Summer Fun: Round 2

Whew! I am worn out! Two weeks of playing Chicago tour guide in record heat is exhausting, but definitely fun! My mom flew in for a quick visit, and unfortunately brought the Columbia, SC armpit heat and humidity with her! This was her 3rd time visiting me, so it was nice to be able to just relax and catch up without trying to do too many activities. Mom and Brizz had some sleepover bonding time, and now Brizzie is moping around like she lost her best friend. Sweet doggie loves her visitors. I think Mom really just came to see Brizz and do some Lush shopping...any time with me was a bonus! :)

While we did lay low, Mom and I still managed to get around town. To beat the heat, we spent an entire afternoon at the Art Institute and another afternoon at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Being a new student at SAIC, I get free admission to the Art Institute, and my membership at the MCA includes free guest admission. Great deals to see some fantastic art! The Art Institute is huge, so we saw as much as our tootsies could handle. I think the kids playing in the Crown Fountain outside the Art Institute, had the right idea for cooling off! The faces are digital videos that spout water every so often, like I showed in my previous post.

what a cutie!

The MCA has a Mark Bradford exhibit right now which I have been really looking forward to seeing. Bradford is an artist whose work I greatly admire and used as inspiration for some of my paintings. Bradford paints without using paint. He uses a collage/layering/sanding process that creates incredible surface texture. Some iphone pics of a few Bradford pieces showing at the MCA:

For dinner one night we ate at a little French restaurant in the West Loop, Maude's Liquor Bar. Justin and I love the restaurants in this part of town. They're all unique, cozy, and the food is fantastic! Many new restaurants in Chicago do the small plate, tapas style menu, which is always fun. We enjoyed some red table wine - makes me feel like I'm in Europe :) - brie, shaved veggie salad, summer sausage, salmon, and of course creme brulee!

Mom and I did a little shopping and sightseeing in Lincoln Park one afternoon for the annual sidewalk sale and Sheffield Garden Walk. The shops in LP are so cute and refreshing compared to the busy stores on Michigan Ave. We held back and didn't go crazy snagging all the bargains, but had a great time popping in and out of all the boutiques. 

love this glassware we found in one of the shops!

After taking a break for lunch at Nookie's Too - great all day breakfast, and anything else you could want, place - we took a stroll through a few of the gardens on the walk. A garden in Chicago is definitely not the same as a lush, sprawling garden at some Charlotte homes. It's more like a little sanctuary. A quiet, shady place, to escape the city. Lots are very small and narrow with neighbors on top of each other, so any green space is certainly worth showing off.

The last night Mom was here, our building sponsored a roof-top party complete with an awesome 80's rock cover band, h'orderves, and an open bar! Oh, and of course the Navy Pier fireworks complimented by Journey's Don't Stop Believing from the band. It was so much fun the Chicago police showed up twice! The first time, they decided to stay, have some grub, and enjoy the fireworks. The second time, they shut the party down....guess we were having a little too much fun! Mom definitely did!


After Mom left Sunday morning, Justin and I went to M Burger, kind of like the In-N-Out Burger of Chicago. Perfect after an open bar kinda night!

Had a blast with Mom and now only a week left until my art therapy classes start. I can't believe the summer is almost over, but I am so excited to begin my grad degree! In the meantime, Brizz says it's a dog beach kind of day, so off we go!!


Pretty Girls in Chi City

My excellent friend, Ginger, just hopped on a plane back to Charlotte this afternoon. She's the first of my "hometown" friends to visit, and we had soooo much fun! I really enjoy playing tour guide, because it helps me learn more about Chicago and gives me a new appreciation of this awesome city. Ginger had been to Chicago once before, but only for a short trip. We had 4 1/2 days to explore, shop, eat, and repeat! :-)

Ginger was snap happy...as one should be in Chi City, so many of the pics on this post are hers. We started her visit with dinner on the roof of our building...a must because of the gorgeous views I have posted many times, but here are a few more.

The main reason for Ginger's visit (other than to see yours truly) was to be my movie buddy to the Harry Potter premier. We have been to quite a few midnight showings of HP and Twilight movies. Yes, we're those people, but we don't dress up like characters...we're not THOSE people! It's fun to see everyone else in costume though. All 21 screens were showing HP, and apparently the actor who plays Neville made an appearance, but we didn't see him. The movie was great, but it was tough starting Ginger's visit with a late night. 

We slept in the next morning and took an architectural tour and visited Navy Pier. I've been on 3 archy tours since we moved here and I learn something new each time. Pretty soon I may be able to give the tours myself!

 funny sculpture at navy pier

Sushi Samba and Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba were two choices for dinner out. Justin and I hadn't been to either, but they ended up being great! Sushi Samba is a fusion of Brazil, Peru, and Japan. The food was pretty good, but the menu is a little confusing because of the different inspirations. Very lively atmosphere with fun decor! 

Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba is Spanish Tapas...yum! We started that night with Sangria courtesy of my hubby and decided to continue the theme.

We had some fun with The Bean and Millennium Park one morning. Naturally, Ginger loved it just as much as I do!

Shopping was also on our to-do list, of course! Ginger and I hit Michigan Ave. one afternoon and found a new store that we both fell in love with! Allsaints Spitalfields out of London (not sure where the name comes from). This store just opened 3 weeks ago on Michigan. I would suggest just going in because of the design eye candy. There are giant looms everywhere displaying the clothing. Everything about this store is a perfect blend of edgy and frilly...love it! Some of the clothes look and act like sculpture, so much so that one dress I couldn't even figure out how to get on. Didn't end up buy anything, but we had a blast drooling over every inch of this store. 

We also hit up Zara, Lush and H&M, but alas...that was all time would allow. Got a complimentary foot massage at Lush! We could have spent the entire 4 1/2 days just shopping....much to Justin's probable dismay. Maybe next time!

The last afternoon of Ginger's visit we spent cruising the lakefront on bikes. This is such a perfect way to see the city, especially in the summer when the beaches are packed. My buns are still sore from the 3 1/2 hour ride, but it was well worth it! 

fire boat showing off on the lake

There's a new temporary sculpture on Michigan Ave. of Marilyn Monroe that is turning a lot of heads. We had a lot of fun taking pics of this one night!

We made a quick stop at the Centennial Fountain to see it spray and arc of water across the river. And of course, a visit to Chicago wouldn't be complete without an L ride and a trip to the Signature Lounge in the Hancock building. Awesome views galore!!

I was so sad to see my friend go (so was the Brizz), but very thankful that I have friends like Ginger that I can keep in touch with across the miles.

Justin and I are heading to Millennium Park tonight for New Music Mondays...free concerts every week during the summer! Tomorrow I'll be getting ready for my mom's arrival on Wednesday. More good times to come!