Last Updated on September 24, 2023
Well, not really. My birthday is actually a couple of weeks away, but last weekend The Boy pulled one over on me. Which I have to be honest with you…is not an easy task. I can sense anything unusual happening in the house like a hipster without his beard and beanie. I knew something was up because I asked him if I could go to the Kinfolk Weekend Retreat at Camp Wandawega. Oh sure, of course, have fun…wait, what weekend are we talkin’ about here? October 17-18. Suddenly, a look of panic crossed his face, and he said, “That’s opening weekend for duck hunting.” Ummm, ok…hunt Sunday rather than Saturday. Problem solved. I pushed a tiny bit more…I really wanted to go! He finally said, “Don’t ask questions and DO NOT get upset. You can go any other day except October 18.” Well darn! And quite mysterious.
What I Did for my 40th Birthday
Friday, he tells me to pack an overnight bag for Saturday night. Are we going to Paris? Are we? Are we? Are we? Ya, NO! But, we ARE going out. Ummm, ok. What about our children??? You do remember we have children, right? Covered. Apparently, Grandma and Grandpa were coming down. SWEET! Where are we going? I can’t tell ya that. Well darn!
Saturday morning I was told to be ready at 1 PM, and we promptly left at 2:15 PM sharp…it’s how I roll. I also asked how I should dress. Normally I’m a t-shirt and jeans kinda gal, but if we go out on the town, I need to play the part. I’m instructed skirt over jeans. Right on, something cute is in order.
Traffic into the city was horrendous, but we finally reached Destination #1—the Thompson Hotel Chicago. We had stayed here a couple of months prior for a wedding. Let me tell you, this place rocks. Super swank and funky as all get out. The staff, oh so sweet. And they pipe in the most amazing smell to the lobby. Seriously, I want my entire house and body to smell like this. It’s like the best candle and perfume wrapped in a bow. If someone at The Thompson is reading this, please, I’m begging you…please tell me the scent. I must have it.
So while checking in, The Boy is handed keys to the Penthouse Suite. Seriously, I’m about ready to pee, you guys. I think I might have squealed just a tiny bit. I know because the manager looked at me funny. Apparently, that is not the normal reaction to PH keys? Let’s take a pause here. Girls, go get your boys…have them start taking notes now. The Boy knows what he’s doing.
We get inside the room, and it’s two stories of awesome. The first floor has a bath, living area, dining area, and bar with a view to die for. There’s a spiral staircase leading to the master bedroom and the coolest hotel bathroom I’ve ever seen! And, of course, there’s another balcony.
Once we get settled in, we run downstairs to Nico to grab a drink…I, of course, had champagne. See, I’m not the biggest fan of wine or beer, so if I’m going to drink, I’m going to have the tastiest cocktail known to man! I like a mixed drink, but if this is going to become an epic night of celebration, let’s break open the sparkly. I’m now told I have to be ready for dinner at 7 p.m. Hmmm, wonder where we are going? My guesses were The Publican, Bavette’s, or Girl and The Goat.
The cab driver is told West Fulton Market…Destination #2 is The Publican. YIPPEE!!! Now I’m a foodie. I loves me a funky, fancy restaurant, and I had been dying to dine at Publican for the longest time. I clapped my hands and bounced around in the backseat. This was so much fun!!!
Dinner was fantastic. I was a bit skeptical of the communal tables, but once the girl sitting next to me (like touching my shoulder next to me) who couldn’t stop staring at us left the building, I felt much better. Seriously, she just turned and stared for like 20 minutes. Who does that? One thing I noted was that every server had fabulous hair. It must be a requirement. Our server looked like Vinnie from Entourage. We ordered the Suckling Pig and Farm Chicken and Fries. We added a Shaved Brussel Sprout Salad (which BTDubs, I could have bathed in) and another salad called The Little Gem, which came covered in thinly sliced Pig’s Ear. Don’t you dare crinkle your nose at me. IT WAS AWESOME!!!!!!
After dinner came a lot of text messages. I kept asking The Boy if everything was okay. Yep! Just fine. Stop asking questions…Okay then! Can we go? Nope, not quite. Well darn!
The Boy nursed his coffee and made two more bathroom stops before our departure. FIIIIIINNNAAALLY we went outside and grabbed a cab. North and Milwaukee…SHUT THE FRONT DOOR RIGHT NOW! That HAS to be The Violet Hour. My most favorite bar in the city. The bar I haven’t been to since three birthdays ago! YES! YES! YES! Happy dance in the cab! And that driver drove like a wild demon! So much for stalling. Feverish texting ensued.
We get out, and I’m told, ok, Bucktown is your favorite neighborhood in the city. What would you like to do?
Huh? No, no. That is not how this works.
I’m told to slow down. I’m told we have to stop at Walgreens to get Advil. I’m told we need to stop at the ATM. I’m told, no, don’t cross the street with 12 seconds left, you’ll fall in those shoes and hurt yourself. WHAT???
We finally start to make our way toward The Violet Hour, and the line is in full force and is starting to wrap around the block. For those of you unfamiliar with The Violet Hour, it’s kinda like a speakeasy. If you call, no one answers. There’s only a recording. The entrance is a wall completely graffitied. There’s no sign. There’s really no door. It’s hidden in the mural. Unless the line has formed, you will walk right past it.
They only allow so many people in at one time. The Violet Hour is never crowded. Just full. Everyone is given a seat. You are not bumped into or spilled on. It feels quite private. There’s no artwork hung on the walls. There are huge floor-to-ceiling curtains. The chairs are very tall and sort of wing-backed…very enclosed. They also have a few house rules.
The Boy walks up to the front of the line, passing quite a few irritated, shivering, cold future patrons. I’m asked to hang outside…there are a lot of darting eyes and evil stares happening right about now. Awkward. I’m motioned inside and hear a tiny sad little voice behind me say, “I wanna be invited to that party.” Dude! Me too! I make my way through what seems like an endless supply of velvet drapes and walk ALL the way to the back. SURPRISE!!!!!!!!!!!
OMG! The Boy has rented out the entire back room of The Violet Hour and just made me the happiest girl on the planet. All our friends made it into the city. Laura from Avery Street Design and her hubby Ryan were there. My train girls, former co-workers I love with all my heart, the huntsmen and their wives. Seriously, BEST PARTY EVER! BEST!
Yes Melissa, I stole the last 2 photos from your IG feed =)
Drinks were flowing, and delicious food was served. I had my favorite sparkly shoes on. The Boy even set up a champagne toast. The room was filled with love and a bit of drunken tomfoolery. At one point I just sat there and looked at each and every guest. So thankful for their friendship. So thankful to have them all in my life. I looked at The Boy…how did I ever get so lucky? And how on earth did he ever pull this off? A mystery I will never know.
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