Charleston wandering

Things are CRAZY in Irwinland right now. More details on that later. It’s all good, but a bit stressful. If I don’t go into preterm labor this month, I should be good to go for the rest of the pregnancy!

I just wanted to post some pictures from our Memorial Day weekend trip to South Carolina. We relaxed by the beach at Hilton Head for a couple days and then headed to Charleston. On our last day there, I walked around the city by myself while Will was at a deposition. I love the big city feel of Chicago, but I think Charleston might be my favorite city for wandering. There are gorgeous buildings and so much history around every corner.

IMG_0150 IMG_0151 IMG_0190 IMG_0160 IMG_0181 IMG_0184 IMG_0153 IMG_0159 IMG_0203 IMG_0154 IMG_0175 IMG_0186 IMG_0189 IMG_0193 IMG_0157 IMG_0162 IMG_0195 IMG_0178 IMG_0197 IMG_0177 IMG_0188 IMG_0199 IMG_0202 IMG_0164 IMG_0176 IMG_0183 IMG_0171 IMG_0185 IMG_0174See what I mean? Love it there.

I also love these guys, who we got to meet up with in Folly Beach:

SONY DSC SONY DSCI’m just trying to keep my head above water right now, but I promise more posts after the craziness of this month blows through!


I know this is starting to turn into some sort of travel blog, but guess what? I went somewhere else!

This time it was Milwaukee. Believe it or not, in all my years growing up in the Chicago area, I had never trekked an hour and a half north to this other majestic city by the lake. Yes, I said majestic. “Majestic Milwaukee.” Did I just come up with a fantastic new slogan? I think so. Call me, Milwaukee Board of Tourism.

Anyway, Laura (my good friend from college) moved from Chicago to Milwaukee a few months ago, so Megan (another good friend from college) and I decided it was high time we visited her.

It was a fantastic 24 hours full of catching up, catching the views at the Pfister Hotel, catching a comedy show at the Comedy Cafe, exchanging thumbs up with the Bronze Fonze (I ran out of “catching” phrases), walking around downtown, and ending with a delicious brunch at Trocadero.

I was really impressed by what I saw of Milwaukee, and as I told Laura in true Terminator fashion when we were leaving, “I’ll be back.”

IMG_0044IMG_0045IMG_0046SONY DSCIMG_0049IMG_0051IMG_0053And can we just acknowledge what an amazing hostess Laura is? Those adorably laid-out tooth-picked bananas and strawberries? So thoughtful.

Thanks for a great weekend Laura (and Milwaukee)!

Girls weekend in Nashville

A few weekends ago, I jetted off to Nashville with Emily, Megan and Sarah for a long weekend of eating, drinking and country music.

Full disclosure: I am NOT a fan of country music. Not even the Taylor Swift variety. But I was pleased to discover that many of the bands in Nashville actually play a lot of classic rock–which I love! They also played some song called Wagon Wheel approximately every 10 minutes. No joke. It’s still in my head.

Despite my lack of enthusiasm for the honky-tonk lifestyle (I do not think your tractor’s sexy), I am never one to turn down the opportunity for a vacation, especially a girls trip!

We were all looking forward to some warmer weather, and I guess we’re just going to have to wait until summer for that. We arrived in Nashville to snow and 30-degree temps, but did we let that get us down? Noooo! We hit the bar and warmed up with a few mimosas, and all was well with the world.

The rest of the weekend was spent in the bars on Broadway listening to live bands and eating delicious meals at places like Puckett’s, Noshville, Merchant’s and Pancake Pantry. We also made stops for ice cream and candy because LAY OFF ME, I’M ON VACATION.



Also, I convinced Megan to wear her purse as a backpack. And let me take a picture of it.


It was a great time, and I would recommend Nashville as a destination for anyone who is looking to plan a fun weekend with the girls.

And if you actually like country music, you may never want to leave.

New Orleans

It’s been a big month for New Orleans. First the Superbowl, then Mardis Gras and then… the Irwins!



Two weekends ago, Will and I were strolling through the French Quarter, debating the difference between Cajun and Creole (does anyone know??) and popping into random bars for a drink while the upbeat notes of New Orleans jazz floated out of the clubs as we passed by.

The Big Easy did not disappoint. I was also impressed by the massive southern estates in the Garden District and the National WWII Museum, where we ended up spending the better part of a day.

Besides the obligatory stop at Cafe du Monde for cafe au lait and beignets, we also exercised our taste buds at Stanley, Lilette, Cochon Butcher, Sucre, Napoleon House, The Ruby Slipper Cafe and Domenica.

Eating, drinking and walking = a true Irwin vacation.


Guess what? The next installment of “Carlie and Will Travel the World” (that’s what I’m calling this period in our lives) has been booked.

We’re going to New Orleans!

I’ve never been there before and CAN’T WAIT to eat beignets, stroll through the pretty streets and watch Will eat seafood (while I eat other delicious things that are not of an aquatic nature because gross.)

I’m planning this pretty last-minute, so if anyone has recommendations for things to do or places to eat, bring ’em on!

Speaking of trips, I thought I’d post some photos from our Ft. Lauderdale vacation in December.

Warning: Living in a cold climate while viewing these photos may result in feelings of sadness, jealousy, longing and hating of where you live. Rest assured, these feelings are normal. But Punxsatawney Phil predicted on early spring on Saturday…so there’s that!


The lost photos: Rockport 2012

As I mentioned in my last post, a few months ago, my computer decided to refuse to let me upload photos… or anything for that matter.

At that point, I’d had the thing for over 6 years. And although it had been good to me (Apple forever!), it was high time we parted ways.

I’m now writing this post on a beautiful new MacBook Pro. You’d be amazed how much more fun typing is when the keys are all brand new and click-y!

But just because I wasn’t able to upload photos doesn’t mean I wasn’t taking them. And so… here is the first installment of the “lost photos” from the end of last year, highlighting our trip to Rockport (and Gloucester), Massachusetts. Probably my favorite place on earth. Or at least in the continental U.S.


Check out my posts about my Rockport trip last year here and here.



Waaay back in September…

We went to New York! And here’s a s#!tload of pictures:

It was a fantastic time. Even though it’s completely after the fact, I wanted to share these photos and some information about the places we went and what we did in case you’re planning on visiting this great city in the near future.

We stayed at the Carlton Hotel, which was really nice. Our room was tiny, but I think that’s par for the course in New York. We were right down the street from Madison Square Park, where we ate lunch at Shake Shack one day (YUM) and enjoyed paninis from Eataly (YUM again) another day. (One quick note about Eataly–they are planning on opening one in Chicago where ESPNZone used to be–I support this.)

We mostly wandered around the city, making stops at landmarks like Times Square, Central Park, MoMA and the Brooklyn Bridge. We also did a little shopping at stores we don’t have here in Chicago like Uniqlo and C. Wonder.

We visited the 9/11 memorial, which was actually really pretty and soothing–a fitting place to reflect on what happened there. Seeing all of the names etched on the memorial was a bit of a reality check, and we’re hoping to go back in the future once the museum is open.

And if you’re really interested, below is a quick list of other places we went. I’m hoping none of them sustained too much damage from Sandy last week.

Casellula Cheese and Wine Cafe–tiny adorable place, best mac & cheese I’ve had in a long time!

The Press Lounge–rooftop bar, not too pretentious, great views

Cafe Cluny–delicious food, romantic atmosphere

The Rusty Knot–super casual, nautical-themed bar right across from the river

Milk Bar–GO THERE. Get the crack pie. It’s called that for a reason.

Lupa–Mario Batali restaurant, amazing pork shoulder and pasta

The Spotted Pig–fun West Village bar/restaurant (also a Batali joint)

So those “I heart NY” shirts you see people wearing all over the place? I get it now.


Sorry for the impromptu blogging hiatus recently. I needed to focus on work, and blah blah blah other boring excuses that you don’t care about.

Let’s ease into the week, shall we? Here are some nice, soothing, beautiful scenes from the last stop on our Italy trip–Venice! That’s right, I’m finally done posting about our Italy trip, only four months later. It’s been fun re-living it, but I think it’s time we all move on.

Venice (as you can see) was full of winding streets, canals, bridges, and old buildings. It was absolutely charming and confusing as hell. We totes got lost. (Let the record show that I am not endorsing the use of the word “totes.” The people I work with right now talk in abbrevs 24/7 and it’s rubbing off on me. Unfortch, I know.)

Pretty much all we did in Venice was walk around, eat and drink. It was lovely. And we experienced the ultimate Venetian cliche: a gondola ride! After they stamped the word “tourist” on our foreheads, we sat back and watched the pretty city floating by us. So relaxing. If my eyeballs weren’t so busy darting from one scenic view to another, I probably would have fallen asleep.

Our gondolier was so over this. (Kidding, he was actually quite accommodating.)

I guess masks are a thing in Venice? They were everywhere and freaked me out.

Four sangrias for the price of two!

So now that I’m done posting about that trip, stay tuned for a post about our most recent trip to New York… coming soon!

The rest of my Italy posts are here:

New York via Instagram

Well, our NYC trip has come and gone. And it was a success! We walked all over the island of Manhattan, plus a little of Brooklyn too. My feet are in full-on recovery mode.

I took some photos with our good camera, but here are some Instagram pics for you to peruse until I get around to posting the real ones. As you can see, much of the weekend involved eating. In other words, it was the perfect trip!


Yes, I am still posting photos from our Italy trip, which took place approximately 3 months ago.

Two more cities to go. Stay with me!

Next up: Florence!

Out of the cities we went to, I think Florence can be most easily compared to Rome. It’s a smaller city and doesn’t have all of the ruins, but it was really beautiful. If I had to rank them, I might say I liked Florence just a smidge better than Rome.

The first major landmark we came across when we arrived in Florence was the Duomo.

I think I saw the whole thing through the screen on my camera because I couldn’t put it down the entire time we were there. The Duomo is quite photogenic (wish I could say the same about myself). Every angle was prettier than the next.

The rest of Florence was just as impressive and probably my favorite city to just stroll around, taking in the views.

We went up to the Piazalle Michelangelo, where the views totally justified the amount of steps we had to climb to get there.

We stayed at the Residenza dell’Orafo, and they left us this little treat while we were out during the day.

Score! (Except the orange drink was actually kind of gross.)

The second day we were in Florence, we wandered around Boboli Gardens and took a tour of a Medici castle.

We also saw the David, which was more amazing than I was expecting. It’s huge! (No, I’m not referring to any specific part of him when I say that. The whole thing. Is huge.) But alas, David’s a bit camera shy. No photos allowed.

And finally, we obviously had to make time to sample the amazing food and wine Florence had to offer. We were in Tuscany, after all!

Ok, so now I only have one more city left to share in our whirlwind tour of Italy. Venice is last but not least! Stay tuned for that.

And here are the links to my other Italy posts if you need to catch up: