When I go long periods of time with no travel in between I noticed that I become slightly irritable, so this past June, I flew to Chicago in need of a much anticipated vacation from the typical L.A. routine. My good friend Vita came along as my travel partner-in-crime which was a refreshing contrast to my usual solo expeditions. We explored as many neighborhoods as we could, salsa danced with the best of them, fed our faces at the Puerto Rican Festival, sang on the beach, and even crossed state lines into Gary, Indiana where we penned our respects to the legendary Michael Jackson during a visit to his childhood home. Throughout our trip, we conversed with Chicago natives about the best spots to eat, hang, and enjoy the city like a local! We were gone with the Windy City! During my short 4-day stint in Chi-town, I compiled list of four businesses that I absolutely loved.




Chanel Rousseau is the Canadian-born, Chicago-living designer of chanelrousseau.com, a line which caters to the classy, renaissance woman of today mixing classic silhouette dresses and t-shirts with modern, pop culture references. Not only was Chanel an absolutely wonderful Airbnb host, but I was inspired by the fact that she owned her own clothing line while working as a vocal coach simultaneously. You can order her ready-to-wear through her online store or request for a custom piece perfectly tailored to your measurements. I am all for my fellow female entrepreneurs!


Batter & Berries

A popular spot nestled in the heart of Lincoln Park, Batter & Berries is a breakfast and brunch restaurant worthy of much praise. Although it was only open from 8am-3pm, business was booming for the company as we entered the purple and gold doors to breakfast heaven. Vita and I ordered the Flight of French Toast, which samples all flavors–strawberry, blueberry, lemon & caramel–  and I ordered the Jerk Lobster Omelette, an egg white omelette topped with broccoli, red onion, oyster mushrooms and juicy lobster marinated in a succulent jerk sauce. Well I say, “HOT DAMN!”


Litehouse Wholefood Grill


At the suggestion of Chanel (our Airbnb host) we went to Litehouse Cafe, a vegetarian friendly spot settled in a bustling area on 53rd street. The 8’ Rico’s Jerk Chicken Pizza I ordered filled me up just right, and luckily for me, they had non-dairy cheese. Score! For dessert, we ordered the Taste of Life Vegan Peach Pie they sell in-store, which we inhaled in about 7.5 seconds. Most of all, I love how they give back to the community. Every day, Litehouse feeds individuals who are homeless, having distributed over 12,000 meals, donated over $1,000 to getting them into shelters, and hired 4 homeless individuals thus far.


Hyde Park Records

Along with the annual Puerto Rican Festival & Parade that we attended in Humbolt Park, I must say that our Hyde Park exploration was definitely my favorite part of the Chicago trip. Just across the street from Litehouse Café, Hyde Park Records is a quaint, vinyl records store with everything from The Ramones to 2 Chainz. I always take the time to appreciate the comfort of a good ole’, neighborhood record store when I come across one!Vita and I browsed through shelves of Disco, Soul, and Soft Rock, just to name a few. They even sell artwork by local artists and have a small, yet interesting collection of spiritual and Afrocentric books for sale.




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July 31, 2016

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