Courage in a Cupcake

DSC_1020Another new restaurant!

The Courageous Bakery and Cafe. Yes, the name has a meaning.  About seven years ago, a young women was diagnosed with cancer and a benefit was held to help her with medical bills. Her sister baked 250 cupcakes for the benefit and everyone liked them. That was the beginning – first of a cupcake food truck and now also two brick and mortar restaurants.

But they don’t just have cupcakes – they also serve breakfasts and lunches. Friend Kris and I stopped in for lunch. Both of us had quiche and both of us thought it was great. I had a salad with mine and Kris had roasted potatoes which she said were good.

And of added interest – the owners were featured on Cupcake Wars – so when we decided to get a cupcake – a got the pink velvet, a runner up on the TV show. The cupcake was made with cocoa and cream cheese and while heavy (which normally I wouldn’t like), this was moist and delicious.

So just a fun stop on the lunches of life.

So many choices!



And my personal Cupcake Wars cupcake!

American Writer’s Museum

I heard about the American Writer’s Museum. Then I heard about it again and again. Then I saw it was voted one of the best 10 new museums in the WORLD! (The museum opened May of 2017.)

I made plans to go with a friend, but meanwhile the 16-year-old and I decided to see what it was all about.  She’s been reading a lot of classics lately and is somewhat interested in journalism (but not sure).  And we were looking for a 16th birthday trip – so we decided to check it out … and I plan to go back with my friend.

The museum is right on Michigan Avenue, and isn’t hard to find, but you kind of have to be looking for it. It’s located on the second floor of a several-story building and takes up just that one floor.

You get off the elevator and a friendly receptionist is there for you to pay the entrance fee. ($12.00  and $8.00 for students).

The entryway ceiling looks like this – (which might be a way to store the books in my house :))


All the displays are interactive.

We started with a wall full of photographs that were taken by Art Shay – a photographer who took thousands of pictures – many of them of authors. On the opposite side of Shay’s exhibit were more photos – except these were covered in plexiglass which allowed visitors to write captions under the pictures. Mallory and I both had fun doing this.IMG_0079.jpg


Mallory gets creative.

The next room had a timeline of authors – one side was more informational, but still with interactive displays. Opposite were descriptions of books. When you opened the display, there would be something inside which depicted the book or a song, or a video, etc.

Timeline of American writing, starting back with Jefferson, Abigail Adams, Ben Franklin, etc.


Another picture of the timeline.
A display of Willa Cather’s characters – my dad always said she was the writer to read if I wanted to read great writing.

On the wall of doors – here’s a couple examples.

The Gift of the Magi.

The video is behind the door of Fahrenheit 45l.

Then there was the wall of quotes from American literature —-

IMG_0097 2.jpg


Another fun exhibit was the favorite book interactive board – you chose your five favorite books by American authors. Meanwhile, the list on top scrolled through which ones were the favorites – changing by the minute as people voted. Next time I go, I’ll put in different books – that was difficult to do at a moment’s notice, but fun …


And then Mallory and I got stuck … having so much fun. They have a table of old typewriters … ancient up to a computer (including an IBM selectric). You typed the beginning of a story and then the next person wrote the next part, etc.  Such a creative idea and interesting. They are planning on publishing some of the best stories. We went back several times to read what was happening to “our” stories.

Mallory types her story.

After that were several interactive boards to create stories (think a touch screen of refrigerator magnets) and a touch screen of Mad Libs.


Just thought this quote was funny.

We spent about two hours there, and decided that we both wanted to come back.

I definitely say this is a must for all my writer and reader friends.



My sistDSC03192er-in-law likes to sing … and can sing.

Which is why she goes to the opera.

Every year.

I said I would go with her sometime and this week was THAT time. I don’t like opera, but I had never actually seen one, so I figured it would be a good experience. We chose the Barber of Seville because I knew a little about it so it seemed as if it would be a good “first” opera for me. Because I like to go to things I’ve never gone to before.

So, this past Wednesday we headed to the city for the matinee. I had done some research and learned that there was a bistro in the Lyric Opera House that you could eat at ONLY if you had opera tickets. The menu looked good, so we decided to try it.

First of all, I knew the opera house was close to Oglivie Station, but I didn’t know just how close … like within feet of each other – well the river is in between, but that’s about all. Along with many other opera goers, we found out way to the third floor … and the bistro. Dining at Florian’s definitely seemed to be the in thing to do.

I had a quiche. Sally had a Mediterranean tart. Then because going to the opera is a once-a-year event, she ordered the opera torte and I ordered the passion fruit meringue. Everything was super delicious.

I had prepared for my experience by reading the synopsis of the opera so I went in understanding what the story was about. They also have a screen above the stage with the subtitles, so I found myself reading the subtitles and watching it as I would any play, rather than paying attention to the music. The music did nothing for me. But I did enjoy the acting and the story. Sitting next to a friendly couple who chatted with us during intermission was also nice.

Do I like opera any better than I did before? No.

Did I enjoy myself? Yes.

Would I go again? Yes.


So, once again we headed to Chicago – this time with the family – for our yearly traditional visit.

Christmas decor along State STreet
Christmas decor along State STreet
Grand Lux Cafe
Grand Lux Cafe
Disney store.
Disney store.
Across Michigan, looking at Fourth Pres.
Across Michigan, looking at Fourth Pres.
What if John Hancock could see his building?
What if John Hancock could see his building?
Outside Watertower place looking up!
Outside Watertower place looking up!
The cupcake we shared to tide us over.
The cupcake we shared to tide us over.
Lego Wrigley - very cool.
Lego Wrigley – very cool.
Lego Chicago - very cool.
Lego Chicago – very cool.
Coolest thing yet - Stand in front of the screen an you turn into an animated Lego character.
Coolest thing yet – Stand in front of the screen an you turn into an animated Lego character.
Closeup of a tree.
Closeup of a tree.
The munchkin at Watertower Place.
The munchkin at Watertower Place.
Three dimensional Lego Chicago - very cool.
Three dimensional Lego Chicago – very cool.