My Chicago Guide

i've received quite a few emails in the last year asking me the best things to do, restaurants to eat at, places to see, areas to shop, and so on, in Chicago. although i've lived here for a year, i still feel like there's so much left for me to explore and discover! 
if you want to be a true tourist, here's what you should see/do:

Millennium Park + the 'bean' 
Navy Pier 
Water Tower Place
John Hancock Observatory (360 Chicago)
Lincoln Park Zoo
Sears Tower Skydeck (i refuse to call it Willis Tower)
Grant Park
The Shedd Aquarium
The Museum of Science and Industry
The Field Museum
Buckingham Fountain
Lakefront Path
North Ave or Oak St Beach 

best places for shopping (in my opinion):

State St (south of the river, in the loop)
Michigan Ave
Water Tower Place
900 North Michigan Shops
Armitage Ave + Halsted St (Lincoln Park)
intersection of North Ave, Damen Ave, and Milwaukee Ave (Wicker Park)

best places for restaurant options (if you want to walk around and pick a place):

River North 
West Loop 
Broadway St (Lakeview East/Boystown)

some of my favorite restaurants:

Green St Smoked Meats (West Loop)
Ann Sather (Lakeview)
Las Fuentes (Lincoln Park
Antique Taco (Wicker Park)
Wilde (Lakeview East/Boystown)
Homeslice (Lincoln Park)
Pastoral (Lakeview East/Boystown)
Epic Burger (chain - many locations)

you MUST eat Chicago-style pizza. MUST. here's my ranking of options:

Lou Malnati's (i would eat it once a week if i could)
all others 

you also must eat at Portillo's and you must order a Chocolate Cake Shake 


make time for a game, concert, or other show
sports, comedy, and music are a shared love. make time to take in a Cubs or Bulls game. go to a comedy club for a night. see who's performing in the city during the time you'll be here and buy tickets! if you can't find anything else, try going to a Blue Man Group show - it's entertaining and in a cool theater. 

know where you're going/have a plan

there's so many places to see, so many things to do, and so many restaurants to eat at that it's best to have a rough idea of what your day will look like before heading out the door. map it out so that you're not spending more time traveling to places than you are experiencing them. not to mention, there's few things that are more annoying to Chicagoans than tourists standing in the middle of a busy sidewalk with a map opened. 

ask for help! 

although we may not all look eager to help, we probably will. if you're lost or can't seem to find a certain intersection/place, ask someone on the street. they should know how to give you directions. if you can't find a willing soul, step in a restaurant or business and ask an employee. 

use public transportation

the subway system (what we Chicagoans call the 'el') is easy to navigate, cheap, and will get you just about anywhere you need to go.

wear comfortable shoes/clothes

since you'll probably spend most of your day standing and walking, it's important to wear shoes that can last all day long. there's nothing worse that getting an hour into your day and realizing you chose the wrong outfit for your activity.

walk fast

this is sort of a joke, but also not. those of us that call Chicago home tend to walk about 2.5 times faster than the rest of the people in the city. i think it's due to the fact that we have to walk fast during the winter to get out of the bitter cold, so it just becomes part of who we are. 

consider the time of year before you come

while the winter is beautiful in the city, it's cold. like, real cold. if you're hoping to do things outside and walk around, consider coming in late spring or early fall. if you want to hit up the beach and possibly sweat a lot, come during the summer! if you want to know what it's really like to live in Chicago, come in January. then you'll never come back ;) 

(this is certainly not a complete list of all of the wonderful things Chicago has to offer, but it's a start! spend some time doing online research for a more complete view of the city!)

Over the Weekend...

i can hardly believe that there's only one month of 'summer' left. seriously, where did it go? the realization struck me last week, so i decided it's time to get down to business and do all the things i want to do while the weather is still beautiful. 

some girlfriends and i went to Randolph St Market on Saturday to browse the antiques and enjoy a mimosa together (if you buy the package of 4 tickets, you each get a mimosa! we were sold when we saw that). there were quite a few unique pieces of furniture and plenty of things that you could buy and refurbish. if i'd had a car, i probably would have picked up a few of the smaller pieces to use in my new place, but i didn't feel like messing with delivery fees or trying to jam everything in a cab. i was this close to buying a wooden stool with a furry top, but decided against it because it would shed like crazy. let's be honest, i have enough fur between the two cats to last me a lifetime...i don't need anymore. 

after perusing the outdoor area for awhile, we made our way inside where the vendors mostly sold jewelry, clothing, china, and art. there was a very distinct smell of french onion dip as soon as we entered, which was quickly (and graciously) masked by the wonderful aroma of cinnamon roasted nuts. man! those smell delicious. after making our way past the male bust lamps and Home Goods placemats (word to sellers: maybe remove the retail store sticker before trying to sell the item for more than it's actually worth), we found ourselves amongst the vintage Coach bags and old over-sized hats. as someone that has a strong like for clothing, it's always interesting to me to see what was once 'in style' to wear. what would now be used only for Halloween or a costume party would have once been a prized possession in a young woman's closet. i quickly thought, 'what on earth are my kids going to think about the clothes that i wore?! are skinny jeans and maxi skirts going to be the laughing stock of my children's generation?!' i really am curious to know that one day. what they will think of my music, clothing, home decor style, hairstyles, makeup, cell phone, etc. it's crazy to think that our current way of life will be considered 'old' and 'outdated'. i imagine the conversations going something like this:

me: i remember the days when i had to actually dial a phone number to call someone.
unborn (and very far off) child: WHAT?! what a waste of time!

me: i remember the days when i had to actually drive my car to get somewhere.
unborn (and very far off) child: you mean you had to DO something in the car to get somewhere, you couldn't just sit and let the computer drive you?!

me: i remember the days when i had to have a wireless internet connection to access anything online.
unborn (and very far off) child: you mean, you weren't always and forever connected to the internet with unlimited access and no issues, like ever? whoa. 

who knew that walking through an antique market could lead to such deep thoughts ;)

although nobody else in the group purchased anything, i walked away with a pretty gemstone ring (similar to those shown in the photos, it's on my left hand but you can't see it) that i couldn't pass up. i'm a sucker for jewelry, i tell you. 

dress | Gap
cardigan | Old Navy
belt | Target
earrings | Nissa Jewelry
wallet | Fossil
sunglasses | Kate Spade

The Easiest Pesto Chicken Sandwich

shredded chicken
pesto (store-bought or homemade!)
ciabatta roll 
provolone cheese
roma tomato slices

to make the shredded chicken, i buy thin-sliced boneless skinless chicken breasts at the store and bake them in the oven at 400ยบ for 10-12 minutes (until cooked through). to shred it, i toss it in my mixer and let the mixer to the work -- that little trick saves lots of time and hand cramps from shredding it yourself! you certainly can shred it yourself with a couple forks, too. 

once the chicken is shredded, i mix in the (store-bought) pesto to evenly coat the chicken. you can use as much or as little as you like. i probably use close to 1/4 cup on a pound of chicken. what can i say, i love pesto! 

toast your ciabatta roll in the oven or toaster oven, melting the provolone cheese on it just before you're ready to take it out of the oven. add a couple slices of roma tomatoes, a nice amount of chicken, and a pile of arugula. 

devour the sandwich. 


i love how simple and easy this sandwich is to make. i like to make something fresh for lunch everyday, but i don't want to spend 30-45 minutes making lunch, so this chicken is perfect to keep on-hand for a week's worth of lunches/dinners. the chicken is also really yummy on an arugula salad with some sliced roma tomatoes and drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette. 

My Guide to Working From Home

when i first moved to Chicago, i wasn't sure what i wanted to 'do for a living', so i accepted an internship at an event planning/restaurant company as a marketing assistant. it was good experience, but the biggest thing i took away from it was that i was not made to work in an office environment. i felt like my creativity was stifled and did not enjoy having to adhere to a set schedule. i didn't like the monotony of going into the office and doing the same thing every time, so i knew that i had to do something else. 

i've been fortunate enough to run my own business and work from home. never in a million years did i think that this is what i would be doing, but i'm so glad that i am! working from home is definitely the best environment for me, so i'm hoping to make it happen for as long as i can. it's been about a year since i've been doing it exclusively, so i thought i'd share some things i've learned along the way. (some of these things can apply to those of you that work in a different environment, as well.)

have a designated workspace

i can't even express how important this is! even if i didn't need a desk for jewelry making, i would want one for my computer and work-related materials to keep them all together and have a place to go to when i need to work. although working from my bed is nice sometimes, i like to have a spot that i keep everything together and can go to when i need to get down to business.

making 'to do' lists is essential

part of this is probably just my personality (i like to cross things off), but another part is that i can easily get distracted by other things happening around me and forget to do something. i like to have a running list on my desk with my tasks - it's just how my brain works. if i don't write it down, i'll likely forget. 

get other things done first

since i have a totally flexible schedule, i find i'm the least distracted and most productive when i don't have other things that i need to do. for example, if i know that i have to run to the grocery store or clean the apartment, it's best for me to do those things before i start working (or on a lunch break) so that i can focus totally on my work. 

setup a lunch break

something that has worked well for me is setting up a designated time for a lunch break. on days where i'm going to be sitting at my desk all day, it helps to have a schedule to hold myself accountable to. if i set my lunch for noon to one, then i know how much time i have left to get work done before lunch. it's nice to have something to look forward to! 

curb 'the munchies' with water

i don't know about you, but having my pantry full of food just 20 feet away from me at all times is pretty tempting. i tend to be a snacker, so i've had to learn to reign that in a bit since working from home. what helps me a ton is having a glass of water nearby. i'll add lemon or berries to it to dress it up a bit and will reach for that (instead of chips!) if i feel the need to munch!

set work hours

although i don't do this, for some people it will be absolutely essential to set work hours. figure out a schedule that is reasonable and will work for you, and stick to it!

keep your weekends work-free

this is probably the thing that i have the hardest time with. since all of my work is within arms reach all the time, i have to mentally shut off my 'work brain' on the weekend so that i get a break. obviously, if i need to do work, i will. but if i'm just bored or have some free time on a Saturday, i no longer allow myself to do anything work-related because i want to use that time to relax and rest.

be active

to avoid feeling cooped up all day long, i like to get out and do something every day. whether it be going to Starbucks for an hour or two to work, picking up lunch, or running an errand, i find that my productivity increases after that time of getting out and doing something. take an hour to exercise or use your lunch break to walk around outside!

although there are surely other things that can help productivity for us work-from-home people, these are a few things that i've found work well for me! have other tips or ideas? i'd love for you to leave a comment below! 

Date Night (with P.F. Chang's)

it's been almost a year now since Mike and i were in a long-distance relationship. although we both agree that long-distance was good for us, we're both incredibly happy that it's no longer the case. we see each other just about every weekend, so we've definitely been taking advantage of our relatively close proximity to spend time together. it's been fun to have him around to explore Chicago with me! 

since seeing each other regularly is 'old news' these days, i've found that i appreciate date night even more. and it's even better when it's a full date day, which is what happened last weekend! we decided to rent some bikes and ride along the lakefront path, both for exercise and to enjoy the beautiful weather we had. on our ride, we decided to stop at Lincoln Park Zoo - one of our favorite things to do together. after watching the monkeys and apes for quite some time (they're incredibly fascinating to us) and walking through the cat house to admire the lion and few cervals they have, we got back on our bikes to continue riding. after what felt like hours (it was pretty toasty outside, so every minute felt like 30), we finally made it back to my apartment to clean up and get ready for dinner. we took a fast-paced walk down to P.F. Chang's and were seated immediately, at which time we could  have probably eaten anything put in front of us. hungry doesn't begin to describe how we felt. 

P.F. Chang's has a new seasonal menu featuring perfect pairings with new dishes and wine pairings (and craft beers!). my family is particularly fond of P.F. Chang's and i dine there probably about every 2 months or so. i'm hooked on their crispy green beans, chicken lettuce wraps, and chang's spicy chicken, but you really can't go wrong with any dish! although i tend to stick to my ways, especially when it comes to ordering food, i was excited to try some items off the new menu to broaden my horizons a bit. i'm not a particularly adventurous person when it comes to food, but Mike is willing to try just about anything and there's almost a 100% chance that he'll eat every last bite (even if he doesn't like it much!). he tends to eat about 1 1/2 meals every time we go out to eat - his and the leftovers from mine. 

after browsing the menu for a few minutes, we settled on starting with the Heirloom Tomato Salad (we wanted the Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken Spring Rolls but they were out) and a couple entrees. his was the Chiang Mai Curry Noodles with Chicken (the man loves curry, which i do not share an affinity for) and mine was the Korean BBQ Chicken Stir-Fry. i ordered the wine pairing for the salad and Mike enjoyed a beer. 

the salad was a yummy combination of fresh tomatoes, avocado, basil, and a zesty dressing. i love a good vegetable salad (sans lettuce), so i was excited to try it! the mix of flavors and textures was refreshing and tasty, and went perfectly with my glass of white wine. when our entrees arrived, we were both pretty excited to dig in and give them a try. Mike's plate was clear within about 7 minutes and then he helped himself to some of my Korean BBQ. i'd never tried any sort of dish like that before and i was pleasantly surprised by how much i liked it. like i said, i'm not particularly adventurous with food, so i'm always hesitant to order an entire dish that i'm not 100% sure that i'll like, but i can honestly say that i'd order this entree again. the mix of veggies, chicken, and kimchi slaw was wonderful. the veggies still had a bit of crunch to them and the chicken was nice and tender.  it had a bit of a kick to it, but nothing my wine couldn't handle! 

overall, we really enjoyed our meal. it was light and refreshing, but also incredibly filling. we walked out of the restaurant happy as clams.

P.F. Chang's is currently running a Perfect Pairing Contest, where one lucky winner will win an all-inclusive food trip to Boston, including a personal tour of the Samuel Adams Brewery and a craft beer pairing dinner at P.F. Chang's! You can enter the contest here.

this post is sponsored by P.F. Chang's. all opinions and images are my own. 

High Five for Friday

happy friday! if you're new to these parts, today's post is a look back at some of my highlights from this past week - you can do the same! (details below) at the end of the week, i like to reflect on the good that happened, even if it wasn't a particularly stellar few days. this week, however, was pretty good for me! here's why:

1. i was in the burbs earlier in the week to do a little apartment furniture and decor shopping with my mom. i was only planning on picking up some of my bigger furniture items, but ended up finding loads of great stuff to use for decor, as well! it was one of those days that you can't plan to happen because then you wouldn't find anything. i was pleasantly surprised by how well-stocked both Home Goods and Marshall's were, which is where i picked up the majority of my goods. i cannot wait to see it all come together soon! 
pillow: Nicole Miller | rug: Safavieh (both from Marshall's)
2. after a real scorcher earlier in the week, the 70 degree days we've had since have been glorious. they've made me quite excited for fall, mostly because fall is my favorite season to dress for! 

3. i did, however, take advantage of the warm temps over the weekend and headed to the beach for a few hours. there's this magical thing that happens in the summer in chicago where seemingly everyone is in a wonderful mood and life is just great - it's called lake michigan being warm enough to actually step into and not get frostbite. it's a beautiful thing.

4. i've rediscovered the goodness that is curling my hair with a 1 1/4" iron and i'm hooked (again).

5. i joined a friend for happy hour the other night and loved having a legitimate reason to get dressed up a bit. since it doesn't happen too often, i like to take advantage of every opportunity to use my heels and fancier pieces! 
shoes: Nickels (Marshall's) | pants: Anthro (similar) | sweater: J.Crew
how has your week been? link up below! 
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Brows Matter

if you're even remotely active on social media, i'm sure you've seen one of those articles floating around that's called something along the lines of, 'celebrities without eyebrows'. if you haven't, please google it now. no, seriously. just come back when you're done. 

anyway, it really shows how important eyebrows are in shaping your face. they're essential, if you ask me. now, most of us have eyebrow hairs, but not all of us were born with beautiful, thick, dark brows that require no extra work. i fall in that first camp - the one that has to take a couple extra steps while doing my makeup. for years, i withheld filling in my brows because i didn't feel like dealing with the 'hassle' of it. oh, cute sweet naive me. it takes me 1-2 minutes to do my brows and makes an incredible difference for my face.

here's what i've been using:
Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Powder Duo in Medium Brown
Julep's Angled Liner Brush
e.l.f. Small Angled Brush

the liner brush is used for setting my outline of my brows, while the small angled brush is for filling in.

brows make a huge difference, right?  it took me a few trial runs to find the best shape, color, etc. now that i've been doing it for a few months with this brow powder, i wouldn't do it using anything else! the powder goes on beautifully and gives a really natural look, which is important. it lasts all day and doesn't require touch-ups. if you don't currently fill in your brows, i recommend trying it out and seeing if you can notice the difference in your face! these days, i don't leave the house without a little powder in my brows, even if i don't do anything else with my face. 

if you need a tutorial for how to fill them in, Keiko Lynn's tutorial is great!

shirt | old from Madewell
necklace | Kate Spade

Feelin' Fancy

although my closet may say otherwise, i'm not one to dress-up much. i really wish that i was because i always feel great in a dress or cute skirt, but i just naturally opt for shorts or jeans. i'm working on branching out of my stubborn ways and reaching for those dresses and skirts in my closet that are just begging to be worn. 

when i spotted this dress by Chicwish, i knew i had to have it. the pop of blue florals, flowy material, and trapeze shape just beckoned me in. 

shoot, i'll start dressing up. but only if i can wear this outfit every time. 
dress | c/o Chicwish
shoes | Marshall's
bag | Steve Madden (similar)
earrings | Forever 21 

My Summer Uniform

this summer has been all about easy, simple outfits for me. since most of my days are spent at my desk in my apartment, there isn't always a need for me to 'get ready' for the day. many days i roll out of bed, throw on some house clothes, and sit at my desk 'til about noon...when my stomach starts to growl. if i do need to run an errand or decide to go to a coffee shop, i find myself reaching for things in my closet that i can just throw on with my bed head and one swipe of mascara face. 

whether it's jean shorts and a tee, a maxi skirt and tank, or a dress: the simpler, the better. this striped tunic dress is perfect for me. i just throw it on with a pair of fun sandals and an interesting necklace and i'm good to go. 

this necklace is particularly near and dear to my heart because it was handmade by an artisan for the exclusive summer collection for BRIKA. as a handmade shop owner myself, i love to wear and share other handmade goods by artists. the necklace is super lightweight and would be a great addition to plenty of outfits. i'm thinking i'll pair it next with my destructed denim shorts and simple grey v-neck or a knit sweater and maxi skirt (for cooler days!). be sure to check out their summer collection for other beautiful handmade necklaces! 

enter to win this necklace on Instagram!

dress | c/o Gracie B.*
sandals | Franco Sarto (similar)
bag | Rebecca Minkoff (via Nordstrom Rack)
necklace | c/o BRIKA

*shop Gracie B.'s summer sale now! get up to 75% off, plus free shipping to USA and Canada!

High Five for Friday

happy friday - we finally made it! this week went by fairly slow for me, probably based on the fact that i've been sick for the better half of it. i mean, honestly, who gets a cold in the middle of July? it's ridiculous.

despite not feeling my best, i still had a pretty good week. here's a look at some of my favorite moments:

1. i took my mom over to my soon-to-be new apartment on Monday so that she could see the space and help me figure out what furniture i need to pick up. this is the first time being back since we signed the lease and will officially be living there, so it was fun to walk through it again! i was able to pick up me keys, too! 

2. the weather has been absolutely delightful the past few days. it's been in the 70's, which is my new favorite temperature range - it's cool enough in the shade that you're not sweating, but warm enough in the sun that you're not cold. perfection, i tell you.

3. i'm seriously, seriously considering having Kate chop my hair when i see her in a couple weeks. i'm used to changing my hair often and haven't had a dramatic change in awhile, so i'm itchin' for one. i'm not totally convinced that i'm going to do it, but it just might happen. i've basically spent all week browsing Pinterest for inspiration here's what i'm thinking:

4. although being sick is no fun, it has been nice to take it a little bit easier this week and relax a bit more. i truly can't say how thankful i am to be self-employed and work from home and am able to take a sick day or two. 

5. i decided on a Starbucks workday earlier this week and it was a pretty brilliant decision. i can feel so secluded and alone spending all day in my apartment, so even just sitting in a coffee shop can make a huge difference for me. also, wearing workout clothes is just the most comfortable thing.
sweatshirt and bag: J.Crew | pants: Athleta
how has your week been? link up below! 

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Style Profile: Maxi Skirts

one of my favorite items to wear in the warmer months is a classic black maxi skirt. it's comfortable, versatile, and is a great alternative to denim (or other pants) on a chilly day. you really can dress them so many different ways - casual, dressy, or somewhere in-between. most often, if i'm wearing a maxi skirt, i pair it with a graphic tank and pendant necklace or solid tee and statement necklace. i tend to be a repeat offender with outfits, but with such a versatile piece it's easy to mix it up. another fun way to wear it (which i did recently) is with a fitted knit sweater on a chilly summer evening.

with a simple black skirt, you can have fun mixing and matching prints, colors, and textures. here are some ideas:
WEEKEND // top, J.Crew Factory | bag, Forever 21 | sandals, Sole Society | necklace, Forever 21 | lip tint, Bite Beauty (Sephora)

DATE NIGHT // top, H&M | sandals, Sole Society | clutch, Forever 21 | earrings, BaubleBar | nail polish, Julep

BRUNCH // top, Gap | sandals, Sole Society | watch, Kate Spade | bag, Forever 21

are you a maxi skirt girl? how do you like to wear yours?

A Perfect Pair

do you ever come across things in life that go together so seamlessly that you wonder, 'how on earth did i not realize these would be a perfect match?' some things like that in my life are my cats, Milo & Otis. they're litter mates and best buds, truly. they spend just about every waking minute together: sleeping, eating, playing, everything. i sincerely worry about the day that one of them passes and the other is left alone - they would be so lost without each other. 

other perfect pairs:
- rainy days and naps
- binge-watching shows on Netflix and any time of day ;)
- chocolate cake and vanilla frosting
- fritos and green grapes (seriously, try it)
- clothes and a good cause
- the Marching Elephants Tunic and Grey Flats:

i love this outfit for a casual day running errands or quick trip to the farmer's market. on chillier days, i'll pair the tunic with my favorite black maxi skirt or white skinny jeans.

i introduced some of you to Symbology Clothing several months back, but for those that missed it, they're an ethical fashion label that employs marginalized artisans and connects women through fashion worldwide. it's truly amazing what they're doing, you can read more about it here

they've collaborated with The Root Collective, another ethical accessory & shoe label that tackles poverty through partnering with artisans in developing countries, while giving back 10% of each purchase to nonprofits working in the same communities that the artisans live, to bring together the Perfect Pairs for a Perfect Cause Campaign:
i love that these two companies are coming together to make a difference in the world and i'm honored to be part of it while wearing my tunic and flats. the flats were handmade by Otto, a Guatemalan artisan with a passion to transform his community through honest jobs and relationships. i like that i can look good and feel good while wearing them. 

if you're interested in one of these perfect pairs, use code PERFECTPAIR for $15 off at both and (for a combined discount of $30). coupon expires July 23rd! 

tunic | c/o Symbology
shorts | Gap
flats | c/o Symbology + The Root Collective
bag | Steve Madden 
necklace | mae + nolia, gift from my sister

Keep Calm...

...and punch everybody in the throat.

(this post is meant to reek of sarcasm and simply be humorous, not to be taken too seriously. also, in the grand scheme of things, i realize this day was not even remotely bad or unfortunate. it was just one of those days that happen.)

that was pretty much all i wanted to do the other day. i was having 'one of those days' where nothing was going as it was planned. nothing. as a Type A planner, that doesn't work too well for me. i'm not really one to just 'go with the flow' at the snap of my fingers, although i'm learning the absolute necessity of developing a more flexible attitude. 

so, wanna know why i wanted to punch everybody* in the throat?

first, it was an unusually cold day, like 60ish degrees with a cold breeze off the lake. in the summer. why, Chicago? why? YOU KNOW WHAT WE SUFFERED THROUGH LAST WINTER. WHY ARE YOU TORTURING US? so, that was kind of annoying, but tolerable. just throw on a sweater and suck it up, ok? ok.

i met a friend at Eataly. we both expected pretty great things since it's always jam packed and is the talk of the town. i was entirely underwhelmed and mostly ready to leave by time we finally squeezed ourselves out of the door. with absolutely no direction or  help offered, we found ourselves mistakenly standing in line and trying to buy a bottled drink that we wouldn't even be able to consume while in the store. so, there goes 20 minutes of standing in line for no reason. ok, let's try just eating. the amount of options that Eataly offers makes it nearly impossible for anyone that's even slightly indecisive to actually make a decision. we ended up walking around in circles for quite some time trying to figure out what we wanted and where we had to go to get the food. we finally settled on pizza, but weren't interested in being seated and waited on. thus began the journey of finding an employee that could tell us what to do. WE JUST WANT PIZZA. we placed our order and waited for 10-15 minutes for it to be ready. it was the least-stressful time that i spent inside. once we got the pizza, we wanted some sort of liquid to wet the deserts that had become our mouths. no drinks anywhere to be found. again, we find an employee and ask her where we can go to get a beverage. she directs us to the bar just behind us. duh. we walk up to a bar-top table by the bar to set down our pizza and figure out what we wanted to drink and were immediately greeted by an employee who quickly told us that we actually weren't allowed to eat our pizza there. apparently, there are designated places where you can eat certain types of food, which could maybe be indicated with some signage but ya know. we get our drinks and walk ourselves over to the annex to eat our pizza, which was delicious. we decided that Eataly just wasn't the place for us, but we were glad we tried it. i would definitely order food 'to go' in the future, but going inside and dealing with the crowds, chaos, and unspecified rules is more of a hassle than an enjoyment. 

so, there was that. which really wasn't bad, but just added to the bizarre day that i had. 

after we were done eating, we had to go to a realty office to pick up our lease for our new apartment. the office was nearby, so we just decided to walk. not five minutes into our walk and it starts to mist. which, by the way, is one of the weirdest types of precipitation, no? it doesn't quite require an umbrella, but will soak you just like actual rain if it lasts long enough. i, of course, opted not to bring an umbrella because i didn't feel like carrying it around and not using it (because that always happens). rookie mistake. always bring your umbrella. so the mist turned to a drizzle and the wind picked up and then we turned down a street that had us walking directly into the lake wind, which if you've lived or visited Chicago, you know what that's like. it was the type of wind that required you to hold your umbrella parallel to the ground in order to block out the sideways falling rain. sideways rain, i tell you. i had been wearing a maxi skirt, which quickly changed into gaucho pants because the wind was so strong, so i was having trouble walking at my regular fast-pace without tripping all over myself. after what felt like 25 minutes (and was really only 3), we made it in the building. 

we weren't sure where the realty office was, so we asked a front desk attendant and were directed to the opposite end of the mile-long building (not really). of course. why wouldn't the office be on the side of the building that we could have entered and gotten out of the rain much sooner? 

we find ourselves on the floor of the realty office and then things get real. we turn to the left to see the glass doors that read '_________ Realty', let's just call it 'Weird Realty'. we made it! we're soaked and cold, but we made it! we go to open the glass door, since we can see the receptionist just behind the door, maybe 5 feet. the door is locked. we make eye contact so that she knows that there are humans on the other side of the door trying to get in and try the door again. still locked. what do we do now? then the receptionist begins pointing just beyond us. what is she pointing to? we look around and don't see anything...what is happening? she continues to point and starts mouthing, 'pick up the phone!'. pick up the phone...what phone?! we don't see a phone. at this point, i'm just ready to leave...
as she continues to point furiously and tell us to 'pick up the phone', we finally do a complete turnaround to spot a phone on a table in the hallway. this phone?, i ask. yes!

i walk over and pick up the phone. it rings twice and then i hear on the other end of the line, 'hello! welcome to Weird Realty! how can i help you?' in the cheeriest voice possible. i know that i am not talking to the receptionist that is sitting 10 feet from me behind a glass door. oh no, i am. WHAT IS HAPPENING. 

'um, hey, we're here to pick up a lease...' 
she replies, 'great! for what building?'
'umm...(i had forgotten the address) for 1234 Main St'
'ok! take a seat and someone will be with you shortly!'

a few minutes later, the doors open (so they DO work!) and were greeted by an employee that asks, 'um...who are you guys?' oh, hey, yeah, not the greeting i was expecting but i'll roll with it. we tell her who we are and what were here for and she remembers. i had anticipated being walked back to a conference room or office to sit down and talk through the lease that we were picking up. nope. we're just going to stand in the doorway of the previously locked door and talk about it in the hallway. ok, we're still rollin' with it. after much explanation and questions answered (and people being trying to get in and out of the office looking puzzled as to why we were standing in the doorway. i'm confused, too.) we had our lease and were ready to leave. HALLELUJAH, it's over.

well, that was certainly bizarre. i will never hear, 'pick up the phone' the same way again. 

we left and decided we needed to go to Target for some retail therapy. because Target always makes things better, right?

*except babies and kittens. and Tim Riggins**.
**i started watching Friday Night Lights for the fourth time and rediscovered my deep love for Timmy.  

Rainy Weekend

Chicago had a pretty rainy weekend. when there wasn't actual precipitation falling from the sky, it was threatening rain at any moment. threatening rain is sometimes worse than actual rain. it leaves you in this state of, 'should i just run to the store without an umbrella and pray that it doesn't downpour?" and "should we really try sitting outside to eat lunch?". the one good thing about it is that the sun has no chance of peeking out, which means i have no chance of sweating, like a lot, while walking around the city. 

Mike and i headed up to my almost new neighborhood to grab some lunch and explore a bit. currently, i'm living much closer to 'downtown', which is super convenient for things like transportation and shopping, but also incredibly inconvenient for things like very slow walking tourists and non-chain restaurants. i'm looking forward to the move and experiencing a different part of the city, especially after the time i've spent in my new hood. 

after much walking around and passing by restaurants that we weren't quite convinced we were in the mood for, we settled on a small tavern with outdoor seating. again, the threatening rain became an issue. we only got drizzled on at the end of our meal, so we considered ourselves lucky. the other thing i like about the neighborhoods in the city (versus the touristy/downtown areas) is that there tends to be more activity and people just doing regular things, like going to the grocery store or walking their dog. it's much more of a 'i'm an actual resident here instead of feeling like a visitor with all these other visitors' feeling, if you catch my drift. 

on our walk home, we had a little impromptu photo session on one of the beautiful tree-lined streets. the rain should also explain the lifeless hair i had to deal with - my favorite

top | Marshall's (similar)
shorts | Gap
bag | Kate Spade (similar)
sandals | Steve Madden
watch | Kate Spade
neon bracelet | c/o Chicwish
bangles | LOFT
pendant necklace | Elisabeth Ashlie
bar necklace | Stella & Dot (c/o Ashley)
nail color | OPI