Maxwell Street Market: One of Chicago’s Best Kept Secrets

Yesterday, my family and I attended the Maxwell Street Market, a tradition we carry out every Father’s Day.  We have been doing this for as long as I can remember, and I eagerly look forward to it every year. My dad and his family used to go when he was younger, so it has always been a special tradition for him.

maxwell st

Maxwell Street Market used to be a lot bigger than it is now, but it is still a pretty extensive market with many things to offer.  It happens every Sunday in the summer from 7 AM- 3PM starting at 800 S DesPlaines Ave and expanding from there.  The market offers various goods and services, including clothes, tools, home goods, jewelry, and various vintage knick-knacks.  Honestly though, after all these years, the best part is still the food.

There are two main types of food served at Maxwell Street.  Maxwell Street used to be known for its Maxwell Street Polish Sausages, but these days there’s a tantalizing mixture of flavorful Mexican and tangy BBQ.  Walking past the seemingly endless lines of vendors, you can see the tortillas being hand made right in front of your eyes, and smell the steak, onions, and pork cooking on the giant griddles.  You can spot the BBQ joints right away by the plumes of smoke rising from their grills and smokers.

We stopped at one BBQ stand that we just couldn’t pass up because you could smell the ribs from almost an entire block away.  It was called Mr. Bill’s and it definitely didn’t disappoint.  We ordered a full slab of ribs and split it between the 4 of us.  The meat was so tender it literally fell right off the bone.  The sauce was a perfect mix of tangy and sweet, and was well proportioned to the meat.  Even the green beans and potatoes that came with it were delicious.  If you’re in the area and even if you’re not (it’s worth the drive) I would highly recommend it if you’re looking for some good ribs in Chicago.

Photo: Catering by Mr. Bill

Photo: Catering by Mr. Bill

The next place I stopped to eat is one of my all time favorites and I make sure I eat there every time.  It is called Tamales Oaxaqueños and it’s name is self-explanatory.  They make 4 variations of one thing: chicken oaxaqueños (a type of tamale that is much larger than most and wrapped in a banana leaf).  You can get them made with salsa rojo ( mild spice, lots of flavor), salsa verde (a little spicier, my personal favorite), mole (rich and complex), and vegetarian.  They come topped with homemade adobo sauce (made from chipotle peppers) and sour cream.  These oaxaqueños are easily one of my favorite things to eat in the entire Chicago area. My picture doesn’t even remotely do them justice.

 

 

oaxaqueños

Outside of food, I did make a few other purchases at the market.  I bought some adorable fabric flowers to use to make more flower crowns this summer, a vintage gold chain necklace, and hand carved skull bracelet from the Philippines.

close up maxwell

Here are some of my favorite street style looks from the day:

street style 1 street style 2 street style 3

My Look was inspired by my travels and pieces I have collected from all over the world.  I purchased the necklace while living, studying, and working in Cartagena, Colombia during the summer of 2013.  It is made of shell fragments from the Cartagena beaches.  My pants were brought back from Hong Kong for me by my parents during a trip to Thailand and Hong Kong last year.  My bracelets are from many of my travels as well, including Cartagena, Budapest, and Bratislava. And of course I’m rocking my favorite BeBuddha Jewelry skull bracelet as always!!

maxwell look

My Look:

Sunglasses: Ray-Ban

Necklace: Cartagena, Colombia

Crop Top: Forever 21

Pants: Hong Kong

Sandals: Steve Madden

Bag: Kate Spade NY


Shop The Look:

Ray-Ban Clubmaster Classic

Ray-Ban Clubmaster Classic

Forever 21 Raglan Crop Top

Forever 21 Raglan Crop Top

Urban Outfitters "Ocean Park" Pants

Urban Outfitters “Ocean Park” Pants

Steve Madden Kween Sandals

Steve Madden Kween Sandals

 

What are some of your favorite traditions? I would love to hear them in the comments!

*Keep Dreaming*

Girl Among the Clouds

My First Experience With Redcord

Yesterday,  I had my first redcord experience.  My aunt Sue is an instructor and she invited me to come check it out!  For those of you who don’t know what redcord is, I took this from the official redcord website:


“Redcord is a unique and effective concept for functional training. Carefully designed training using body weight and slings is at the core of the concept.  A unique blend of applied scientific knowledge, patented equipment and guided advice from a certified professional ensures the Redcord system gets results.

Bridging the gap between performance oriented training and rehabilitation from injury is characteristic of Redcord’s total and holistic approach.”

Personally, I would describe it as a mix between a workout and a type of physical therapy.  I really liked it, especially since my shoulders have been injured for the past 6 years from my non-stop swimming and water polo.  Technically I have bilateral bicipital tendinosis and secondary rotator cuff impingement in both shoulders.  That’s a fancy way of saying they are really messed up.  I was in physical therapy for over a year and have had cortisone shots 3 times in each of my shoulders.  I was willing to try anything to get better and alleviate the pain.

So with redcord, they use suspension and bungees to activate stabilizing muscles and it is very focused on core strength.  My abs are totally sore today so I know I got a good workout.  My aunt and the other instructor worked with me for almost three hours, doing various mobility and strength tests, and then focusing the exercises on my weakest parts.

My favorite part about redcord is that if you’re ever having any pain, you just stop/ease off immediately.  With all other experiences I have had with coaches and physical therapy, they have always just told me to push through the pain.  A great quote from my aunt yesterday was, “Whoever said No Pain No Gain is incorrect.  There’s a difference between fatigue, and actual pain.” And I definitely agree with that.  It was a new and great outlook on treatment that I didn’t even know existed until my aunt became an instructor.

Overall, I would definitely recommend redcord not only as a great workout (my whole body is sore!) but also as a great option for physical therapy.  If you’re in the Chicago area, you should definitely check her and her studio out!  She is currently at the ARC Advanced Rehabilitation Clinic in Westmont.  She’s extremely knowledgable and committed to her patients, and I am excited to work with her and hopefully finally fix my shoulders!
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*Keep Dreaming*
Girl Among the Clouds

 

BeBuddha Jewelry

Yesterday evening I met with my friend and jewelry designer Erin to talk about working together on some cool new projects this summer.  Her company, BeBuddha Jewelry is one of my all-time favorite jewelry brands.  All of her stuff is so unique and on trend, and it’s super affordable!! She also happens to be from my hometown, so us Riversiders have to stick together!

bebuddha

Last summer when she first was getting started, I bought a skull bracelet from her and I wear it almost every day.  It is one of my favorite pieces and it goes with absolutely everything.  Below you can see me rocking it with my arm party yesterday!

arm party

I can’t wait to be working with her this summer.  Keep a lookout for a Designer Spotlight about Erin coming soon!!

*Keep Dreaming*

Girl Among the Clouds

The Intern Diaries: Week One

So this week has been crazy and busy, which is why it has been awhile since my last post! This week was my first week as an intern for Christina Karin, an amazing Chicago fashion designer.  Even though it has only been a week, I already love it.

Christina Karin_Official Logo_highres

In movies and TV, fashion internships are always portrayed as getting coffee and running errands all while being yelled at by an extremely well-dressed boss.  I don’t know if that rings true in the larger fashion houses, but for my 3 design internships with smaller designers, I have actually been given a fair amount of responsibility and creative freedom.

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One of the things I love most about working for/with Christina is that she encourages my creativity and asks for my input.  We spent the majority of this week working on her Spring/Summer ’15 collection, and it was awesome how much Christina has involved me in the design process.  Fashion is a quickly-moving and always-changing business, so it is important to plan ahead.  Collections need to be designed and produced at least a year in advance because Spring/Summer collections are always shown at fall fashion weeks.  My first assignment on the job was to create mood boards for the SS ’15 collection.  Mood boards are pictures, quotes, objects, etc that inspire you, and they are constantly referred back to while designing the collection.  Here is an example of a mood board I made for myself for this summer.

mood board

The most exciting thing however, is that I am basically co-designing the collection with Christina.  She is obviously the main driving force, but there will hopefully also be some pieces that I design as part of the collection!  Seeing pieces that I designed go into production and then be sold is one of the more exciting things that has happened/will happen in my design career so far.  I can’t wait to see how the collection turns out.

Another fun thing that we did is go to this amazing cafe down the street from her studio called Birchwood Kitchen.  Their menu is pretty extensive for the little place that it is, and everything looks interesting and delicious.  I got a chicken salad sandwich with chipotle-sage aioli, lime jicama, and cilantro on a baguette, and it was mouth-wateringly good.  The jicama added the perfect amount of crunch and the flavors were outstanding.  I definitely recommend checking it out.

birchwood

Throughout the course of the summer, I will be working on various projects, from designing and creating pieces to writing for her blog, going on sales visits, styling, making line sheets, and maybe even some classic intern duties like making copies or getting coffee.  Because as everyone in fashion knows, coffee is a necessity.

I can’t wait to see what the rest of the summer has in store for me and my internship, but I have a feeling I’m going to be doing big things this summer!!  I dream big and I work hard, and as long as you believe in yourself and stay true to your ideals, good things will come your way.

*Keep Dreaming*

Girl Among the Clouds

p.s. look out for a post about the Riverside Arts Weekend fashion show coming soon!! I am just waiting for the amazing pictures to come in!

Riverside Arts Weekend (RAW)

So I live in this quaint little town right outside of Chicago called Riverside.  I’ve lived here my entire life, and I absolutely love it, although I am very thankful I live a short train ride away from Chicago.  Every May since 2008, Riverside has hosted this wonderful arts weekend called RAW.  It has grown a fair amount in the last seven years, this year hosting a wide variety of vendors.  The majority of vendors sell photography, painting, or jewelry, but there are also vendors that sell glass, ceramics, sculpture, wood, fibers, mixed media, etc.  For more info about the events throughout the weekend, click here.

raw postcard

The works are all very beautiful and original, but I definitely had a few favorites.  In the photography category, my favorites were Sean Gallagher and Stewart Rein.  Sean Gallagher is based in Berwyn, IL and his main subject matter varies between vintage cars and various Chicago locations and landmarks.  He had an excellent eye for color, in a sense that he really gave each photograph a mood with the way he manipulated the colors of the piece.  Below is one of my favorite of his works, but you can find more of them here.

Photo: Sean Gallagher

Photo: Sean Gallagher

Stewart Rein (Arizona), my other favorite photographer, had an immense collection of photos from all over the world, which immediately intrigued me.  The first photo that caught my eye was a photo of a canal in Venice that I recognized from when I was there a few months ago.  The colors in his photos are so vibrant, and they really bring the subjects to life.  I spoke with the artist for a while, and while we shared our tales of travel and wanderlust, I admired his photos from Venice, Paris, Florence, England, Arizona, etc.  You name it and he’s probably got it.  My favorite was a beautiful print of a mask shop in Venice.  The sparkle of the masks shined through the photos, and the complexity of the shop reminded me of an “I Spy” page.  Another thing I loved about his photographs is that he doesn’t use photoshop on them at all.  The vibrant colors just naturally occur and really come through in the quality of the photography.  Below is the original photo of Venice that caught my eye.  To check out more of his beautiful work, click here.

Photo: Stewart Rein

Photo: Stewart Rein

Outside of the photographers, one of the most intriguing artists was Adam Weiss (Omaha, NE).  He worked with copper that he manipulated with chemicals, torches, and etchings to create stunning pieces.  He had a wide variety of work, ranging from statement wall pieces to garden art and sculptures.  His works were definitely some of my favorites, and my parents ended up purchasing four of his pieces (3 garden sculptures and one beautiful hanging piece).  My favorite works of his were the “paintings” that were copper treated with chemicals and leaves, which is what my parents purchased, and his “paintings” that looked like the rings of a tree trunk and were created with a torch.  Below is a picture of the piece my parents purchased.  See more of his work here.

Work: Adam Weiss

Work: Adam Weiss

Other than the art, RAW also features live music acts throughout the day.  All the acts were great, and varied in music styles like classic rock, contemporary pop, and Chicago blues.  The Buddy Love Review was the first group I saw, and they are a fun, feel-good band.  They play a wide range of songs from 5 different decades and all sorts of genres.  They have great stage presence and have no problem getting the crowd dancing.  I have seen them perform many times, and I have always enjoyed it.  Next up was the Liz Berg Duo, my former childhood piano teacher.  She has a wonderful voice and a knack for adapting contemporary songs to her style.  Her set was full of energy and easy to sing along with the songs.  After Liz, Studebaker John, a blues guitarist played.  His played classic chicago Blues, swing, and boogie.  As a one man show, he played guitar, harmonica, and sang.  He was very talented and put on a great show.

Photo: The Buddy Love Review

Photo: The Buddy Love Review

Overall, the first day of RAW was a great time.  Tomorrow there will be a fashion show from 2-3 in Guthrie Park, right next to the train station.  I have 6 looks of my original designs in the show, so come out and watch if you can!! It’s supposed to be a beautiful day!

flicker poster

Today for RAW, it was kind of chilly, so I wore my favorite Urban Outfitters high-waisted BDG jeans, a cropped sweater, a classic black blazer, and my white patent docs. See the look below:

raw look

Hat: Porcelain & Red Vintage

Sweater: Primark

Blazer: Salvation Army

Jeans: Urban Outfitters

Boots: Dr. Martens

Necklace: H&M

Bracelet: BeBuddha Jewelry

Shop the Look!

Free People

Free People

23J48FGRY_normal

TopShop

Express

Express

Urban Outfitters

Urban Outfitters

Dr. Martens

Dr. Martens

*Keep Dreaming*

Girl Among the Clouds

The Frye Company x Lookbook Event

Last night, my girl Livin Like Larz and I attended an event at The Frye Company’s flagship store in  downtown Chicago.  The Event was co-hosted by Lookbook and was held to showcase Frye’s new summer collection. The Frye Comany and Lookbook teamed up to host a contest where 4 lucky winners would receive a 1-on-1 styling session with one of Lookbook’s bloggers, and get to pick out and take home 2 accessories and a new pair of boots!!

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Unfortunately, I was unaware that it was an instagram contest, so I wasn’t even entered.  But on the bright side, my girl Larz got lucky like she always does and won one of the 4 styling sessions/ free boots!! She picked out super versatile and sleek chestnut brown chelsea boots, a minimalistic chestnut brown leather wallet, and a unique and colorful woven leather messenger bag! Here’s a picture of her picks, be sure to check out her take on the event on her blog, Livin Like Larz!

Photo: Livin Like Larz

Photo: Livin Like Larz

One of my favorite parts about the event was the food, obviously.  They had savory BBQ pork sandwiches and southern cornbread catered by Pork Chop Chicago, and signature drinks from Rhine Hall, a local distillery that just opened up on Fulton.  The sandwiches were so good that I had 2, and I’m not even remotely ashamed to admit that.  The pork was cooked wonderfully and full of flavor, but the sauce really made the sandwich.  The cornbread was moist and crumbly (everything that cornbread should be), and it was topped with honey butter that was to die for.  I left that table feeling very satisfied.

Photo: Rhine Hall Distillery

Overall I had a great time at the event, and I was stoked that I finally got to wear my H&M printed pants!! I have a love for crazy prints, especially on a great pair of trousers.  I had trouble styling these in the past,  but I have found that after living in London I take a lot more fashion risks and they almost always turn out well for me.  Clothes may not define you, but they do say a lot about who you are, and you should be able to say whatever you want with your looks!  If you want to be memorable, start with your clothes.  Here’s a photo of my look for the event:

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Hat: Porcelain & Red Vintage

Denim Vest: Forever 21

Pants: H&M

Booties: Gap

Bag: Vintage Mulberry

Shop the Look!

Free People

Free People

H & M

H & M

H & M

H & M

Frye

Frye

Mulberry

Mulberry

*Keep Dreaming*

Girl Among the Clouds

Who is the “girl among the clouds”?

To kick off this blog, I am going to tell you a little about myself.  I will start off with the reason I named my blog, “girl among the clouds.” Partly, it is because I am very tall, not only for a girl but in general, and I always feel like I am looking over everyone.  The other reason is because I consider myself a hippie dreamer, and I find myself drifting off to far away places, a.k.a. with my head in the clouds a lot of the time. If you want to know the basics, go ahead and check out my About Me section, but here I’m going to tell you all the “fun facts!”

  1. Coco Chanel and my amazing mother Tara are my biggest role models in life because they are both beautiful, strong, outspoken, and creative women.
  2. Speaking of Chanel, I think I am her biggest fan because I have read and watched every documentary/biography about her and I can recite random facts on command.  I also almost fainted and cried at the same time when I got to visit her flagship store in Paris!
  3. Yes, I have been to Paris (it is amazing as they say it is), and many other places around the globe. And by many other places around the globe I mean 37 states, 15 countries, and 3 continents.  To me that’s not even close to enough!!  This is because not only have I been extremely lucky and blessed, but I have the worst wanderlust EVER. One of my favorite quotes is “travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer” and after some extensive research (a google search or two) I cannot find out who said that.  But travel when you’re a struggling student leaves you flat broke…holla for that dolla!
  4. I have wanderlust so bad that I even got a tattoo to prove it!! I am also a huge Lord of the Rings nerd.  Therefore, my tattoo reads “Not all those who wander are lost” and if anyone can tell me what that is from in Lord of the Rings without googling it, I will be very proud. (you don’t count dad)
  5. I am 6 feet tall and proud of it!! I used to slouch all the time when I was younger because I was waiting for my classmates to catch up to me, and then eventually I just realized they never would.  Buying jeans is a whole new ball game, all I have to say is thank God for Urban Outfitters!!  Also, I don’t own a pair of heels under 5 inches tall, and I own A LOT of heels (and wear them too!)
  6. I consider myself a sandwich connoisseur and an amateur chef.  I love to cook because I love to eat GOOD FOOD.  My mom is an excellent cook, and even teaches other people to do it (go Tara!) so growing up with her as a teacher I gained an appreciation for all things scrumptious.  One of my many dreams is to one day open up a food truck with my best friend Lucy.
  7.  OBVIOUSLY I love fashion, considering I am studying to become a fashion designer and it pretty much consumes my life.  I’ve been sewing since I was a wee child, especially because I used to get grounded a lot and my American Girl dolls never had enough clothes.  I am fiercely committed to what I do, and even though I will probably remain flat broke for a large portion of my life, at least I will be doing what I love.
  8. I am VERY superstitious and a huge proprietor of making wishes.  I am always careful not to jinx anything, and I’m the first one to knock on wood (or my head of there is no wood around) in case an accidental jinx occurs.  I always wish on 11:11, fallen eyelashes, lucky coins, and the very rare yet very powerful shooting stars.  You have to save the best wishes for those.  However, recently, I have found that I have nothing to wish for, which makes me feel very lucky.
  9. Last but definitely not least, I am a total hippie at heart.  I love flowers and frolicking, and you betta believe I will send a wicked side eye your way if you throw something recyclable in the trash can.  On a more serious note,  I draw much of my inspiration from nature, because beauty as breathtaking as a mountaintop view or a sunset on the beach just can’t be recreated by man, and I feel blessed everyday to live in this crazy beautiful world.  I’ve never felt more at peace than wandering through a field of flowers on a sunny day with a great friend and good music.

Welcome to my life!! I can’t wait to share this unpredictable adventure with anyone willing to listen.

*Keep Dreaming*

Girl Among the Clouds

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