Let’s Dress Up! In A Tropical Print Dress

Summer is currently in full swing! And so are all the good sales. I told myself that I didn’t need to buy any more new dresses or clothes. But when Ann Taylor had a huge sale on all their sale dresses ($35) a week ago, I couldn’t resist! Plus there was a coupon code for $30 off when you spend over $60, so I ended up purchasing two dresses for $40 in total! One of which was a tropical print dress, something a little out of my comfort zone.

Primary Image of Leafy Linen Blend Shirtdress

I wanted to buy a dress that I could wear now and on our future beach vacation (that I’m currently planning) so I picked the Leafy Linen Blend Shirtdress. To be honest, I was scared to make the purchase since it was final sale and I wasn’t sure how it would fit me. But I closed my eyes and clicked purchase button and wished for the best.  I’m glad I took the chance because I absolutely love the dress. It’s a little loose but that’s better than being too tight (whew), especially for the humid days in Chicago. I may just have to wear this dress to the office this summer. I thought the midi length would make the dress look more like a maxi dress on me but with a little bit of height on my shoes, it stayed looking like a midi dress.  I’ve always tended to stay away from linen since it wrinkles easily but I didn’t mind it much on this dress as the print somewhat hid the wrinkles. There’s a first for everything, right?

I wore the dress on Sunday morning around town and of course had Charlie snap a few pictures of me. He’s the best Instagram Husband. LOL! You don’t see Luke in these pictures as he spent the night at his grandma’s house. But I do want to take him back to some of these locations and snap some pictures of him and us.

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About this door – I‘ve been eyeing this “Avocado Alley” door for some time since it’s so difference and can be easy to miss from the crowds of tourist walking by it. It is part of the Su Casa Mexican Cuisine restaurant on Ontario Avenue near Michigan Avenue. BTW: we didn’t see any avocados. But at least the sign and door were cute.

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Next we walked a few blocks down to the Rain Forest Cafe where the art on the side of the restaurant seemed kind of fitting for the tropical print dress I was wearing. Haha.

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Finally, we stopped by the new flamingo mural near the Ohio House. I really wanted to take some pictures of the bigger flamingos on the Ohio Street side (the above picture was on the Wells Street side) but unfortunately my DSLR’s battery ran out of juice. And my back up battery was at home. As this was just a fun walk for me and Charlie, I didn’t think it was necessary to run home to get the other battery. I’m sure we will be back for more pictures of the flamingos. Some of which will include Luke, who is more fun to photograph.

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Let’s Celebrate! 4th of July in New Hampshire

I hope everyone had a fun and safe 4th of July!

This past weekend, we spent some time with Charlie’s cousins at their cottages along a lake in New Hampshire. It was our first time at this annual event and we really enjoyed spending time with family and making new friends. We also got some time to explore the area and do some antique shopping in Peterborough, NH. There’s something about spending the 4th of July in New England since there’s so much history there and it truly felt like Americana.  Luke got to ride the boat on the lake, ran around barefoot and played with Basil, the family dog. He truly enjoyed it and we enjoyed watching this city kid be a country kid.

New Hampshire Lake

While we were driving around exploring, we drove by this house  in Greenfield, NH with an American flag painted on its garage. I knew instantly that we had to take some pictures there. I mean, it was perfect for the 4th of July! We snapped a few pictures with my iPhone the first day and had Luke stand in front and said we would go back the next day to take pictures with my DSLR. When we came back, the owners were home as their cars were parked in front the garage. So we knocked on the door and asked if we can take some pictures in front of it (but couldn’t muster up the courage to ask them to move their cars as well.). The owners were happy to let us take pictures and told us that the flag was painted on the garage shortly after 9/11. We told them that it was a beautiful thing they did to honor what happened and thanked them for letting us take pictures in front of something so symbolic and so fitting of the holiday we were celebrating.

We had a fun time taking these pictures (around the parked cars) and like Charlie said, we can work around them…and that’s just what we did.

New Hampshire flag house

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 On me – Dress: Anthropologie Bathing Beauty Dress // Shoes: Dolce Vita Larana Chunky Sandal from Nordstrom Rack // Sunglasses: Karen Walker The Number One

On Luke: Shirt and shorts: from GapKids// Sandals: Avarcas

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A Local’s Guide to Chicago

“Eventually, I think Chicago will be the most beautiful great city left in the world.”

Frank Lloyd Wright

Chicago is a hidden gem. I don’t think the city gets as much attention as it should. But that’s okay because it gives me the opportunity to share with you what a beautiful city it truly is.

From time to time, I get asked by friends, readers, and Instagram followers who are planning their visits to Chicago on what to do, where to eat, etc.  I normally draw a blank when asked because Chicago offers so much to do  and see that it’s hard to pinpoint to  just a few things. So  I’ve decided to include this page to direct people to and as a way for me to track what I like to do. Most of these recommendations are kid-friendly. Most of all, they will  provide you with the the chance to experience the beautiful side of Chicago.

For those who don’t live in Chicago, I’ve included a neighborhood map of Chicago for reference. The city is made up with many diverse neighborhoods. Each neighborhood is unique and offers a little something different but together they make the city such a great place to live and explore.

Courtesy of Pinterest

Obtained from Pinterest

PARKS / PLAYGOUNDS

You cannot go to Chicago and not stop by Millennium Park to see Cloudgate (aka The Bean), Pritzker Pavilion, and Crown Fountain for the changing faces. Remember to bring a towel and change of clothes because your kids will sure want to run and splash in the water. Just east of Millennium Park is Maggie Daley Park which is a huge playground for kids of all ages. Beware of the fun and scary slides!

For a park that has great city views, my favorite is Milton Lee Olive Park, which is a short walk outside of Navy Pier.

If you happen to be shopping on Michigan Avenue and your kids get weary or need a place to just run around, you can stop over to Seneca Playlot Park (228 E. Chicago) behind the historic Water Tower. You won’t miss the historic firehouse next door for your littles to talk to real life heroes.

ARCHITECTURE BOAT TOURS

The best way to see the city, especially on a nice day, is on an architecture boat tour. Enjoy hte views and learn about the architectural history of the buildings that make up the beautiful skyline. You can’t go wrong with any of these boat tour companies: Chicago First Lady Cruises, Wendella, and Shoreline.

If you don’t like being on a boat, there are walking tours. And if you want to skip the tours all together, walk down to the end of LaSalle Blvd or the Chicago Board of Trade in the Loop (my favorite street in the city, especially for pictures). While you’re there, walk into The Rookery Building, with the interior architecture designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

MUSEUMS

The Art Institute of Chicago is one of my favorite museums because it has such a vast selection of art from all over. Be sure to visit the Modern Wing when you’re there and walk along the Nichols Bridgeway, which connects the Art Institute to Millennium Park. And visit the South Garden of the museum (it’s a hidden gem!).

If you happen to be at Navy Pier and looking for more activities for your kids to do or to beat the heat (or cold), head over to the Chicago Children’s Museum. The museum has multi-rooms with different activities for your kids.

DOUGHNUTS / DONUTS

Our Saturday mornings are not complete without a doughnut and Chicago has more than its fair share of doughnut shops…and we can’t be happier. Our favorite is Doughnut Vault for the triple chocolate and the vanilla glazed. Depending on the day, be prepared to stand in line. Remember, they close when they sell out, which can be early in the morning. If you don’t want to stand in line, you can get some of Doughnut Vault’s doughnuts (with less flavors and options) at 3 Greens Market, which is their sister restaurant, about a few blocks away.

Our other favorite is  Firecakes Donuts which offers a fun selection and flavor of donuts as well as the Ice Cream Donut Sandwich. In the winter, we love to stop by for their Belgium hot chocolate that comes with a huge marshmallow cube.

COFFEE / CAFES

Loop: Asado Coffee Pinwick Lane (22 E. Jackson) is located in a historical alley of the city. The place is very “Instagrammable”.  The Intelligentsia Coffeebar at Millennium Park is always a great little refuge from the hustle and bustle the the park crowd.

West Loop:  I’m a regular in the West Loop and love frequenting  The Allis for coffee dates, Sawada Coffee for their green tea lattes, especially the military latte, and La Colombe for a strong cup of coffee.// I strongly recommend taking a walk around this area. There’s an alley off Green St, that connects RM Champagne and Green Street Smoked Meats that takes you back in time. The best words for it are whimsical and vintage.

Lakeview: Heritage Bicycles and Coffee. You don’t need to have a bike to drink coffee here.

West Town: Big Shoulders Coffee is a little west of downtown but the marshmallow latte is my favorite.

BREAKFAST / BRUNCH

I admit, most of the brunch places we go to are north of the city. Some of my favorite are m.henry in Andersonville (for their blackberry blisscakes), Bang Bang Pie and Biscuits in Logan Square,  and La Fournette in Old Town for everything French.

If you want a fancy brunch located in the Gold Coast, inside a Restoration Hardware store, try to snag a reservation at 3 Arts Club Cafe.

LUNCH / DINNER

Okay, so here’s the hard part, recommending lunch and dinner places because I have so many. I’ve tried to narrow it down based on neighborhood.

Downtown/Loop: Toni Patisserie & Cafe, Eataly Chicago, Latinicity and Mercat a la planxa. // Wicker Park: Antique Taco // River North:  GT Fish & Oyster (they also have a great brunch) Siena Tavern (love the lobster roll), and The Boarding House (beautifully decorated with really good food).  // West Loop: Girl and the Goat and Au Cheval (be prepared for a long wait) // Old Town: Topo Gigio (my favorite Italian restaurant in the city). Logan Square: Wasabi (for the best ramen in town).

ROOFTOP BARS / RESTAURANTS

Summer is Chicago is the best time to visit because that’s when all the rooftop bars and restaurants open up. These places offer some of the best views of the city: Cindy’s (located at the Chicago Athletic Hotel), The J. Parker (located in Lincoln Park at Hotel Lincoln),  LondonHouse (I haven’t been here but from the Instagram pictures, it’s on my list), and Terrace at Trump Tower. Most of these rooftops are a part of the hotel but you don’t have to stay at the hotels to enjoy a cocktail or the views there.

MURALS / STREET ART

Chicago is full of beautiful murals all over the city. Most of them are in Logan Square and Pilsen although some are popping up in River North, South Loop, and Lincoln Park. If you have the time, I highly recommend you spend the time to see the works of art. There are far too many to name but one of my favorites is the one  below, which is located in Logan Square near the California Blue Line stop.

Greetings From Chicago Mural

Hyde park – the university of chicago

If you really want to venture outside of the downtown, I highly recommend visiting The University of Chicago campus in Hyde Park. It will seriously take you to another world and reminds of what it would be like in Harry Potter’s world. If you’re hungry, grab some coffee or snacks at Plein Air Cafe and then take a tour of The Robie House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.