Six Smiles in Chicago


I spent just last summer abroad. Still, it seems like a lifetime ago.

I remember returning home with all intentions to continue traveling, knowing full well obstacles would present themselves, excuses would be easy to come by and it would be easier thought than done. With time, though, I have found domestic journeys to be very doable. So, when Labor Day rolled around, there were way too many reasons to go to Chicago and hardly any not to. Below are six (and then some) things that made me smile on my first trip to the Windy City:

happy happy happy birthday today!

Annemieke, my partner-in-crime who keeps me cool, cosmopolitan and carefree.

A private campus tour with my brother Chris's (class of '95) personal touches 

Fijis reunite in South Bend

Fraternity fans,

ND grads with their Longhorn ladies

familial fans,

Mieke & Kevin, William & me, Caroline & Brad

and friendly fans

all under the watch of touchdown Jesus. 
Post game-day brunchin' with the best of 'em

before the next ball game at another famous field

order the carrots and stay for a most delicious cheese plate

followed by a final night under these indoor city lights at The Publican in Fulton Square Market.

The nightcap at The Chicago Athletic Club punctuated the weekend perfectly; it's not pictured as is to be expected with some of the best moments of the view from the 96th floor of the Hancock Tower, seas of orange and cowboy boots storming the streets of a midwest city and a drive along Lakeshore. 

I spy a selfie stick!

But when shiny object syndrome takes over, one must snap away to say you've Bean there, done that.

Next stop on the all-American tour is a city that still feels like home, Austin. Stay tuned for the final Six Smiles post of the summer before a trip to a destination that never disappoints.

Six Smiles


I write this post with a tall glass of water: water before coffee in the morning is part of my ongoing efforts to form good habits, habits that make for a happier me and a more satisfied self.

Making time to blog is another. Starting the Six Smiles series this summer was such an approachable way to stick with it. And while Labor Day seems like the season's closing ceremony, I will savor its last days until the calendar strikes the official date, September 22nd, when the days get shorter and the temperatures get cooler.

So with that,

electing to rock any and all linen and white items while I can
Take-out is trending as friends find their own places to call home (sans parents, that is!). Josephine and Alexa's apartment has stunning skyline views of Houston,

not unlike this one from my overnight stay in Dallas for work training in Victory Park.

Love Field, ILY. // french vanilla bean & peach gelato

Always take advantage of the airport treats available when forced to wait. 

photo via Caitlin McCullough Photography
Big brother Sam is cute as ever in a camera shy moment during the family of five's photo shoot. 

sold at most drug stores, Whole Foods &Amazon
A daily beauty regimen I adopted from Emily's Monthly Beauty Buys to make a final make-up swipe in the morning. 

 I made my own granola! Homemade sure tastes good, but so does Purely Elizabeth.

not pictured:

My best friend has an Instagram inspired by these words: "Here's my heart Lord, take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above." Which is one of many reasons why she's a best.

Vanity plates always seem to fit the wheels they ride on. William, my brother, sister-in-law and I have a text thread showcasing Houston's FIN3ST...

While reminiscing on Mary Kate & Ashley movies with Mieke, we concluded Passport to Paris is the unanimous favorite amongst us all. 

This four day week! Happy Friday to all, and stay tuned for next week's special edition of Six Smiles, straight out of Chicago.