Earlier this week I traveled up to Chicago to attend the Whole30 Slow Cooker Book Tour. I had never been to any time of book release event so wasn't sure what to expect but when I found out that the tour was stopping in Chicago which is just a few hours away, I knew I had to make it happen.

My mom traveled with me and we made a little Chitown trip out of it having fun playing tourist for a couple of days. Because the event was held at Everybody's Coffee in the Uptown neighborhood, I booked us a hotel in Wriglevyille to put us a little bit closer to the event. We stayed at a brand new, like three weeks new, luxury boutique hotel in Wrigley called The Wheelhouse Hotel. It's pretty small at just 21 rooms but it is really unique with a total baseball theme weaved throughout the entire hotel.

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We stayed in the Queen's Terrace Suite that came with a queen bed and twin bunk beds. Don't be fooled by the word 'suite' as the room was pretty small but it was perfect for mom and I. It would also be perfect for a small family as I know my kiddos would have loved the bunk beds. I actually slept in the bottom bunk and it was super cozy and comfortable. The room also had a walkout terrace that in the summertime would be awesome to relax outside before or after a Cubs game. The hotel also has an onsite restaurant that looked really neat but was actually closed the day of the week we were there #bummer. If you're looking for something different the next time you find yourself in Wrigleyville, definitely check out The Wheelhouse Hotel. The rates were decent for the area, at least this time of year in the off-season, and it's right there in the hustle and bustle of Wrigley just a couple of blocks from the field.

As for the Whole30 slow cooker book tour itself, it was awesome. So fun. I loved it! Like I said, I had never been to anything like this so really had no idea what it would entail. It was held at a coffeeshop, Everybody's Coffee, so I wasn't quite sure how that would work but this coffeshop had a huge banquet space in which the event was held. The evening started with samples from Whole30 approved partners Chomps and Vital Proteins. After that, Melissa Hartwig, Whole30 Headmistress and co-founder, took the stage with Teri Turner from No Crumbs left. Teri took the moderator role 'interviewing' Melissa before opening it up to a brief Q & A. Following the dialouge, Melissa did a cookbook signing where I got to meet her in person. We briefly talked about meditation, the #mindright idea coined by TMAC Fitness and how it makes us feel relaxed and ready to begin our day after a workout.

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Melissa was just like I expected and very nice. If you have ever seen her on Instagram stories, she is very much the same as you see her there. During the 'interview' she said a few things that really resonated and I loved. She talked about 'just being me' and 'when I'm just being me, I can't get that wrong". There is no need to apologize for being you. I thought that was awesome. Another insight was making sure that 'your cup is full before everyone else'. Serve yourself before you serve others because if you aren't taking care of yourself and 'filling your cup', how can you expect to be able to do the same for others. This act of self-love is so empowering.

I left the evening feeling energized and so glad to have found a place in the Whole30 community. Whole30 has done amazing things for me in terms of my mental health and person well being and I am so excited for my journey as I continue to find #myfoodfreedom balance. Not to mention, slow cooker recipes are my jam and now I have an entire cookbook filled with them. #SoupSunday recipes for days plus tons others!

Beyond our hotel and the book tour, mom and I had fun doing a little sightseeing and playing tourist in Chicago. Wrigleyville was a nice quiet place to be given the Cubs were no longer playing. I had never been there when it was so peaceful; it was actually quite pleasant to be there not fighting for space in the bar/restaurant/on the street.

We had lunch at The Smoke Daddy across from Wrigley Field and then a late dinner post book tour at Mordecai at the Hotel Zachary. Both meals were quite delicious and like I said, nice and quiet given the season we were visiting.

The morning after the book tour, I got myself up early and headed over to CrossTown Fitness for a full-body workout to get the day going. Continuing my goal of working out local, I did a little research in advance and found this place just a half mile from the Wheelhouse Hotel. The class was a partner workout alternating cardio on the treadmill or rower with AMRAP's using weights, abs, and agility drills. It was an intense and challenging workout but also fun. For those that know the Apple Watch, my move goal for the day was at 112% when I left the gym to walk back to my hotel. Talk about a great workout. Everyone at the gym was so welcoming making me feel like a part of the group from the start. Me one or two years ago would have never done anything like this, would have been too intimdated or afraid to step out of my normal routine, but now I crave it and love nothing more.

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After checking out of our hotel, we headed back towards downtown Chicago to explore for the day before our Amtrak ride home later that afternoon. It was quite fun to have all day with no set plans and be able to do whatever we wanted.

We started our morning with coffee at Eataly (their coffee is soo good), did a little shopping on Michigan Avenue, ate an amazing lunch at Beatrix, stopped for an afternoon cocktail and dessert at Sienna Tavern and then ended at up Flight Club for a few rounds of darts before it was time to board our train. Mom and I are not darts players, in fact, we had never really played any actual dart games much before. I'm telling you, we had a blast at Flight Club! It's a social dart club (who knew that was even a thing!) where you pay by the half hour/hour and can play as many games as you want. They serve food and drinks and with a push of a button you can page you server for anything you want to order. It was the most unexpected stop of the dayn and might have been the most fun!

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It was a great trip. So fun to spend a little quality time with mom, visit one of my favorite cities, attend the Whole30 book tour, meet Melissa Hartwig and have some amazing food, drinks and shopping in between.