My Chicago

My Chicago

Some of you may know from reading my background that I have “Chicagoan” in my blood (however I very quickly adapted to the Floridian lifestyle when I moved).

I may be a bit of a fraud because I didn’t quite live in Downtown Chicago… actually sort of far from it. I grew up close to Chicago and after moving from place to place (each time further from the city), my family settled in McHenry, Illinois, probably when I was about 4. I moved to Florida when I was 12, so I didn’t even live in Chicago at the opportune age to just frolic the city and take amazing photographs for the blog I didn’t know I would have as a 20 year old back then in elementary school.

And I thought instead of writing a “Chicago Must-Dos” for the avid city traveler this time, I would post more about what my travels to Chicago really are – personal. I sightsee my own city a little, but  when I travel to Chicago, it’s not as a blogger or photographer constantly taking instagram-worthy pictures (which is why I don’t have many… yet). Busting out an “Ultimate Guide to Chicago” post right now doesn’t feel right, because I don’t have an ultimate guide right now. I’d rather be honest and a bit more personal because a lot of times, that’s what traveling is about.

Chicago to me is visiting my super-Italian, quite small (in Chicago at least) family on my mom’s side west of the city. It’s also visiting my dad’s huge and hilarious family in Northwest Indiana on the opposite side of the city. It’s absolutely about the Portillo’s & the Lou Malnati’s pizza, while it’s also about taking a bit of time to be a tourist where I grew up.

The subjects beyond my camera lens are people, young and old, whom I love. I feel very strongly tied to my heritage as an Italian-American and to my grandparents’ story in emigrating to this city for a better life. I also feel a bond to midwestern Indiana where I grew up visiting my grandparents every holiday reuniting with my 15 or so cousins. Thank god both areas and families are Cubs fans.

On social media and blogs you see a lot of picturesque, possibly manufactured destinations and sometimes I think the wholesomeness of little travels can be overshadowed by these grandeur, filtered photos of what a place is like. Chicago can obviously take on that jet-setter personality and while I want to write a post sharing the best of Chicago for the avid traveler one day, I also want to show how traveling to these bustling city sites without even seeing much of the city can be just as refreshing and eye-opening.

I can tell the rest of the story of my traveling to Chicago through words, but since I love photography and had some opportunities to see my family recently, I thought I would let the rest of this post play out through pictures. Thanks for reading through my thoughts thus far and I hope a more personal travel post is just as refreshing for you as it is for me.

My Nonno, Nonna and my one and only cousin on this side of my family, Ella.



MMMMMMMMMM…. Portillo’s!


Nonno’s Garden!


And more of Nonno’s Garden…


One more picture of Nonno’s Garden…


And the giant squash my Nonno grew sitting on the cheap Italian tablecloth in the basement kitchen!


Somehow took me 18 years to visit the famous “Bean”…


Ella in all her cuteness… aka the best reason for going back to the cold Windy City.


Standing in a completely glass box at the top of the Sears Tower. I can very easily get trapped in my fears, but as soon as I stepped on the glass I felt freed from all of that anxiety. I kinda didn’t want to leave…


Family travel is the best kind of travel…!


The wonderful colors of Portillo’s!


Alexandra & Me; visiting my older cousin’s cute baby girl. I hadn’t seen her before this besides when she was only a couple weeks old!


Me photographing the city from the top of the Sears (Willis) Tower… again took me 18 years to get here. Very often we can become tourists in a place we thought we knew just because we lived there.


Of course is the worst part is always leaving… (Chicago O’hare Airport, August)

I’ll definitely write a more travel-geared post in the future since I do frequently visit the city to see family and Chicago has so many unique offerings for travelers. But I want to be a blogger that not only posts about fun, happy-go-lucky things, but a blogger that makes people think! Hopefully my life hasn’t bored you and that you come back for more. I’ll see you with another post on Tuesday!


— M



  1. November 11, 2017 / 2:45 pm

    Nice little story AM… enjoy reading these!

    • airplanemary
      November 11, 2017 / 3:32 pm

      Thanks! 🙂

Share your thoughts!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this:
Visit Us On FacebookVisit Us On PinterestVisit Us On Instagram