One month without a car in Chicago

Like many Chicagoland residents, the traffic in the summer is outrageous. With all the increase in Ubers and Lyfts, I felt like these past few months have been even worse. For example, I was heading to the Western Suburbs this past July and my normal 45-50 minute commute turned into a 2 hour nightmare (I almost ran out of gas, but that’s a whole other story…). Traffic, parking, construction, and so on was driving me crazy.

I also was becoming too reliant on our car. We have so many forms of public transportation within steps of our home, why did I keep driving everywhere? I was spending so much money on parking and gas, but why? When Lyft asked me to join their #ditchwithlyft campaign, it was perfect timing. I knew it was time to ditch our car for the month and take more public transportation.

ditching our car for one month and taking public transportationditching our car for one month and taking public transportation Continue reading

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 Recap: Taste Talks

Taste Talks is a 3 day national series filled with seminars, tastings, dinners and parties. It is an intimate way to bring amazing chefs, restaurants and influencers together to engage in conversations through Q & A, demos and sampling. I was fortunate enough to attend the conference on Saturday and the cookout the following day. More about this event on Chicago Taste Talks.  Read more at Chicago

Summer Isn’t Over Just Yet! Finish the Summer Strong with Children Events in the City

Summer is slowly coming to an end, but the children summer events in Chicago are still in full swing. I have rounded out a list of some of our favorite kids events in the city for $10 dollars or less.

  1. Sing Along at Lincoln Park Zoo–  Children can sing, dance, and clap along with Mr. Singer every Wednesday and Friday at 9:15 and 10 a.m. in the Main Barn of Lincoln Park Zoo’s Farm-in-the-Zoo. Mr. Singer will play original songs and classic sing alongs. There is always a wide range of ages, children bring their own instruments and can request songs as well. The best part is after the concert, you can visit the petting zoo, feed the cows and goats and then have a picnic at Green City Market (Wednesdays only). All FREE!
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    Green City Market on Wednesdays (Our House Pizza)

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    Noah had so much fun at our picnic at Green City Market

    2. Monica & Andy-  Miss Alexis from Bubbles Academy performs every Tuesday from 10:30- 11a.m., at the Monica and Andy store at 2038 N. Halsted. If you haven’t seen a Miss Alexis concert, we love her! She has sing alongs with small musical instruments. props and is overall very engaging! She will explain how each song helps learning in different stages of development and even incorporates sign language into her performance.

    Noah is 18 months and he is one of the oldest that attends, so I think this might be more for babies and crawlers. Although, he loves it and we will continue to go. $10 dollars.

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3. Whole Foods- Lincoln Park At the Lincoln Park Whole Foods Market on 1550 North Kingsbury Street, there is FREE Bubbles Academy children’s concert every Wednesday and Thursday morning from 10:00 to 10:30 a.m with Miss Alexis. I always like this Whole Foods because it is large and has lots of parking available.

At the Whole Foods in Lakeview on 3201 N. Ashland Avenue, Sarah Jane performs every Thursday from 10-10:30am on the Porch. It does very crowded, so I recommend going early. TIP: They sometimes give out yummy snacks for the kids too.

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4. The StoryBook Mom-  The StoryBook mom is an interactive read aloud is for all ages. This is great way to introduce young children to theatre, storybooks, music and engage their senses in an immediate and interactive way. She performs at various locations across the city. Monday’s at Shop Little Threads in Roscoe Village on 2033 W. Roscoe at 10:30am. She is also at Monica & Andy and Purple Monkey Playroom on Wednesdays. All the weekly performances are FREE. 

5. Park at Wrigley –

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Photo Courtesy of Park at Wrigley

The Old Town School of Folk Music, Wiggleworms, performs every Tuesday at 10-10:45am, except on game days. It is an interactive performance with music, movement and dancing. They will even have shakers, bubbles, singing, dancing and more. It is geared toward children 6 and younger along with their caregivers.

There are so many more events across the city like FREE classes at Home Depot, or FREE bowling Kids Bowl .Jump on the Water Taxi for $6-9 dollars (depending on the distance) or all the FREE family and child friendly events at Maggie Daley Park. 

Let me know what you think!

~xoxo~

Christine

Picnic Essentials

There are many items we need for the park, but there are a few that we MUST have before we leave the house for long periods of time. Now that Noah is a toddler, some of the items are necessary to keep him entertained and make motherhood just a little easier on our summer adventures.

This waterproof picnic blanket is the best! It folds up really small, easy to clean up spills and has handles to make it easy to carry. Picnic Blanket ( 70x80 extra large fold & portable )for family travel , camping , outdoor concert tablecloth lawn or beach mat with color stripes , best kids water-resistant mat tote bag with handle Read more at Motherhood & Family

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Summer Recipes

I am no chef, will never claim to be one. But as soon as I had my son, cooking kind of became part of motherhood, whether I liked it or not. I have learned throughout the past year different recipes that are EASY, FAST and a bonus if it’s kid friendly. Below are some recipes I have been whipping up this summer. Enjoy! Read more at Restaurant Reviews & Recipes

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Toddler Meal Planning Made Easy- Little Harvest

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As soon as Noah started to eat solids around 6 months, my husband and I were so excited for him to try EVERYTHING. Our plan was to cook all his meals ourselves, meal prep for the week and have him it only the best, organic food. Well, fast forward to 16 months now, we haven’t been as good. Meal prep is hard for us sometimes, because like everyone, we are busy. So I did a little searching and found read more at CGL Baby.

Quest for the Best *Thin Pizza Only

There are a few things that can get me out of the house during winter hibernation or away from my summer Netflix and Chill; pizza,  wine and maybe a manicure. If I’m desperate enough.

There are so many good places in Chicago to eat a good slice, but I can’t stand deep dish. Except, maybe when I’m hungover. Or pregnant. One of those happens more than the other.  But really, I’m a thin crust kind of girl. I have narrowed it down to just three, but there are so many more options in the city. Read more at CGL Food

Navy Pier: A Native Perspective

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I am not going to lie, I haven’t been to Navy Pier in years. Actually, most Chicagoans I know haven’t been either. There really hasn’t been much of a reason to go. It’s crowded, has overpriced food and drink options and hasn’t been updated for awhile. But for Mother’s Day, my parents and in-laws wanted to see the Rolling Stone Exhibit, which is currently at the pier until July 30th.

This massive, interactive exhibit is the largest at nearly 18,000 square feet. It includes rare artifacts that cannot be found anywhere else. In fact, many of them come from the band’s personal collection. There are over 500 items which include costumes, tour posters, and equipment to name a few. Throughout the exhibit, you can listen to audio of band interviews and music. The best part of the exhibit was the grand finale, which is the backstage-to-onstage 3D concert experience, which truly feels like you are at a Rolling Stones concert (this might be the only non-child friendly part about the exhibit).

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After the exhibit, we walked around and got some drinks at Tiny Tavern. I have to say, Navy Pier has really made some great improvements. I remember when the pier just had a food court when you could get McDonalds, Churros or Garrett’s Popcorn. Now there are some really great spots to hit up. Porkchop BBQ, Frankie’s Pizza, Goddess and the Baker and Tiny Tavern just to name a few. For a complete list of all the food options, check out their site Navy Pier Food. 

From the updated food options, new and improved Ferris wheel, the Rolling Stone Exhibit, or just to walk around, there are so many things to do. Whether you are from Chicago or an out-of-towner, Navy Pier is definitely worth checking out. It has come a long way from what it used to be. You could easily spend a few hours eating and drinking a while taking in the views of the city and lake.

Until next time..

Christin

 

Your Non-Hipster Guide to Pilsen

If you know anything about the various neighborhoods in Chicago, you would know that Pilsen has always been a predominately Mexican neighborhood. Pilsen has been slowly gentrifying as hipsters and young families move into the area, the culture is still very present. Although the restaurant scene is thriving with places like Michelin rated Dusek’s and Honky Tonk BBQ, there are still plenty of authentic, Mexican taqueria’s and bakeries. My husband’s family still lives in the area, so we know some less touristy places that might not be as well-known. Plus, he has a discerning taste 🙂

El Milagro (1927 S. Blue Island)- Cafeteria style dining and the only tortillas you should ever eat, El Milagro. I had chicken tacos, rice and beans. You will literally have an entire piece of chicken, bones and all. So good and such a unique dining experience.

Lupitas (1723 S.Ashland) This is a taqueria which serves breakfast all day and homemade FullSizeRender(1)menudo (cow stomach), which my husband had and loved (not so much my thing). I had steak tacos, huge portions and delicious. This mom and pop restaurant has grandma and mom cooking in the back and the daughter works the front. We stumbled upon while walking around the area and so glad we did. Very easy to miss, but definitely a must stop.

Bon Bon Bakery (1457 W. 18th Street)- TRES LECHES (3 milk cake) had me in tears. Seriously, the best in the city. Maybe world. A ittle bit more well known throughout the city, this original location is a must along your way.

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Nuevo Bakery (update May 2017, Nuevo León restaurant will not reopen. The owners have now opened BYOB Canton Regio across the street) (1634 W. 18th Street)- This bakery has the best conchas (Mexican Bread). Best when dipped in coffee.

Try out the street food. Don’t be scared. We had some tamales from a lady on 18th street, right by the Pink line. They were fresh, delicious and really, it feels good to shop local and support small businesses.

Jump on the Pink line to 18th Street and do some exploring. Try the street food. Check out the National Museum of Mexican Art and all the street art. Do it. Let me know what you think!

Until next time,

~xoxo~

CGL

Getting Fresh Retro at Rhyme and Reason

Between sports bars and brunch spots, it’s difficult to stand out on Division Street. But, Le’Qoinne Rice and Zafer Genc are doing it with Rhyme or Reason, 1938 W. Division. Their 70’s themed interior, menu from Chef Chris de la Cueva, and live entertainment, all help bring a fun, retro vibe to the Wicker Park area.

Plush rugs, velvet couches and mirrors sets the mood for the 70’s eatery with shareable food and innovative cocktails. The mural around the base of the bar is by Jas Petersen, a Chicago visual artist and painter, which surrounds the circular bar. With an open kitchen, large windows, and an outdoor patio with seating up to 75 people, this is a perfect spot to spend the warm summer months ahead.

The Tuesday through Friday dinner menu has a touch of comfort food like fried oysters, lamb meatballs, wings, burgers and poutine, while the weekend brunch has some of my favorites.

On the brunch menu is a delicious edamame toast, an upgrade from avocado toast. For those who enjoy a little heat, the fried chicken and donuts topped with fresno chili is the perfect choice. Their Bloody Mary comes with a slice of house smoked bacon and mini grilled cheese sandwich. It’s like a meal before the meal or a side for your drinks of choice.

The $1 oysters as well as the bottomless mimosas for $18.95 with orange, hibiscus and grapefruit juices are more reasons for Rice’s and Genc’s Rhyme or Reason to be one of your favorite brunch spots too.

During happy hour from 4pm to 6pm, Tuesday through Friday, $5 dollars gets you bites like lamb sliders, fried oysters and the West Town pizzette. Wash it all down with Prosecco on tap and a glass of Retro Fruit Punch.

Tuesdays are special community giveback to Chicago Public Schools. CPS receives a donation of 15% off all sales.

Rhyme or Reason’s music scene is live Friday and Saturday and ranges from local funk to soul and disco. During the week, the vinyl only DJ booth is coolest and brings a unique quality to the venue.

Le’Qoinne Rice and Zafer Genc opened the business in February 2016 and have been friends for years. Rhyme or Reason reflects their relationship, coming from opposite backgrounds, but managed to develop a relationship and now business.

Whether you stop by for food, drink or music, you’ll find there is both rhyme and reason.

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