summertime in Chicago

Happy June, friends! AKA HAPPY SUMMER CHICAGO. Is there a more appropriate photo to represent this feeling than a movie in the park + rosé?

Well, fingers crossed, this beautiful mid-70 degree weather is here to stay.

I’m not gonna lie, y’all. May was tough, and that’s why I’ve been MIA these last few weeks. Eric and I had to go home unexpectedly for a series of unfortunate events, ranging from surgery to the loss of loved ones – the hardest being my family’s ten year old sweet pup, Gordo, to cancer.

If you’ve lost a pet before, than I know you know how it feels. There are just no words. They are true family members that grow up along side us.

summertime in Chicago

All that being said, the quality time with our families was so, so good and the break from everything else was much needed.

Now that we’re feeling recharged, it’s back to groovin’ and we are ready for summertime in Chicago! The people are out and about, ready to break out of their winter hibernation. It’s a pretty magical feeling – one that makes this city so special.

To celebrate this sweet new season around the corner, I’ve rounded up some of my favorite signs that it’s finally here in The Windy City.

{Paleteria Carts on the Beach} // Bring your cash folks! There’s nothing I love more on a warm Chicago day than hitting up the paleteria vendors on the beach. The authentic Mexican ice cream treats you can find are unbeatable and so delicious – my favorite are the cookies and cream popsicles!

summertime in Chicago

Spoiler alert: These treats can ruin exercise intentions, because sometimes you can’t help but stop for one. Oh, maybe that’s just me?

{Street Festivals} // To me, this is a quintessential sign of summertime in Chicago – street fests on street fests each week. Everyone has been locked up for 8 months, so now every weekend you can find multiple festivals happening across the city.

summertime in chicago

From the best hot dog round up to traditional German celebrations, there’s always something to explore! The best parts? Festivals are often free and come with awesome live music.

Side note: Tuesday movies in the park might not technically count as festivals, but they’re in this same category of awesomeness for us!

{Beaches & Balls} // This one’s pretty straightforward – the warmer it gets, the more packed the beaches get. Our favorite way to spend a Saturday includes tunes, snacks, and back-to-back sand volleyball games.

summertime in Chicago

It’s a strange concept to be laying out on the sand and turning around to a skyline, but it sure is pretty! (Also, confirming this is actual footage from a ChiTown beach.)

{Legs} // Until this month, I literally don’t think I had shown my legs outside since October? Well, except when I desperately ran to the drug store next to us for a dessert craving.

You know when those dresses, shorts, and skirts start showing up all over town, it’s a good sign. And sometimes, you just have to wear them and freeze a little because mind > matter.

summertime in Chicago

{Happy Pups} // It’s a sad sight to see all the cold doggies outside freezing their little bootys off with the rest of us during the winter because they have no choice – they gotta do their business!

That being said, you an tell it’s a good day when all the dogs are out with big smiles instead of pet sweaters. Running in the park, wind in their hair – Chicago summer pups are really living their best lives.

summertime in Chicago

Honoring Gordo with a photo from him soaking up the sun on Fourth of July a few years back. I know he would’ve freakin’ loved summertime in this city.

Now, I’m hoping I totally didn’t just jinx us with all this talk! What are the key signs of summer where you live??

Days By Day

Chicago holiday must-dos

I love big cities at Christmas time! Everything seems so magical with lights and decorations galore.

Well up here in Chicago, the chilly winds can be a little more painful than magical, but the holiday splendor helps us look past that for now…

My parents were in town this past weekend for a quick trip and it was wonderful! E and I made it a point to take them around to all our Chicago holiday must-dos so they could experience all this magic themselves.

Chicago holiday must-dos

Sharing this list of goodies below because you must check them out if you’re in town! If you’ve already been, they just don’t get old, right?? If you haven’t, then bring yourself and all your friends.

Chriskindlmarket // This charming little market, inspired by that in Nuremberg, Germany, is located downtown on Daley Plaza and entrance is F R E E. It provides a unique shopping experience out of pretty little wooden houses and delicious German food and drink, including spiced wine in the fair’s collectable mini mugs. The mugs are different each year, check out last year’s here.

*Tip: You can find the city’s best ornaments here. There’s basically one for every occasion or item you can think of! They’re gorgeous and make great gifts for family members.

Chicago holiday must-dos

holiday markets chicago

Zoolights // Zoolights is a fun, free outing where you can soak up endless pretty lights and music coordinated displays, even if you’re not the biggest fan of zoos (like me). There’s even an ice sculptor there who is very impressive. The best part is when they torch the sculpture at the end and it becomes a shiny beacon.

*Tip: Pick up your favorite hot drink beforehand at the Starbucks nearby off North Clark Street because it is freakin’ cold. Gloves, blanket scarfs, and layers on layers highly recommended.

Chicago holiday must-dos

(The Landmark Cafe via Lincoln Park Zoo)

Chicago holiday must-dos

Holiday Tea at the Drake // So this was a first for me this past weekend when I went with mom and it was amazing! Tea at the Drake is actually offered all year around, but they’ve got special holiday hours and the Christmas decor is stunning, so I think it’s especially worth going during this time.

The tree with the ginormous ornaments had us speechless. And the Palm Court room? Incredible.

Chicago holiday must-dos

Chicago holiday must-dos

(Palm Court via The Drake Hotel)

It can be a pricer outing ($49/person), but I totally think it’s a special outing worth doing with your best girlfriends or ladies in your family! In addition to unlimited British tea served in the prettiest drinkware ever, you get a variety of finger sandwiches, scones, and French pastries.

Chicago holiday must-dos

Chicago holiday must-dos

Chicago holiday must-dos

If you don’t feel fancy yet, there’s a harpist playing by the fountain in the middle of the room.

*Tip: Go ready to get your munchies on! You won’t go hungry. If you finish your treats, they’ll happily bring you more and even box leftovers to go. You’re getting your money’s worth.

Chicago holiday must-dos

Chicago holiday must-dos

Millennium Park Tree & Skating Rink // If you’ve got first-time visitors in town, this area is definitely one of those Chicago holiday must-dos! While showing off the famous silver bean (aka Cloudgate), you can check out the big ice skating rink set right in front of it. The line is always fairly long, so I haven’t actually made it out on the ice yet. One day.

The other hot ticket item here is the 69 foot tree glowing in colored lights! You can’t miss it. There’s a beautiful balcony on the east side of the tree that makes the perfect spot for pictures.

Chicago holiday must-dos

Chicago holiday must-dos

*Tip: If you’re set on ice skating, try to go during the week or get their early to avoid the crazy line as much as possible. If you’re down to just sight-see, this is an easy tack on before or after the Chriskindlmarket!

Wherever you are, I hope you’re enjoying this season with family and friends! It really is the most wonderful time of the year.

Any other Chicago holiday must-dos that I missed? Please share in the comments!

Days By Day

renegade craft

I was hooked on Renegade Craft Fair the first time I went a year ago. This is such a cool event, and the good news is it happens a few times a year all around the country.

The Renegade Craft Fair features the a whole bunch of talented and amazing folks in the DIY and Maker communities, and was really a pioneer for this kind of event when it began in 2003. Not only do they have beautiful vendors selling their handmade goods, but the fair is also complete with artisan foods and interactive features. This year, Chicago delivered with a photo booth and a pop-up VW van airbrush tattoo shop.

renegade craft

renegade craft

The holiday market was  held at the Bridgeport Art Center. You guys, this place is so pretty. My dream home senses were tingling – exposed brick walls, wood floors, metals and pretty lighting galore.

renegade craft

Eric packed our fancy camera and snapped beautiful pictures of the whole thing. I had to share , along with some of the trends we saw all over the place! Hoping these provide some gift inspiration if you’re shopping around for unique treats.

Air Plants // These were everywhere! Vendors weren’t necessarily selling the plants per se, but all the adorable little ways to display them. We saw beautiful hanging displays made out of metals, and others out of yarn or t-shirt jersey.

renegade craft

renegade craft

Wall sconces also caught my eye – we left with a few from Handmade Sam*Made! I love the idea of living wall art. This Pinterest search also brings up some good inspiration.

Dainty Jewelry // This will always be trendy in my opinion! I love little pieces that can stand alone as a simple statement in everyday wear, but that can also be layered on for a dramatic look.

renegade craft

holiday markets chicago

I got the above je’ taime ring from Katie Dean last year, who was there again with her mom. They are the sweetest. That’s one of my favorite parts about Renegade, getting to chat with the artists!

This year I added to my bracelet collection with a simple brass bangle from Avrocomy. I’ve been wanting something I can wear daily, whether it be alone on casual errands or stacked with more for a night out.

renegade craft

Woven Goods // If you love cozy, than you love woven stuff. Lots of pretty tones and soft feels! I fell in love with one of these chunky scarfs in Butterscotch from The Minted Evergreen, but ultimately couldn’t make up my mind – surprise, surprise. I’ll likely be purchasing one online asap! They feel AMAZING. Highly recommend.

renegade craft

Paper Goods // I’m an old soul when it comes to paper and love snail mail. I mailed in checks for the longest time. I know how many stamps are in a book from the post office and how much they cost (Eric still makes fun of me for this of course).

This being said, I loveee getting and giving cards! Stores and fairs with cards galore are a little bit of a personal oasis – the Renegade Fair being a prime example. Cute shops like Hello Paper, La Familia Green, and Oh Hello Friend were set up. I honestly just tried to pick a favorite to share from each shop’s site and it’s legit impossible for me, so you’re just gonna have to check it out yourself.

renegade craft

Prints are on this same level. Roaring Softly is one of my top picks. The artist, Tyler, is beyond sweet and talented. Her pieces are so cute, spunky, and even feature your favorite shows! Last year, I left with an SNL piece as a gift. This year, I’ll probably be ordering a few more online as presents, and the one below for me –  Park and Rec’s Leslie and Ann are true friendship goals.

renegade craft

renegade craft

Hope this brings some good shoppin’ inspiration as you head into the weekend, friends! My parents are in town, which means we’ll be running around chilly Chicago doing all the Christmas-y things with as many layers on as possible.

Days By Day

P.S. To never miss a post and stay updated on snaps throughout the week – would love for you to go like this little ol’ blog on Facebook!

anniversary chicago

Last week marked Eric and I’s one year in Chicago. That is crazy to me.

We had dreamed of doing a big move to a new city after college. One that would challenge us, grow us, and let us adventure together, with new experiences and people.

I can without a doubt say our move to this city has done that for us. It has been the best decision we could have made.

Now don’t get me wrong, we definitely miss Texas, and of course, our family and friends. Also, very much miss real queso, breakfast tacos, and margs.

In the end though, we had grown up in Texas our whole lives, and we knew it would always be there for us to go back to. Which we will one day!

There has just been nothing comparable to taking a leap of faith, moving off on our own – where we’d know almost no one – and making something out of it. Something that was ours.

All this being said, I couldn’t help but reflect on a few favorite memories from this last year in the Midwest. We’ve been pretty darn lucky to do life here with a group of amazing humans. Sharing some of the shenanigans below!

Memorial Day Trolley // What’s the best way to show your visiting BFFs around town? Gather good drinks, jams, and friends for a night of sightseeing via light up trolley.

anniversary chicago

Beach Volleyball // Playing volleyball not only lets me pretend I’m a cool athlete, it also offers a killer view of downtown. Same with runs along the lake. I love getting to enjoy the ah-mazing weather and pretend I’m on vacation, all while staring at the skyscrapers.

anniversary chicago

Michigan & Wisconsin Getaways // E & I love to travel. A big motivation to moving was all the new places we’d have the chance to visit. In January, we headed to a cabin with friends in Charlevoix, MI – so much snow. In July, Eric and I took a weekend trip to Madison, WI – so much cheese. Both so fun.

michigan getaway

F O O D // Just like all of it. I’ve consumed more Thai in this last year than in my whole life – so many good options. Basically every sushi place is BYOB. I’ve got my favorite neighborhood pizza place. Did someone say brunch? Always down to add a place to my long list of faves.

windy city eats

Go Cubs Go // It is impossible not to get caught up in the Cubs fandom up here. We love going to the games and eating foot long hot dogs and chanting along like we’ve been around the whole time. But seriously, it’s fun being a Cubs fan, and last season we got to see them go far.

anniversary chicago

St.Patty’s Day // Did you know St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday here? Not legally I guess, but basically. The day is famous in the city for turning the river green.

anniversary chicago

Sailing // We always see boats on Lake Michigan and think to ourselves we’ve really got to find a friend with a boat. We haven’t yet – but we have a friend with a friend with a boat. That led to spending a lovely day on the water to watch some intense sailing races.

anniversary chicago

Living with Bex // Honestly you guys, without Becca this last year would have been a struggle. Her, E, and I became three peas in a pod and took on the city together. Forever thankful for this friendship. Tip for moving to a new city where you know almost zero people: find a really awesome girl friend who will make you do bur-pees, but also suggest you frequent the corner 7/11 for pints of ice cream. Here’s us being ridiculous, per usual.

anniversary chicago

Seriously, what a first year. Praising God for all these blessings. Through the good times, and in the tough, He’s taking care of us.

Cheers to us Chicago – bring it on year 2!

Days By Day

Saturday Mornings

Chicago farmer’s market Saturday mornings are what summer dreams are made of, y’all.

A few weekends ago, Eric and I set off to check out two farmer’s markets we missed from the end of last summer – the Green City Market in Lincoln Park and the Division Street Farmer’s Market. These markets run from May through the end of October, but prime time are these summer months when the sun is shining and everyone is out for some fresh goods.

We don’t go prepared to do all our grocery shopping (although we have aspirations to be that adult one day), but we love to chat with vendors, consume as many samples as possible, and get some fresh baked croissants or grilled cheeses we can munch on while walking around.

That time we picked up a chocolate croissant and coffee. There was also a crepe stand set up that I’ll be making a beeline to next time. I was pretending we were in Paris again, since pain au chocolat and banana-nutella crepes were basically our diet for the whole week we were there.

Saturday Mornings

Saturday Mornings

Saturday Mornings

We realized that come 12:00 pm, a lot of the vendors were definitely low on their stuff. If you’re set on having your range of choices, or getting some of those drool worthy mozzarella sticks that have people lining up in Lincoln Park, I’d aim to get there at least closer to 10:00 am!

Um, also, if you’re a dog lover like me – huge perk to attending a market is that there are literally so many dogs of all breeds and ages. It kills me. All the owners Eric and I went up to were so nice, we had to get our petting quota in.

We’re long overdue for our next farmer’s market trip – hopefully this weekend!

Days By Day