||| summer in chicago | taste of randolph |||

okay, i’m a little behind… but still had to share. how could i not with all of these amazing restaurants? below are our top pics from the taste of randolph this past weekend: thyme & oregano kettle corn from the tasting room, chips & and a hefty helping of quac from de cero, spinach arancini from marcello’s , tacos from belly q & a gorgeous view on the patio of city winery.
Taste of Randolph Chicago collage

||| what a beautiful day |||

well, here in the midwest with the rainy & gloomy springtime i can’t necessarily say it’s a beautiful day in the traditional sense, but each day brings something beautiful. it may take some digging to find. breathe, and enjoy the life you have. a while back, i took this picture of a businessman playing chess on his lunch break with a (presumably) homeless man. it was a lovely moment to see such a simple act change a person’s day.

this is a new song from Joshua Radin’s new album, Wax Wings. it kind of makes me want to frolic through a field of flowers, i’m hoping it’ll brighten your day:

Businessman playing chess with homeless man

||| summer has arrived! | strawberry balsamic goat cheese crostini |||

Strawberry Balsamic Vinegar Goat Cheese Crostini Plate

summer has arrived and we are so happy to see it! nothing spurs creativity like a good craving. with strawberries in season, i couldn’t resist picking a basket up from the farmer’s market! these simple, yet elegant crostinis will be the perfect addition to this weekend’s gatherings.

Sliced Bread Loaf for Strawberry Crostini

these are so simple to make, it’s almost embarrassing. slice up an italian loaf into pieces about a half inch thick. spread oil on the bread and toast at 425° for about 5 min. while cooking, slice strawberries (i chunked & sliced these for added dimension). let cool and spread goat cheese (i used plain flavor). arrange  strawberries and add fresh torn basil, salt & pepper. drizzle balsamic vinegar over the top and voila! these’ll be the talk of the party monday!

Strawberry Balsamic Vinegar Goat Cheese Crostini

||| have a lovely weekend! rachel |||

||| thou shall not want | curly/straight hair fight |||

we’ve all been there. if you have pin straight hair like tara and i, you want curly hair. if you have pin-let curls and can pull off a perfect updo, you want straight hair. i’ve always had a problem finding the right shampoo: until now.

recently, i found a new salon in chicago, penny lane. adorable studio, almost always a puppy to pet while waiting. the owners are costume designers, wig designers, make-up artists & basically all-around awesome. stylist & owner christine taught me about sulfate-free shampoos/changed my hair forever. unfortunately, i’m not as technical as she was, but essentially: the sulfates clean your hair, yet add a coat of junk on the outside & make your scalp dry, causing it to produce more oil… it all makes sense!

sulfate-free shampoos get rid of everything. so much so that i found out i have naturally wavy hair underneath all the products! such an amazing revelation.

||| hope we helped your ‘do! -rachel |||

||| travel tip thursday | chicago |||

for those of you in the windy city this weekend, chicago restaurant week starts saturday! restaurant week is (besides the greatest idea ever) an ideal time to try out the city’s hottest restaurants through pre-set brunches, lunches and dinners at reasonable prices. here’s the list of participating restaurants.

also this weekend is randolph street market, discussed last summer here.

||| next door cafe | free & fun classes |||

ndcafe(photo via nextdoorchi.com)

a must share – fascinating concept! next door cafe, opened by state farm as a way to get closer to the community, offers financial coaching and fun instructional classes from brainstorming to yoga (and they’re all free!).

the café has coffee, delicious treats, rooms for meetings and a simple, modern design (what more could you ask for?!). today, i took a photography course, hosted by paulo saini and a healthy eating course, hosted by marcy e. cruice, earlier this month. both classes were beneficial and engaging, highly recommend glancing over the calendar of classes if you’re in the chicago area!

open 7am-10pm | 659 w diversey pkwy, chicago

||| new home & afternoon tune |||

MusicCollection

i’m finally moved in to my lovely apartment in chicago! it’s been a long week, so we thought we’d share this lazy afternoon tune by the lumineers:

after a lengthy (but fun!) process of departing europe, holiday celebrations and moving into a new place, it’s time to enjoy the city again! we’re checking out the wine tastings at Red & White Chicago, held each Saturday from 2-5.

||| local etsy talents | chicago |||

This week’s local Etsy talents were found in the windy city of Chicago, IL. Rachel actually goes to school in Chicago and I visit about 4 or 5 times a year for work (or to visit Rachel), so it is a city that is very close to both of our hearts.  There is some amazing talent in this city and I am happy to share a few with you this week!

||| enjoy! -t |||

||| Glam Rocks Designs | the jewelry in this shop is absolutely gorgeous—my favorites are definitely the dainty little knuckle rings.

||| Silly Buddy | these collars and leashes will make your fur baby just as chic as you!

||| Inflated Deflated | the first time I fell in love with this project was actually on pinterest a few months ago—I was extremely excited to find them on the local etsy shops in chicago.  the shop includes a range prints of sayings written on deflated balloons.  this is such a fabulous collection.

||| Oh Me & Oh My | I love the simplistic design of these ombre wooden spoons.

||| Print Wolf | minimalist movie posters—a huge (and necessary!) step up from the marie antoinette poster from Target I used to have thumb tacked on the wall in my dorm room!

||| xoazureé |I love how this shop offers cards with all the trimmings—envelopes, confetti, a gift tag, and even some baker’s twine.

||| Lullu D | the perfect jewelry for any occasion in any color you may desire!

||| I Am Home | the handmade chalkboard skulls in this shop are just too cool

||| Up in the Air Somewhere | any of the papier-mâché vessels in this shop would be a welcome addition to any home

||| Olive Brown | beautiful accessories—I am completely obsessed with the neutral colored clutches with neon zippers.