Category Archives: travel

panama, the first half

#colorful #cargo #ship #panamacanal #ciudaddepanama #panama #igerspanama #pacific #ocean #water #boats #sky

Stop whatever you’re doing and book a trip to Panama. Don’t pass go, don’t collect $200, don’t ask if you can have the week off, just DO IT and hope it all works out. Seriously. Start in Panama City.

Our digs in the city, beautiful views... #interior #cascoviejo #cascoantiguo #panamacity #centralamerica #panama

Book an apartment at Casa Antigua. Try to reserve one on the second or third floor; they have balconies overlooking Casco Viejo and the presidential palace (police everywhere!) and the newer, fancier Panama City skyline. The other apartments boast private roof access but then you don’t get to see the life going on in the streets below. Regardless, the views are both amazing. The units come with a full kitchen, living room, dining room and bedroom.

#drinks on the #balcony with a beautiful woman... @urbancasita #dusk #panama #centralamerica #ciudaddepanama #igerspanama #cascoantiguo #cascoviejo

Balcony view.

#rooftops #cityscape #city #ciudaddepanama #panama #centralamerica #birds #igerspanama

Rooftop view.

After you check in, head to Relic for a drink. If it’s a weekend night prepare for crowds and loud music but quick service at the bar. You can wear flip flops with cutoffs or a cocktail dress and fit right in. Drink a lot of water with your beer.

Strolling #cascoantiguo #cascoviejoStrolling through #cascoviejo #cascoantiguo to find @urbancasita her morning caffeine fix

Wake up late and stroll around the amazing neighborhood that is Casco Viejo/Cacso Antiguo. We were in this area of the city for three entire days and I never got tired of simply walking around and looking at all of the buildings.

Typical #cascoviejo #cascoantiguo #architecture #panama #igerspanama #ciudaddepanama #turqouise#colonial #architecture #cascoviejo #cascoantiguo #panamacity #centralamerica #panamaBalcony #cascoantiguo #cascoviejoCan I please live up there? #cascoantiguo #cascoviejo#cascoviejo #cascoantiguoPink #cascoantiguo #cascoviejoBeautiful #colonial #architecture in #cascoviejo #cascoantiguo #panamacity #centralamerica#colorful #fence #cascoviejo #cascoantiguo #panama #panamacity #centralamerica#colonial era #church in #cascoviejo #cascoantiguo #old #architecture #panamacity #panama #ciudaddepanama #centralamerica

Eat dinner at Ego y Narciso, a cute little place on Plaza Bolivar where you can sit outside and drink delicious sangria.

Wake up early on day two, stroll the area some more and have coffee at Casa del Horno. Then find Braulio from Truly Panama and have him take you to the Miraflores Locks at the Panama Canal. He’ll point out all of the sights on your way there with a lot of history thrown in. If you’re a boot-in-the-ass-American who doesn’t want to hear about our country’s sore spots, just take a regular taxi. We have an interesting history down there and Braulio is a wealth of information.

#boat #ship traversing the #panamacanal...being lowered via the locks. #engineering #panama #centralamerica #igerspanama#ship moving through the locks at the #panamacanal #panama #centralamerica #motion #pacific #atlantic #amazing #igerspanama

The canal is bananas. To imagine such a feat of engineering back in 1914 is crazy. As The Mister put it: a marvel of human ingenuity, engineering, and exploitation.

You’ll be pretty tired when you get back to Casa Antigua, so have a bite downstairs at Ay! Carmela, the proprietor’s little restaurant. You can sit outside with a glass of wine and talk about all that you saw.

Dinner: Rene Cafe. Delicious, prix-fixe, lots of courses, outdoor seating.

The next day, take a walk down the waterfront at the edge of Casco Viejo. There is a beautiful promenade that stretches all the way downtown.

#sky #red #symmetry #pattern #geometric #structure #architecture #color #colorful #colour #panama #centralamerica #panamacity#panamacity #centralamerica #panama #embarcadero #architecture #pattern #geometric #lines #blue #colour #color #colorful #skyline #pacific #water #ocean#embarcadero #centralamerica #igerspanama #panamacity #panama #sky #structure #lines #green#colorful #color #colour #red #blue #yellow #lines #geometric #pattern #architecture #panama #centralamerica #panamacity#colorful #architecture #highrise #panama #centralamerica #panamacity #igerspanama #modern

Then catch a taxi to Panama Viejo, founded in August of 1519 and the oldest settlement on the Pacific coast of the Americas.

@urbancasita on the grounds of #panamaviejo, the first city settlement (1600s)... #ruins #ruinas #historical #panama #igerspanama #centralamerica #wife#vista #tower #ruins #ruinas #historical #panamaviejo #igerspanama #centralamerica #ciudaddepanama #panama #vegetation #tree #flowers#flowers #vegetation #ruins #ruinas #panamaviejo #historical #panama #igerspanama #centralamerica#wife @urbancasita walking towards the #ruins #ruinas #panama #ciudaddepanama #centralamerica #igerspanama #panamaviejo #historical
#vista #tower #skyline #ciudaddepanama #panama #centralamerica #vegetation #trees

Find a taxi back to Casco Viejo and walk over to Tantalo, a hotel, restaurant, and rooftop bar that we visited on its 74th day open according to a manager. I really wish we had stopped in on our very first night in Casco Viejo. The cocktails were fantastic and the service was the best we had on our trip. The view from the roof was stunning.

LightsCocktails!

A month to explore Panama City would have been better but it was time for us to move on to Isla Contadora. That will be part two.

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hello from panama city

Okay, okay. I’m back. My embarrassment at not completing my own seven day challenge kept me away. To be fair, I’ve had a lot going on. Do you see the bags underneath those eyes?!

1. We bought a condo!!!!!! Closing isn’t until late April, so cross your fingers that everything pans out. The inspection was on Friday and it went well. There is tons of work to do which means more posting as we get into it; it is a foreclosure and the previous owner left with all of the appliances– even the vanity from one of the bathrooms– which I can understand and appreciate. That stuff was hers/his. Fine by me. I see it as a challenge and not a hindrance. We can truly make the space our own.

2. We’re in Panama!

After almost 20 hours of travel we made it to Casco Viejo, a UNESCO Heritage site late last night. The tickets were free, courtesy of Citibank and American Airlines, and boy do they make it hard to use your miles: two transfers, hours and hours of layovers.

Whatever, we’re here now and I’m typing from our balcony. No complaints.

We’ve wandered around a lot today and plan to visit the canal tomorrow. We even went clubbing after our arrival yesterday. I don’t club in Chicago so you know this was a special occasion!

The architecture is fantastic, the people are super nice (minus the cashier from this morning, WHY DID YOU HATE ME?!) and our digs are perfect. Another day or two here and we’re off to an island.

All is well. More from Panama soon! xxoo

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the mister & his camera

The Mister has granted me permission to post some of his great shots from our STT trip.

Did I mention that it will be a whopping 50 degrees in Chicago today? Who needs sun and sand?

#caribbean #islands #ocean #sea #airplane #travel #flightTouchdown in #stt ....#vacation #airplane #flight #travel #islands #caribbean#stt #vacation #islands #caribbean #reflection #balcony @urbancasita#caribbean #islands #vacation #stt #ocean #viewEl #presidente por mi gente.... #caribbean #islands #stt #virginislands #vacation #ocean #beerBeautiful #islands girl, @urbancasita ....#beach #caribbean #stt #virginislands #vacation #wifeWhite sand #beach, #turquoise #sea #ocean #islands #caribbean #stt #virginislands #vacationOld #fort #architecture #virginislands #stt #caribbean #virginislandsLittle #red #boat in a little #lagoon...#lush walkway #lagoon #vegetation #islands #virginislands #caribbean #sttMy first deep #sea #fishing trip... #boat #ocean #sunMs Kate is beach-ready...#rooster #beach #vegetation#islands #flowers #vegetation #caribbean #virginislands #stt #lush #vividChoose a flavor.. Assorted #colors #jeep #wranglerPurdy ladies, beautiful #wife...#friends #vacation #blue #dress#island #streetart #art #caribbean #virginislands #sttColorful #van by the waterfront.... #hills #caribbean #virginislands #sttOdabo (goodbye) #stt #virginislands #caribbean #plane #island #aerial #water #ocean

oh, california

#hostel #venicebeach

Over the Christmas holiday we visited California to spend some time with family. It was my first time setting foot in the state since we lived there. We rode out in late 2007 after a two-year bid yelling expletives out of the car window, flipping off the strip malls and subdivisions. Getting back to Chicago could not have come quickly enough.

I was bitter when we left. Angry at the boorish, snotty people we encountered, frustrated with trying to maintain a status quo that wasn’t in my DNA, sick and tired of defending my choice of work when I was “just so bright!” And the driving? Oh, the driving!

All of California fell under my wrath after our move back to the Midwest. My eyes flared when speaking about our time there. I told anyone who would listen that the state should fall into the ocean (saving my mother-in-law and dear friends who still lived there). I spoke about the Bay as if the metro area itself had personally stolen my dog and sold him to canine-eating miscreants.

Most of our issues were centered on where we lived: a small, very rich city on The Peninsula. Bet it won’t take you long to figure out which one. While we both had great jobs and lived in a beautiful apartment, we had difficulty making friends (minus Javiera mi amorcita linda, I know you’re reading this) and the emotional expense of being away from our Chicago family and folks wore on us. Combine that with the loutish people who inhabited our little town and the dollars the California lifestyle requires and it was a recipe for Get-Megan-Outta-Dodge-The-Bay-Area by the end of our first month living there. OK, maybe that’s extreme. The fifth week. Summer in December was nice, after all.

LA for Christmas is fantastic.

When I touched down at LAX the day before Christmas Eve I looked around at my surroundings and sent a quick text to a girlfriend: “I remember why we left.” I don’t even know what prompted me to send that text. I mean, airport people are airport people, let’s face it: no gate in any terminal in any airport in any city in the good old U S of A highlights our best and brightest, least of all Chicago’s own O’Hare. Why was I being so snotty? Because I just am?

By day two in SoCal I was sending a very different text to the same friend: “I love it here! Why did I leave again? Its seventy-fiiiiiiiiive degreeesssss!!!!!”

$40 per round cocktails at a rooftop lounge in Venice had undone my disdain in minutes.

I remembered that I liked LA. I spent six weeks there for work in 07 and didn’t want to go back north: a total shocker for a lefty-somewhat-granola-boho-ish-type-girl who had been force fed the idea that the Bay was the epicenter of the liberal universe and LA a hotbed of plasticity. I found the inhabitants of SoCal kind and smiley, people who actually speak when you pass them on a sidewalk. I fell in love with the weather. The thrifting goodness didn’t hurt either. Had The Mister’s job not required him to stay up north, I would have lobbied for us to move down to Los Angeles immediately.

It was, like, twenty degrees in Chicago. I didn’t hate California, I just really, really, really disliked that small Northern town. It wasn’t really fair for me to direct my aggression at the whole state. I was drinking a beer on a rooftop in DECEMBER. How can anyone be mad at that?

Shadows of @okjey @kidcadaver @lawanticious

Walks in the mountains, a day trip to San Diego to visit one of our favorite couples, lunch in Beverly Hills, a tour of the gorgeous grounds of the college my mother-in-law teaches at… it was a really good few days. I won’t be so long in going back this time. As long as I’m not made to go up north.

Until we meet again. Oh, California.

hello, 2012

Me & @okjeyNo musclesCome on fishies!!!Megan and Kate miss @earthseed & @mariel_victoria & @thisiskatinthehatKate and EvanI will be wave running out there in a bitNative Son ExpressPaddle ball!

If you are my pal on Instagram you have probably already seen these photos but in case you are not, this is how we rang in 2012; same as the last few, with a quick jaunt to St. Thomas. This time we had friends in tow and it was made all the more memorable with their presence.

I’m hoping to get my life together enough to start posting regularly again. Lots going on in the new apartment… off to dye some curtains. Happy New Year!

the silver room: a call for artists

silver room block party

I love The Silver Room. A boutique on Milwaukee Avenue here in Chicago, it’s my go-to place for nose rings, (I lose them at least once a month) anniversary presents (The Mister’s favorite bracelet), and all of my last minute shopping. I’m pretty sure I’ve been there the last three December 23rds in a row.

silver room block party

silver room block party

silver room block party

Over the years they’ve given me reason love them beyond the physical storefront: The Sound System Block Party held every July. It’s in its ninth year (mark your calendars: Saturday, July 16th) and TSR sent out an email with a call for artists yesterday. They’re looking for one hundred artists to participate in an exhibition that will serve as their first-ever fundraiser during the block party. Artists are asked to create a piece interpreting the theme of the fete this year: 100 Canvases for a Better World. It’s a juried show, so come correct. The proceeds from the sale of each piece will ensure that our Chicago community can continue to count on the block party to bring us great music, beautiful folks, astounding visuals, communal energy, and a day of fun for years to come.

View my recap of last year’s block party here.

silver room block party

silver room block party

silver room block party

If you would like to be considered for this show please submit your portfolio to tsrcommunity@gmail.com. Deadline for portfolio submissions is Friday, May 27, 2011. All selected artists will be notified via email on Monday, May 30, 2011.

Acceptable artwork mediums are boundless, but not limited to:
Watercolor, Charcoal, Photography, Graffiti, Illustration, Graphic Design, Collage, Relief Sculpture, Basically anything that can be hung on wall, and is 12 X 12 inches.

The Silver Room
1442 North Milwaukee Avenue
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 278-7130

BONUS: Can you find me in this video of the block party last year?

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tamarindo!

March in Chicago. While most of the country seems to be enjoying some spring-like weather, the City of Big Shoulders is still getting flurries every few days. Ugh. To avoid all of that, we headed down to Costa Rica for some real-life Vitamin D last week. It was our second visit in two years and I started writing this whole long post debating the merits of the east coast versus the west coast and Puerto Viejo versus Tamarindo and then it was getting really long and I was getting impatient because I wanted to share some photos with you because I love them so much and my impatience prodded me to shelve the epic Costa Rican coast showdown and just post some damn photos. Whew, that was a long sentence.

We touched down in Liberia, Costa Rica around two in the afternoon. At this point, we had been awake for more than thirty hours if you don’t count the three hour nap we took before departing our apartment for O’Hare at 4am. Fairly exhausted but with that certain travel adrenaline you feel in a new place, we passed through customs and met our taxi driver for the ride to Tamarindo, a small town about an hour from the airport. After a quick stop at the grocery store, he dropped us at Casa Cook, home sweet home for the next few days.

That hammock? That beach? Oh, yeah, those were in our front yard. Casa Cook is a tiny, boutique-like hotel with four rooms: two stand-alone cabinas, a studio apartment and a casita off the pool. We dropped our bags in one of the stand-alone cabinas, grabbed a few cold beers and beach towels and went right into the water. 4pm and it was still over ninety-degrees. My kind of town, ya know?

Let me tell you this: no one was on the beach. For the whole trip. No one.

OK, that’s exaggerating. When you’re used to the over-crowded beaches of St. Thomas, a dozen people on a humongous beach feels like no one. I was shocked– this is high season, after all. On each of our beach visits we were at least 100 yards away from anyone else. I like people and all but this kind of private relaxation was amazing.

I think we went to bed around eight or so that first night. Woke up to monkeys in our trees and took a nice walk down the beach for Bloody Marys and vodka tonics.

We took the street way back.  Lots of little restaurants and shops, bars and hostels.

The majority of our trip was spent on the beach with Walter Mosely for me, iPod for he, taking long walks and grilling.

There was lots to see no matter where we were; even on a simple walk back from the grocery. The swimsuit choices, por ejemplo.

The one excursion we took involved crocodiles, hand feeding monkeys (or rather, having them take bananas out of our closed fists), petting a calf and even letting it gnaw on our fingers (totally weird), and lots of practicing Spanish.


Is that not the cutest little animal ever? Come on. You know it is.

Overall: A++.  This was truly one of the best vacations we have ever taken. And guess what? I want to go back in June!

See all of our pics on Flickr.

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