Oh my goodness… Chicago was THE actual MOST FUN EVER. We had the greatest time. It was part exploring a city I love but haven’t spent much time in (the last time I was there was in 2007 – I ran the Chicago Marathon!!), part blogging reunion (the BEST – got to see so many friends), and of course… our live show!
We stayed at the Swissôtel who very generously comped our stay in exchange for coverage. I lovedddd this hotel. The location gives it beautiful views of both the river and the lake, which is just dreamy. The views are AMAZING. If you stay there, try to stay on a higher floor (I was on 37) to really maximize the view. The beds were so fluffy and comfortable, we had a sitting area to read and work and get ready, and there were (if you saw my instagram stories) TWO bathrooms (one of which had an enormous bath tub). Wow. I felt like such a pampered princess. It was definitely bigger than my apartment!
(I wore this Rebecca Taylor Dress, which I bought this past Fall. It’s somehow still available (!!!) and on sale in several sizes here and here. Also love this cute plus mini dress). And I wore my new favorite (gifted) Sarah Flint Sandals (take $50 off your first pair with code GRACE50)
The way that we structure our trips for the live shows is this.
We go for two days and the first day is a little crazy. We get in, have hair and makeup come over immediately, and then our photographer will arrive and we will do a photo shoot in the room/at the hotel. Then at around 5:30 we get to the venue for sound checks, and we work + eat in the green room until about 7 when our guests arrive. Then we hang with our guests a bit, shoot some more photos, and go on stage at 8. The show usually lasts about 90 minutes, and then we have a meet & greet afterward. And after the meet & greet we usually pick a bar or hotel to go and calm down/chill with our friends.
It seems to be the perfect formula so far but can be a little intense, especially since we wake up early to travel. BUT then, we always try to stay an extra night to get to enjoy the city, see friends, and have a little fun. I learned the hard way after our Caroline’s show (I scheduled a shoot AND recorded the podcast the next day) that it’s best to have a light day the day after a live show.
Also, a little more about Swissôtel!
One of the things we loved most about it was the design – it was designed by renowned Chicago architect Harry Weese. He was one of Chicago’s most renowned architects and widely remembered as the architect who “shaped Chicago’s skyline and the way the city thought about everything from the lakefront to its treasure-trove of historical buildings.” (I got that from his Wikipedia page; as a design nerd I had to look up his work!) This is really reflected in the design of this hotel – especially in how our rooms had views of both the river and the lake.
There are 661 rooms in the hotel, an amazing fitness center, and great dining options (the hotel also boasts a Palm Steakhouse – highly recommend ordering the steak salad as room service… YUM.)
hanging out with our amazing guests (who all also happen to be great friends of mine) in the green room!
Liz Adams from Hello Adams Family, Jess Keys from The Golden Girl Blog, Anna Wisniewski from See Anna Jane, and Jenn Lake of Style Charade. This live show was extra special as it felt like a mini blog pals reunion!
A word about the actual live shows (and a plug: if you are in Boston, Charleston, or Nashville – would love to see you!!) Becca and I weren’t entirely sure how we’d feel about them or if we’d be any good at it.
We have both done quite a bit of public speaking for our jobs, but we’ve never done anything where the audience expects to be entertained. And I didn’t really think it would even be something I would enjoy. We were also (after the first one) kind of worried that maybe we would be a “one hit wonder,” since we have so many friends n New York. Would anyone come?!
Turns out we love it, people came out… and we’re kind of good at it! We’re our own worst critics and are always talking about what worked and what didn’t and how we can improve… but I think we’re pretty good! We’re definitely doing a lot more and are already thinking about some late summer and early Fall shows. More to come!
And as always (saying “always” as if we’ve done more than two live shows), there was BINGO!
We are extremely excited that for this tour, Night Pillow is providing prizing for all of the Bingo winners! If you listen to the podcast you know how much I love mine. (You can get 20% off yours with code BOP20)