CHICAGO, goals, hobbies, job, LIFE

I Feel Like I Haven’t Posted In Forever

Hi everyone! This is going to be a shorter post and the title of this post says it all. It’s weird because I posted a few days ago, but it feels like forever. I am usually dreaming up new posts ideas, writing my ideas down on the train, or just posting more consistently. Even my Instagram hasn’t had as many photos as usual. I haven’t really been thinking about my blog or my posting as much as I would like to.

For some reason, I haven’t felt as creative or inspired this week. I am probably just tired. Work pretty much consumes my life, which makes sense because that’s my job. I have also been running more frequently after work, so I have been getting home later and going to bed sooner. I am usually really good at balancing my hobbies, but this week has been a bit hectic feeling.

I am definitely excited that it is Friday and the weekend is nearly here. I am ready to relax and get ready for next week. I have a few blog posts in the works, but none are ready yet. Hopefully next week I will have more posts up.

I need to figure out a good time to work on my blog, my Instagram, start my podcast, and keep my apartment in order. How do you balance all of your hobbies with your real life? Any tips?

I hope you all have a great weekend! I am excited to share some new posts with you and can’t wait to read the posts you all write this weekend!


5 Weekend Highlights

Connor and I had planned on going on a little trip this weekend, but we ended up staying home. It was a really relaxing weekend and it was nice to be at home getting things done. Here are some highlights:

1. Connor an I watched “You” on Netflix. I thought it was pretty good. Some episodes were better than others, but something creepy always happened to get my attention again. I am kind of sad we finished it because I always miss shows after finishing them, but I’m sure we will find another show soon enough!

2. Connor and I cleaned up our apartment. With the holidays and getting back into the swing of things with work, our apartment needed a nice cleaning. We organized some things, did lots of laundry and dishes, and went through our clothes deciding what we really wanted. I have a decently large bag of clothes to give to my friend now, which is great!

3. We tried the banana pudding of the month at Magnolia Bakery. Connor and I love trying the new flavors each month. This month the flavor is salted caramel, which I really liked. I normally don’t love salted caramel, but it was subtle enough not to be overly sweet!

4. We ventured to Tank Noodles and Kung Fu to get dinner and bubble tea. We started with some tofu/veggie spring rolls, which were my favorite part of the whole meal. For the main course, I got a veggie rice noodle soup and Connor got pho. I love getting warm foods especially with the snow that accumulated throughout the day on Saturday. I got oolong milk tea and it was so good. I am slowly becoming a bubble tea fan and I love trying new spots.

5. Connor and I met up with a couple friends for Sunday brunch. Our Uber driver the other day mentioned Batter and Berries, so we went there. The wait was a little long, but it was worth it. I got the French toast flight and loved it. I got the super flight, which basically meant you got 5 types of French toast, instead of 4. The flight included strawberry, blueberry, lemon, caramel, and banana pudding (the flavor of the week). The lemon was my favorite, but I really enjoyed trying them all!

The weekend was really relaxing and will hopefully give me energy for another week at work. What were some of your weekend highlights?


My Breaks From Running

Here with a running post. I mentioned doing a bunch of running posts a couple of months ago, so I am trying to incorporate them throughout. My running post for today is about breaks from running that I have taken, willingly and not so willingly, as well as getting back into running after breaks.

My first break from running was my senior year of high school. Up until then, I was running year round, 5-7 days a week. I was just starting my last cross country season when I started feeling pain in my hip. I ran through it for awhile, but eventually knew I should see a doctor. I got an MRI and was presribed some time off from running. Which ended up being almost the entire season.

This break from running was hard for me. I wasn’t really a part of the team I had been a part of for 3 years before. I didn’t get to train at all during practice for about a month. After that I was able to cross train with the other injured girls and guys. I biked for 30 minutes everyday for another month. It wasn’t fun not training and I wish that I hadn’t been injured during my last season of cross country. I still got to go to the meets and be with everyone, but it wasn’t the same. Eventually, for the last race, I was able to run it. Keep in mind I didn’t train at all prior, at least running wise, and was just running the race because it was the last one I could run.

It felt good to race and be out on the course with my team, but I really saw the effects of taking time off. I ran a decent pace for someone who hadn’t run for awhile, but it was hard thinking about how much better I could have been if I had been able to train all season. Regardless, I was happy to even run the race.

My second break was intentional and unintentional at the same time. It was the end of my sophomore year of college. I had just completed a half marathon I trained months for. I took off a week or 2 after the half because of finals and I just wanted a break from running 8 miles every day. That part of the break was intentional. The next part wasn’t. I ended up getting poison ivy at the beginning of the summer while doing a trail run with my friend. The steroids I was on to get rid of the poison ivy kept me up all night, which interfered with my work in the morning and ultimately my running. I know that’s not the greatest excuse, but I was just so tired all the time from staying up all night. I spent the summer not feeling my best and doing some runs here and there. I mostly went on bike rides, which was a positive because I learned that I really liked biking and using it as a way to explore.

Once I got back to school in the fall, the break continued, but it was intentional and my decision. I didn’t feel the love I had felt for running anymore. I was tired of running so much every day and having to build time into my day to get the kind of runs I wanted to do done. I decided to work out in other ways. I did some running to warm up, but tried to mix things up. This break lasted awhile. And honestly, after this break, running became and on and off thing for me. I would be consistent with it one week and end up doing various machines at the gym the next week.

I discovered that I missed running and that running is my favorite work out of choice after this break and the mini breaks afterwards. I think it is ok that I took time off when it wasn’t for me anymore. It showed me that running was truly something I loved and something that made me a happier and better person. I am thankful for the running I did in the past, but also for the breaks. I was able to find other interests and listen to what I wanted rather than thinking about a training plan I had to do, or an upcoming race.

Now, I am much more consistent with my runs. I have loved getting to explore my new neighborhood, at least when it was warmer. And now I am trying to love the treadmills at work. I find myself smiling while I run and pushing myself harder and harder each day. Pretty soon, I will be in better shape again, which I am pretty excited about. I have the best memories of cruising through campus and feeling like I could run forever. So I am excited for that feeling, but also enjoying the process. Doing what you love should never feel like a chore.

Here are some key things I learned:

1. Breaks from running are ok

2. Breaks allow you to explore other interests outside of running, and even exercise

3. Breaks can show you what you truly enjoy

4. Running isn’t as easy as a break, but sometimes a break is necessary

5. You can come back stronger and faster from your injuries

This might have been a bit of a ramble, but I feel like it gave a bit of insight into taking breaks from running. Sometimes they aren’t planned and just come with the territory. Running a ton of a miles each week eventually catches up to you. Sometimes you need a break for yourself mentally, socially, or physically, and that is ok! Have you ever taken a break from running? Was it due to an injury, lack of interest, etc.? How did you get back into running after the breaks?


A Few New Restaurants

Happy Sunday! Today has been a pretty lazy day for me, but that’s what Sundays are for! Connor and I tried a smoothie/juice place today, so it inspired me to share some of the restaurants I have tried lately that I haven’t mentioned on the blog yet. There are still so many places I want to try in Chicago, so there won’t be a shortage of food posts anytime soon.

The place Connor and I tried today is called JuiceRX. It is in Bucktown and in a nice little area pretty close to the train. I am always trying to find smoothie bowls, and we definitely found a good spot. They have juices, wellness shots, smoothies, smoothie bowls, and more. I got the “Fruit Alchemist” smoothie bowl and Connor got the “Old World Order” smoothie. I loved how many toppings my bowl had. They made it super filling. Connor’s smoothie was yummy because each sip had peanut butter in it, which tasted great with the fruit flavor! I am interested to try out one of their juices next time and will probably treat myself to a ginger shot sometime, too. For some reason, I love ginger shots.

A couple weeks ago, I tried Bombo Bar with my coworkers during our lunch break. We opted to have donuts and ice cream for lunch because why not?! BomboBar is a little window with a patio area in the West Loop. There are so many yummy restaurants over there so I love going to that area. I went there with the intention of getting gelato, and left with gelato and a little donut, called a bombolini. I mostly wanted the bombolini because it was so cute, and looked like a fun treat. I got the caramel crunch gelato and a bombolini with salted caramel filling. You basically squeeze a little tube of filling into the sugary donut, so it’s definitely intriguing. BomboBar also has some crazy hot chocolates with lots of toppings and donuts, so that would be fun to try someday! Overall, I loved the gelato and what I tried of the donut. I just wanted a taste of it, so I gave it to my coworker. I definitely want to go back with Connor so he can try it!

Lastly, I want to mention Tomi at Revival Food Hall. I went there with my friend, Sam, last week. Revival basically has a ton of different restaurants inside of it. You can find anything from ramen to fried chicken to pizza to hot chocolate. I was craving sushi, so I decided on Tomi. I ordered the portobella mushroom roll and an avocado roll. The sushi was really good and exactly what I had been craving. It was a bit expensive though. I typically spend 5 or 6 dollars on a roll, but each was about 8. Chicago can be more pricey, so I wasn’t super shocked by it. I would love to go back to Revival sometime to try out the other spots and try out the sweet potato roll at Tomi! Have you tried any new restaurants lately?



Weekend In The Carolinas

This post is a little late, but I definitely wanted to share some highlights from my trip to North and South Carolina this weekend with Connor. It will probably be super long, so hopefully you hang around until the end! I flew out Friday evening from Chicago to meet up with Connor in Nashville. He was there for a few days after Christmas, so we thought it would be smart for me to meet up there. Connor and his uncle picked me up from the airport and we headed straight to my favorite restaurant there, Two Ten Jack. It is a ramen place with yummy ramen, appetizers, and drinks. We got a few different apps to share: the spicy miso edamame and giant fries with a yummy sauce. I got my usual vegetable ramen with an egg and the boys got tonkatsu ramen. After dinner, I was super full and tired, so I went to sleep so we could get up early and head to South Carolina.

We left for South Carolina around 7am. Our first stop was Congaree National Park, just outside of Columbia. We got there in the afternoon around 2pm and immediately started walking through the park. The nice thing about this park, especially since we got there pretty late in the afternoon, is that it is pretty small and the main trail was actually a board walk that goes above all of the swampy water. There are some other trails, but they were a bit long for our timing. It was also really flooded, so it was nice walking above the water. My favorite part of the park was the reflection of the trees into the water. It was such a nice day out, so we got lucky with that too. We walked around for a couple of hours, then decided to head out. I really enjoyed the park. It reminded me of a mix of Cuyahoga National Park and the Everglades, which are two parks I have been to with Connor in the past.

We checked into our hotel and Connor picked dinner. He decided on a BBQ place called Palmetto Pig. I am not a huge BBQ fan as I am a vegetarian, but usually there are some good sides that I can mix and match. I ordered a side of potato salad (weird because I don’t like potatoes or potato salad lol) and a side of macaroni and cheese (it was so good). I also tried the hush puppies that came with Connor’s BBQ sandwich. They were the best hush puppies I have ever had, and probably the only ones I have ever liked. They reminded me of mini donuts. After dinner, to end off the night, we went to a bar called Bourbon. It was a really nice bar that obviously specialized in whiskey and bourbon drinks, but had other cocktails. I tried two different drinks: “The Doubtfire” and “The Bulleit Sour.” The first was one of my favorite drinks I have ever tried, and I definitely miss it already. I guess I will have to learn how to make it. The second drink had bourbon in it, which I don’t normally like, but I thought it would be good to branch out and try something new. We had a really nice time there, and it was definitely one of my favorite parts of the whole trip.

The next morning we hopped in the car after the hotel breakfast and headed toward Asheville, North Carolina. Before we got to Asheville, we wanted to make a stop at Mount Mitchell. It is the highest peak in the U.S. east of the Mississippi River (6683 feet high), so that was pretty neat. The drive up the mountain was long, but there were a lot of great views and photo opportunities. We drove up all the way to the peak, and met a few people who hiked all the way up. I took a photo of them near a sign with the elevation. They offered to take one of Connor and I, but we didn’t actually hike up the mountain, which I thought was funny for some reason. The top of the mountain was really foggy, so it was hard to see, but the views on our way up, and eventually back down were so pretty!

Once we made it down the mountain, our destination was Asheville. It was about a 45 minute drive from Mount Mitchell. We parked in a parking garage (Asheville had a ton of parking which was great, especially because it was so crowded). We walked around and got a feel for the restaurants, shops, etc. We went into a few shops and tried to decide where to eat. We ultimately decided on White Duck Taco Shop. We each ordered some tacos and drinks. I got the Bahn Mi Tofu Taco and the Korean “Beef” Taco (the beef was jackfruit). Connor got the Thai Peanut Taco, the Fish Taco, and the Jerk Chicken Taco. Overall, we liked our food and I was happy to try out jackfruit as a meat substitution.

We walked around a bit more after dinner, and ended up at one of the places I really wanted to go in Asheville, Double D’s Coffee. It is a double decker bus with a coffee shop inside. Basically, you order downstairs (it is cash only, so make sure you get cash out ahead of time) and can either sit upstairs or outside at a bunch of tables. It was really cute and really yummy. I got a Lavender Honey Latte and Connor got the Creme Brue Latte. After our evening coffee (lol), we decided to call in a night.

The next morning we got up and drove over to Biscuit Head for breakfast. We knew it would get crowded really fast, so we wanted to get there relatively early. There are two locations and we went to the one in West Asheville. I would recommend getting there before 9am, as it got super crowded after we sat down. Biscuit Head is a cool spot because they serve cat head biscuits, which are much bigger than the traditional biscuits that we typically think of. I had the Asheville Benedict, which was a biscuit with chive cream cheese, hollandaise sauce, veggies, and poached eggs. Connor got the Mimosa Fried Chicken Biscuit which was a biscuit with apple butter, fried chicken, and a poached egg. We also got the biscuit donuts to share, mostly because I had never tried a biscuit donut. They are exactly what you would expect, but I liked them because they weren’t too sweet. They came with a lemon curd if you wanted them sweeter! If you decide to go to Biscuit Head, definitely get there early and take advantage of the Jam Bar. Connor and I didn’t notice it until we were leaving, but it is an area with a bunch of different jams to put on the biscuits. There were classic flavors you would expect and more unique flavors!

To end off our trip, we drove through the River Arts District for the second time. I didn’t mention this before because it really wasn’t a huge highlight. There are a bunch of art galleries and a few cute murals. I liked some of the murals and snapped some photos of them, but other than that, I wasn’t super excited about the River Arts District. I think it would be a great place to go if you are a photographer or artist because it would be interesting and provide a backdrop for photos. It might not have seemed as nice because the weather was a bit gloomy. I think it would be more fun to walk around in the summer with the sun shining.

Overall, our short trip was really fun. Connor and I wanted to go to another National Park before the end of the year, so we were happy we were able to go to Congaree and meet that goal. Columbia and Asheville were both cute little cities and fun to explore. Asheville definitely has more to do, but I think I liked Columbia a little bit better. The Christmas lights were still up, which was pretty and everyone there was so kind! I can’t wait to go on our next trip. I have a few places in mind, so we will see where we adventure to next! Do you have any travel plans for the upcoming months/year?



Highlights From 2018

1. I started out 2018 with some of my best friends in Bloomington Indiana. I impulse bought a giant teddy bear (it was only 8 dollars) which I ended up gifting to one of my friends at Day Camp this summer.

2. I went on spring break with my friends to Miami. A big highlight from that trip was visiting the Museum of Ice Cream with Connor. It was so cute, colorful, and yummy.

3. Connor and I celebrated 2 years together with a trip to Cuyahoga National Park in Ohio! The weather was nice, the park was pretty, and the ramen after hiking was delicious.

4. I graduated from Indiana University!

5. I went on vacation to Sanibel, Florida with my family and stayed at a cute little cottage.

6. I went to the Indy 500 for the first time. I feel like this is a common Indiana tradition, but I had never been!

7. I worked at Day Camp all summer. I got to spend my days with the cutest 5 and 6 years olds ever and some really fun counselors! I will always have a special place in my heart for the months I spent there!

8. I enjoyed a lake weekend with my college friends. It rained most of the time, but we still had a wonderful time together!

9. I moved into my own place with Connor in Chicago. After living in Chicago the previous summer, I knew I needed to go back!

10. I started my first job at the same place I interned at the summer before. I have made some great friends there and have learned a lot so far.

11. I visited the World’s Largest Gnome in Iowa. I also got to see a good friend while I was there. Really thankful Connor drove me 10 hours in one day to see it.

12. Connor and I traveled to a bunch of different cities in the Midwest. We visited Tom in Minnesota, Shanon in Wisconsin, and Noah in Michigan. Seeing friends is always a highlight, especially post graduation!

13. I visited my friend Sam in Nashville with Connor and Noah. It was so fun seeing her and getting to explore Nashville even more.

14. I went back to IU for homecoming with all of my college friends. We tailgated and went to our favorite bars.

15. I came home to celebrate Christmas with my family and friends. I got to see a few of my best friends and try a couple new restaurants with them.

16. Connor and I took a little trip to end off the year. We visited Congaree National Park, Columbia South Carolina, and Asheville North Carolina. We spent some time in nature, which I have missed, and got to explore some cool little towns and restaurants! I will share more in a blog post later this week.

Overall, 2018 was a good year. It brought lots of change, but also so many good memories, trips, meals, and friendships. I am excited to have an even better year in 2019. What are some highlights from your year?

FOOD, goals, PODCASTS, running, TRAVEL

My Goals For 2019

I have always done a post like this at the end of the year. I will have a highlights post as well, just because that is fun. But for now I have a list of realistic goals for this year. They are all things I actually want to do. I have realized that there is no reason to wait to do something. There is always a way, even if it isn’t always the easiest route.

1. Blog consistently- I think 2018 was my most consistent year yet. I feel happiest when I am posting blogs and reading other blog posts! I hope to share more of my travels, restaurant adventures, and experiences in 2019.

2. Visit NYC- I have been wanting to do this for awhile. I have never been and exploring another big city would bring endless possibilities. Plus, I would love to visit one of my best friends!

3. Start a podcast- This has been on so many of my goal lists lately. I love podcasts, as you know, and would love to create one of my own. I need to have a solid planning session and look into any necessary equipment.

4. Travel to 3 new places- Travel is something I really want to focus on and make a reality in 2019. I would love to go many other places, but at least 3 new places would be fun. I am interested in going to Nevada, Utah, Maine, Vermont in the fall, and Arizona in 2019. Going back to Miami is another trip I’d be happy to take.

5. Learn to cook- I can make all the basic meals I like, but I’d love to be able to make some nicer meals with Connor. It’s fun to change things up and we have quite a few cook books that have a lot of good recipes!

I have a million other goals related to running, my job, friendships, and overall happiness. But these are just a few I want to focus on. I finally got my flossing routine down in 2018, so that’s one goal I have finally met. What are your goals for 2019?