Week #13 – Chicago History Museum

My family friend Megs works at the Chicago History Museum and offered to take me on a personal tour—how could I refuse? She mentioned a new fashion exhibit called Inspiring Beauty that was definitely worth seeing. Sounds like the perfect Saturday afternoon. And it was!

There is SO much to do here—for adults and children alike—so I’m including just a few of my favorite memories from the day.

  1. FACING FREEDOM – This exhibit gives interactive examples of how groups in U.S. history worked hard to fight for freedom, from the women’s suffrage movement (see me holding my banner below) to a Chicago school boycott. Megs and I were a part of this exhibit, too! First we took our picture, chose a word to go with our photo (we chose UNITE), and, voila!, our photo is one of many that appears on a pillar in the exhibit.
  2. TOURING THE FIRST L TRAIN CAR – Did you know the first L train car can be found here? Not only can you see the train, you can walk through the car. The seats are a little hard, but the car is so beautifully designed. It’s fun to sit and think about all of the people who’ve been on the train before you.
  3. INSPIRING BEAUTY: 50 YEARS OF EBONY FASHION FAIR – Think Oscar de la Renta, Christian Dior, and so much more! If you see only one thing during your visit, it should be this featured exhibit (open through January 5, 2014). You can’t take photos, so you’ll have to experience this one for yourself! Don’t miss the dozens of haute couture outfits featured during the 50-year history of Ebony Magazine’s annual traveling fashion show. Their beautiful construction, fierce colors, bold patterns, and exotics materials make it difficult to choose one favorite! Some of my favorites include a full-body tattoo black dress by Sarli, a Nina Ricci bold purple coat and jumpsuit, and an elegant blue coat by Pauline Trigere that was worn by Eunice Johnson, co-founder of Chicago’s Johnson Publishing Company and producer and director of the Ebony Fashion Fair.
  4. VIVIAN MAIER’S CHICAGO – A picture is worth a thousand words, especially in this exhibit. The black and white photos of Vivian Maier, a nanny who photographed her life during the ’60s and ’70s in Chicago, speak volumes of the times without using a single word. This was another fun way to see fashion of the past, too.
  5. SENSING CHICAGO – I dressed up as a human-sized hot dog, rode a high-wheel bicycle, and smelled a farm. All while in this fun, experiential exhibit. Priceless…

I’ve included lots of photos, so be sure to take a look. Or better yet, plan a visit to the museum! Special thanks to Megs for the great tour!

Chicago History Museum
1601 North Clark
Old Town

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Week #12 – Piece Brewery & Pizzeria

Everyone and their mother has had a piece at Piece, so this was a no-brainer to pay a little visit to this beloved pizzeria for the blog!

Nate and I doubled with Lindsey & Matt for an early dinner because it is infamously packed—early was a good call, and it was pretty calm, actually. I especially liked all of the twinkle lights and the pinball game near our table.

Nate and Matt ordered two of their award-winning house beers (who knew they brew their own beer!), and Lindsey ordered a glass of wine. The waitress helped me choose a Hitachino Nest White Ale, based on my love for Blue Moon and wheat beers. It was pretty tasty, and the cute owl on the label was an extra bonus.

Now it was time to choose our pizzas. Piece is New Haven-style pizza—Connecticut has it’s own style of pizza?! New Haven pizza traditionally has a generous amount of red sauce topped with garlic, extra parmesan, and olive oil.

After reviewing our options carefully, we decided on two large pizzas, one pepperoni pizza with red sauce (Matt’s go-to!) and one pizza with white sauce with two halves of different toppings. But which toppings? We went with the waitress’s recs: bacon and clam pizza on white sauce (they are famous for it), and sausage and basil.

The larges are like extra larges, perfect for sharing and having leftovers to heat up the next day. I also liked that the pizzas were big ovals cut into small triangles, allowing you to try more slices.

My first Piece? The pepperoni and it was a delicious, safe way to start. Then I went for a piece of the sausage and basil, which was my hands-down favorite! The sausage wasn’t too greasy, and the basil gave it a nice element of freshness. Ok, two for two.

Then came the bacon and clam pizza, which came with a side of lemons. I squeezed on my lemon, and I’ve got to admit, it’s just not for me. I’m really glad I tried it though. (Clams on pizza is VERY adventurous for me!)

So would I go back to Piece? In a heartbeat—I’m already craving the sausage and basil pizza again! I’d also like to try one of their house-brewed drafts next time. I’m glad that I can now be another voice in the crowd of people who enjoy Piece.

Peace, Piece!

Piece Brewery & Pizzeria
1927 West North Avenue

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Week #12 – Dyeing of the Chicago River

Well, friends, I’m checking a major accomplishment off of my to do list: seeing the Chicago River dyed green for St. Patrick’s Day!

Now, I did a little research and discovered that the city of Chicago has been dyeing the river green for more than 50 years. I’ve been alive for 30 of those. How many times had I seen the green river prior to yesterday? Zero! (Damn, that’s too many numbers…)

My friend, Lauren, offered to have people over because she lives in a high-rise condo building along the Chicago River on LaSalle—prime real estate to see the infamous green river! Or so we thought…:)

My sister-in-law, Melissa, and I arrived at Lauren’s for a St. Paddy’s Day-themed extravaganza: green eggs and ham, green-dyed bagels, Lucky Charms cereal, Irish soda bread, tater tots (not so Irish, but beloved nonetheless) and more. I brought pistachio bread (Melissa’s recipe) because the bread has a green tint from the pistachio pudding (see photo below). Oh, and I can’t forget the mint chocolate chip ice cream-spiked Shammy Shakes too!

As we enjoyed the food, drinks, and company, we waited for the green dye to come along. And we waited. And waited some more, but it never came! Once we realized it wasn’t going to make its way to LaSalle any time soon, Melissa and I went down to the river, determined to see it.

We crossed the bridge to Wacker Drive and walked east to see the dye. Once we got to Wabash, we couldn’t miss the bright green river! I’m so glad I’ve finally seen this great Chicago tradition, but I have to tell you—it was cold! Too bad I didn’t decide to check it out last year when it was 80 degrees!

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