T.H.T.K. found

longman & eagle room 55

for our new year’s celebration sans kidlets, the boy and i decided to staycation in logan square. we rented a small room above longman & eagle…which i have to say, this might have been the most hipster hotel i’ve rested my pretty little head at. we stayed in room 55 which happens to be the largest of the 6 rooms available for rent above the one-star michelin restaurant and bar. let me tell you, this place was oozing cool…even the soap was cool! but i guess with a slogan like eat, sleep, whiskey, you kinda have to be too school for school.

interesting details at every glance, i soon found what i thought to be one of their best offerings (besides the chilled split of champagne in the frig) to be a mixtape created by jason lazarus. available for a mere $20, i had to take it home with me. but who was this man who made the mix of christopher cross, rod stewart, carole king and little river band that made my heart sing? taking me back to the days of orthodontia and elementary school.

mixtape created by jason lazarus

after a bit of google stalking (that we shall call research to make myself feel better), i found out he was a chicago-based artist, curator, writer, and educator. he has many interesting projects, but one in particular really stood out to me. stalking more, i also stumbled upon this video showcasing one of his installations.

Jason Lazarus: Too Hard to Keep (Syracuse) from Light Work on Vimeo.

in a nutshell, he initiated a growing archive of photos deemed “too hard to keep.” the project is a place for photographs and objects to exist when they are too difficult to hold on to, yet too meaningful to destroy. upon submission, participants may dictate whether the photographs may be displayed face up or face down to preserve privacy.

after watching the trailer, i couldn’t help but think of all the photos in boxes that i also could submitted to this project; not to mention the many photos i have thrown in the trash because they too were too hard to keep or a memory i chose to no longer want to revisit.

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neither the blog or the video say just how many photos mr lazarus has received, but i can only imagine it to be enough to fill an airstream trailer. i find each image fascinating while my imagination runs wild with the many possibilities as to why these certain photos were deemed “hard”. my fingers and toes are crossed with the hopes that i might view this curated installation in person one day.

meet you at the barre

mary hellen bowers - ballet beautiful

since little maus was born, i’ve been struggling with my weight…well, i’ve been struggling with it for almost the last 6 years really; let’s get real here. after baby number 1, i was really getting myself back in shape, but that all changed after this last pregnancy. your body is just NOT the same. your arms, your hips, your butt, your boobs…and being over 35, forget about it. i mean, i’m not looking for a thigh gap or anything, i just don’t want to feel like i have to sausage myself into every pair of jeans i own on a daily basis.

i know cardio has to be part of my weekly exercise routine, but man do i hate running. last april, i tried so hard to embrace it by training for a 5K, but my ankles and knees didn’t agree with my mindset. i knew getting my body back in shape would require some pain, but limping and unable to pick up a baby was not going to suffice in this household.

a new plan of attack had to be set in motion. if you remember my om zone post, i really did have great intentions of becoming this fitness guru in 2013. and don’t get me wrong, i still go to om zone every monday night at tribalance and also attend their hot yoga and gentle flow classes, but i needed more cardio in my life. cardio, my arch nemesis…grrr.

i’ve been really interested in attending a barre class at the bar method studio near my work. but since the class itself would take up 1-1/2 hours of my 1 hour lunch, it was not going to work in my schedule. enter a morning email from daily candy featuring mary helen bowers and her company ballet beautiful to save the day. her videos are amazing! since this is something i had been wanting to incorporate into my existing workout plan, i chose to purchase a few streaming videos over the monthly subscription. and seriously, how cool is it that i can stream them from any device anywhere!

after viewing the previews, i chose the skyline workout (cardio), the swan arms cardio and the hip & thigh blast. the videos are about 10 mins long each, so for the first time this morning, i kicked and plié’d like an awkward pterodactyl, loving every minute of it. do not let her sweet face fool you, this lady is a true ass kicker. i do tracy anderson, so i figured how much more difficult could this be, am i right? i cursed at her loudly, my butt writhing in pain and my legs and arms felt like lucifer’s flames were burning inside my skin…but that is what cardio is about right? and hey, it’s better than running.

so if you are looking for a low-impact cardio workout you can do from home that doesn’t break the bank, ballet beautiful might just be the ticket.

time traveling

every once in a while i have a day where i enjoy retracing my steps…time traveling a bit. lately, i’ve been thinking back to our honeymoon. since my husband’s family was unable to fly to the states for the wedding, we chose to travel to them for the honeymoon. the majority of our time was spent in a quiet farm town in germany with oma and opa, but we  fit in a couple roadtrips to visit aunts, uncles and cousins in trier and koln. we even managed to get away on our own to visit the czech republic. ah prague, it stole my heart…a fascinating city although i do suggest taking public transportation. however, the 20 year old german map from oma’s house might have been the reason for my deciphering difficulties; mainly because i don’t speak a lick of german or czech.

public transportation prague

finally, after what seemed to be forever (and accidentally driving through a tram station where an old man shook his umbrella angrily at us), we arrived at our hotel, located just yards away from the foot of the stunning charles bridge. each afternoon, painters and street performers fight for space with throngs of tourists. our last morning, we woke up before the dawn to catch these shots.

charles bridge - prague

after our boat trip along the river we booked reservations at kampa park. we chose a a candlelit table on the cobblestoned terrace, draped in fairy lights right beside the river. the lights of charles bridge glittering on the water. being a foodie, i have dined at quite a few upscale restaurants. i’m unsure if it was the amazing wine or the insane view, but this has gone down as the best meal of my life thus far. after dark it became a bit chilly, so i cozied up with the cashmere blanket on the back of my chair and topped the evening off with a delicious cappuccino.

boat trip along the vltavalennon wall in prague

after dinner, the blue light jazz club and an old english pub (the name i don’t recall) became our haunts of choice. after many a staropramen, we’d slowly make our way back to our bed and breakfast, only to start another adventure the following day.

farmers market in prague

little did i realize this would be one of the last chances the boy and i would have to slip away together before children. and although this european getaway was not the typical balmy exotic island, lined with palm trees and coconuts honeymoon, i wouldn’t trade it for the world. it was an amazing adventure that i will revisit in my mind again and again. til we meet again prague.

fabulous photo booth fun

photoBooth1photoBooth2

i don’t know about you, but when i see a vintage dip and dunk chemical photo booth i get giddy with excitement. i’ve always adored them, but growing up in a rural community, they were not plentiful. i vividly remember finding one on a class trip to six flags great america and blowing every penny i had. dragging classmate after classmate into that little booth, sitting on the wobbly stool, pulling the red curtain closed and making silly faces or sticking out our tongues…then waiting 5 mins for that whirring noise and receiving a strip of 4 black and white photos. memories and friendships being held in my hand.

for me, analog instant photography has been a great outlet for creative experimentation. all my life, i’ve been obsessed with cameras, film and photography, but i’m one of those people that needs instant gratification. my polaroid cameras helped fulfill that instant need but after renting a vintage chemical booth for my wedding, i knew i had to have one of my own. don’t get me wrong, i’m not above jumping in a digital smilebooth and hamming it up with the best of them, but there is something special and unique about a vintage film photo booth.

photobooth

 

after completing an extensive google search, i quickly found that vintage chemical photo booths were kinda hard to come by…especially booths in working condition. the search was quickly narrowed down to one company, mainly because they own the market…google pointed me to a&a studios located in chicago. i guess they were surprised when i said i wanted to buy one just for me…apparently no one does that. they also warned me that these machines were a bit tricky and needed some tender loving care (insert they are really, really fussy) to keep them in working order, but we all agreed, nothing compared to the strip of 4 images on film, so i drove to their studio on ogden ave. and found my machine in their basement storage room…an old model 20 that looked so decrepit and janky, but beautiful at the same time. and so began the build.

i didn’t realize that these machines were so heavy! they can weight over 800 lbs. since it was going to live in the basement, our main objective was devising a plan on how to get it in the house and not have the stairs collapse. anthony, a former architect and now a&a’s owner, decided it should be 4 separate pieces…the floor, the ceiling, the sitting area, and the machine itself.

photoboothBuild1photoboothBuild2

the night before delivery day was unbearable. i was excited, i was nervous…i couldn’t believe this booth was going to be mine all mine. it took a few hours and three guys to haul it into the house, get it down the stairs, leveled out and set up. anthony and another awesome guy who works for him — rob — ran me though the chemicals, camera, film, heater and other gizmos…i felt a little overwhelmed, but jumped in head first. ever since we have been making family memories day after day after day. i’ve been able to photograph the dude and little maus monthly and i think it is going to make for an amazing family photo album.

boothBuild2a

it’s playlist thursday on tuesday!

it’s been a couple weeks since i posted a “what i’m listening to today…” blog post. as john cusack says in high fidelity, “the making of a great compilation tape, like breaking up, is hard to do and takes ages longer than it might seem. you gotta kick off with a killer, to grab attention. then you got to take it up a notch, but you don’t wanna blow your wad, so then you got to cool it off a notch. there are a lot of rules.” it’s hard to make a playlist quickly, but here is what i’ve whipped up for you today…this is what has been on heavy rotation on my iPod.

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