A Love Jones Lover Chicago Bucket List

Have you ever watched the movie, Love Jones? It’s by far one of my favorite movies. Larenz Tate and Nia Long play Darius Lovehall and Nina Mosely, a couple who live in Chicago and go through the ups and downs of a pre-social media relationship. The two have a love for the arts and poetry and an undying passion for each other. Chicago is the unofficial main character of this movie as the places they frequent include Grant Park and the Wild Hare. I was inspired to go to Chicago because of this movie. I wanted to recreate all the moments Darius and Nina shared together. This has been one of my travel goals for years and it would finally happen. One Saturday when I was sick of dreaming, I booked my ticket for the memorial weekend. I would bring my professional camera with me to channel Nina and my mac computer to channel Darius. It would be the perfect infusion of what I love to do write and take pictures for a whole weekend.

A Love Jones Lover Bucket List

The Sanctuary

The Spoken Word Lounge, 1200 W 35th St., Chicago, IL 60609

The Sanctuary is a cool-cat nightclub where the hottest poets in town share their spoken words and deep thoughts. The smoked-filled room makes for the perfect introduction into the poetic mind of Darius Lovehall as he shares with the audience his “Blues for Nina.” Unfortunately, the Sanctuary is just an illusion and doesn’t actually exist. But there’s a huge spoken-word scene in Chicago.

The Wild Hare

2610 N. Halsted St., Chicago, IL 60614

Darius and Nina’s first date went down here. The Wild Hare is a Caribbean-inspired bar lounge located in the Lincoln Park section of Chicago. It’s particularly popular because of the live music that starts every night at 9PM. There’s a diverse crowd, from athletes wanting to enjoy an ice-cold Red Stripe to lovers conversing in the dimly lit corners of the venue. The walls are adorned with bright yellow, green and red hues and flags hanging from the ceiling. You can’t go wrong with the jerk chicken platter and a side of Jamaican beef patties. The Wild Hare’s mouthwatering menu is only enhanced by the sweet sounds of Bob Marley blasting through the speakers.

The Buckingham Fountain

301 S. Columbus Dr., Chicago, IL 60605

The lighting of the Buckingham Fountain is perfect for a romantic smooch. The fountain spouts every day from 8AM-11PM, but contrary to popular belief, it’s not named after the palace in London.

A Bookstore

Myopic Books 1564 N Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL 60622

The scene of the crime… Darius is caught with another woman amongst the books here at one of Chicago’s oldest and largest used bookstores in the heart of Wicker Park. Definitely not a high point in the movie, but dramatic!

Museum of Contemporary Photography (MoCP)

600 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60605

While the location isn’t featured in the movie, the essence of photography is peppered throughout, which makes MoCP well worth a visit. Although the museum change exhibits about five times a year, the current exhibition, Dandy Lion: (Re) Articulating Black Masculine Identity, is a must-see. The photographs in this exhibit are reminiscent of Nina’s work (if she really existed).

Chicago Stepping Class

Steppersusa.com

Darius and Nina showed off their chemistry while on the dance floor. If you’ve never heard of stepping or you’re just intrigued by the art, consider taking a beginner’s steppers class while in Chicago. Classes are $10-$15, but you won’t be disappointed.

Black Stone Hotel

636 South Michigan Ave. (lobby entrance on East Balbo Avenue), Chicago, IL 60605

The Black Stone Hotel has definitely been upgraded since the filming of the movie but still has its original charm. Go for a drink at the bar and see if you can snag a peek into the very room where the Annual Steppers Ball took place.

Chill along the shores of Lake Michigan

63rd Street Beach 6300 S. Lake Shore Dr., Chicago, Illinois 60649

“You only get one true love… two tops.” Lake Shore Drive is the perfect spot to take in Chicago. Take a walk, think about the one that got away and how to get them back.

Love Jones

Bag Lady: Tips and Tricks for Packing

I HATE PACKING…but I’ve never had to pack for a two-week vacation (The Horror). Initially, I was going to buy a new suitcase for my trip. I saw IT-Lightweight luggage at TJ Maxx one day and immediately fell in love. It was a measly 4pounds and meant that I could probably fit more clothes in my suitcase without going over 50 pounds. Eventually, after much thought I decided against it; I spent too much money on the trip already and at this point, I needed to focus on saving for it.

IT

When I got home I began to pack all of my things in a large suitcase, yet it seemed like the suitcase itself was heavier than my clothes. I downsized literally 2-hours before my flight to a smaller version. It was probably the best decision I made for myself. In total I carried a:

  • Medium suitcase
  • Book Bag with Wheels
  • Purse-which was more like a second carry on

Switching my suitcase now meant squeezing all my clothes in by any means necessary. I had shirts inside of heels and wore two jackets on the plane. I basically packed all my clothes in large Zip Lock bags and poked holes in each of them to release the air (each bag was separated by the outfit I would wear in each country). The zip lock strategy worked out but to be honest by the end of the trip it was hard to keep up with. An approximate list of things I carried is below:

Suit Case

  • About 10 Day outfits
  • 5 Night Outfits
  • 3 Jackets (Winter, Raincoat, Leather)
  • 3 Sexy Shirts for the night
  • 2 Leggings
  • 2 Jeans
  • 1 Overalls
  • 2 Sweaters
  • 8 Shoes boots and sneakers

 Carry On

  • Ipad (A waste, I didn’t use it one time)
  • Passport holder and passport
  • A pen for documentation
  • ID besides a passport
  • Converter-London and Europe plugs are different
  • 2 Travel books
  • A Journal
  • Maps
  • Makeup
  • Gum
  • Tooth Brush
  • Undies
  • Extra Pair of Clothes
  • Sneakers

To be honest I over packed. I packed two pairs of black boots and only ended up wearing one. I also packed three heels and ended up wearing two. My advice: less is more when it comes to shoes

Ky’s Travel Tips

  1. Pack light, in the words of Erykah Badu. Next time I travel to Europe, I will be taking 2 bags instead of three. It becomes too much of a hassle trying to keep up with all that luggage…it’s just super annoying
  2. Also invest in a Bungee for luggage which is a sort of elastic rope that allows you to hold in place any sized carry on, on top of your luggage
  3. Iron clothes before you leave, as European hotels have a weird policy that doesn’t allow irons in the hotel rooms
  4. I bought a lock for my luggage but didn’t end up using it. Don’t be like me and take that risk, use the lock because you never know who’s rummaging through your stuff

Before Leaving for Europe Remember:

  1. Remember to switch your phone to an international service or else you will have no way to contact your loved ones
  2. Remember to download What’s App and MagicJack to call and text internationally

Kydee Williams

 

Almost Quarter Life Crisis

In November 2013, I was a miserable mess. All of these awesome things were happening for everyone around me and I felt stuck, in the same spot, not progressing at all. After church one Sunday (which did nothing to change my mood), I went to Barnes and Noble where I sat in an obscure corner, surrounded by books that represented the many directions in which my life could take. To the left of me, were study aids for masters degrees and law school; In front of me were self-publishing books; to the right of me was the travel section and in back of me was all about weddings and relationships. What was God trying to tell me?

I picked up a book from each section and was immediately captivated by the travel books. Europe seemed like a distant dream but I reveled in how sweet it could be to smell the air of this historical haven. My nose quickly became stuck in a 300-page First Time Traveler to Europe guide and I wouldn’t leave Barnes and Noble until I finished it. My spine tingled as I read about all of these European countries and their famous attractions; so rich with culture. I yearned for the day to experience traveling the world. I prayed to God that he would begin opening doors for me.

Just then, my friend Danielle found me in the literary sanctuary I created for myself. When I saw her I just cried in her arms. I was so vulnerable and confused about my life and it’s next steps but I felt like God sent her there to pick me up (literally and figuratively). I left Barnes and Noble that night with a renewed sense of purpose. I knew that I wanted to travel. That was the next big thing I needed to do.

Two months later, I officially booked my flight to Europe.

I wrote this November 2013 and placed it on my computer at work
I wrote this November 2013 and placed it on my computer at work