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

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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

A Coffee Post that is Not About Starbucks

One of the reasons we decided to drive to Florida this year was to create a reason to go to Nashville. While I don’t necessarily envision Nashville as a final destination, stopping over for the night was something I was really looking forward to. Provided you don’t stay at the Ramada by the airport, it’s a really good time… but that’s another story.

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Crema is  a totally rad coffee shop a little off the beaten path from the big flashy bars and touristy country music stores. I’ll always love my Starbucks, but this place is special. We met up with a friend who swears by their Cuban coffee. Since she’s marrying a Cuban guy you can be sure she’s a reliable source. A had the cortado, which is essentially a really, really strong latte. I wish I hadn’t eaten a crappy waffle at the Ramada, because I would have loved to try the house-made quiche, or a breakfast “cremarito”. On a chilly Sunday morning it was easy to find a cozy corner to chat or read a book, but from what I hear the place can get packed pretty easily. People don’t mind the wait, and after trying Crema once, I wouldn’t mind it either.

Using the Nashville filter in Nashville… naturally
Using the Nashville filter in Nashville… naturally

Crema is located at 15 Hermitage Ave. in Nashville, TN. Store hours are MON – FRI 7AM – 7PM // SAT 8AM – 6PM // SUN 9AM – 4PM. Follow them on twitter @cremacrema