Haute Couture at the Chicago History Museum

Main Rousseau Bocher | Photographer unknown, 1939; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Irene Lewisohn Costume Reference Library.
Main Rousseau Bocher | Photographer unknown, 1939; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Irene Lewisohn Costume Reference Library.

On display through August, 2017, the Chicago History Museum’s newest exhibit, Making Mainbocher, is a peek at the life and work of Main Rousseau Bocher, an American fashion designer with significant ties to the Windy City.

Main Bocher grew up on the city’s West Side, attending John Marshall High School and the Lewis Institute (now Illinois Institute of Technology). The majority of his career, however, was spent in New York or Paris, where in 1929 Main Bocher would become “the first American courturier” under the label – and conveniently French looking name – Mainbocher. Continue reading

An Amtrak Adventure: Chicago to Austin by train

Since my visit to Union Station in Kansas City, I’ve had a hankering for a long train ride, and when I found out that Amtrak could get me to Austin for the Dance/USA conference for less than the cost of a plane ticket I decided to go for it.

You’re probably either really jealous or think I’m really ridiculous.

At one point in history, the train was THE way to get there, wherever there is, and aside from the extra leg room, for me, it’s a blast to get a taste of what life was like before planes became an accessible way to travel. Our country is littered with magnificent buildings posing as train stations, and despite my home city’s inability to use Union Station efficiently, departing for a long ride from there transports you to a classier time before neck pillows and body scanners. Continue reading

Dear Lincoln Park Conservatory: I’m sorry I ignored you for 15 years…

Most days I feel comfortable saying that I’ve seen pretty much everything my home city has to offer. I’ve been to the tourist traps and the holes-in-the-walls. I’ve ventured to all corners of the city, and after 15 years in Chicago I thought I’d pretty much nailed down what to do and what not to do here.

But then I went to Lincoln Park Conservatory.

I have no idea why I’ve never been there.

It was a stupid cold and sleeting winter day in spring (read: late March in Chicago) and the weather threw a monkey-wrench in a scheduled pre-wedding “Meeting of the Moms.” In searching for indoor, get to know you activities, the conservatory seemed like a great alternative to window shopping in Andersonville, because moms like flowers, right?

Right. Continue reading

Paris, Unplugged.

On the heels of my epic experiences in Ireland, I took a side trip to Paris, because, Paris.

I’ve been to Paris once before, on a tour with my French teacher, a few of my high-school classmates, and my Mom. Don’t get me wrong, that was a great trip, but I was pretty excited about the possibility of conquering this city on my own. After five weeks in close quarters, I was able to spend two and half days stretching my legs in what is arguably the most beautiful city in the world, dusting off a language I haven’t used in 15 years, and spending some quality time with… well… me. Continue reading

A stroll through County Wicklow

A pretty amazing thing about Ireland is how close everything is to everything else. In the amount of time it takes me to get to my Mom’s house in the suburbs, our group traversed into the countryside oasis of Glendalough in County Wicklow. Having spent most of my time in Dublin, I giggled a little when our tour guide told us to bring water, snacks, and appropriate hiking gear. So of course I completely ignored her and wore jeans, running shoes, and brought an umbrella (because, you know, Ireland). Continue reading

Two places in Dublin you have to go.

There is a lot to see in Dublin, despite it being a relatively small city. Everything is pretty much walking distance from everything, which sometimes makes the city maps really confusing.

I digress.

If you find yourself in Dublin, there are typical touristy places like Dublin Castle and the Book of Kells. You should probably go there, but if you know anything about me then you know that I’m not a traveller who typically likes to visit tourist traps. What I enjoy when traveling is really good food and drink, and I have two recommendations that you must not miss. Continue reading

Then there was that time I lived in Dublin for 5 weeks…

I’ve been distant, I know. It’s not you, it’s me.

The seaside market at Dun Laoghaire has been a favorite spot.
The seaside market at Dun Laoghaire has been a favorite spot.

You see, I’ve been hanging out with another blog whilst in Dublin for a five week study abroad program. I’m now four weeks in, and if I’m being honest here, I don’t have really have time for this. I just really needed a study break.

But I feel it’s important to communicate something: even though I’m up to my ass in school work, I’ve been trying to do a good amount of “experiencin,'” too, and I have to say, Dublin is kind of amazing. It’s got all the beauty and charm of other European cities I’ve visited, with the added bonuses of a language I can understand and really unpretentious citizens. In fact, I can easily say that Dublin is one of the most pleasant cities I’ve visited, at least, once I got my bearings. Continue reading