The Best of: Chicago 2013

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This past week, I took a trip to Chicago with my family. It was truly an unforgettable trip, and let me tell you, this city is wonderful. I had such a great time, and it was devastating to leave the city! No worries, I will eventually recover!

The Highlights

Upon our arrival to the hotel, we stumbled on this local chain called Wow Bao, where they serve hot asian buns. We were all starving after having been on the run all morning, in the plane and on the metro, so this seemed like the perfect place to take a load off and try something new. Boy, am I glad we came here.

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Basically, it’s dough with fillings of meat, spices and whatever you want. They even have a chocolate one! We tried the teriyaki chicken, the spicy kung pao, the thai curry chicken and the bbq pork. They were amazing, and I definitely recommend this if you are in the area. There are five or so located around the downtown Chicago area.

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We took a River Architecture tour, which was brought to us by the Chicago Architecture foundation. The city has so much architectural history, and it’s all so fascinating. I think I took about 300 photos in the 90 minute tour alone!

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I even discovered my favorite building in Chicago, the Wrigley Building.

We spent the afternoon in Wicker Park/Bucktown. I really enjoyed this area. I would say it’s the more artsy neighborhood of Chicago, which is so different from the downtown area.

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That same night, we ate at Lou Malnati’s pizzeria. This was my first time every trying the deep dish pizza, and I can tell you I’ve joined the dark side. I’m never going back to regular pizza!

I chose The “Lou”, which was topped with spinach, mushrooms tomatoes, and cheese. Yum!!!

And of course we had to try their Chocolate Chip Pizza for dessert! once again, yum! (I forgot to get a picture of this one, I was too caught up in eating it! Sorry!)

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Another Chicago-only restaurant chain we tried was called Potbelly’s.

Don’t judge a restaurant by it’s name, because the food here was amazing, and it didn’t leave you feeling like it’s name! I had a delicious breakfast sandwich with egg, cheese, lettuce, tomato and salsa!

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Lincoln Park was also beautiful. We went to the zoo, and actually was able to see a skyline of the city, which was amazing!

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The best meal (in my opinion) that we had on the whole trip was when we went to DMK burger bar for lunch. I had found this place thanks to my dad’s favorite show, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Of course, since we were going to the US, we had to hit at least one along the way!

We shared the sweet potato fries, which are basically my obsession, and then each got a burger. I had the #1, which was a grass- fed beef burger topped with aged cheddar, smoked bacon, balsamic red onions and barbecue sauce. It was all so delicious!

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The train/subway system here was also really cool. It was so convenient, and the ‘L’ system literally took you everywhere in Chicago, especially all the areas we wanted to cover. We were even able to take it to and from the airport.

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The Art Institute of Chicago is really beautiful, but I did learn that if you are going to recreate a modern day version in front of the original, people are going to stare…

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For our last dinner on the trip, we went to the local hotspot ‘The Purple Pig’. It’s basically all share plates, and they had the most amazing fried deviled eggs and eggplant parmesan balls.

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On our last day, we took a stroll inThe Loop, the downtown area of Chicago right where our hotel was located, and happened to find an exhibit called ‘The Happy Show’.  Created by Stefan Sagmeister, this exhibit focused on the art of happiness, how to achieve it, and the life lessons you learn along the way. On top of it all, the music was also amazing which added to the overall ambiance of this exhibit.

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I enjoyed this trip so much! It reminds me a bit of New York City as well, of course there are many differences! I can’t wait to one day visit it again!

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xoxo, Ali

The Sweetest Sixteen (Part 2)

Yesterday was my birthday, and oh how sweet it was!

I started off the morning by writing the majority of my thank you cards! Somehow, mom always captures the moment in her photos. All my gifts from the night before were still around me!

Also, you might have realized this already, but I am absolutely in love with my sweet sixteen dress! I don’t think there has ever been anything else I would wear two days straight in a row!

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My amazing godmother gave me this lovely Tiffany necklace the night before, and it’s so gorgeous that I had to put it on.

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I opened the presents from my parents, and got quite a few lovely surprises! They got me the most beautiful pair of earrings!!

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From there, we headed downtown for a bit of shopping, and then sushi for dinner! Yum!

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Thank you everyone once again for all the birthday wishes!!

xoxo, Ali

The Sweetest Sixteen

Last night, I had my sixteenth birthday party! I had my dad’s side of the family over, all five of his siblings and my many cousins, second cousins, etc. I also had ten or so friends, all close ones, to celebrate the day. I didn’t want something too extravagant, so it was a simple party. Still one of the best nights of my life! My band and I performed, and the theme revolved around Rock ‘N Roll. Obviously, with all the other stuff that has been going on, this was sort of a last minute thing, and I only got the invitations out a two weeks earlier. Here are just a few photos of the night.

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Going with the theme (and my party invitations), I made a few decorations for around the house. There were an array of records around the house, each with one of my favorite songs of all time.

 

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Blowing out the candles!

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My lovely parents and I!

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My amazing and wonderfully creative mother made her special carrot cake, in the shape (and colours too) of my guitar!! It was amazing! I didn’t get any good photos of it unfortunately, I was too caught up in the moment!

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This was my special creation. One of the desserts, was this ice cream bar, that ended up being a huge hit, not only for the kids but also the adults!!

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And of course, my lovely second cousin Mia and I!

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The night was amazing! I ended up staying awake until 3:30 am, opening all my gifts and jumping up and down. I was just too excited to go to sleep. John, our family friend, stayed after and we enjoyed some more wine (for the adults) and the lovely laughter of the evening. It was all unforgettable!

So today is my actual birthday, and after last night, I don’t know how much better it could get!

Anyways, I’m off to write my thank you cards!

xo, Ali

Summer Must Haves

I don’t think I can wait any longer for the fabulous season that means sun, golf and freedom! Of course, with every season, comes those few essential pieces that should be in everyone’s closet!

Summer Must Haves edit

{1. Banjo & Matilda sweater, net-a-porter.com // 2. Jeffrey Campbell wedges, farfetch.com // 3. TopShop floral crop top, topshop.com // 4. Karen Walker sunglasses, eluxe.ca // 5. See by Chloé maxi skirt, net-a-porter.com // 6. MSGM monkey print dress, nordstrom.com // 7. Stella McCartney silk blouse, mytheresa.com // 8. Scotch & Soda denim patch shorts, scotch-soda.com // 9. Marc by Marc Jacobs crossbody bag, nordstrom.com // 10. Diane Von Furstenberg top, dvf.com}