There comes a time in everyone’s life when they need to clear out and clean up their physical and energetic environment. Right now, spring energy is upon us and we can open up the windows and doors and breath the fragrant scents of new growth.
Brooke and I have never written a poor hotel review, as we have honestly loved all the places we’ve stayed and have never had any significant negative experiences. That is until now.
Last weekend, Brooke and I headed into Chicago for our Spring Staycation weekend. We knew we wanted to bike along the lakefront and visit Navy Pier so we decided to stay at the Embassy Suites on Columbus. Turns out the location is the only positive aspect of this hotel, and we really tried to remain as positive as possible. However, here are five reasons we will never stay here again:
- Safety– The hotel is designed with clear glass walls about three feet high. If you are on a high floor, as we were, there is a serious risk of falling over. At first we thought the glass was floor to ceiling and actually leaned forward to take pictures of the street down below. Brooke realized we were not protected and we immediately jumped back in shock. The couple next to us did not realize this either and were terrified. The entire perimeter of the atrium is a safety hazard. I would never recommend bringing young children here–it was scary enough for us.
2. Outdated Rooms-Upon entering our room, our smiles became as grey as the decor. The carpet had to be from 1972. Everything was drab and lifeless. We took no photos because there was nothing appealing to take pictures of.
3. Arachnophobia–If you have a fear of spiders, do not stay here. I woke up around 5:00 am to try to catch the sunrise from the partial lake view (had an upgrade to a lake view and can’t imagine what the non upgrade would have been). Still in bed, I leaned over to put my glasses on and looked out the window. There dangling from a massive web was a giant black spider. At first I thought it has to be outside of the window. Wrong! It was right there on the inside, and it wasn’t your typical daddy long legged fellow. This was a spider with one of those giant bulbous bodies. There was no way I was going to go near this, so watching the sunrise was out of the question. I sat up in bed thinking, this can’t really get any worse–until I saw the second spider.
4. Breakfast–We were excited about the breakfast because we knew there were two options: a made to order station and a buffet. There’s nothing like custom made omelettes so I had my heart set on the made to order station–until we arrived and realized 50 other people had the same idea. So buffet it was. On a positive note, there was a lot of food–pastries, pancakes, hash browns, bacon and scrambled eggs. However, the eggs were colder than the frigid air conditioning blowing down upon us. The temperature had to have been intentional to get people to scarf down their food, get out and lessen the enormous line.
5. The Pool– Brooke was looking forward to a relaxing late night swim at the pool so we headed down around 9pm thinking we’d have the pool basically to ourselves. Upon entering our eyes spied at least 50 screaming kids splashing and flailing violently! It was like Marco Polo on steroids! Where the heck were all of the parents? Did they just drop their children off at the pool and head out for a night on the town? With the horrible herd of unsupervised children, we did a quick 180 and headed back to our room.
Despite the disappointment of The Embassy Suites, we still had an amazing time in Chicago. Spring is the ideal time to visit the city. The energy of people finally emerging from winter hibernation, the abundance of tulips blooming and the warmth of the May sunshine on your face makes a weekend in the city a wonderful experience. Just make sure to conduct thorough research because where you stay really does make or break the experience.
Once upon a time, there was a calm and patient mommy who traveled the world with her sweet-natured, soft-spoken little darling. Side by side they sat and smiled dreamily, gazing out of the 747’s picturesque window, at the wondrous world below.
Suddenly, the flight became turbulent! Temper tantrums, tears and cursing matches flooded the aisles. Innocent passengers trapped… victim to the barrage of bitching and bickering.
1. The Beaches
So this probably goes without saying, but if you are in need of long stretches of powder white, footprint-free sand, and swaying coconut palms, and if you long to hear the lapping of soft Caribbean sea waves, Jamaica needs to be on your bucket list. Whether you are looking for a secluded cove to escape the world or every type of adventurous water activity, Jamaica has it all. From snorkeling to horseback riding, from glowing bioluminescent beaches to kayaking, and steel drum reggae beach parties, there is something for everyone.
Last summer my friend, Gabi, told me about an amazing charity called Pack for A Purpose. (If you’ve followed previous posts you’ve read all about this incredible organization. If not, click the link to read all about it!) I loved the idea of taking action to positively impact the lives of students globally, so beginning a book drive was the perfect idea. I would have never imagined in a million years that we’d collect 7,000 books and that I’d have the opportunity to actually visit the recipients of our donations. This past week has changed my life forever. It is so true that when you give, you receive even more in return.
On A Mission To Spread Happiness
1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8…Schlemiel! Schlimazel! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated! (Millennials, ask your parents.) I showed Brooke an episode of Laverne and Shirley before we headed out on our mother-daughter Milwaukee weekend. And yes, I made her reenact the opening right out on the street in public. Considering I was taking her to a Miranda Sings concert, it was more than a fair exchange.
Milwaukee is such an easy weekend getaway from our Chicago suburb of Naperville…just under a two hour drive. Packing for a weekend is so simple: one wheelie suitcase (of course from Baggallini) with two outfits for each of us, bathing suits for the pool and spa, pjs, and loads of textbooks so Brooke could get her homework done in between the concert and sightseeing–let’s not discuss whether that happened or not.
Brooke’s backpack was filled to the brim with makeup for the Miranda Sings concert at the Riverside Theatre. I’ve never seen more red lipstick in my life! I had no expectation for the concert and it was actually so funny. Colleen Ballinger is super talented, although not appropriate for children under 15 in my opinion.
A lot of prep for a 60 minute concert!
Where we stayed:
Known as the “Jewel of Milwaukee,” the first thing you’ll be swept away by is the ornate Romanesque Revival architecture. Built in 1893, it truly felt like we time traveled. The opulence of staircases, chandeliers, muraled ceilings and marble accents will make you instantly feel like royalty. The Pfister Hotel has the largest collection of Victorian art in America. The pool, spa, suites and lounge areas all get 5/5 ratings in our book. The only disappointment was the restaurant, Mason Street Grill. It was honestly the worst Halibut I’ve ever had and Brooke’s flatbread pizza had the soggiest crust. We were greatly disappointed but the beauty of the hotel and the city definitely made up for it.
What we did for two days in Milwaukee:
Knowing basically nothing about Milwaukee, we were excited to explore the city.Here’s what we learned just by meeting people, asking questions and a bit of research:
Milwaukee is a German settlement and the influential Captain Fredrick Pabst’s name is everywhere. He was a German-American brewer who purchased the Pabst Theatre in 1890. Milwaukee is divided by the Milwaukee River. The east sits along the Milwaukee Bay which spills into Lake Michigan. The buildings here are full of character. City Hall could probably be mistaken for Big Ben and the Federal Building looks like a European castle. The west side of Milwaukee seems more suburban and is home to Marquette University–now on Brooke’s college radar. Along the lake is the Museum of Art. It looks like a ship or perhaps a whale. Either way, it’s a work of art in itself!
Although we were surprised not to find any breweries, there’s definitely not a lack of churches in Milwaukee. There almost seems to be a church on every block and the architecture is magnificent. Again…European teleportation.
Overall, we’ve decided that we’d “walk” all over Milkwaukee anytime! What an architecture gem!
Have you ever visited Milwaukee? We will definitely return…maybe for a college visit!
As you may well know, Brooke and I travel a lot…just about every other weekend, school breaks and pretty much the entire summer. What you may not know is that we have literally gone through seven carry-on pieces of luggage, bags and backpacks in the past two years. No matter how short or long our trips may be, our goal is to solely have carry-ons; we truly despise waiting for eternity at the baggage claim carousels. In fact, we layer up what we wear to the airport, so we can bring as many clothes as possible and simply walk off of the plane to begin our adventures.
But from broken zippers, cracked wheels, and damaged handles, the bags just haven’t endured. Here are out latest victims: May we introduce busted handle and broken zipper:((