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Traveling on a Budget: VACATION Pt.1


This past week, I had my own girls trip. I took a week off so that I could go back to the midwest to visit my girls. Eight months into my first "big girl" job and I put in a request for vacation. I checked to make sure I even had enough hours saved up, I then requested one week off! And BABY, I had a full week planned.

I was only able to afford this last minute trip was because I did not go to Essence Fest :/ like I had planned. So instead I took that money I had been saving and purchased a multi-city flight via Google Flights. I went to Chicago for a few days to see my girls and to celebrate my one of my BFFs birthdays, whom I had not seen in two years. Then I went to Waterloo, Iowa for the birth of my baby cousin and of course to visit my other babies.

I only get paid once a month and with this being a last minute trip (at the end of the month) I had to be wise. July was a long hard month. I was going to be in Chicago from the 27-30th. I don't get paid til the 31st. So for this trip I had to remain humble and remind myself:

Majority of my money went towards my $500 plane ticket. Therefore, I did not have much room to shop prior, which is hard for me. Anytime I go out of town, I just feel like I need a new outfit...or two. Luckily, I had another Fashion Nova (FN) gift card from returning somethings a while back.

My cart total was roughly $100. I had a $22 gift card and I used the promo code: Flame20 which took off another $20. AND since my total was over $75 I got the free two-day shipping. However my order took several days to arrive, due to a site update or something. Smh. Anyways, I ended up only spending $50, which I still had left over after purchasing my flight.

We decided we would do a Latin night and go out salsa dancing. So I felt like I needed to look semi festive.... plus it was my best friend's birthday weekend, so I needed to pop out!

My next order of business was packing. Damn near every time I fly, my luggage is anywhere from 48-52 pounds. Lately, I been trying to do better. So this time, I told myself I would only bring a carry on.

I was really close. I was. But there was no room for my heels, and I needed a few other things. So I had to move to a bigger suitcase.... and since I had more space, I went ahead and packed some back up outfits. Gotta stay prepared. Right below are the going-out outfits that I packed. The two tops are what I ordered from FN. **Excuse my dirty mirror.

When I got to the airport it was only 36 pounds. It wasn't a carry on, so I had to check that bad boy, and shell out that young $25. but it's totally worth it to have free hands when moving through the airport. AND I had my cute lil fanny pack! Getting through the airport was a breeze this go around! Peep the picture to your right-- I gave up my window seat for them.... I didn't realize what I was saying yes to though. They were in the same row, each at an aisle seat. They could've been okay not holding hands for two hours. **Rolls eyes.


I finally arrive! And my girl already knew-- One More Drink by Juicy J was bumping. Let the festivities begin! We went back to her spot and changed. A friend/soror of came over and we pre-gamed a lil bit. Then we headed to this chill lil spot called, Barra Ñ. We were hoping it was going to be some lit ass Latin joint, but that was not what we got. Lol. The dance floor was little and no one was dancing. It almost didn't feel like the right atmosphere to dance. It was very dark and intimate with real candles on the table. Not too crowded. The food was good and music was decent.

We finished up our meals and drinks. Which by the way, I had beef empanadas which were amazing. It was also my first time trying them. I think I ordered a drink, and it never came--which I was cool with low-key. Mind you, I just got in town, not trying to ball out quite yet. However, I did take care of my birthday girl's tab. I think I spent about $60. We took some pics and said goodbye to my soror.

Then the three of us went to another bar, El Hefe, hoping it would quench our (my) thirst for some salsa/bachata dancing. It didn't. It was pretty Americanized. It was straight though. We got more drinks, the birthday girl was feeling herself, and that's all that mattered. It could have been better if the dj would have played BODAK YELLOW, like we requested. But whatevs. Unfortunately, there was no one there I felt like backing it up on. We started to continue bar hopping but we hopped our asses home instead, 'cause we had a long day ahead of us. I can't recall if I paid for my drink or not?

By the end of the day I have spent roughly $100.


My lil Betty Crocker was kind enough to make us breakfast. We had breakfast burritos and and cinnamon rolls. Great start to our day! We lounged a little while longer then got dressed. We were supposed to go to yoga....but that didn't happen because we had pedi appointments at 10:30 and that went a lil over.

About three weeks earlier I went and got gel on my toes so I was hesitant to get my toes done. I was trying to somewhat budget. But I wanted to be a team sport, since my friend had actually reserved our spots. The nail salon was real nice, the pedi chairs were brand new, and the staff was very diverse. My friends sat down before me. One got a black lady, one got a hispanic lady. I had the old asian lady. Thank GOD. I say this because (not een gon lie to yall) my dogs can be hard to manage sometimes.

I mean not really. Lol. But I do have thick toe nails. (Was that TMI? Sorry not sorry) Any who, while she still was still trying to remove the gel, both my friends finished. Low-key embarrassing. But... you know what, she was really trying. I eventually told her forget it and just paint over it. I'm still a lil salty though, cause that gel could have still been on my toes looking just fine and the polish I got ended up fading and looks crazy now. I really commend her effort though. I got lilac to match my nails. (Which now looks blue)

The pedicure was $28, I wanted gel again but that was not in my budget! And I gave her a $5 tip... Once that was all said and done, we missed the yoga class. Which was okay, because we we're all starving now. We ended up going to Whole Foods, one of the largest in the WORLD! So many options. I can be very indecisive when given too many options. So I struggled trying to pick something. I ended up getting sushi, and some Asian garlic chicken strips, with a water. Didn't get sparkling because I wanted a flavor and I only seen regular. Then I went back for dessert. Y'all should have seen that bakery. My girl also grabbed a bottle of her fav Rosé, Miraval.

Next we went to Forever 21 because none of us were 100% sold on what we were wearing. I sent pics earlier to them when my FN shipment came in and Deedee wasn't feeling it. At first, I was like...

But then I started feeling like blahhh about it and didn't want to wear it anymore. Luckily I found a different top, which I ended up LUH-VING, and a few other things. That total was baout $30. Then we stopped at Walgreens to grab a few things. Now Deedee was supposed to go to work and we were gonna go out and get decorations and surprise her when she got off but her ass ended up not having to go in. SMH. So we bought some decorations on the low low.

While we were leaving there was a man with fresh fruit. I stopped and got watermelon and mango. He asked if I wanted chili and lime and stuff. I told him sure. I never had it, and it was only $4, which... is a steal 'cause that would been at least double at Kroger or Publix. Like it was a good amount for such little price in my opinion. It was interesting. Not bad, but I've come to the conclusion I do not like my fruit spicy.

We got back to the house, took a lil nappy nap, started pregaming and got dressed. Our goal was to be out the house by 8. We did pretty good, we didn't get out the house 'til 8:30 after taking pics but for three girls to be ready before 9, with limited mirrors...that's pretty damn good.

Instead of going on and on and on about our night, I am going to list the places we went with a few details and I will let the pics speak for themselves.

First, we started at Public House. I ordered a drink, a fresh baked pretzel and split some Nachos. Them nachos were on point. Would have been even better if my focus was on my food instead of some old ass, creepy ass, perverted ass man, that was trying to hit on my friend. Next we went to a real fancy lil spot called, Cerise, which is a rooftop bar/lounge on top on the Virgin Hotel. We ordered another drink and took some bathroom selfies, (below) then dipped to Prysm, where we got a smooth lil discount for a table in their "hip-hop" room. Abbey used to work at club and got a deal so we split the table. I ended up putting $100 down flat for the table and about $30 on dinner and drinks prior.

Deedee's coworker joined us. And between the four of us, we finished a bottle of EFFEN Vodka and a few shots.... The night ended with Abbey and me, carrying the Deedee and her shoes out the club and making frequent stops so she didn't puke in the Uber. Luckily, homegirl was real cool about it. I guess you can say our night was a success.

{I was a lil salty we didn't get sparklers with our bottle. Instead we got some ol' blinking LED light. Also, I felt like our bottle service girl was a lil dry. Maybe I'm just too used to Atlanta, but it was a very different club experience.}

Now to the pics from PRYSM until home....

After putting her to bed, we threw on some sweats and walked a few blocks to go get tacos. Real, authentic tacos. With the cilantro and onion. So good. And corn tortillas. I think we got there around 3:30am. Just before they closed at 4. That was probably one of the best decisions we made that night.

Day 2 and I spent a little of $200! I came here with $300 to spend. I blew my budget and don't get paid until MONDAY! That was the end of JUST HALF of my time in Chicago.

Check back in a few days to see what went down in CHI*TOWN PT.2