Friday, October 2, 2015

Chicago 360


So you probably have noticed that I haven't posted in quite a long time. It isn't the lack of free time, I promise you that. I was nervous to write a post like this, but if I can't share what's going on in my life on here..then what's the point?

To be honest, I hate Chicago.

I have been trying sooooooo hard to find my spot within the city. Or even just one friend to explore it with. It is a strange feeling. I have been a lot of cities and have never felt this way before. When I was in London, I had some trouble adjusting. But it was different.

London was AMAZING from the moment I arrived. The only problem was that I felt I like I was on the outside of the amazing-ness. So, I pushed myself to keep exploring and keep asking people to do things until I found my spots, my neighborhoods, my friends, etc. 

With Chicago...I can't find the amazing spots, neighborhoods, or people. I realize this is all coming out very isn't that I haven't seen some great spots, cool neighborhoods, and fun people...they just don't feel like they could ever be my spots, neighborhoods, or people...does that make sense? 

To make things worse, I have been here 4 months and the feeling is only getting stronger. 4 months is how long I lived in London and how long I lived in Rome. I understand that studying abroad and even living abroad is different from living in a midwest city but I didn't realize it would be this different. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

This weekend I:

Watched: my first movie at the theater since I moved to Chicago 
Listened: my mom talk about the new game app she is playing 
Learned: being brave is hard 
Ate: AMAZING queso from Bar Cocina 
Read: GoogleMaps directions to drive all over Chicago 
Drank: mini wine bottles 
Thought: you can't do this...yes you you can't....YES YOU CAN! 
Wished: I could see the future 
Realized: my mom doesn't know how much I look up to and admire her 
Bought: gluten-less doughnuts! 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Exploring: The Lincoln Park Zoo

Well, hello!

As the summer starts to draw to a close, I can just feel my student loan payments creeping around the corner. With that in mind, I have been trying to focus on all the free (amazing) things to do in Chi-Town! I was pretty surprised when I realized that, that list included the Lincoln Park Zoo!

I am not the biggest fans of zoos in general...I get a little bored and tired walking around, hehe. So, I am not sure if it is because I didn't have to pay or if this zoo is really just that amazing, but I LOVED it! 

The animals always seem to be out and about, there are photos opps around every corner, and did I mention that it is free? 

I can't wait to go back again and next time with my nephew! 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Caffeine Kick: Cold Brew

Wake up, wake up!

Somehow, I have become even more addicted to coffee since moving to Chicago..or should I say since I started living the 8-5pm work-life.

I feel like it seems as though I am complaining but, honestly, I LOVE it! I feel like Lorelei Gilmore. I drink at least two cups every morning and usually get another one or two cups in after lunch. During the week, it is easy to fuel this addiction with the amazing Yelp cafe, providing me with as many lattes and cappuccinos as I can handle (which in reality is probably just two cups).

The weekend is a different story. In an attempt to spend the least amount of money possible, I only order lattes when I can use the Popular Pays app. Otherwise, I get drip-coffee, iced coffee, or...COLD BREW.

That's right, folks. I have been trying to jump onto the cold brew train. It took me a while to truly enjoy iced coffee and it is taking me even longer to get into cold brew.

Don't ask me why...maybe it is just something I do or maybe it is a coffee-drinker thing...but I kind of like the challenge of having to get used to a new type of coffee drink.

Here is my current coffee drinking progression:

  1. decaf coffee at family functions during dessert
  2. coffee from gas stations
  3. drip coffee
  4. a dabble with espresso shots during my semester in Rome
  5. flavored lattes
  6. Starbucks macchiatos (the Starbucks part is key)
  7. flat whites during my semester in London
  8. iced coffee
  9. cold brew

Friday, August 14, 2015

Exploring: Lakeview

Hello, hello! 

I think it's about time that this city started to feel like home to me. My family's first visit felt more like a vacation rather than me actually showing them around where I live. We went to places I had never been before and experienced things I hadn't yet tried. 

But recently, my mom came up for the weekend and this time it was a little different.

We went to restaurants in my neighborhood including Glaze and Wheat's End. We walked the streets that I travel on everyday. It felt great to show her around and take her to some of my favorite places! The highlight of our day was, of course, grocery shopping in the biggest Aldi we have ever been in! It was so great to do something routine but enjoy it a lot more because I did it with my mom. 

Not only did my mom visit but, as my Instagram and Snapchat followers know, my pup visited too! Chicago is truly a brilliant city for dogs, especially in my neighborhood. I can't imagine taking Molly out on the coldest of days here in the city, but in the Summer, Chi-Town should be called Dog-Town...I know, that was cheesy but I couldn't help myself. 

It was sad to see my mom leave and sometimes I still wish I just lived in Pittsburgh with her and the rest of my family and friends, but it I am feeling happier to be here with every day that passes. Plus, I will be home in a few weeks for a friend's wedding, so I can't really complain anyways!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Outfit of the day!!

(top: Forever 21 biker shorts: Forever 21 sandals: Birkenstocks bag: h&m) 

Friday, August 7, 2015

Bartelme Park

Hello, everyone!

Do you know what my favorite thing about a city is? The public parks. I feel like you can really get to know a new city, or even just a new part of your town, by spending an afternoon exploring a new public park.

This probably isn't a shock to most of you, this blog does hold it's own section labeled London Parks :)

 Don't get me wrong I love walking into a train full of people, zooming straight into the center of town, and exploring the crowded streets...but sometimes I can't help but feel a little pressured and self-conscious surrounded so closely by everyone.

On days when I feel like this, I find myself grabbing a good book, my iPhone, and heading straight the closest public park.

Most recently, I travelled to Bartleme Park in Chicago! After my whole family spent the night in my small, studio apartment, we were all desperate for a little space to stretch our legs. It was just what we needed! There was plenty of grass to nap on, public art to Instagram, a play area for my nephew, and a lemonade stand! 

I am excited to see how all of these public spaces are transformed in the winter. I just can't even imagine what this place will look like covered in snow. The scary thing is that I won't have to try to imagine it for much longer. Somehow, I have already lived in Chicago for two months and time doesn't seem to be slowing down! 

Monday, August 3, 2015

This weekend I:

Watched: my favorite tv shows with my mom 
Listened: to my pup (Molly) bark at every dog that passed her in Chicago 
Learned: that my ideal day is pretty much identical to my mom's ideal day 
Ate: zero gluten all weekend! 
Read: the first few chapters of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Drank: Moscato from Trader Joe's 
Thought: that work will be amazing this week if I just keep my attitude positive
Wished: I could have a dog in my apartment...aka Molly 
Realized: that eating gluten free isn't always that difficult 
Bought: soooo many groceries from Aldi because we had a car to bring it home in! 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

No Reservations: PHO

Hiya, everyone!

Today's post is a little different. It doesn't have the happy ending that usually follows my decision to have no reservations and try something new.

To be honest, I had been wanting to try pho for quite a while and when I finally had the chance, I ordered the craziest version of it I could find on the menu. Most of the words in the description were ones I had never heard of, but I went ahead and ordered it anyways. I figured, like most of my no res choices, it would pay off and be one of the best dishes ever.....

I was wrong. I think I just ordered too much. Every time I dipped my spoon in the bowl, I wasn't sure what was going to come out. It was weird and it made me realize that texture has a lot to do with my preferences.

Overall, I think I would try pho again but I would not order the same thing. It had a lot of different things in it and ended up having little flavor. I have heard that chicken pho has a better taste but I'll have to get back to you on that!

Does anyone have any suggestions for my next pho attempt? I want to like it so much, haha.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Outfit of the day!!

Shirt: Forever 21 Flannel: Forever 21 Skirt: Forever 21 Shoes: Birkenstocks Earrings: h&m

Monday, July 27, 2015

This weekend I:

Watched: so many episodes of Gilmore Girls 
Listened: to the tiger at the Lincoln Park growl 
Learned: that I can get a lot of things done on a Saturday, including nap 
Ate: spaghetti on Sunday, as usual 
Read: a few chapters of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone 
Drank: wayyy too many cups of coffee 
Thought: about how next weekend my mom is going to be here with Molly!!! 
Wished: I was Lorelai Gilmore 
Realized: that I want to go to Six Flags 
Bought: the cutest mug in the world that I shouldn't have bought because I have no money 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Chicago Instagram Spot: The Chicken Shop

Hi, hello! How are you guys today?

You know what I have been dreaming about all week? The delicious golden fries that I recently had at The Chicken Shop. Making them even better was that I got them for free using Popular Pays.

To be honest they were just the cherry on top of the most amazing lunch I have had in Chicago thus far! The Chicken Shop is located on the second floor of the Chicago Soho House. As you walk into the Soho house, you are in the gorgeous Allis lobby. Cozy chairs, vintage chandeliers, and warm colors surround you.

Once you get upstairs to the Chicken Shop, the feeling is similar but a bit more laid-back. It felt like I had stepped into another time. Everything looked like it was out of the 1930s and the sun was shining through the lace curtains in such a lovely way.

My family and I conveniently had the place almost all to ourselves. Jack got to run around and try out every chair that looked comfy to him and I got to take as many pictures as I wanted (which is quite a lot :p). It was nice to be able to experience a spot that I had been seeing on Instagram for months and it was even better that I got to experience it with my family. 

I can't wait to go back to the Soho house and try one of the other restaurants! Maybe one day I will become a my dreams, at least. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A visit to Yelp

Hello, hello! How is everyone on this very long Wednesday?

Since today at work wasn't my favorite, I thought I would relive the amazing day when my sister and nephew came to visit me at the office!

I felt so grownup as I signed them into the, adult me, was having visitors at my full-time job! Just so crazy.

I loved showing them off to everyone that I have met at work so far. People were going crazy for Jack. They just couldn't take how cute he was :) 

Not only that, but it was really cool seeing Annie's reaction to the office space. I feel like once I started having to be there everyday for 8 hours, I kind of forgot all the unique and beautiful things that I noticed on my first day. She helped me remember and walk in the next day with renewed appreciation for it. 

Don't forget to keep checking back to see what other places Annie, Jack, and I explored while they were here! 

Monday, July 20, 2015

This weekend I:

Watched: a couple movies on HBOgo :) 
Listened: my papap talk to me on the phone 
Learned: making friends takes more time than I think 
Ate: homemade ham barbecue 
Read: the newest issue of Vogue  
Drank: just the right amount of drinks at happy hour 
Thought: in no time I'll be heading to Pittsburgh for the weekend 
Wished: I had tons of money...
Realized: I rock at cooking and have forgotten that since I moved to Chicago 
Bought: groceries 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Ulta Haul

Well, hello! How is everyone? Needless to say, I am doing great (I did just get a haul from Ulta, hehe). Thankfully, I can say that I got some amazing deals on the items below and am excited to use all of this new makeup to spice up my beauty routine! 

L'Oreal (40% off sale): 
True Match LUMI // $6.23 plus 20% off coupon

Miss Spa:
Detoxifying Self-heating Facial Creme Mask // $2.99

Chloe Perfume Pen Spray // $25.00

NYX (40% off sale):
Curvaceous Mascara // $4.19 
Pink Perfect Color Mascara // $4.19
Black Cherry Tart Intense Butter Gloss // $3.59
Snow White Round Lip Stick // $2.39
Retractable Eye Liners // $2.59
Aqua Green