Birthday weekend in Chicago-part 3

 Sunday was another lovely, sunny day! we truly couldn't have asked for better weather the whole time. we attended their church in the morning which was really special; nicole and i have always talked lots of theology in our friendship and it is wonderful to see where she and james worship!

after church we went into downtown Wheaton to get lunch on the patio :)

perfect day!
 that night nicole threw a triple birthday party (because she is amazing!) for me (22nd), james (19th) and her friend kristy (18th)...she had finished all these lovely crafts before hand and we got to put them all together for the fall themed festivities. they had invited several friends to come and we spent the evening eating lots of great food, laughing and celebrating!

dining room all decorated! all hanmade by nicole except the paper lanterns
whimsical candles, fresh fruit and beautiful decorations!

monday was my last day in Illinois. :( on the way to the airport, we stopped at Wheaton College so i could take a tour :) it was beautiful an colorful this time of year!

we had such a great weekend! truly, a wonderfully relaxing and experiential time :)


Birthday Weekend in Chicago-part 2

 saturday morning we slept in and then headed to the estate of the man who founded The Chicago Tribune, called Cantigny. in his will, he stated that he wished it to remain free to the public and it now serves as an amazing park with glorious gardens and a beautiful mansion to tour! we could not have planned a more perfect day to visit, stumbling onto family gatherings, two wedding photo shoots and a catapult competition (ha).

one of the catapult teams-ha...love the enthusiasm!

i had no idea mums came in these beautiful colors! they were everywhere!

this is the Cantigny mansion. breathtaking inside too!

love them and that little baby!

garden party, please!!

they had a beautiful rose garden...just past its prime but we found some beauties!

we stopped at a local hot dog spot to pick up a Chicago dog...so yummy!

after an afternoon of shopping, we picked up some Chicago-style pizza to enjoy while watching football. i previously hadn't had great experience with this type but LOVED this-so delicious!


Birthday Weekend in Chicago-part 1

it was my birthday last saturday and i decided to fly to chicago to spend it with one of my dearest friends, nicole!  i have been to chicago before but this was the first visit while nicole is living there.
because i had already been, nicole had the great suggestion to visit Wicker Park and Wrigglyville (two neighborhoods of Chicago i had never seen!), so friday, we hopped on the train to spend the day exploring. it was absolutely wonderful :)
have i ever mentioned i love trains...they are so...oh i just love 'em!
so happy to be with her for a few days!

first glimpse of the city!

all train stations have beautiful windows...this was no exception!

so stylish, even when 7 mos pregnant!

i love the sun glare, a million tiny windows and the steam floating up.

beautiful architecture

amazing food from a local eatery in Wicker Park.
 Wicker Park is the artsy district of Chicago; streets are laced with vintage shops, clothing boutiques, neighborhood cafes and furniture resale shops. i absolutely loved the neighborhood and have since started plotting my relocation there-ha! charming and quarky and inspiring!

ready to shop!

the train going by...never got tired of hearing that sound!

i am planning to move here :) so cute, right?!

contemporary brownstone

castle-style brownstone

i thought the use of potted plants was especially impactful against the black railing, door and window frames; the chartreuse and purple varieties make all the difference!

ok, they have a gate with a mailbox on it. love that. love the detailing around the windows and the roofline.

chicago is pretty hip but this outdoor taco stand is amazing! yellow chairs are PERFECT...we walked by smelling fresh tortilla chips and salsa. YUM.

subway tiles.
 that night we made one last stop in Wrigleyville to see a Improvised Shakespeare Troupe at Improv Olympics. i have never laughed so hard in my life! absolultely hilarious and insanely quick-witted. it was an absolutely delight to see the show!

at Improv Olympics
we ended up back home after a lovely, evening train ride. :)


diverse designs.

 well folks...some terrific design pics have caught my eye! enjoy!

i absolutely love this space, minus the rug. i have never seen a kitchen tiled this extensively; it is a nice (although expensive) alternative to wallpaper/paint. you would have to be certain about your choice as it is permanent. i think that the meticulous cabinetry stands out cleanly.
this would be an easy kitchen to entertain from! i love the hanging grid for pans (eliminates a storage challenge) and the row of windows is TO DIE FOR!!. i probably would have chosen a darker stain for the wood cabinets but this design is an odd (but working!) combination of industrial, craftsman, and Scandinavian design. interesting.
i love everything about this space. first, i love that pendant...absolutely brilliant and the subtle interior cutout that is painted the same is a nice touch. the sofa shade is just a bit lighter and the pattern in the rug/sofa are just strong enough to compete with the linear statement of the windows/blinds without competing for the overall attention of the room.

tile floors. red door. stained glass window. coat rack. hanging pendant. everything in this space works to tie old with new and who isn't inspired by the RED DOOR?!

i've always loved the cut of subway tiles but in turquoise???!!! i am literally loving this more than life itself. ha! clean, bright, fresh...absolutely brilliant.

what a great idea: paint the window trim...such a beautiful and understated splash of color...and i can't get enough of the geometric rug and the Morrocan leather ottoman. stunning color combination!
nothing in this photo initially grabs me but then i started looking at the unique cabinetry, mismatched chandeliers, and that table top...i've never seen one like it!
i absolutely love this rustic kitchen. the contrast of whitewashed adobe with raw wood. yes!
what a feminine design!! love the hanging *puffs*...so easy to switch out for season too! the bed/bedding are a little busy.
what a fun way to spice up an office?! i love that the lamp shade is not going to disappear.

what a STUNNING home! love that giant door...i would also like the yard you see in the background...*sigh*