Seek out those creative places

Dear Adventurers,

Long time no see! Are you ready for your next adventure? Don’t forget that we are the adventurers who blaze a trail so others can follow.

You might know that love to spend time in nature, with the trees and mountains around me. The company of nature reminds me of our place in the world. But I also love to look at the design and interior of cities and buildings. I enjoy seeing all new places because they give me an opportunity to see the world through new eyes. Sometimes, the great outdoors is much closer than you think. Just step out the door!

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The sounds, the smells, the brisk air and all the things that cannot be bought.

I would like to recommend you visit these cool places when you come to Chicago, fellow adventurers.

Give us those blue skies: The Robey

Are you ready for the summer sunset? Let’s check out the Robey Chicago. You might know it is my secret spot. I love to stay there to see the city skyline on its rooftop, touch the blue skies and witness the transition of four seasons.

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 Couldn’t get enough of this view.

Although it cannot compare to other luxury places in this city, when I stay here I truly forget the long Chicago winter. Here, you can explore the neighborhood and feel closer to this city, seeing another side of it.  Stop by and you will have this feeling: It is home away from home. 

I like beautiful places in walking distance of my home: The Hoxton, Chicago

It has been said: 

“The details are not the details, they make the design.” 

I cannot agree more. 

The Hoxton just came to Chicago a few months ago, but it caught my heart already. You will find an innovative and sophisticated visual experience that showcases the creative reach of Chicago’s art community here.

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Who says you cannot find a jungle in the city? Stay at the Hoxton to get your city break. Don’t forget to see the rooftop.

The dreamiest interior: The Langham Chicago

A cute pink taxi welcomes you outside this hotel, ready to start your experience “Langham style”. Summer is a wedding season; do you think this could be the location of your dream wedding? It is not only a romantic place for a wedding reception, but it also is a gorgeous place to stay and enjoy. The hotel has so many wonderful details throughout, including some magical installations and clever design features. You can enjoy timeless elegance, marvelous city views and the finest flavors here.

 

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The magical installation makes a fairytale come true.

The afternoon tea here is the best tea ever. I can really enjoy a fulfilling afternoon here, drink my cup of tea, hang out with friends and share creative thoughts. Please put an afternoon tea here on your list of things to do in Chicago.

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Sometimes, we need a little luxury in our life.

I am fan of the outdoors, but I also love to explore great building and interior design. So step out the door and tour these stunning spaces surrounding you.

It is time to turn toward adventure. 

 

A Floridian vs Midwesterner state of mind: The Beach

Surf approaching waves with a calm heart and grace.

As Floridians, we love to immerse ourselves into the beach and sunshine: we walk on the soft sand, dip our feet into the water, and see the sky on the same horizon as the beach. It seems that we can almost touch the clouds, feel calm and relaxed, listening to the sound of ocean waves. We are summer friends. It is simple, but the beach is one of the most important parts of our everyday life.

Midwest and Chicago are winter friends forever. But in Chicago, we do have local “beaches” on Lake Michigan, but the water is from the lake, not an ocean. Chicagoans love to dip their toes into the cool waters and silky sand, and enjoy outdoor activities on this “beach” in summer. But I cannot call it a “beach”.

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As a Chicagoan, you call it a a beach. But Floridian don’t really consider this a true beach, although it has sand and water. It’s just not a beach to us because it is missing the ocean and sounds of ocean waves.
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A Floridian dips her feet in the lake and has fun, but still misses her ocean.

Braving the bitter cold and stepping outside in all my layers to stay warm, I think I’ve become a penguin. But I realize something interesting: A Floridian and a Midwesterner have different ideas about a beach.

For me, Florida has the real beaches, which include the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. These are some of the best and famous beaches in the world, from Pensacola to Daytona Beach and from Siesta Key to Miami Beach. Each coastal oasis has its own vibe.

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One of the most impressive things is that they have different types of beach sand. I’ll never forget my first steps onto the soft pure quartz beach at Siesta Key near Tampa Bay. Sand artists come here to make gorgeous and amazing sand sculptures in contests.

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I am very proud to introduce my real home’s beach to you, especially to Midwesterners. It is common to see a fishing pier extending far out into the water, with the soft blue sky and clouds as a backdrop, and sea foam and white caps in the ocean as the waves break over the sand.

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The beach” opened in Chicago recently. It is an immersive art installation, which consists of a large, open room filled with more than a million antimicrobial and recyclable plastic balls, along with deck chairs, lifeguard chairs, umbrellas and signage that mimic the sensation of a day at the beach. Ha ha! I was diving in the BALL.

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Do you have a beach feeling, Floridians? It is all beach-themed art.

Chicago has many cool things, but it doesn’t really have a beach. Ha ha! So the best way to escape the bitter cold winter is to enjoy the REAL beach! Welcome to my home state!

A Floridian experiences her first blizzard

“Snow? What? Wow, it is too COLD!

I am thankful that I live in Florida!”

It is a Floridian’s first reaction if the temperature falls below 50 degrees and you hear of snow. As you know, I am a Floridian but now living in Chicago. The magic thing is that I never thought about how I would survive in the cold winter here. But I have survived. Living with the long winter in Chicago was a tough challenge for me at first, but fortunately I adjusted to it fast. Looking back, making the decision to move here to start a new adventure was so brave!

thumbnail_IMG_0171Today, I would like to share a Floridian’s perspective of snow based on my first blizzard in Chicago.

It is rare for me to see snow. I had never seen snow until I moved to Chicago. The blizzard is a new experience. I knew there would be a blizzard Sunday night to Monday morning, I was truly excited. I immediately texted my close friends in Florida and told them “Tonight we’ll have a blizzard in Chicago, the first blizzard in my life with forecast of 13 inches.” My many Floridan friends replied: “Wow, that is cold!” So now you know a Floridian’s first reaction when hearing of so much snow! Ha!

The night of the blizzard, I woke up many times to see look outside the window. I didn’t want to miss any part of my first blizzard. Monday morning, I woke up, went to the balcony and felt the blizzard in person, listening to the sound of heavy wind and snow. I saw white anywhere. Wow! I was very excited and recorded this great experience via video, taking many great snow photos, then shared them with my friends in Florida. I was proud to tell them: It is my first blizzard!

thumbnail_IMG_0172Although my first blizzard was not as big as what I expected – we did not get 13 inches – I still enjoyed seeing the snow and feel lucky to witness the first blizzard history in life.

You might be a Chicagoan or come from other cold areas, so you are used to seeing snow or experiencing a blizzard. Maybe you hate snow and laugh at me. As a Floridian, I always think it is a wonderful experience in the crazy snow world. I love to walk on the soft snow, leaving my footprints. I think the snow looks like white marshmallows. We never see such marshmallows on trees and chairs in Florida. So this is a fortunate experience.  

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I still consider myself a traditional Floridian, not a Chicagoan, but I enjoy writing stories in this unique new town, too. It is really cold for us. We are not used to wearing gloves, hats, scarves and heavy coats all the time. I like to wear sandals to go to beach, listen to the sound of the ocean, walk into the sand and water, feel  the sunshine. I think Florida beaches are amazing.

Now it is time for me to visit my sweet home – Florida. The sunshine, ocean, beach, blue sky and warm temperature are calling me. But most importantly, my “best family members” are calling. My next adventure will be at home… I can’t wait! It will be a fantastic story about a Floridian back home again. Stay Tuned!

It’s the little moments that make life BIG

Chicago: City of Murals

Often, it’s the little moments that make life BIG – so open your eyes.

As you know, I am a Floridian. I came from the Sunshine State, then moved to Chicago to start a new adventure. People often are asked about their most interesting places to enjoy in their spare time. Some people say Chicago’s winter is too crazy, Yes, you are right, especially for a traditional Floridian. Still, the city has some great places I will share with you, to make you feel warm when you are in Chicago, especially in crazy winter time.

I am a model and photographer, too. I think a photo is beautiful not only because of a beautiful background and person in the photo, but also because of the spirit of the image.

A great example of this are the murals of a city. Sometimes they can help you to create a special photo and express the spirit to your audience. Chicago is famous for art. I am not a professional for art, but I think I am a professional for street art/murals. I have eyes for finding some interesting and beautiful places. I would like to share some of my favorite murals/street art to you. Chicago has many great murals, just a small part of the city, but they tell a truth. I am always happy to stop and take photos of them, again and again, then leave that place. I have a special feeling for them.   

Wicker Park (Buck Town) is my favorite neighborhood in Chicago, and most of my favorite murals are there. Journey with me there now to check out these wonderful images of art.

LIFE MINIATURE

It is like us in miniature. Grab your camera, take the train and walk around different neighborhoods to record different and interesting stories around us. It is my regular life, maybe your life, too.

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Address: 1651 W North Ave, Chicago IL 60622

HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS

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 Address: 90 Miles Cuban Café. 2540 W Armitage Ave, Chicago IL 60647

As a Floridian in Chicago, I enjoy writing lots of interesting stories about my new town. I always feel that Florida is not too far from me. We still connect each other and feel very close. Can you imagine when you find a familiar thing from your home in your current city? It is exciting and fantastic, and it brings back a lot wonderful memories. It helps to feel very close to your sweet home. 

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LOVE IS IN THE AIR

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Address: @Properties at Bucktown.    1875 N Damen Ave, Chicago IL 60622

Colorful backgrounds make you feel sweet and warm, particularly in summer time. This place will change murals regularly, but always around the theme of LOVE. They just change the color. 

BE MORE CREATIVE 

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Address: LOW RES STUDIO:1821 W Hubbard St. #203, Chicago IL 60622

Are you a creative person? Are you a photographer? If so, you will like local a creative agency—LOW RES STUDIO. A lot of creative people and photographers live around there, and they share creative ideas. I like the area decor so much. A lot of cool stuff is on the walls, expressing the message of Chicago. I strongly recommend that you attend their events. Open your eyes and enjoy the creative life around us.

(Tips: Please follow their Instagram and website at http://www.lowresstudio.com to learn about their events. You will enjoy their creative events so much.)

WHERE TO NEXT?

Pizza Queen will take you to fly away. Although I am not a super fan of the pizza, I still like this cute pizza background so much. It gives me wings so I can fly and explore around the world.

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 Address: Parlor Pizza Bar West Loop      108 N Green St,  Chicago, IL 60607

Kindness is _____?

What are your words?

For me, I think kindness is to have a thankful heart, and appreciate all the little moments in your life.

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Address: Left Coast: 2878 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60657
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Address1813 N Milwakuee Ave, Chicago IL 60647

This is my dream neighborhood. People get together, share and help each other. I visited during heavy snow and there was a dog in the photo, and I felt very warm when I saw it.

By the way, I have explored murals all over town, including places like the loop (Chicago downtown), Pilsen, Logan Square, Lakeview and many others. Also, I like greetings from Chicago murals, flamingo mural, leaf mural, heart mural……Chicago really flourishes in art, street art, murals. What an amazing city for art!

Beautiful murals are everywhere. It does depend on your attitude in life, and if you are photographic and have eyes for beautiful things. Although some murals are in alleys, I still love to explore and discover them, and use my camera to capture them, making a great personal story.

If you want address information for more murals in Chicago, please follow my Instagram (@stephy320) or send me a message. I will provide more details to take you to discover small but very interesting things. I am a professional mural lover —NO PROBLEM!.

Now, I would like to share my favorite quote with you. It’s from one of my best friends:

Life is a journey, that it does not always have a map;

Happiness is not a destination, but a road trip.

So, please open your eyes, find out the beautiful things around you in life. It is the little moments make life big and happy. 

Happy mural hunting!