As you know, last month my family moved out to the suburbs and as my final goodbye to Chicago – a love letter, if you will – I turned that weekend in Chicago blog post into a full ebook, The Insider’s Guide to Chicago.
This ebook is quite a bit longer than the blog post and contains new information, such as:
Chicago Fire filming locations
Where to find Chicago’s celebrity chefs and Top Chef contestants
Free activities to do in Chicago
Tips for getting bargain hotel rooms in Chicago
… and much more!
I had a lot of fun putting the guide together and hope that you’ll consider checking it out if you’re planning a trip to Chicago. It features all of my favorite things to do, eat, and see in this magnificent city!
The Insider’s Guide to Chicago is currently only available for Kindle and costs $2.99, though it is free for Kindle Unlimited subscribers.
I started out this new series with Palm Springs and when I was deciding where to go next I realized I should take you all along to the place I know best. Buckle up for a quick tour around my adopted hometown. This week we are planning out a weekend in Chicago!
Spring and fall are my two favorite seasons here in the Windy City. (FYI, Chicago isn’t called the Windy City because of the actual breezes, but because of our windy politicians!) Lots of other people love summer in Chicago, so I wouldn’t discount that either, but I find that the humidity can be pretty wretched so if you have a say over when to visit I would recommend a weekend in Chicago anytime between March-June or September-October. Of course, if you come in the summer and it gets a little steamy we do have Lake Michigan right there that you can jump into when you need to cool off!
How to get to Chicago
Chicago has two main airports, Midway and O’Hare, so flying here is usually pretty easy and direct flights can be obtained from much of the country. Pretty much every airline flies into Chicago, though not all airlines fly into both airports. For instance, Southwest Airlines only flies into Midway.
Chicago is the midwest hub for Amtrak, so getting here by train is relatively easy as well. I’ve traveled via train to New York City, Washington DC, and even out to California and it can be a relaxing way to travel. It’s not the way to go if you’re short on time though and only coming for a weekend in Chicago! The train moves slow and frequently gets delayed, especially if you’re coming from Michigan.
Finally, MegaBus travels to Chicago from quite a few different locations around the country.
Once you’re here, one of the great things about Chicago is that you don’t need to rent a car. Chicago is very walkable, but there’s also a great public transportation system by way of the subway (called the “el” here – short for elevated train), buses, or even the commuter train system, Metra. Then, of course, you have your choice of Taxis, Uber, or Lyft.
Tip: Uber frequently offers free credits! If you haven’t used Uber before, do a quick search to see if you can find some credit before booking your first ride! Use my referral link here and you’ll get $15 off your first ride, though I’ve sometimes seen better offers than this available!
For awhile I was using only Liz Earle skincare products, including Liz Earle Skin Repair Moisturiser ($39.90 at Birchbox). While I really liked the product line, I was a bit thrown when I realized that the moisturizer I was using didn’t contain SPF as I hadn’t encountered a moisturizer without SPF before.
According to the Liz Earle website the lack of SPF is so “it can be used during the day and at night (as skin doesn’t need SPF at night).” This seems a little strange to me, but to each their own, I guess. (Also, I don’t apply moisturizer at night so this has never been a concern of mine.)
I had previously only used moisturizers containing SPF – and really, I only used Aveeno Positively Radiant Moisturizer with SPF 30. With spring on the way, I spent some time looking for SPF products to wear atop my moisturizer because leaving the house without SPF just isn’t accessible. It’s important to wear SPF every day because it helps protect against harmful UVA and UVB rays, which can cause cancer, premature aging, and sunburn.
In case others are in a similar predicament, here are a few products to try in case your moisturizer doesn’t contain SPF.
Try these products if your moisturizer doesn’t contain SPF
Kiehl’s Super Fluid UV Defense SPF 50+
Even before I switched to using a moisturizer without SPF I was using Kiehl’s Super Fluid UV Defense SPF 50+. This product goes on very light, providing an extra layer of protection to your skin. While it is on the pricey side at $38 for a 1.7 fl. oz. bottle, a little goes a long way! I have had the same bottle for nearly two years and it shows no signs of running out.
To use, just apply a light layer of Super Fluid UV Defense on top of your moisturizer. In addition to protecting against UV rays, this product allegedly helps fight up to 90% of skin aging, including fine lines, wrinkling, and uneven skin texture and tone. I have very sensitive skin but I have never had any issues with this product. It is dermatologist-tested for sensitive skin and it is oil-free, fragrance free, and non-comedogenic.
Overall, I would say this is a great everyday fix and I recommend it even if your moisturizer contains SPF.
Colorescience Sunforgettable Mineral Sunscreen Brush SPF 30
If you are looking for a product that is easy to apply frequently that comes in a non-liquid form, I cannot more highly recommend the Colorescience Sunforgettable Mineral Sunscreen Brush. I picked this up on a whim a couple of years ago and it is now one of my favorite sun products because it is easy to apply and it doesn’t leave my face looking greasy or like I just applied sunscreen!
Per the instructions, you should apply this product before going outside, and then again every two hours. Applying takes seconds – just brush it over your face or other body parts – and the fine powder provides coverage! Colorescience Sunforgettable Mineral Sunscreen Brush SPF 30 comes in many shades (see them all on the Colorescience website), so you can wear this product in place of foundation if you prefer.
There’s no need to be fearful of wearing this product to the beach as it is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. It provides UVA/UVB protection, which is considered the best.
There is nothing – and I mean NOTHING – that I detest more than shopping for swimsuits. I remember hating it even when I was a kid trying on speedos at the store for swim class. It’s just so blah. The main thing between now and when I was young is that there are so many places where you can shop online, so awkwardly trying on a swimsuit in a fitting room (and prancing out in said suit to your mom with your undies sticking out) is no longer something we must endure. Since swim season is almost here I thought I’d share some of my favorite stores where you can buy stylish swimsuits online.
Purchasing swimsuits may not seem ideal the first time, but you’ll quickly learn your size. You’ll also be able to try the suit on in the comfort of your own home and send it back if it doesn’t fit. Nobody will ever have to know… or see you.
ModCloth is actually one of my very favorite places to shop for stylish swimsuits online. They have a huge selection of styles so you’re sure to find something you love. If it’s a retro swimsuit you are after this is definitely your store because it seems like they carry more retro styles than any other store.
ModCloth is also a great destination to shop for plus size swimsuits. They definitely carry more suits in “traditional” sizing, but their plus size styles are nothing to scoff at as they carry more styles than you’ll find pretty much anywhere else.
How can you not love the swim section at Target? They seem to bring out the suits earlier than any other retailer, and they’re usually available through the end of the summer. While I’m always impressed at how many swimsuits Target carries in-stores, it’s nothing compared to the number of suits that are available online. One of my favorite things about Target? You can buy online and return to your local store, if need be. That’s an awesome perk for swimsuit shopping, where it might take a few options to find the perfect suit!
If you’re looking for sportier styles that will keep everything in place as you run around the beach, Athleta is definitely the place you want to look. The prices are mid-range, I’d say, with most suits in the $100 range. If that’s too much, you might want to check out Athleta’s return policy: It’s one of the friendliest of any store! Athleta will take back any item at any time, regardless of whether it has been worn… including swimwear.