Thursday, 4 December 2014

Surviving Chicago in winter - or lumpy dressing for the northern hemisphere :)

Woohoo, it is happening! As I write this, I am sitting in Chicago and I am freezing! It's below zero, quite a lot if you include windchill. I am assuming you get acclimatised to the cold, because a lot of people are walking around just dressed warmly but normally and don't appear to be tearing up because their face is freezing and their ears, I am visualising 30 degree heat back home and returning to a land of t shirts all year round.

So this trip is for work, we attend a big radiology congress for my company and it's held in Chicago at the same time every year.  Unfortunately, as much as everyone kept saying 'Have a fun trip!' before I left, in reality, it's a long flight, I am at the conference every day and then we fly straight home on Saturday so it's not really a holiday and there's not much time for sightseeing. However, it's still lovely to go and see a different part of the world, especially as it's preparing for a proper white Christmas.

Getting away from work is always tricky and, despite my best efforts, I always seem to end up packing the night before, which goes like this:
That suitcase is going to look super packed once I finish this...
In the end, I packed:

- lots of sweaters/knits
- three pairs of pants (jeans and my Country Road black technical pants, super warm and comfy)
- tights to go under pants and tank tops to go under sweaters
- a pair of black ankle boots and a pair of black patent pointed toe pumps
- exercise gear including trainers, jammies, a couple of t shirts
- one dress
- one very large black shearling coat

Which looked like this:

I woke up early for the flight out of sheer nerves mostly and tried to settle them with a good healthy proper breakfast (my grandad would be so proud of me)...

Breakfast of jet-setting champions
The challenge in going from southern hemisphere to northern hemisphere at peak seasons is you leave in 30 degrees and arrive in snow. I ended up deciding to carry my shearling on the plane, while wearing a more warm-climate suitable white t-shirt and jeans with my lovely new boots for the flight. I accessorised with a navy Hermes scarf and took my trust Chloe tote:

We boarded Qantas business class headed for LA, drank a celebratory champagne on boarding, had a couple of glasses of red with the splendid lunch they provided, then popped on Bose noise-cancelling headphones and watched a bit of Underworld on my iPad mini before sleeping.

So far, this post makes me look quite the drinker...oh well...

On arrival in LA, we had a 3 hour connection which gave us plenty of time to collect bags, negotiate customs/immigration, drop off bags again and proceed to the AA Admirals Club lounge for a brief recheck of Viber on the free wifi before heading off for the connecting flight to Chicago.  It has to be said, first class American Airlines is NOT the same as Qantas business class.  Not. Even. Close.  But I was happy enough that everything was on time and we flew into Chicago around 3pm on Saturday afternoon.

At this point, we had been awake for around 24 hours so we obviously wasted no time checking into the hotel, showering, unpacking then collapsing into bed.

On Sunday, the weather was comparatively warm and so we ended up walking for about 40 minutes to the McCormack Centre to register for the conference.  I did a fairly extensive tour through the technical exhibits halls before a lecture, then headed back to the hotel to drop off conference papers. Then we headed out to eat this amazingness at Acanto:

On that first day, it was about 11 degrees, so I was comfortable enough to go out without a coat and just a jumper, pants, well layered with tights and singlets etc plus a scarf and gloves:

Since then however, the weather has gotten quite cold and bitter, with the windchill taking temperatures well below freezing. It's been fascinating for me, as a warm-weather resident, to work out how best to put an outfit together driven solely by comfort.  It's also one of those things unique to when you're traveling that you have to get by with very little choice in how you dress on any particular day - you only have one bag, two or three pairs of shoes etc. Mostly my traveling wardrobe seems to have worked out well - I'm a bit lumpier than I usually would like but that's ok as long as I've been warm:

Jumper: Maxmara
Pants: Country Road
Boots: Guiseppe Zanotti
Bag Chloe

Jumper: Maxmara
Jeans: JBrand
Boots: Guiseppe Zanotti
Bag: Chloe
We've mostly been working but there has been time to head out into the cold and take some pretty shots of the city as it comes into the Christmas season:

Biggest coat ever...

I hope everyone is having great weeks, whatever the temperature where you are :) xo

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