Reviews

It’s Always the Husband by Michele Campbell

By on May 3, 2017
always-the-husband-michele-cambell

I received this book for free from SheSpeaks.  It is my choice to write a blog post about it.  All opinions are my own.  For more information, check out my disclosure.

Ever since I started reading chapter books, I enjoyed reading mystery books.  I like to play the part of detective and try to solve the mystery before reaching the end of the book.  It’s Always the Husband by Michele Campbell is a mystery book that involves a trio of unlikely friends and a sudden death twenty years into their friendship.  When I finished the book, I was reeling from how the mystery all unfolded.  Now, I won’t divulge any spoilers while reviewing this book, so feel free to continue reading and decide if you’d like to add this to your must-read list.

The Story

Michele Cambell takes an interesting approach in her storytelling.  There’s no one main protagonist and one point of view.  Rather, the story unfolds using the point of view of each friend and later on, adds additional point of view storytelling from the cop and the husband of the deceased.  While this is unique, it’s hard to discover any facts when everything you’re reading is tainted with personal opinions.  It does, however, allow you to uncover potential motives behind each character you meet.

I did not like how Cambell kept adding more characters into the mix of potential suspects.  She added way too many red herrings that felt forced.  For example, you read that one minor character developed anger management issues after an accident and the timing where you find out this new piece of information was far from natural.  An experienced mystery writer would not have ended up throwing in these details haphazardly.  However, for a debut novel, Cambell did well in keeping the reader hooked into turning page after page.

What had me hooked were the scenes describing a life of opulence and the authenticity of university life.  I do not envy the privileged life, but find it intriguing to read about as fiction.  Because this follows friends from university and on, there are some romance aspects written in that I enjoyed, as well.  My favorite genre is romance mystery and since this touched on it a little, I found myself liking this book despite its flaws.

The Delivery

My version of It’s Always the Husband is a little over 300 pages long and I must say that it’s an easy read.  There aren’t many difficult vocabulary words and the flow of the story with the dialogue goes quite smoothly.  I finished reading this in a couple of days.  The mystery gets solved with a twist and it was not what I was expecting.  I loved it!  The only issue is that the story remains incomplete.

There are a lot of questions leftover about what happened with all the other characters and the cop.  I do not like unresolved endings and would have preferred a concrete version of “this is how the other cops resolved this matter” and “this is what happened to the other prime suspect”.  There’s none of that in this book.  I also didn’t like the cop character because he was completely inappropriate.  He wasn’t objective and didn’t handle the case as a cop should have.  The story explains why, but I did not like having that classic detective character absent from the mystery.

Despite these faults, I could not put this book down until I reached the end.  This is a wonderful concept for a mystery story, but I felt the execution could have been better.  I do recommend giving It’s Always the Husband a try.  For a debut novel, it is done well and it’s exciting to see the mystery unfold.  It goes on sale May 16 and you can pre-order your copy here.  If you enjoyed this review, check out my latest review on Influenster’s Poppy Voxbox and my recommendations for 8 books that a one year old must read.

always-the-husband-michele-cambell

What other good mystery books do you recommend?  Comment and let me know!  Please share this post if this book sounds like a fun read!

Leave a comment

Reviews

Influenster’s Poppy Voxbox

By on April 30, 2017

I received Influenster’s Poppy Voxbox for free.  It is my choice to write this blog post about it.  All opinions are my own.  Find out more in my disclaimer.

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed some of my posts were encouraged by Influenster, a platform for reviewing products, asking questions about products, and answering questions others have about products.  Influenster also sends out free samples of products in a collection called a Voxbox where you can try new products and give your thoughts and opinions about it through Influenster and relevant social media accounts.

While Influenster was US based, they are now available in the UK, too!  If you are interested in signing up to try and receive a Voxbox, please sign up here.  That’s my referral link.  All it does is give me the benefit of adding 5 points to my impact score if you sign up and connect your Facebook account, valid for the first 20 people only.  Having a high impact score helps your chances of receiving a Voxbox in the future.

Influenster’s Poppy Voxbox

poppy-voxbox

I’ve been a member of Influenster for two months now and recently received my very first Voxbox.  It held a wide assortment of stuff to try.  There was an eyeliner, lip gloss, foot peel socks, face polish, in-shower lotion, laundry pod, and dry shampoo (not pictured).

While my policy for Her Life Is Love is to only post about complimentary products if I truly loved it, for the sake of writing a thorough review on my experience with Influenster and my first Poppy Voxbox, I have tried to accomplish all the activities required to obtain badges in the Influenster app.  These activities include posting on Instagram or tweeting about it, but I was honest about what I didn’t like about a product, if applicable.  Check my Instagram for my opinions on every single Poppy Voxbox product I received.

Poppy Voxbox Products I Loved

Rimmel London Cosmetics sent me a black eyeliner and a lip gloss in the color Smart Pink.  The eyeliner has a ultra fine tip so I found it a little tricky to draw close to my lash line and although it says it’s waterproof, it smudged very easily.  I don’t use liquid eyeliners much, but this would come in handy for drawing the wing tips of cat eyes.

The lip gloss they sent me, however, quickly became a new favorite.  I loved how it applied without leaving a sticky, overly done feeling on my lips.  The hint of color was just the right amount to complement with the shine from the gloss.  I enjoyed using this during my quick trips out of the house.  You can find this at Walmart.  I’m wearing both products in my Instagram post.

New favorite finds for the month of April. #somethingyouwant #RimmelRebelUSA #gotitfree @Influenster @RimmelLondonUS

A post shared by Paula from Her Life Is Love (@jintoki) on

Another favorite is the Kenyan Coffee Face Polish from Nyakio Beauty.  The color is less than appealing, but I like this because it works!  I first cleansed my face with a cleanser before exfoliating with my sample.  I massaged the product lightly into my face for a few minutes before rinsing off.  It did leave my face red and hot for a little bit afterwards, but the smooth feeling of my face was amazing!  This is available at Ulta.

Using Influenster’s Site and App

I ran into a bunch of technical issues when using Influenster’s site and app.  These are annoying for user experience, but if you can look past it, Influenster is a fun platform to use.  I first started using Influesnter through the site.  In the beginning, you will have a bunch of Snaps that you can answer about various topics.  Think of these like survey questions so that Influenster can get to know your profile better.  Answering snaps often leads to suggested products you can review.

The first problem I ran into was reviewing products.  I would submit a review through a snap and go back to my snaps, only to find the same products pop up again, asking for a review.  My reviews seem to have gone through, but it wasn’t registering as a completed activity.  You will need to skip the snap to be able to answer the next one.

Occasionally, I get asked to reconnect some of my accounts, particularly with Google.  I never have this issue with other similar sites, but Influenster seems to lose connection with my Google account fairly often.  You want to keep your accounts connected so that you can maintain your impact score, which gives you a better chance of being selected for a Voxbox if the score is high.  My score was around 1500 when I got chosen to receive the Poppy Voxbox.

When completing the Poppy Voxbox activities, you will need to make use of the Influenster app, as some activities can only be completed through the app (Instagram activities).  I have run into some problems where completing the activity as directed led to an automatic rejection.  I would re-submit several times before it actually went through and gave me credit for the activity.

Luckily, the support team is pretty responsive to your inquiries.  I also like the variety of products you can search for.  You can find reviews for many different products.  It helps to review products and answer other user’s questions on products.  Being an active user seems to help your chances of getting a Voxbox.

Even with these little issues, Influenster is fun to use and it’s so rewarding to get selected to receive a Voxbox.  Influenster takes your support inquiries seriously and aims to improve user experience.  Influenster was US based, but is now available in the UK.  Join Influenster to try your hand at getting a Voxbox!

Have you tried Influenster or any of these Poppy Voxbox products?  Comment and let me know your opinions!  If you liked this post, please share!

Leave a comment

Family | Reviews

8 Must Read Books for the One Year Old

By on March 24, 2017
must-read-books-one-year-old

This post contains affiliate links.  Her Life Is Love will receive a small commission from sales through the links at no additional cost to buyer.  For more info, check our disclosure.

I’m a bookworm.  I love curling up to a good book, so the advice I got that a good mom reads to their baby a lot worked out well.  Reading to my daughter got a lot more exciting after she turned one year old.  By then, she was more aware of the world around her and seemed to really absorb the content in the books.  Around 18 months, we got to participate in the Summer Reading Program at our local library.  Through the experience, we discovered eight books for a one year old that we highly recommend.  If you would like more daughter-inspired recommendations, check out my daughter’s favorites for bath time!

Jazz Baby

Babies and young toddlers listen to the rhythm and tonal changes in order to learn a language.  Jazz Baby is a book that automatically makes you sing when reading it out loud.  It’s pretty catchy and after reading it together numerous times, we practically memorized the whole book.  I liked how the extended family and neighbors take part in this story, so my daughter was exposed to many new key words.

Jazz Baby by Lisa Wheeler

Don’t Push the Button!

This is such a cute story.  You have this adorable purple character who speaks to you, the reader, and much like any young child, has little self-restraint.  The whole book goes through his struggle to follow one simple rule.  Don’t push the button.  Toddlers have a knack for wanting to do things you tell them not to do.  This is one such case, but we really enjoyed pushing the button anyway.  This book allows for a fun interaction with the book and I like it because making reading fun at an early age is key to keeping kids interested in reading for a lifetime.

Don’t Push the Button by Bill Cotter

Dear Zoo

A classic book that’s already been around for 30 years, so many of you may already be familiar with it.  Plus, it’s a flap book and young toddlers love lifting flaps in a book.  We loved guessing what animal is behind each flap and then making the animal sounds, too.  This book taught my daughter the words for lion, elephant, and giraffe.  We especially loved the ending because it includes the best animal of all!

Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell

Knuffle Bunny

I personally liked how this book takes actual photographs and places these illustrated characters inside.  My daughter has a stuffed bunny, too, so we could sort of relate with the characters in the story.  I might have liked this book more than my daughter because the author, Mo Willems, accurately captures what a toddler does when she gets frustrated from not being understood.  Hint: They go floppy.

Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems

Dinosaur’s Binkit

We enjoy a lot of Sandra Boynton books because of the adorable illustrations.  Here’s a lovely story about a dinosaur getting ready for bed, but apparently he’s missing his binkit.  It’s a quick and easy read, plus it’s a flap book.  The ideal bedtime story for when you want to make a quick exit.  What makes this book particularly great for young toddlers is that it includes textures.  On the cover, you can feel the fuzzy softness of the dinosaur’s binkit.

Dinosaur’s Binkit by Sandra Boynton

Where Is Pim?

We loved the illustrations and the story is quite simple.  In fact, you will want to talk about the illustrations and spot different things together to make a reading of this book worthwhile.  I liked to point out the dogs and what they encounter on their search for Pim.

Where Is Pim? by Lena and Olaf Landstrom

Hi!

My daughter learned the names of many different animals (wolf, polar bear, donkey, owl) and the different sounds they make.  It was so cute to read this book with her and hear her howl with the wolf and growl with the polar bear.  I remember this book fondly because it is the first book where my daughter actually started to repeat after me and voice the words for owl and bird.  I think because it is such a simple book where I only repeated the name of the animal and the sound they make, it was easy for my daughter to follow along.

Hi! by Ethan Long

Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb

This is another great rhyming, rhythmic book that is fun to read.  The monkey illustrations are endearing as they teach about hands, fingers, thumbs, and drums.  My daughter still loves this book, even though she is now two years old.  It is a #1 bestseller in children’s books on Amazon and right now, it’s on sale for $2.99!  I’m so glad our local librarian recommended this book to us.  I highly recommend this board book, too.

Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb by Al Perkins

must-read-books-one-year-old

These are all affordable books that a one year old will love.  If you need gift ideas for a first birthday, any one of these books are sure to be a hit.

Which book would you read to your one year old?

Leave a comment

Otome | Reviews

Arabian Nights Love Story: Lamp of Destiny

By on March 17, 2017
arabian-flower

Here is the first in what will be a series of posts that goes into my love for otome games.  Yeah, I’m a grown woman.  I am married and I have a kid.  That’s not stopping the young girl at heart from enjoying made-up romances with two-dimensional characters.  I enjoy these games, but some are more annoying than others.  Depending on the game, the main character you play could be kind of stupid.  I’m not so fond of the ditzy and helpless types, but I will still play just the same.

What is an Otome Game?

This little wikipedia page will go into enough details about what an otome game is, but in brief, it’s a game designed mainly for females where you attempt to develop a relationship with a male character through your choices or whatever interactions the game in particular uses.  Typically, if your score is low, you get a bad ending.  If your score is good, you get a normal ending.  If your score is great (and some games require actual monetary purchases to help you achieve this), you get the best happy ending ever.

My first otome game ever is a game series called Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side and I have all three for Nintendo DS.  Did they ever make an English version?  I’m not sure, as all the ones I have are in Japanese.  I originally started as a fun way to practice reading Japanese.  I’ve had them for years, but I haven’t completed all of them yet.  For now, let me share with you one that you can easily play, too.

Arabian Nights Love Story: Lamp of Destiny

Arabian-Nights-Lamp-of-Destiny

I rate 3 out of 5 stars.

The first otome game I chose to write about is one that I’ve completed.  I say completed, as in I’ve played all three routes available, but the company stopped updating the game in 2015 and never added the fourth character, Kais.  The characters in this story are inspired from the famous story of Sinbad.  You get to meet Sinbad and Ali Baba.  There’s also a prince named Assad.  Is he a character from the original story?

arabian-nights-characters

I finished Sinbad’s route first and without giving you spoilers, I found it interesting how playing both Ali Baba and Assad’s routes gave me additional insight into who Sinbad is.  There were certain parts where the reaction Sinbad gives is better understood because of having already finished Sinbad’s route.  This interconnection between all the routes were very well thought out and I appreciated that aspect of the story a lot.  I liked Ali Baba because he was the stoic character.  You couldn’t really tell what he was thinking, but you knew that he would open up to you when you play his route.  However, I really liked the plot twist with Sinbad a lot.

The translation and the way the text appears in the English version of the game could use some improvement though.  I found sometimes the game inserts the wrong character’s name and some of the grammar is incorrect, however it doesn’t seriously impede on understanding what the is going on in the game.

If you are interested, download the Android version here.

Which character do you like best?  Is this a story that interests you?

These images are my screenshots from the actual game.

Leave a comment

Family | Reviews

5 Toddler Bath Products For Bath Time Fun

By on March 6, 2017
rubber-ducky-outdoor-costumes

This post contains affiliate links where Her Life Is Love will receive a small commission at no cost to you when making a purchase through these links.  For more information, check our disclosure.

There are tons of different bath products aimed for babies and toddlers out on the market and it can be overwhelming to pick and choose.  My daughter loves bath time and these are the five toddler bath products we use to keep it that way.

5-toddler-bath-products

CeraVe Baby Moisturizing Cream

A lot of parents and even our pediatrician recommend Cetaphil for use with my daughter’s skin, but it made her skin so itchy that she would scratch herself until she had scars from her constant scratching.  I tried CeraVe Baby Moisturizing Cream on a whim (I was browsing through Meijer and had a coupon) and am so glad I listened to that whim.  It rubs into my daughter’s skin very well and my main plus is that it doesn’t seem to cause any itch, so she doesn’t have the urge to dig at her skin anymore.  The cons I have with this product is that I feel like I need to use a lot to cover her skin surface area.  I think perhaps because it is a cream, it doesn’t spread out as far when I rub into the skin.  Also, it feels like it leaves behind a slightly waxy residue.  Maybe this is a protective barrier of some sort to keep the moisture in.  It doesn’t bother my daughter, but it just leaves me feeling a bit turned off by the feel it leaves on my own hands.

Buy It Now

TruKid Bubble Podz

My daughter absolutely loves having bubbles in her bath and Bubble Podz has a version that is safe to use with eczema-prone skin, which is a huge plus.  My daughter had some serious patches of eczema in her first year and the pediatrician told us to keep her bath water from getting too hot, leave her in for a short amount of time, and no bubbles.  He obviously hadn’t heard of TruKid Bubble Podz.  I received a pack from my cousin’s wife and my daughter loved it.  I felt completely safe with using this product for her because it didn’t cause any irritations and rather, I felt it helped soothe her skin.  I won’t say this cured her of eczema, but she hasn’t had any reactions in a year now.

Pro Tip: Use one pod towards the end of filling up the tub.  Placing it under the running water too soon causes most of the bubbles to disappear by the time you turn the faucet off.  Also, don’t rush through letting the pod dissolve in your hand, even though it leaves the gooey casing behind.  You want the rushing water to seep through the entire product and create a lot of bubbles.

Buy It Now

TruKid Dancing Hair Detangler

This hair detangler is amazing! It works on the toughest tangles. I’m talking a knot in a knot. I used it on my daughter when I can’t untangle the mess with my own two hands. It leaves behind a slight shine, but that’s not a problem when I can untangle my daughter’s (and my) hair without tears  (in the hair or on the face).  This is a toddler bath product I will always be sure to have an extra one of.

Buy It Now

Nuby 16-piece Floating Foam Bath Animals Set

This is a nice pack of foam buddies that will stick to your tub or tiled walls when wet. It provides simple, creative play and a good opportunity to learn sea creatures and colors. There are two sets of the same eight creatures. I used one set until it got moldy.  They are sturdy so they won’t break apart easily.  I haven’t tried breaking them in half, but they seem to withstand typical toddler strength.  My daughter is not a biter, though, so not sure how it will hold up to teeth. Click the image for more reviews.

Pro tip: Separate them to air dry. I found out the hard way that if I didn’t bother to separate them after a bath session, they will grow mold that you can’t scrub off.  Simply replace with the second set or buy it again. It won’t break the bank.

Buy It Now

Skip Hop Moby Bath Tear-Free Waterfall Rinser

Like a typical toddler, my daughter hates getting water in her eyes or running down her face. I like this whale cup because it allows for fun and the yellow rubber grip helps rinse shampoo out of my daughter’s hair without letting the water get into her face (provided she tilts her head back far enough). The best part is that it doesn’t get moldy and will air dry well when turned upside down.

Buy It Now

Are there any bath products you love to use with your child? Feel free to share!

Leave a comment

Blog Tips | Personal | Reviews

How Social Media Can Help You

By on February 28, 2017
social-media-phone-facebook

One of the challenges with self hosting my website and blog is that I don’t have a major company behind me automatically promoting my posts to new readers.  This is a big deal because I write my posts so that they can be read by others, but how can I get people outside of my offline friends to come and read this?  This is where social media comes in.

I started this blog to combat my feelings of isolation as a new mom.  Prior to this, I only used Facebook as a means of connecting with my friends.  I also used YouTube, but that was mainly for viewing the latest KPOP music videos or watching the lives of other moms.  Now, I am using Instagram and Twitter.  I also made a Pinterest account, although this one still confuses me.  Someone please explain to me how making boards with a bunch of images help me connect with other people.

Now, I’m no expert at social media marketing, so I am going to delve into my experience thus far and comment on what I am noticing.  You’re under no obligation to follow/subscribe to me on any of these, but I would love it if you stopped by and said hello!  I’m always looking for more inspirational people to discover.

Facebook

I have been on Facebook since 2005 and it has changed A LOT since then.  Gradually, I became less active on Facebook and mainly used it as a way to read up on what my friends were up to.

Now, I made a page on Facebook and hope to use it to connect with my readers in a more personal and interactive environment. It would be a good way to share certain posts that I feel will be well received by others.  Many people share different links through Facebook, so I would suggest sharing the posts that are “share worthy” on your own Facebook page.

YouTube

I uploaded videos years ago when I was a student in videography.  I have some weird stuff up that is totally not my style, but stuff I had to make for a class I was in.  I also have a couple embarrassing videos up (don’t judge my moves or my voice, please).  Despite all the time that has passed since my last video, I have stayed a videographer at heart, capturing many special moments with my daughter.  Please look forward to the videos I plan on making to enhance the material in my blog posts (toddler permitting, of course).

Instagram

I have had my account for awhile, but used it solely to follow celebrities. None of my friends knew I existed there.  Just recently, I decided to start posting photos and added all the accounts of my friends that I could find. Many people use Instagram for visual updates on their lives and I found many of my friends on there.  Reconnecting with them in this manner reminds them that I am alive.  It will also be a good source of pins that I can add to Pinterest so that it can be shared and help new sets of eyes find their way to my site.

Twitter

I used to have an account with my ideal username back when Twitter was just starting. I didn’t really see the benefits of using Twitter so I deleted that account.  I wish I hadn’t since someone else took it and they don’t even update it now.

Anyways, I digress. I started using Twitter again to join Twitter parties happening with some amazing brands. Again, none of my friends knew about the account, but I can’t find theirs either. Twitter looks like a good way to reach new people if you tweet something related to the trending topics of the moment, but a lot of topics are things that I’m not interested in.  I guess this goes to show how “disconnected” from the world I had been since becoming a mom.

Pinterest

Here is another example of social media that I made due to the hype…found it weird and left…and then came back again.  Pinterest connects to visual readers, people who really just browse through image after image after image.  As a blogger, if you make great visuals and put them on your site, you can add them to Pinterest and let it get pinned by others because the image will link back to your site (or relevant post).  It reaches a new audience and gives them a way to come back and visit your website.

It is also a great place for you, yourself, to get lost in.  Among your wanderings, you are bound to find many new inspirations for future blog posts.

Smile Mom

Now, this one is for fellow moms, more than fellow bloggers.  I found this app while searching for a mom meetup type group and I feel like it has so much potential, but note that it hasn’t been updated in two years. You can search for other moms based on proximity and the ages of their child(ren).  I found it nice to use as a chat medium. I was hoping to use it for scheduling playdates with similar aged kids, but there’s actually not a lot of moms in my area that fit the criteria AND actually meet up. Each scheduled playdate I had with another mom and child ended up not happening.

Lately, there has been a lot of issues with creepy guys making accounts and harassing moms. Without app updates, I don’t see any changes happening to reduce the number of people using this app for the wrong reason.  If you are considering using this app, be aware that it has some serious cons.  I plan on deleting my account since I find better interactions happening in mom groups on Facebook…probably because most are who their profile say they are.

Which of these forms of social media do you use alongside your blog?  Do you have any tips to share?  Leave your handle names along with your comment below for me to check out your account!

Leave a comment

Blog Tips | Reviews

How to Self Host with WordPress.org

By on February 23, 2017
laptop-notebook-pen

This post contains affiliate links. Her Life Is Love receives a small commission if you make a purchase through the link, at no additional cost to you.  For more information, please check our disclosure.

The post I was planning on doing today has been relegated to the back burner because I literally spent half my day attempting to self host this website. The books and Web reviews I read implied that I could simply purchase a domain name from GoDaddy or Network Solutions for anywhere less than $40 a year and map it to my WordPress.com blog.  Now, I don’t know if this is a recent change or not, but you can’t.  It’s only possible if you have a WordPress Business plan…and that’s like $25 a month for 12 months. I don’t have that kind of money…and I already bought my domain name.

Web Hosting

What’s a newbie to do?  Turn to WordPress.org and find a cheaper host. I chose to go with SiteGround since it was cheaper than the recommended BlueHost (they are only cheaper if you pay for the long haul…4 or 5 years?!?!) I went with the SiteGround WordPress Startup plan and had them do the installation for free. I recommend this because manual installation looks simple, but it’s easy to make a small, crippling mistake.

In less than 5 minutes, installation was complete and I got a confirmation email. It said I was good to go, but following the link and instructions to finally log in and start FAILED. Yeah…no one mentioned I needed to change the domain name server to point towards the host servers, but thank you, Support, for promptly answering my inquiry.  I sent in my support ticket and they responded promptly with detailed instructions!  Problem solved.

My Conclusions 

It is a better value to self host than pay for WordPress.com plans. I paid for two years for just under $140, whereas if I simply paid for the Premium plan (custom domain name and removal of WordPress.com ads included) at $8.25 a month for 24 months…I would still be spending $60 more.  If you want to do what I did, buy your domain name at GoDaddy and sign up for hosting with SiteGround.

Transferring the two posts I had to my new site was easy, but I couldn’t find a way to move my followers. I mean, there had to be a way, right? But, it’s not easy to find. There wasn’t any option through the WordPress.org admin panel. I tried using the mobile app to move my followers, but still came up empty. Assuming there was no other way, I resigned myself to deleting my old site.  My mistake 🙁

The correct answer: use your desktop and move followers directly from wordpress.com.  It’s the last option in Settings for the new site…and the realization came much too late for me.  I lost a grand total of four followers, which is a small number, but those four bloggers were special to me and made me feel welcome as a beginner blogger. You will be missed.

If you self-host your own website, which service do you use?  Let me know the pros and cons!

Leave a comment

Reviews | Travels

Chicago Botanic Garden

By on February 21, 2017
chicago-botanic-garden-2

I want to share one of my favorite places to visit.  Whenever my friends from out-of-town, out-of-state, or out-of-country come and visit me in Chicago, I like to take them to the Chicago Botanic Garden.  They have 385 acres of nature and you can literally spend the whole day here.  Best of all, admission is free!  The only catch is that you need to pay for parking and that can get expensive (up to $30 per car).

If you live nearby and plan to go often, I highly recommend paying for a membership.  I paid $180 for two years, and having gone more than six times in those two years, was completely worth it.

Benefits of Membership

  • Free parking for one car (you receive a sticker adhesive for your windshield and it holds a little chip that will communicate with the gatekeeper when you drive through the members only lane)
  • The members only car lane allows for much faster entrance into the parking lot, especially on the weekends
  • Free admission to 300 other U.S. botanic gardens (I am most interested in visiting the The Morton Arboretum as I’ve heard it’s got a great section for kids)
  • 10% discount at the gift shop, discount coupons for the café, and member discounts on the butterfly exhibit, model railroad garden, and tram tours

You get even more benefits if you pay for higher levels of membership, but it’s not worth it in my opinion.  I paid for membership because this was a place I could enjoy with a newborn.  Tackling this garden alone with a baby was rejuvenating, but also exhausting.  This place is huge.  You’re going to need that stroller.  I tried walking through once with a baby carrier and that trip just turned out to be a workout.

My Hit List

My favorite areas of the garden are the Enabling Garden, English Walled Garden, Fruit & Vegetable Garden, Heritage Garden, and The Crescent.  Also, look for the waterfalls on your way to the Japanese Garden.  If none of that matters, I say your visit should start clockwise from the entrance.  What is your favorite nature spot?

Contact Info

Chicago Botanic Garden
1000 Lake Cook Rd.
Glencoe, IL 60022
(847) 835-8215

Leave a comment