Week #9 – Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

I bet you didn’t know…that I’m a science geek.

In high school, I earned student of the year in both Biology (my fave!) and Chemistry, and considered majoring in Pre-Med in college. (Note to aspiring scientists and doctors, don’t let peer pressure keep you down.)

Although I majored in Journalism and minored in Spanish (hola, amigos!), I never really lost my inner nerd. That was very apparent this weekend at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Lincoln Park.

My friend Lindsey, who I went to Bub City with earlier this year, met me for a little Green City Market indoor shopping (I bought goat cheese and hot apple cider, Lindsey bought fresh golden honey) and a tour of the museum. We started out on the second floor because we were excited to make our own terrariums (when in Rome…), but they were just cleaning up when we arrived. Next time!

We wandered around to learn about the prairie, saw a lot of taxidermy, looked at rotten food, discovered how the city’s electricity works, and found out a lot about germs. I also have a mild case of germophobia, so I’m not sure if learning that bleach is bad is a good thing or a bad thing.

From there, we moved on to the Judy Istock Butterfly Haven. When you walk into the Haven, it’s balmy, wet, and warm. You’re not sure what to expect. Then you see butterflies. Lots of them! That’s because there are about 1,000 butterflies in the Haven, and new ones are added every day at 2 p.m. when they release the newest members of the Haven.

As the butterflies flew around us, Lindsey and I went completely nuts. I wasn’t sure if I should be scared or what. Some screaming may have happened. Laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe…that definitely happened too. I think we amused a nice gentleman with a rather large camera because I swear he was taking pictures of us, but we didn’t care. This was the definition of pure joy in action.

The Haven is really pretty. There’s a waterfall, a koi pond, and lots of flowers,trees, and birds. The museum has a yoga class in the Haven…can you imagine? Once we got used to being in the Haven, we were on the hunt to take photos of all of the butterflies in the Haven. The museum has a helpful photo guide to show you all of the species that live there. We staked out the butterfly food stations of orange and rotten bananas, but liked our photos of colorful butterflies on the leaves best. (We really wanted one to land on us, too, but that didn’t happen.) See what I found in my photos below!

We had a little time to kill before the butterfly release, so we checked ourselves for hitchhikers, aka butterflies, and went into a room where all the butterflies emerge from their chrysalides. A chrysalis is the equivalent to a moth’s cocoon, and each butterfly species has a unique chrysalis—some are bright yellow with metallic accents, while others are brown and would be difficult to see when hiding in a tree. The museum receives shipments of chrysalides from around the world, and, unfortunately, only about 70 percent of the shipments make it to fly in the Haven. Also, did you know that a “butterfly’s” lifespan is one year, but it’s only an adult butterfly for two weeks? What a shame.

During our time watching the chrysalides, we were able to see two emerge, which was, on a small level, like witnessing a birth. When the butterfly emerges, its wings are crinkled, and it takes a little time for the wings to dry out and allow the butterfly to fly. (Sorry if I’m boring you!) We also saw one little guy who just couldn’t get his wings to open up and he was put in the freezer. Rest in peace, little guy.

At 2 p.m. we witnessed a short presentation about the butterflies, and then watched the new ones take flight. It was so pretty to watch. I was glad to see it!

From there, we wandered around the first floor, which included a lot of frogs, snakes, and bugs (eek!). The water beetle was particularly interesting (and ugly) because it holds it’s gray eggs on its back until they hatch (I decided to spare you the disgusting image.) I did, however, post a photo of a turtle in honor of my tiny niece Julia, who we affectionately call “Turtle.” She’s pretty darn cute.

What I learned from the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum is that you’re never too old to learn; butterflies are not scary, but peaceful; and I still really love science. I guess some things never change…(special thanks to Linds for going into full geek mode with me!)

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
2430 N. Cannon Drive
Lincoln Park

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Week #8 – Architectural Artifacts

After Bridget, Lauren, and I went to Lincoln Antique Mall, we drove north to Bridget’s second pick: Architectural Artifacts. From the outside of the building, you have no idea what you’re about to experience.

The only thing I knew about Architectural Artifacts was that you can get married/have your wedding reception there (hello! I’m a recent bride!). I had no clue of the vastness or the sheer volume of vintage pieces and salvages items they have. I’m talking rooms of just mantles, just doors, and so much more. With at least four or five floors of showrooms (it’s hard to remember!), we decided to take a right first into a room filled with lots of lighting, tiles, stained-glass windows, accessories, and teeth (yes, I typed “teeth”). But the cool thing about this place is that just when you think you’ve conquered a room, there’s more. This space would be amazing for hide and seek…

If you keep walking, you’ll find a beautiful atrium filled with tons of natural light. From there, you can either go up and explore the showrooms (which is what we did) or downstairs where they hold their events. We made it our mission to visit every room, which took hours, and a pit stop along the way for a Twizzlers snack. But it was so worth it. We saw vintage bikes (photo below), chemistry sets, medical chairs, Spanish bakery signs, chairs of all shapes and sizes, chandeliers for every style, old country and anatomy maps, church kneelers and pews, exotic rugs, a bench with attached seats from an Italian ice cream shop, iron gates, and way too much more to share in this post.

I truly have never seen such interesting finds in my life. They are a little pricey, but if you can afford it (and even if you can’t), you’ve got to see this place to believe it.

And I can’t imagine how pretty a wedding would be here. A woman showed us how the space is laid out for an event, where the bride and groom are center stage for their ceremony at the top of the main floor stairs, and then how one big main event space is broken up into smaller spaces to create a truly one-of-a-kind venue. And the chandeliers in the “dining area” (which are near a fountain, I kid you not) were gorgeous.

I know I’m kind of drooling over this place, but it reminded me why I’m doing this blog. I really felt like I experienced something completely new that I probably wouldn’t have visited on my own. Thanks, Bridge and Laur!

Architectural Artifacts (Be sure to check out their website for just a fraction of the merchandise they have in-house!)
Atrium Events (their event space website)
4325 N. Ravenswood Ave.

Note: I made Bridge and Laur pose for these photos. I hope you enjoy this stunning photo gallery!

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Week #8 – Lincoln Antique Mall

My first job was working at a charming gift and home store in Park Ridge called Raffia Gifts (a must-visit if you’re ever in the area!). During my time there, I not only discovered my love of home decorating, stationary, and accessories—I got to work with two of my best friends, Bridget and Lauren! Bridget went on to be an interior designer, and I asked her to come up with some places we could visit each month (for fun and to share with you for the blog). Lauren’s currently in the middle of a kitchen remodel and Bridget just bought a new condo, so I have a feeling our shopping excursions will be a regular thing!

I’ve recently discovered my love for antique malls because there’s an amazing one that my sister-in-law and I go to, Galesburg Antique Mall, whenever we go to my husband’s hometown. I’ve scored some serious finds here, including tons of milk glass (my favorite!), a mint-condition vintage map of Knox County (where Nate is from), and the most special: our vintage china that Nate surprised me with for our first wedding anniversary.

Here are things I always look for when I go to the antique mall:

  • milk glass
  • all other glassware
  • anything with a crown on it
  • crocheted doilies (I really want to make a runner out of them like I saw on Pinterest)

So Bridge picked two places: Lincoln Antique Mall and Architectural Artifacts (next post!) for our first time antiquing in the city, and Lauren came too! Lincoln Antique Mall is very easy to find and has really unique pieces just waiting to be scooped up! The owner does a great job displaying all of the merchandise, and it seemed to be in great condition.

Nate and I don’t really need any major furnishings so I had my eye on accessories, but they had really unique and affordable chests, tables, and chairs that I will come back to shop for when I’m in the market for those bigger items.

They had a good selection of Venetian mirrors (which I really like), and I really enjoyed their glassware! They had nice matching sets, and Lauren even said she bought some of each set to create her own collection (so cool). My friends got me a beautiful, delicate milk glass bowl from here for my birthday, but, unfortunately, there wasn’t much in stock when we went. But that’s the beauty of antique malls—you have to keep visiting because they have new products all the time!

But they had so much more than just these few items I mention. I HIGHLY suggest you check out their website to see the merchandise they have, complete with good-quality photos, descriptions, and pricing. Hey, if Nate Berkus recommends it, don’t you think it’s worth a look? I did, and once I buy a place, I’m definitely coming here for one-of-a-kind wares.

**Get a sense of my home style on my Pinterest “Dream Home” board!

Lincoln Antique Mall
3115 West Irving Park Road
Irving Park

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