Getting the Band Back Together

With the pandemic coming closer to an end and lots of us getting vaccinated, it was about time to get the band back together. A few weeks back my bff, Jessica, put out the call and was able to get 6 of us to commit to a Saturday night. The evening’s activities surrounded a popup art exhibit called Womanish (wearewomanish.com). Basically, they took over an old retail space in the loop for this temporary exhibit – I think it was formally a 4 story Express store. 

Within no time, someone had selected a hotel a few blocks from the exhibit and quickly we had 3 rooms. I was assigned the task of getting dinner reservations. Sounded easy enough. However, that part of the city is more of an office district, so lots of the best places are closed on the weekends. That issue along with recent pandemic closings, left us with slim pickings – at least if we wanted something walking distance. Then, I remembered this awesome looking place right on the river (www.beatnikontheriver.com). It was a bit further away than we wanted, but the gang was all in, cuz it looked awesome. Unfortunately, I forgot to check the most important detail – if they had reservations available. We ended up at a place called the Roanoke (www.theroanokerestaurant.com) – not as interesting as Beatnix, but certainly upscale enough for the intended evening. 

Now, let’s get to the important part – what to wear. Being May, I figured it would be warm enough to wear the red spaghetti strap dress I had gotten from Nordstrom’s – 50% off mind you – back in January. Also, thought I would match the red dress with a pair of nude strappy heels that I got on Black Friday (wow, that was back in November). But, that was just one of many options. I was planning to narrow the options down a bit on the Thursday before, by throwing on some hip pads at home and trying some things on to see what felt right. Thursday was the day to do it because that’s the only day of the week that both my kids are at in-person school. Of course, life got in the way and my outfit test session never materialized. So, I ended up throwing way too many options in my suitcase and would just need to figure it out on the day of.

On the day of, I was out of the house relatively early, dropped my bags at the hotel and headed to the nail salon for an 11:30 appointment. I could have found a salon in the loop, but decided to go to Polish & Nail, which was a train ride up to the north side. It was well worth the extra ride because it’s always nice visit with those friendly ladies. This month was a bit special because I was also getting a pedicure, due to the possibility of wearing open toe shoes. Being a Saturday morning, they were kinda busy and with the addition of the pedicure, I didn’t get back to the hotel until after 2pm. 

Getting back late meant that I wouldn’t have time for any afternoon shopping. That was fine, because I needed the extra time to figure out my outfit. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t agreeable to the spaghetti strap dress and open toe shoes – it was kinda cold and rainy on my trip to and back from the nail salon. I still wanted something with a spring feel, but a bit warmer. So, I decided to go with my leaf print salmon dress from Ann Taylor. It’s a nice spring color and has a bottom ruffle that makes it extra fun. I was trying to get the new version of my chestnut wig to work out with my pink Mary Jane heels, but it just wasn’t feeling right. Which was odd, cuz it was a super cute combo a few months back. I tried some other wigs – including the one I wore last time with that combo – but it still wasn’t feeling right. So, I decided to try the black Mary Jane heels, which instantly pulled everything together – matching with the black leaves of the dress, the black jacket and black/nude purse. I think the pink heels worked better last time because I had bright pink nails that day. It’s weird how such a small change can throw everything off. 

Just as my outfit was coming together, I got a text from Jessica asking how things were going. In my room, Danielle was still in the throws of makeup, so I figured I would visit Jes and Claudia in their room, which by coincidence was on the same floor. I happened to bring my brush and hairspray in my purse, so I ended up doing some last minute styling with them, which felt natural because I usually share a rooms with those two – although I felt a bit guilty for kinda abandoning Danielle. Turns out Belinda was in the room just across the hall, so I knocked on the door to see how she was coming along. She was about 5 minutes from being ready, just needed to put in contacts. Our 6th, Laura, was meeting us at the restaurant and since Danielle and Claudia were still getting ready, the rest of us headed off to the restaurant, so she wouldn’t be waiting alone. Of course, before that early party headed out, I was back and forth in all three rooms, cuz Jes needed some of my makeup setting spray and my usual last minute details of forgotten items in my room. 

The walk to the restaurant was pleasant. Not too cold, but a bit desolate, at least compared to the River North part of town. The restaurant and the food were better than I expected and of course the conversation was robust with lots of joking around. Belinda was especially cheeky, which is a side of her that I had not seen before. After dinner we made the short walk over to the Womanish exhibit on State Street. The temperature was mild, but the humidity had kicked up a notch – making me think I would have been fine in the red dress. The exhibit was tons of fun, with ample opportunities for selfies and group pics. It was actually kinda designed for that sort of thing with lots of fun displays and most importantly lots of good lighting. On the minus side, I thought it would have had a deeper more thought provoking theme. But, it was actually kinda nice that it was more lighthearted, which kinda fit with the mood of the evening. 

After the exhibit we headed to a rooftop bar called the Plymouth. The entrance is on a desolate street, Plymouth street, that looks a bit sketchy. There was 6 of us, so our safety was not really a concern. In any case, emerging from the elevator we found a lively crowd and luckily found a couple tables we pushed together to hold the 6 of us. The music was good, although a bit loud for us old broads, but that made less of a difference as we got a few more drinks in us. After we closed the bar at midnight, we headed back to the room, where Jes opened some wine. Danielle pulled out a bottle of Absolute and some boxed juice which is exactly up my ally – probably not a good thing for that time of night. Part of the conversation was my aspirations to get back to doing burlesque. I’ve recently selected some songs that I’d like to figure out some choreography for, so I took over the Bluetooth on Danielle’s speaker to get some feedback from the group.

Due to my recent obsession with Ezra Furman these are my top two choices at the moment: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Tdo5H1rDhgQ as well as this one https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=I88L-VdKyJs The consensus was that maybe I was being a bit too ambitious and should consider something more traditional to gain some more experience (something like this https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=CwtiDaeHl2M). After that, Danielle said that I should be the DJ for the evening, which was fine by me, cuz I’ve always got plenty of music to share. 

I would have preferred to sleep at the hotel that night, but need to be home in the morning. We were in the Jes/Claudia room, but I wanted to hang around longer, so I decided to go get my nail polish remover and makeup wipes and do my initial deconstruction with them. It was a good plan, except for the eventual walk back to my room, which was basically a dude head in a dress and carrying my wig. Luckily it was late enough that I didn’t run into anyone in the hallway – not that would have cared if I did. 

All and all, it was a great night – lots of catching up with friends and tons of joking and general good times. In the end, it’s less about the dresses, makeup and fancy dinners and more about hanging out with great friends.

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