Renegade Craft Fair + Chicago (finally!) / by jen geigley


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A little over a week ago, I met up with three friends in Chicago for the Renegade Craft Fair.

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Well, and to just hang out.

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We hooked up downtown and spent three fantastic days walking, taking pics, shopping, taking in the sights and catching up with each other.

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So here is our Chicago photo album ... photos from four girls on four cameras. Patty. Danielle. Mandi. And me.

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I attempted to give credit where credit was due for the photos I'm using here, but it was kind of hard to keep them all straight. Especially since we all used each others' cameras the whole time. That's just how you roll when you're with your camera-happy pals.

We started off with Friday afternoon beverages on Oak Street Beach.

Which could be easily confused with a beach somewhere in Cali or Florida. We felt totally transported, in a good way.

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We made Danielle re-enact her double-up margaritas from our previous trip.

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And we hung with our host for the weekend, Matt, who so kindly let us take over his fab downtown condo for a few days. He was such a good sport, putting up with our constant picture-taking, girl talk, sleeping bags and flat irons. He even tried to explain scrapbooking to his guy friends. (Which went something like this ... "they make ... uh, layouts. Some are like this, and some are like this. You know, like mixed media?")

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But of course, our main goal and mission for this trip was to spend the day at Renegade. And WOW, were we surprised at how huge it was. We spent an entire day there and still didn't see everything.

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It was handmade heaven.

Screen-printed everything, letterpress, hand-sewn kids' clothes, t-shirts, handspun yarn, jewelry, fabric, art, paper goods.

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I honestly wanted to put up my own tent and just live there for the weekend.

We met up with our friends Martha and Sarah for lunch.

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And hung out with them for most of the afternoon. It was so great to see them both.

We had to stop for this cute girl's free photo booth. (How awesome is that?)

And we scoped out a couple of gifties for our two of our besties who couldn't make the trip to Chicago.

It was a hot, steamy day, and while most of us were all kind of hoping for cool fall-ish weather (so we could wear boots, of course) we really couldn't complain. So happy for no rain.

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Here are all the tents lined up on Division in Wicker Park.

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And the Renegade store. It was such a nice area with lots of caf├ęs, coffee and spots to grab a bite to eat.

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Danielle, Mandi and me. All smiles, obviously.

We stopped to check out the RVA booth, and Sarah chatted with Jeremy. He was really sweet and nice.

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And we met Elsie, and chatted with her a tiny bit too.

But I really had my eye on the yarn most of the day. Hand dyed, hand-spun ... drool. I don't think I saw it all, but I had to come home with at least one skein. I picked up the one in this pic on the far right. Can't wait to make something cool with it.

And I adored this little tent (I think it was run by a Waldorf school) where little ones could sit down to knit, or even learn how. How sweet is that?

The whole day was filled with smiles. How can you not when you're surrounded by so much handmade awesomeness?

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And yetis. Patty picked up this guy and he began making appearances in lots of our photos. He liked my hair.

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Rarrr, Chicago.

One of our favorites and our bests from the trip was just hanging out on the terrace (we had a fantastic view.)

As you can see.

So we ended up hanging out there a lot. (Well, and watching The Soup, Real Housewives, Kardashian trash tv and Sons of Anarchy.)

We let our hair down.

We pretended that we were in Pantene commercials.

We laughed. Hard.

We danced like robots and sang and made up words. And then we sang songs about the made up words.

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And we took full advantage of our perfectly beautiful nighttime view, too. A few cocktails and many laughs were had here.

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This pretty girl is honestly so much fun. Mandi and I shared some good talks. And I raised a little hell with Patty, running to the 7Eleven and jumping around singing the only two lines to the theme song to 'Fame' that I know.

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We Skyped our internet BFFs Sandy and Vanessa and wished that they could have been there with us every minute. We know we all look a little over-animated here, but we were honestly so happy to talk with our pals.

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We hit up a few downtown restaurants/bars for dinner and drinks.

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Like the Blue Agave. Conveniently labeled here for me on the menu.

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Canton and Philly. (Well technically, Danielle is Mexico City.)

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Long Island and Des Moines.

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Ohio and Iowa. Ohiowa. Do they grow potatoes there? No, that's Idaho.

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Our last night there, we ate here.

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This is Mandi and I waiting to be seated. And we're looking pretty tough, although I think that might just be the look of hunger.

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More waiting on the steps.

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We were all wearing blue and yellow. How none of us noticed this that night is beyond me. Like, we really matched way too much.

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But we definitely enjoyed our awesome deep dish pizzas.

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And that was my good-bye to Chicago for awhile. I was the first to leave (again!) and was on my way back to Des Moines in the morning. Camera card full and a big smile on my face.