Reflections and Intentions (a Monday series)

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Reflections (weekend):

-explored Chicago’s hidden coffee shops

-wandered through parks and gardens downtown

-found tamales… at Whole Foods, of all places!



-clean the counters, clean my clothes

-rock climb inside and outside

-run every day

-go to the beach

-schedule all necessary health appointments

Saturday Check-In

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It’s the best kind of Saturday- full of spice and caffeine, color and nature.

Thoughts from today:

  • I am on track to meeting my goal of blog views for the month of June! I am so excited and intrigued by the world of blogging and the flexibility it provides as a hobby or career. Thanks for all of your support so far, friends, and please pass this link on if you enjoy The Wonder Of!
  • I have explored two of the best coffee shops in Chicago today. I’m kind of buzzing (if you’ve ever had 4+ cups of coffee you know what I’m talking about) but I am so glad that I visit the Currency Exchange Cafe this morning (table and chai pictured above) and I was so delighted by the hidden Pickwick Coffee Roasting downtown (pictured below). I ordered the Black Tiger, iced, which has ginger and chicory in the creamy espresso drink. Grateful to my friend Sara for the recommendation. I am currently sipping the spicy drink in the Art Institute garden!ls.jpg
  • Cool thing: my boyfriend has his bass lesson in Grant Park today, at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion! Very cool. In addition to hosting amazing concerts and festivals, the pavilion and other Chicago parks plays free movies on Tuesday nights! It is a really sweet experience, and you can pack your own picnic for the calmest evening downtown. I saw the movie Brigadoon here years ago, and it was a great experience. If you are into quirky films you should watch this bagpipe-laden time-travel feature.

I hope your Saturday is as blissful and peaceful as mine!


3 Things

  1. My birthday is on Monday and I think I am going to make myself frozen peaches and cream cake, and maybe also this lemon tart. (Related: berry tart)


2. Have you seen this time lapse video of a cloud inversion inside the Grand Canyon? This is pretty cool to see, especially since I was recently there!

SKYGLOWPROJECT.COM: KAIBAB ELEGY from Harun Mehmedinovic on Vimeo.

3. We have guests coming next week and are excited to share Chicago with them. Last week, I discovered Green Street Smoked Meats with my new climbing friends and it is the best place for omnivores to enjoy barbecue and beer! When I was ordering a delicious pulled pork, I overheard a cook explaining that the brisket smokes for 16 hours every day! There is a great outdoor space, and the entire inside is warmly lit and smells of hickory and cedar smoke! There is also a coffee shop adjacent/inside the bar and a top secret ramen bar in the basement… it has a 3 hour wait because it only seats about 15 people!

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Chicago Jazz String Summit


I had the awesome opportunity to attend the Chicago Jazz String Summit on Saturday!

My impressions:

  • Check out the sweet gear for the festival! Digging the violin scroll posing in front of Chicago!
  • I discovered a new favorite sound: cello with a loop pedal, distortion, extended techniques, french singing, all combined also known as Helen Gillet. Her cd, Dusk in Wallonia, was sold at at the event but I plan to order it!
  • I get an early listen to Hearn In Now’s new cd “Not Living in Fear,” and I got to listen to them playing LIVE!

It was a great way to reconnect with music that I love. I hope this event happens again in 2018!


What’s your #MondayMotivation?

Last week, I had Monday goals. This week, I am just looking for a little motivation to help me through a cold and snowy week!

I ordered this hat for my trip, and it help to keep my eyes on the prize. Good vibes every day! Scrolling through photos of the destination of my upcoming trip leaves me with warm and sunny feels!

What is your #MondayMotivation?

Chance the Rapper Inspires Again

chance-the-rapper-2016-recChance the Rapper was already Chicago’s hero…

but he just keeps spreading the love, and we can’t get enough.

I alluded to some of the financial anxiety
that Chicago teachers are experiencing due to the Illinois budget crisis.

Chance the Rapper just donated $1,000,000 (yeah, one MILLION dollars) to Chicago Public Schools. His motivation?

“Our kids should not be held hostage because of political positioning. If the governor does not act, CPS will be forced to end school 13 days early, which means over 380,000 kids will not have adult supervised activities in June and could possibly be put in harm’s way.”

To protect the children.

Chance is from the neighborhood I teach in, by the way. They deserve every bit of love and support he is giving them.

Thank you, Chance!

Weekend Review

Whew! Remember this plan I developed on Thursday? HA!

Here is my weekend in 3 points: listening, working, and watching.

1. Listening: A good friend texted me Friday evening to tell me that he was on tour performing with Durand Jones and the Indications and would be in Chicago in just a few hours! I didn’t know the group before this event, but they are amazing the venue was sold out. My friend left my name on the list so that I could get in to the venue, which had me feeling like quite the VIP. The group went on at 12:15 a.m., so I rang in the weekend with some live and upbeat funk with hundreds of other Chicagoans at Empty Bottle. Have a listen below.

2. Working: When I received the message about my friend’s performance, I had just finished registering to become a Lyft driver. I have yet to make my first drive; I am thinking of giving it a go on my commute back from work. I will keep you posted!
Have you tried lyft? Are you a driver? If you are interested in driving, you can check it out by going here.

3. Watching: My many hours spent consuming the great Netflix cache of Star Trek has me taking about how to treat surrounding communities and cultures. Biggest take away: as a citizen of the world/galaxy/universe/etc. always follow the prime directive.


Captain Kathryn Janeway… aka Red from Orange is the New Black

Solo Friday in Chicago

Image: Chicago Field Museum

Thinking ahead to the weekend, and I am psyched to have a couple of days to kick my feet up and relax. I have been dreaming of using skyscanner’s everywhere feature to just get away, but recent vet bills and concerns for our kitten’s health are keeping me local.

I am seriously tempted to stay in and exist solely on popcorn… but I do live in one of the greatest cities in the world! So, here is my exploration plan.

How cool is the Field Museum’s tattoo exhibit? Running through April 30th, the exhibit shares cultural histories of tattoos from many times and places, and even has live demonstrations of tattoo artists at work!

There is also this orchid show at the Chicago Botanical Garden. I haven’t been to the Botanical Garden yet, but a greenhouse is a great place to be on a cold day!

Of course, it might not be cold in which case I will default to laying on the lawn at one of the many great parks and reading!

How do you spend your weekends when your friends are out of town?