Tag Archive for 'trip'

Kentucky Trip 2014

This post is long past overdue, and if you are here just for art stuff than you may want to skip it. I’m actually going to post date it so it shows up closer to when it actually happened in my archives.

At the end of October (2014) Matt and I took one of our VERY RARELY occurring vacations. We drove to Kentucky from Northern Illinois. I’m just going to share a selection of mostly shaky handed, passenger side, unedited pictures and make notes here and there where I am so inspired to do so.

Indiana Kentucky

We left Northern Illinois and headed down to Kentucky through Indiana via the road.

We road trip well. He likes driving and I like riding, which means keeping my eyes peeled out the windows. I’ve probably said this before here, but my family only ever drove places, so I spent a lot of time looking out of car windows while I grew up. I felt like it definitely had an influence on my aesthetic. One time I read, heard or saw an interview with Annie Leibovitz and she said she also had similar experiences and she felt that the car window was a perfect frame shape to view the world through.

Clouds in Indiana in Oct 2014

In Indiana I saw these cool cloud formations, nature is cool

Before going we did a bit of “research” to find out where to go in Louisville. I googled some and always enjoy the Design Sponge city guides (and NEVER miss the comments section because readers will chime in great places that might have been omitted in the article) and fortunately I also have a friend that is from Kentucky and could give me some good tips.

Matt and I in front of Ohio River

This picture was of us in front of the Ohio River which borders Indiana and Kentucky in Lousisville. We parked downtown Louisville and felt like we were sure to get towed because we couldn’t find a price or way to pay. There was tons of available parking everywhere. What?! In the Chicagoland area it’s not unusual to pay $30 bucks to park, and and then even if you are willing and able to throw money toward parking it can still mean circling and circling and parking a distance away from where you want to be.


I’m no expert on the city, but from the maps we were looking at we were able to walk from one side of the downtown to the other. I got tons of steps in, but it was a small enough big city that you can easily hoof it all over the place. We found some really great art gallery/handmade gift shops. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times, I wish DeKalb could have places like that.

We got shirts from the visitor’s center with this logo showing the different pronunciation of Louisville. Side note, I have relatives that live in Louisville, IL and it is pronounced Louis vil, with the s and all. For the record, I think the correct way to say it is probably the first one on the list above, at least that’s how I say it and Kirsten Dunst too (another side note: we also stayed in Elizabethtown on this trip).

In the Heart of the City

Do people in Louisville love it? With signs like this and plenty of other public art pieces ALL OVER the place, I’d like to think so.

Look Ma, we're Art! #21C at one point when I was trying to get the camera to work it said "your face" perfectly on Matt's arm.
At Ann’s suggestion we checked out 21c Museum hotel. It’s a hotel and a gallery all in one. The gallery spaces are all open and free to the public so Matt and I spent some time there and really enjoyed it. Walking down a hallway we passed this (above picture) installation by the elevators, I think most people passed it right up and didn’t notice it was interactive. The red penguin is the hotel “mascot”.

Gina Phillips
There was an impressive show by fiber artist Gina Phillips in the lobby space, which was a great start to the whole experience. Please visit her website to see better examples of her detailed work, this picture is just a tiny thumbnail of a larger piece. Downstairs there were more gallery spaces and shows going on that we were able to enjoy and I was thrilled that we went, even though I knew we wouldn’t be able to afford to stay at the hotel itself.

While still at the hotel I had to use the restroom and noticed that a mirror right outside the door was actually a two sided mirror once inside the bathroom, so you could see people looking at themselves unknowingly. When I told Matt about it, he informed me that was nothing compared to what was going on in the men’s bathroom. Outside of the men’s bathroom there was another double sided mirror where you could tell there was a “fountain” of water running down the wall on the other side. Little did I know when I passed it, that was the men’s urinal! I didn’t believe Matt until he opened the door when I “just happened” to walk by at the right time and could see inside. If you suffered from shy bladder syndrome one might have major performance anxiety using that restroom that appears as if you are peeing on a window for all to see. Here’s a video I found that a guy made that shows exactly what I’m talking about.

On this trip we were really good about talking to people and asking folks for suggestions on where to go and visit. On my list of places was Cave Hill Cemetery, but the first time we wanted to go we got turned around at the entrance and in the few minutes it took us to circle back around, the entrance gate was closed. When we went back a few days later and got inside, we realized why it closes so early. Much like House on the Rock, it closes so early because there is SO MUCH inside that they need to allow enough time for people to get through it before it closes-closes. Since we didn’t make it in time the first day we took the suggestion of a stranger to check out the rest of the Bardstown rd./Baxter Ave. area.

off of Bardstown

There is tons of great shopping there and we also spent a good amount of time also walking the surrounding residential areas of the neighborhood and just admiring all of the HUGE southern homes. We were there a few days before Halloween and we noticed that other than one house that had a couple carved pumpkins out front and another that had some cobweb displays, no one decorated for the holiday, at least not like they do in Northern Illinois where it is not unusual to see a Griswold Family Vacation style home here and there, only instead of Christmas it’s Halloween decorations. Then when we got to the shopping area they were actually doing a trick or treat event where kids could go in and get candy from all the stores. I overheard one shop owner say something about so many houses being decorated for Halloween this year. Hmph. Maybe it was just the neighborhood we were in, but even driving around other areas and cities we just didn’t see it. Also of note: in this neighborhood we stopped for a bite to eat at the Falafel House on Bardstown rd. and it was the worst Mediterranean food we’d ever eaten. Just really bad, don’t go there.


We scheduled this trip for what we figured would be prime fall colors. I actually didn’t take TONS of pictures, and tried to focus on being in the moment and enjoying living it rather than documenting everything. Despite that I’d say half of my pictures are probably shots similar to this, showing the beautiful roadside view of the colors.

Or little videos like this, through the windshield.

Mammoth Caves

We went to Mammoth Caves and took a tour

Heading into #MammothCave the other day

A funny thing that happened on the tour – at one point they get you pretty far and deep in the cave and tell everyone to turn off all of their lights, hide their cell phones, stand still if you have light up shoes, etc., and then they turn off all the lights and it is pitch black. Without a solitary bit of light for your eyes to bounce off of, you can’t see a thing in front of you. Matt and I were holding hands and when they did this he held me with his other hand and leaned in for a kiss and just then I felt a third arm caress my back. EEEEEP! It was all I could do not to laugh. I think there had been a mother standing behind me and I think she might have been feeling around trying to make sure each of her kids were nearby. I can only imagine how embarrassed she must have been when the lights went on and realized she was petting a stranger.

Dinosaur World

Cave City, the Mammoth Caves area, is surrounded by TONS of roadside attractions, things like Dinosaur World and the Wigwam Village – the kind of thing that if I had been on the trip with my best friend, we would have stopped at every single one of them, but Matt, not so much. I got him to pull over at Dinosaur World where we took this picture and we went into the gift shop, but he was more interested in getting to the caves. Next time.

Back in Louisville, we finally got to go to Cave Hill Cemetery.


I think this picture might have been a failed attempt to show exactly how expansive this cemetery is, with the foreground, middle ground, and background, with the ground rolling up and down all in between. We climbed up the highest hill we could find and still, there was further cemetery in every direction as far as we could see. Cave Hill Cemetery is so big (how big is it, you say?) It’s SOOO BIG it has its very own app, tours, and also acts as an arboretum with well marked plants and trees throughout and their website has a section called “if you get lost”. Yep, it’s that big.

cavehill cemetery
Despite the somber fact that it is a cemetery filled with graves, it was a picturesque place and I realize why it is a “Must See” on so many Louisville lists.

cavehill cemetery
I think we took no less than 5 cameras with us while we explored the cemetery.

magnolia tree
The tree that had these cones and seeds falling from it fascinated me. Apparently it is a Magnolia and through this experience I learned that the trees up here that I thought were magnolias are actually just tulip trees. To this day it seems kind of magical that cones and seeds like these exist.

Another million things happened on this trip as well, but I’ve been working on this post forever and I didn’t document everything in photos. Other things of note include: the friendly people, Matt proposing to me, witnessing the half marathon running through Louisville, a truck stop diner, Homespun Indy, Spice Nation, the purchases we made, like the painting by Damon Thompson and our new winter coats, that continue to remind us of the great trip we had. We both loved it so much we look forward to going again. Maybe next time we will continue on and see the Smokey Mountains.

Sheila’s Visit

It’s been about two months now since my friend Sheila visited and this post has been half written/assembled for the last month. It won’t get any easier as time goes on and I do want to document it so I can go back and remember it later on. I am determined today to finally finish composing this post.

Sheila and I met online in 2008 through a group blog formed by Etsy shop owners wishing to share what creative projects we were working on daily… Create A Day. Long story short, the blog was accidentally deleted but the group of friends formed by the blog have lasted long after. Last year I got to meet another Create A Day friend Tiffany Teske when she was teaching Polaroid image transfer in Chicago, and now this summer Sheila came to visit me. Yes, me. She flew into Chicago from Oklahoma, I picked her up and we were together for 4 full days of awesomosity.

When we first met she had a shop, blog and lived in California. Since then she has changed careers, no longer has a shop and lives in Norman, Oklahoma. Fortunately because of social media we have kept close tabs and I really think of her as one of my greatest friends. Have you ever met someone and clicked and thought I need more people like that in my life, or “if only that person lived nearby and we could be real life friends?” Well, Sheila is definitely one of those people. I count myself lucky to have her in my life. She is my one true Drewbie ;)

This post will probably be like a scrapbook of pictures and explanations.

Years back when Create A Day members first talked about getting together to meet I said I’d probably be too shy and afraid to meet them, Sheila suggested that we could all wear plastic animal masks. For fun, I actually purchased 2 masks. When I picked her up at the airport she got this picture of me on the left, and then when I dropped her off at the airport we snapped this one of us together on the right.

True to Sheila’s online tag  “I’m always thirsty” as soon as I picked her up at the airport she said she needed something to drink right away.

I’d heard about a new-to-me coffee shop, Ready Coffee, that has an artomat, so we headed there. We got our art fix (left) and then drink fix (right). Apparently they serve their chilled coffee over “coffee cubes”. We were both pretty thrilled about that. No one likes watered down coffee, so why have it any other way?

From there we walked down the block to Reckless Records on Milwaukee Ave. It may be a great music store, but to me it is one thing… where they shot the music store scenes in High Fidelity. I’d never been inside before because I was too intimidated to walk in. But with Sheila I had courage and it turned out to be a great little record store and was actually very down to earth and I kick myself for being too intimidated to go in before. It made me miss back in the day when we used to have a plethora of record stores in town and would go for fun and to browse and always come home with some great music. I seriously miss those days. And for the record I do still buy CDs and will continue to do so. Why pay the same amount of money and NOT get a hard back up as well as ARTWORK?

#photobooth with @sheeeeeeela at #quimby's

Reckless also had a photobooth which made me happy, then made me sad that I had been too afraid to go in before. I’d been missing all sorts of photo-booth opportunities. We took a photoset there, and then headed to Quimby’s, loaded up on zines and took another set of photobooth pictures. Both strips of pictures I stuck securely into my sketchbook pages, so they wouldn’t get lost or damaged. After the weekend was over I remembered them and went to retrieve them only to find the set from Reckless gone. It was so weird because when I stuck them into my sketchbook they were still both essentially wet, and would have stuck to the dry pages of my sketchbook, but the only thing I can think of was when I was taking my book in and out of my bag at some point the one set fell out. I’m sad that I didn’t even really remember what the pictures looked like, but perhaps someone out there found it and will treasure it Amelie-Style.

After Quimby’s we got in the car and went to another place I’d been wanting to go to for a long time… Hot Doug’s. Chicago is known for its hot dogs, so it was a must that we get dogs at some point. It was mid day on Friday at this point and the line to get inside was out the door and wrapped around the outside of the building. We were both up to the challenge and stood in line and chatted for an hour before getting inside. Sheila took a picture of this great street poster on a post outside Doug’s. Beforehand I read that they have a controversial menu item, foie gras in a hotdog form, which apparently foie gras used to be banned in Chicago and so this explained why I had been seeing it on the menu at places. They did however have “duck fat fries” which we ordered. Also, Doug himself works the register and was unbelievably kind, which made the whole experience rosy for me. Chicago can be known for being filled with mean and rude people, and at a place that is in demand like this it would not be unusual to get to the front of the line and be treated curtly, and ushered along, like you are some dumb child that has been scolded. I would even go so far as to say people in Chicago can even be glutteon for punishment and enjoy that kind of treatment, ahem, Ed DeBevic’s and Dick’s Last Resort. Anyway, all of that is to say that Doug was NOT like that, and kindly took our order and wasn’t annoyed by our questions and just seemed to be happy with life, and I liked that!

IMG_3692 IMG_3716
From there we went to Millennium Park to see the Bean (Cloud Gate) where I always believe that people have to see it twice, once during the day, and once at night. It is two very separate experiences. During the day it is all about people taking their own pictures, and at night it is all about reflecting the city. For some reason I didn’t get any pictures of the bean from further away, but the two pictures above were reflections from the bean day and then night.

I was sad to see that because Lollapalooza was going on they had closed the gardens, so we just hung out at the Pritzker Pavillion, got more coffee (without coffee cubes, sad face), played at the Crown Fountain and went back to the Bean. For the longest time we sat in the pavillion wondering what Pound Her and U meant, until we saw a guy taking an official picture and I asked him about it. It actually said Hashtag HCR and U and had to do with a promotion the building, Blue Cross, Blue Shield was doing. Interesting, but not as fun as Pound Her and U.

In the meantime, while hanging out at Millennium Park, fellow friend Rosa Murillo caught on that Sheila and I were together in Chicago, probably via our incessant instagramming of everything,  and posted this awesome illustration. The weekend could have only been cooler if she had been present. Isn’t it awesome to have creative friends?

Evening hit and so we got in the car and trekked back to ye olde DeKalb-town, where we pretty much, came in, showed her the place, introduced her to Matt and the kitties and then crashed and slept until the morning. The next day, Saturday, Matt, Sheila and I started the day at the Junction for brunch. Then I had the idea to take her to the Kane County Flea Market which I think is Illinois’ largest flea market. I’ve been a billion times but this particular month must have been their biggest yet because even after shopping from for 4 to 5 hours, we were probably only halfway through it and it was closing time.

Our time there was a great success though. Sheila scored an original painting and a great metal letter sign. We saw a Family Vacation style station wagon. I thought I lost my ipod (with all the pictures I’ve taken for months and months) and was almost in tears and freaking out, then I realized I had it inside my wallet. A kind vendor who witnessed it all approached to make sure I was ok and had found it, which then in turn made me cry from his kindness. Then my personal highlight, I got the Fisher Price Castle, In the BOX, WITH ALL THE PARTS, FOR ONLY $40!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! These things go for mega $$$$ on ebay and etsy and I had been on the hunt for one for a year or two.We ate lunch at the market and were only partially beaten down by the heat and sun by the time we left.

Afterward, we headed back to DeKalb and this is why I shouldn’t have waited two months to chronicle the visit because I can’t really remember what we did. We walked to Twin’s Tap for dinner and who knows what happened after this. We probably went to bed early again because the next day was going to be a big day – LOLLAPALOOZA.

Sunday was devoted to Lollapalooza. This was actually my third time, but in the years since last I went it has gotten even crazier. I can’t even put it into words the amount of people present, so just take a look at this picture.

And that’s probably just a portion of the people attending.

(Left) Our lolla wristbands and souvenir matching bracelets we bought. (Right)  My reflection in my sunglasses that Sheila was wearing.

Sheila was so sweet to buy us the tickets, but since we didn’t make the plans until a month or so out the tickets for Saturday (Mumford & Sons, The National, etc.) were long ago sold out so we went on Sunday and ended up seeing a great line up – The Cure, Grizzley Bear, Tegan and Sara, Beach House, Cat Power, Alt J.

That night I got us a hotel room closer to the city so we didn’t have to drive all the way home. We checked into our room and then tried to walk through a Wendy’s drive up at the end of the parking lot, but they denied us, boo. So we went back, got the car and drove until we found a McDonald’s, went back to our room, ate, and crashed again.

Monday we got up for breakfast at the hotel and then headed back into the city. I had recently heard about a store Rotofugi, that sells designer and collectible new toys. It was awesome and I was so glad that we went. They had all sorts of toys I had been wanting, but my favorite thing was completely unexpected. Sheila pointed out to me a machine in the back.

They have refitted an old Mold-o-rama machine to make brand newly designed art pieces. Click on the image above to see a little video of the machine in action. They also have a gallery space and new shows once a month! I will definitely be going back.

Next we went to go look at some ART! For our remaining time in Chicago before Sheila’s flight back we went to the Art Institute where we spent most of our time in the modern wing.

Me standing in front of and talking about Rothko (a favorite of mine). Sheila made this animated gif using the 5 Seconds gif app.

Sheila in close observance of a Cy Twombly (another favorite of mine)

Then sadly, it was time to go. The gallery was closing and Sheila’s flight was swiftly approaching. This post has probably taken me hours to compose! But I finally did it. I’ve probably forgotten all sorts of cool things. Really, I should have broken this post up into several smaller bit size pieces, but I’m selfish and want it all in one location for later. Things not covered in this post are things like how she introduced me to Flower Beauty products, helped me score some minnetonka’s for cheap, was always thinking of others and buying souvenirs to take back to friends from home, and makes Norman, Oklahoma sound like the coolest place on earth.

If you found this post, skipped through the text, and just quickly glanced over the pictures I can sum the post up for you shortly. Chicago is awesome, Sheila is even cooler and I can’t wait to hang out with her again. Pictures are by both Sheila and me, and right now I am far too lazy to link them back to their original sources on our respective instagrams, so here is Sheila’s, and here is mine, And for the one picture from Rosa, click here. Scroll back far enough to the beginning of August 2013 and you will find them.

The end. (or until I remember something else I forgot to mention and have to come back and add more later)