Chicago, continued.

Well, gee, it only took me an entire week to get through all of my Chicago pictures. I enjoy editing and uploading and all that fun stuff but sometimes it gets a little overwhelming. I don't know how the pros do it, for reals.

But anyway, I thought I'd show you more pictures of our fabulous trip and spice it up with a few stories as well.

First of all, the 90 minute train ride from Milwaukee to downtown Chicago is freaking amazing. $22 one way and avoiding Chicago traffic/parking makes it one of the best ways to get down there and I think we'll be using this transportation service a lot more often. Plus, train tracks are one of the coolest things to photograph. Here we are, arriving in Chicago:
da train

After dropping off our bags at the hotel, we were immediately on the hunt for a Starbucks. On Michigan avenue we passed the Apple store and I half-jokingly told Nate to pose for a picture in front of the logo. He begrudgingly obliged with a scowl on his face, then said to me afterward, "This is so embarrassing. NO more touristy pictures." Which, of course, caused me to roll on the ground laughing. Really? You didn't think I'd forget to take pictures on this trip, did you?
"this is so embarassing."

After the Apple store episode, we found ourselves rather lost....or at least, without a Starbucks. I mean, come on. Aren't there about 64,230 in every major city? And especially downtown'd think there would be about 4 on every corner. But apparently we could not find the elusive S.Beezy near our hotel. Which made Nate very annoyed. And that made me want to take pictures of his annoyance. It's like a vicious cycle, really.
if looks could kill, i'd be dead. so would my camera

Eventually we found one and all was right with the world. Until I took a sip of the black gold and scalded the entire contents of my mouth....tongue, throat, roof of my mouth were all fried. I was quite upset and said, "That wasn't even pleasurable," which made Nate laugh for a good two hours. You know what they say about payback, right?

Walking around with a numb mouth, we discovered the Chicago river. I know it gets a lot greener than this for St. Patrick's day, but it still looked a little aqua to me.
river runs through it

More Millennium Park fun:

Nate was throwing down a gang sign here, obvi.
nate threw down gang signs

We found a stranger to take our picture, which of course made me a nervous wreck. Please don't drop my camera, dude. have to actually look through the viewfinder. OMG just hurry up already. You can tell by the tension in my arm that I was holding my breath for it to be over.
us in chicago

Nate is king of Millennium Park, while a little Asian man points in awe.
king of millenium park

Then there was the creepiest thing ever: this talking head of sorts, randomly placed in MP, with water shooting out of it. I hated when his mouth moved and didn't take the time to read about WHY there was a giant talking head, or who he was. Just plain odd, right?
creepiest thing ever

But the water made for some fun pictures and lots of kids seemed to enjoy splashing around next to the giant head.
splish splash

During the State Street parade, I became obsessed with these Police horses. Even their butts were cute.
horses asses

This one was my buddy who got really annoyed with my camera. Either that or he's a total show boater who wanted me to capture his best side.
can i help you?

One thing I love about big cities is there is always something happening, and street entertainers are found on every corner. I loved these silver men because they danced like robots then stood still like statues. Again, I guess it was borderline creepy but cool at the same time.
urban entertainers

Random flowers outside of our hotel that were truly this yellow. LOVE.

You all know about my love affair with narrow depth of field, right? Well, interesting metal fences are always a fave, too.
depth of perception

After eating some awesome pizza we found the cutest little cupcake store with the most adorable to-go boxes.
cutest cupcake box ever

My 'black and white' cupcake was the most beautiful thing I'd seen all day. Nate ate his right away but I withheld just to take a few pictures, of course.
artwork meant to be eaten

Then we were off to Navy Pier where my tripod came out to play. Love this entryway.

My new favorite picture from the entire trip, with the colors, the bokeh, and my favorite subject:
soaking it all in

The beloved carosel and ferris wheel:
carosel lights

There was a water fountain inside that had random shoots of water spraying in different directions. Made for a cool picture, of course.
water spout

Looking at the 50 fireworks shots I took, I think I like the crazy/blurry ones the best, like this one:
grande finale

Then came Sunday, when we walked by Buckingham fountain on our way to Shedd Aquarium:
Which, of course, we did not enter because of the two hour wait. But we headed to the Lincoln Park zoo instead and found this little guy:
And this one:
here, kitty kitty
And this one:
what you looking at?

More eating and walking and drinking followed that night. And then it was Monday, the day we left:( We headed to the Chicago sign first to satisfy my desire for shots like these:
Then took the ride up to the top of John Hancok, for shots like these:
lake above
It was after our ride to the top when we almost got into a fight with some crazy lady in the gift shop. You see, we get a magnet from every trip we take and found the perfect Chicago magnet in the gift store. So we stood in line to check out and waited our turn as two little girls went in front of us. It was kind of a hectic place and the line had to curl around the side because of all the merchandise.

When it came time for us to check out some crazy hooker appeared beside us and said, "Must be nice to cut in line," or something obnoxious like that. I thought maybe she was joking and tried to be nice to her, smiled, and said, "Oh, we only have one thing to buy," thinking that she'd just drop it. But no---she grinned a sarcastic, nasty grin and said in a mocking tone, "Oh, so since you only have one thing to buy you get to cut in front of us? That's great." Immediately my biyatch radar went off and I realized this chick was not kidding around. She was obivously a miserable lunatic who saw us standing in line first, but believed she deserved to go ahead of us anyway.

She mumbled something under her breath and had the world's worst attitude and finally I couldn't take it anymore and said, "I have no idea what you are talking about, or why you think you can just create your own line but we were here first and you're just going to have to deal with it." She seriously thought that we were standing 'outside of the line boundaries' as we waited our turn, so she made her own little line off to the side, which obviously makes perfect sense if you are a total moron. I felt like we were arguing with a four year old and yet she was easily 50. And short. And not cute. And we totally could have taken her down if needed:)

As she spouted off more idiotic claims I turned to the one lady behind us both in line and said, "Make sure you are in the right line or things could get very ugly, apparently." Moron-lady didn't like that too much. Nate told her to have a fabulous day as we left and it took every ounce of my willpower not to get really nasty with her. I just don't get why some people are so miserable in this world, making a huge deal about standing in a freaking gift-shop line? Come on. Get over yourself.

Nate lovingly referred to her as my 'best friend' from that point on because she clearly got under my skin and irritated the heck out of me. All for a freaking magnet. I'm glad I didn't have to drop 'bows on her or display my mad Taekwondo skills in front of all Chicago. Then she'd be really sorry she messed with me:) Has anyone else had run-ins with crazies who are generally miserable people? Ugh. Annoying.

So there you have it, a condensed version of the 114 pics I uploaded to Flickr. I could very easily make another 3 posts about our trip but instead, I'll send you off to Flickr if you want more. And now I have to calm myself down about 'my best friend' again, just thinking about her gets me irritated.

Two years

Two years ago today, this guy and this girl prepared for one of the best days of their lives. It marked the beginning of another journey together: marriage, in good times and in bad. In Missouri humidity and Wisconsin winters. In apartments and duplexes and many-a-U-haul vans. This was the day that began it all.


They took a few deep breaths before seeing each other in the hotel suite. This was their day, finally their day, and they soaked in every single moment. Completely content. Simply happy. And excited. Boy, they were excited.

They vowed to stand beside each other until forever, something that is no small feat and yet one of the most rewarding promises people can make. Standing side-by-side, part of a pair, a team, a married couple. They vowed to give it their all. Nobody ever said it would be easy, right?

Never again will there ever be such an amazing gathering of family and friends under one roof. Every guest can tell a story, everyone touched their lives in some way. Looking back at these pictures of far away friends and family makes their hearts hurt. In a good way, of course, but with a tear in their eyes all the same.

Two years ago, this guy and this girl got married under that altar. And then the fun really began.

As an anniversary gift to you, my readers, I invite you to share in one of the best moments of my entire life: our wedding vows. Nate and I each wrote our own vows and did not reveal them to each other until we were standing at the altar. It was one of the ways we wanted to make our wedding more personal and I believe it worked. Then there is the adorable pastor leading us through the ceremony---that would be my Grandpa, who also married my Mom and Dad. I hope you enjoy this emotional moment as much as I love to relive it.

Here's to many more special moments like these. Two years down...

Chi-town 4 life

We're back. And it was fun. The end.

No, just kidding. You'll have to forgive me, I'm just a teensy bit exhausted after our big weekend but I did, in fact, take exactly 430 pictures to commemorate the trip. I planned on showing you just 10 of my faves tonight but somehow I had to pick 25 right off the bat. I hope you don't mind.

My feet are still pulsating from the insane amount of walking we did. I am not joking when I say we walked for at least 6 hours each day around the freaking fabulous city of Chicago, and because I am stubborn and 'didn't want to look like a tourist' I insisted on wearing ballet flats the first day and flip flops the second. By today, the third day, I caved and wore my running shoes....because let's be honest: wearing a giant SLR camera around my neck pretty much gave away my tourist self way more than a pair of tennies would ever do. And besides, my feet were too blistered to don the cutesy shoes again. I'm just that stubborn, you guys.

So many stories to share, including but not limited to: us almost getting into a fight with some lady at a souvenir shop, me burning my entire mouth with scalding hot Starbucks--resulting in a partially numb tongue for the remainder of our trip, sightings of amazing/drool-worthy SLRs, classic Nate quotes galore, and did I mention....I took freaking 430 pictures. Geesh. I may have to do another post sometime later this week but for now, let's get started:

This is 'Big John', aka The John Hancock building. We stayed right across the street from this beast and even took the ride to the top for some great views. I am in love with this city, you guys.
Big John

Then there was this totally random sculpture of the classic painting. It reminds me of Nate and me in about 40 more with a really annoyed look on my haggard face, and Nate with a pitch fork. Random, yes?
Flash forward 40 years

Ah, the river, buildings, Star-beezy, and my hubs. Yes, it was a good trip.
Perfect day in Chicago

Millenium Park is the freaking bomb. So urban, industrial, and modern. Can you spot us in the magic bean?
Silver bean/Cloud gate

Totally psychedelic, dude.

I took this shot and when we got to our hotel room later that day, they had a nearly-identical shot framed in our room. I was so excited about unknowingly copying a professional shot I nearly peed myself. I quite like it, with the reflections and all.
magic sliver bean

We saw the State Street Memorial Day parade and the Police horses were in full force. I've always wanted a horse shot like this, just to be like Pioneer Woman with her earthy/vintage horses. Love.
observant horse

Saturday night I toted the tripod along with us to Navy Pier and boy, it was worth it. Please note the awesome misty nearly no light. Love you, tripod!
Navy in the mist

Again, I've always admired ferris wheel shots like this but of course, a tripod is a must. After a few takes we got it...and even captured the carosel, too!
ferris wheel with tripod

Night shots are my new favorite thing. And so is the Chicago skyline.
Chicago by night

Oh, hello, f/1.8. Lovely bokeh you're bringing these days. And the subject isn't too bad, either.
The hubs

pondering with bokeh

Then there's me, surrounded by bokeh. Love.
Yours truly

Carosels have always fascinated me, but now armed with a nice camera I took about 50 shots of this baby.
Carosel by night

[sidenote: can anyone tell me why I'm getting those odd reflections of light in my shots? Does it have something to do with my lens filter or what? Confused.]

Then there were the fireworks. Yep, about another 50 here.
Navy pier fireworks

I demanded to get a 'street shot' like this on our way back to the hotel, despite Nate's growing annoyance with the tripod. Worth it? I think so.
Night scene of chi-town

Sunday we walked another ridiculous amount, and stopped at Buckingham fountain for a classic 'touristy' shot.
Buckingham fountain

After walking all the way to the Shedd Museum, we discovered a TWO HOUR wait just to get inside. We decided it wasn't worth it and instead, went to Lincoln Park for these babies: mini-burgers!
Mini burgers

Also, we went to the zoo where my telephoto lens came out to play.
On the prowl


Tripod hotel shots are the best way to fully capture the trip, don't you think?
Tripod in hotel

Monday: the day I vowed to get shots of this awesome sign.
One of my must-have shots

And from the top of the world [Big John] we got to see all of Chicago's glory. Seriously, I love this town.
Urban delight
But it feels fabulous to be back home with this little bugger, too. Although we shopped all over Michigan avenue for ourselves, we came back home nearly empty handed. Well, except Henry got a new pimped out collar from a little doggy boutique. Of course we spent more money on our little man than we did ourselves! I'm digging the red preppy stripes, aren't you?
Chicago souvenier

So that's just the tip of the iceberg and it will do for now. If I regain my strength perhaps I will tell more stories and share more pictures. But seriously, Chicago is the bomb. The next time we go just might be marathon weekend....we'll see if I love Chicago after that. :)
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