Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Chicago highlights...


I got back from Chicago yesterday morning - what a fabulous time we had!! I would have posted earlier but jet lag caught up with me and I ended up sleeping til 1pm today - eek!

I thought I would share with you some of the highlights of my trip (CHA will be featuring heavily!!)... Beware: this will be a long post so grab a cuppa, pull up a comfy chair and enjoy!

My sister and I arrived on Wednesday afternoon and after spending two hours getting through customs and another two hours waiting for our hotel shuttle bus we were EXHAUSTED! So we ended up crashing for the evening with some free pizza given to us by some fellow hotel guests who had not been able to eat everything they'd ordered! This was an occurance we were to become quite familiar with...

Thursday we hit the town for some shopping but first we had to fuel-up with some breakfast so we went to the famous Lou Mitchell's diner - oh my word so much food!! Here's a pic of me enjoying it:

Once filled to the brim we headed to the shops, and first stop had to be Michael's... Now for those of you in the States who know what Michael's is, you'll have to bear with me as I gush about how utterly fabulous this store is! Coming from the UK, where there is NOTHING like it, this was truly an amazing experience. It's like a crafting supermarket, with oodles of fabulous paper crafting goodies, as well as cake-baking, chocolate-making, candle and soap creating tools and products, as well as alterable containers, books, etc, etc! And as if that wasn't enough of a treat LOADS of it was on sale, and the rest was cheap cos it was US $$ - yippee!!

Here's a pic of my stash from Michael's:
Those paper stacks were a bargain, two of them being 40% off and one being on sale for $7.99 (it's a mega-stack with 148 papers)... Yes, yes I know I don't need any more paper but I just couldn't resist!! So pretty...!

The rest of Thursday was spend trekking around the city - and SO much walking, my word I don't think I've ever walked so much in all my life! We reckon it was about 10 miles or so by the end of the day! Here's a photo of us (I think it was walking back into the city from visiting Michael's):

Friday was the big day...CHA! I can't tell you how excited I was about going after everything I'd heard about it. Here's some shots of the Convention Centre (across the road from our hotel!!) and me heading in there.

The centre was absolutely massive... as was the queue to get into the show!! We got over there about 20 minutes before opening time and the queue was already ridiculous. By the time the doors opened, it was around three times as long as when we arrived!

Our destination once inside was the Papertrey Ink stand. I have been a fan of their products for a while now and this was my chance to buy up BIG! Theirs was obviously a very popular stand as the queues to purchase quickly reached outside of the stand and by the time we had grabbed our goodies, lined up and then paid, almost two hours had passed! But it wasn't like the two hours at customs... it was so much fun! We chatted to other ladies in the line, and Nichole Heady (owner of PTI) was greeting everyone and being so lovely! Here's a photo of us:

Once we'd bought our PTI stuff, I had some rather heavy bags so we deposited our stuff  back in our hotel room (oh the joys of location, location, location!) and headed back in. We did a make and take with Mish Wooderson, one of the design team members at PTI using the free CHA stamp set we got for every $100 purchased (I won't tell you how many I received...). Here's what we made:
So pretty!!

We then went and hit the rest of the stalls, including Taylored Expression, MFT, Ippity, Kaiser Crafts and a bunch of other general scrapbook and stamping stalls. Here's a make-and-take we did at Kaiser Crafts:
And the lady on the Kaiser Crafts stall was so generous! She gave us a 6x6 paper pad for free! Turned out she was the Creative Director of the company and comes from Australia - just two hours away from my home town - how cool is that?!

We were pretty exhausted when we got back to the hotel room so ordered some Giordanos pizza delivered to our room - it is amazing pizza! Deep filled with loads of cheese and yummy goodness! Here's a pic of my sister ready to tuck in...

One final thing I had to do before day's end was to collect all my goodies for a 'group photo'... and here it is:
LOL!! Don't try to count the buttons people... it's an addiction ok??!

Saturday we went back to the show for the morning and did some more make-and-takes and I got to meet one of my crafting idols, Dawn McVey:
She was just as lovely IRL as she is on her blog. We did a make-and-take with her using PTI's CHA stamp set and one of their impression plates (which I couldn't help purchasing!)...

We also did a M&T with Debbie Olsen:

After we moved on from the PTI stand (and yes... we did eventually move on!) we did a few more M&T's including with Ippity (such a cute stand!):
And Taylored Expressions (with Taylor herself chatting away to us!). Such a cute little book...

I also met the very sweet Sankari Wegman on the Taylored Expressions stand (on Friday) - she was so lovely! I wasn't thinking straight at that point (too much shopping!) and forgot to take a photo, but I really enjoyed chatting to her - such a fab person and crafter! We had a good laugh about her liquid pearls addiction and our difficulty attempting a clean & simple card (check out her blog and you'll see what we mean!).

I eventually managed to leave CHA after lunch (I think my sister had reached her limit!) and we headed back into town for some more shopping - this time to Macy's. My sister Rebecca, who isn't known for her love of shopping, fell in love with Macy's and it ended up being me having to drag her out of there cos it was late and we needed to eat! We ended up going to Gibson's steak house, which had been recommeded to us by Dawn, as well as having read about it in Becca's Chicago guide. We figured due to the prices and the fact we had eaten another large breakfast earlier in the day that we would share a meal and therefore have smaller portions... ha ha ha! Here's a pic of our dinner:

This food could be described in many ways: delicious, incredible, mouth-watering... but certainly not small!! Both of us cracked up laughing at the thought of ordering this meal just for one! No wonder they do left-overs in a bag at the end of your meal...  This seriously was the best food I have EVER tasted! I think it's ruined my taste buds...

Sunday was more shopping (I was under strict instructions from our Dad and sister that I HAD to make Becca buy some clothes!). Macy's was visited again, and I ended up getting some shoes, a Guess top (which I'm wearing in a photo later) and a Guess watch, as well as a Fossil watch for Richard (had to get him something didn't I...??).

Monday was our final day and we rushed around the city doing Lincoln Zoo and Millenium Park before we had to head to the airport.

The architecture and interesting sculptures were truly incredible in Chicago - here's one final pic of me next to the Bean, a very shiny and reflective bubble in Millenium Park:

We really did have a fabulous time - the dream crafting holiday I've wanted for a long time! I've very thankful that I was able to do this and the memories will no doubt last a lifetime!

Thanks for stopping by...

x Amy x


Shelley Germann said...

Wow! What a fabulous time you had! I will admit it, I live a mere 5 hours away and have not made it CHA! I guess I have to re-think this! Glad you had such a good time in Mike's. We are lucky, aren't we? I just grabbed 10 rolls of ribbon there this week!

yyi said...

So glad you had a great time at our restaurant Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse - Rosemont. We enjoyed having you stop on by! Thank you so much for the mention in your blog and the qoute "This seriously was the best food I have EVER tasted! I think it's ruined my taste buds... "

We look forward to your next visit!

Sue Kohler said...

I am so envious of your trip away! I can't wait to head over and check it out for myself!! A friend and I have put it in our 5 year plan, by the look of the goodies you bought home we will be needing all of those 5 years to save!! I see what you mean about the PTI christmas card, I did have a feeling of deja vu too!! It is good to see a few pictures of you too, now I have a face to the name! :)