Thursday, July 26, 2012

Sheffield Garden Walk

We had a lot of fun exploring our neighborhood during the Sheffield Garden Walk this weekend. (Even though it's thanks to the Garden Walk that my car was towed. Womp, womp.) One of our neighbors is even growing grapes in his backyard! Who knew?

We love you, Lincoln Park!

Our Apartment

...has stained glass windows. A beautiful way to wake up every morning.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Coolest Balloons

Just discovered inflated/deflated on Pinterest, and I am mesmerized by these simple yet mysterious little balloons. One of my biggest "artistic" interests is the aesthetics of handwriting. I love the look of sprawling cursive or quick slanted lines. Handwriting is manmade yet natural, utilitarian yet intimate. It's especially intimate on inflated/deflated, where each balloon's message feels like a private thought or secret. From the inflated/deflated website:

The words written on our balloons range from humorous quotes to heartfelt feelings and memories. These words are marked on the surface of inflated balloons, and like that of one’s thoughts being released, so too is the air of the balloon. Deflated the once largely marked letters become small, expressive, and intricate forms.

Inflated/deflated is a collaboration of Chicago artists Jillian, Lauren and Kady, whose individual websites are available on the inflated/deflated website.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Butcher and The Burger

After my car got towed on Friday (ask me about it if you want a depressing yet hilarious story), we lifted our spirits with burgers and beers at The Butcher & The Burger on Armitage. This is a great place because it's BYOB. Yes! You can also build your own burger, by selecting your own unique combo of seasoning, cheese and toppings. It's fun to pick, but if you are indecisive like me it can also be overwhelming (#firstworldproblem). Does goat cheese pair well with curry & coconut seasoning?? Should I add on a fried egg?? As it is with creating good art, it's hard to know when to pull back.  So far, we haven't created a bad burger.

Bonus: It's been nominated one of the "Manliest Restaurants" by Men's Health. Score!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Friday Film Favorites: Moonrise Kingdom

So, I know that everyone going to the movies this weekend is seeing that Batman movie, but if you are looking for something different and haven't seen Moonrise Kingdom yet, I highly recommend it. If you are a fan of Wes Anderson (like I obviously am), you will love it for all its iconic Wes Anderson traits: highly deliberate & stylized cinematography, quirky costumes that capture each character's personality, extremely dry humor, and witty observations of daily life. However, even if you aren't a cult follower of Anderson, I think you will enjoy this movie. While the humor in many of Anderson films lampoons educated, upperclass culture, Moonrise Kingdom is a coming of age tale that appeals to a broader audience. Its themes of young love and acceptance are universally felt and understood--even though this is anything but your average teenage love story. It's also hilarious, and Bill Murray wears madras pants, so yeah, enough said.

On another note, if you were thinking of seeing Woody Allen's To Rome With Love this weekend, definitely don't. I am also a huge Woody Allen fan, and I was largely disappointed with this movie, despite its all-star cast and promising trailer. It uses the recent movie format trend of following multiple characters and interweaving different plot lines a la Love Actually, but it doesn't connect the independent stories in a coherent or meaningful way. In fact, at the risk of sounding extremely harsh, it sort of seemed like Woody Allen thought this might be the last movie he got to make before kicking the bucket, so he just merged all his final ideas for plot lines together into one poorly-conceived piece. I definitely lost interest halfway through, and while there were some funny moments, I didn't leave the theater feeling like I had taken away anything lasting from seeing it. Sorry, Woody.

(Photos taken from IMDb)

Thursday, July 19, 2012


So I've always thought Whole Foods was a little overpriced and ridiculous, but I am now officially a Whole Foods convert. Not only does the Whole Foods in our neighborhood have a bar where you can order wine or beer and actually take it with you while you shop (genius), but on Tuesday night they hosted an on-the-roof screening of Wes Anderson's Rushmore complete with free samples of beer and Cliff Bars.

 Bar in grocery store awesomeness.

Giant inflatable screen

View of the city from the Whole Foods roof.

Rushmore is one of the only Wes Anderson movies I hadn't seen, and of course, I loved it. I definitely know a few "Max Fisher" types. If you haven't seen it, here's the hilarious opening scene and montage via You Tube, to get you hooked.

Also, on a slightly embarrassing note, Whole Foods called the event a "bike-in" movie, so even though we were set to drive over, at the last second we changed our minds and decided to bike lest we be ostracized for burning fuel to get there. Of course, once we got there, it became very clear that no one could tell who drove or who biked. Oh well.

Thank you, Whole Foods. Before you know it, I'll be eating kale chips and quinoa.

Good Advice

I was talking to downstairs neighbor Monday night, and she gave me some insightful advice. I was explaining how disheartening it is to explain to practically everyone I meet that I am unemployed and still looking for a job. She said she read once in one of those hokey inspirational books, "When someone asks you what you do, tell them what you really do." So instead of saying "I'm looking for a job," or "I'm a part-time server" or whatever it is,  you could say, "I'm taking ballroom dancing lessons!" "I draw the most intricate doodles." "I do the Monday and Tuesday crossword puzzle in the Times. Sometimes the Wednesday." "I visit art galleries in my spare time."

Isn't that pretty neat? It shifts the attention away from the job or career that is supposed to define you, but maybe doesn't. It is 2012, after all, and finding that "dream job" right away is increasingly difficult. It's nice to affirm our value and uniqueness outside of just a 9to5.

(photo from etsy. "Morning of a Retired Fireman.)

Monday, July 16, 2012

Sunday Breakfast

I take back what I said on Friday. I think the best latte I have had is actually from the French Floriole Cafe & Bakery in our lovely neighborhood of Lincoln Park. (We actually went there last weekend, too:) We like ordering lattes & croissants (mine was almond) because it makes us feel European, thus slightly making up for the sheer unhealthiness of having a latte & almond croissant for breakfast.

In addition to the delicious pastries and espresso, we like Floriole because some of the same families who were there last weekend were there this weekend, and the baristas and workers definitely knew their regulars. Especially charming was a father and little girl who ate their pastries side by side by the window. Another bonus is that this weekend they almost definitely hacked our Spotify accounts and were playing a mix of Beirut, Of Montreal, Bon Iver and Ray LaMontagne. Can't wait for next Sunday!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Urban Exploring

Even though I had visited Chicago several times and I now live here, I still haven't gotten a chance to do too many touristy things. Still haven't been to a Cubs game, the top of the Sears tower, or tried a "Chicago dog"(no ketchup?). So after visiting the AIC yesterday, I did some urban exploring. I had lunch in the sculpture garden just next door to the AIC. (I packed my own sandwich and snuck into the museum by wrapping it in a scarf. The AIC doesn't allow food in, which Andrew and I discovered when we tried to walk in with a huge back of Garret's cheese & caramel popcorn. Fail.)

Then I wandered through iconic Millennium Park. I love that kids can cool themselves off in the giant fountains.

I took a touristy picture at "The Cloud Gate" which is more commonly referred to as "The Bean."

Then met up with Andrew for coffee at Intelligentsia which is totally a Chicago thing.

Best lattes ever! Can't wait to keep urban exploring.

Roy Lichtenstein Retrospective

Yesterday, I went to the Art Institute of Chicago to check out the Roy Lichtenstein Retrospective, which featured paintings, drawings and sculptures from throughout the artist's expansive career. Almost everyone is familiar with the Lichtenstein comic pop art, but he applied his signature primary colors and bold lines to more than comic book reproductions. For example, I had no idea that he did landscape paintings inspired by the Song Dynasty school. Pretty neat stuff! I'd highly recommend going to anyone who can make it. (The exhibit is open through September, I believe.) The colors and textures are so bold and intense, and my pictures definitely don't do it justice. Also, the exhibit featured several pieces from private collections that couldn't be photographed, but it was such a privilege to see them. Below are some of my favorites that were "legal" to photograph.

The "Classic" Lichtenstein



In the "Nudes" room of the exhibit, there was a large wall plaque that started, "Like Matisse and Picasso, Lichtenstein was attracted to the nude female form late in life..." A middle-aged man with glasses and a trench coat was reading the plaque next to me, and he stopped and said, "'Attracted to the nude female late in life,' well of course! It's not like it's some huge artistic mystery! They just weren't getting any!" I laughed out loud.

And finally, because it's absurd and a little perplexing, a still life:

I love Lichtenstein!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

More Goofy Maine Photos

I miss our friends and the East Coast already. I'd take a grey day in Maine with some friends (and red wine) over a sunny day in Florida. No hesitations.