Category Archives: chicago

Fun Forecast: New Finds in 4 Great US Cities

Over the course of four weeks this spring I traveled to 3 out of 4 of the United States’ biggest cities and was lucky enough to uncover some great new finds in four US cities. From tours, to shopping, to galleries to where to see and be seen, check out if any of these ideas tickle your fancy too.

New York City

still house whiskey

Small batch distillers in NYC have become ALL the rage so much so that you can find self-guided and somewhat more official distillery tours offered there now. While I have not officially tried the Brooklyn Booze Trail (self-guided tour showcasing the borough’s new generation of spirits, from whiskey and rum to grappa and hibiscus liqueur) or New York Craft Cocktail Tour, I have sampled some of these small batch distillers’ products. My favorites were The Noble Experiment, a small batch rum distiller and Van Brunt Stillhouse, makers of rum, whiskey and grappa. I only sampled their American whiskey and while I would not say I’m a whiskey connoisseur, I found Van Brunt Stillhouse’s whiskey delicious. One or both of these tours are on my radar for a future visit 100%.

Los Angeles

abbot kinney

Abbot Kinney Blvd. located in the Venice Beach neighborhood of LA is a cool street full of fun boutiques, galleries, restaurants and amazing architecture. One of my notable favorites is Beach House Brand – a boutique meant to inspire wanderlust – carrying personally curated items to bring you an “Endless Summer” travel experience of your dreams. I found beautiful dresses, never before seen bikini brands and all kinds of awesome travel accessories. Burro was my other absolute do-not-miss. They carry an eclectic, thoughtful selection of items from all over the world – from stationery, jewelry and home decor to modern toys for kids. Burro says that while their shops are a destination location for tourists they remain the local “go to” favorite. I found some of the best greeting cards ever there as well as a very entertaining selection of gift items.

Miami

peter tunney

Peter Tunney Experience is a gallery located in the Wynwood Walls area of Miami. Peter’s work helps us redefine our way of interacting with and understanding the world around us. Using optimistic headlines such as “BELIEVE”, “GRATTITUDE” and “CHANGE THE WAY YOU SEE EVERYTHING”, Tunney is counter attacking the media’s constant relay of stories of death, destruction, hysteria and greed. It is a refreshing way to think positively and not think or live in fear. The Wynwood Walls area is an international destination within itself, giving Miami a place to gravitate to and explore and serving as tribute to graffiti and street art, which has been somewhat under appreciated and not always respected historically. Both of these things are an absolute, take the time out, must-see.

Chicago

soho house chicago

Opened a little less than a year, Soho House Chicago is a private club with some public spaces such as their ground floor restaurants and bar. Soho House was founded in 1995, in London, as a private members’ club for those in film, media and creative industries BUT you don’t have to be a member to enjoy a drink at Fox Bar or a slice at Pizza East. The Allis is a spot within Soho House Chicago for a coffee, quick bite or cocktail. Also, let’s not forget Chicken Shop where you can enjoy free range chicken from the spit. Now, if you are lucky enough to be a member or know one, I think the roof top deck is the place to see and be seen while viewing downtown Chicago’s skyline. Located in a historic former belt factory in the Fulton Market neighborhood, Soho House Chicago should be a must-do.

PS – all four of these US cities I’ve highlighted have a Soho House!

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Filed under chicago, los angeles, miami, new york, travel, USA

Chicago francophilia

oh, France, je vous adore

i’ve always adored all things French. French food (YUM), French fashion (oh so chic), French language (sooo romantic), FRANCE! i could go on. so booking with the French hotel chain, Sofitel, for my Chicago stay would seem like an obvious thing to do.

French language - parfait

i’ve actually been a guest of Sofitel before – in Budapest – when i got stuck there during the Icelandic ash cloud debacle. (side note – it was tres fantastique and the staff couldn’t have been more accommodating during that ‘crisis’) BUT i’ll be honest, i don’t automatically think Sofitel when planning my trips – at least, that used to be the case. i came across this particular property via my absolute favorite travel flash-sale site – Jetsetter.com. if there could be a romance with a website – mine is with them! FIRST LOVE – TRUE LOVE! i trust Jetsetter’s carefully curated luxurious taste and feel we are completely aligned AND this is how i found myself booking with Sofitel Chicago. merci, Jetsetter, for all your help and trip tips!

silly lola should have remembered how chic the Sofitel brand was. Sofitel Chicago Water Tower did not let me down.

lola simply adored the tribute to Brigitte Bardot in the lobby.

beautiful Brigitte Bardot

the smartly dressed mannequins inspired by the actress.

Bardot inspired fashion - tres chic

the gorgeous flowers everywhere.

cheery yellow flowers all over

the divine Hermes toiletries in the room. the lovely, delicious macaroon treats given by the hotel as a welcome amenity. (how did they know j’adore macaroons!)

delightful delicious macaroons!

AND then there was the warm hospitality received by my travel blogging friends and me at Le Bar. they even stock my favorite rum at Le Bar and make a handcrafted dark & stormy – YUM! you know how lola loves her cocktails.

Le Bar dark & stormy

let’s just say, this hotel was nothing short of parfait! Sofitel Chicago Water Tower even gives lola the social media attention i absolutely endorse! tres bon manners all around.

au revoir, my French friend in the Windy City!

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Filed under chicago, france, swanky luxe stays, travel

boa fun & games in Chicago

leah's montage of our trouble-making FUN

i’m sure what i’m about to tell you won’t come as any real surprise. lola has a big IMAGINATION, flair for the DRAMATIC and is a bit of a TROUBLE MAKER! i truly think i could have fun in a cardboard box!

my latest adventure took me to Chicago and i was super excited to return for many reasons including meeting up with fellow travel bloggers, some whom i’ve met before and some new friends yet to make. it was great fun and you can read each of their recaps of the #WindyCityTweetup here:

i was also excited because even though i’ve visited the ‘Windy City’ before i have never really toured it. what i found was a city full of diversity and rich in culture & history.

diverse architecture

interesting works of art

interesting works of art

fascinating history

i loved Chicago – everything about it was dramatic! it was just lola’s speed.

best of all was how the group and city embraced the ‘lola-factor’. i’ve yet to meet a city that can’t handle the boa and Chicago didn’t let me down. why, you say?

one, staying in a French hotel!

cabaret = boa

with a tribute to Brigitte Bardot in the lobby!

hollywood glam = boa

then you throw in the whole roaring 20’s gangster scene of Chicago and i say, HELLO!

gangster flapper girls = boa

it surely was not the first time this fine city has seen a posse of boa-wearing gals.

the tweetup gals in our boa get-up (thanks pola for the pic)

but oh, did we wear them well! hasta la vista, Chicago. until next time we meet…

XO – lola

*and thanks to raul for the gangsta pic

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Filed under chicago, travel