Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Eataly / Icons / A 21st Birthday

We had quite the adventure on Saturday! My sweet sister-in-law Jenna decided to visit for the weekend so she could come to my baby shower on Sunday (more on that later!). Frank said we needed to get in all our partying before Baby, so that's what we did.

Saturday morning we went to Frank's favorite place in the world ... Eataly. I think I've mentioned it before? It's basically a food-themed amusement park for adults. We love going there to sample new foods, pick up special-occasion groceries, and get ideas for future culinary endeavors.

And Jenna got to try gelato for the very first time!!!

I felt like a very negligent sister-in-law that she'd never had gelato before. She loved it, of course.

Next we stopped by Frank's other happy place, the Irish American Heritage Center. Full disclosure: I waited in the car while he showed Jenna around. I think I'm Irish-ed out for a bit. There's only so many times a Cuban girl can work up interest in the Irish gift shop and genealogy research room, you know?

Then it was time for the big event of the afternoon. We were going on an "adult field trip" to tour an iconographer's studio!

We met Joseph Malham last fall when we attended a a talk he gave on icons. Then in February, we heard him speak about his new book on the great film director John Ford (who was Irish-American, go figure). Frank got his email address and they kept in touch. Knowing Frank's love for iconography, Mr. Malham invited us to come see where he works as artist-in-residence at a Chicago parish.

We gathered a few friends who share our love for sacred art, and off we went.

The trip was incredible. Mr. Malham gave us some background information about icons, and then answered our questions. He even let us pick out prints of his beautiful work to take home!

Besides icons, he also does some regular Western-style paintings, like the ones below of John Ford and Pope John XXIII.

After we toured the studio, he also showed us the attached church. That place is gorgeous. We felt like we had walked into an old European cathedral.

After the tour, we walked down the street to the local pub for a few drinks in the sunshine. Mr. Malham joined us and kept us all laughing with his priceless comments and stories.

Next we met my parents for dinner and my little sister's high school play.

Finally we finished the night with our big and exciting surprise... a trip to the top of the John Hancock building to celebrate Jenna turning 21!

Let me tell you, the John Hancock Signature Lounge is where you go when you want to feel like a high roller. Drinks start around $14 (unless you're like me and get a cranberry juice) and everyone except us was dressed to the nines.

A few friends met us up there and we scored a table next to the window. Jenna's 21st was celebrated in the finest of style.

We didn't get home until 2:30 am! I can't remember the last time we were out so late. But like Frank said, we had to get in our partying.

Now Baby is welcome to make an appearance whenever his or her little heart desires. Any day now, I hope!

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