around chicago // old town.

We're continuing to show off Chicago through a local's point of view (in case you missed it, Emily covered her Lincoln Park favorites last month). This month we're heading a bit south to Old Town with neighborhood favorites from a good friend of mine, Sam from Clark & Schiller.

Her go to spots around Old Town:


I distinctly remember confidently telling my mom “I’m going to live here,” as we drove down Wells St. for the first time four years ago. Sadly, I was fresh out of college and could not afford the rent, but I instantly fell in love with the quaint neighborhood-y charm only 15 minutes away from the chaos of the Loop. Over the last year I fulfilled my own prediction and now live in my dream location! It was hard to choose, but here are some of my favorite places in Old Town, if you happen to stop by.

  • For the Kitch: The Spice House // If you love to cook like I do, you can’t miss The Spice House. Not only does this little shop carry every spice imaginable, they also have adorable pre-packaged gifts if you’re looking to buy something delicious for your favorite chef. I can’t get enough of their Spanish smoked paprika and put it on absolutely everything. It’s a problem.
  • For A Croissant FixThe Twisted Baker // Sometimes when I know I’m about to have an incredibly busy Saturday, I’ll sneak out of my apartment before the madness and treat myself to a flaky, warm chocolate croissant at Twisted Baker. Get there earlier in the day for optimal freshness.
  • For an Afternoon Pick-Me-Up:Intelligentsia // What is there to say about Intelligentsia that hasn’t already been said? Except that much of my hard-earned income goes toward this retailer every month. Luckily, I have one down the hall from me at work, and a new location two blocks away from home. Coffee lovers will enjoy their cappuccinos or, if you really need a boost – the Angeleno (a shaken iced latte with four shots of espresso).
  • For A Sweet GiftGreenheart // At Greenheart you can shop for beautiful clothes and home decor, and feel good about your purchase. This new Old Town shop is eco-fair trade and non-profit – what better gift to give to someone you love? My favorite scarf comes from Greenheart and every time I put it on, I feel proud. And warm.
  • For Fresh Produce: Clark and Division’s Farmers’ Market // The day my life changed was the day I learned about Clark and Division’s farmers’ market. It’s not nearly as congested as its Lincoln Park neighbor Green City Market, and prices are surprisingly reasonable for the area. Make sure to stop by the Marigold Hill Organics tent (my personal favorite).
  • For a Beautiful BouquetA New Leaf  // Stepping into A New Leaf is like being transported to a flowery, heavenly wonderland. This Chicago staple has been in Old Town for some time; in fact, my mom used to be a frequent customer when she lived in the city. At first glance, flowers may seem more expensive than the usual grocery store bunch, but mine always end up lasting longer.
  • For Pizza That’s Not Lou Malnati’sMama Milano // Most Chicagoans know and love Lou Malnati’s, Giordanos, or any Chicago deep dish style ‘za. But Mama Milano offers a refreshing departure from the typical Chicago pizza with some unique, tasty combinations. I highly recommend grabbing a girlfriend and posting up on Wells St. with a slice of arugula pizza and wine on a summer day. You can’t beat it.

What are some of your favorite spots in Old Town? Have you been to any of the places on Sam's list? Which neighborhood should we cover next?


windows down.

Windows Down

As much as I love living in the city, there are certain things I really miss about the rural area where I grew up. At the top of that list is probably driving with the windows down... especially on the first sunny warm day of spring. There's something that just feels SO good about the fresh air and the thrill of cranking up the radio as you drive along (especially on the winding country back roads).

Now that I've fully embraced the urban lifestyle and no longer have a car, I've really been longing for that feeling as the weather has been warming up. I'm finding myself craving the freedom that comes with a solo drive with the windows down and music loud - it's mind-clearing and therapeutic. You're able to choose just the right music for your mood and there's no one there to judge if you feel like singing at the top of your lungs or just getting in the zone in your own head.

To try and ease my longing for that feeling, I've been celebrating the warm weather with the songs I'd have on my ideal "Windows Down" playlist. It's a mix of old favorites full of memories and the latest songs that I've been listening to on repeat and can't get enough of. They're meant to be played LOUD and paired with a sunny, warm day with your hair flying around in the wind and sunglasses on. They're meant to elicit that freedom feeling; that escape. They're meant to be shared - whether it be on a mix CD, with your best friend in the car alongside you or virtually through Spotify.

I'm heading back to New Jersey this weekend for a quick trip to see my family before spending a few days in NYC for work and driving with the windows down is right up there on my to do list with pizza & bagels. Windows down, music up... here I come.

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Spotify via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Spotify.


budget friendly // spring dresses.

Bare legs season is officially here! It's time to show 'em off and give 'em a breather after being cooped up all winter. While I'm still very much in need of a (faux) tan, I've already started stocking up on spring dresses, for this month's Budget Friendly feature we've pulled together some finds under $50:


Pin It button on image hover