• A BRUNCH STORY – CHOP SHOP – WICKER PARK
  • AIN’T NO PARTY LIKE A G+F AFTER PARTY
  • #NASTYGALSABOUTTOWN – WEST LOOP
  • #NASTYGALSABOUTTOWN – LINCOLN PARK
  • #NASTYGALSABOUTTOWN – LOGAN SQUARE
  • JENNY YOO LACE
  • GOODBYE SUMMER
  • EYELET WHITE
  • LOLLA FREE PEOPLE LOOK THREE
  • LOLLA FREE PEOPLE LOOK TWO
  • LOLLA FREE PEOPLE LOOK ONE
  • 2014 FREE PEOPLE FESTIVAL WEAR
  • ORANGE BRIGHTS
  • DOS AND HUBSTER TURN 5
  • STRAIGHT UP

A BRUNCH STORY – CHOP SHOP – WICKER PARK

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When someone says to you that Chop Shop is serving a brunch menu for the first time this weekend and asks if you want to go try it out, there really is only one answer.  What time do they open?!  But before I get into all that….  Hey guys!  Remember me?  I used to blog n stuff.  I’ve been totally neglecting my site but have been trying to make up for it through Instagram so I hope you are all still with me out there.  Life has been pretty crazy and the new tax job has kept me pretty much swamped.  I’ve had to say farewell to a lot of sleep and a lot of weekends.  Between managing to attend events to support some of my fellow Chicagoans, juggling my ever increasing work load, attempting to fit in yoga to find some zen, and struggling in maintaining my sanity at home, updating the site has sadly become one of the last things on my list.  My weekdays have been filled with going to the office, attending an event, then logging back on to work when I get home to hit my deadlines.  Then weekends are spent catching up on chores, running errands, and catching up on sleep.  So when a good brunch opportunity came around, I used it as a way to spend a day in a great Chicago hood and roam around with the best guy I know, the Hubster.  Believe it or not, we have barely had any time to spend with each other in the past couple of months.  I know it’s odd sounding because we are married and see each other every day but trust me when I say there is a difference between seeing each other and actually spending quality time with each other.  Whenever we have been out, it’s been to events or we are just rushing through dinner or I’m just too stressed out with work on my mind.  But this brunch was different.  I swear we were there for close to three hours just taking our sweet ass time.  We asked them to serve us super slowly.  We enjoyed every sip and every bite.  We took in all the cute decor.  And you bet your ass we photographed the crap out of everything.  Social media up the whaaazooooo!  But we also talked, laughed, made fun of each other, competed on who had the best phone photos and just enjoyed each other’s company in the best way we know how.  Over good food, good drinks, and damn good coffee.  I didn’t think about work and it felt so good.  So big thanks to Chop Shop and Bold Face Chicago for the amazing brunch.  We enjoyed our experience so much and will definitely be back to try them lemon-blueberry pancakes!

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If you didn’t know, Chop Shop is located on North Ave, really close to the North, Milwaukee, and Damen six corners.  The first floor has this awesome butcher shop that offers up meats from local farms and other great goodies like wine and cheese.  Also in the first floor is a bar area where you can grab a seat or grab one of the booths and enjoy a few drinks with your friends.  It has a really comfortable, casual and welcoming feel.  In the way back is a rentable 6,000 square foot event space.  Prime Market can be found there on Sundays and there are only two events left so plan accordingly!  I hear a certain jolly chubby guy in red will be there this Sunday!  Upstairs you will find the full Chop Shop restaurant.  I’ve never eaten there before so this brunch was my first time trying out their menu.  And it did not disappoint.  I found everything reasonably priced for what they offered.  That’s immediately one thing I will silently grumble about is when the price is crazy when all I really want is quality fresh ingredients.  Fresh food should not be expensive!  I’m not a huge foodie like my hubby so things like that get to me.  I like simple dishes where I can really taste every main ingredient.  Oh, and you must start me off with a good drink.  That pretty much sets the tone for me.

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Here was my drink.  The “Unce, Tice, Fee times a Marmalady” (okay try to say that out loud and see what you come up with) which has apricot liqueur bitters, St. Germain, Prosecco, lemon juice, and apricot marmalade.  Friggin’ YUM!!!  So refreshing and a PERFECT brunch drink.  Hubs opted for a bloody mary with a beer back.  His fave for brunch.  And like I said, it all starts off with that first drink for me.  If I don’t enjoy the drink, I’m pretty much starting off in a bleh mood for the rest of the meal.

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Hang in there guys.  I’m sure your food is coming.

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Earth Market Salad – just how I like my salads!  Field greens. tangy dressing, and this had these dried little goji berries that were like a fun surprise in each bite!

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Bacon Cheddar Biscuit – need I say more?  It came with a little glass pot of butter with maple syrup.  I repeat, butter with maple syrup!

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Banger Stuffed Portabella – stuffed with Caprese sausage, on top of crispy spiced potatoes, topped with arugula, onion and a runny egg.  This was both our favorite.  I just wish the portabella was bigger or there was less sausage because it got a tad salty at times.  But that’s my own personal taste.  I just had to cut down the amount of sausage I took with the mushroom and it was perfecto!

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Lobster Polenta Cake Benedict – crab hollandaise, chive, black pepper topped with two poached eggs.  I mean LOOK AT IT!  If that doesn’t scream brunch the crap out of me I don’t know what will.  Gotta love the fact that they did NOT skimp on the lobster.  This dish was decadent, creamy, and poking the egg and watching it ooze out and over everything is a simple pleasure  I’m sure we all enjoy to do. And since there were two eggs, hubs got to poke one and I got to poke the other.

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Tiramisu – well duh we had to get dessert.  Their tiramisu is so good and definitely different from other tiramisus I’ve had.  The top and bottom are actual lady finger cookies.  I was supposed to share but that didn’t go very well.  This went well with the coffee.  The damn good coffee.  I am always so happy when a restaurant has good coffee.  It makes me feel like they really care.  I think the coffee they carry is Sparrow Coffee which is a local Chicago roastery in the West Loop that cares about providing organic and sustainably sourced coffee.  Needless to say, I will be stalking them very soon.

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I really wanted to shoot the hubby since he’s been dressing so fashionable these days but he refused to let me.  So all I got are these shots of his shoes, and him holding my purse.  Muahahaha.  That’s what you get for refusing me.  He really does love his Timbaland boots from Akira Men.  Rockin’ them olive laces like a boss.  RAWR. He has a very subtle urban style and pretty much lives in Zanerobes. He’s come a long way from his golf shirt days. You know the anti wrinkle ones. He had the same one in a variety of colors. Yack!!

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And here’s my outfit of the day.  Simple layers and a thick wool jacket was just enough for the perfect fall weather we had this day.  This is one of my all time favorite jackets.  I’ve had it for about 4 years now I think.  It’s oversized, it has bell sleeves, it has a hood, it has large pockets, and it’s navy blue.  So much to love about it!  To me, this coat has never gone out of style and it was also probably one of the best sale finds I’ve had.  I think it was originally $600 and I snagged it for $75.  WOOOOOOP!!  I’m wearing one of my favorite boots from Nasty Gal’s Shoe Cult collection.  I’ve been really impressed with Shoe Cult.  These particular boots I got last year are really comfortable.  We strolled Wicker Park for a few hours and I was able to last in these all day and night.  Also wearing my favorite Rag & Bone jeans.  This particular style has a short inseam which is great for my shorty self.  They cut off right where I want and are tight on the ankle.  They obviously are not capris on me.  Definitely recommend these if you are a shorty like me! Anywayyyyy that’s all for now. Can’t promise when my next post will be but I will try to make it good I swear! I hope you enjoyed this post and thanks again to Chop Shop and Bold Face Chicago!

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//  coat – golde (old)  //  top – nastygal  //  sweater – vince  //  jeans – rag & bone  //  booties – shoecult by nastygal  //  clutch – antik batik  //  rings – t and j designs  //  necklace – cartier  //

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AIN’T NO PARTY LIKE A G+F AFTER PARTY

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BOY OH BOY!!  I am so excited!  Let’s be honest here.  How often do you get to rock a gown and go to a Black Tie Event?  Okay, I mean the general masses and not anyone who is really part of a social circle that these things are common place.  I, myself, have never been to one such occasion.  It was my wedding day and then my ball gown days were over.  So for Glossed + Found to invite me to this event, I was all over it!  But because I don’t have a ball gown readily available nor am I willing to wear my wedding dress, I had to get creative and really dig deep into my closet.  What I came out with is pretty interesting.  I can’t wait to show you guys!  If you have no plans on Friday the 14th, why not join me for some fashion and drinks (my two favorite things) and snag a ticket to the Glossed + Found Official Party of the Costume Ball!  Best yet, you can get your ticket at half the price through Gilt City —–>  HERE

Hope to see you there!  Make sure to follow me on Instagram that night for real time insta-moments!

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#NASTYGALSABOUTTOWN – WEST LOOP

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And welcome to my final featured Chicago neighborhood in the #NastyGalsAboutTown series.  WEST LOOP.  This is an area that has gone through quite a bit of change since I moved here to the city.  What once was filled with abandoned buildings, broken down walls and shattered glass, has come to life with newly developed loft condos and a slew of amazing and innovative eateries.  But what I love most is that these places sprang up but still kept the feel of the west loop area alive.  I love seeing all the brick and rusted metal, windows that seem to be tinted just a bit to keep a dark and broody vibe, and all the fire escapes that trickle down the sides of the buildings.  I have always wanted to shoot on a fire escape so when I found out my friend RM had one at his apartment and that Zoe Rain was available to shoot, I nearly soiled myself.  I tried to play it cool though.  Can’t you tell?  I get insanely nervous and self conscious when its someone else shooting me.  Probably why I have a hard time staring directly into the camera.  I’d rather be looking off somewhere or doing something so I can pretend the camera is not there.  What looks like a far off gaze is actually my self-conscious self trying to look cool.  To have this bad ass shoot me for my last feature was such a treat.  She effortlessly got all the shots and angles that I wanted in record time and in the middle of some cocktails.  On top of that, these are barely edited.  The shots from the fire escape were so fun mainly because of the people around me.  I had Zoe behind the lens, RM on reflector duty, AH serenading me on her guitar, and TT cheering me on from the other side of the window.  Can all my shoots be like that please?  Thanks so much to the clique for all the love and help.  And to Zoe for these amazing photos that I can’t stop staring at.  Welcome to Chicago boo!  Anyone looking for a photographer in Chicago has got to check out her work!  And yes, she does weddings too!

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Anyhoo, back to the West Loop.  Start from Halsted and Randolph and just keep heading west and you will be greeted with restaurant after restaurant after restaurant.  I would be surprised if you couldn’t find anything you didn’t want to eat on this road.  So of course, Chicago with its robust foodie culture helped grow the success of the West Loop.  Where there is good food, we Chicagoans will follow… and eat… and eat… and eat.  Though the reason I love the West Loop has to do with a more liquid format.  Yes it’s true these establishments churn out some mouth watering dishes, but they also slang some of the best cocktails!  The ones that are actually WORTH the $12 a lot of other places in the city will charge.  Some of the best cocktails I’ve ever had are on this strip.  One in particular has recently got me obsessed.  So much so that I end up with one in my hand when I didn’t even plan to.  Probably also because it is on my bus route home.  Not surprising, this favorite cocktail is at the new Soho House/The Allis.  Calm down.  I’m not a member.  Which is why I am confined to the first floor watching all the uniquely beautiful people waltz through the lobby with black card in hand and whisk away to the member floors.  I got to see the other floors through random tours as the guest of people who are members and yea… I’ll admit it… my ass applied right after.  Still waiting for that answer though.  Yoo hoo??  Until then, I shall be on the first floor.  Usually working with tax returns and work papers sprawled out and taking up a whole table on my own.  This corporate stooge-ness will probably hurt my chances of procuring my own black card but I can’t help it.  It’s just so comfy there and it’s a perfect place to get some work done.  The lobby is so inviting and there are long communal tables which actually makes this a great place to churn out some tax returns.  It’s fairly quiet and I have yet to see the place packed.  Which is probably why I’m second guessing telling you guys because I don’t want to have to fight you over a table.  Lol.  The bar area is awesome.  I love how it’s so open and the bartenders are so nice and welcoming.  The bites of food they have is also great.  When they have their avocado dip, I always have to get an order.  And everything is served on probably the cutest set of plates ever!  The attention to detail here is just impeccable.  And the chandeliers!!  OMG the chandeliers!!  I’m pretty sure everyone comes in and immediately takes a picture of the chandeliers.  The ceilings rise up so high and dangling are these massive chandeliers that makes you wanna do like Sia and swinggggg.  I have been ending up here after work on so many days lately.  What usually happens is that I will walk to my bus stop on Halsted and Monroe and look down the street to see if my bus is anywhere in sight.  If it’s not, I start walking north.  I tell myself if my bus eventually catches up to me by the time I hit the Randolph stop, I’ll get on and go home.  If not… ummmm… Soho House anyone?

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And here it is, my favorite cocktail.  The Picante De La Casa.  Or what I like to say when I order… “Picanta AYAYAYAYA AY something something casa”.  It’s tequila based and has other things in it that I have no clue about except for the pepper butt that sits right on top.  This drink is also spicy as that pepper flavor is stirred into the drink itself.  The funny part is that I’m not a tequila girl.  Sure I enjoy a margarita from time to time but it’s never really my first order unless I’m out eating Mexican food.  But this drink has got me hooked.  I’ve also hooked on a few others.  My photographer on this day for one.  Zoe and I can probably throw back 5 of these in one sitting.  It’s refreshing and gives the slightest pleasant happy buzz after one.  But I guess that part all depends on your tolerance.  Oddly you won’t find this drink on the menu but it is on the menu at the member floor bar.  But don’t fret!  If you know to order it, they will make it for you.  Enjoy!

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I hope you all enjoyed this set of photos from my collaboration with Nasty Gal #NastyGalsAboutTown.  I had so much fun on this and though I was scrambling due to tax deadlines, I am so glad I got to show off parts of my city before it all froze over.  Chicago is a great place to live if you can get past the brutal winters.  There is a Midwest hospitality here that is ingrained in everyone you meet that is from here.  Also it is probably one of the cleanest large cities you will ever visit here in the states.  The air is clean though parts of our river is not.  We love our food and we love our drinks.  We love our sport teams (and by we, that doesn’t really include me.  sports are yuck).  We love our skyline and our lake.  We love our neighborhoods and we love our culture.  So come on, have a giant steak, hot dog with no ketchup, and a deep dish pizza to send you into a food coma for days, wash it down with a 312 beer, take a run along the lakeside, hug the bean and take so many selfies, stroll down Michigan Ave and shop til you drop with our almost 10% sales tax, visit the zoo and all our museums, catch a concert at Millennium Park, watch a Second City comedy show, snack on some Garrett’s popcorn, and stand at the ledge at the SEARS tower.  But don’t drive because it will cost you $8 an hour to park here.  LOL.  Yes, come on  and visit because we want you to see all there is to see and we want you to fall in LOVE with our city too!

Other notable West Loop favorites!

LITTLE GOAT
(hubby and I love to come here after church and eat and drink at the bar.  good bloodys)
GREEN STREET SMOKED MEATS
(where vegans go to die.  i cheat here and just give them the benefit of the doubt that their food is of the responsible sort and have their bone in salmon.  oh dear mother of all that is holy)
LA COLOMBE
(coffee addicts, raise your hand.  also has instagram worthy plates and mugs)
MAUDE’S LIQUOR BAR
(sooooo many good cocktails to choose from!  and i love the french cuisine)
THE AVIARY
(where your paycheck goes to die.  be ready to have your senses tingled and your mind blown away by some fancy liquor presentations and your bill)
SOUL CITY CHURCH
(where we go to get our praise on!  the church band is insanely talented.  you will feel like you are in concert)
ISAACSON & STEIN FISH CO
(i love seafood and it is always what i cheat with and if you have the time in the middle of your day to get it fresh, here is the place to go shop)

//  special thanks to Soho House Chicago and The Allis for letting us shoot!  xoxo  //

//  SUPER special thanks to Zoe Rain for the photos  //

//  this post is in collaboration with Nasty Gal  //

//  dress – thanks to nasty gal by nasty gal  //  shoes – thanks to nasty gal shoe cult  //  hat – goorin brothers  //  necklace – dylan lex  //  bralette – urban outfitters  //

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