Ky Takes Chicago Part III

I took time in the morning just to relax. It was Sunday, so I read my bible, prayed and sat in silence—completely left with my thoughts. I was at peace. My first stop would be the Art Institute of Chicago. My plan was to get there by 10:30am when it first opened but once I got outside on Magnificent Mile, I was entranced by the liveliness around me.

I decided to walk to the American Girl Place. When I was around 10-years old, my mom planned to take me there for my birthday. I was so excited. However a few weeks into planning, she realized she couldn’t afford such a pricey trip. For me, it was one of those childhood heartbreaks. I acted like it was ok, but I was disappointed. When I got to the front of American Girl, I just cried. Growing up, my mom wanted to give me so much but financially she was limited. I felt so blessed to know God had exalted me to a position where I could make some of my dreams come true. It was the most therapeutic tears I have ever shed. I walked in and acknowledged all the beautiful dolls. There were hair salons and restaurants for the dolls and mini clothing boutiques for their clothes. Mother and daughters surrounded me. It was special, to say the least. I proceeded to some big girl (window) shopping at Neiman’s before heading to the three museums I wanted to tackle:

  1. Art Institute of Chicago
  2. Museum of Contemporary Photography
  3. DuSable Museum

AMERICAN gIRLAmerican GirlIMG_1189After my tour of Chicago’s museum, I planned to have a nice dinner to conclude my weekend. I got dressed and went out to the Wild Hare. In the movie Love Jones, Darius and Nina spent the night dancing to live reggae music at this spot. I wanted to recreate the same scene or feeling. When I first got to the restaurant there was a soccer team enjoying beers and a few couples on date night. I asked for a table for one and enjoyed a delicious Jerk Chicken plate with an ice-cold drink on the side. The music was epic, old school reggae that reminded me of my childhood (My mom and dad loved this kind of music). There was one last thing on my itinerary that I did not get done—The Chicago Theater. I wanted to ask my cab driver to drop me there but it was getting late. Eh, maybe ill come back in the future to see it.

The Wild Hare The next morning on my way to the train to get to the airport, in the distance I saw a sign that said CHICAGO—Wait was that the theater? With my suitcase in tow, I walked about 10-blocks along State Street until I was close enough to see it for sure. My trip to Chicago was officially complete.IMG_1356

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

Setting Standards at Emirates Palace

What did you learn while on this trip? The vacation was winding down and we were at the opulent Emirates Palace, fit for royalty and decked in gold. It was designed to provide luxurious accommodations for visiting Heads of States around the world. Thank You God for your blessings ran through my mind at least one hundred times. I soon replied back to my friends by saying “Standards.”

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IMG_1202 IMG_0986 IMG_0898  In life there’s no time to settle, we should demand excellence in all things. It’s not enough just to get by. I am worthy of the things my little heart desires; I am worthy of seeing the world; I am worthy of greatness; I am worthy of making my childhood dreams come true; When we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life, we lose sight of what truly matters. I was having dinner at a palace; a palace made for kings and diplomats around the world. I was worthy, I am worthy. There’s no way I could go back to the way I used to be. Routine. Going to work, coming home and doing it all again. Nope, that wasn’t me. That’s never been the type of person I imagined myself to be. I made a promise to myself that it wasn’t enough just to merely exist-going forward I needed to live. IMG_0930

The rest of the night was spent with great conversation and shisha, overlooking the serene ocean, with the palace lights in the backdrop-beauty at it’s best.

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To Paris, With Love

Now we out in Paris, yeah we perriering” -Big Sean

Things left to do in Paris

  • Eiffel Tower
  • Louvre
  • People Watch
  • Musee D’Orsay
  • Seine River

Our list of things we had left to do in Paris wasn’t impossible, but it was Sunday and a lot of places were closed. We started our day with a nice brunch at a café by our hotel. We had crepes, omelets, and baguettes. I loved how the locals walked around with pain (bread) and baguettes like it was an accessory. One of the things I enjoyed doing in Paris was people watching. There were so many happy and fabulously dressed people to see and the Europeans just loved to sing in the streets.Kydee WilliamsAfter brunch, we walked towards the Seine River and discovered the Love Lock Bridge. We took pictures and celebrated all the love that was in the air. Couples kissing here, a group of friends putting a lock on the bridge over there and then it was us, trying to recreate Beyonce’s XO video…(don’t ask).

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Kydee Williams

Kydee Williams
Click to watch our horrific XO by Beyonce reenactment

The Eiffel Tower was marvelous. There were a lot of people who had the same picnic plan as us, so it was quite crowded with tourists everywhere. Everyone was in such great spirits as we ate Nutella crepes and took pictures with Miss Eiffel.Kydee Williams
Kydee WilliamsKydee WilliamsWe proceeded to walk along the Seine River which was close by. The walk was serene and eye-opening. Parisienne people love their bottles of wine. I watched as the locals walked, jogged and played along the river, a bit envious that Paris was a place they could call home, while I had a clicking clock whose time was almost up. I too found peace on the Seine. Kydee WilliamsKydee WilliamsKydee Williams

Kydee WilliamsKydee WilliamsKydee WilliamsThat night, we had dinner at a cute restaurant by our hotel. The waiter was hilarious. He was super charming and allowed us to drink our own bottles of wine. We laughed the night away, embracing French culture to its fullest.

Kydee Williams Kydee Williams Kydee WilliamsAfter dinner, we decided to take the bus back to the Eiffel Tower. It was definitely more gorgeous at night. We had a blast, although we encountered rats in the area…yuck.

Kydee Williams

Kydee Williams

Kydee Williams

The clock stroke one, which meant the final light show of the night was on the way and let me just say, it was enchanting. We sang Drunk in Love by Beyonce as the locals sang with us. We also made videos of our wacky wine night until it got too late and was getting too creepy. Two guys started following us by the Seine so we naturally ran for our lives. Once we got back to a safe zone, we took a cab back to the hotel. Oh quelle nuit!

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