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When Bloggers Celebrate Birthdays, Chicago Style

This week I’m leaving the parenting behind and rehashing Selena’s fortieth birthday. Actually, it’s impossible to leave the parenting behind, but it is possible to take off for a weekend and fill it full of friends and fun, which is what I did last weekend.

Two weeks ago Selena shared that she was turning forty, and I was the lucky duck who got to celebrate with her. We cleared our schedule (thanks, PoM & the rest of the editorial staff for covering for us), and hopped on a bus that was Chicago-bound. When we arrived, a quick taxi ride took us to our downtown Chicago accommodations- the Hampton Inn & Suites Chicago.  The front desk clerk, Ronnie, was extremely helpful upon our arrival, and provided us with idea upon idea of things to do. We had big plans to drop our bags, grab some lunch and start shopping.

You know what we did instead? We went downstairs for the $5 lunch special at Chicago’s Rosebud Trattoria and then went back to our lucious room where we napped and watched a NCIS marathon. It was heavenly. The beds in our room were thick and fresh and were practically calling our names. We couldn’t leave them. We just couldn’t.

Friday night, SallySassyPants joined our party and a rollaway bed was delivered without delay. After a late night of giggling, we each drifted off to sleep, with visions of the big city dancing in our heads.

The next morning, Sally and I hit the complimentary breakfast bar, although it should really be called breakfast extravaganza. Waffles, oatmeal, eggs, bagels, fresh fruit and yogurt, along with juices, coffee and tea made breakfast a feast. Because it was her birthday weekend, we delivered breakfast in bed to Selena, who was silently cursing the fact that she was rooming with two morning people (I won’t confirm or deny that there may have been a dance about this on my part).

Once Demeter arrived (the real-life mom of the Persephone, honest-to-goodness), we hit the town for the day. The Hampton Inn & Suites Chicago is located within walking distance of the Hard Rock Cafe, which is a stop for the tour bus we’d booked online. A quick walk north got us to the tour bus stop, and we started our day. We did a hop-on hop-off bus tour, saw all the sights we could see, and took in Navy Pier.

After a brief rest back at the inn, we were ready for Selena’s 40th birthday dinner. We started on the terrace of the hotel, which, in the 48 hours we spent there, quickly became my most favorite spot. We toasted to Selena, popped a bottle of champagne and started her fourth decade on this planet in style.

The thing about fortieth birthdays though, is that, well, most of the participants are near forty. We turned in early Saturday night, after an amazing Indian dinner, and no one really protested. Sunday morning we hit the breakfast bar again while Selena slept again, and said goodbye to Miss SassyPants because she had to get back home. Mr. Selena, I’m sorry if she’s demanding breakfast in bed every day this week. We may have created a monster.

The three of us then walked up and down State Street, and then onto Michigan Ave (only three blocks away). Water Tower Place was a stop on our tour bus, so we just hopped on by the huge Marilyn Monroe and rode it the few blocks north. We shopped and lunched all the way up until it was time for Selena and I to head back home. We hugged our beds goodbye on the way out (and secretly envied Demeter, who got to stay one more night & fly out the next morning).

As often as I’ve been to Chicago, this is the first time I’ve had the pleasure of staying so conveniently downtown. The Hampton is within walking distance of a multitude of attractions, restaurants and shops, and easily accessible by public transportation. Demeter flew into O’Hare and took the blue line train, and was able to walk to the hotel from the station. Selena and I took a bus to Union Station (because we are fancy), and the cab ride was right around $5. SallySassyPants drove in and parked right at the hotel for the reasonable rate of $42 a night.

Disclosure: Our two night stay was provided free of charge at the Hampton Inn & Suites Chicago in exchange for this honest review. The opinions, the laughter, and the good times had by all are completely our own. Thank you, Hampton Inn, for making Selena’s birthday a great one!

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