Tag Archives: Chicago

Thank you Mr. & Mrs. Minneci

This week’s theme has clearly been about Chicago and I’m going to kind of keep that going.  The main event for our second trip to Illinois was to attend a wedding of a dear friend of mine.  Oddly enough our friendship started by me cyber stalking his blog after judging a hysterical class project he was a part of during my stint working at a college.  Who would have thought that about 5 years later that we would still laugh about that.  We’ve been connected through various paid and unpaid jobs over the years.  The more I’ve gotten to know him and his family the easier it has been to declare the Minneci’s as kind of a big deal.

As long as I’ve known John he’s told me stories of how wonderful Champaign, Illinois is.  I’ve learned about his time working at the Custard Cup, the fact that you can reach your hand into the stomach of a live cow at the fair, and that overall it is his dream city to return to one day.  After failed attempts to make it to Chicago over the years, I wasn’t sure how I would ever get to Champaign to see what John’s been talking about all these years.

John proposed to his girlfriend, who ironically knew Matt from her high school years, in the most epically (I couldn’t even find a real word to describe how good it was) ingenious way I’ve heard of.  Sandi, also being a lover of John’s home town, agreed with John that the wedding would take place in Champaign and thus I was destined to finally make my visit when they invited us to be a part of their special day.  I thought it was enough that I was going to get to see this town that I had heard so much about and witness their union with the rest of their friends and family.  However, after the date was set and Sandi began her dress shopping John approached me with the most wonderful honor I’ve ever been given.

   On October 9th, 2011 I had the privilege of watching an amazing couple take the dance floor for their very first dance as a married couple.  There were ooo’s and ahhh’s when the crowd quickly realized that this wasn’t going to be any normal first dance.  This couple had turned their first dance into a full-scale production.  The entire reception crowded around the dance floor to watch the couple as they strutted their stuff in true Minneci style.  While others clapped and cheered them on I stood front and center filming them on my camera while beaming.  After only 2 rehearsals I watched Sandi and John take the steps they were given and turn them into so much more.

Over three minutes later the dance concluded and the crowd burst into applause while I teared up with such pride.  I was so very proud of the couple’s performance and honored to say I was lucky enough to be asked to choreograph their first dance.  I don’t know if John and Sandi will ever understand how much it meant to me for them to have the faith and trust to let me craft their first dance as a married couple. 

With a little traditional ballroom, some Broadway, and a lot of style the groom successfully dipped his lovely bride and she kindly returned the favor before the dance was done.  Guests cheered, chucked at their humor, and lovingly applauded their performance.  Watching it unfold in front of us was a memory I’ll never forget.  After many years of taking a chance on John and knowing it would pay off in the end, I am very thankful that he was willing to take a chance on me this time around.  Thank you to the lovely couple and I’m so very proud of what they did out on that dance floor!

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Its Got To Be A Goorin!

Hats have always been an accessory of comfort to me.  I have heard some girls say they feel “naked” without their jewelry or that they have a favorite pair of jeans, but I think a hat makes me feel complete.  Don’t get me wrong, any pair of jeans that I’m wearing is a favorite as I’m a huge fan of jeans in general but I love any day when I can wear a hat.  In the past I’ve always been partial to baseball caps as it has suited my lifestyle, but in the last year my other styles have peaked my curiosity and I’ve just recently delved into trying them out.

While we were in Chicago we fell in love with Goorin Bros. hats at a wonderfully stylish shop in the Lakeview area.  We learned that Cassel Goorin was a master craftsman who, in 1895, sold his first hat in Pittsburgh.  Years later Cassel’s sons moved the family business to San Francisco in 1949 and the start of their neighborhood hat shops began.  After thinking about the style of hats and the location of their first store it makes me wonder if Granddad Senge or Nammy ever visited the original store and owned a Goorin Bros. hat.  Maybe I’m the second generation of the Senge’s to be a fan of a Goorin.

They are now up to 21 locations and I wish I had known about these earlier.  There are three in San Francisco that I missed out on during my 2 trips there and one in the Gaslamp district of San Diego I could have visited during either of my 2 trips there.  Now that I’ve fallen in love with the Goorin hat styles I’m sure I’ll be checking their locations list from now on before any future travels to be sure I don’t miss out again.

The hat shop in Chicago is in itself a full experience and the quaint little shop has an amazing cast of characters keeping it going each day.  We met Drew when we stumbled upon the store during our first trip to Chicago and he’s quickly become a new friend that we wish we lived closer to.  Matt’s love for the hats definitely runs deeper than mine and I think he might even have Drew on speed dial for the new hats that get released.  His collection has grown so quickly that now he’s brainstorming ways to make a unique hat rack that will double as a piece of wall art so he can show the hats off.  Each one is practically a piece of art in its own right, so this shouldn’t be that hard of a task for him to figure out.

It’s not often that you find a company nowadays that still has a small family owned feel to it, but the Goorin Bros. has done a stellar job at keeping that tradition alive.  Drew even knows our sizes now and after one phone call ships them directly to our house complete with a lovely handwritten thank you card.  The quality and craftsman ship of the hats is only topped off by the amazing customer service skills that are demonstrated by the staff.  They’ve made us dedicated customers for life and if you give them a chance they will do the same to you too.  Stop by their website, pick out your new favorite accessory, and then give Drew a call – (773) 348-4287 – and he’ll help you find the right size before getting it on its way to you!  The website it awesome and all, but sometimes it is just nice to actually speak with a human and I can say, without any hesitation, that Drew won’t steer you wrong.

Matt and I were recently at Epcot’s Food & Wine festival and found ourselves semi stalking a couple through the crowd all because of the gentleman’s hat.  While munching on some cheese and enjoying a bit of wine we both spotted a hat that matched the bag I have with me in the top photo.  It’s my prized Goorin possession and the hat is question clearly had to be a Goorin as well.  When the couple walked by us we saw the trademark Goorin logo like it was a glowing beacon on the hat prompted me, like I had just solved some epic murder mystery, to point at it and yell out “IT’S A GOORIN!”  We quickly made the decision to move through the crowd and see if we could find a way to inquire about the hat.

Thinking it would come off a little less creepy coming from me, I stopped the couple as they were leaving the Hawaiian pavilion with their Kona beers in hand.  I explained that we were checking out his hat and they quickly replied that they were checking out ours.  We all laughed for a bit about how the Goorin hats are always a conversation starter and learned that this couple from Connecticut bought the hat several years ago.  We had barely parted ways and, due to the amazement of technology and social media, I was already posting on Drew’s Facebook wall about what just happened.  Before I was even in bed that night Drew and Matt were on the trail and had found out when the hat was released, that the chances of finding one would be slim, and that it was indeed designed by the same artist that crafted my beloved bag.  Now tell me, when was the last time you had service like that?

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