Saturday, October 29, 2016

Our Fair City: G&O

Saturday, October 29, 2016







Recently, after spending most of my Sunday working my marketing job, our friends invited us out for some afternoon beers and a snack. I got quite a lot done, and with our vacation coming up, I still have a lot more to do, but I decided an afternoon off was deserved having made my deadlines. We headed to G&O, named after it's intersection, Grand and Ogden. The weather was lovely enough to sit outside, and this weekend has also taken a warm turn. A few days after the rain, we had really cold mornings and nights; cold enough to bring out my boots and wool coat! But here we are, back to open windows and long walks. 

Taking advantage of the warm sun, cool breeze, and turning leaves, we sat outside on the patio. It looks like this space used to be an old car garage. The garage doors were pulled up and the wind blew the fallen leaves into the restaurant. There weren't many people there, which is a rare find for a beautiful Chicago day. There are so many trendy restaurants and bars that we truly love, but so does the rest of Chicago. Sometimes, you just want to visit a place that is relaxed, and not so busy in order to enjoy a quiet autumn afternoon. 

Burgers, fries, and beers turned into a search for doughnuts. We hopped into an Uber to a place downtown. It's odd how close we are to downtown (about 3 miles), and yet our neighborhood feels so much quieter, our buildings are smaller, and it feels more like a little town rather than a city. Steven doesn't go downtown much, since he works in a neighborhood north east of our house. I drive through downtown to get to work, and sometimes take the train to work, so I get to walk through the tall downtown buildings. It felt odd being downtown on a weekend afternoon, but it was nice to look up at the buildings with Steven. We're still discovering so much of this city. I love the feeling of realizing I'm on a street that I've never been on before.

This weekend, the weather has been treating us well again. I've seen so many people walking around outside in costumes, with strollers and little ones, and sitting outside at restaurants. I always miss being able to dine al fresco come winter. I never took advantage of it in Florida, no one does. Although I love the feeling of walking in a warm bar and looking out into the cold and snowy streets, there's something about people dining outside that makes the city, and me, feel alive. In Florida, it never felt the same. Here, people know that summer is short-lived, so they take advantage of each lovely day.

This weekend the city has also felt alive because the Cubs are playing in the World Series! I'm not a sports fan. Every few years I watch the Olympics, but that's as sporty as I get. However, with the Cubs making it this far, the city is more than alive. I love seeing the pride that people have here. And I love that this is history in the making, being that the Cubs haven't been to the World Series in decades. While I'm still not actually watching the games, this is the first time that I have ever found myself searching online to see what the score is! Fly the W!
0

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Our Fair City: Surgical Sciences Museum

Wednesday, October 26, 2016









One of my favorite museums in Chicago is small, and you wouldn't necessarily stumble upon it unless you knew what you were looking for. Set in an old mansion, the International Museum of Surgical Science is a hidden gem. It's set overlooking Lake Michigan, and has four floors of gorgeous architectural details. Medical artifacts, apparatus, and instruments comprise most of the museum’s collections. 

My favorite room is the Thorek Library & Rare Manuscripts Collection. From the cozy fireplace to the gorgeous candelabras, this room makes me want to spend hours with a book. There's a long communal table for reading, writing, researching. There are sections of rare books that are wrapped in white fabric to keep them from deteriorating over time. Off of the library is the Halls of Immortals, which features sculptures of notable figures that have contributed to medicine and science. 

It was here that I saw an actual iron lung. I have seen them before on TV. I have a vivid memory of my dad watching the History Channel, and a segment showed old footage of an ill person inside the iron lung. The most recent use was to treat polio patients with paralyzed lungs in the 1940's - 1960's. I remember thinking, how archaic, and almost mad-scientist this machinery seems. But at the time, it was modern medicine. If you think about it, it wasn't that long ago.

I found this museum how I find all of my favorite, strange and unique places, Atlas Obscura. When I was visiting Chicago for my job interview, naturally, I consulted Atlas Obscura and found IMSS. It's my go-to guide when traveling. Users can submit favorite finds like the wrecked plane in Iceland, or an opera house turned book-store. It helped me find some of the most interesting museums when we visited Paris, like the Musee Fragonard. It was that trip that really sparked my love for natural history. And now, years later, I'm working in a natural history museum! You can see my profile here which shows places I've been when traveling, places I want to go, and places that I submitted to the site, like Splendid China!
0

Friday, October 21, 2016

Farmer's Market in Fall

Friday, October 21, 2016















In between weekend visitors, we made a point to walk to the farmer's market together with our dog and bring home some gourds and a pumpkin. The weather has turned cool, and it really feels like fall now that we can start wearing our jackets and scarves. Mort is friskier and has more energy to walk this time of year, and yet in the mornings when it's the chilliest, he becomes so cuddly that it makes it hard to leave for work. We brought home the gourds and put them on the dining room table. The pumpkin, we left out front on our porch, and hopefully we will carve it soon.

We leave for Japan in less that a month, and it's scary how fast time is moving. Because I will be gone for three weeks, I have been given a lot of events before then. Work has gotten busier, so I've had to quit planning for Japan, and leave everything else up to Steven. The big things like the plane tickets, train tickets, AirBnBs, and the wifi device rental are all squared away. All that's left is mapping out the restaurants, bars, temples, and other sites that we want to see. At this point, most of it will be a surprise for me. I've got my camera ready, and I'm really looking forward to three weeks immersed in another culture. Japan is going to be unlike any place I've ever been. 

I looked at a map, and Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka will all be at peak fall while we're there, which means the trees and mountains will be a sea of orange. While I'm sad to miss Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday) and fall (my favorite season) in Chicago, I'm so thrilled to see Japan glow in amber colors this autumn. 
0

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Downtown Chicago: Haunted Walking Tour

Saturday, October 15, 2016
















Steven and I were in the mood to do something touristy, but also something a little different, so we signed up for a Free Walking Tour. The tour that we signed up for was the Haunted Chicago History one. Because it was a "free" walking tour, you pay what you want. It makes it more affordable than other tours that charge a base price and suggest tips for your guide afterward.

The tour included visiting historic buildings and there were stories about the ghosts that are said to still inhabit some of the hotels downtown. We discussed H.H. Holmes, America's first serial killer that was alive during the World's Fair of 1893 in Chicago. We also walked through the alley behind the Iroquis Theatre ("Death Alley"). Back in 1903, a lamp inside the theatre short-circuited and the spark caught a curtain on fire. The theatre was sold out that evening, and more than 600 people died, unable to escape the auditorium. Many people jumped out of the back of the theatre windows, falling to their death in the alley, in attempt to escape. That lamp can be seen today in the Chicago History Museum

To cheer you up a bit after that awful fact, after the tour, we were headed back to our neighborhood on the train. Two tourists asked the tour guide how to get to the train stop, and we said we were headed that way. They accompanied us to the train, and while we walked, we made small talk. The two of them had met at the hostel in our neighborhood earlier that day. One of them was from Germany, in town for work, and the other was from Australia, but had just finished up working at Disney World in Orlando, and was exploring the rest of the states. We talked a lot about Orlando, having lived there so long, and we talked about foreign country's impression of the United States.

We all got off at the same stop, and they asked for a recommendation on where to get some pizza and beer. We suggested Piece, one of our favorites, and decided to get some pizza with them! The night turned into a dinner with strangers. It made me think of when I'm visiting foreign countries how my favorite stories are the ones about meeting and talking to the locals. In Buenos Aires, we signed up for a bicycle tour and we were the only ones that showed up, so it turned into an afternoon bike ride with our own private guide, full of yerba mate and Argentinian pastries. In Paris, Steven and I got roped into a street performance, and we stayed to talk to the performer afterward. When I went to Paris with my friend Abby, we were having drinks at a bar in Oberkampf, a young neighborhood, when a local and his friends sat and talked with us for hours. It made me excited to think that we were the locals that got to show these visitors our city that we love. And hopefully, it's a story that they'll like to tell.
0

Monday, October 10, 2016

Bringing the Funk // Pop-Up Preview

Monday, October 10, 2016






As the last of summer weather comes to a close, I am welcoming fall with open arms. We recently went to one of our favorite bars, Sportsmans, to enjoy the pop-up preview of our talented friend, Mark's new German concept coming to Chicago, Bringing the Funk. Sportman's has a great outdoor patio with market lights, picnic tables, and a firepit. They setup the grill over the fire and got to cooking. 

There were smoked beef hot links served with creole mustard, and a bavarian pretzel served with white bbq sauce - so good! It was the first time I've ever had white bbq sauce, which turns out is a southern thing. All the time I've lived in Florida, I never had it. The smoked brisket was a saurbraten, which means it marinated in wine for a while before cooking it. It was delish! It was awesome to spend an afternoon outside with great food and friends.
0
Hygge & Wool + BLOG DESIGN BY Labinastudio