dancing on tables, singing horribly, and trying to squeeze into the popular bars (I believe those were called Honky Tonks?).

Naturally, we walked away from all that noise and down by the river. We found a cool rooftop bar that had a great view of the city! (It was the Famous Saloon bar for anyone that’s interested!) It was quiet and really relaxing after the long day we’d had. After we had a few drinks, we waited awhile before driving back to the Airbnb. Got back, crashed yet again, only to wake up the next morning to pack our bags since check-out was at 11:00am. That’s right folks. We only stayed one night.

Okay, okay, so it was MY fault we only stayed one night. I had a huge test I had to get back home to study for (Biology, anyone?). We left at 11:00am, got lunch, and spent the day visiting President Jackson’s home, The Hermitage. The restorations they have done to that place are astounding. It looks so good! They have so many of Jackson’s personal items still in the house, a lot of the wall decorations are original, it was pretty darn impressive. From there, we left and went straight back downtown, where we parked, grabbed dinner, and walked to the concert venue. After waiting in line for a bit, We got inside, and Davey got to meet the bands! (I had gotten VIP tickets) I felt like a really good wife if I’m being honest guys. He had wanted to see this band live since high school! I was pretty proud I had scored those tickets! As the night was winding down, I decided to buy a few raffle tickets, not thinking I’d win anything, because that has NEVER happened before. EVER. But…I won a signed, and toured electric guitar! *mind blown* So going to watch/listen to bands that your husband loves (and you don’t love as much…) pays off ladies! He’s happy, and you might just win a guitar! It was on that high note, that we left Nashville. To drive overnight back to Charlottesville.

We. Are. INSANE. Worst idea ever. Don’t do it unless you have too! The drive started out okay, but man, 2:00am hit and we were losing our minds. I ended up having to sleep for a bit, (well, so did Davey) but for the most part, we made it home with only a few hours between the two of us. I was both impressed and horrified we were that stupid. I guess you’re only young once, right?? We got back home to find our sweet (and annoying, lazy, entitled) cat meowing at us through the crack under the door. We walked inside, and, yep, you guessed it: crashed. (Noticing a theme here?) Woke up 5 hours later feeling stiff and (maybe) a little drool on my pillow. I rushed to get ready to go study in the Bio lab, went, came back home to find my husband still in PJs. I was so jealous. But I’m getting off topic here! Nashville! It was grand even though we were only there for a total of maybe 48 hours? I really want to go back. The nightlife was to die for, the scenery is gorgeous, and the people are super chill, and down to earth. It’s a great trip to take if you don’t want to break the bank, but want to do some exploring! 10/10 would recommend! Just don’t try to do it all in 48 hours 😉

Until next time,

Tori xo

Quebec City, Quebec

If you’re anything like me, then you love to travel, and travel often! Unfortunately, my wallet doesn’t always agree, but Davey (my husband) and I, always seem to find a way to explore new places cheaply! If you want some amazing travel tips, go check out my friend Zette’s blog, Broke On A Plane! I follow basically all her tips! They are all FANTASTIC. (Love you Zette!!!)

Quebec! What a beautiful place! Davey and I went there for our honeymoon, 10/10 would recommend going to the Old City and staying there! It is gorgeous, and you get a small taste of France without flying across the ocean! For starters, we drove to Quebec (I know, we are insane), but the drive wasn’t too horrible, just very straight and flat! So if you decide to go that route, bring some audio books or something of that nature with you! Also, please don’t make the same mistake we did; Do not drive into a new country where you don’t speak the language AT NIGHT. It’s an awful idea. All that will happen is you’ll get lost, all the signs will be in French, your GPS won’t work, everything will be closed, AND you won’t be able to find a bathroom. (Yes, sadly it’s a true story. I almost peed my pants that night) We eventually made it though! I darted into the hotel, asked in broken French where the bathroom was, and practically danced when the woman at the front desk said to turn around and it was right there!

We stayed at a beautiful boutique hotel called HĂ´tel Champlain. The interior is gorgeous, the breakfast is to die for, and GUYS. They have a WINE ON TAP. I now realize that’s more common, but it still blows my mind. Literally the best way to wine taste! Fun fact: The last night Davey and I were there, we realized we hadn’t used ANY of the free credits at the wine bar. So, obviously, we decided to use the whole $100 credit in one night. Let’s just say the next morning was…rough. So totally worth it though!

Throughout the city, there were cobblestone streets and tons of bakeries! We ate WAY too many croissants. The food there was incredible! Everything was fresh, from the food at McDonald’s to Chez Jules, the fanciest restaurant I think I’ve ever been in. (they had a crushed ice vodka lime palette cleanser. YUM) We found some fantastic coffeehouses and fun little hole in the wall places! One such place was La Pizz! It was probably the cutest pizza place ever. There was only one man working and it was fantastic. The best part about the food in Quebec? It’s SO affordable! We were able to buy so many baguettes and croissants!!! (I may have a slight obsession with bread, but who doesn’t?) Things there aren’t very expensive in general, which was wonderful for a newly married, broke couple! So vacationing there is a great bargain if you go at the right times.

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Aside from the food, the shopping in the area is on point. They have gorgeous streets lined with hundreds of unique, locally owned shops! One thing I noticed that all of the shops do is they decorate their storefronts and doorways with wreaths, but they use their wares to decorate it. So if you went past the wood carving store, you’d see a huge wreath decorated with cute little hand-carved animals. I think the best was a hardware store. They got really creative and put tools together to look like weird little robots climbing the wreath.

 

 

 

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The glorious Funiculaire!

 

 

 

Totally forgot to mention the Funiculaire! I had no clue what it was until we visited!here! Since the old city was built on a cliff for protection, there are plenty of hills and they are incredibly steep. It’s one of two ways to get to the lower part of the city if you are a pedestrian. The first option you have is stairs. Loads of steep stairs. (Yes I fell) So, the Canadiens built this beautiful and adorable little cable car esk thing to ease the pedestrians sufferings. It’s super cheap to ride and beats all the stairs! We used it so much…

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View from the Upper Old City

If you’re looking to go somewhere that feels worlds away, but don’t want to spend that type of money, Old Quebec and the surrounding areas are totally for you. Hotels are gorgeous, cheaper and most offer package deals (ours did, that’s how we got into that fancy restaurant and at a 5-course dinner FOR FREE)! Take the leap! Go to Quebec City! The people are wonderful, the food will make you gain at least 5 pounds, and the views are simply breathtaking. Enjoy some pictures of that lovely scenery below, courtesy of my wonderful husband!

 

Until next time!

Tori xo

 

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