4xForth: Stevi Savage of Averyhouse and Smilebooth / by Clare Johnson

Happy 4xForth Friday, friends! Today we're talking with Stevi Savage of Averyhouse and Smilebooth. Did you see our Smilebooth photos from our holiday party? We couldn't get enough of everyone's gifs

Anyways, Stevi is a stellar lifestyle/wedding photographer, with a timeless touch and a knack for capturing authentic moments of beauty and joy! Stevi's kind spirit and appreciation for the everyday not only shines through in her work, but in how she spends her time in this lovely city of ours. Read on: 

Places I frequent in Chicago: 

Heritage Bicycles - A destination coffee and bike shop for Chicago tourists and we are lucky that it just so happens to be right in our neighborhood. :) The family behind the shop are quality people, some of the hardest working and smartest people I know. Naturally, you can expect every aspect of their product and service to be top notch. From cozy to inspiring, it's my favorite place to grab a cup of joe. 

Antique Taco - Best tacos I've ever had, hands down. Antique taco speaks my love language. We adore the family behind the shop and have loved bringing all of our out of town friends and family here for over three years now. There is love in every detail and something fun to look at in every corner of the room. 

Bang Bang Pie - Delicious brunch with that good 'ol southern hospitality. You won't find a tastier biscuit or a more unique spin on sweet and savory pie shop. The owner treats his customers like family and the pie garden is my favorite place to linger on a sunny day with my family and friends. 

Favorite things to do in Chicago: 

Fly kites at Cricket Hill - This is a family tradition that we started when my son was born three years ago. We take our stunt kites out to the hill on a windy day at the start of each new season. The view of the city from the top is a reminder to appreciate this beautiful city we call home. And looking up at our soaring kites is a reminder to let go of anything that is dragging me down and put my focus on what truly lifts me up. It's a special thing to do in the company of those I love most. 

Rent a kayak or SUP from the sailing center in Evanston - When we're in need of a little adventure but don't have time to leave the city, we head up to Northwestern's sailing center for a day on the water. We have rented both SUP's and kayaks. A double kayak works great for the three of us, including our three year old son.

Montrose Harbor - Taking a day of rest usually means biking over to the harbor with our hammock in tow. We pack a picnic, find a quiet spot on the lake, bring some watercolors or the ukelele, and spend a few hours just relaxing by the water. Sometimes we take a stroll through the bird sanctuary instead. It is peaceful and quiet, a great place to disconnect from the busyness of the city.

Favorite things to do with kids and families: 

Heritage Littles - When I have some extra time with my son during the day, we don't have to go far for a sweet little date with one another. He loves looking at all of the kids' bike accessories and the milk and cookie bar is the perfect place to relax together. He always feels so grown up when he pulls his tiny little chair up to the bar. The staff always do a wonderful job of making it a special experience for us both. 

Emerald City Theatre - Taking my son to plays at Emerald City are some of my favorite memories and a perfect way to spend a cold, winter day. We've seen Bingo's Birthday, A Teddy Bear's Picnic, and the Magic Treehouse, all of which were fun and memorable experiences for all of us. 

Millennium Park - In the summer, we love to visit Crown Fountain. Splashing around in the water is a perfect way to cool off on a hot day. In the winter, we love to ice skate around the outdoor rink and drink hot chocolate while admiring all of the festive holiday decor. My husband proposed to me on ice skates in the middle of the rink so this is always a very special memory for the two of us. :) 

Places I'll go someday: 

Rhodes, Greece - This is my dream vacation spot. When naming our son Rhodes three years ago, I came across the beautiful island when searching his name on Google. Once home to one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, The Colossus of Rhodes, the island looks like a magical place to explore and unwind on for a week or two. Sighhhh...someday!  

Toronto, Canada - We've attempted to make up way up to Canada for a quick getaway several times, but for some reason, something comes up at the last minute every time and we end up canceling. I am determined to get us there some day, though. It seems like a fun city to explore and is so similar (and relatively close!) to Chicago.

Patagonia, Chile - An international backpacking trip is high up there on my bucket list and I've dreamed of doing it here since college. Mountains crowned with glaciers, glistening waterfalls, flowering meadows, occasional puma sighting, feeling off-the-grid...the adventure sounds magical and even more so on foot, with a backpack, and countless opportunities to explore and experience the thrill of being a pioneer. 

Thanks for sharing, Stevi! Patagonia has been on my bucket list for a while now, too...when should we go?! In the meantime, let's grab a lavender latte at Heritage. Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! And make sure to follow Stevi on social media (Twitter, Instagram, SteviSavage on Snapchat)!