Spring Cleaning! Did you know about the STC mobile app?

We're doing some spring cleaning and we realized that not all of you may know about the St. Christopher Carriage mobile app!

That's right! We make your limo and black car transportation easy and efficient with a state-of-the-art mobile application that allows you to quickly set up and monitor your St. Christopher Carriage ground transportation right from your phone! 

Some of the benefits you'll experience when using the app: 

  • See ride prices, book and pay for rides with just a few taps
  • Receive live notifications about your driver's status
  • Track your driver on a map
  • Call the driver directly from the app
  • Manage account preferences like pick-up and drop-off location, forms of payment and vehicle preferences. 
  • View and manage upcoming reservations. 

So, if you haven't done so yet, go to the app store on your mobile device and type in "St. Christopher Carriage."

When the app pops up, click download

Once the app has fully downloaded onto your device, follow the prompts to SIGN UP and create your account. 

When your profile has been set up you are ready to go! Start traveling with STC by plugging in your ride reservation details. You'll receive a confirmation once you submit all the information. Then, just sit back, relax and enjoy the peace-of-mind that comes with knowing that we've got your transportation covered!

Safe, reliable and elegant transportation right at your fingertips! 

We look forward to traveling with you soon!

How to travel elegantly (and stress-free!) this Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving week is known to be one of the most chaotic times for travel! Traffic on the road, long security check lines at the airport or delayed flights (all endured in warm sweaters, scarves and winter jackets) can certainly make you lose your cool; but, the last thing that Thanksgiving should be is a time of stress. This holiday (just like the autumn season in which it falls), is about reflection and gratitude. You ought to give yourself the peace of mind, the time, and the joyful space to be able to reflect upon your blessings and give them a moment of sincere thanks and celebration with loved ones. It's certainly too important an occasion to be soured by the aggravation of poor travel experience!

Now, although we can't lighten the traffic on the road or at the airport, we can ease the strain of holiday travel by planning ahead and keeping a few stress-free tips in mind.

Take a look at a few of our suggestions below, and travel elegantly and with ease this holiday week! After all, the only thing you should be concerned about on the way to Thanksgiving dinner is how much pumpkin pie you're really going to eat.... 

 

  1. Plan Your Travel Days Wisely:

    • f you're flying.....One of the best ways to avoid the biggest traffic is to book or plan your travel on the least busy days around the holiday. Booking a flight for Monday, Tuesday or the day of Thanksgiving, you'll experience less hassle than if you travel on the Wednesday before. The Sunday after Thanksgiving is also the most chaotic day for return flights with many people trying to make it back home in time for work the next day. Planning return travel for Friday or Saturday after Thanksgiving (or the following Monday/Tuesday if you can afford the time) can be wiser. 
    • If you're driving..... Do NOT hit the road between 3pm - 5pm on Wednesday afternoon. That tends to be the peak traffic time out on the road with people trying to get to their holiday destinations. Instead, aim to head out either early in the morning or later in the evening. If you can afford the time, leaving a day ahead on Tuesday is also a good bet. 
  2. Prepare in advance: 

    • If you're flying... Check-in ASAP. Checking in within 24 hours before your flight is an excellent idea. This will not only get you further up in line for boarding but it will help to avoid any seating or overbooking issues with the airline on the day of. You might also want to print or download (onto your smartphone) a copy of your boarding pass. You won't have to waste time printing it at the airport. 
    • If you're driving.... check your car fluids, tire pressure, check your GPS route and the weather to make sure you're planning for the long drive safely and most efficiently. You can avoid the stress of having to experience any conflicts along your route if you take a look at all the factors ahead of time. 
  3. Pack lightly: 

    • Yes, Thanksgiving means autumn (maybe even winter in some cases!) and we 100% support great style and elegance but if it's possible to fit all your boots, sweaters and accessories into a light carry-on that may be your best bet! Even if you're driving, the smaller the payload on your vehicle the safer it will be on the road, particularly if you hit some ice or snowfall. 
  4. Be Smart with your Technology: 

    • Charge your electronics before you depart! Nothing can be more stressful than having your phone die during a stressful day of travel. That means you might not be able to retrieve the boarding pass that you downloaded, find your flight details, keep track of your flight status, or contact friends/loved ones, or your St. Christopher Carriage chauffeur picking you up from the airport! Make sure your needed electronic devices are fully charged before you depart for the airport or hit the road.
    • DON'T FORGET YOUR CHARGER! Ironically, it can be one of the easiest things to forget from your pack list. Make sure you have it with you when you leave your house. You might want to bring an external charger with you just in case. You won't have to run around the airport looking for an available outlet if your phone is running low on battery power. 
    • Use your technology wisely: Waiting for your flight to begin boarding, having to wait through flight delays, or even traveling by car as a passenger most of us resort to opening up our phones for entertainment. Checking on Facebook, Instagram, making snapchat after snapchat, watching snapchat video after snapchat video (or any other video), or calling someone to chat we waste our battery charge quickly! We know that smartphones are a great way to keep the mind occupied but there are other ways you can do that too. Try reading a book or a magazine instead or challenge yourself to some sudoku puzzles while you wait. It can be just as entertaining (and maybe a bit more calming than social media). 
  5. Surround yourself with things that make you happy! 

    • ny travel experience can be made great or even pleasant if you implement things that bring you comfort or joy. It's all about the little things - put together a great playlist to enjoy while you're waiting in line or taking that road trip home, stop by Starbucks for a steaming cup of your favorite holiday beverage, dress comfortably, enjoy that book you haven't had time to finish. 
  6. Book your ride ahead of time! 

    • f you're traveling by air and will need transportation to the airport, to your destination or back home after the holiday you may want to make those arrangements ahead of time. Catching transportation once you land can be the biggest cause of stress yet! That's why we highly recommend you book world-class transportation with St. Christopher Carriage prior to your departure. If you reside in the Chicagoland area, we'd be happy to get you to the airport, to your Thanksgiving destination, or deliver you home in absolute safety, peace of mind and elegance.  

 

We want to make sure you arrive stress-free  and in world-class style this Thanksgiving, that's why we're giving you a $5.00 discount off of any booking with St. Christopher Carriage through November 28th, 2016!

Use promo code: STC-TG when making your reservation through our online booking system (click BOOK NOW). If you're making your reservation via the St. Christopher Carriage app on your phone, enter the code into the notes section. 

We're grateful you choose to travel with STC and we hope your Thanksgiving is warm, joyful and full of happy moments to remember! 


#TRAVELSAFELY           #TRAVELELEGANTLY         #TRAVELSTC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Favorite Fall Getaways within 5 Hours of Chicago

Fall is nature's most elegant season, and if you're from the Chicago area you know it's been an incredible season this year! The sunshine and warm breezes combined with brilliant, golden colors have made fall an absolute spectacle, and it's not one to miss! That's why we've compiled a list of places where we think you might enjoy fall's beauty and elegance at its best.

The summer season may have come and gone, and the holiday season will be upon us soon, but there's still enough time to enjoy a few, last moments of fall's majesty with a weekend trip. In fact, now is the time perfect time for a journey - getting close with mother nature's changing beauty helps to reflect upon the year coming to an end and all that lies ahead. 

 So pack a bag, take a deep breath, let go, and enjoy! These fall getaways are all within a 5 hour drive of Chicago! 

 

1. Galena, IL

This quaint little town in northwest Illinois is a wonderful place to reflect and nurture the spirit. Beautiful autumn landscapes, 19th century history, small shops, and restaurants serving seasonal specialties provide the perfect combination of attractions to help you unwind. 

A few ways to explore FALL in Galena -

  • Take a walk through under a canopy of trees at Grant Park, located across the Galena River. Enjoy views of historic homes as you stroll through the park's walking paths.
  • Ride the Tri-State Trolley for a tour through the town's winding roads featuring all of Galena's fall colors.
  • Ride the ski lift for amazing views high above the Mississippi River at the Chestnut Mountain Resort. This is also an incredible place for a hike - the wooded trails provide breathtaking autumn scenery.  
  • President Ulysses S. Grant's home is not just an important historical site but also a great place to enjoy the local landscape and views of Galena from a distance. 

How to enjoy Galena's fall elegantly - 

Distance: 164 miles / 3 hours from downtown Chicago 

 

2. Brown County, Indiana

"Singing Winds" - On an autumn afternoon, with the breeze stirring the nodding heads of snapdragons and carrying the call of southbound geese, landscape artist T.C. Steele's wife, Selma, named this place. Sitting on the screen porch she noticed that "it sounded like the wind was singing us to sleep." And so, "Singing Winds" it was. 

One of America's first artist colonies, Brown County Indiana is one of the midwest's most unique fall destinations. Located just south of Indianapolis this 316 square mile area is 85% parks and forests. As autumn unfolds its golden colors, the views here become absolutely spectacular. Hiking and biking trails fill the deep woods, while backroads and highways provide an unforgettable fall weekend drive. The tranquil terrain is home to Brown County State Park, Yellowwood State Forest and parts of the Hoosier National Forest. Winding roads provide surprises at every turn bringing views of covered bridges and vistas transformed by fall's brush. There's plenty a site here to please the eye and fill the soul. 

How to make the best of Fall in Brown County: 

Where to find luxury and relaxation in Brown County: 

  • Spas, yoga and spiritual healing - book a massage or a healing session. Whichever your preference, it's sure to revitalize your body and soul and fill you with a feeling of serenity. 
  • Dive into the Arts - some of Brown County's first settlers (and visitors) were artists seeking repose and inspiration in the majesty of its nature. Whether you want to create art, browse galleries or purchase work of artists inspired by the beauty of Brown County, you're sure to find an opportunity for it all. 

Distance: 234 miles / 4 hours from downtown Chicago

 

 

3. Illinois River National Scenic Byway

Here you can get close with nature by taking the old routes of early French explorers! The Illinois River Road National Scenic Byway preserves the natural river country along the banks of the Illinois River. Biking historic canal towpaths, fishing, or hiking the numerous forest paths and canyons around Starved Rock are just some of the activities to be enjoyed. While exploring the area, visitors can experience beautiful wildlife habitats and learn about the rich history of the Illinois River Valley. 

How to explore the Illinois River National Scenic Byway:

Where to find luxury and relaxation: 

Distance: 201 miles / 3 hours from downtown Chicago

 

4. Lake Geneva, Wisconsin 

There is no better place to feel the elegance of fall than Lake Geneva! This resort city located in southeastern Wisconsin is not only surrounded by nature's beauty but also decorated with historic mansions built by wealthy Chicagoans in the early 20th century. It's both a place for beautiful, outdoor adventures as well as the best of class experiences.  

Where can you begin? 

How to explore Lake Geneva in luxury: 

Distance: 83 miles / 1.5 hours from downtown Chicago

 

5. Missouri Wineries 

You don't have to travel all the way to Napa Valley to experience some of the best American-produced wine. Missouri Wine country not only offers breathtaking autumn scenery but also a best of class vineyard experience! Take a stroll along rolling hills and enjoy award-winning wines at any of Missouri's top wineries. Missouri has over 125 wineries which have grouped together in areas to form 10 incredible wine trails.

They're all worth exploring but you'll find the closest group along the Route Du Vin Wine trail

Along the route you can experience various atmospheres - natural cave, quiet and elegant, comfortable and relaxed to fast paced and energetic. Each winery offers picturesque tours, great food, award winning wine experiences and weekend music. What an incredible way to enjoy autumn's elegance! 

Distance: approx. 370 miles / 5.5 hours from downtown Chicago 

 

 

 

 

To be or not to be.... a Lady

Lady. For over a thousand years the word has donned respect upon the female gender. Today, it has women in protest and debate. What is the true meaning of being a lady today and why does the notion cause as much pride as discomfort? 

From Merriam-Webster:  Lady (noun, often attributive, la-dy, \'la-de\):  a woman who behaves in a polite way; a woman of high social position; a man's girlfriend

The word, "lady," generally accepted as a term of respect for a woman or one describing a "respectful" woman has carried a multitude of different meanings, customs, and rules over the centuries. Moreover, it's a notion that has frequently raised questions, its accepted definition ever changing and evolving with the progress of time.

The biggest question surrounding it today - is "being a lady" an outdated concept or is it still exactly what every woman wants to be?

To understand where we are, it may be worth taking a look at where we've been:

There is no doubt that social rules for ladylike behavior had often been designed to keep women in a box. Though the exact parameters have fluctuated across time, etiquette for ladies was, by design, intended to keep women within a frame of dignity and reserve. 

In the middle ages, as we well know, women had little social power. Covering oneself from head to toe when in the public eye, carrying oneself at a slow and gracious pace, and publicly appearing only in the company of males who were family were just some of the rigorous standards to adhere to. Being touched in any fashion by a stranger, swearing or appearing in public alone was simply unthinkable. 

Though still kept to a strict frame of social decorum, the Renaissance became slightly more liberal, the fashion of the era alone being a testament to the fact. During the renaissance period, women's dresses saw a significant decrease in the neckline. During Restoration England, Duchesses often wore dresses so low-cut that makeup for nipples was often required. The 19th century brought social conduct back into a cage-like framework.  Rules on female etiquette were tightened and dress necklines came right back up! Dressing inappropriately, using the wrong cutlery, swearing under any circumstance, or acting sexual in any way meant utter ruin.  

As Western culture made its way out of the formalities of the Victorian period, women picketing in the streets for their right to vote, still adhered to lady-like decorum. 20th century suffragettes may have been treated with as much contemptment as a modern-day terrorist but many retained their status as proper ladies in spite of their revolutionary thinking, adhering to dress codes and (most) accepted social customs. 

Women's roles took on a significant change as an effect of WWII. The necessities of wartime allowed "ladies" to take on roles previously regarded as strictly masculine - women worked in ammunition factories, drove trucks and dug for victory. Though women began wearing trousers as early as the 1920's, the war time created a bigger acceptance for pants in women's fashion. Because of the rationing of clothing, many women took to altering their husbands' civilian clothing to make work appropriate attire for themselves. However, wearing a proper skirt (even in war related duty) and stockings (these were a MUST) was still the more comfortably accepted social norm.

As the war closed in, the 1950's then pushed women back into the kitchen where they "belonged." In a way, the decade was a return to Victorian times. The mark of a lady was her relationship to the men in her life (her father, who she married..), what she looked like, the way she dressed and her manners. 

The result?

Modern feminism spiked in the 1970s. Tired of tight, outdated standards, women rebelled against the notion of "being a lady" entirely. Suddenly, to be modern was to be as undifferentiated as possible from men. Photographs of people in the 70s show that women sported similar styles to men - women wore pants more often than before, and pant suits became common women's attire often paired with button down shirts with large, pointy collars and masculine jackets. Yves Saint Laurent's "Le Smoking" dinner suit for women captured the trend perfectly (though the suit was banned by high-end restaurants at first, trousers being considered as inappropriate for formal dining as a bathing suit).

There is no doubt that social rules for ladylike behavior had often been designed to keep women in a box. To this day our understanding of ladyhood is rooted in a sense of reserve, and perhaps that is why there is so much upheaval around the term. Female celebrities photographed topless, scarcely dressed or behaving provocatively are still represented with an undertone of disapproval (or shock) in the media. Skimpy attire and sexually provocative behavior and self-representation may be a big, accepted norm today, but does that norm fit with our notion of what's "lady-like" or "classy" nowadays? Likely not. 

What is a 21st century lady then?

Is it still a notion worth pursuing today? 

More so than ever, we'd like to think. 

Recent years have seen a slight resurgence in the notion of what has traditionally been deemed as ladyhood. Today's fashion trends pair high heels and red lipsticks with suit pants and blazers. Cocktail hours and tea times seem to be a big part of modern-day trends and there are still strict criteria around ladyhood - women should still be well-presented, they must have propriety, diplomacy, patience, and show concern for others (i.e. have good manners); but, ladyhood today is that and so much more. 

Power and femininity are no longer mutually exclusive, but rather, all the more effective when combined. Today (though there's still work to be done) women have the rights and equality that their Victorian sisters could only dream of, and with those privileges has come the responsibility of standing up and being counted. Ladyhood today isn't about good housekeeping, stockings or tight bodices. Today the notion embodies the potential of female power more than ever before. To be a lady today is to be a formidable woman, a trailblazer - a free thinking woman with a good touch of class

To conclude, we'll leave you with a few words of wisdom from one of the classiest ladies -  Coco Chanel: 

"Elegance is when the inside is as beautiful as the outside." 

"A girl should be two things: Classy and Fabulous." 

"The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud." 

"Keep your heels, head and standards high." 

"Look for the woman in the dress. If there is no woman there is no dress." 

 


A Few Tips on how to master the art of Ladyhood Today: 

From Town & Country's Micaela English, here are a few, simple guidelines: 

" 1. Gossip girl - Always try your best to steer clear of gossip chains. It's unbecoming to spread gossip, and when you're actually the focus of the gossip, it's quite hurtful. Everyone's fighting their own battles, and a lady doesn't want to air someone else's dirty laundry. Avoid it as best you can, and DEFINITELY do not spread anything via social media.

2. To post the photo, or not to post the photo- When in doubt, think: If my grandmother saw this photo on Facebook/Instagram would she be proud of it? Would you want your children to see the photos you're posting 30 years down the line? I'm sure you look amazing in your new polka dot bikini selfie, and last night at the club you looked stunning, but just think before you post.

3. Always remember your please and thank you's - Simple but true. Please and thank you make the world a happier and more polite place. From ordering your soy cappuccino at Starbucks to conversing with the sommelier at Le Bernardin, basic manners NEVER get old.

4. Beware of being braggy  - Nobody likes a braggart. If you paid a lot for that Chanel bag, have a gorgeous summer house in Nantucket, and a yacht in St. Tropez, your closest friends will find out eventually. There is nothing as refined and attractive as humility.

5. Watch your cocktails - It's tough to be elegant after one too many cocktails. Always try to have water in between drinks if you can. And if you've had too much to drinkexcuse yourself and leave.

6. Table manners - Read a refresher course in table manners before a formal dinner party or wedding. It can never hurt.

7. Get a manicure - Even if you don't wear polish, keep your hands neat. Especially in this digital age when everyone is showing their social circles things on their mobile devices, the hands are a central focus. If you're in desperate need of a manicure, take off your polish and buff your nails.

8. Chewing gum - If you're chewing gum in public, make sure not to smack it. Also, discard of gum before a dinner, meeting, or interview. I can't tell you how many black tie galas I've been to where women are wearing stunning gowns, but have gum in their mouths. Eek!

9. Hemlines - When wearing a skirt or dress make sure it FULLY covers your posterior. Apply rule from number 2 here too. Would Grandma be proud of this outfit?

10. Engage in conversation - When at the dinner table, at a wedding, or spending time with family and friends. Get off your phone. Remember conversation is a true art, and at the end of the day, it's the relationships you have with the people in real life that will shape your life, not the Instagram photo you just liked.

11. If you're in an elevator - Remember these essentials (and please stop talking on your cell phone).

12. Be kind, gracious, and confident - The holy trinity of being a modern lady."

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Legend of St. Christopher

Why we travel with St. Christopher.... 

St. Christopher, as you may know, is a figure that appears in the scriptures of the Christian faith. Considered a saint but not officially listed in the canon of the saints, he is one of the most popular, yet ambiguous figures present in biblical tales.  Most Catholics refer to him as St. Christopher anyway, and his medals and devotions are among the most common in the Catholic faith. 

St. Christopher is also listed as a martyr (possibly named Reprobus) who died under the Roman Emperor Decius in 251 AD but beyond this there are no primary sources referring to St. Christopher - only legends. 

According to these legends, St. Christopher was extremely tall. By some accounts he was even a giant! This is unlikely, but he was most likely a man of significant physical stature. He is often referred to as a Canaanite (def: a member of a Semitic people that inhabited parts of ancient Palestine and were conquered by the Israelites and then largely absorbed by them).

Based on the legends, one day St. Christopher decided that he wanted to serve the greatest king he could. He presented himself before his local ruler and entered service. He served him loyally until he noticed the king cross himself at the mention of the devil, revealing that the king believed the devil to have more power. 

St. Christopher then decided to serve the devil. During his search, he encountered a band of thieves, whose leader referred to himself as the devil; but, when this leader avoided a christian cross out of fear, St. Christopher learned there was someone even more powerful than the devil. 

He thus embarked further in search of the greatest king of all.  Along the way he came across a hermit who taught him all about Christ, the King of Kings. The hermit suggested that he spend his life in prayer and fasting. This, however, was a thing which St. Christopher, a large and probably often hungry man found difficult. Thus, he objected. The hermit then suggested he find something else that would please Christ. After giving this some thought St. Christopher offered to work at a nearby river to help travelers get across. The fording was dangerous and many people with less strength could drowned. The hermit agreed that this service would please Christ.  

One day a child approached St. Christopher by the river and asked to be helped across. St. Christopher obliged. As he entered the midstream, however, the river rose and the child's weight oddly grew and became extremely heavy. It was only by great exertion that St. Christopher safely delivered the child to the other side. 

When St. Christopher asked the child why he was so heavy, the child explained that he was the Christ and when St. Christopher carried Him, he also carried the weight of the whole world on his shoulders. The child then vanished.

Today medallions with St. Christopher's name and image are commonly worn as pendants by travelers to show devotion and request his blessing. Miniature statues are also frequently displayed in automobiles. There is a phrase in French, "Regarde St Christophe et va-t-en rassure" ("Look at St. Christopher and go on reassured," also translated sometimes as "Behold St. Christopher and go your way in safety.")