Pilsen Murals

Colorful muralKeith and I had wanted to visit Pilsen for awhile, mostly to try Nuevo Leon. We’d read good things; we’d heard good things from friends. We just needed to make the trip down there. We decided we would go for lunch Saturday, so I looked up a few other things to do in the area. We parked our bikes at 18th and Halsted and walked the last mile to the restaurant. We stopped at a chocolate shop and browsed some vintage stores. Our favorite was Modern Cooperative. They carry a great array of cards, jewelry, furniture, and barware. We spent some time talking with the owner, Tiffany. She’s lived in the neighborhood for 10 years, and suggested some other stores for us to visit. Then she told us about the Pilsen murals. She said their Alderman applied for a grant to attract local and international artists to paint murals on 16th street.

After lunch (which was delicious. Best mole I’ve ever had), we cut down to 16th street and looked at the murals. We didn’t know anything about them while we were exploring, but I found a video when I got home that provides a lot more context about the history of murals in the neighborhood. We were so lucky to strike up a conversation with Tiffany! The murals were my favorite part of the day, and we would have walked right past them if it weren’t for her. Here are some that we saw.

Mural 2 Black and white mural Face Books Pilson mural Mural 1

And here is the video.


Our Weekend

Breakfast in bedOur weekend was fairly laid back. Slower paced, lazy even. Friday we met friends at Ciccheti, which is one of the best restaurants I’ve tried in awhile. Highly recommend. Saturday morning I woke up early and slipped out to the Green City market. I bought a bunch of produce, eggs, and a croissant for breakfast. When I came home, Keith and I decided there wasn’t anywhere we needed to be, so we enjoyed breakfast in bed while catching up on some reading. The croissant was amazing. I think it was from Bennison’s Bakery. I’ll check and taste again next week!

Our main excursion of the weekend was a visit to Pilson. We explored some shops and ate at Nuevo Leon. Wr rode our bikes, which was good because we needed to work off all that great food! After Pilson, I took a nap (I told you it was a lazy weekend), and then we rented a zipcar to run some errands. We picked up dinner at Whole Foods and watched movies at home Saturday night.

Sunday morning Keith went golfing with his friends, and I got breakfast at La Fournette, did some laundry, and planned a bit for our vacation. Then we cooked dinner with all my finds from the market. It was a nice, relaxing weekend.

Last Wednesday and Thursday I was in New York for work, and I got to see Andrea, who moved to New Jersey at the beginning of July. She just started working at Uniqlo, and while she is far away from Ohio, I will probably see her more frequently given my work travel. She came into the city Wednesday night and we got dinner in the West Village and walked the High Line. It was fun to show her around a bit.  It’s sappy, but I am really enjoying watching my sisters transition this year. Paula is engaged, entering her last year of her PhD program, and will start looking for jobs soon. A move is most likely on the horizon as her and Peter figure out where they will be living. Maria and Andrea both graduated from college this spring, and Andrea is in New Jersey while Maria will be moving to Houston in August. Monica is starting college this fall, leaving only Will in Cleveland, which is crazy. I know these changes aren’t all positive. They are faced with long-distance relationships, moving to new cities knowing nobody, and tough work schedules, but I couldn’t be prouder. They are all pushing themselves. No one is taking the easy road, and I am so happy to be part of their lives during this exciting time. I love you all, and I can’t wait to see everyone in two weeks!

Shopping in Andersonville

BlanketsKeith and I went up to Andersonville Saturday to check out Winifred Grace’s new boutique. Winnie is a Chicago based jewelry designer, and we first met her last summer when I purchased necklaces for my sisters are bridesmaid’s gifts. She had us come to her home to look at the pieces, and we ended up staying there for over an hour talking about our favorite places in Chicago, our families, etc. She is a lovely woman. When I read that she was opening a retail location this summer, we made plans to stop by. Unfortunately, I misread the hours and they are open Saturday and Sunday by appointment only. Oh well. Her store looked great from the sidewalk!

Winifred Grace

We had a little more success with the rest of our shopping. There are so many great stores along this stretch of Clark Street. It’s a nice mix of thrift stores and more focused design shops. One of my favorites is Brimfield. It’s a vintage home décor store that sells “Americana-style” items. Think metal lunchboxes, old license plates, and Hudson Bay blankets (yes, I know Keith, they’re Canadian!). The photo above is of their wall of blankets, and the ice skates below were one of Keith’s favorite items this time around.

Ice Skating Lake GenevaWe left with this pennant. Keith spent a lot of time in Lake Geneva growing up, so we decided we’d frame it…sometime soon. It’s currently still sitting on our dresser.

Brown elephantMixing bowlsWe also enjoyed looking around the Brown Elephant. This is more of a resale store, with lots of items to sort through. I have been wanting to swap out my plastic mixing bowls with glass, and normally, HomeGoods is our go-to store for items like this. However, the location closest to us just closed, so we were happy to find a few mixing bowls at the Brown Elephant. I also wanted to buy some teacups, but those were vetoed.

After our shopping, we grabbed dinner at Bar Ombra. I have been wanting to try it for a few years, and the food was really good. By this time, we were so hot and tired from walking around all day, so we didn’t stay long, but I would definitely eat there again the next time we’re in Andersonville.



Stand-up Paddle Boarding

Boards on beachFor the last few years, Keith and I have made a list of things we want to do in the city during the summer. Movies in the park, picnics, explore certain neighborhoods, etc. This year, stand-up paddle boarding was at the top of my list. Keith was a little less enthused, but agreed to go with me. I was so excited to try it out.

We got up early Sunday to get on the water while it was still calm. We went to North Avenue beach a little before 8AM and rented boards from Chicago SUP. It was $30 per person for an hour rental. I told the guy manning the booth that it was our first time, and he said no worries, I’ll give you guys some pointers before you head out. We carried boards down to the water (heavy!) and he said, okay just start on your knees. Ha. Okay, fair enough.

My friend Elise tried stand-up paddle boarding for the first time in Florida over the fourth, and she told us she fell in several times. Granted, it was the ocean, but I got really nervous because the lake is still so cold! I spent the first 15 minutes or so on my knees, but Keith was up within 5 minutes. I eventually got up and it was so fun. We both found it to be easier as we picked up speed, and when we were confident enough to look straight ahead. One time a boat went by, and I just dropped back down until the wake had passed. We took it pretty easy, but I can see how it could be a great workout. I felt it the most in my legs. They were shaking a lot when I first stood up!

I really had a great time out on the lake. We didn’t fall in, Keith said he liked it a lot more than he thought he would, and the view of the skyline was absolutely beautiful. We obviously didn’t have our phones on us out on the water, but here are a few more shots of our trip to the beach.

North Ave BeachThe beach was almost completely deserted when we arrived.

SUP Shop EK BeachSuccess! When can we go back?

Our Weekend

Vault VanHappy Monday! We were supposed to celebrate a friend’s birthday Saturday morning with a boat ride, but we woke up to pouring rain. With a few hours of extra time, Keith and I made some tea, a Dutch baby pancake, and spent the rest of the morning in bed. Thankfully, the rain eventually stopped and we were able to get the group together for a late brunch and some drinks.

We went straight from brunch up to Andersonville to do some shopping. The neighborhood has a great collection of antique, thrift, and interior design stores. We got a few items and walked until we were exhausted. It was such a sticky, humid day. I showered and went straight to bed when we got home.

Sunday was beautiful.  We woke up early to go paddle boarding on the lake. It was our first time, and we had so much fun! On our way home, we decided to get some coffee at Intelligentsia in Old Town. I checked my phone as soon as we sat down (addicted, I know), and saw that the Doughnut Vault van was just half a mile north of us! I hopped on my bike and picked up a pineapple old fashioned for Keith and I to enjoy with our coffee. Isn’t the van so cute?

My sister and her fiancé were in town for his cousin’s wedding this weekend, so we met up with them for lunch, and saw them again in the evening for cocktails before their dinner reservation. Girl and the Goat. So lucky! Keith and I ended our weekend making Gwyneth’s thai chicken wraps. Also good.

Also, here’s a shot of our gladiolus. $4 at Whole Foods!Gladiolas