CHICAGO, FOOD, goals, LIFE, weekend

A Relaxing & Productive Weekend

It’s currently almost 9pm on a Sunday night and I feel really good about the weekend. Connor and I originally planned to go on a weekend road trip, but decided last minute to stay in Chicago. I was kind of happy we decided to stay home for the weekend since I was SO tired.. more tired than usual (I got in routine of staying up until 12am last week.. that routine will not continue haha). Plus, I ended up falling asleep at 9pm on Friday night.

Anyway, this weekend was nice since I was able to relax and be home. It was also super productive since I was able to clean, go through my clothes, grocery shop, and enjoy Chicago a bit. I thought it could be fun to list some of the things I did this weekend.

1. Had sushi for dinner on Friday

2. Went to the post office

3. Scones and coffee for Saturday morning breakfast

4. Did SO many dishes

5. Vacuumed

6. Went through my clothes. I like to do this every month or two.

7. Did SO much laundry.. we get behind on this with traveling pretty frequently. The hamper is empty now!!

8. Cooked dinner on Saturday night (cauliflower gnocchi from Trader Joe’s)

9. Cleaned our room

10. Face and hair masks

11. Went to the farmers market

12. Went to the grocery store to get a few things for breakfast and lunch this week. I definitely missed Aldi.

13. Tried out a summer cocktail recipe. It was good! I found it on Pinterest. Basically just cucumber, lemon, mint, a bit of sugar, and gin.

Those are a few of the things I got done this weekend. It felt great to get the apartment in order and get a bit more organized. I am hoping to have more weekends like this during the summer! What did you do this weekend?

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LIFE

Life Update

I thought I should pop on over to my blog and share a bit of a life update. Nothing too crazy is going on, but a lot of my posts have been related to trips/travel lately, and haven’t been as personal.

I briefly mentioned some things I wanted to accomplish over the summer in my “Summer Bucket List” post, some of which included goals I have for 2019 overall. I have been listening to a bunch of podcasts, watching videos, and reading about the best ways to go about video editing, vlogging, and starting a podcasts. For some reason, starting a podcast has been a daunting task for me, so I am glad to be absorbing more information on how to really do it.

Going along with that, I feel like I have been learning a lot more. I am more focused on my goals and I am making more time for them. I am realizing how much I care about my hobbies and things I just like doing for fun. However, I do want to do a good job blogging, creating videos, etc., so learning and taking more time on things has been good.

I have been using Hello Fresh for a month or two now. I am planning to do a post on my experience soon. I am also deciding what product or service that I want to try out next for my experiment. I mentioned this in a prior post as well (read it here). I will give a sneak preview of my Hello Fresh experience now– it has really helped me cook (one of my goals for 2019). It can be annoying with all the prepping and clean up, but I am always happy that I took the time to make a yummy and healthy meal. I really do appreciate how Hello Fresh helped me get closer to one of my goals.

I just finished Gossip Girl… literally 30 minutes ago. I started watching it randomly when I was home sick from work in February or March (I’m pretty sure it was around then). I had no idea what to watch, so I just went with Gossip Girl. I ended up loving it, even at the end when I was told it wasn’t good/seemed low budget (haha). I am sad it’s over, but glad it had a nice ending.

Lastly, I have been keeping up with running lately. Even on the days that I don’t plan to run, I end up running. I really love that! It is really the best time for me and the weather has been great.

So I guess that wraps my life update for now! I am hoping to get some new posts together over the next couple weeks, so stay tuned for those. I have a long list of ideas waiting in my notes.

goals, LIFE

Summer Bucket List

Summer is almost here! It has been feeling like summer a couple days a week in Chicago (lol it is like 80 degrees once a week and the rest of the time it’s either raining or freezing). Because of all of this, it’s time for my Summer Bucket List!!

1. Ride Divvy Bikes with Connor along the lake

2. Go to Garden of the Gods State Park in Southern Illinois

3. Run outside before work some days (I imagine most will end up being afternoon runs)

4. Go to the Skydeck on a sunny day

5. Visit Sleeping Bear Dunes

6. Go back to Detroit

7. Take two trips that require a plane ticket (one is already booked and I’m thinking Dallas for the other!!)

8. Get some plants for our back patio

9. Perfect some summer cocktails

10. Vlog more

11. FINALLY start my podcast! I have been pushing it off for so long

12. Go kayaking

That’s all I have for now! I am am so excited for a full summer in Chicago and all of the adventures I have planned. Stay tuned to see what I check off my list.

What is on your Summer Bucket List?

TRAVEL

I Visited New York City For The First Time!

My New York City post is finally here! It’s so long, so I apologize in advance, but I hope you enjoy hearing some details of our trip!

Connor and I had NYC on our calendar since around December, so I was SO excited for SO long. We planned to visit my best friend, Aislinn who moved to NYC after we graduated last year. We had a shared note in our phones that we added restaurants, activities, etc. to for months, so getting to check so many things off was really fun!

We left on Thursday night from Chicago. We decided to extend the long weekend by an extra day to make the trip even better. We landed in NYC at 11:30ish. LaGuardia was pretty crowded, so it took us awhile to find the bus that would eventually take us to the subway. After a long wait for the bus and some traffic leaving the airport, we made it to the subway. We took the subway to my friends and stopped for some late night food before. Once we arrived to her apartment, we went right to sleep to prepare for the next day.

Connor and I slept pretty late on Friday (later than I would have liked. We woke up around 9:30am). We headed to Manhattan to start the day and then meet up with Aislinn who took a half day. We got matcha lattes at Cha Cha Matcha to start. It was so good and one of my favorite parts of the trip. I wish we had one in Chicago. I got a regular hot latte and Connor got the “Beautiful Latte,” which was really good as well. We wandered around a bit more and I took a million photos. Then we met up with Aislinn. We headed toward Times Square (so crowded and I think it was my least favorite part of NYC) and then moved on to the Chinatown area.

We headed to Glossier first. I love Glossier and there isn’t a pop-up in Chicago anymore, so I wanted to stop by. It was really nice and open. I tried out a few products I was interested in, and ended up grabbing 2 of them: a Lidstar in “Cub” and the eye cream, “Bubblewrap.” Connor was happy they had a really cozy bench for him to sit on while Aislinn and I explored the store. After Glossier, we were super hungry, so we got ramen in Chinatown. The place we chose was called Bassanova Ramen. We each got a different kind, and some edamame as an appetizer. Each was really good and definitely filled us up for awhile.

After roaming through Chinatown, we walked toward the Brooklyn Bridge. I was super excited about this and it ended up being one of my favorite parts. The walk to the main part of the bridge was kind of long, but the weather was really nice. It was also so crowded and bikes kept flying by, so watch out for the bikes for sure. We took some pictures and admired the view before turning back. We wandered around through a shopping area and some colorful murals.

Then we decided we should grab some ice cream and drinks. We walked further over near the water and got the yummiest ice cream at Big Gay Ice Cream. Connor got the “Salty Pimp” and Aislinn and I got “American Globs.” I think this was our favorite ice cream stop of the trip. I want to go back and try other flavors. We walked down the street to a place with outdoor seating and got a couple drinks to celebrate the first day!

After drinks, we got back on the subway and headed back to Aislinn’s. We ordered some pizza for dinner to end the night. It was super yummy. Then we honestly went to bed since we were all so tired from the night before.

Saturday felt like a shorter day. We decided on a bottomless brunch at Randolph Beer. I was excited about the “brunch punch” rather than having mimosas. We each ordered some food and enjoyed the drinks. After, we headed to Cookie Dō for a treat. We each got a different flavor. I got the oatmeal m&m flavor. It was good but even the tiny cup was so filling and sweet. It was such a cute shop too!

Then we went to Central Park. It was such a sunny day so it was perfect for walking around and being outdoors. We people watched and chatted with each other. Once we were super tired, we headed back to Aislinn’s. Aislinn wasn’t hungry, so Connor and I went to a ramen place. It was SO yummy! I love when ramen has a really nice broth and simple ingredients, and it was exactly that. Ramen was a great ending to our Saturday.

Sunday was our last day in NYC as we flew out the next morning. We had plans to pack a lot into the day starting with bagels, coffee, and a trip to the Empire State Building. We also planned to try a bunch of different restaurants and ice cream shops. We went up to the top of the Empire State Building (shoutout to Aislinn). It was so crowded and crazy going through the lines, but luckily we breezes through them. The view was really nice and it was great to see the whole city. We didn’t spend a ton of time up there due to the crowds, but I’m so glad we did it!

We were super hungry by then so we went to Browns Bagels. The spot Aislinn likes best was closed (I think it was called Best Bagels), so this was our next option. We each just got bagels with cream cheese because we planned on eating a lot of food that day (Connor: everything bagel with lox cream cheese, Aislinn: everything bagel with bacon and herb cream cheese, and Ellie: sesame seed bagel with veggie and herb cream cheese). The bagels were amazing and really hit the spot. We grabbed lattes at Gregory’s down the road and made a game plan for the rest of the day.

The next stop ended up being Chinatown. So many places I wanted to go to were in that area including some ice cream shops we wanted to try. We tried Milk & Cream and Stax Ice Cream. Milk & Cream definitely had the cutest ice cream. Stax was more unique in the fact the flavors weren’t the typical flavors and inside of a glazed donut. The textures/flavors worked great together. See my ice cream rankings below.

Ice cream rankings:

1. Big Gay Ice Cream

2. Stax Ice Cream

3. Milk & Cream

We also got sangria in Little Italy. The place we went was so empty, but we had a nice time. The patio was perfect for the warm weather. We also stopped in a few shops: Mulberry and Grand and Outdoor Voices. They were in the area, so I figured it would be fun! I ended up getting the cutest earrings, so I am pretty excited about them!

We continued our food tour at Tijuana Picnic. We got drinks and guacamole for a snack. The drinks were pretty good, but I would be interested to try more of the food. We just weren’t that hungry after sharing the ice cream! While at Tijuana Picnic, we realized Katz Deli was down the road. Connor really wanted to go there and Aislinn had heard good things about it, so we headed there next. Connor ordered a pastrami sandwich for later (he ended up eating it for breakfast on Monday morning before the flight). The deli was super cool though and very crowded! It is definitely a spot you have to try in NYC.

After Katz, we went back to Aislinn’s to rest up for dinner. We made reservations for 7pm, so we needed to get hungry again after our day of snacking. We hung out a bit and then went to dinner at Da Nonna Rosa. We each got pasta dishes. I went with a pesto dish and it was giant! I barely made a dent in it, but it was really yummy! It was a nice ending to the trip!

Other than dinner, we just hung out, watched a movie, and packed up for our flight in the morning. It was at 10am so we wanted to get an early start, especially since it was so crazy at LaGuardia when we got to NYC. Luckily, the trip to the airport ended up going really smoothly and it wasn’t as crowded.

Overall, it was such a nice trip. I’m so glad I got to experience NYC for the first time and spend a long weekend with my best friend! Also, all of the yummy food was such a highlight. If you haven’t visited New York, I really recommend it. I am already thinking of things I want to do on my next trip!

Here are some other random photos!

TRAVEL, weekend

Boulder/Denver, CO Trip

I have been so bad at blogging lately and I don’t love that. I feel so consumed by other parts of my life so finding that balance is something I want to do! Anyway, I went to Boulder, CO and Denver for a tiny bit a couple weekends ago. I wanted to share the highlights in case you are ever looking for a fun weekend trip!

Connor and I flew Frontier. It was really inexpensive! We paid $86 each for a round trip flight. Checking Google Flights daily really paid off. Our flights were at the WORST times (they had us landing in Denver around midnight and Chicago around 1am), but it worked out for us. We wanted to have 2 full days to explore and that’s what we ended up with.

We decided to rent a car because we wanted to go to Boulder to hike and explore. So we got our rental car and then headed to our hotel. We stayed really close to the airport which was great because it gave us a decent night of sleep.

On Saturday morning we made a few stops before Boulder. We went to Voodoo Doughnut first. I wanted to go there for so long ever since I first heard about it. It didn’t disappoint. We got four donuts to try and share. My favorite was the grape kool aid. It sounded weird, but the donut, the frosting, and the grape went well together.

After donuts, we went to Red Rocks. I would love to see a concert there, but I knew we could walk around the explore a bit. The drive there was so pretty and there were a ton of people working out and hiking. We even met a person who went to the same college as us which was funny.

After walking around Red Rocks, we drove to Boulder. The drive was about 45 minutes, so it wasn’t bad. I loved the view of the mountains so I was very happy. We got to Boulder and headed to the downtown area. It was adorable. The sun was shining, there were so many people out (only downside was it took FOREVER to park lol), and there were tons of pretty flowers. It felt perfect.

Connor and I walked around enjoying the sunshine. We grabbed coffees since we were tired from the late flight. We also got popsicles. I LOVE popsicles so it was a must. We got them at LE Pops on Pearl Street. They were the best popsicles I have ever had. We ended up going back the next day since they were that good. I would definitely recommend the avocado flavor and Connor loved the butterscotch.

After our treats, we drove up Flagstaff Mountain. It was a bit of a drive up, but it made for a pretty view. It was getting a bit gloomy so we knew we would have to save our hike for the following morning. We headed to a late lunch at T|ACO. We got queso, margaritas, and tacos of course. They definitely hit the spot since all we had all day was treats.

We were super full so we headed to our Airbnb to rest up for a bit. Our Airbnb was amazing. It was in a perfect location and it was so cute. The decorations, the natural light, and all of the amenities made it hard for us to leave the next day. I believe it is usually booked up on weekends, so we were really lucky to stay there.

We had a late dinner reservation at Pizzeria Locale (shoutout to my friend Brooke for this recommendation and all of the others too haha). It was the best pizza I have ever tried. I highly recommend the “Mais” pizza. After dinner we headed back to the Airbnb. We had an early hike planned for Sunday.

On Sunday morning, we went to get coffee at Spruce Confections. We both got lattes to get the day started. It was a really cute place and the outdoor seating looked really nice. We didn’t have too much time to enjoy it since we wanted to get started on our hike. We headed to Chautauqua Park and did the Royal Arch trail. I believe it was 3 miles total. The whole way to the arch/view is basically up hill, but after a bit we got used to it. The view was certainly worth it. It was so nice to sit for a second and look out. We also met quite a few adorable dogs, so that was a highlight. We hiked back down and headed for some food.

We went to Snooze A.M. Eatery for brunch. The menu was huge. So many drinks and meals to choose from. Connor got a breakfast pot pie and I got a breakfast bowl. We shared a flight of pancakes because they all sounded so good. Also, I love trying anything in flight form (beer, waffles, margaritas, etc, haha). We loved the blueberry danish pancake the most, but the others were still really good.

After brunch we walked around to a few different stores to soak up Boulder a little bit more. It was another nice day and it was hard to leave the sunny, flower filled streets. But we wanted to go to Denver for a little bit before catching our flight home.

We drove to Denver and decided to go a bit further to Golden, Colorado. It was such a cute town with lots of shops. I am pretty sure everyone was outside enjoying the weather. We walked along the river a bit to explore.

Then we headed back to Denver and went to Avanti F&B for dinner. It was basically a bar/eatery with a bunch of different places in it. There was a burger place, an arepa place, a poke bowl place, and a few others. Connor had a burger and I got a veggie arepa. We also got watermelon juice which I still can’t stop thinking about a couple weeks later. After eating, we grabbed a beer and sat on the patio upstairs. It made for a nice view of the city and gave us one last chance to be outside since the weather was so nice. Avanti was our last stop of the trip. We filled up the gas tank, returned the rental car, and made our way to our terminal. On our way to check in we saw the prettiest sunset over the mountains. It was a great way to end the trip! We had a super late flight so we didn’t get back to our apartment until 2:30am, but the trip was totally worth it. I am already looking for flights to go back!

ENTERTAINMENT, PODCASTS

I Didn’t Listen To Any Podcasts For A Week

This is such a random post, but I was sitting on the train listening to MUSIC when I decided to write this. Listening to music isn’t too crazy of an idea, but I really only listen to podcasts now. I didn’t listen to a single episode last week so I could save some for the plane ride to Denver (post coming soon!!) and here are my thoughts.

I would say the podcasts I listen to are one of the reasons I pop out of bed in the morning and get my commute going (maybe the idea of coffee or a matcha too). I always listen on the day they come out first thing in the morning. They inspire me, make me laugh, entertain me, educate me, and get me thinking.

I was talking about podcasts the other day at work and my manager said something about podcasts that she heard. It was along the lines of “people who listen to podcasts (not sure what kind) are some percentage (20-40%) happier with their career.” I found this vague fact and piece of knowledge interesting.

I think it’s true. I am newer to the workplace and really didn’t know what to expect with my job. I really believe the podcasts I listen to have inspired me to put everything I can into my job. But they have also kept me creative and pursuing my passions outside of work.

So to sum all of this up, I missed my podcasts. I still had a great week without them, but I definitely love life with them. I’m happy there are so many smart, funny, and creative individuals out there putting out content for everyone to enjoy. Leave your favorite podcasts in the comments!

positivity

Positivity Tips

Hey everyone! I have been living a really nice life lately and I think it’s because of my attitude. Here are some tips that I keep in mind everyday.

1. Start the day with a grateful heart. What are you thankful for, what is going well, what you are excited for, etc.

2. Find something to look forward to each day. Schedules tend to look the same each day, so finding little moments to get excited for makes it fun.

3. Write down the things that make you happy.

4. Smile and show excitement for life. Greet everyone you see with a smile and a hello. It puts me in the best mood each morning (shout out to the nice lady who is at my train stop).

5. Spread the positive attitude by turning the negative comments/feelings into positive ones.

6. Compliment others.

7. Don’t dread hard work, embrace it. We really can do anything. Sometimes it might take a minute to get the hang of something, or finish a big project, but hard work and a smile can be really powerful!

I hope everyone enjoys the rest of the week. What do you do to have a positive attitude?