Sartorial Saturday–The Rare Dirndl Design Studio

Last week, Bunny and I got to visit Erika Neumayer’s Rare Dirndl Design Studio in the Lincoln Square neighborhood of Chicago!

It’s a small studio, which is why you need an appointment to visit, but they pack a lot of great items into the space, including jewelry and other accessories, dirndls, blouses, and even their denim lederhosen! You also get a look at the design space, plus some of the special items they’re working on.

While we were there, Erika showed me a poster she had on display at German Fest in Milwaukee at the end of July. You can imagine how tickled I was to see myself featured front and center!

Bunny was searching for a necklace to go with her dirndl (she found a great one that’s just her style!), but I didn’t have anything too specific I was shopping for. I did have something in mind that I wanted but I wasn’t even sure it existed…a fancy zipper pull to add a little extra bling to my dirndls. I was thrilled to discover Rare Dirndl had just what I had imagined! I picked up a beautiful heart and flower design that I can add to any of my dirndls (but I especially like the way it looks with my periwinkle Everyday Dirndl!):

It was so great to tour the studio (we even got to peek in the basement!), do a little shopping, learn about more about the design process, and especially meet Erika, her adorable children who were helping out that day, and Maria, the studio manager, who kindly took our picture:

I’m so glad we got to stop at the studio when we were in the city!

The End of Summer Blow-Out

On Thursday, we chased one last wild hair of mine for the summer, and drove up to Chicago for the day. We had a few goals, starting with visiting Buckingham Fountain, which we didn’t get to do in May…it was just as grand as I remembered it!

The place we really wanted to spend time at, though, was Navy Pier, the last really big thing on my list of Chicago things to share with the Fab Five. We walked all the way around it, and we couldn’t have asked for a nicer day to do it…it was in the 70s with a beautiful lake breeze!

Seeing the anchor from the USS Chicago is kind of amazing…you just don’t realize the scale of the size of one until you see it for yourself!

The views from the Pier are amazing!

I also finally got to reunite some of my Homes Bracelets with the place they represent…Lake Michigan!

There was no way we could do all of the things, so I picked one big attraction…the Centennial Wheel. It is very similar in size to the Ferris wheel in St. Louis, but the views of the skyline and Lake Michigan are a lot more impressive than anything we have here in the Lou!

We stopped for Rainbow Cones after our ride. I really prefer the original Beverly location, because it has so much character, but the scenery made the five flavors taste even better!

We walked over to Polk Bros. Park just across the street:

We also shared a burger from the Billy Goat Tavern, just so we could say we had one:

And then we walked back through the mall and to the end of the Pier again:

I will never tire of the view!

The other big reason for our trip north was so that Bunny and I could visit the Rare Dirndl design studio, located in the Lincoln Square neighborhood, which is a really cool place! We toured the studio, did some shopping, and most importantly of all, got to meet and talk to the designer, Erika Neumayer!

On the way home, we stopped at Portillo’s, as is our tradition:

I’m not going to lie…it was a lot of time to spend in the car in one day (although we certainly had days that were longer on our vacation!), but it was worth it to get to see Chicago one more time before the end of the summer!

Quote of the Day

“The Chicago accent is the night shift, the factory worker, the airport baggage handler. It is firefighters, garbage collectors, and busdrivers. It is bad coffee, the funniest guy in the breakroom, and the six days a week for one day off with your family. It is neighborhood know-it-alls and backseat loudmouths. It is complaining about the weather, the mayor, the city that you love. It is a bbq with family and the first snap of a sausage when you bite into it. If the Chicago accent is ugly, then it is an acknowledgment that work in America is ugly, for nobody works like Chicago.” Unknown

Gone to the Dogs

On past trips to Chicago, we’ve seen a few “K-9s for Cops” art installations around the city…this time, we saw a few more in a place we had never previously been!

I love finding cool public art installations!

The Markel Family Returns to Chicagoland–Day Two

The second day of our trip was the one I was most looking forward to, because after three long years, we were finally going to go back to Chicago! The weather forecast wasn’t promising, but in the end, although it was quite cool, the rain lifted, and that was good enough for us. We got to leave from a new-to-us Metra station (Palatine), so we saw a bunch of different suburbs on our way downtown.

The sights that greeted us were just like I remembered:

It was so good to be back!

Bunny took some time to feed some pigeons:

And one even photobombed her!

Mostly, we just walked around and took it all in. It was so much fun to see all of our favorite places (and some new ones), and we even stopped to listen to a street musician (who was very talented!) for a bit. The only thing we didn’t get to do that I would have liked was see Buckingham Fountain and Lake Michigan, but it was very windy, and that was in the opposite direction of the other stuff we had planned, so I settled on seeing a sliver of my lake from a distance.

We walked up the Magnificent Mile to Water Tower Place, something new for us. We stopped in to see the big American Girl store and the Lego Store (two of our favorite places):

We also spent some time in Jane Byrn Park by the historic Water Tower:

After that, we made our way to the Plaza of the Americas so we could visit the “Wings of Mexico” art installation, which is “a symbol of the immigrant journey and celebrates Chicago as a sanctuary city.” Moose didn’t care to have his picture taken, but us gals couldn’t resist!

No visit to Chicago would be complete without a stop at the former Marshall Field’s on State Street to buy a box of Frango Mints!

And then we made our way back to the train and said goodbye to my favorite city. The last time I said goodbye, I assumed I’d be back “soon.” Three years later, and without Turkey joining us because he was working Combo Breaker the whole day, I finally made it back. I really hated to leave, and I’ll never take it for granted again.

Back at the hotel, Combo Breaker had begun, so we spent some time on the floor, taking in all those sights, too.

We also enjoyed playing some of the arcade games they had set up, including Pac-Man, Space Invaders, and Donkey Kong.

We couldn’t resist another walk outside, where the evening light was perfect. Also, we enjoyed watching muskrats swim in the hotel ponds…who knew?!?

We also found time for one more evening swim…it wasn’t quite the same as swimming under the stars at Pheasant Run’s outdoor pool, but it was still fun!

One last look before bed:

Up next…a full day of Combo Breaker!