Laura Leigh Bean

Bottle & Bottega

"angelina", "birthdays", "bottle and bottega", "byob", "chicago", "painting"lauraComment

My birthday was last Friday and while I like to think I'm not one of those girls -- you know the type, birthday crazed, celebrations for a month? -- I do tend to seize the opportunity to do something a little different and drag friends along for the ride. Oh and day drinking. That's a theme too.

I've had some doozies -- rooftop BBQ's, beach parties at Castaways, a trip to Arlington Race track, etc. etc. So when another girlfriend who happens to be a fellow Gemini suggested one of Bottle & Bottega's BYOB painting classes to celebrate our respective birthdays, I knew it was just the ticket. Painting? Perfect. That's classy. I'm 29 now, you know.

We grabbed a few more girlfriends for manis and then stopped by Angelina's legendary champagne brunch, which solidified itself in my mind as hands-down the best service in Chicago. They brought over cotton candy for our birthdays, new bellinis and mimosas showed up before ours were even halfway gone, and are truly just the sweetest, most welcoming staff.

Fortified by champagne and cotton candy, we were ready to get our Monet on and headed over to Bottle & Bottega's Lakeview studio. It was cuter than we even could have imagined and they made us right at home with four easels by the window. We set up our spread of cheese and crackers and popped open our wine, chatting and patiently awaiting our impending masterpieces' beginnings.

In all seriousness though, while we're all creative in our own way, no one was expecting all of the paintings (ahem... any of the paintings?) to turn out so, so well. The instructor was really talented at helping everyone feel comfortable and breaking the painting down into very manageable steps... but somehow, it all felt more like a fun time with girlfriends instead of an art class in high school. I'd guess there were between 30-40 people there altogether, mostly groups of women, and I'd wager that every single person left happy, buzzed, and feeling creative.

Two (painted) thumbs way up -- I can't wait to go back and their classes will definitely be making their way into many future girls' outings! I also saw an advertisement that they do "Bump Parties"... private painting showers for mamas to be where everyone hand paints bibs as gifts. I need a pregnant friend pronto, because I'm pretty sure nothing could be cuter.

A very happy birthday to me.

+ iPhone-only pictures ahead!