Craving a Weekend Getaway

{A Cute, Travel-Themed Kate Spade Ad}

This year has been crazy busy and at times, rather hectic, so now that we are more than half way through 2011, I am desperately craving a weekend getaway! I am still hoping for a trip back to London or Spain in the fall in honor of my 30th birthday, but I would love to get away, if only for a couple of nights before then. Sometimes, we just need a change of scenery and a break from our day to day responsibilities in order to reboot and recharge. I always feel so refreshed and energized creatively after a vacation.

{The Posh Rooftop at the London West Hollywood Hotel}

Luckily, American Express has given me 150,000 Membership Rewards Points and the opportunity to craft my own, little weekend getaway using those points! Membership Rewards can be redeemed for so many things, the points never expire, and anyone with an American Express card is eligible for the program. The points can be applied towards airfare on 20 major airlines, hotel stays, cruise and rail tickets, vacation packages, and car rentals. With so many options, I  need your help in picking a vacation. I can transfer points to fly with Continental Airlines, which is my preferred airline. It will take anywhere from 25,000-50,000 points each for airfare for my husband and I, depending on the flights we select. The remaining balance will be used for a hotel stay which starts around 18,000 points per night, so we can definitely craft a nice, long weekend.

{The Famous “Vegas Strip”}

While the possibilities are endless, we’ve narrowed our getaway down to three options. Our first option is Southern California- either Los Angeles or Orange County. I’ve been to Los Angeles a lot while working on High Gloss, but I do love it and I love Newport Beach and Laguna Beach even more. My husband has never been there and I’d love to experience it with him. It might be nice to enjoy the weather and a relatively laidback trip. Our second option is to go to Las Vegas. Neither of us has ever really had a big interest in going since we’re not gamblers or big club-goers, but we’re thinking it would be a lot of fun to go for a couple of days, enjoy some of the great restaurants and take in a few shows. Lastly, we’re considering Chicago, another city we haven’t yet visited. We’ve heard amazing things about how beautiful Chicago is and about it’s amazing food scene.

{Chicago’s Beautiful Skyline}

I would really appreciate your help in choosing a destination for our American Express Membership Rewards weekend getaway. Is there anything in particular that you would recommend about any one of these destinations? Would you steer me in any particular direction? I can’t wait to hear your feedback and am so excited to finally get away for a few days!

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  1. Oh, but Laguna has turquoise water coves along the shore, that cannot be found anywhere else in the U.S.

    You can order a Sunday brunch-bento box-surprise at Sapphire, and experience a roof top rendezvous with all those past life, party ghosts at Casa Camino.


  2. I’ve never been to LA or Vegas, but I have been to Chicago numerous times and I love it there. The waterfront is beautiful, especially Millenium Park. If you’re interested in shopping, most people stick to Michigan Ave but there are actually better and more affordable clothes on State St. south of Lake. Which is also close to Marshall Field’s (I know it’s Macy’s now, but it’ll always be Marshall Field’s to me). As for food, there are definitely plenty of restaurants scattered all through downtown, but Rush northwest of Water Tower Place is well known for being the place to go. There are a ton of restaurants and bars, it’s very young and trendy. Hope this helps!

  3. I would have to say Laguna if you are looking to really relax, however it is high tourist season… As is everywhere right now. The other two have better restaurant options, but I’m not a Vegas fan. Haven’t been to Chicago. Sounds like you have lots of options, I’m just partial to relaxing in Laguna-I could see you guys recharging at the Montage 🙂

  4. Chicago is such an amazing city! The food, museums, Architecture, shores of Lake Michigan, music and arts….You can experience it all! If you time it right, you can indulge your senses at Alinea and take in all the goodness of the Randolph Street Market Festival!

  5. Girl, you are blogging alot about getting away – I think it’s high time! 🙂

    I am WITH you on Vegas. My hubs and I arent into gambling and my 29 year old self can barely handle the clubs anymore, but we’ve been 3 times in the last 18 mon. for various events and the food/restaurant scene never dissapoints. If for only that, it’s worth it! Good luck!

  6. Really tough call. I love Laguna/Newport and it’s SO chill there. I went a few months ago, but I think you should go to either Vegas or Chicago since you and your hub have never been. Vegas is a ton of fun. I’m not a gambler either. My hub and I went in March and had a GREAT time. Fabulous restaurants, shopping is TDF, and shows! Chicago is a great town as well – amazing restaurants and shopping. I guess I don’t have an official vote other than I think it’s fun to experience vaca spots together for the first time. Have a wonderful trip, whereever you choose!

  7. Chicago is lovely this time of year and you can always have hubby join you on a future business trip- just extend your stay and you only have to pay for one airfare. I loved Chicago so much after visiting that I had my bachelorette there four years ago! We stayed at the Amalfi just off Michigan Ave. and right in downtown. The shore there is magnificent (no pun intended) and it’s the perfect beach/city combo trip in the summer. I love Vegas, but I do gamble and to be honest, I’m a little over it (more fun with the girls!) Have fun where ever you go!

  8. I’m super excited about all this Chicago love! I live there and tell everyone they must experience summertime Chi! Lake Michigan is a blast, shopping is fun, and the food scene is to die. Not to mention the people are super friendly and you can have anything from an ultra glam night on the town, to a relaxing picnic in Millenium Park. A good number of museums too!

    I did just get back from OC/Newport though and that was a spectacular weekend getaway…

    Your options are all fab- you can’t choose wrong! Have fun 🙂

  9. Paloma I adore Southern Californa, and lived in San Diego 13 yrs, so Laguna is wonderful in my mind, we would always take long weekends up there!

    Art by Karena

  10. Hi Paloma – if you go to Chicago and want restaurant recommendations, I have a running list I’ve been collecting for the last few months!

  11. Come visit us in Chicago. Weather hasn’t been too warm this summer. The Elysian is a lovely place to stay – off some of the chaos of Mich. Ave. Try getting tickets to Next — it’s worth the laborious online process.

  12. Hi Paloma! I am a Houston girl born and raised, now my husband and I live in Chicago and we love it!

    Chicago is like a clean NYC! Amazing food, shopping, shows and sight seeing. The lakeshore with the magnificent skyline as a backdrop is just breathtaking.

    We have never really cherished every minute of summer as we do here. We spend our weekends at farmer’s markets, street fairs, ball games, and music & dance festivals.

    My favorite thing about Chicago summers is all the FREE activities. There are free yoga, pilates and zumba classes in Millennium Park. The Grant Park Music Festival, we are going to see Spanish Guitar Music tomorrow, showcases classical musicians from around the world and there is even free Dancing in the park – a dance lesson followed by hours of live music to dance to.

    This was long- but I really wanted to give you a glimpse into what an amazing city Chicago is.

    From One Texas Gal to another-Hope to see you soon!
    Lisa Alvarado

  13. Chicago is fabulous this time of year. It’s warm and sunny and Lake Michigan is a beautiful turquoise blue. So much to do and see. Beautiful parks and beaches, upscale shopping on Michigan Ave and The Gold Coast. The architecture is unlike any other city and truly amazing. The list of gourmet restaurants and world class hotels are endless. Oh, if you have time after all the shopping, eating, and sightseeing, you must take in the Merchandise Mart.

  14. I have to agree with the Chicago comments, but then I’m also biased to Chicago living here…but really if you’ve never been, late summer is a lovely time to come. And the food really is amazing. Also, if you’re just going to take a few days it’s not too overwhelming to hit some of the main things (though there’s plenty to do for a longer trip too!)

    Enjoy wherever you select!
    Ann Marie

  15. Another thing about chicago is the many yacht and boat rides off the navy pier. Take a skyline tour boat ride thru the river at night. From the river you can see the Merchandise Mart (a ginormous Design lovers paradise that has it’s own zip code because it’s so large. The college I graduated from took design students there on field trips). Also go to the observation decks on the Sears tower and Hancock bldgs. I’ve done both. Incredible views. To the the best came from the Hancock bldg even though it’s not as tall as the Sears tower. And as mentioned before, Michigan Ave to shop till you drop!

  16. If it’s anytime in July or August I would say no to Vegas. I like about an hour from Vegas and it is HOT this time of year. I mean really really HOT! Come visit us from late fall to early summer but not mid summer or you will be miserable. Trust me. I don’t know how I live here. Whatever you choose I hope you have a marvelous time!