A Collection of Pictures

This is less a post and more a lot of pictures taken in the last few weeks along with annotations. 

Many of them are cake-based. I don’t apologize for this but we are joining the gym tomorrow…

A rather impressive school building on the way to Pilsen (the Mexican district which we went to today). 

Pilsen is famous for its murals which are scattered everywhere 

$3.50 dollar tacos!

Happy Max with his Mexican chicken torta!

Cannoli from Scarfuri’s – handmade in front of us!

The Bean at night (many more to come!)

I still don’t understand this installation -apparently it takes pictures of random people and uploads their faces? It’s just creepy!

Nutella old-fashioned from Glazed and Infused – Stan’s is still better!

Bibimbap – finally!

Random Alice in Wonderland mural on Milwaukee Avenue

I love Warm Belly Bakery cookies so much, especially when they are half price!

Note to self – there is a reason why Turkey Burgers have never really caught on…

Heading back from West Loop

Evenings in West Loop

Very weird murals in West Loop!

Enjoy! Hopefully some more next week!


Cubs win! (Spoiler Alert)

So on Wednesday we went to our first sports game – we are now paid up and hoodie-d up Chicago Cubs fans! (Despite technically being the wrong side of the river – traditionally the south supports the White Sox, but I just can’t cope with that spelling… urgh!) Last time we were in Chicago, the Cubs made the final for the World Series and the atmosphere around Wrigley Field was electric (and the rest of Chicago that night to be honest!) This time though we were excited to be able to actually get inside the stadium…

Getting off the train at Belmont we walked through Wrigleyville, finding very colourful houses and a very accurate sign of the times…

I originally thought the sign at the top said Trader Joe’s and thought I had found the most colorful supermarket ever!

Then we finally got into the stadium,  initially thinking it was very quiet! We had a great view, right at the top and close to the batter – even came very close to catching some stray balls at times! The evening sky was also beautiful- I took far too many pictures trying to capture it! 

Anyway, the game started after the longest ever note from the man singing the National Anthem! Men also started walking around with beer at this point – some shouting out ‘Goose Island!’, ‘Insert brand of beer here!’, which another guy just yelled ‘Beer’ and shook cans at everyone! There were also wandering hot dog men and a line Ben and Jerry’s seller who much to my disgust gave up early! 

What can I tell you about the match?

  1. It’s basically rounders for guys
  2. The New York Mets were the opposing team
  3. The scoreboard looks like they stole it from the Oval.

Also, my favorite player for the Cubs is Ben Zobrist simply because he has a silly name and he wears glasses to play baseball…

Baseball is a long game. The first three innings were rather dull – no scoring, but then it got interesting when Kris Bryant started to score home runs! You understand why he’s the only player I’ve heard of at that point! We made it to the 7th inning – longer than we have ever stayed at a match before, and all to hear the 7th inning stretch – the traditional sing-along to ‘Take Me Out to the Ball Game’

Next time we’ll have to learn the words… 

Overall, I can’t say that I know anything about baseball, but the experience of a game is so much fun. The food was expensive, but tasty – from the Hawaiian Sandwich to Max’s Italian beef sandwich (or more accurately- handful of meat and bread!). Now for hockey!


My New House(s)

For when I make my millions!

Most of these are either by Frank Lloyd Wright or from within the Oak Park district of Chicago, where he initially lived and designed many of the houses for.

Irreverent and non-academic commentary to follow them!

This seems to me to be the epitome of an American house, however according to Frank Lloyd Wright this was the Victorian architecture he wished to move away from.


Victorian is an English movement? This does not look like an English house to me!

The people in these houses must get sick of people taking pictures but they do have signs outside listing that the property is on the trail, so I figure they are asking for it really!

Starting to be a bit more prairie-style…

It’s so patriotic! And also looks SO wonky at the front… 

Frank Lloyd Wright apparently hated this house so much that he would walk a different way home to avoid seeing it…

It’s across the street from his house…

How does that work?

This is ole Frankie’s home! Note the pointy roof, lots of overhangs and focus on the horizontal!

Some pictures from the inside of his house as well! 

This is the way to cover your light fitting!

How to decorate your child’s schoolroom!

Because doesn’t everyone need to have carved pillars outside?

His studio – note the high walls blocking the windows, as he could not have his workers getting distracted by the outside!

When a tree gets in the way, build the house around the tree!

I love this panel

This was his favorite hexagonal study, complete with random composite floor and corkboards

More ‘Victorian’ houses

We also then went to his only religious building, Unity Temple. It’s just been through a huge refurbishment, but was less fancy than I expected – I thought it was going to be catholic-style grandness and as you can see it was not that! 

It’s very… blocky…

He does like green!


The Week Where We Wish Boots Existed in Chicago 

I would never have thought that the shop I would miss most is Boots. It turns out that not only are passport photos almost impossible to take (most places expect you to take your own and that did not go well last time we tried) but they also cost double the price for only two pictures!! I’m definitely taking a lot when we go back to England!

So, this week has been busy and paperwork filled – we have had to make so many copies of visas, passports, I-94’s and so many others, however there have been positives and it seems to be coming together a bit more now. We have done less in the evenings – work is definitely taking a big lead in that for both of us, but we did have a couple of small explores, as well as the weekend which I will come into later. 

On Tuesday we went for an evening walk – I think Max was going a bit stir-crazy so we walked up to River North and explored around there in the beautiful evening light – my photographs do not do it justice after the event! As usual we were struck by quite how shiny the Trump Tower is:

Seriously, look at those reflections. It’s not normal!

This is much more reminiscent of what most of the Chicago skyscrapers are like – tall, white and not reflective!

I couldn’t tell if this was a real art installation or skmeone getting a bit frustrated…

It’s just madness. Who cleans it???

On Wednesday a very nice afternoon was had outside Buckingham Fountain re-enacting the opening to Friends with music, dance, drama and huge umbrellas. We also used the weather as an excuse to try these huge ice creams which are impossible to eat tidily without spilling!

In order to not spill it on myself I had to bend almost double- Michelle has photographic proof and it does not look pretty… delicious ice cream though!

In the evening we went out for tea to celebrate Max handing in his PhD (now just the wait for the viva) by having our first deep-dish pizza (of this trip). We went back to Giordano’s to the same restaurant where we were in November and did a bit of a double take to find we had exactly the same server! We had  to explain this to the poor guy as I think he was confused as to why we were staring at him… 

I will say, the pizza tastes much better than my pictures make it look… 

Garlic Parmesan Fries

Chicken Sausage and Spinach pizza

So much cheese… 

On Thursday we spent some long hours in the bank but it was worth it – both of us had the correct documentation to get accounts which is brilliant! One step closer to credit! Friday was also full of paperwork – we set up our electricity account and also registered for our social security numbers, as well as reading a lot of official documents, talking with Adam and ringing USCIS trying to get correct information. There are so many repeated forms it can be really stressful and some also require passport photos of less than a month old which is annoying when we have loads from three months ago which is normally sufficient! However, I can now confidently say we have looked at all options and all the ridiculous prices for this, and can be really helpful should anyone need passport photos!

To give ourselves a bit of a sugar boost, we shared two cakes at Mariano’s, with another of their $1.25 coffees.

This is a turtle donut – the combination of pecan and chocolate is good, but I do prefer caramel turtles rather than white icing.

Max’s choice – a salted caramel cupcake with a pretzel. Very very nice – the winner I feel.

America · Illinois · Illinois · Living Abroad · Travelling

The One Where WIFI Spoils (A Bit Of) Our Weekend!

This weekend was annoyingly quite frustrating in some ways – we had to wait around for a lot of things and so missed a lot of the Air and Water Show! However, we have explored some more areas and tried some very good cookies! 

Saturday morning was shopping time, so back to Mariano’s. This time I have a picture of Max’s favorite aisle! 

We then went to try out the Chicago French Market for lunch. Our aim was to find lunch for under $7 however we quickly realized that sadly that was not hugely realistic and we ended up hoping it by a dollar… however we did end up with this rather delicious build-your-own gyros with pork and herbed potatoes – so big that it couldn’t be rolled up! 

$8 – not too far over our budget!

Afterwards we headed downtown to Millenium Park and wandered around there for a little bit – we had been there earlier in the week but it was great to see it without thousands of people filling the grounds! (Though I would have been quite happy to still have the Broadway music blasting out!)

After walking past Buckingham Fountain again we then walked up to the bean for the first time – we say it last time we were here but hadn’t yet been to visit it! It was hideously busy but I still got some interesting angles.

This one looks like a face to me!

One of the main aims we had for this week was to start getting involved in social activities out in our local area, and so to this end we went to a local stand-up comedy web at a local bar, the Haymarket. We got there quite early and we slightly put off by the seeming lack of stand up comedy… However, we headed to the back and were met by a very enthusiastic whirlwind called Amelia, who told us that we were indeed in the right place but they were still finishing their lunch! That suited us fine though as they had a very extensive drinks menu, including floats! 

Five beers (4oz) ranging from Apple to Lime!

The comedy itself was part of a series called VS – where two opposing teams battle it out in 6 rounds. This week – James Brown vs Charlie Brown! Guess who was chosen to be the judge of the contest? 

That’s right – Max again gets pulled out for audience participation! This time, Charlie Brown triumphed, in no small part down to a singing Woodstock sketch!

After the event we hung around and chatted to the cast, specifically Amelia and Aaron from Team Charlie Brown (pictured) and sampled some more of the bars drinks including a purple blackberry beer – a good choice!

The purple colour doesn’t really come through but it was purple!

The next day sadly was characterized by huge issues with the internet – after one night of working perfectly- it died. Completely. I rang AT&T who were great, sent someone out the next day and said that it was probably a quick job… 

Five hours later… 

They said it couldn’t be fixed the day…

So we went out for cookies. Cookies fix everything. Especially when they look like this! 

To make it even better it’s stuffed with Nutella:

The Warm Belly Bakery in West Loop needs everyone to go there. The staff are lovely, the cookies are huge and delicious and the coffee’s pretty good as well! They also do a Tuesday deal where if you take a picture and tweet/instagram etc it, you get a second cookie for free – I think that will happen. A lot.

Also this:

This is an ube cookie – purple yam to the rest of us. I had no idea what it was and questioned the guy, and after a very accurate description (think marshmallow flavor) – he gave me a free one to sample! Not that I needed another reason to go back but it didn’t hurt! 

By this point due to all the palava with the WIFI, our view of the air and water show had been reduced to the few planes seen yesterday and hearing their deafening ‘boom’ overhead throughout the day, just serving to remind us of what we were missing! However we decided that we needed to get some air and see some water, and so headed out along the river walk towards Navy Pier. There aren’t a huge amount of pictures – it was quite grey – but we did see some of the many yachts and a huge ferry boat on route.

Also, a hockey sighting! We have found where pre-season practices and I’m getting so excited to see some matches soon (especially as it seems like full season is expensive…)