FAVORITES

A Few Favs

Happy Tuesday! I love Tuesdays because there are new episodes of my favorite podcast, “What We Said.” I thought I’d share a few of my latest favorites with y’all.

1. Glowrecipe Watermelon Sleeping Mask: I love this mask for many reasons. First, it makes my skin feel so soft. It is super low maintenance. I put it on after I shower, sleep with it on, and then wash my face in the morning. Finally, it’s adorable and smells great. The watermelon scent is so fresh, and isn’t too strong where it’s annoying.

2. Fresh orange juice: This might be a favorite because I was sick over the weekend and had SO much orange juice, but it’s so yummy. We don’t make our juice (probably should start), but we grab the fresh squeezed bottles from the produce section at the grocery store. It is way better than the stuff we were getting on the juice aisle.

3. Blackout podcast: I heard ads for this podcast while listening to another podcast. It’s not my typical podcast choice, but I like that is a bit more exciting and tells a story. Also, the audio is really nice. I feel like I’m part of the story. Today when I was listening, I heard people laughing and I thought it was a group down the street. It was actually the podcast haha.

4. Overnight oats: I have been having these for breakfast for a couple months now. I use rolled oats, cinnamon, frozen blueberries, and almond milk in a container over night. In the morning, I heat them up and then add a spoonful of peanut butter! So tasty and so filling! The more blueberries the better in my opinion.

5. Gossip Girl: I started this when I was sick over the weekend. I did absolutely nothing all weekend, so started Gossip Girl. I am almost to season 3 already (that is concerning haha), but the drama in the show is just too funny to me that I can’t stop watching. I think Jenny is my favorite character as of right now.

What are some of your favorites right now? Let me know in the comments, I am always looking for new foods, podcasts, shows, books, activities, etc. to try out!

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FAVORITES, LIFE

Questions For You!!

I was thinking about this post while I was making a bagel for Connor today. I thought about how I always talk about my thoughts, my weekend, etc. in my blog posts. I would love to learn more about all of you, so I thought it would be fun to put some questions together for you to answer in the comments, or even in your own post!

1. What are some of your hobbies?

2. How long have you been blogging or reading blogs?

3. If you could only eat one thing everyday, what would it be?

4. Favorite vacation spot?

5. Dream vacation spot?

6. What is one thing that always makes you happy?

7. What is your go-to coffee/tea order?

8. What is your biggest goal right now?

9. What motivates you the most?

10. What is your favorite way to relax?

11. If you could move anywhere, where would you move?

12. What is the best advice you have ever been given?

Feel free to answer all of the questions or some of the questions! I will share my answers in my next post.

Thanks for following along with all of my random posts– blogging is one of my favorite things that I do each week. I look forward to posting and reading all of your posts. I hope you all have the best day!

CHICAGO, FAVORITES, FOOD

The Best Parlor Pizza?

If you’re a local to Chicago, you have probably heard of Parlor Pizza. It’s a restaurant that serves pizza, drinks, desserts, and yummy cocktails. It isn’t my favorite pizza place, but I think it’s a really fun place to go!

There are actually three of them in Chicago. One in West Loop, one in Wicker Park, and the newest location is in River North. It’s definitely one of those restaurants that falls into the category of “instagrammable.” It had a neon signs, murals, and of course, the food.

I was at the River North location the other day, and decided to do a blog post about all three locations. I have been to each and think there are two clear “winners,” depending on the season.

To set the scene, all restaurants have the same menu, at least from what I can tell. The prices are honestly a little high. The appetizers are each like 15 dollars on average. Drinks are around 12 dollars (I don’t think this is terrible for Chicago and they are decent size drinks). And the pizzas are in the range of 12-20 dollars each. Keep in mind they are smaller pizzas, coming with 6 slices. There are typical pizzas on the menu, but also some fun ones using different meats, veggies, cheeses, and even honey. My favorite pizza is the “Cheesus, Mary, and Joseph.” If you ever end up at one of the locations, I recommend that pizza the most!

Now onto the locations: I visited the West Loop location first in August or September. It was super crowded and I ate inside. The actual location was cute. There are murals, like the classic pizza wings to take photos with. There is a patio area, but I didn’t get to enjoy it because it was so crowded. I feel like all locations tend to be crowded, but for some reason I think this location seems smaller.

The Wicker Park location is one of my favorites, but specifically for summer. I went in October, so I did eat inside, but there is a huge patio area. The actual restaurant is cute and there are murals, of course. I think the environment at this location is best for summer. So if you visit during the warmer months, I’d recommend the Wicker Park Parlor Pizza.

My most recent visit was to the River North location. It is new, so I imagine they had ideas on how they wanted it to be. I personally loved this location. The bar area was big enough where you could enjoy a drink while you wait for your table. The place seemed huge, especially for River North. And the murals and neon signs were really cute. I’d say this is the best Parlor Pizza for the winter months. There really isn’t a patio area, but it’s really spacious for the colder months when you don’t want to be outside!

Have you been to Parlor Pizza? Which location did you go to, or do you have a favorite? What is your favorite pizza in Chicago or beyond?

FAVORITES

Current Favorites

I usually do these at the beginning or end of the month, but here we are in the middle of February with a favorites post. I got a few gifts for my birthday and Christmas that I have been loving. There are also some other random things thrown in here. I linked most of the clothing/products within the post if you want to check out any of the things I mentioned!

1. Outdoor Voices leggings: I ordered a pair of these leggings on Black Friday. They were really discounted and I heard great things about them! I got them in the color Scarlett and I love them. The red color is fun and reminds me of IU. The fabric is super comfy and I like that the waist can be adjusted so they aren’t falling down during a run. They are a bit pricey, but definitely worth it. Outdoor voices has other clothes too, and I want to get the matching workout top to the pants sometime!

2. Quip toothbrush: My dad got me this toothbrush for Christmas. I have the gold metal one. I decided shortly before Christmas that I really wanted an electric toothbrush, so I was pretty excited. I love that it times out brushing to 2 minutes, so you make sure you are brushing long enough. I also like how clean my teeth feel after using it. The toothbrushes are pretty affordable and come in many different colors!

3. Trader Joe’s Rose Face Mask: This mask came in a set of three and I have mentioned the trio in a previous post. I think I paid 6 or 7 dollars for all three masks, and this is my favorite. I love the rose scent and the way it makes my face feel so clean and hydrated. It’s very affordable, so if you are looking to try out face masks, this could be a good starter. I don’t see it online for the price I paid, but keep an eye out for it in stores!

4. Velvet SPANX leggings: I got these for my birthday back in December. I had heard a bit about SPANX leggings from influencers I follow on Instagram. They are a bit pricy, but look great with a lot of different outfits. I like that they are velvet because they can make a plain, casual outfit look more fun! I wear them with sweaters and boots mainly, but I have worn them with a sweatshirt and sneakers, too!

5. Little hoop earrings: I have been wearing my small hoop earrings for the past two months or so. I got a pack at Target last spring and I love them. I have a gold pair and a silver pair. I usually stick to silver, but prefer the gold. They make you look more put together and add a little sparkle to even the plainest outfits. I linked a similar pair here in gold.

6. Running: I have been pretty good about running lately. It has been fun and relaxing to run after work. I haven’t gone this week, mostly because it has been so cold, but I am making sure to prioritize it more. I find myself smiling on the treadmill and wanting to run longer, so I’d say it’s been going well.

7. Cottage cheese: My love for cottage cheese is back. I have been putting it on my cauliflower rice and just eating it as a side for lunch. I love putting pepper on it to add a little spice. It’s so filling and full of protein. I usually get the Friendly Farms brand at Aldi, but if you are near a Kroger, their cottage cheese is much better.

8. “Just for a Moment” by Gryffin: This is my favorite song right now. I love running to it and honestly smile walking through the city when I listen to it. You gotta love a song that gets you pumped up to workout or just generally excited about life.

9. Peet’s Coffee: Peet’s is on track to be my favorite chain coffee shop ever. I go way too often. I love that they have matcha because other coffee shops nearby don’t. They even have a golden matcha right now, which is good too. The people are nice and know my order. There is also an app to get rewards and it just feels a lot better in the actual shop than places like Dunkin’ (still love Dunkin’) or a Starbucks (not a Starbucks fan though).

What were some of your favorites right now? Any song or podcast recommendations? I am trying to listen to more music because I am always listening to podcasts.

ENTERTAINMENT, FAVORITES, FOOD, TRAVEL

Must-See In Miami

Connor and I took a long weekend in Miami, Florida. We have both been to Miami a few times, so we had an idea of places we wanted to go, and places we didn’t want to go. I was super excited for the trip because of the warmth, the beach, and some places I wanted to try/see. Here are some recommendations for a trip to Miami (these are basically the highlights of our trip this past weekend).

1. The Salty Donut: I was really looking forward to this spot and it did not disappoint. We went to breakfast on Friday morning. The Salty Donut is in Wynwood, so it was a perfect first stop for our day. We got 4 different donuts, as well as 2 donut holes. We tried Strawberry Shortcake, Hazelnut Chocolate, Guava & Cheese, and Pomegranate Citrus. The donut holes were Strawberry Mimosa and I loved them. They may have been my favorite. When you visit, you definitely need to try the Strawberry Shortcake. It was incredible. I do not recommend the Hazelnut Chocolate, but that may be personal preference. They are always creating new flavors, so I’d recommend checking out Instagram to see which donuts they have before you go! Overall, an amazing shop and perfect donuts.

2. Wynwood Walls: Wynwood is definitely my favorite part of Miami, other than the beach. It’s so colorful and full of great food/drink spots. The murals are awesome. There is the main Wynwood Wall area that opens and closes each day, but there are also tons of other murals throughout. You could walk around for an hour or 2 and still miss some cool ones.

3. Miami Mojito Company: Connor and I had our share of mojitos in Miami. One of our favorite places we had them at was a little bar that only served mojitos. It is also in Wynwood and surrounded by other bars and restaurants. It had a ton of different flavors (ginger, raspberry, blackberry, mango, etc.) We got raspberry and blackberry and you could taste how fresh they were. The actual bar is adorable too. The seating definitely increased since we were there last year, so it was a great spot to hang out!

4. The Wood Tavern: This is a bar in Wynwood as well. It’s cool because there is an indoor part and an outdoor park. The drinks are typical of most bars, but there are also some signature cocktails. I didn’t have a cocktail I loved this time around, but I loved the one I got last year. It’s a great place to go with friends, to sit outside, or even dance (there is a pretty big dance floor and a DJ). The drinks aren’t too pricy either, which is another plus!

5. 1-800 Lucky: I love this place. It’s basically a food hall/club with all sorts of Asian inspired food. There is Thai food, poke, sushi, dumplings, ramen, ice cream, etc. It is also a bar and there is a DJ. I have never gotten a drink there, but I’d suspect they are pretty good since the bar area is always so crowded. The music is good and pretty loud. I have tried a few different places in there: the poke is great, the veggie dumplings are yummy, and I got the matcha/sesame ice cream over spring break last year (highly recommend).

6. Little Havana: Connor and I had a hard time finding Little Havana, but it was well worth the walk. I’m pretty sure we just got out of the Uber a bit too soon. I definitely recommend driving/Ubering to the Visitors Center. It puts you right in the heart of Little Havana. There are tons of shops, restaurants, murals, mojitos, etc. We didn’t eat while we were there because we had so many donuts, but I wish we had been hungry. The food looked amazing. We did have some mojitos though. They were so refreshing for the hot day, and they were well garnished. I think they were around 15 dollars, which is a bit pricy, but it was the best mojito I have ever had.

7. Las Olas: Connor got this recommendation from one of Anthony Bourdain’s shows. It is a Cuban restaurant in South Beach. You can either get food more cafeteria style or get something made to order. I went with rice and veggies as that was the most vegetarian option. It was super good. Connor got plantains, pork, and rice, which he liked. When we originally got there, we didn’t realize you could get food made to order, so I think he wished he had a gotten a Cuban sandwich. We also got espressos and they were really tasty. Las Olas was definitely a good choice for some authentic Cuban food and it was great for any travel budget.

8. Bacon Bitch: Connor and I saw this ranked pretty high on Yelp for breakfast/brunch. Since the menu was primarily bacon-oriented, I opted out of this one. I did however love the restaurant and all of the details that went into it. If you are vegetarian, there is one veggie option, it just wasn’t for me (I don’t love hummus). Connor ended up getting The Bacon (bacon, spinach, tomato jam, and an aioli). He really liked it and it was around 10 dollars, which isn’t bad for a trendy restaurant in South Beach.

9. DIRT: This restaurant was the kind of restaurant I would eat at every day if I lived in Miami. It’s a healthy spot with juice, breakfast bowls, toast, coffee, tea, etc. I pretty much wanted everything on the menu, but I ended up getting the Winter Breakfast Bowl (eggs, farro, broccoli, carrots, pickled onions, aioli, and salsa verde). It was so yummy and exactly what I was craving. Hopefully someday I can go back to try the toasts and the smoothie bowls!

10. Beach: I assume this is obvious, but you have to go to the beach in Miami. I personally don’t think it matters which area you go to, it is all pretty much the same. We hung out at South Beach this time around, but Mid Beach is good too! The water is such a nice blue color and it’s definitely a great place to work on your tan (or sunburn if you are me). Make sure to bring some sunscreen and some snacks in case you get hungry (we ended up leaving the beach sooner than planned because we got hungry haha).

FAVORITES, LIFE

Five Traits + Six Favorites

I saw a fellow blogger, Becky Turner, post this on her blog and thought it looked fun! You can find her posts here. Basically, I’m going to share five traits I have and six of my favorites. If you read this and want to share your traits and favorites, I’d love to read your post! Or comment some of them on this post!

Five Traits

1. Conscientious: I have always been very aware of what I need to do and make sure to get it done. I make sure I am doing the right thing in everything I do. I think this was helpful for me throughout school, sports, and my job now.

2. Reliable: I always follow through on things I say I am going to do. I don’t like letting people down and want to make sure people can count on me! This definitely ties in with being conscientious.

3. Outgoing: I am a pretty extroverted and energized person. I am a huge morning person and try to have a smile on my face as much as possible. I love talking and I think that plays into me being outgoing as well.

4. Creative: I have been a pretty creative, imaginative person since I was little. I have always loved making up ideas and then bringing them to life. Right now, I try to be creative with my blog and instagram. Hopefully some new ventures will come to life this year!

5. Timely: This one is kind of random, but I love being early and am almost always on time (unless something stops be from being on time).

Six Favorites

1. My favorite genre of music is podcasts haha (not sure if that counts).

2. My favorite foods are ramen, cottage cheese, and blueberries.

3. I love traveling, so my favorite vacation spot is Miami.

4. My favorite animal is a cow.

5. My favorite color is green.

6. My favorite show of all time is “The Fosters.” I am watching the spin-off show, “Good Trouble,” now because I loved “The Fosters” so much growing up.

CHICAGO, ENTERTAINMENT, FAVORITES, FOOD, hobbies, job, LIFE

Chicago Life Update: I Have Been Living/Working In Chicago For 6 Months Now!!

If you have been following along with my posts, you’ll know that I recently moved to Chicago. By recently, I mean 6 months ago!! This post is my 6 month update.

I won’t make this post too long, but I just want to share some things I have enjoyed and learned since moving here. In general, I love Chicago. It’s a great city with lots to do. I can’t say the winter is my favorite, but it hasn’t been too bad. I think it’s kind of funny how cold it has been and seeing how much the city and the train empties when the weather is bad.

I have loved exploring the city. Of course, the actual city is great, but I like the neighborhoods throughout the best. Andersonville, Logan Square, and Wicker Park are some areas I really like. There is great food and lots of places to explore (mostly in the summer).

My apartment has been great so far. It’s a little small for Connor and I, but it has done the job. It was recently renovated before we moved in, so we haven’t had any issues and we have definitely made it a home.

My job, the whole reason I even moved to Chicago, is good. I love my coworkers and am happy we have all become friends. There are a lot of good opportunities ahead, so that is fun to look forward to.

I have found a bunch of coffee shops and restaurants I like. I have posted about most of them, but I love that I can try out so many new places. I hope to try all of the ramen in Chicago and keep finding new coffee shops each weekend. I have a list of many more I want to try, and I will be sure to do a post of my overall favorites sometime in the future.

My biggest complaint about Chicago is the grocery shopping situation. Especially in the winter, I really dread it. In the summer we walk and carry our bags about a mile. That’s not terrible because it’s warm. But now that it’s winter, heading out to Aldi is not my favorite. Also, groceries are expensive here if you don’t go to Aldi or Trader Joe’s. I miss my favorite Krogers in Indiana.

My key learning from the past 6 months is related to change, challenges, and new experiences. I feel like we all worry about what the next step of our life is going to be or about change. I have realized that I am almost always ready for any changes or opportunities that arise. Change and new situations can be scary, but I know I am prepared and ready for the challenges and new experiences. I am trying o embrace new things more readily and know that I can take on anything. The past 6 months have really helped me realize that!