Chicago Botanic Garden – Lightscape

Just in time for the holidays, the Chicago Botanic Garden is debuting a Christmas light display throughout the grounds this year.  Located in Glencoe, IL, the Botanic Garden Lightscape is open from November 22 – January 5.

A mile-long path is illuminated with LED lights, music, and colorful holiday displays.  Entry times start at 4:30 pm with the last entry time at 8:00 pm.  The garden doesn’t close until 10:00 pm so you will have plenty of time to walk around.

Many of the displays are choreographed with music, like this flame garden:

The trail of singing trees was exceptional because each tree “sang” a different part of the song (alto, tenor, etc.)

I enjoyed the row of cherry blossom trees because they were pink, but also because each of the lights on the trees was a small flower:

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This enchanting walk can be even more festive with the purchase of a cup of hot chocolate or cider which you can find along the trail.  There are also plenty of opportunities to take pictures together.  Or, if you are like my SO, you can cut me completely out of the selfie you take together.

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Plan ahead because this event will sell out.  Ticket prices vary depending on the date you choose.  Purchasing tickets the day of the event will cost you an extra $2.00.  I would also recommend purchasing parking when you order your tickets because they are half-price online ($10).

Happy Holidays!

Be A Tourist In Your Own City – Chicago Sports Museum

If you are a big sports fan, or more importantly a big Chicago Sports fan, then this is the place for you.  Memorabilia galore.  Lots of opportunities for pictures and interactive activities to keep you entertained.

Located on the top floor of Water Tower Place, and connected to Harry Carey’s restaurant, the Chicago Sports Museum is small in size but large in content.  Admission is only $10.  If you eat at Harry Carey’s first, you will get complimentary admission into the museum.

There are so many little things to discover in all of the displays.  You really need to take your time to look at the items, read the description cards, and take it all in.  This is just one of many display cases:

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We had fun with the interactive stuff too.  There was the Scotty Pippen wall where you can compare yourself to his height and the length of his outstretched arms.  I came up short (pun intended) on both:

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There was a wall of basketballs and you could compare your hand size to some of the greatest players.  My SO’s hand was like a child’s on the Michael Jordan ball.

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There were a number of virtual reality games you could play while you are there.  You could play quarterback in a Bears challenge, try to hit a high speed pitched baseball in a White Sox challenge, and try to stop Patrick Kane from scoring on you in the Blackhawks challenge.  My SO tried his hand at the hockey shooting drill:

There was a whole room devoted to curses and superstitions.  Stories of such things lined a whole wall and they were fun to read.  Some I had never heard of and some I was nostalgically reminded of.  One of the most famous items in this museum is the infamous foul ball from Game 6 of the 2003 National League Championship Series.  In addition to a plaque describing the ball’s history, there is a TV screen that shows a looping video of the journey of said ball after the game and its ultimate destruction.

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The funniest thing, for me, was the gym shoes you see when you first walk in.  They are a size 28 and the largest shoe size in all of basketball.  I look like I have clown feet:

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So, if you are in the city and have some time to kill, this is a good museum to add to your list.  It is small and will not take you more than an hour to get through.  And as long as you are in Water Tower Place, you can do some shopping and/or have lunch at Harry Carey’s!

Binge Watch This! – Modern Love on (Amazon) Prime Video

Modern Love debuted 15 years ago in the New York Times in October of 2004.  It began as a column of essays about love, loss and relationships in general.  To date, there are over 750 columns in their archives.  If you are interested in reading some of these, the NYT has compiled  “a collection of 25 of the most read, most shared and most memorable Modern Love essays”.

The Modern Love podcast debuted in January 2016.  Each week one essay is read by an actor or actress.  For the purpose of this blog, I downloaded two episodes.  The first, by the fabulous Catherine O’Hara.  The second, by the adorable John C. Reilly.  Side note:  if you are not watching Schitt’s Creek, you are denying yourself Ms. O’Hara at her absolute best.  I’m not sure if Modern Love tries to pair the actor/actress with the right story, but I found both of these to be that much more enjoyable when I pictured that person as the main character in the story.

Modern Love debuted on Prime Video in October 2019.  It consists of eight 30-minute episodes based on actual essays submitted.  Not all of these short stories are hits, but I had a few favorite episodes from the eight:

#3 – Take Me as I Am, Whoever I Am.  This is a pretty powerful episode about a woman (Anne Hathaway) who is struggling with the dating scene as a single woman with a bipolar disorder.  I am not a fan of Anne Hathaway, however, she is fantastic in this role.

#4 – Rallying to Keep the Game Alive.  This episode is my blog in a nutshell.  A couple on the verge of becoming empty-nesters, they realize they have spent so many years focusing on their children, they forgot to focus on their marriage.  Based on an essay submitted by Anne Leary (wife of actor Dennis Leary), this couple discovered that finding activities to do as a couple is key to keeping the relationship on track (or getting it back on track).  This episode could be considered a cautionary tale of where you could end up if you continue to put your marriage on the back burner.  Whether you are almost empty-nesters, parents of younger children, or just the two of you – sharing experiences that you both enjoy will only serve to strengthen your bond in the long run.

#7 – Hers Was a World of One.  Only because it starred the hot priest (Andrew Scott) from Fleabag season 2.  Also, on Amazon Prime.  Also, amazing.  It just won a bunch of Emmys.  For a reason.

If you still can’t get enough Modern Love after watching the Prime episodes, you can read all of the essays and tiny love stories here, you can purchase the book, and you can follow Modern Love on Facebook.

Check out the official trailer below (courtesy of YouTube) and enjoy these feel-good stories together!