Brunch at Southport Grocery

October 5, 2015

A couple of weeks ago I spent the weekend with my sister Madeline in her Southport neighborhood. We didn’t have an agenda at all – just relax, window shop and eat (of course). We accomplished all of those things but with a longish drive ahead of me, we decided Sunday brunch was a must. Walking around Southport we came across this cute spot…

southport grocery chicago


emily hines

Southport Grocery and Cafe is a quaint local spot located in the hub of the Southport neighborhood near Wrigley Field. They serve up breakfast and lunch daily for hungry Chicagoans; this Sunday was particularly crowded in large part due to a Cubs game that afternoon.  We waited a few minutes for a table outside in the sunshine staring at the gorgeous Anthropologie window displays next door.

Starved, we started off with the “grown-up pop tart” and some coffee. How could we resist? This warm, doughy pastry was stuffed with local preserves, vanilla walnuts, marscapone cheese, then griddled to perfection.

grown up pop tart at southport grocery

They’re famous for their bread pudding pancakes but we decided savory entrees would be a good follow up to the pop tart starter. The Ham & Grits caught my eye with country ham and red-eye gravy and Mad went with their signature hash topped with a fried egg. Both were spot on.

southport grocery hash


After brunch we perused the aisles of preserves, dressings, and other goodies. They also have a cooler of prepared foods and I was happy to snatch the last club sandwich for my road trip home.

southport grocery preserves



southport grocery takeout

For a a leisurely brunch or superb take out for the office, Southport Grocery is just THE place.


Cafe Tola

September 22, 2015

cafe tola

After a long drive to Chicago, my sister and I decided to explore her Lakeview neighborhood. Once on Southport Avenue, I immediately noticed a white and hot pink glowing sign further down the street. As we grew closer, I saw EMPANADAS written across the front of the building screaming for us to come in.

cafe tola

cafe tola

During the day there is almost always a line for the “best empanadas in the city.” but we lucked out Friday night only having a couple of hungry people in front of us. Bright colors bombard you as soon as you cross the threshold  with vibrant Mexican art and bright soda cans lining the walls of the little empanada depot. Frida must be the shop muse because she is everywhere . We quickly ordered a couple of pork empanadas, one spicy for Madeline and one with garlic and onions for me. So good I forgot to take a photo, but you know what empanadas look like (little pockets of fried goodness).

cafe tola cafe tola

cafe tola

Two girls manned the counter, grill and fryer as Beyonce’s Drunk in love blared on the stereo. They were so friendly chatting with us about the different flavors and occasionally bursting into song. Most importantly they told us about Taco Fest that was happening over the weekend in the neighborood.  With fresh empanadas and iced coffee in hand we were ready for more shopping.

cafe tola

Truth be told, I went back on Sunday for their signature empanada (black bean, goat cheese, and plantains) for the road!

If you find yourself in the Lakeview area, maybe before or after a Cubs game, go check out Cafe Tola! Full espresso bar with donuts and empanadas made daily.

Cafe Tola –

@cafetola on instagram



Chairish Challenge: White to Bright

September 9, 2015

cherish challenge white to bright


Have you heard of Chairish? It’s an online emporium and design lovers paradise where you can buy and sell vintage furniture, decor, and other accessories. They recently invited me to participate in their accent chair design challenge to take a room from white to bright. 

There is nothing like coming home after a long day, making a cocktail, and getting cozy in a big chair in front of the fireplace so I wanted to create a cozy space to relax and recharge. I tend to gravitate towards white and neutral furniture making it easy to incorporate lots of bright colors with accessories so I chose this pearly white leather wing back chair for my accent chair.

In graduate school I spent several weeks taking a class on urban development and historic preservation in Turkey; while traveling around the country I fell in head over heels with the funky patterns and colors of their textiles. Both the turquoise rug and pink Kilim pouf ottoman are vintage Turkish pieces that I found perusing; their bright jewel tones help set the tone for this vignette. The clean lines of the Mid Century Modern bar cabinet and cocktail pitcher are so sleek and contrast the fluidity of the wingback chair and sconces well. In a restful corner like this, you can never have too many books. Chairish has a fully stocked vintage book section on their website you could look at for hours. Don’t forget a colorful throw!

I should mention that white furniture in my real life is close to impossible because I have two big black labs and a burly husband. What you see above is my inspiration for a nook in my office or sitting room one day… puppy and husband free of course.

Chairish is an incredible resource for finding authentic vintage pieces. I love thrifting and antiquing but sometimes you can’t find exactly what you need so if you have a piece from a specific era in mind check out their website because you may be able to find something near you and pick it up instead of having it shipped to you. It’s like having the best antique markets and dealers from around the country at your fingertips!

Click on the items below to shop my look!

// Wingback Chair //  Needlepoint Pillow // End Table // Sconces // Art // Kilm Pouf // Rug // Books // Sari throw // Cocktail Pitcher // Mid Century Bar Cabinet

Click here to see their entire collection of accent chairs.

*Please note this post was not sponsored by 

















Soaking Up Summer

September 2, 2015

College towns are best in the summer time… I love the activity of the school year, but I relish the quiet while the students are away. Plus, you can always get a parking space, waits at restaurants aren’t nearly as long, and you can enjoy the lake without hundreds of double decker pontoon boats scooting around.

School is back in session, but since it’s the last official weekend of summer and there are plenty of hot days ahead this September, I wanted to share a few of my fav summer spots in Bloomington with y’all.

Lake Monroe

lake monroe

If I can’t be on a beach with my toes in the sand and surfing the salty waves a big blue lake will do. I got hooked on paddle boarding when we lived in Hawaii and love having this huge lake ten minutes from town. If you don’t have your own paddling gear check out IU Outdoor Adventure for rentals. They have a wide variety of gear and it’s extremely affordable. Don’t want to do the work? You can rent boats from Paynetown Recreation Area.


Bloomington Farmers Market

bloomington farmers market

Ride down the B-Line (urban walking biking trail) and stop by Le Petite Cafe for a bite, croque madame and crepes are my favorite. Then meander through the farmers market to do some shopping (and maybe some more eating), and enjoy the people watching. The Farmers Market is open from April-November.

Cardinal Spirits

cardinal spirits

cardinal spirits

My favorite patio in town is Cardinal Spirits, hands down! It’s right on the B-Line making it really bike friendly and is the perfect place to soak up some sunshine and enjoy a cocktail. Bonus: On Tuesdays they create special tiki drinks and most nights you can enjoy delicious Mexican food from the La Poblana food truck.

Upland Brewing Co.

upland brewing co

You can often find me here on Sunday afternoons eating pulled pork nachos and drinking beer. This Friday they’re hosting one of my favorite bluegrass musicians, Larry Keel, and a slew of other Americana bands for their annual fundraiser for Sycamore Land Trust. Can’t wait! BTW if you don’t have tickets yet their doing a giveaway on their instagram account now! 

larry keel



feast bloomington

croque madame anyone?

My ideal Sunday is sleeping in, coffee, bike ride through Bryan Park to brunch at Feast on their patio. Lunch and dinner are equally delicious.

Charles Deam Wilderness

Charles Deam Wilderness

When Ryan and I want to get away but don’t have time for a big trip, we head to the Charles Deem Wilderness Area. They have miles of trails to explore and plenty of camping spots. This area is seems to be less used than the state parks in the area so if you’re looking for solitude, this is the place. For an even more remote camping excursion, try paddling to one of the lakeside camping spots not accessible by trails. For maps and more info click here.


Hope y’all have a fun Labor Day Weekend!


Dream Cars

August 21, 2015

dream cars

No plans this weekend? Check out Dream Cars: Innovative Design and Visionary Ideas at the Indianapolis Museum of Art Museum. Midnight blue, hot rod red, sleek silver, all decked in chrome, these incredible concept cars show off automobile history starting in the 1930s up through the 2000s. Continue reading “Dream Cars” »


August 6, 2015

Hail to the hops. It’s National IPA Day!

Never heard of it? ”

Founded in 2011, IPA Day is a universal movement created to unite the voices of craft beer enthusiasts, bloggers and brewers worldwide, using social media as the common arena for connecting the conversation.

IPA Day is not the brainchild of a corporate marketing machine, nor is it meant to serve any particular beer brand. IPA Day is opportunity for all breweries, bloggers, businesses and consumers to connect and share their love of craft beer. It is an opportunity for the entire craft beer culture to combine forces and advocate craft beer through increased education and global awareness.” – The Beer Wench Continue reading “IPA Day” »

Curious Tuesday

July 26, 2015

After a beer filled weekend in Asheville, North Carolina I continued south to visit some friends and drink some fantastic southern beer in Athens, Georgia. Even in the middle of summer, there is always something happening in the Classic City.

creature comforts

via creature comforts

Continue reading “Curious Tuesday” »

Drinking in Louisville

July 12, 2015

There’s more to drinking in Louisville than juleps. On our recent trip to Louisville we spent the weekend catching up with some old friends and exploring the city one bar at a time.

Four Pegs, Louisville Continue reading “Drinking in Louisville” »

Proof On Main

June 28, 2015

proof on main

I’d read about Proof before we arrived in Louisville, but getting a recommendation blogger friend, Kristin Luna of Camels and Chocolate, sealed the deal. Continue reading “Proof On Main” »

21c Museum Hotel – Louisville

June 23, 2015

Art and preservation often cross paths; last weekend I found them happily intertwined at the 21c Hotel in downtown Louisville.


21c Louisvile

Photo: Ryan Hines

Continue reading “21c Museum Hotel – Louisville” »

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