Saturday, May 12, 2012

My Week in Chicago

I've spent the past week at a conference in Chicago.  After I signed up for the conference, I have to admit that I was dreading it a little bit.  Somehow I didn't check our calendar and I ended up missing Belle's last band concert.  To add salt in the wound, Mike was working second shift, my mom was out of town and my in-laws had plans.  Thankfully Michael was around so she at least had one person in the audience who loved her.  While she said it didn't bother her, I felt like the worst mother in the world!

Even though I was dreading the conference I ended up having a nice time.  We stayed at the InterContinental Hotel.  The room was quite nice even though it overlooked the parking garage.  My colleague ended up with a nice view, I don't know how he rated!  The bathroom looked pretty cool, but in my opinion wasn't very conducive to getting ready in the morning.  Here's a couple pictures of the room.

I realized as I was loading the bathroom picture that my purse snuck in the picture!  If you read my "What's in My Purse" post you'll notice I bought myself a new one - and it doesn't have red crocodile leather :)  I bought it when we were in St. Lucia as my souvenir.  I love it but it's really only for summer.

There were several highlights of the conference.  The first was the very first keynote speaker.  She works for Microsoft and gave a dynamite presentation that pretty much everyone could enjoy, I felt a little bad for the next speaker because he was very dry, she was a hard act to follow.  The next highlight was the new friends we made.  At lunch the first day we ended up sitting on either side of a gentleman who was there by himself.  Michael proved to be very friendly and we enjoyed our lunch with him.  Later that night there was a reception at a local art center.  As soon as my colleague and I walked in into the room we were approached by a woman who introduced herself as one of our company's carriers (we all had badges which stated the company we worked for).  We ended up spending the rest of conference with her and Michael.  Hi Sheila!

The last highlight of the conference was getting to meet one of the speakers.  This speaker is a well-respected authority in our field who actually invited me, can you believe it - me, to be a contact on Linkedin last year.  He's written a book (which I bought) so I took the opportunity to go up, introduce myself and ask him to sign my book.  As soon as I introduced myself he says "Ah yes, we are connected on Linkedin aren't we?"  I was pretty surprised that with his wide range of contacts he would actually recognize me.  Totally one of my highlights.

For dinner the first night we went to the restaurant inside the hotel.  Unfortunately we weren't really impressed by it.  Even though the waiter was awesome, my pork tenderloin was overcooked and the potatoes were tasteless.  My colleague's tuna wasn't much better except it was under cooked!  However, to give credit where credit is due they rocked breakfast!  We both had chef cooked omelets that were excellent.

I had made dinner reservations the first day we were there for McCormick and Schmick's.  After we had a chance to get to know Sheila and Michael, we asked them to join us for dinner.  The dinner was phenomenal starting with our waiter.  He was a lot of fun and took such good care of us.  We started with the calamari for our appetizer, highly recommend it if you go there.  I had the stuffed salmon as my entree, which was also wonderful, followed by creme brulee for desert.  Everyone else had the death by chocolate for dinner which also looked pretty good.  The dinner was a great way to end the conference.

The best part of the week?  Getting home and getting a huge hug from Mike, who of course promptly asked if we were getting Chinese for dinner.  He missed me :)

So, that was my week.  Did anything fun or exciting happen in your life?



  1. Wow, that sounds like a good conference! It is particularly cool that the guy with the book recognized your name. I didn't realize you were such a big deal when I met you, ;).

    I want to go to Chicago again--I took the kids a few years ago, and they keep asking to go back. Maybe when they get the high speed trains running (and I win the lottery...).

    I didn't do much this week, but I did finish one of the 5 or 6 crocheting projects I had going, which I was pretty excited about. I am so close to finishing my first baby afghan, too!

  2. I didn't know I was such a big deal either :) I'm sure it has more to do with him probably having an eiditic memory and not me being all that. Belle and I are going to Chicago in a few weeks with one of her friends and her friends mother. They want to shop but we said no, to expensive. The plan is to check out a couple of museums and the aquarium, should be fun!

    Good for you on the crocheting. I saw the scarf you made for your daughter the other day. Very cute!