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Chicago Travel Blog

Collette Grandison

Posted on February 06 2018

Chicago Travel Blog

            Wow! What a busy month, or shall I say year! I know you ladies haven't heard from me in a while and I promise to blog more this year (fingers crossed)! We kicked off 2018 with a quick trip to Chicago. Really, it was for work but I sold my boyfriend, Jake,  on the idea by mentioning great pizza and good beer! 

            We got up around 8 a.m. on January 29th to head to the windy city. After a nice breakfast at home and few cups of coffee we packed up the Jeep and hit the road. Our trip from Waterford to Chicago was four and a half hours. CoCo Tip: if you're traveling from the Metro Detroit area to Chicago, you will have to pass by a few tolls to make sure you pack cash or have your debit card easily available! 
            After the time change, we got into the city around 1 p.m. which was fantastic. We had a reservation at the Freehand Hotel for 4 p.m., we gave them a quick call to ask if we could have an early check in. They were happy to get us into our room early and they were very accommodating offering us parking recommendations.  CoCo Tip: We learned this the hard way, NEVER pay an attendant at the parking garage. Everything in the city is electronic so remember to pay the machines and not a person. We were in the city for 5 minutes before we lost twenty dollars to a man who actually didn't work in the garage, he just casually took our twenty dollars and wandered off. (I would never say anything to scare anyone, I'm just keeping it real here and tell you ladies about my trip)! Check out our cute little hotel below.
Freehand Hotel in Chicago! Excellent location and price.
             We booked our hotel on and I was so happy that we picked Freehand. The decor is so indie and hipster, the vibes are very laid back. Even though we were only there for a day, we wanted it to feel like a mini getaway and not like a work trip. Generally for work I stick to Holiday Inn or other IHG hotels. We checked into our room on the fifth floor, it was very small but again, we were more interested in the food and architecture the city had to offer! Once we dropped off our bags and freshened up from our road trip, we were out into the city! 
             First stop, pizza! It's basically impossible to go to Chicago and not eat deep dish pizza. We popped into Giordano's Pizza near Millenium Park and ordered a deep dish meat lovers pizza. I don't think there is ever a thing as too much cheese, but wow that was A LOT of cheese. Right next to Giordano's, there is a Nutella Cafe. Thee only Nutella Cafe in the world, and I seriously ate so much pizza that I wanted to cry because there was no way I could have room for dessert! 
             After our fantastic lunch, we headed to Millenium Park to visit the famous "Bean". The "Bean" is actually a sculpture named Cloud Gate but it clearly looks like a giant bean, hence the nickname. We took a few photos and we drank coffee while overlooking the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink.
         We headed back toward Freehand and on the way, overlooked the Chicago River. The whole reason we went to Chicago, was to visit Emily Benson at her book tour. Emily is my business coach and when I found out she was going to Chicago, I realized this could be the closest she would get to me and I HAD to meet her! Her book signing and seminar was held at Chill Chicago, a meditation  lounge right by the Merchandise Mart downtown. One great thing about Chicago is, most things are closer than they seem! It was the end of January and super cold so we opted for an uber and it was only five bucks!
           Chill was so awesome, and meeting my business coach and mentor was extremely energizing! After I filled my head with wisdom and revamped all of my thoughts, I left Chill feeling refreshed and ready to take on 2018!  After such an intense meditation and I really wasn't in the mood for food, but I met up with Jake and we went to the Old Crow, a smokehouse and bar. Around 10 p.m. we started our walk back to the Freehand. It was a Sunday night, the city was dead and it was snowing like crazy. Luckily, the lights from the holiday season were still up and the city was seriously glowing. Walking hand in hand, Jake and I made one last stop by this funky painted building and I snapped a quick photo!
         Monday morning, I was up at what seemed like the crack of dawn. I love the city but I love my sleep more, and I am a crazy light sleeper! We threw on comfortable clothes and headed to breakfast at Eggsperience. We are both foodies but breakfast and brunch are my all time favorites. It was so relaxing to sip on my morning coffee and watch the cars pass by. I really don't know what it is, but something about city traffic is so interesting to me. 
        We had a few hours to kill before we hit the road to head back to Michigan, so we made one last stop! We are both huge fans of the Showtime series Shameless and we really wanted to go visit the houses from the set. The show is set on the South Side of Chicago and the houses are actually occupied by real families! We visited the Gallagher house along with the neighboring house where Kevin and Veronica live. In order to take photos with the houses and sit on the steps, the current residents ask you to make a cash donation. We gladly contributed and so did everyone else around us. This was a cool experience and interesting to see where the show is actually filmed. 
After visiting the South Side, we were on our way home. I love a great trip but there is nothing better than being home with my dog and loved ones. I hope you enjoyed this little blog about my adventures! Check out my instagram @shopcocogrand for a more indepth view, we highlighted the insta story on our page. Oh, and I hope you're ready because next week we're going to LAS VEGAS!
Get ready!

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