my family only has a few special spots. you know, the ones that when you visit, you forget how much you missed it and the memories of old times come flooding back? russel's bbq and johnny's, located slightly outside of the city, have been faves in my family for years. my dad grew up eating pulled pork sandwiches and waiting in long johnny's lines for dessert, and anytime his side of the family comes for a visit, it's always worked in to the itinerary. last weekend, feeling spontaneous and hungry, we piled into the car and headed to those very spots. we grabbed russel's, headed to johnny's, ordered some lemon ice, sat outside, and let the nostalgia return.

italian lemon ice + fries = dinner for yours truly. ( i may have snuck a few bites of bbq in there somewhere, too ;)

these summer nights are what i live for. okay, i also live for lemon ices and barbecue sandwiches. but being adventurous with the fam is a pretty great way to make some nice summer memories. if you're ever in chicago, hit these family favorites up! you won't regret it. 


a few weeks back, i stumbled upon kestrel bags through instagram and immediately fell in love. soon after, kelly and i got to talking and decided to do a little collaboration! her bags are seriously gorgeous, and such great quality. i've got the line wire backpack, and i love it! i'm not one for carrying huge purses, and i love using backpacks as alternatives - this one from kestrel is perfect. last friday, my sister and her friend and i were craving some stan's (when are we not?) and decided to head into the city to grab some. while we were down there, i thought it would be a great opportunity to test out the backpack!

the donuts were fantastic, per usual, and the backpack was the perfect companion for our quick donut excursion. it's sturdy, functional, and beautiful - perfect for traveling across the country or just stopping into the city. to check out the rest of kestrel bags' products, head to their instagram or website!


if you've been following along for some time now, you know that i L-O-V-E LOVE the city. (i've even created a custom hashtag for all my urban adventures. ;) with summer officially in full swing, my sister and our friend emily decided to head down to the park along the lakefront and have a little picnic. we packed the blankets, the hammocks, grabbed the camera, and headed down. we ordered burgers from the beach cafe and set up shop under the trees.

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how great are these enos? they come in tons of different color combinations and you can buy either a single or a double nest. you can attach the straps to two neighboring trees and it's almost foolproof to set up. the perfect way to chill.

i was reminded of the phrase "these are the days" earlier today, and i couldn't agree more. these are the days, the ones filled with unplanned picnics and sweet summer air and friends and drives into the city. i'll be soaking them up while they're here and capturing every last minute. oh - and scheduling more picnics. happy summer!


almost one whole year ago, i created my first chicago guide: THE LOLLY PROJECT EDITION. it featured the ever-amazing wicker park - one of my favorite parts of the city. (who am i kidding, every part of the city is my favorite part of the city.) it was a quick, impromptu day trip and an adventure that i'll always remember. we shopped, waked around, and ate the best donuts ever (thanks stan's!)

earlier this year, i heard about stan's donut's new location in lakeview, and i knew i had to check it out. while i was at it, i thought i'd create another guide! i grabbed my sister, her friend, and the camera and we got to it.

FRUVE JUICERY was first up on our list. i'd never had a legit acaí bowl before (only homemade ones) and all three of us were really excited to try it out! we all approved. they were super filling and so delicious!

STAN'S DONUTS lakeview location was just around the corner from fruve, so it fit right in as our second stop. i will NEVER stop loving stan's; i'll never get tired of eating their delicious creations. if you're ever in chicago, stan's is a must, and any local chicagoan can vouch!

my favorites have to be the old-fashioned lemon pistachio or the peanut butter pocket. serious heart eyes.

after stan's, we took a little drive along lake shore and got some serious summer beach vibes in search of the lost girl vintage truck. check out their instagram... so cute! (sadly we missed them)

during our search, we stumbled upon FOURSIDED. it's seriously the cutest little store i've ever been in. there's a million little trinkets, pins, cards, patches, etc along the walls. there's almost no open space on the shelves or the walls, it's sort of like a gorgeous, beautiful, organized chaos!

no, you're cute, foursided!

just look at those windows! packed to the brim with beautiful planters, candles, books, art pieces, you name it.

as it neared closer to dinner, we decided to grab some fries and apps at STELLA'S DINER, which is probably the cutest little place ever, by the way! plus, the staff is so incredibly friendly! there were about six different groups that walked in while we were there, and each was greeted like they were family.

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we may or may not have ordered some of their shakes, too. i'll let you decide what happened.

SPOILER ALERT! we ordered them.

after we finished our mini dinner, we headed back home with our bellies and adventurous hearts full. i highly recommend all of these places, as well as those documented in my first chicago guide to anyone! whether you're on vacation, a local, or just passing through - you won't be let down!