TLP'S CHICAGO GUIDE: WICKER PARK


am i the only one that gets giddy when i drive into the city? maybe it's because i'm a new(er) driver or a lover of adventures but i can't help it. every time i see the skyline my heart skips a beat. it's a good problem to have i guess.

my cousins were recently in town, and being the spontaneous bodies we are, we decided to hop on a train and explore one of the city's most artsy areas: wicker park. it was 10:45 am and we decided to take the 11:05 train. crazy, but we made it! while on our way, i decided to create a guide to the city i love so much, so that you could feel the love as well! welcome to episode 1 of THE LOLLY PROJECT'S CHICAGO GUIDE, featuring the amazing wicker park!



i've laid out a basic itinerary sharing where we went and what we did, and further in the post i've gone in depth about each spot!

ITINERARY

  1. grab an uber (thanks to my cousin wesley's free ride!) and head to antique taco for lunch.
  2. walk to reckless records and browse 'til heart's content.
  3. pause for some improptu mural shots. (#ABMlovesmurals amiright?)
  4. continue down the street to eskell gifts.
  5. hop on some divvy bikes and ride to stan's donuts.
  6. order approximately 9 donuts and cry because they're so good. 
  7. walk to tom's roasting co. and marine layer.
  8. call an uber for pickup and return to union station.
















ANTIQUE TACO 1360 N milwaukee st.

i almost cried tears of joy when we pulled up to this place, just ask my cousins katie or wesley, or my sister claire. after a hasty google search for good lunch restaurants in wicker park, we decided to take a shot at this seemingly cool taco place. and boy am in glad we did. it's the cutest, most artsy, little taco place i've ever seen! they also have an event space above the restaurant! right inside the door, there's a whole wall lined with cute gifts and souvenirs you can buy, like t-shirts and washi tape!

there was a good crowd seated when we arrived, which was at about 12:30. you order before sitting, and we had no wait. after ordering, you move to the opposite wall and fill your own waters in mason jars, grab your own silverware + cloth napkin, and choose a table. (they have outdoor seating too!)

once our food was delivered to the table (and we had taken enough pictures) we dug right in, and were pretty speechless. all four of us had ordered a different type of taco, and they each were amazing. just look at those photos! they have lots of options besides tacos, and the drink selections vary between alcoholic and non. we each ordered a blueberry agua fresca. they were gone in the first five minutes. #noshame. parting was a sweet sorrow. we'll definitely be back.

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RECKLESS RECORDS 1532  N milwaukee st.

RR is literally a two-minute walk down the street from antique taco! i had heard of this place a few times before, and when i realized it was so close to antique we had to stop. not only do they have thousands of records, but they also have dvd's, cd's, you name it! it was so fun to thumb through all the albums and find the coolest cover art, song titles, and old records. my sister found one recorded years and years ago in the la scala opera house in milan, where she had just watched an opera two weeks ago! you can purchase and sell records here - it's defiently worth a visit if you're a media lover.

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ESKELL GIFTS 1509 N milwaukee st.

unfortunately i didn't snap any pictures on the inside (there's some footage in the video), but take my word - it's like anthro meets urban meets city boutique. along with the best gifts, eskell sells really cute clothing, sunnies, and pretty much everything under the chic sun. i sadly didn't buy anything, but tons of stuff caught my eye! i'm making it a priority to stop at eskell and buy at least one thing. you can't go wrong with anything in that store!

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let me just give a disclaimer on divvy bikes, lots of people like riding them, but after renting them on our adventure, i'm not a huge fan. (i'll attempt to give an unbiased review) the deal is, you rent a bike for $7 and it basically gives you a 24 hour pass to ride the bike anywhere. but there's a confusing catch - you have to check in the bike at a divvy station every 30 minutes. meaning if you want to take an hour long ride from point a to point b, you have to stop your ride and check in at a divvy station in the middle of your ride and at the end. (did you get that?) there's a lot more explaining on the website!

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STAN'S DONUTS  1560 N damen ave.

i'd been longing to try a donut from stan's, and was thrilled when i found out they had a location in wicker park! after returning our bikes, we ordered some donuts and i once again may or may not have shed a tear because THEY WERE SO GOOD. they also have a whole wall of rainbow colored kitchenaid stand mixers. i got a chocolate peanut butter-filled donut, my sister got a shark week donut, my cousin katie got a classic chocolate-with-sprinkles and my cousin wesley got an old fashioned glazed. (not to mention we got a while 1/2 dozen more) not only does stan's have donuts, but they have coffee (intellegensia!!) and gelato. my mouth is watering just thinking about it. so good!

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TOM'S ROASTING CO.  1611 N damen ave. 

my sister stopped in for a quick minute to grab a cappuccino. it's so cute in there! thy've got the whole coffee shop vibe down, with subtle merchandise displays. the coffee was served right away and it was delicious!

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MARINE LAYER  1646 N damen ave.

i stepped in to marine layer for a quick peek inside. it's very california-beach-vibes. straight of the coast of miami! they have a trademark of the super-soft tee shirt, and they're very true to their word! all the clothes were super cute and the sales people are very kind! 

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UBER

a little tip i learned from my friend - always drive with uberBLACK. it's a bit safer and granted, slightly more expensive, but you get a private driver that is constantly tracked by the uber headquarters. you can also get great insider city tips from the drivers - their favorite places, the coolest hidden spots, and more!

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i hope you enjoyed the first episode of TLP'S chicago guide and are starting to love this city as much as i do. it's pretty great. stay tuned for episode 2! -m

HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY AMERICA!


yes i am fully aware that today is the 12th of july and that fourth of july was last week. that's why the title says happy belated birthday.  we celebrated the fourth for almost an entire week, and it was like a huge extended (really extended) family reunion. plus having no computer access or internet made it a bit harder to share our weekend with all of you! but here i am, and get ready, because there are pictures AND a video. bam!










each year at my lake house, the campground next door always hosts a fourth of july parade where people decorate golf carts, bikes, floats, scooters - if it has wheels, it's there.  we decorate two golf carts and not to brag but, we've won three years in a row. yeah, you're dealing with pretty much royalty.


my cousin has the prettiest eyes!


this year we started a new tradition of having a big family picnic on all the big lake holidays (think memorial day, the fourth, labor day, etc.) it's one of the best parts of the holiday.


i'm so lucky to call all these people my family. they are the absolute best. 





chocolate sodas date back to my great aunt - and even farther. i'll hopefully snag the recipe to share with you guys soon!








to finish off the night, we set the shutter speed and ISO low, lit some sparklers, and got some amazing pictures! i hope you all had a great independence day weekend, and happy belated birthday america!

LAYERED PHOTOBOOTH BACKDROP (THAT ONLY TAKES 10 MINUTES!)


as we're moving out of the graduation season and into summer, i thought it would be a great idea to share one of my favorite party DIY's that is always super simple and an awesome addition to any gathering! (if you couldn't already tell from the title, it's a photobooth!) my younger sister just had her graduation and party last week, so to add a different dynamic, we created this super easy layered photobooth!

SUPPLIES

  • plastic tablecloths in two or more colors (we got ours from the dollar store!)
  • scissors
  • scotch blue tape



step one: remove all tablecloths from their packaging and lay them out on a clean, flat surface.

step two: the folds created by the packaging should be visible when the tablecloths are laid out. cut along those folds, creating three to four strips, each around one and a half feet wide.


step three: using the scotch tape, attach each strip of tablecloth to your backdrop basis. (eg. a flat wall) start from the bottom and work your way up, alternating colors as you go. this step is the most time consuming; you may want take a spontaneous dance break half way through. 

step four: set up the camera, hang some lights, and get posing! 













ARIZONA | PART 2

here we go! the second and final installment of our arizona trip recap! if you missed part one, it can be found here. the last half of the trip was so great! warm weather, good food, and lots of photos. and, as promised, a video! 
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 there was never a day we weren't at the pool - the weather was just too beautiful. and it was vacation, what else was there to do?



^^^i had this little babe on my wrist all week, thanks to my friend shira and rubit tattoos!





all the boug petals would fall off, usually into the pool (or maybe we put most of them there?) - so we grasped the opportunity and shot it.


the hotel also had courtyards and secret paths that we didn't discover until our fourth day there! big, open spaces covered with grass, flowers, and cacti. 



 i was in this bomber from piper & scoot pretty much the whole trip. whenever the nights got a little chilly, on went the jacket. (sadly it's sold out! :'(  hopefully it'll be back in stock soon?)









give me all the high-waisted bottoms. (those ^^^ come with a matching top!)












the bougainvillea made for a great instax background. ^^^



 on our fourth night, we headed to the tortilla factory. no words people. only the coolest outdoor mexican restaurant i've been to ever.  you can see more in the video around 5:17.



after dinner that night, we drove around through downtown scottsdale, only to discover that it was their arts night. there were live paintings, murals, music, and lots of celebrating. it was kinda like taste of chicago meets small town AZ. 







 on our last full day, we came across the cutest wild flower bush/adobe wall while walking to dinner. an obligatory photoshoot was mandatory. 






 after, we returned to the hotel for a live, traditional native american dance ceremony. it was definetly something worth seeing!

^^^ the lights made the cacti look like colored underwater coral.









our last day was short - the whole vacation was. and it was so great, we're planning a family reunion there next thanksgiving! stay tuned for that little adventure! and thanks for following both parts of our spring break in AZ! -m

ARIZONA | PART ONE

here it is! after two weeks, i finally got our spring break trip recap up! i can't wait to share everything with you, and i've broken it up into two parts because it's reeaallly long. so, here's part one!
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i suppose i should start at the beginning. we set our alarms for 4:30 am on saturday, march 28 so we could catch our plane at 6:05 am sharp. me, being the nervous hypochondriac freak that i can be almost had a panic attack on the plane because i had'nt flown in three years. i'm not even claustrophobic! i'm a lot of things, but not that. anyway, i calmed my sh*t down and we got on our way. during the perfect sunrise, i might add. 


we landed safe + sound in AZ, hopped off the plane, onto a shuttle, and into a rental car, bound for our hotel. we stayed at the hyatt at gainey ranch in scottsdale. SO BEAUTIFUL. on the way there, i was taking pictures of every succulent/cactus i saw. which was a lot. with the occasional portrait of my sister. ^^




once at the resort, we headed straight to the pool to test out the new go pro we bought a few weeks ago! needless to say, the pool was amazing (as they usually are in AZ, having no beach) and the weather was perfect every day!





the hotel also had the prettiest/coolest/artsiest balconies overlooking the hot tub and pools with bougainvillea draped over every wall. gimme all the floral walls.  






cactus candy. have you had some? no? buy some. 




because of all the cacti and flowers and awesomeness, there were a lot of spontaneous photoshoots. lots. of. them. people. 




like this one of our tattoos. (similar here, here, and here!)





this picture makes me heart eye + dancing girls emoji. ^^


or like this one during sunset. actually this one had a reason - it's a part of an upcoming DIY, so stay tuned my friends.

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to change the subject, one of our favorite restaurants we went to during the first part of our trip was blanco tacos. really, really good tacos.





they had a whole wall of jarritos - only the best mexican soda ever created.




we also went to starbucks, because we are a basic white family. and we rode bikes. and recorded it with the go pro. so yeah. very basic. in our defense, we were going to climb camelback mountain, but then the hotel staff yelled at us because it was 2 pm and the sun was at it's peak and we how could we be so dumb and you should probably reschedule. so we waited until the next morning, and boy were they right. if we would have gone at 2 in the afternoon, i think i would've vaporized into thin air.

 waiting for the hiking shuttle. ^^



before we even set out on our hiking adventure, i was already dripping sweat. boy is that arizona sun hot. but the views made up for the insane heat.


 and so did the cacti.











 once we finally made it to the top, we stopped to rest for about a half hour. it was sooooo pretty up there. these are just a fraction of the photos i have. such an awesome sight. i definitely recommend it. just make sunscreen and loads of h-two-oh a priority!!


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and that concludes part one of this two-part special brought to you by me. stay tuned for part two! (THERE MAY OR MAY NOT BE A VIDEO) -m

EASTER SUNDAY 2015




giving the dress a test-run (or spin) ^^




 the best cupcakes ever. 







i originally meant to post this yesterday, but the easter morning brunch food coma hit me, guys. sooo, that was a bust - but here we are! after coming back from arizona on saturday night, our easter sunday was very chill this year. candy, easter egg hunts with friends, the best ham ever, candy, danishes, drinks, and candy. oh, and candy. (did i mention candy?) i hope everyone had a great holiday filled with family, friends, hope, and the knowledge that he is risen. -m
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molly's easter look | dress: gap / shoes: old navy (similar) / temporary tattoo: rubit tattoos
claire's easter look | dress: lauren conrad for kohl's / shoes: nordstrom (similar)
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see last year's easter post here + here