• #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
  • CHARMED
  • DESERT FLOWER

#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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#NASTYGALSABOUTTOWN – LINCOLN PARK

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“Eat the cake Anna Mae, I said eat the cake Anna Mae!”  Well as long as they are cuppie cakes.  =)  Welcome to my second featured Chicago neighborhood.  LINCOLN PARK!    This was an obvious choice since helloooo… we live like… right there.  The hubs and I are, what you could say, at the border of Lincoln Park and Lakeview and it gets pretty confusing where our barriers are but you can find me more on the Lincoln Park side of line than the Lakeview side.  No offense to Lakeview at all.  It’s also a great hood to play around in.  HellooOOoOoOooo Boystown.  Hehehe.  Lincoln Park has long been an established and known neighborhood in Chicago.  Here you can find DePaul’s main campus, Lincoln Park Zoo, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Belmont Harbor and an awesome stretch of the lakefront.  Lots of young professionals around here mixed in with families and college students.  There’s just something for every body.

For the hubs and I, Clark Street is our comfort zone.  So many of our favorite food spots are on this street.  But if I were to say what our go-to routine would be when we don’t want to think that hard… Molly’s and Toro Sushi… hands down.  And in that order.  This is probably one of our favorite chill night activities.  I’ll explain why it has to be Molly’s first then Toro.  Firstly, Toro Sushi is our favorite sushi spot in the city.  The sashimi is so fresh and they dish it out in nice thick slabs, the rolls are innovative and delicious, the price is not insane (muy importante factoid), the owner is hilarious (his name is Mitch), the place is small and simple, and duh… it’s BYOB.  All these attributes add up to the fact that it’s always packed.  I would say during normal dinner times, you can expect to wait at least an hour.  But that’s okay because Molly’s is two doors down and they are open late.  So in we go, put in our name at Toro, hand the server our booze to hold in their fridge (another muy importante factoid), and give them the digits to call when our table is ready.  Then we skedaddle over to Molly’s where I’m sure all the other people waiting for their table at Toro are distracting themselves with cupcakes and board games.  Hubs and I usually bust out the connect four and order one cupcake to go.  Tea for him and an almond latte for me.  We bet on stupid shit like who has to do dishes or laundry.  Although I always end up pretending I forgot that I lost the bet.

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Molly’s is so adorable with its swing chairs by the bar seating area, its multicolored tables scattered across the place, its assorted sprinkles station, and the smell of cupcakes taking you in like a giant warm hug.  The cupcakes themselves are oh so so good.  Super moist.  Moist.  Moist.  Moist.  Moist.  Moist.  Moist.  Moist.  Moist.  Moist.  Moist.  (haha that word).  But yes, them cupcakes be moist and scrumptious.  The hardest part is just narrowing down which one you want.  I’m a huge fan of the red velvet swirl.  The frosting is not overly sweet and it’s just a pretty looking cupcake.  And yes, they also offer vegan cupcakes.  Wooooot!  This one however, was NOT.  Lol.

So after an hour of connect four and betting, we usually get a call from Toro to inform us that our table is ready.  I wish we could have taken some shots inside but they were closed during the day.  Man, their sashimi… feel all the feels.  And if you are lucky enough to sit at the sushi bar when Mitch is working, you are in for a good time.  He always remembers his regulars and I love places like that.  Truth be told, we were just there last night.  Thanks for the ice cream tempura Mitch!  Likely you will order one too many rolls because you are in such close proximity to everyone that you want what they have.  Then you will exit in a sushi-induced state of euphoria, all the while thinking to yourself… “It’s sushi. It’s healthy. It’s okay I ate that much.”  This justification will cause you to be a repeat offender. Don’t worry because I’m right there with you my friend.  Did I mention… BYOB betches!!

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Another favorite activity of ours in our hood has got to be taking our little Wrigley-boo out for walks, which, if I’m being honest, is not very often.  We are terrible dog parents.  But once in a while we shine and take him to his favorite dog park conveniently a couple blocks away from our place.  WIGGLY FIELD.  I mean how cute is that name.  This is such a great dog park and it’s always poppin’.  Lots of butt sniffs and wagging tails all around.  Wrigley is a bit of a wimp when he is in a big crowd of dogs so it takes him a while to get comfortable.  I do this mean trick to him sometimes and hide behind a tree so he can’t find me.  And you know what he does!?  He sniffs the ground searching for me then after a while gives up, finds the next human he sees and sits next to their feet and follows them around.  I should be offended but it just cracks me up.  So if you have a pup, try to take them to Wiggly Field for some four legged fun!  There’s even a little plastic pool for those hot hot summer days!

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Other notable Lincoln Park/Lakeview favorites!

SUMMER HOUSE SANTA MONICA/STELLA BARRA
(j’adore the back patio at Stella Barra)
FISH BAR
(semi dog friendly patio)
ALOHA EATS
(figgin’ spam musubis are my downfall)
AKIRA
(started carrying cameo the label… BEST!)
KINGSTON MINES
(blues-y with some booze-y)
HEADQUARTERS BEERCADE
(another arcade bar, closer to home)
GREEN CITY MARKET
(the best farmers market ever, operates year round!)

//  special thanks to Molly’s Cupcakes for letting us shoot!  xoxo  //

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

//  top – thanks to nasty gal  //  leggings – aritzia  //  boots – nasty gal shoe cult  (old)  //  shorts – rag & bone  //  bag – givenchy antigona small  //  necklaces – thanks to monica rich kosann, cartier  //  bracelet – hermes  //  sunnies – givenchy  //

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#NASTYGALSABOUTTOWN – LOGAN SQUARE

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Ahoy thurrrrr!  I’m almost too excited about this next block of posts because of two reasons.  One, I get to show off my city…. CHI-TOWN BABYYYYYYYYY… (aka.. SHAI-town.. har har har)!  And two, this is a collaboration with Nasty Gal y’all~!  Whut Whuuuuuuuut!?!?!  There are oh so so so sooooooooooo many  places I love in this city and I am a total city gal (the burbs will be the death of me… sorry dad) so I can’t wait to tell you about my favorite local spots.  When I first thought about this whole thingy, I decided to take you through my favorite hoooooods.  Now mind you we didn’t shoot at all of my favorite places because it got real awkward shooting inside these establishments (yea still not used to the staring and confused looks), but I will definitely tell you about my other favorite spots in each neighborhood I feature that I didn’t shoot at.  First up… LOGAN SQUARE!

So this is a neighborhood I recently fell in love with because it has so much personality. The Logan Square crowd is really chill and the area holds some really fun spots to hang out, eat, drink and be merry.  But since this is a new discovery for me, I have a few favorite spots but there are probably so many more that I have yet to stumble into.  First up on my list is Emporium Arcade Bar.  There are two locations I think but the Logan Square one is the ginormous one with pool tables.  Contrary to what it looks like in these photos, I am shit at pool.  Like seriously terrible.  Pretty sure during this shoot, I scratched 6 times in one game.  If you dunno what that is… it’s where you sink the white ball into one of the holeys and everyone around you goes… oooooh ouch.  =P  Yep, 6 times in one game and I wasn’t even playing anyone.  Seriously suck.  However, the Hubster is kind of amazing at pool.  Like in a smokin’ hot way.  Now we have been together about 12 years now and it always takes me back to our college days watching him at the basement floor of the Union at UIUC hustling at the pool hall.  So really I just love to watch him play.  Kinda floats my boat… tickles my fancy… turns on all mah switchezzz… if you know what I’m sayin’.  When I play against him I usually have one window to play then it’s his turn after the two seconds it takes me to miss whatever shot I was going for and that’s that.  He pretty much runs the table… and I ain’t mad about that… meow.

Emporium is great because the space is massive, the music is subtle, the bartenders are great, the selection of beers is extensive, and there’s an actual broken down food truck in a corner.  Not to mention the sick art work on the walls.  I do wish they had more arcade games, mostly pinball machines here.

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DOS and Hubster fun fact!  The cue that I am using in these photos is actually the cue I bought the Hubster in college.  It cost me $200.  Which when you think about it now, adjusted for inflation… is probably like spending $2000.  I guess it was love back then too.  Matches my outfit no?

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Pro Tip:  Be aware of where your distressing is on your jeans.  Because this right here… was NOT a good idea.  Summbitch slipped right out the holes.

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Second up is my absolute favorite ramen shop in the city… WASABI.  Now before all you Chicago ramen heads go all ape shit to argue this…  shut yo face!  This is MY guide therefore it can feature what IIIII love.  So go make your own guide!  Man ramen people get really cray about their ramen.  But in my opinion WASABI is the best I’ve had so far in this fair city of mine.  I’ve had pretty much every variation of their ramen here and I crave it about once a week.  But I have been trying to stay on a vegan kick lately so I’ve had to let this go for a while.  Then they go and do something epic and they create a vegan ramen.  As if I couldn’t love them more.  Now I’ve had other vegetarian ramen and it just makes you sad and wish for the tonkatsu and a giant slab of pork belly.  There is usually this overcompensation of flavor that always comes off too greasy or too salty.  But the vegan ramen at Wasabi totally holds its own. So much so that I don’t really miss my go to tonkatsu that much.  But I totally cheat and get the regular ramen noodles which makes the dish vegetarian since the type of noodle they use is made with egg.  I always ask them to put in lots o’ bamboo shoots because I love them.  And if I’m being really honest, I usually double down on the amount of noodles.  I always tell the hubs that I can’t finish it but magically it just disappears.  Enter awesome state of noodle coma.  Good thing I was wearing these awesome distressed Nasty Gal boyfriend jeans!  Definitely had to go up a notch on the belt after this meal.  Food baby worth it!  Okay, now I’m seriously hungry for some ramen. Too bad they are closed on Mondays.  One fact I learned the hard way.  If you plan to check out Wasabi, go either early or late because there is definitely a wait.  Bonus fun fact… BYOB betches!!!

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Other notable Logan Square favorites!

REVOLUTION BREWING
(there is the best display of bicycles right outside)
THE CHICAGO DINER
(vegan and vegetarian done in the best way ever)
SLIPPERY SLOPE
(there is furreal a skeeball machine in here)
NEW WAVE CAFE
(their iced coffee in the summer… heaven)

//  special thanks to Emporium Arcade Bar and Wasabi for letting us shoot!  xoxo   //

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

//  top – thanks to nasty gal  //  jeans – thanks to nasty gal  //  belt – asos  //  bag – chanel  //  shoes – jimmy choo  //

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