Friday, September 25, 2009

cha cha cha chicaga; Chicago, Illinois

today? bound and determined to follow through with some plans. some dance plans. a few places to take adult dance classes Joffrey (where the late Patrick Swayze studied) or Ruth Page or Lou Conte Dance studio (where Hubbard Street Dance Co.- one of my personal faves rehearses) (lou conte also has modern, yoga, hip hop, pilates, jazz, and tap i think ruth page does too) Molly Shanahan taught the Modern Dance class ( I felt the power in that class today! WOWzahs! then i bought a bunch o what not from the Christian Dior counter- at Macy's on State St. oh and a scarf! A New Yorker friend called who also happens to be in Chi chi chicago for a wedding so maybe if work doesn't come a callin then i can mosey downtown again.

If you are at a loss for words then ride the train or any public transport for that matter. The L is an easy one and chicagoans are friendly- midwestern ish. if you ask questions, people are more than likely to share info. I love the CTA personell they are there when you need them!! And even if a yawning guy sits next to you with bad breath and the woman behind you deleting pictures from the phone and the annoying beep is inescapable even with an ipod you should try jumping off at the next stop and then while the doors are still open jump on a different train car! Invigorating I tell you! but you have move fast because those doors open and close i think in 5 seconds. Just remember you always have a choice!

I feel like i should know more about this city because i am here A LOT. atleast in the warmer months. Orange is great for brunch. I beleive we were at the one on Damen near Wicker Park I THINK. If i lived here, I would like Wicker Park. ANyway the juices are squeezed right there! Freshly. and there was so much on the menu that i wanted to try. however i tried the orange coffee and didn't like it. The food was fabulous and reasonable. They didn't have mimosas when my cuzins and i went there but they instructed us to by champagne from down the street and mix it with our juice of choice. I think they now have a mimosa bar. YUMMMM! GOOD MORNING: )! i like this area. and then we walked around millenium park, the bean, etc. I have been known to let go of plans at times and instead of anything just sit under a tree by the water, read, look at the boats and the bums and stuff... Also Soldier Field is cool. And in the summer you can go to the beach! There's always stuff to do in Chicago check out and i have yet to experience movies in the park in the summertime. all=so i want to try some swing dancing here
My friends band played at a place called the Metal Shaker. it's a local little dive. That was fun except some of the roads have cameras that take pictures of you if you run the red light and i didn't think i wanted to be at a stop sign too long. maybe they should give tickets to the theives and drugdealers instead of lil ole me. obviously i didn't get away with it like i thought...vroooooom... the local dive near Chicago MDW is called Mr. C's. They have a pool table and free darts for nondrinkers like me. They also have Stevie Wonder on the jukebox.

To really feel the heartbeat of the city, jump on the L, go downtown check out Grant and Millenium Park, museums, a play, Hubbard Street Dance Company, the boats, the water, the bean, go listen to some live music atleast one night of jazz and or blues , and for cryin out loud go see a Cubs game OR the White Sox or da bares... People say that the boat tour is nice. Also they give sailing lessons if you like the water. Get your walkin shoes ready. Oh and the Frank Lloyd Wright tour in Oak Park but it might be best to rent a car for that (make sure you bring the gps). keep your eyes open there's way more and something for everyone everywhere vroom vroom.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Louisville is for Lovers; Louisville, KY

My Old Kentucky home (

Leaving rainy day lousiville to fly the sky into the land of Or (my base with my new flight attendant job) via way of another airline my favorite (Southwest Airlines) with wifi and reliable pilots usually on time or early ( Someday i hope to work for them. Listening to loud mouth women laughing i breathe in thinking of a quiet flight while reading Sue Monk Kidd's The Dance of the Dissident Daughter ( i take a long exhale. What is dissident? "departure from accepted beliefs or standards"?

... Maybe the fantabulousness of the women a couple of rows in front of me are breaking free too, from beliefs, or the ordinary whatever in their everyday lives. SO more power to em! I can truly relate to Kidd on so many levels at this moment.

"There is wisdom in giving up the fight to make it go away. When we instead come home to our path, we come home to what is. You are where you are. So be there. Stop trying to protect yourself from the harshness of right now, fleeing into a long fabrication about how it's going to be one day. That's a way of avoiding the here-and-now truth of our lives" (p.96).

So i have a choice and i choose wireless, musical escape (Bjork Homogenic) and my airplane neighbor chooses Bose headphones to eliminate unwanted sound ( and goes to sleep.

[we fly bumpily over Atlanta. me, taking a moment to acknowledge flood victims and survivors pilot announces "chops for another 20 minutes"]

The flight crew is sweet, smiley, calm, and cute and pass me some graham crackers and nuts.

But back to my point... i'm not against a little quiet friendly conversation with your airplane neighbor especially bonding with the feminine divine. Yesterday after running, not joggin, i'm talkin full sprint as much as one can with roller and travel bags, full uniform, scarf, blazer, heels. the full on from the B side of Chicago Midway's airport to the A side. Why? To sleep in my own bed and water my flowers. barely making it to the gate, the one customer service agent was telling me "no" even though i could see the plane's wide open door. A Southwest Supervisor went down the jetway and waved me in. Away i ran "thank you thank you thank you" Puddling armpits and beads of sweat dripping from my forehead and upperlip. There WAS room for my rollerbag ! Thank you Mothergod! And a empty seat inbetween two silver foxes (wife aisle, husband window). I took a deep breath in and out and soon i was quietly chatting it up with the successful now retired woman who was inquiring about what to do in Louisville, i was rambling on, she was honing in with pen in hand.

What were my Louisville favorites and how would i entertain a power woman like herself?

"Let's see.." A flood of thoughts followed.."What do you like to do in your free time"

"I like to cook"

"Well if you love food and looking for local stuff, you've stumbled across the right person". It came down to this. Places i recommended for retired rich people (unlike myself) and expanded on the places i had personally enjoyed- a blog would probably be necessary for each but i managed to brief her in the short flight from Chicagow MDW to Louisville SDF: Proof on Main is the the first one that popped in my head, a personal fave - good place to open up in a bible belt city like Luvull- good wine, contemporary art, downtown area and attached to the hotel 21C if you like those kinds of things ( -you could just go for a glass of wine or a cup of tea and mosey the gallery. Other fine dining includes Porcini's ( where you might run into Rick Pitino, L&N ( where you can rub shoulders with the old money trust fund kids of Louisville, Les Relais- the jetliner types by Bowman Feild- you can even rent a jet and join membership to the 'mile high club' (wink wink), hip Asiatique ( for chocolate martinis and or appetizers, Seviche' ( yum. These are just to name a few of those types. Then i mentioned my kind of more affordable places; El Mundo's fish tacos, dippity do, and burrito lunch special with veggie filling (if you drink- they have the best margaritas!) Frankfort Ave. then have dessert and coffee at Sweet Surrender! ( Crescent Hill is my favorite neighbor where they have The Taste of Frankfort Ave. once a year, F.A.T Friday (the trolley hop) the final friday of every month (the 26th is the next one)- hop on the trolley and enjoy some fun stuff on Frankfort Ave. Heine Bros. (, Charmichael's Bookstore ( well the library and one of my favorite stores evAHHH- Just Creations ( nonprofit- items from the world that are sold and actually go back to the people who create them- volunteers work there, etc. And then there is the First friday trolley hop on Main St. But for Kentucky home Cookin I would highly recommend the wacky funky fun and hip Lynn's Paradise Cafe ( or The Monkey Wrench ( where you can eat buffet style brunch and listen to live bluegrass on Sunday mornins, enjoy bands, dj's big screen tvs and a rooftop! Another fave is Cafe Lou Lou's - the pork tenderloin sandwich YUM! Toast on Market for brunch! ( And Wild Eggs! ( oh sooo many places- this is just skimming the surface.

Other things to look into if you find yourself in Louisville... Waterfront ( , or waterfront Wednesdays! VAVAVOOM! Actor's Theatre of Louisville (especially the Humana Festival of new Playwrights (, Churchill Downs (, Louisville Slugger (, Speed Art Museum ( also a fun off the cuff thing to do is check out live lunch at WFPK radio station where you call and order a box lunch while watching the live guest perform for the radio station ( if you make it to the St. James Art Fair get there early and plan on staying the whole day. And even if you miss the art fair you should totally check out the Conrad Caldwell house or just take the dog for a walk through St. James Ct. ( or the lovely neighborhood and park surrounding Cherokee triangle. Brown Park is also nice for a little walk. Antiquing at Joe Ley - overpriced but fun Another fun little shop on Market is Red Tree (
If you like local movie theatres with indy movies check out Baxter Avenue Theatres ( The Wine Rack (, the Louisville Science Center is great if you have kiddos.
SInce my new retired friends don't drink i didn't mention the bar scene... however In my personal opinion - The best bars in louisville- Nach ( - the best beer selection and Mag( along with Monkey Wrench in which i mentioned earlier. But sometimes you and your girls - if you just need to shake it! if you can deal with the stupid pick up lines- go to Brendan's (i know... guilty pleasure) or if you are more of a hippie and would like some Merry Pranksters (Grateful Dead cover band)- I think its still Sunday nights at Longshots. Best place to see live music - the waterfront, or Headliners (

And since they weren't gay, I didn't mention Woody's Tavern or Connections ( where even my hetero friends love to whoop it up on the dance floor and enjoy a good drag show!

To my dancing buddies- good places to take adult dance classes, Louisville Ballet School ( Louisville Dance Alliance for modern ( and Sacred Heart School for the Arts ( also you might want to check out some swing dancing with the Louisville Swing Dance Society (,

My recommendation for a louavall newbie is to never say "Lewisville" and however else you end up saying it stick to your guns- this city is named in honor of King Louis the XIV so what do you think? Most people say it like they have a wad of backy (tobacco) in their mouth. Also instead "you guys" its "yall"
I would suggest renting a old mustang convertable (vroom vroom) and spending one day in Crescent Hill/ Clifton (Frankfort Ave), one day in the Highlands (Bardstown Rd), one day downtown/ old louisville then lots to do outside of louisville. Hike at Red River Gorge, Keenland in Lexington, canoe Blue River, kayak Shelby Lake (aka Lake Lickasack), Bardstown, KY, Midway Ky. Woodford Reserve, Wild Turkey, and Maker's Mark distilleries.

Okay. maybe i didn't mention all of this to my retired friends, and there is always more to mention. but if you are new to the city this is a good start. don't hesitate to ask questions. for the rest of yall locals feel free to add more.....Vroom Vroom.

Monday, September 21, 2009

city o love. Philadelphia, PA

the city o' love.
if you are looking for a little getaway or something other than the Liberty Bell and Art Museum, here is what i found off the beaten path. how? flew the best airline here... none other than Southwest Airlines! ( arriving 10 minutes early from Chicago Midway, cute flight attendants, quiet (just how i like it) yet full flight. I wish i worked for this airline!! The guy sitting next to me was a sleeping silver fox after 10 minutes of reading the new New Yorker. Should i date men over 50? - the thought crossed my mind.
"you can accidently leave your New Yorker," I smirked as he glanced in my direction upon landing. (I would give the landing a perfect 10)
"You want it?" he smiled.
"Did you get a chance to finish it?"
"yeah, here you go,"
"yesss!" geek on.. it's the little things in life. fo show! for the next flight.
Took the the shuttle to the Embassy Suites. ( center city. The friendly tattooed van driver was informative about my inquiries regarding directions and time on places to go. I had a million options. Should I visit the my old college near the Main Line to visit my favorite professors- at Eastern University (was Eastern College when I attended - remembering the cute little coffee shops and beautiful neighborhoods, Pie in the Sky (best pizza i could remember) surrounding the little township of Wayne and St. Davids. I could take the train perhaps. From 30th Street Station, Suburban, or Market East, a person can take th R5 towards Thorndale and get off at St. Davids. Or the Art Museum- walk around run up the stairs- just like Rocky! and then walk or run along the Schuylkill River. OR maybe go to an adult ballet class at Karesh Dance Company ( They also offer modern dance and yoga classes. I only had about 20 hours total of free time to do whatever i so desired. I decided going to my old college without forewarning my professors might be a little much and would probably be better for another trip to Philly.

I decided to call my friend from my college daze in hopes of seeing her. A plan was in motion but she had to finish work. me.... i had to nap... food, a walk, coffee, etc..

The super friendly customer service at Embassy Suites makes me happy. I deal with A LOT of hotels. My room- a suite. duh! i guess the word is in the title. With microwave and fridge.

oh yeah, remember when in Philly - instead of using the "t h" blend use the /f/ sound. "free more stops" really means '3 more stops'. Instead of "ya'll" its "you's guys!" if you are a woman you may want to lower your voice to blend in with the locals. And don't take it too seriously if people seem overly agressive, blunt, or sarcastic- that's just how it is here. If i didn't know better i might get my feelins hurt bein a Kentucky gal, but i know better and makes me want to sing "don't tell me this town aint got no heart.... when I can hear it beat out loud.... wooo!" (from song Shakedown Street - Grateful Dead- lyrics by Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter) .

So after the nap, i woke up craving pizza and began my journey. Down to the front desk where the very nice women helped me with my map from the lobby. La Scala, ( downstairs in the food court of the Comcast Center was recommended this is walking distance behind the Embassy Suites. I ordered a slice of the 'pizza of the day' (Italian sausage and pepperoni) the best pizza i had in a long time. Brickoven. Got it to go because of the 70 degrees beautiful day weather and the tables and chairs outside around the building. Philadelphia pizza... i tell you what.. yummmm meee. a coffee shop is also out there too, but i decided to wait for my second dose of caffeine for the day.

Then I proceded to walk to Karesh Dance studio on 2oth and Chestnut. I walked down 18th street, took a right onto Chestnut where i stumbled upon a used bookstore- Whodunit? ( My eye was caught by the VHS of Casablanca (since i still only own a vcr and no dvd player) and Carl Jung- Dreams. The smell of old books and the familiar instrumental of Love Walked In (George Gershwin) played as i stepped into the bookstore. It was totally romantic! I loved this date i was having with myself, so i picked up one more book and settled up. THis place- GOOD JUJU!!! not to mention some nice conversaion with a local. Still on Chestnut was a gallery with a bunch of robots, maybe a robot army staring at me in the window at sunking gallery- appt. only!! and across the street to Karesh Dance Studio where i was greeted with a schedule. and next door and Utrecht Art ( supply store in which i was reminded to buy a sketchbook.

Instead of taking the R8 toward Chestnut Hill, my long lost friend was ever so gracious to pick me up at the hotel and show me her neighborhood where we ate dinner at the Chestnut Hill Hotel Sidewalk Cafe ( The Pear and Gargonzola salad was tasty and i would rate the ambiance with a VAVAVOOM! the sidewalk cafe was the idea place for two old pals to catch up on the past 15 years. I also noticed a farmers market next door and the street full of shops and galleries. This street reminded me of an upscale, dressed up with pearls version of Frankfort Ave. (Louisville, KY)- but that's for another blog perhaps on Sept. 25th, the next F.A.T. Friday where you can take the trolley, taste wine, hop around galleries, restaurants and shops - that one's for my peeps... my homies in louvull, KY. until then...

Anyway... there's lots to do in this big city. have fun! Vroom vroom