Thursday, February 26, 2015

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

8x8 Gallery // 365 Project: Week 8

I've committed to a photo-a-day project this year. Three hundred sixty five photos. Every single day. No latergrams (what we call photos taken more than a day earlier in the Instagram world). The project was inspired by Myk Little, one of several photographer friends I've made via the Instagram community in Chicago.

50/ 365: Confession: I didn't take this photo today. For the first time in 50 days, I "failed" at my photo a day project. I had every intention of braving the cold and taking photos of Water Tower Place after an Apple Talk on Michigan Avenue tonight. But you know how the saying goes: You plan, God laughs. Those photo plans were derailed by a migraine. So, a pic from the archives is good enough for 50/365. 

51/365: That kind of day. 

52/365: Gray day, but at least it was (relatively) warm! 

53/365: It may not even have hit 20 degrees, but the sun was shining 🌞 & the skies were finally blue, so I got out for a 3-mile run at the Morton Arboretum. Sure beat the treadmill!

54/365: Cold duck. 

55/365: Tuesday workspace. 

56/365: This is how you do a Wednesday. I WAS looking for Stan's Donuts and ended up here instead, because I'm blonde and I got excited when I saw "DONUTS" in neon, not realizing I wasn't quite in the right place. I was on the right street, but hadn't gone far enough.  The donut was ok. It just means I need to go back and find the actual Stan's Donuts next time! 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

8x8 Gallery // 365 Project: Week 7

I've committed to a photo-a-day project this year. Three hundred sixty five photos. Every single day. No latergrams (what we call photos taken more than a day earlier in the Instagram world). The project was inspired by Myk Little, one of several photographer friends I've made via the Instagram community in Chicago.

43/365 The new Laura Ingalls Wilder annotated autobiography is 370+ pages of stories that brings back memories of days spent reading the Little House on the Prairie books when I was a child. I still have the set of books my grandma gave me one year; they're dog-eared with love. My ideal afternoon is spent curled up with a good book (and I'd be lying if I didn't say it included something sweet like these owl cookies. (Full disclosure: the cookies are just a prop for the photo, as they were a Valentine's gift for my roommate's kid. I put them back in their box without tasting -- or licking! -- them.)

44/365 My loot from Wednesday's FlippinChi // FlippinPubs print exchange! It was great to meet so many new people & put faces to the names behind Chicago's talented Instagram community. Looking forward to the next one! 

45/365 This cutie is fascinated by his new Beggin' Poppers treat jar. I know, I'm a dork -- I basically bought my dog a Valentine. He waits so patiently for the treat to fly off so he can chase it down. (Ok, so he cheated once and "stole" the treat before he understood he was supposed to wait for it to pop.)

46/365 Swimming lessons. 
I can't tell you how many hours I've spent staring at the black line at the bottom of the pool. I was a serious swimmer from grade school through my first two years of college (can you say shoulder injury?). Pruny fingers, chlorinated hair, goggle marks on the face, 6 a.m. training sessions. I wouldn't trade it for anything. Swimming taught me discipline, that I could keep going just a bit longer than I thought I could, to have faith in myself, and to keep pushing through to the very end. Because every second counts. 

47/365 Can you believe this was my first time inside the Field Museum?!

48/365 Liquid Gold

49/365 I'm not a cat person, I swear. Cats don't listen when you tell them to sit still for pictures. But this one sure is cute.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Weekend Adventures: Afternoon at the Field Museum

This weekend's adventure was on a Monday afternoon, but since it was a holiday, it was technically a three-day weekend! A group of Chicago Instagramers met up at the Field Museum for an IgersChicago photo walk and scavenger hunt. We were far from the only ones at the museum. February is free admission for Illinois residents at the Field Museum, and Monday was also President's Day, so it felt like every family in Chicago was stuffed into the museum -- and on the #146 bus from the downtown loop! 

I took the bus from downtown, and the bus was standing room only; people were turned away at the last stop. I didn't get a seat, which was a bit nerve-wracking for someone who can't hear and has bad balance. First, I can't hear someone behind me asking me to move, heycanyoumove, MOVE!!!! when he or she wants to get off the bus. No matter how alert I try to be (without making too much eye contact!), I end up blocking someone's exit. It happened yesterday, and the woman was not pleased with how "rude" I was for not moving outta her way in a timely manner. Whatever. Second, if you've ever been on a city bus, you know they lurch and slam on the brakes like there's no tomorrow. If you're an experienced rider or have the balance of a surfer -- no problem. Me? I hang on and don't let go. I don't really care if I look like a greenhorn who's never been in the city; I don't want to fall into some nasty stranger on the bus. But riding a crowded city bus full of grumpy people sure beat walking all the way from downtown in subzero temperatures! 

Anyways. Field Museum. I'm ashamed to say I've lived in Chicago for three years and this was the first time I'd set foot in the museum. It's an architectural beauty. Light and airy, but still packed with an enormous amount of history. There's still a week and a half left in February; I will have to try to go at least one more time this month. Even if I don't make it for the free admission, I'd really like to check out the Vodou exhibit

Monday, February 16, 2015

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

8x8 Gallery // 365 Project: Week 6

I've committed to a photo-a-day project this year. Three hundred sixty five photos. Every single day. No latergrams (what we call photos taken more than a day earlier in the Instagram world). The project was inspired by Myk Little, one of several photographer friends I've made via the Instagram community in Chicago. 

Jagged 36/365

Canyon Gold 37/365 (LaSalle Street and the Chicago Board of Trade Building in downtown Chicago during golden hour.) 

Exploring the Morton Arboretum via snowshoes. 38/365

Had a nice Sunday run at the arboretum. It's hard to believe we had a blizzard less than a week ago! 39/365

My favorite thing about Mondays? Monday night yoga class! 40/365

Runaway. The back yard is a mess from snow thawing and re-freezing, so Baxter can't get around in it very well right now. Since he needed some exercise and I needed some fresh air, we went to the park in search of level ground (and maybe a nice sunset). We were treated to a gorgeous sky, a nice walk, lungfuls of clear, frozen air, and Baxter got to run free & chase his tennis ball 41/365
I'm captivated by the beauty of Union Station's Great Hall every time I step into it. I hope that feeling never fades away. 42/365

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Weekend Adventures: Snowshoeing

Exploring the Spruce Plot at the Morton Arboretum

Chicago was blasted by its fifth-largest snowfall at the beginning of February, so it was only natural for me to head to the Morton Arboretum to snowshoe! The warm temperatures during the week meant some of the snow had already melted away, but there was still plenty of snow left over and lots of untouched spots at the Arb. Bonus: temperatures were in the 30s, so it was a pleasant way to spend an afternoon at my favorite spot in Chicagoland. 

The Arboretum has 1,700 acres for members to explore, and when there's at least four inches of snow on the ground, you can explore nearly anywhere on snowshoes. If you're like me and don't have your own, you can rent them for as little as $10. When I rented mine, the rental trailer was mobbed with people who wanted cross-country skis; they could not keep up with the demand. I only had to wait a few minutes and got to go to the head of the line because I was one of the few people who wanted snowshoes. 

Snowshoe selfie....

Following one of the paths on the east side of the Arboretum.

One more of the Spruce Plot -- the light changes, depending on where you are. 

Monday, February 9, 2015


Busy week ahead! I'm looking forward to increased productivity (even though that includes doing my taxes) with my new laptop! No more crashes. I can't believe how much faster everything is. Happy, happy. 

(still trying to track down the ORIGINAL source so I can give proper credit for this image. The best I could find was Jennet Liaw, who was credited here by From Up North

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

8x8 Gallery // 365 Project: Week 5

29/365: Hay! Got any carrots? 

30/365: Friday Reflections 

31/365: Eagle @ Starved Rock State Park 

32/365: Mesmerizing 

33/365: Into the light

34/365: Journey 

35/365: Snow on Fire 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Weekend Adventures: Starved Rock State Park

I've lived in Illinois for over three years and I hadn't set foot in Starved Rock State Park until this past weekend. I've seen some great photos in my Instagram feed of the fall colors and the frozen ice falls and the park was one of those spots I "always wanted" to go to but never quite got around to actually going to. I finally made it out there, and I'm glad I did. 

Even though it was an overcast day, the temps were in the low 30s. The trails were still pretty icy, so I ended up leaving my big camera in my backpack most of the time I hiked. I kept my phone zipped in my vest pocket for easy access & quick snaps. I'm glad I did that, because, well, I took a big spill and went sliding down a steep trail, putting on a nice show for the other hikers in the vicinity. Thankfully, years of practice (general klutziness & horsemanship) taught me how to fall correctly (yes, there IS a way to do it! Sometimes.), and I didn't really get hurt, just a bit bruised. 

Anyways. The eagles were out also, and I was lucky enough to get up close to this beauty: 
Bald eagle @ Starved Rock State Park 1/31/2015

Ice climbers @ Wildcat Canyon, Starved Rock State Park 1/31/2015

One of many sets of stairs I climbed on my 6-mile hike.
The ICY trail down into French Canyon -- I turned around and took another way in! 

View of the top of French Canyon -- there were 2 ice climbers who got caught by Park Service staff. Oops. 
I'll definitely return to Starved Rock for some more hiking -- probably in the late spring or when the fall colors peak. I'd love to camp there if I can find someone to go with me.