Friday, December 2, 2011

An itty bitty getaway

Thanksgiving weekend my husband and I were lucky enough to spend a day and night in Chicago.  Since my husband is from the Milwaukee area, where his family still resides, it's convenient to make a day trip to the Windy City and hitting Michigan Avenue the day after Thanksgiving has become somewhat of a family tradition.  Yes, the crowds and the traffic are insane, but the energy of the city is invigorating, too, and it's extra specially grand all decked out for the holidays.  The different twist on the trip this year was that we decided to send the kids (little S and my teenage stepson) back with my in-laws while we enjoyed a rare evening to ourselves.  Spending the day with the entire family was lovely, but having some quiet time alone after a lively few days was EXTREMELY welcome.  As is typical for me, I was reluctant to shell out a lot of money for a hotel room and our desire to be as close as possible to Water Tower Place/Michigan Avenue made it a tougher proposition to find a room at a price we wanted to pay.  We toyed with using Priceline as we'd have success in the past, but the zones were too large to guarantee us the location we wanted.  Enter and a screaming deal at the Affinia, Chicago. 

Jetsetter is one of those travel deal sites I stumble upon and sign up for because I like to keep an eye on flights and hotels, despite a lack of dollars in our travel budget these days.  When my husband suggested a night in Chicago, he challenged me with finding a great price on a hotel.  He is the idea man and I am the deal getter.  It works for us.  I was simply thrilled to finally have a reason to peruse the aforementioned travel sites to see how low I could go, price-wise.  The day after Thanksgiving in Chicago seemed like a peak(ish) travel time to me so my hopes weren't exceptionally high.  I was pleasantly surprised to see photos of the modern, sleek Affinia splash on the screen in front of me along with words to the effect of "secret sale."  My eyes popped at the advertised price per night and I assumed our date would be blacked out.  Not quite.  It just wasn't immediately available so my request for a reservation was put on "Stand By." I didn't hold out much hope, but lo and behold: by the next day we had a confirmed room, right off Michican Ave., Magnificent Mile.  Perfect!

We spent our Chicago day exploring Millennium Park, (mostly window) shopping, and finally trying the churros and hot chocolate at XOCO.

That night we splurged on a great dinner followed by a drink in the Signature Room at the top of the Hancock Tower (or whatever it's called these days).  We are lucky to have family who will gladly watch S for occasions like this.  We came back refreshed and relaxed.  Not a bad for an itty bitty, budget-friendly getaway!  I will keep in mind the next time I'm in the market for a hotel room.

Monday, November 28, 2011

To have it, and eat it, too.

What is this blog all about?  I got to thinking: how many people out there, especially women, are just like me and trying to find a way to do a lot with less: less money, less time, less opportunity.  We are attempting to be our best selves while nurturing marriages, cultivating friendships, raising children, and navigating careers.  We want to do and be the most we can be, while on a budget and in a hurry.  This blog is an outlet for my thoughts and a place to document my successes and failures at being the person I want to be.  I am a frustrated writer currently trapped inside a system administrator's career.  I aspire to work part time (and spend more time with my child), but my finances have me pinned at full time.  I am frugal by nature and nurture and I'm married to a spender.  I am a wannabe foodie who storms the grocery stores armed with coupons.  I am a fashionista at heart but a window shopper by budget.

In short, I want my cake, I want to eat it, too, and in order to get it I'm baking it myself...from scratch.