Family and Friends

Happy no-longer-unofficially-summer! I don’t know about all of you, but I’m always excited to see Labor Day come and go. This may or may not be entirely related to the fact that it’s my birthday month, y’all! I unashamedly love my birthday, and I kid you not: my first thought Saturday morning was, “It’s finally September! Only 18 more days until my birthday!!”

September 18. Mark your calendars.

On to this weekend!

As I briefly mentioned on Saturday, I encountered an exciting advertisement in my building after Thursday’s workout. Someone in the building had recently purchased a new sectional and needed to clear out space in their apartment. One of the items for sale? An Ikea dining table and four matching chairs for a grand total of…


I e-mailed the seller as soon as I got into my apartment, and within 15 minutes I had a “viewing” set up. Less than an hour later, the table and chairs were mine!

I’ve lived without proper dining accommodations for the past two months, and as someone who firmly believes in segmentation (the bedroom is for sleeping, the living room is for living, the dining room is for eating, and these activities should not bleed from one room into the next whenever possible), this arrangement drove me crazy. I hated eating every meal on my futon and planned to buy my own table and chairs from Ikea. This not only would’ve been significantly more expensive, but also would have involved assembly on my part, which indefinitely would have included much weeping and gnashing of teeth.

My roommate and I completely rearranged our living/dining space to make from the the table and chairs, and I love the new set-up. We now have a “sectional”


(aka the futon and couch are now in an L shape), our broken side table and lamp are in the trash, and at long last I have a place to eat.

On Saturday, my family came to visit! Recently (i.e.: yesterday), I realized that I really just live in Chicago. Though I take advantage of some things I have here that I would never encounter in my hometown, for the most part the life I’m living here could be lived anywhere. I go to work, I run, I make food for myself, I grocery shop, I go to the library: there is nothing inherently Chicago about any of these things. I’m just living my life, and the location happens to be in Chicago. Having guests in town, however, gave me the perfect excuse to do something different. In this case, that “something different” meant “Michigan Ave. shopping.” It’s weird, but since I spend so little time on Michigan Ave. (my strong aversion to tourists kind of dulls its appeal), I tend to forget that I even have that kind of shopping so readily available.

After doing many laps around the Michigan/Chestnut/Rush/Bellevue circle in an attempt to find parking (and ogling at all the ritzy stores in that area — I had no clue we had a Barney’s in Chicago. My Gossip Girl-obsessed high school self would’ve died with excitement over this kind of information), we finally parked in a garage that just so happened to be across the street from Sprinkles. I may or may not have talked up Sprinkles to my family and let them know just how desperately I had wanted to visit since I first learned about this establishment sixish weeks ago. Fortunately, my brother, who, being the youngest, has a remarkable talent for getting my parents to give him anything he wants, even though he’s 16 and really should have outgrown this whiny phase by now (in my humble, oldest child, learned to function without having my every desire fulfilled opinion…#bitter), has a sweet tooth that puts mine to shame and conned my parents into taking us to Sprinkles before doing anything else. Win! We considered trying the cupcake ATM before deciding to just go the traditional route. After much debate, I opted for the cinnamon sugar cupcake. It was delightful, though it really reminded me more of a muffin than a cupcake. Next time, I’m getting something with chocolate for. sure. Gimme my frosting!

My sister loves H&M and has a personal problem with Water Tower Place, so she and I went to H&M while the rest of the crew wandered around Water Tower. Clothes shopping is really the quickest way to mess with my self-esteem (I have been known to break down in tears in an H&M dressing room before), but things went shockingly well for me on Saturday and I left H&M with two new shirts for just over $15! Hooray for sales and clothes that don’t make me hate how I look!

(Also, PSA to my fellow Chicago HLB book clubbers: H&M had a mess of white button down shirts. I don’t need one so I don’t know how they feel, but since we all bemoaned the utter lack of white button down shirts in every story ever, I thought I’d share).

We had to stop by Crate & Barrel, because it’s not a Chicago shopping trip without a Crate & Barrel trip in my family. I hoped to find some placemats for my new table, but no dice. My table’s a little small, so I need small placemats to keep things from being overwhelming. Suggestions? I did, however, get a small Seattle plate. Whether or not I actually needed this is questionable, but I love Seattle, my dad convinced me I could use it as a resting plate for messy spoons, and my mom bought it for me…so now I have a Seattle plate. Not complaining!

My sister and I both have a love affair with Trader Joe’s, but, sadly for her, there are none anywhere near my hometown. That, of course, necessitates a trip to TJ’s whenever the opportunity presents itself so she could stock up on trail mix. I found naan at Trader Joe’s and spent much mental energy debating the pros and cons of buying it before my mom got annoyed and bought it for me. Have I mentioned that I love having my parents in town?

My brother would not leave Chicago without a trip to Giordano’s, especially after being deprived on move-in day, so we indulged on what I will always believe is thee best pizza in Chicago before making a quick trip to Forever21 for my sister. The family all left soon after that, but I, remembering that I, you know, live here, spent some more time at Forever21 and left with a shirt on sale for $2.99. Don’t mind if I do.

After a low-key Sunday, I got up before bright and early yesterday to volunteer at a race out in the suburbs. After that wrapped up around 8 a.m., I went to church for their third annual Labor Day Amazing Race. We split up into teams and went to all sorts of locations around Chicago, including Chinatown, the Clarke House, Soldier Field, and Adler Planetarium. This involved a lot of walking/running, which didn’t thrill me because I’m trying to keep my leg usage to a minimum all week in preparation for Sunday. Regardless, I had a great time hanging out with my current church friends and making some new friends and once again discovered great parts of Chicago that I never would have found on my own. I am absolutely fascinated by history, so the Clarke House in particular piqued my interest. We didn’t go in, but I’m definitely going to go back and explore the entire Prairie Avenue Historic District later. As it turns out, you can get into the Clarke House for free on September 29 — if you want to come with me, let me know! I’d love to go with some company 🙂

How did you spend your Labor Day weekend?
Placemat purchasing location suggestions? Or Clarke House visiting buddies??

6 thoughts on “Family and Friends

    • For sure. Realistically, I’m sure I have enough weekend free time that I could do those things on my own, but it feels less weird when you have a good excuse 🙂

      And thanks! Yeah, I looked up the set online, and apparently it retails for $149.99. I’d say $60 isn’t too shabby!

  1. That sounds like such a fun visit with your family! I know what you mean about not feeling like you do the things for the place you live in. I live outside of the city but people always want to go in to the city and I don’t know what to do! LOL. I am more familiar with the burbs (despite working in the city).

    That is a STEAL for a nice table. And bonus that you did not have to assemble it or move it very far! 🙂

  2. Buying stuff that’s already put together AND in your building? Awesome perk of living in an apartment complex!

    I love the Prairie District of Chicago. I think I need to spend a bit more time down there.

    And, yes, having family in town means you get to do all the touristy stuff you don’t normally do when you just live here. It’s fun, especially when they buy you stuff 🙂

    • Word. After we got the table, I realized that I was totally kidding myself when I thought I could put one of those things together. No way would that have ever worked haha.

      I did some poking around the Internet to learn more about the Prairie District, and now I can’t wait to go back and visit again. History buff’s paradise!

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