mcg in chicago | McGowan Images Blog


mcg in chicago

(Pssst… due to the popular demand of several teacher-y types who regularly read the blog and are now back to getting up at the crack of dawn, blogs will go up at 6 a.m. whenever possible. I try to take care of my peeps. πŸ˜‰ )

Happy Wednesday, blogstalkers!

Today, I’ll be sharing a few of my favorite pictures from McG’s Chicago Adventures. By “a few”, I mean, 25 or so. I’m a little disappointed that I don’t have more to share, honestly. See, I had these grand ideas for our personal pictures on this trip. I’ve seen what other people do. Some of my favorite blogs from my favorite photographers are just them, on a trip, with their cameras. There will be these textures and angles and moody reflections in the glass of fancy restaurants. And I know I can take those pictures. I’ve taken them before. I know I can find those spots… I found them on this trip.

But the thing is, when it’s just Mack and I and we’re holding hands walking down the street as the lights come on, after having watched the sun set while sitting on the lake, and I see an amazingly intricate web of fire-escapes… I think, “Wow. Cool.” And I point out to the love of my life, walking next to me, “Hey, isn’t that cool?” And he says, “Yeah.” And we keep walking. I could stop and take a picture of it, and it’d probably be pretty awesome. But right then, in that moment, it’s more important for me to keep walking and keep holding his hand, and be IN the moment.

So I don’t take a picture of it, and it disappears into the past. Immediately. As soon as we walk past, that moment and that specific light and that specific mind picture is gone forever, and we’ve forfeited our chance to “capture” it. But you know what we did? We lived the moment.

While we were gone, I missed my children terribly, but I did NOT miss the 107 degree weather. We shot a gorgeous wedding with beautiful people. We ate. And ate. And ate. And yeah, I took pictures of some fun moments. But mostly, I just lived the moments.

Ok, ok. Enough mushiness. Let’s talk about the pictures I DO have!!

First things first… it was RIDICULOUS trying to get to Chicago. Apparently, United Airlines has monkeys posing as ticket agents. Not even the smart monkeys. Like, the ones that failed Painting With Poo 101. We ended up getting bumped to a later flight than we were supposed to be on, meaning that we got to spend 4.5 hours in the DFW airport just chilling out. Ugh.

BUT, God was looking out for us. When we stepped out of O’Hare onto the train to take us into the city, we sat next to a positively LOVELY couple. They were in town for theirΒ  wedding anniversary, celebrating their marriage in the city where they were married 45 years earlier. They could tell we were pretty confused about directions and all that jazz, and it turned out they were actually staying a hotel just two blocks away from ours. So these absolute angels walked with us to our hotel. Isn’t that amazing?

The view from our first hotel, Club Quarters on Wacker St., was pretty swank.

You know the thing I’m most ashamed of not having taken pictures of? All the food. Oh em gee, the food. We ate so much. The first place we went was a little Italian place called Bacino’s, where I got Chicago-style pizza, and Mack got hand-made ravioli. Both were so spectacular, it makes me tear up a little to think we can’t get them here.

After dinner, we walked down the Magnificent Mile to do some shopping. I ended up buying absolutely nothing, but Mack got 4 pairs of socks from Brooks Brothers. I love my argyle obsessed man. πŸ˜‰

Remember what I said up there in the mushy part about the sunset over the lake? Here’s some pictures from that portion of the evening…

We got back to the hotel, got less sandy & stinky, and went out to dinner. We knew we wanted steak, so we just plugged “steak” into our Sprint Navigation and chose the best rated steak-house closest to our hotel. We really had no idea that Smith & Wollensky’s was such a big deal… but apparently, yeah. It’s a pretty big deal! This would be a running theme in our food choices throughout the week.

At dinner there, we sat one table over from Shia LeBouf, who is in Chicago filming “Transformers 3”. I refused to take a picture, but I couldn’t help checking him out every once in a while. It made me sad that he was eating alone. He seemed very tired and had this hang-dog look on his face. I really felt pretty dreadful for him.

On to happier things…

On Friday, we got up and headed to Wrigleyville for a Cubs game. I was more excited about this than ANYTHING. I grew up in San Diego, and then Texas… neither of whom have ever really had baseball teams worth the grass on the field. I’d never been to a game with really rabid fans, or to a park with history. So all the way to Wrigley, I was out of my mind, bouncing up and down, driving Mack nuts with my giggly excitement. Here are some things we saw on the way…

Then we were there!!!

And I got to my seat, and I sat down… and I burst into tears. Why? Well, because this was my view:

Yeah. No lie. THAT was my view. No way. So we upgraded our seats, and ended up having a pretty plum view of the game… which the Cubbies of course handed to the Braves on a silver plate engraved with a really romantic message.

Oh well, we still had fun!

Friday night, after hanging out for a while with our clients and their wonderful families at a cocktail reception, we had dinner at an Italian restaurant called Rosebud Trattoria. We picked it because it smelled good when we walked by. Apparently it’s famous. Who knew?

Saturday was a working day for us, and you’ll read all about that tomorrow when I start sharing the OH SO WONDERMOUS pictures we captured of Alison & Sergej. But we ended up with some amusing pictures of ourselves from the day, too…

Can you read the coaster in the next picture? I love the message. Our hotel on the 2nd & 3rd night in Chicago was the W City Center, due to our clients being pretty amazing and treating us like rock stars. I could reeeeeally get used to living like that. πŸ˜‰

The picture on the left is me striking a funny pose while Mack tested light. And on the right is my studly man walkin’ careful between two swimming pools during Alison & Sergej’s reception.

After the wedding, we had a craving for seafood. So, once again, we plug “crab” into our handy-dandy Sprint Navigation, and go to the closest place. And, once again, we apparently stumbled on something that’s a pretty big deal. In Wheeling, IL, in the suburbs a short drive from where the wedding reception was, is Bob Chinn’s Crab House. It seats 1,000 people, and serves 5,000 pounds of crab a WEEK. The food was amazing, and we ate so much we practically had to be rolled out like bowling balls.

On Sunday, we got up to leave. First, we hit Starbucks, which is where this next picture was taken. Photographers, this was my first major outing with my new Kelly Moore Bag, and I must absolutely RAVE about it. Too long have I suffered from “shootsac back”. This bag holds everything I need, looks like a purse, and is totally swank. I adore it. And I only ever got sore when it was rubbing against bear shoulder and heavy for a while. Seriously, this is my new favorite thing, and I highly recommend it. I’d carry it as a purse even if I wasn’t a photographer. πŸ˜‰

Fun randomness while waiting for our car outside the W:

We got to O’Hare in plenty of time to get on our 12:21 flight back to Dallas… only to find out that we were somehow, inexplicably booked on the 3:06 flight back to Dallas. I cried. I had a blast in Chicago, but I was ready to get home to my kids, and the thought of wasting another 4.5 hours in an airport was just infuriating. More than the time, though was the way we were treated by United Airlines. I understand that stuff happens. It’s life. But man, the customer service we dealt with was CRAPPY. I have a scathing email already sent to their customer service department… but I’m not holding my breath that anything will come of it.

All that said and done, we had such an amazing trip. We know, beyond any doubt, how blessed we are to get to fly to fun places and photograph gorgeous events for a living. We both LOVE the travel, because it gives us a little break from the daily grind. And this one wasn’t even a destination wedding (although those are a blast, to!). This is a Chicago couple who fell in love with our work and flew us up. I’m still shocked, and amazed, and honored.

I’m also putting it out into the BlogWorld… MORE PLEASE! πŸ˜‰

Eventually, we got home, and I hugged my children so tightly that it might actually have been unsafe. We got very little sleep, woke up, and sent Jack off to his first day of 2nd grade, and got back to life as usual.

And as much as I love traveling and exploring and livin’ the rockstar life… I love “life as usual” even more.

You don’t want to miss the blog tomorrow, guys. You really, really don’t.

  1. Misty says:

    Y’all are so dang cute and awesome…SO happy to see all these great pics, and even happier that you guys got to go, it’s too cool! My fave is the first shot of the series on your way to Wrigley…Chicago looks SO awesome!
    Looking forward to seeing the wedding pics tomorrow. Oh, and the 6 a.m. blog schedule is EXCELLENT!!! πŸ˜‰

  2. Christian F. says:

    MY FAVORITE BLOG POST EVER!!!!!!!! You guys are so amazing! The pictures rock! They are all so AWESOME! I love hearing all of your fun and personal stories. Thank you so much for sharing!!! WOW! Chelsea, I LOVE your style! Really cute clothes πŸ™‚ and you two look so in love! I laughed and smiled, this post made my day!

  3. Tiffany says:

    Great re-cap, it looks like you guys had a blast! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Hannah says:

    I absolutely loved reading this. As you know i’ve been to Chicago 3 or 4 times-and never manage to take many photos. It was great seeing your beautiful pictures of a city I have slowly fallen in love with. This made my heart even more happy than it already was this morning.

  5. annie says:

    This was a really great blog, Chels. Have to say… I literally LOL’d when I saw your view from your seat at the ball game. Glad you got that worked out! I’m totally jealous of all the yummy food!!! Now I’m hungry! I adore the picture of your family at the end!! Love you guys!

  6. Amanda Johnson says:

    I totally understand about not taking as many pictures as you thought you might. While I love to capture whatever adventures Craig and I share (there was no way in hell we were honeymooning in NY without my camera), sometimes capturing memories can get in the way of making them. We did several things this summer where I could have taken my camera, but chose not to. I wanted to focus on us, you know? (plus, I tend to wear my camera around my neck and even with the super cushy strap I have, that D90 is a cow) Glad y’all had such a great time. I really appreciate the earlier blog time. I look forward to seeing the wedding pics as I’m eating breakfast before school tomorrow morning.

  7. Meagan says:

    Let’s go back to Chicago, okay?? Your pictures are stunning. The cityscapes kind of take my breath away, especially the one with the beach in the foreground.

  8. Nicole says:

    Painting with Poo 101? LOL I had to work hard to keep the Diet Coke I was drinking in my mouth after reading that! Too funny! Great blog! Glad you had a blast! LOVE the last picture! Such a happy family.

  9. Liesa says:

    I’m not a professional photographer or anything, but I experience the same syndrome when I’m on vacation. On one hand, I’d love to keep my camera out the entire time and only view the world through its lens. On the other hand, it’s so worth it to just put it away and soak up what’s around you! You still captured some really cool photos and I’m glad you’re always willing to share your life so thoroughly with us! Also, I’d really, really want to see tomorrow’s blog even if you didn’t warn me. πŸ˜‰

  10. Carman says:

    OK, between this and yesterday’s pictures of your cute children you’ve redeemed yourself from not blogging for several days. I really want to go to Chicago now (though any vacation would be great!)

  11. Ambo says:

    beautiful beautiful beautiful!!!!!! I can’t even pick a favorite! I now wanna go to Chicago….like bad. Great job Team! Can’t wait to see the wedding shots!!!

  12. Amber Burris says:

    I love this blog!! I wish I would’ve known ahead of time ya’ll were going to Chicago!! My mom is from there and my sister now lives there with her family and the places I could’ve told you to visit….and is that Chicago style pizza not the best stuff you’ve ever eaten?! This blog made me tear up girl!! I love the amazing photos and really love the one at the end…what a happy reunion after all the trouble with the tickets!! Can’t wait to see the photos of the wedding ;o) Glad ya’ll had lots of fun!

  13. Tami says:

    You guys are great! Awesome pics from Chicago!!!! The wedding looked amazing!

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