To do: Timber Lanes bowling in Chicago

Old school wooden lanes and you track the scores yourself. Like a real man!


Timber Lanes Bowling Alley

1851 W. Irving Park Rd.

Chicago, IL 60613

There are several things about Timber Lanes in North Center that you can’t beat. They include:

  1. The price: $2.50 per game. Bring cash for games, shoes, and/or drinks/snacks at the bar.
  2. The digital jukebox, where frequently played favorites include 38 Special and Ah-Ha.
  3. The vibe. The ghost of The Dude is near.
  4. Me on Game 2. Bowled a 127, baybay! Must’ve been Steely Dan on the juke.
Home of Hamm’s Hamm’s Hamm’s Bowling Team.
Hell Mary.
Beat that. (Not pictured: My many gutter ball zeroes during the first game.)

Gone, Country: So that was awesome

We uninstalled Gone, Country a few weekends ago, and I want to say THANK YOU from the bottom of my blueberry heart to everyone who came out to shows, performed at shows (you all were incredible!), bought an embroidery, bought a book, and/or simply said a kind word or thoughtful insight about the work/concept in all its parts.

I can’t believe I did this, and I am pinching myself a little still… I couldn’t have survived it in one piece without all the encouragement, so thank you. Especially to Justin, and the Slate Arts Gallery team. Can’t wait to do another one following, like, a six-month nap…

I hope you think of me whenever you see gaudy lawn flamingos doin’ it for themselves. Just trashy pink collar girls trying to stand strong in a white collar world. We gonna make it, Pip.



Gone, Country is on view now!

Slate Arts gallery in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood is hosting an exhibition of my embroidery work throughout the month of September! Each Saturday at 8 p.m., join us for a **free** performance of storytelling and live lit by me and some of my favorite writers in the city. The show Gone, Country includes 20 pieces of embroidered artwork framed in repurposed barn wood, two banner collages, and a creative nonfiction book I wrote as a companion piece to the exhibit ($20). See you there! 

You and me, this Saturday.

Seven things I’m loving this month

The “Sorry to Bother You” soundtrack

Listen here. Go see the movie, too! So absurd. So perfect.

This scene and dialogue from “Peaky Blinders”

I finally caught up on the latest season (it came out last December). Despite the novel-esque length of each episode, I finished it in two days because I’m obsessed with all these characters (once, of course, I remember they exist in my magic TV box and are poised for viewing pleasure).

Anyway, this scene, where our fave anti-hero goes on a vacation only to find rest does not suit him or his repressed PTSD/ anxiety/ depression/ devils, gave me goosebumps. It’s set to Radiohead’s “Pyramid Song,” which is perfectly haunting for a clip of man left alone with nothing but his terrible thoughts.

One line, though, is what really did me in. When Tommy’s housekeeper asks him if he’s alright, says he doesn’t look good, Tommy responds: “I know what this is. It’s just myself talking to myself about myself.” Never have I heard a more perfect description of the downward spiral.

Band-Aids by Oh Joy!

So, Radiohead for the mental wounds, these cute lil guys for the physical ones. The limited edition line is sold at Target and features the colorful work of one of my favorite design bloggers, Oh Joy!

Burt’s Bees tinted lip balm in Red Dahila

Perfect for melty hot days, when you need a pop of color that won’t dry out. It looks much more natural than a lipstick and keeps your kisser smooth. More color ways here.

Pretty Cool popsicles in Logan’s Square

This new novelty shop opened earlier this month. I tried the stick-ified peanut butter ice cream dipped in chocolate and crushed potato chips. Yeah, it was as good as it sounds.

The art of Small Ditch

Go follow @smallditch on Instagram to see the most adorable and clever reinterpretations of found nature into fashion shots. (Thanks, Jealous Curator, as always, for the hookup.)

“The Magic of Not Giving a Fuck” speech by Sarah Knight

I prescribe one viewing each morning. To be watched as many times as necessary.

#The10to10: Brown 9 to Sedgwick

Justin and I played our second round of #The10to10 last week! He drew brown, rolled 9, which led us to the brown line Sedgwick stop.

Here’s what we found.


  • Take a ribbing from your partner that you brought a book to read on the bus ride to the L
  • Fuel up at Nookies, a cute, spacious breakfast spot unafraid of serving chili on eggs
  • Head eastward and stumble upon Green City Market
  • Keep walking until you hit the free Lincoln Park Zoo, on your way, snap a pic with Hans Christian Andersen, writer of childhood dreams/ nightmares
  • Ride the 3D underwater simulator and the carousel (yes, even in a skirt!) at the Lincoln Park Zoo 
  • Take in the view at the Lincoln Park nature boardwalk
  • Stop by the Chicago History Museum and feed your brain with famous stories about Chicago, social movements, and so much more
  • Take two Divvy bikes (we use this app to find our bikes!) via side streets to Portillo’s and feed your tummy with famous cased meats
  • Take the bus up to Lincoln Park for aggression release by way of Bad Axe Throwing
  • Take a million photos of you and the axe that you landed in the bullseye because it’s pretty much guaranteed you will not even hit the board after you do that no matter how many times you try (No? Just me?)
  • Get a glazed donut at Stan’s, because battle axe throwing is tiring
  • Watch a movie at Century theater, located in the same building as axe throwing (This has proven to be our go-to ending for #The10to10 days. Perhaps we were a bit ambitious trying to stay out and about for 12 hours straight. We’re always beat the next day. So, spending the last two hours in a dark air conditioned theater has proven an excellent decision. This time we watched “Leave No Trace.” I cried a lot and am recommending it to everyone now, including you.)

P.S. Here’s a PDF of a customizable #The10to10 map so you can create your own version! I guess this game could work for bus lines or highway exits, too! Whatever you’re down to explore.

P.P.S. If you want to play with lo-class dice like ours, just shoot me a message! We can send you a pair in your fave color: red, brown, purple, blue, or green.

Words on the Street: June 28, 2018

I just love this juxtaposition so much.

Sears closing. Sears rebranding? Tarot table cards at a taco joint. So many synonyms! What goodies await in your community mailbox? I found a dinosaur.

On the way to my dentist appointment. At my dentist appointment. They were playing, of all things, Deep Blue Sea. That lyric is my new favorite Most Ridiculous Lyric Without Any Context.

#The10to10: Red 8 to Grand

For our first edition of #The10to10,  I picked a red die and rolled an 8, so to Grand we went.

I was a little bummed at first when we rolled Grand because we’ve already been down in the heart of Chicago. A lot. I was kinda hoping our first fate-driven adventure would launch us into parts unknown. But Grand turned out to be the best starter pack! We still found lots of great stuff we’d never seen before, and since it’s a hot stop for tourists, we got a crash course in Chicago’s history and greatest hits.

Here’s what we found.


  • Fuel up with a prime beef sandwich and Italian sodas at Eataly marketplace
  • Visit City Gallery in the historic water tower (There’s also the Loyola University Museum of Art nearby. It’s free to visit, as is the City Gallery in the bottom of the iconic water tower.)
  • Visit 360 Chicago, the observation deck in John Hancock Tower (Chicago residents get in half price! Woohoo, tax dollars!)
  • Do the 360 Chicago Tilt (If you dare… I have already blacked out most of this terrifying experience of being tilted out 94 floors above Chicago)
  • Walk Lake Shore Drive
  • Visit Oak Street Beach and hang out on the dock
  • Refuel at Doc B’s Fresh Kitchen
  • Window shop at the Gucci flagship store
  • Sit in a recliner (Hello, air conditioning) and see a movie at AMC theater (We saw Superfly with our Movie Pass!)
  • Get ice cream at Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop by the water tower
  • Kick it at the water tower fountain
  • Pick up tacos to eat at home while you rest your feet and write to your reading-age niece and nephew on the postcards you picked up at Hancock’s gift shop 🙂

P.S. Here’s a PDF of a customizable #The10to10 map so you can create your own version! I guess this game could work for bus lines or highway exits, too! Whatever you’re down to explore.

P.P.S. If you want to play with lo-class dice like ours, just shoot me a message! We can send you a pair in your fave color: red, brown, purple, blue, or green.

Introducing: #The10to10, Chicago’s favorite new summer game

Happy Summerrrrrrr!

Summer in Chicago is renowned for being the reason so many of us who live here are willing to put up with its insane wind tunnels, lake effect snow, and polar vortexes. Spending a day chilling on a Chicago beach, with the iconic skyline floating on the horizon through the sunny, lazy haze? It’s living the dream.

This + you in a bikini = Summer Forever.

And now that SUMMMMMERRRRR 2018 has finally arrived, Justin and I came up with a game to help us get out and explore our city. Actually, just Justin came up with the game because “making life fun” is his number one contribution and responsibility to our marriage.

Because he’s excellent at it.

Case and point: This new game #The10to10.

Here’s how #The10to10 works:

  1. Choose an L train line and number the stops you’d like to explore as 2 through 12.

  2. Roll the dice.* Add up your numbers. And at 10 a.m., take the L to the stop that corresponds with that number on your map from Step 1.

  3. Start your journey there. Don’t come home until 10 p.m.

* We got a few sets of colored dice to represent the color of the L train lines we want to explore: the blue, red, and brown lines. We blindly draw a die out of a bag. Whatever color die we draw determines the train line. Then we roll two dice to get our stop number in Step 2.

Here’s our #The10to10 map. You can see how we numbered the stations.

We’re pumped to dig into some neighborhoods deeper than we already have and visit some we’ve never really hung out in before. So many times we end up going to a neighborhood for just one destination and then head back home.

But you know you have to stay a while, get your hands and feet and soles a little dirty, to find the b-e-s-t, gemstone-in-an-alleyway kinds of spots. When you spend a lot of time just walking around somewhere, you truly get to know a place. And I think we’ve finally decided we want to truly get to know this place. Plus Chicago, the city of neighborhoods, has so much potential for adventure.

We’re doing our first #The10to10 today! Follow us on Instagram @jackiemantey and @justingolak to see where we end up and what we find.

P.S. Here’s a PDF of a customizable #The10to10 map so you can create your own version! I guess this game could work for bus lines or highway exits, too! Whatever you’re down to explore.

P.P.S. If you want to play with lo-class dice (like ours below), just shoot me a message! We can send you a pair of dice in your fave color: red, brown, purple, blue, or green.

Lo-class approved!