Thursday, December 18, 2014

Thoughtful Thursday

Photo taken at Christkindlmarket Chicago, December 2014. 

The quote is widely attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt; however when I researched it to verify its authenticity, I found out it's derived from a Chinese proverb. It is attributed to Roosevelt so often because Adlai Stevenson said, in a tribute to the late First Lady in 1962, "She would rather light a candle than curse the darkness, and her glow has warmed the world."

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Weekend Adventures: Christmastime in Chicago

The Christkindlmarket tree, with the First United Methodist Church towering above.
Christmas in Chicago is full of tradition. Now that I've lived here for three years, I'm creating my own. Two of my Chicago favorites so far: the Christmas window displays at Macy's and Christkindlmarket. 
The Macy's Christmas trumpets line State Street every year.
Since 1897, window shopping has taken on a new meaning on the block of State Street occupied by Marshall Fields (now Macy's). The animated displays are designed and constructed anew each year. This year's theme is "The journey of a Christmas wish" and, as usual, the details are incredible. It's really fun to walk along the sidewalk, take in the display and watch the faces of kids (and kids at heart) as they check out the windows. 

The first of the Macys animated holiday windows

Love the details. Even the dog has a letter for Santa.

So much mail!

Santa's workshop

One of my favorites. I wanted to capture the silhouette of a kid looking in the window (without being a creeper!), but there were so many people around, it was hard.

Full view of the "global" window & Santa's sleigh.
Macy's on State is also home to a 45-foot Christmas tree. I'm not sure why I didn't go inside to see it -- I've never been inside the Walnut Room where it's housed. I'll have to make a point of seeing the Walnut Room and the Great Tree the next time I go downtown.

My second destination on this visit downtown was Christkindlmarket, just a few blocks away in Pioneer Square. I had the "mandatory" gluhwein (German mulled wine) in a souvenir mug as part of the festivities, although I skipped the selfie in front of the Christmas tree in favor of prettier photos!

Yes, it really is that crowded!

THE tree!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Weekend Adventures: Lights of Lisle

Prairie Walk Pond, Lisle, Illinois
Even though we don't have any snow on the ground, it's starting to look a lot like Christmas around here. The Christmas season is in full swing, and the Village of Lisle held its festival over the weekend. I skipped the parade in favor of watching the sun set at Prairie Walk Pond, which was lined with luminarias. Most of my photos were of the blue hour, which I haven't taken many photos of. It was a fun shoot -- I need to do that more often (preferably when it's not freezing outside).

 The village also had a tree-lighting ceremony that evening, and the historic Museums at Lisle Station Park area was open to the public.


Lisle Depot Museum
Wood-turning (I'm working on my portrait skills & thought this one turned out great!)

Heating up the metal in the forge

Blacksmith working the metal on the anvil. I wish I'd had my zoom lens with me to get some closeups of the red-hot metal! Next time! 
If you ever get a chance to visit the museums at Lisle Station Park, do it. The historical buildings are in great shape and you'll feel like you stepped back in history. I learn something new every time I visit.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Weekend Adventures: Thanksgiving Festivities

My Thanksgiving weekend was quiet. I went for a Thanksgiving morning run and did a little Black Friday shopping. Friday night, the roommate and I went and checked out a food truck (Toasty Cheese) and brewery in Naperville. It was delicious -- both the food and the beer -- once we found the brewery!  

Solemn Oath Brewery is tucked away in a warehouse area just off Ogden Avenue and you would not know it was there unless you were looking for it. And that's the way they like it! It's a spot for serious beer lovers, but we agreed that if a guy was taking one of us here on a first (or second!) date, we would probably be a little nervous about where our date was taking us. There aren't any signs directing you to the brewery, the streets are deserted, and it feels like you're going down a dark, deserted street to nowhere until --  boom -- you reach a parking lot packed with cars.

Inside, the taproom shares space with the brewery. Fair warning: the chairs are bolted to the floor, so don't try moving them!
I tried the Butterfly Flashmob (not because of the name, I swear!) and HalfQuad. Loved 'em both. Going back to try others -- hopefully soon!
Two flights of Solemn Oath beer (sadly, neither one is mine). I may have to try one of these next time I visit.
We were treated to a spectacular sunset for Saturday night's friendsgiving (aka t(H)anksgiving).
On Sunday it was supposed to be in the 50s, and I decided to go on a hike with Baxter -- probably the last warm-weather one for a few months. I packed up and headed out to Blackwell Forest Preserve while the temps were still in the high 40s. I'm so glad I packed extra layers, because the temps plummeted into the low 30s and a misty fog rolled in while we were out there! It was still a nice hike, and I still plan on doing some more exploring this winter. It will be even prettier when we have some snow on the ground.

It IS as chilly as it looks.

This guy is such a ham.