You've likely seen a post here or there about the one, the only... Maria Thomas.
I've known Maria and her family for about 25 years and, simply put, they are the best. Maria is the middle child of three and... well, we take great pride in the twin-dom (in personality) that we've formed over the years. I mean, who else could have taught eight-year-old Maria the lyrics to such age-appropriate songs as JayZ's "Big Pimpin"? (I take great pride in the fact that, to this day, Maria does text me when she hears that song from time to time. Ahh, the legacy and teachings I leave for future generations...)
Maria is one of the few people I know that is more crazy (in the "my kinda crazy" sorta way) than me. I do believe she's learned a fair amount of her crazy ways from me and, to be quite frank, I'm quite proud of this fact. Again... that whole legacy I'm leaving behind and all that. ;)
In any event! I cannot tell you how excited I was when Maria mentioned that she was going to be gracing Chicago with her presence this weekend. Of course, I hadn't exactly planned out an itinerary for the two of us (unless you count "hugfesting it out" to be itinerary-worthy) but I figured we'd just roll with it and figure things out when she got to my place. Easy peasy.
Well, that whole "getting to my place" came a lot earlier than I expected. Come 8:30 AM on Saturday, Maria was ready and waiting in my lobby. I was a bit surprised to receive a text from her that early on a Saturday morning (I mean, she IS 21 and she HAD been out the night before!) and, to be perfectly honest, I was a bit of a zombie upon greeting her given my whole four hours of sleep the night before, but... well, nothing a little hug/gab-fest can't cure, right? Right.
After hugging it out and chatting it up for a bit, we talked plans for the day. We decided to start off by venturing to the Lincoln Park farmers market for some coffee and breakfast, then make an appearance at the Lincoln Park Zoo and then head back to my place for a nap. The fact that the nap made it on the itinerary right off the bat is just one of many reasons why I adore the one, the only Maria - we are two. of a freaking. kind.
After strolling through the farmers market and finishing up our coffees / breakfast, we made our way across the street to the Lincoln Park Zoo. It never ceases to amaze me that this zoo is literally three blocks from my apartment - it's just a whole different world...
Filled with lots of animals (which I may or may not feel a touch bad for)...
And/or lots of adorable children (I swear we're not creepers)...
As we were wandering about the zoo, Maria and I managed to cover a WIDE range of deep topics - from the frequency with which an average college student checks Facebook... to our love of mixed children... to a detailed discussion of "which" mixed races would evolve the most beautiful child... to, well, something related to Maria's love for Hispanic families (hahah - is this getting to be way too much information?)... to... well, Maria's use of such clutch phrases including, but not limited to...
"That's my ish".
Okay, to be fair, I've heard this term before, but DEFINITELY not used in natural conversation. I forget what we were gabbing on and on about, but when Maria just inserted that phrase so naturally to the conversation... well, THAT's when it became clear that I was hanging out with a 21 year old ;) I think my new goal is to try to start incorporating that phrase into MY everyday conversations (dream big and all that)... I mean, Maria taught me well - that phrase was only inserted into any and all conversations for the remainder of the weekend, let's be honest here.
Ah, but I digress. All in all, it was just such a BEAUTIFUL DAY that we got to spend in Lincoln Park!
After spending some time at the zoo, were we EVER ready for our naps!
Such a money idea if ever there was one. After a couple of hours (what can I say? We don't take napping lightly), each of us woke up nicely bright-eyed and bushy-tailed... and totally ready to start the "downtown" part of our day of fun.
We hopped on that 151 (God, it's been so long since I've ridden that thing and no WONDER - it is the slowest thing EVER) and headed down to Michigan and Wacker. Stop #1: Chicago's architecture tour. This is one of my favorite "touristy" things to do in Chicago because you get to be on the water, soak up the sun AND learn about Chicago's history / buildings... so many of my favorite things all rolled into one tour!
After the tour, we headed a bit further south to check out Millennium Park - it had been AGES since I'd been to Millennium Park and it was just so FUN to wander about it with Maria, who had never been before.
Okay, so maybe our idea of "fun" is a bit different from others... considering the majority of our time was spent... well...
And/or attempting to pose like FOBs in pictures. I mean, is this a new fad or something? Maria told me about how her and her friends make it a point to do this each time they go places and... not going to lie, I definitely just gave her a "What the f" look. But... well, turns out Maria knows what she's doing. I kind of want to do this each time I travel now too! ;) (Clearly, this whole "craziness influence" is a two-way street.)
I have to say, I was quite impressed. The girl's got the look DOWN PAT. All she really needs to do now is stick her index finger and middle finger in her pocket and she will be SET. Ah, for next time.
We tried to do another FOB shot on the lawn, but... well, the darn picture turned out a lot cuter (read: less FOB) than we were intending.
Noted: next time we attempt a "FOB sitting on a grassy knoll" pose, make sure we are NOT beaming and are sitting more on our hips with our folded legs slightly to the side... do you know what I'm talking about? Have we thought about this way too much? Moving on...
After spending way more time than was necessary posing for these pictures (which, ironically, was actually taken by a FOB couple we'd spotted from afar... sigh, shamelessness-personified), we decided to move on to... Pritzker Pavilion!
I love, love, love this spot! It's. Just. So. CHILL! And Saturday was no exception! I actually had just intended to show Maria the pavilion itself, since it's so "majestic" in nature. Upon making our way to the pavilion though, how much of an added bonus was it that we stumbled upon...
I actually had never seen the Bean at night - and it was definitely worth it.
We couldn't get enough!
As if the love for this city couldn't grow any more...
Anyway, after THAT photography session, we made our way back on the 151 and headed back to my apartment. By that point, it was about 10 PM and... well, you know me - if it was up to me, I would totally have just called it a night. But of course, I've got my 21 year old twin to keep me in check - she was the one who voiced the executive decision that we were going out.
Of course, I smiled and nodded along but MAN, inside I was just thinking "It's just one night with a 21 year old, Christie. You can do it. You can do it." Hahaha.
It actually ended up being a LOT tamer / chiller than I was initially expecting - we were going to start off with drinks at the John Hancock tower's Signature Room before heading out... well, somewhere lively and bumpin. We ended up getting into the Signature Room pretty quickly for a Saturday night and snagged a pretty money spot, complete with:
Some pretty sweeeeet views
Some pretty sweeeeet drinks
And, of course, some pretty sweeeeet company
I honestly thought we would be there for about an hour before peacing out and heading out. However, we ended up gabbing for WAY longer than expected... and actually ended up closing down the Signature Room at 1:30. I guess this is what happens when you get engrossed in some pretty deep convos about family... Facebook... friends... Twitter... life... Tumblr... well, you get the idea.
By that point, I was definitely ready for bed (that nap can only hold me out for so long), so we ended up calling it a night.
But MAN! What a wonderful day! What else can one expect when they spend a day with the one, the only Maria Thomas? ;)
*Special thanks to Maria for some of the pictures which were incorporated into this blog post.