5 Fireplaces to Warm Up in Chicago

If you haven’t heard, Chicago is currently surviving another polar vortex. Temperatures dropped to a record-breaking number yesterday causing businesses to shut down and people to embrace the art of hibernation. Those of us who have the ability to hole up in our homes all day without having to leave for even a second don’t mind this one bit. However, anyone who has to brave the cold probably wishes they relocated anywhere else at this point. Regardless, if there’s one thing Chicago knows how to do, it’s survive winter. So whether you love it, hate it, or care less either way, the city has your back. One of the ways we survive the cold temps in Chicago is through fire...literally. Many restaurants, bars, and hotels have fireplaces to cozy up…

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6 Cozy, Hygge-Inspired Winter Destinations

Invented by the Danish, “hygge” means coziness and it seems to have taken over winter. Unless you’re looking to avoid the cold weather and head somewhere warm, people are gravitating towards vacations and decor in their own homes that resemble a cozy, comfy…hygge...vibe. It makes sense too! Who doesn’t love a hot cup of cocoa by a roaring fireplace while wearing yoga pants and chunky sweaters? I could forget every other season if everyday could be cozy and comfortable and well...the perfect hygge experience. While recreating the lifestyle is easy at home, nothing beats going away and experiencing it somewhere else where you don’t have to clean up the cocoa dishes or sweep the fireplace at the end of the night…

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7 Dream Winter Travel Destinations

The colder months are my favorite time of year. From fall through winter, we break out all the cozy sweaters, light up the fireplace and indulge in the best comfort foods. The nights are longer, which most people hate, but I happen to love because it motivates me to finish my day earlier. I get caught up in whatever book is on my nightstand, maybe watch a show or two, or simply spend time with friends or family. Believe it or not, I enjoy going out and meeting people for drinks or dinner more in the colder months than in the summertime. It sounds a little backwards but there’s something about crisp winter air and meeting people in warm, cozy restaurants when it’s already black outside by 6PM…

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A Taste of NOLA in Denver | Sassafras Restaurant Review

Who doesn’t love a little Cajun food with a dessert of beignets? Something about the New Orleans-style cuisine is homey and comforting, exactly what you need while visiting Denver in February. Before heading up to the mountains, my friends and I had a day in Denver to explore with each other which means brunch was on the itinerary. After research, and arguments of course, we settled on Sassafras American Eatery in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. A few blocks away from the Molly Brown House Museum, Sassafras serves up Southern-style comfort food with beignets that, according to my friend, rival that of Cafe du Monde in NOLA. They had great reviews, something on the menu for each of us and, most important, a ton of different drink options…

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5 Things You Shouldn't Forget to Pack for Winter Travel

Packing is the tricky part of traveling. If my recent trip to the East coast has taught me anything, it’s that you never really know what to expect with Mother Nature. An October trip should have been brisk and cool. Instead, I saw 90 degree heat waves with only booties and sweaters in my carry-on. It seems the only two trips you can count on average weather conditions is somewhere sunny and tropical or somewhere cold and snowy. I love winter travel. There’s something about the shorter days and getting to see a place at night all lit up after a long day. It’s also a great time to be indulgent because you won’t be showing that belly near sandy shores. So go ahead and get that second mug of hot cocoa. No one’s judging!

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5 Things to Do in Chicago This Holiday Season

It’s the most wonderful time to visit Chicago. Christmas in the city is nothing short of spectacular. The streets are lined with lit trees, decorations are everywhere, and there’s an undeniable spark in the air that you don’t get any other time of year. With so many things to do, I’ve put together five things not to miss this holiday season. I started this round up last year and it felt right to do it once again. With Christmas on the brain, why not?! Next week, I have two Christmas dinners with friends, one at the Walnut Room (pictures for sure coming) and one at Eataly because no one knows how to celebrate Christmas like the Italians...

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6 Cozy Spots Around Chicago

Colder weather calls for cozy get togethers. If there’s one thing Chicago knows how to do well (other than take advantage of summer), it’s survive winter and the colder months. We’re a social city! We like going out for brunch and meeting friends for a cocktail after work. Five months of bitter cold won’t keep us hibernating...well, not the entire time at least. We can appreciate a good occasional hibernation. For those colder months when the tips of your fingers start to turn blue and your nose goes numb, the cozier spot to meet up, the better. Cozy, by definition, means “enjoying or affording warmth and ease.” In my words, that translates to a fireplace, casual and/or comfortable seating arrangements like couches or comfy chairs, and a warm drink with alcohol optional…

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Where To Go For A Winter Wonderland Getaway

Winter only began less than one month ago. Isn’t that hard to believe? With almost three months left of the cold-weather season, it’s time to plan for a winter getaway. Everyone loves a beach but you can visit those any time of the year. Snow only falls during during one season making it a little more special. It’s hard to ignore how pretty everything is covered in pure white, glistening snow. Everything looks magical and nothing beats getting cozy at night in front of a fire with a warm blanket and cup of hot chocolate. Maybe I’m biased since winter tends to by my favorite time of year (almost tied with fall) but it’s hard to ignore the beauty of the season. If you’re itching to get away for a long weekend or something more, we’ve put together a list of spots to go for a winter getaway in North America.

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Banff, Canada
For those who love the outdoors, Banff is the perfect winter getaway. Located in Banff National Park, this small resort town features skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, snowboarding, and every other winter activity. There’s also hiking and fishing. For those who prefer to stay away from sports, there's plenty of shopping, dining and spas. Or stay in one of the gorgeous cabins and resorts to cozy up and catch up on reading. Not sold yet? Check out the city’s blog post on why you should visit in January.

[Photo via Pixabay User   Olichel  ]

[Photo via Pixabay User Olichel]

Black Hills, SD
Go off the grid for a true getaway in the Black Hills of South Dakota. This remote, isolated area is the perfect location to disconnect and unwind, especially after a crazy holiday season. The Black Hills are a snow-filled wonderland making it an ideal wintry escape. Close by are Mount Rushmore, the Badlands, and Devil’s Tower, all accessible year-round. Something tells me a photo of Mount Rushmore covered in snow is worth the escape.

Boston, MA
Boston is magical any time of year. The city’s age gives it a magical atmosphere making it perfect to visit no matter the season. Imagine the brick roads and cobblestone sidewalks covered in snow. The smoke coming out of old chimneys and the smell of baked goods wafting through the air. When the city glistens in the cold night, you’re taken back in time and nostalgia sinks in deep. The lights throughout the city are beautiful over the holiday season but if a January/February trip is in your future, it won’t be any less magical.

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Burlington, VT
Remember in White Christmas when they’re on the train talking about how it would nice to have a white Christmas in Vermont? It’s the snow capital of the world! Well, Burlington is no different. Plus it carries small town charm with an old world feel. For those who enjoy culture, dining, and entertainment, Burlington is the getaway for you. It’s a great town for a long weekend visit with cozy accommodations and beautiful views. The Boston Globe recently shared an article on five ways to enjoy the city. It’s a great read for a jump start on planning that weekend escape!

[Photo via Pixabay User  MariaMichelle ]

[Photo via Pixabay User MariaMichelle]

Door County, WI
There isn't one winter round-up that doesn't' include Door County. A winter wonderland of the Midwest, Door County is Wisconsin’s ultimate snow land with 15 different towns to visit. There’s something for everyone whether you’re looking for a kid-friendly, family getaway or a romantic escape for two. From light houses to wineries, forests and national parks to unique restaurants, Door County has it all. Catch a jazz concert or stay in with a cozy cup of hot cocoa in front of the fireplace. Get a taste of cherry pie with local fruit the area is known for. Go on a brewery or distillery crawl, see a variety of wild animals, and take a ride on a snowmobile. If there were ever a winter wonderland, Door County is it.

Galena, IL
Galena is a small city in the Northwestern corner of Illinois. The town rests on the border of Illinois and Iowa with only the Mississippi River dividing them. It’s a charming place to visit with plenty to do but you can tackle it all in a weekend. For a longer trip, venture out to close cities including Elizabeth, IL and Dubuque, IA. Enjoy skiing, sledding, and other winter sports as well as relaxing spa days and delicious meals.

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Hudson Valley, NY
The Hudson Valley is an expanse of counties and towns along either side of the Hudson River in upstate New York. The area is known for gorgeous views of nature, lots of history and an ever-growing food scene. Whether you’re visiting for a long weekend or planning an extended stay, there are plenty of small towns and national parks to explore. If you’re looking for a city escape, it’s also within driving distance of New York City. America’s oldest winery is located in the valley and the Appalachian Trail is one of the most popular hiking spots in New England. Want a taste of history? Visit one of the many old homes or estates for a trip back in time. With ten different counties to explore, there will be plenty to do now and even more to come back for.

Quebec City, Canada
For a European experience without the long flight, Quebec City is about as French as it gets in North America. The city is more than 400 years old so if you love historical destinations with a back-in-time feel, this is the spot for you. The city is known for a European experience but within minutes, outdoorsy types can find hiking, winter sports, and nature escapes. Visit some of North America’s oldest streets in Old Quebec. Take a day trip to Ile d’Orleans which is like stepping into the French countryside circa 18th century. Take a winter hike in the Jacques-Cartier National Park. Take photos of extraordinary views at the Chateau Frontenac. Wander through Place Royale for an afternoon of shopping and sightseeing. Quebec City and Montreal are two cities towards the top of my travel list I'd like to get to sooner rather than later.

Winter Park, Colorado
About 45 minutes outside of Denver is a small mountain town with plenty of charm and an abundance of privacy. My girlfriends and I visited last February for a long weekend getaway and it was a nice escape from regular city life. There are no words to describe the mountains. They’re magnificent and peaceful all in one. Leave the city on Sunday to take advantage of the Winter Park Express, a train that goes from Winter Park to Denver without any stops. The train travels through the mountains providing unbelievable views of the mountains and valleys. Winter Park is a ski town with lots of winter sports but if you’re like me and not as athletically inclined for sports that require balance, there’s also lots of restaurants, shops and spas to indulge in. Or, you could stay in with friends while taking advantage of the beautiful views from each window in the house.

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