Andy, Jackie, and Me

It’s a cold blustery day in Chicago but the sun is out and the town is wide awake. We have already decided that shopping will be incorporated into the day but also want to make sure we take in some culture.

Our first stop , after coffee (those that know me, know I NEED my coffee)is the Chicago Institute of Arts, there is an Andy Warhol exhibit that has been getting great reviews so we wanted to check it out for ourselves. Getting there early is the key, museum gets busy, and I am not a fan of crowds.

I am fascinated by art, but have very limited knowledge of it. So instead, I just experience it through how it makes me feel instead of trying to figure out what the artist is trying to say. To me, Andy Warhol was this interesting character that I heard about in the 80’s (mainly thanks to Duran Duran), so his style reminds me of growing up in Milford, Michigan and hanging out with my friends, and all that is 1980 something.

One of the highlights of the exhibit is centered around the Kennedy’s. The Kennedy’s have long captivated my interest, mainly Jackie. I think it stems from my mom playing the soundtrack from Camelot; and my sister and I dancing and singing along to it. It sounded like a fabulous place to live with lots of romance and adventure. When I discovered that JFK’s Presidency was referred to as the time of “ Camelot” it immediately resonated with me. Did I mention we happen to be there on the 56th anniversary of the assassination of JFK? Not planned, just coincidence but noteworthy. Wire reports, news paper headlines, little bits & pieces of information that chronologically tells the story all the way through to the death of Lee Harvey Oswald. Experiencing this part of the Andy Warhol exhibit brought back all those memories as well an emotional response to the assassination of JFK (yes, I was not actually born until 6 years after this all happened so I don’t remember it in real time)

I have always admired Jackie for her commitment to her children , family values along with her elegance and style. Andy is able to capture her love, her grief, and her strength in nine simple photographs. It evokes many emotions but mainly empathy for what it must have been like for her and her children during such a devastating time in their family. She was admired by millions but it came with so many difficulties that it must have been hard to be Jackie Kennedy. If you are also fan of her, I highly recommend the book “Mrs Kennedy and Me” by Clint Hill. Mr. Hill was the lead agent assigned to her Secret Service detail and was there by her side in the car when JFK was shot. And there during the many hours, weeks, and months that this one moment left behind.

There is much more to the exhibit than just Jackie. His most famous pieces are there but also drawings and artwork from all different stages and mediums of his eclectic career. Worth checking out if you find yourself in Chicago from now through January 26th.

For some more insight to Jackie, I thought I would share this site with you.

A little bit of France…in Chicago

As I sit and write my first “official” post, it is appropriate that it is in the small coffee shop,Le Petit Margeaux in the Waldorf Astoria in Chicago. It encompasses so many things I love. The ease and elegance of the French atmosphere. The sweet and savory taste of the freshly baked croissants accompanied by a rich and creamy cappuccino. The perfect setting for people watching. Artists, designers, business men and women. The old , the young, the up and comers and those enjoying retirement.

This is always my first stop in the morning when I am in Chicago. The peace before entering the hustle and bustle of this great city.

What I love about this hotel are the people that work here. Women and men that share that passion of hospitality that I have. That adrenaline rush that you get from meeting new people, making a difference in someone’s day, and making an impact. Serving others as a way to show love to someone, to make them feel important, to let them know they matter.

I must confess…I came here last night for dinner. The plan was to “stop in” for a drink and then head out to one of the many fine restaurants in the Gold Coast area of Chicago. But once I am in this fabulous hotel, I struggle to leave. We met the fabulous Sommelier for Margeaux Brasserie. She shared her great knowledge of wine to help us better understand the Bordeaux wines and the explain the variety of blends from the right and left bank in the Bordeaux region. Paired with a petite filet and butter lettuce salad, it made for a perfect evening out.

There is always so much to do in Chicago. It’s hard to pack it all in a long weekend. I will be heading to the Chicago Insitute of Arts to visit the Andy Warhol exhibit so watch for more updates.

If you find yourself in Chicago, put The Waldorf Astoria on your list of places to either start or end your day. Or both. Bon Voyage!

This is me

I have always believed that travel; experiencing new places, different cultures, and exploring the “non touristy” places in a city is the best education one can get. I fell in love with this kind of life very early on. Growing up in a home, where my mother worked in the travel industry, gave me the opportunity to do things that were not typical of a daughter of a single parent. Caribbean Cruises, long weekend trips to Bed & Breakfasts across the country, and international trips to Canada, Mexico, and France.

My plan when I was in high school was to be a travel writer. Back in the late 80’s though, people really didn’t care what an 18 year old had to say about a weekend in Toronto or Chicago. There were no travel blogs…there was no internet access yet for the average person. So instead I went to travel school, became a travel agent and took advantage of the benefits that came with it. Putting my dream on the back burner.

Life changes came. Marriage, children, divorce. Travel remained a passion but funds were limited. I moved through the travel industry working for a large travel agency in Detroit, than later Norwegian Cruise Line and then Costa Cruise Line. In 2002, I found what would be come my career path…hospitality. It was in my DNA. Hosting people, taking care or anticipating their needs, good food and drink..all right up my alley. I was hooked. I now work for one of the largest hotel management companies in the US and can honestly say I love my job.

Which now brings me to today. I have the time now that my kids are grown and living on their own. I have the resources and benefits of being in the industry to indulge a bit more. And I have my desire to write again.

This blog will be to share my travel experiences to help fuel your passion to travel. To highlight great destinations for singles, for couples, for women , and for families. I hope that you all fall in love with the destinations I have on my list for the next 12 months.

My blog will not be perfect. Technology is not always my friend (which makes me sound so old). My name is Jennifer and I am a writer.