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Ganache Cafe De Especialidad 


Hii....

Did you miss me?

Turns out I have some followers other than my close friends.

Amanda, thank you for requesting this post.

For those who have been " following" me on Instagram, you may have seen that I traveled to Buenos Aires and Mendoza,  Argentina in November. The husband planned EVERYTHING so I'll do my best to recall the names of tour groups, restaurants, etc. You can also check out my " InstaStory" where I documented almost every day of my trip.

Buenos Aires

Lodging

We stayed at Palacio Duhu- Park Hyatt. The stay is pricey, but the husband is a travel expert and had some points racked up. There is a beautiful courtyard that connects the older building with a new modern version of the hotel. The courtyard is incredible. We sat out there one day with a bottle of wine and pretended we're fancy. The spa is perfect and if you arrive earlier than check in, which we did, they take care of your bags and let you use the spa facilities early. The neighborhood we stayed in was Recoleta. It had a European feel to it. Streets were filled with expensive boutiques and older ladies with their poodles so if you prefer a more  hip and chill neighborhood I would recommend Palermo.





Restaurants


The first night we checked out the tasting menu at Uco. This restaurant is in Palermo, super hip neighborhood. We didn't get a chance to explore it too much, but I highly recommend checking it out for drinks and food. 

Sidenote: we Ubered to most places. Keep in mind, my husband, Tim, would request Ubers and got cancelled on constantly. When I ordered, I got ZERO cancellation. Could be my incredible Uber rating or just that I was a blonde female. Guess we'll never know. 

The tasting menu here was PERFECT. Additionally, you can add a wine pairing with each meal and that was heavenly. I may or may not have broken a glass after my 5th glass of wine. Oops. 

This whole tasting menu experience is on my " Argentina" story. 


To enjoy a typical Argentine steak, we visited Los Remolinos completely by accident. We were walking over to another restaurant that ended up being closed. We noticed this place and hesitated plainly because of it's outside appearance. BUT. Lesson learned. Never judge a restaurant by it's outside decor. The place is not super fancy, the food is good, and it was PACKED. Looked like it was filled with locals, which was encouraging.  


For dessert, check out Rapanui. They have delicious ice cream.  

Tours 

For our 2nd day, we did a 7 hour bike tour around the city. We had great weather and were able to visit all the top places like La Boca, their stadium, and try out the Argentinian traditional drinks like Mate and Fernet and Coke. The bikes are a little old. Tim's bike totally crapped out on him and flipped him over on the street. Miraculously, he walked away with a few scratches and was given another bike. Keep that in mind if you're traveling with people who are not comfortable on a bike or may be older. 



Uruguay for a Day!


We took a boat to Uruguay and explored for a whole day. Beware of the boat situation. On the way back we were delayed for over an hour and stuck on the boat with no updates on what's going on. Personal opinion on Uruguay.
There is not a a lot to see so I wouldn't recommend going for more than that. We explored Colonial de Sacramento and basically ate, drank, ate and drank for the whole day. 

Breakfast 

This place was perfect. Cute and simple. If you love dogs, you'll be happy to know that there are stray dogs EVERYWHERE in Colonial de Sacramento. I wanted to take them all home.

Found this intimate tea house by accident. We did a sweet tasting menu there with tea. Their cookies and pastries were simply divine. We regrettably couldn't finish it all. 


Queriendote casa de Te y Bistro



Next stop...



Mendoza 

 Mendoza was the perfect trip after BA. It had a country feel, much smaller, and way more locals. Upon arrival to our hotel, we noticed commotion in the park across the street to our hotel. We quickly learned that in a couple days La Boca and River will be playing The Copa Libertadores. The fans gathered in the park, jumping, singing, and playing the drums. It was quite a welcome to Mendoza. I was so excited to see what this city has to offer.

Tours

1. Martin's Bikes

We got very lucky with our bike tour with Martin. The other's in the group cancelled so we had a private tour with Martin! He was great. Picked us up from the hotel, had top notch Trek bikes, and knew wine. We biked around Lujan de Cuyo and visited beautiful wineries. Martin had a great line up of commercial wineries and small family owned wineries. The tour also included a dinner and tasting at Bodegas Nieto Senetiner


2. Termas Cacheuta 

You HAVE to go to these hot springs! We bought the Full Day Spa ticket for around 60 dollars which includes towels, an INCREDIBLE lunch buffet, and pick up and drop off from your hotel in Mendoza. Let me just say that I had low expectations. Boy, was I in for a treat. THE VIEWS! To die for. There is a mud bath option that you do yourself. A bit like the Blue Lagoon in Iceland. Beware: Put on sunscreen! It was a bit chilly out that day, but the sun was strong and I couldn't feel it. Unfortunately, my skin suffered but the memories were worth it. Lunch buffet is served at a certain time. Listen to the tour guide on the bus he will give you all the details. If you want to buy beer with your lunch, make sure to bring some cash. 

Potrerillos, Mendoza




That's all folks! Let me know if you have any questions, and I'll try my best to answer. 

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Malbec in Argentina

Ganache Cafe De Especialidad 


Hii....

Did you miss me?

Turns out I have some followers other than my close friends.

Amanda, thank you for requesting this post.

For those who have been " following" me on Instagram, you may have seen that I traveled to Buenos Aires and Mendoza,  Argentina in November. The husband planned EVERYTHING so I'll do my best to recall the names of tour groups, restaurants, etc. You can also check out my " InstaStory" where I documented almost every day of my trip.

Buenos Aires

Lodging

We stayed at Palacio Duhu- Park Hyatt. The stay is pricey, but the husband is a travel expert and had some points racked up. There is a beautiful courtyard that connects the older building with a new modern version of the hotel. The courtyard is incredible. We sat out there one day with a bottle of wine and pretended we're fancy. The spa is perfect and if you arrive earlier than check in, which we did, they take care of your bags and let you use the spa facilities early. The neighborhood we stayed in was Recoleta. It had a European feel to it. Streets were filled with expensive boutiques and older ladies with their poodles so if you prefer a more  hip and chill neighborhood I would recommend Palermo.





Restaurants


The first night we checked out the tasting menu at Uco. This restaurant is in Palermo, super hip neighborhood. We didn't get a chance to explore it too much, but I highly recommend checking it out for drinks and food. 

Sidenote: we Ubered to most places. Keep in mind, my husband, Tim, would request Ubers and got cancelled on constantly. When I ordered, I got ZERO cancellation. Could be my incredible Uber rating or just that I was a blonde female. Guess we'll never know. 

The tasting menu here was PERFECT. Additionally, you can add a wine pairing with each meal and that was heavenly. I may or may not have broken a glass after my 5th glass of wine. Oops. 

This whole tasting menu experience is on my " Argentina" story. 


To enjoy a typical Argentine steak, we visited Los Remolinos completely by accident. We were walking over to another restaurant that ended up being closed. We noticed this place and hesitated plainly because of it's outside appearance. BUT. Lesson learned. Never judge a restaurant by it's outside decor. The place is not super fancy, the food is good, and it was PACKED. Looked like it was filled with locals, which was encouraging.  


For dessert, check out Rapanui. They have delicious ice cream.  

Tours 

For our 2nd day, we did a 7 hour bike tour around the city. We had great weather and were able to visit all the top places like La Boca, their stadium, and try out the Argentinian traditional drinks like Mate and Fernet and Coke. The bikes are a little old. Tim's bike totally crapped out on him and flipped him over on the street. Miraculously, he walked away with a few scratches and was given another bike. Keep that in mind if you're traveling with people who are not comfortable on a bike or may be older. 



Uruguay for a Day!


We took a boat to Uruguay and explored for a whole day. Beware of the boat situation. On the way back we were delayed for over an hour and stuck on the boat with no updates on what's going on. Personal opinion on Uruguay.
There is not a a lot to see so I wouldn't recommend going for more than that. We explored Colonial de Sacramento and basically ate, drank, ate and drank for the whole day. 

Breakfast 

This place was perfect. Cute and simple. If you love dogs, you'll be happy to know that there are stray dogs EVERYWHERE in Colonial de Sacramento. I wanted to take them all home.

Found this intimate tea house by accident. We did a sweet tasting menu there with tea. Their cookies and pastries were simply divine. We regrettably couldn't finish it all. 


Queriendote casa de Te y Bistro



Next stop...



Mendoza 

 Mendoza was the perfect trip after BA. It had a country feel, much smaller, and way more locals. Upon arrival to our hotel, we noticed commotion in the park across the street to our hotel. We quickly learned that in a couple days La Boca and River will be playing The Copa Libertadores. The fans gathered in the park, jumping, singing, and playing the drums. It was quite a welcome to Mendoza. I was so excited to see what this city has to offer.

Tours

1. Martin's Bikes

We got very lucky with our bike tour with Martin. The other's in the group cancelled so we had a private tour with Martin! He was great. Picked us up from the hotel, had top notch Trek bikes, and knew wine. We biked around Lujan de Cuyo and visited beautiful wineries. Martin had a great line up of commercial wineries and small family owned wineries. The tour also included a dinner and tasting at Bodegas Nieto Senetiner


2. Termas Cacheuta 

You HAVE to go to these hot springs! We bought the Full Day Spa ticket for around 60 dollars which includes towels, an INCREDIBLE lunch buffet, and pick up and drop off from your hotel in Mendoza. Let me just say that I had low expectations. Boy, was I in for a treat. THE VIEWS! To die for. There is a mud bath option that you do yourself. A bit like the Blue Lagoon in Iceland. Beware: Put on sunscreen! It was a bit chilly out that day, but the sun was strong and I couldn't feel it. Unfortunately, my skin suffered but the memories were worth it. Lunch buffet is served at a certain time. Listen to the tour guide on the bus he will give you all the details. If you want to buy beer with your lunch, make sure to bring some cash. 

Potrerillos, Mendoza




That's all folks! Let me know if you have any questions, and I'll try my best to answer. 

As you may already know, 2018 is the year of weddings. My 3 close friends and I, are all getting hitched this year. That involves bridal showers, bachelorettes, other events, and the actual weddings.

This past weekend, we kicked off the first Bachelorette Party of the season. The rain, wind, and snow would NOT prevent this party from happening.


via GIPHY
We started off with a delicious brunch at Beatnik. I was ecstatic that we were able to make a reservation there, as I'm in love with the bohemian design of the place. I couldn't wait to dive into brunch and eat my feelings away, still bitter about the neverending winter. After completing my crossfit challenge, I couldn't wait to divulge into some strips of bacon. Unfortunately, bacon was not on the menu. As a replacement for bacon, we were able to order Mimosa bottle service. Let me tell you, mimosas are no bacon, but they came with the cutest cups of orange juice so you can regulate how much OJ you want in you mimosa. If you're a mimosa drinker, you know that too much OJ is not ideal.

My Top Choices

1. SMOKED SALMON TOAST    /    $12
House Smoked Ora King Salmon, Avocado Mousse, Whipped Goat Cheese, Pickled Cherry Tomatoes

2.FRIED CHICKEN    /    $15
Marinated Chicken Thighs, Pumpkin Seed Hummus, Preserved Lemon Salsa Brava

3.PORK CHEEK FRIED RICE    /    $16
Seasonal Vegetables, Cilantro, Fried Duck Egg, Aleppo Pepper

4.BREAKFAST BREAD PUDDING    /    $10
Apple, Tamarind & Dried Figs Bread Pudding, Preserved Lemon Whipped Cream, Sherry Maple Syrup

After a satisfying brunch, we walked over to a "Flower Arrangement" Class done by Mila Floral School . We learned all about the basics of flower care and creating a simple but bountiful bouquet. The great thing about the class was that we were able to BYOB. Therefore, there was a lot of chatter and pretending to be listening faces. After some independent work, we got on an awesome party bus and explored our own city like a bunch of tourists. In the meantime, the short trips were filled with 90's music, dance parties, and embarrassing attempts on the stripper pole. Hey. YOLO






Floral Design Class

Chicago- The Windy City

After all the craziness, we stopped at the new Big Star in Wrigley and absolutely had to get some tacos and margs. The margs were delicious and the tacos hit the spot. To wrap up the night, the girls finished strong at the Kit Kat Lounge  and enjoyed some dinner and a Drag Queen Performance. The day was perfect and I wouldn't have it any other way. The Bride-to Be was genuinely joyful so props to the Maid of Honor and Bride Tribe crew for putting this together.

Planning a Bachelorette Party in Chicago? Check out the ideas below. 

Brunch Places

1. Summer House Santa Monica - Lincoln Park
2. The Hampton Social- River North, Streeterville, Burr Ridge, Opening in South Barrington in Summer 2018!
3. The Dawson- Right by Grand Blue line

Daytime Activities

1. Bottle & Bottega- Multiple locations
2. Mojo Spa- Wicker Park
3.Aloft Loft-training and performance space for the aerial and circus arts

Night Time Dinner and Drinks

1. The Robey Hotel- Up Room or Cabana Club in Wicker Park
2. Gilt Bar- River North
3. The Loyalist - West Loop

Other places to check out:


At the end of the day, it doesn't matter what you DID, but who you were with, bellies full and thirst quenched. 



Ukrainian Village, Chicago, IL 60622, USA

Bachelorette Ideas: Chicago Edition

As you may already know, 2018 is the year of weddings. My 3 close friends and I, are all getting hitched this year. That involves bridal showers, bachelorettes, other events, and the actual weddings.

This past weekend, we kicked off the first Bachelorette Party of the season. The rain, wind, and snow would NOT prevent this party from happening.


via GIPHY
We started off with a delicious brunch at Beatnik. I was ecstatic that we were able to make a reservation there, as I'm in love with the bohemian design of the place. I couldn't wait to dive into brunch and eat my feelings away, still bitter about the neverending winter. After completing my crossfit challenge, I couldn't wait to divulge into some strips of bacon. Unfortunately, bacon was not on the menu. As a replacement for bacon, we were able to order Mimosa bottle service. Let me tell you, mimosas are no bacon, but they came with the cutest cups of orange juice so you can regulate how much OJ you want in you mimosa. If you're a mimosa drinker, you know that too much OJ is not ideal.

My Top Choices

1. SMOKED SALMON TOAST    /    $12
House Smoked Ora King Salmon, Avocado Mousse, Whipped Goat Cheese, Pickled Cherry Tomatoes

2.FRIED CHICKEN    /    $15
Marinated Chicken Thighs, Pumpkin Seed Hummus, Preserved Lemon Salsa Brava

3.PORK CHEEK FRIED RICE    /    $16
Seasonal Vegetables, Cilantro, Fried Duck Egg, Aleppo Pepper

4.BREAKFAST BREAD PUDDING    /    $10
Apple, Tamarind & Dried Figs Bread Pudding, Preserved Lemon Whipped Cream, Sherry Maple Syrup

After a satisfying brunch, we walked over to a "Flower Arrangement" Class done by Mila Floral School . We learned all about the basics of flower care and creating a simple but bountiful bouquet. The great thing about the class was that we were able to BYOB. Therefore, there was a lot of chatter and pretending to be listening faces. After some independent work, we got on an awesome party bus and explored our own city like a bunch of tourists. In the meantime, the short trips were filled with 90's music, dance parties, and embarrassing attempts on the stripper pole. Hey. YOLO






Floral Design Class

Chicago- The Windy City

After all the craziness, we stopped at the new Big Star in Wrigley and absolutely had to get some tacos and margs. The margs were delicious and the tacos hit the spot. To wrap up the night, the girls finished strong at the Kit Kat Lounge  and enjoyed some dinner and a Drag Queen Performance. The day was perfect and I wouldn't have it any other way. The Bride-to Be was genuinely joyful so props to the Maid of Honor and Bride Tribe crew for putting this together.

Planning a Bachelorette Party in Chicago? Check out the ideas below. 

Brunch Places

1. Summer House Santa Monica - Lincoln Park
2. The Hampton Social- River North, Streeterville, Burr Ridge, Opening in South Barrington in Summer 2018!
3. The Dawson- Right by Grand Blue line

Daytime Activities

1. Bottle & Bottega- Multiple locations
2. Mojo Spa- Wicker Park
3.Aloft Loft-training and performance space for the aerial and circus arts

Night Time Dinner and Drinks

1. The Robey Hotel- Up Room or Cabana Club in Wicker Park
2. Gilt Bar- River North
3. The Loyalist - West Loop

Other places to check out:


At the end of the day, it doesn't matter what you DID, but who you were with, bellies full and thirst quenched. 



Greetings Chicagoans! I know I know, it's April and you woke up this morning, saw snow on the ground, and didn't want to "life". It sucks, but look on the bright side, we are officially 2 months and 2 weeks away from the first day of summer! Given that, I thought it would be appropriate to start planning my evenings and weekends NOW. It'll give me something to look forward to instead of lamenting over the 31 degree weather outside my door. If you're a local or a visitor, make sure to check out my these spots.

1. Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club

Address: 1750 N Milwaukee Avenue Chicago, Il 60647
My take:
This place JUST opened up across the street from my apartment. DANGER. It may be way too easy to shuffle over and have a cocktail. Hey, I'm not complaining. This will be THE place to go when I'm feeling L-A-Z-Y. 

Some of the " active members" in my building had a chance to meet the owners, Ashley Albert and Jonathan Schnapp.You can find an awesome interview with them here: Podcast: Salt of the Earth. They had a wonderful evening planned for us which presented an opportunity to sit down, discuss their vision, break bread, drink margaritas, eat tacos, and the rest is history.  I am now the captain (not sure how I got stuck with that) of our very own Shuffleboard League "The Shuffleboard of Directors". First game is on April 9th. Don't come, we are not professionals. The feel of the place is very summery, light, and vacation-y. The cocktails were delicious, and I can't wait for the different food trucks making their way inside the building. Can I repeat that? The truck is inside the building. Very cool. There is also a photo booth with supplies and a backdrop, other games, like SUPER Jenga and Connect 4. But wait, hold on to your hats because there will also be a rooftop. Who doesn't like rooftops? If you want to host a party there, check out the promising beverage packages.



2.  The Robey Hotel

Address: 2018 W North Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
My take: 
Cabana Club
The Up Room
Looking for a girls night out, first date, anniversary dinner? This place has it all. Romance, atmosphere, and a stunning view.  You can grab a casual drink in the lounge, enjoy a brunch or dinner at Cafe Robey, or relax whilst enjoying a cocktail with an undeniably beautiful skyline view at the Cabana Club or the Up Room. If you want to impress your date or in-laws visiting from out of town, this is the place to go. Have I sold you yet? No? Get this, the Cabana Club has a mini-pool on the rooftop. You have to see it to believe it.

3. Big Star Wrigleyville

Address: 3640 N. Clark Street
My take: 
I've always been a fan of Big Star in Wicker Park. As soon as the temperature goes up to 60, I speed over with the fam, we order a pitcher of margaritas, chips and guac, and some tacos. Pebbles relaxes underneath the table, and I soak in the sun, loving every minute of it. Last Friday, we were invited for a soft open of the new Big Star in Wrigley. My first thoughts were, Wrigley, bros, drunk, annoying,vomit etc. You get the picture. Imagine my surprise when our Uber dropped us off by a beautiful new Hotel Zachary and there were no belligerent party animals in our vicinity. Either I got lucky or Wrigley is changing, for the better.  When we entered the building, the first thing I noticed is how similar the layout of the space is compared to the Wicker Park location. One thing is for sure, it's quadruple the size! This place will be packed on game days, especially with the premium seats on the second floor, facing the stadium. Personally, I would rather watch the game from my booth, sipping on margaritas and munching on tacos, than sit in the stands and eat hots dogs. Although, I do LOVE hot dogs. 

4. Aire Ancient Baths Chicago

Address :800 W Superior St, Chicago, IL

My Take
Aire Ancient Baths Chicago 
Let's slow it down real quick. After Shuffleboarding on Friday, and Cocktailing it up at the Robey Hotel on Saturday, you may want to soak into a hot thermal bath, surrounded by candle light, sipping on delicious hot tea and/or ice cold cucumber water. If this tickles your fancy, you MUST make your way to Aire Baths in West loop. I received this experience as a gift for my birthday, and let me tell you, was I thrilled. Walking into the waiting room, I felt like I was entering a secret society and into a world of greek mythology. I wanted to be a part of this mysterious ritual immediately. When I entered the locker room, I was greeted by a woman who explained how the lockers work, what I should wear, and where I should go. As I entered the baths, I was struck by the soothing and mythical ambiance and tranquilizing melody that filled this dreamy space. Once downstairs, we were taken on a short tour of the space and with an explanation of the various bath temperatures, " different temperatures: the Caldarium (Hot Bath 102ºF), the Frigidarium (Cold Bath 57ºF and Ice Bath 50ºF), the Tepidarium (Warm Bath 97ºF), the Balneum (the One Thousand Jets baths) and the Laconicum (Steam Room) and reach a state of total physical and mental escape in the Flotarium (Salt Water Bath)". There is also a small outdoor bath with a waterfall that's simply magical.  After an hour of exploring, exfoliating with Himalayan salt, and sipping on delicious tea, I laid down on the warmed marble resting area, closed my eyes and reflected on the peace I felt away from my phone, my laptop, and the clock. Every hour, soft bells would ring to remind us that time is passing. Highly recommended for Mother's Day coming up. 

Address: 1576 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL
My Take: 
This next choice was purely based on my love for two specialities served there. 
1. Chicken Wings- Basil,burnt chile & yogurt
I cannot get enough of these wings. I dream about them and I'm salivating just writing about them.  
2. Happy Hour Special
Half-off bottles of wine and $1 oysters
This place is usually very packed, but somehow I never have to wait extremely long. 
As you get ready for the weekend, keep these 5 places in mind. If you visit, let me know how it goes! Keep your eye out for more posts about locations of my liking. There is sooo much more. 

 Eat, drink, and be merry. 



Bucktown, Chicago, IL, USA

Eat, drink, and be Merry

Greetings Chicagoans! I know I know, it's April and you woke up this morning, saw snow on the ground, and didn't want to "life". It sucks, but look on the bright side, we are officially 2 months and 2 weeks away from the first day of summer! Given that, I thought it would be appropriate to start planning my evenings and weekends NOW. It'll give me something to look forward to instead of lamenting over the 31 degree weather outside my door. If you're a local or a visitor, make sure to check out my these spots.

1. Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club

Address: 1750 N Milwaukee Avenue Chicago, Il 60647
My take:
This place JUST opened up across the street from my apartment. DANGER. It may be way too easy to shuffle over and have a cocktail. Hey, I'm not complaining. This will be THE place to go when I'm feeling L-A-Z-Y. 

Some of the " active members" in my building had a chance to meet the owners, Ashley Albert and Jonathan Schnapp.You can find an awesome interview with them here: Podcast: Salt of the Earth. They had a wonderful evening planned for us which presented an opportunity to sit down, discuss their vision, break bread, drink margaritas, eat tacos, and the rest is history.  I am now the captain (not sure how I got stuck with that) of our very own Shuffleboard League "The Shuffleboard of Directors". First game is on April 9th. Don't come, we are not professionals. The feel of the place is very summery, light, and vacation-y. The cocktails were delicious, and I can't wait for the different food trucks making their way inside the building. Can I repeat that? The truck is inside the building. Very cool. There is also a photo booth with supplies and a backdrop, other games, like SUPER Jenga and Connect 4. But wait, hold on to your hats because there will also be a rooftop. Who doesn't like rooftops? If you want to host a party there, check out the promising beverage packages.



2.  The Robey Hotel

Address: 2018 W North Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
My take: 
Cabana Club
The Up Room
Looking for a girls night out, first date, anniversary dinner? This place has it all. Romance, atmosphere, and a stunning view.  You can grab a casual drink in the lounge, enjoy a brunch or dinner at Cafe Robey, or relax whilst enjoying a cocktail with an undeniably beautiful skyline view at the Cabana Club or the Up Room. If you want to impress your date or in-laws visiting from out of town, this is the place to go. Have I sold you yet? No? Get this, the Cabana Club has a mini-pool on the rooftop. You have to see it to believe it.

3. Big Star Wrigleyville

Address: 3640 N. Clark Street
My take: 
I've always been a fan of Big Star in Wicker Park. As soon as the temperature goes up to 60, I speed over with the fam, we order a pitcher of margaritas, chips and guac, and some tacos. Pebbles relaxes underneath the table, and I soak in the sun, loving every minute of it. Last Friday, we were invited for a soft open of the new Big Star in Wrigley. My first thoughts were, Wrigley, bros, drunk, annoying,vomit etc. You get the picture. Imagine my surprise when our Uber dropped us off by a beautiful new Hotel Zachary and there were no belligerent party animals in our vicinity. Either I got lucky or Wrigley is changing, for the better.  When we entered the building, the first thing I noticed is how similar the layout of the space is compared to the Wicker Park location. One thing is for sure, it's quadruple the size! This place will be packed on game days, especially with the premium seats on the second floor, facing the stadium. Personally, I would rather watch the game from my booth, sipping on margaritas and munching on tacos, than sit in the stands and eat hots dogs. Although, I do LOVE hot dogs. 

4. Aire Ancient Baths Chicago

Address :800 W Superior St, Chicago, IL

My Take
Aire Ancient Baths Chicago 
Let's slow it down real quick. After Shuffleboarding on Friday, and Cocktailing it up at the Robey Hotel on Saturday, you may want to soak into a hot thermal bath, surrounded by candle light, sipping on delicious hot tea and/or ice cold cucumber water. If this tickles your fancy, you MUST make your way to Aire Baths in West loop. I received this experience as a gift for my birthday, and let me tell you, was I thrilled. Walking into the waiting room, I felt like I was entering a secret society and into a world of greek mythology. I wanted to be a part of this mysterious ritual immediately. When I entered the locker room, I was greeted by a woman who explained how the lockers work, what I should wear, and where I should go. As I entered the baths, I was struck by the soothing and mythical ambiance and tranquilizing melody that filled this dreamy space. Once downstairs, we were taken on a short tour of the space and with an explanation of the various bath temperatures, " different temperatures: the Caldarium (Hot Bath 102ºF), the Frigidarium (Cold Bath 57ºF and Ice Bath 50ºF), the Tepidarium (Warm Bath 97ºF), the Balneum (the One Thousand Jets baths) and the Laconicum (Steam Room) and reach a state of total physical and mental escape in the Flotarium (Salt Water Bath)". There is also a small outdoor bath with a waterfall that's simply magical.  After an hour of exploring, exfoliating with Himalayan salt, and sipping on delicious tea, I laid down on the warmed marble resting area, closed my eyes and reflected on the peace I felt away from my phone, my laptop, and the clock. Every hour, soft bells would ring to remind us that time is passing. Highly recommended for Mother's Day coming up. 

Address: 1576 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL
My Take: 
This next choice was purely based on my love for two specialities served there. 
1. Chicken Wings- Basil,burnt chile & yogurt
I cannot get enough of these wings. I dream about them and I'm salivating just writing about them.  
2. Happy Hour Special
Half-off bottles of wine and $1 oysters
This place is usually very packed, but somehow I never have to wait extremely long. 
As you get ready for the weekend, keep these 5 places in mind. If you visit, let me know how it goes! Keep your eye out for more posts about locations of my liking. There is sooo much more. 

 Eat, drink, and be merry. 



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This weekend when I asked Tim if he read my last blog, he asked me if I wrote about Pebbles, our dog. I replied with no so he wasn't inclined to read it. I wasn't surprised with his lack of interest as fashion isn't really his forte. What interested me most was his high interest and unconditional love for Pebbles. I love her too and can't imagine my life without her, but sometimes Tim gives her waaaaaaaay more attention that he does me.

Have you ever felt like your significant other loves your pet more than he loves you?  

Back Story



Two years into our relationship, we started to talk about getting a dog. Tim was set on getting a golden retriever so we started to research different breeds, where we can get them, adoption agencies with goldens etc. When things started to get real, I thought it would be wise to bring up the fact that I'm allergic to certain dogs and highly allergic to cats. My dog allergies have subsided and show up around certain dog breeds. I told Tim that it would be wise to foster a dog first and see how I react. It would also give us an opportunity to try out being dog parents. I heard about One Tail at a Time through my friends who frequently foster doggos and had a foster fail situation and adopted the cutest chihuahua names Belle. We signed up to be foster parents and found Pebbles through a newsletter that One Tail sends to all foster parents. We fell in love with her and her brother Bam Bam. We requested to foster her on September 22, 2016. Bam bam was already taken care of, but Pebbles was ready for us! She was the cutest pupper ever. When I picked her up, she started licking me as if she knew I will be her new mommy. Our lives changed for the better that day. Pebbles became part of our family and on 10/22/16 we adopted her. It was like raising a child, I assume. We had to potty train her, teach her how to walk up the stairs, and train her to listen to us. It was a bonding experience, and revealed what kind of parents we may be in the future. We started off by looking for trainings. If you have a new puppy and you live in Chicago, you might want to consider going to Anything is Pawzible.There was so much to learn.



Today, I can't imagine my life without Pebbles. Tim is absolutely obsessed with her, and I adore him for being such a good dog dad. Sometimes I hear him showering her with compliments," Oh yes you are, yes you are the most beautiful lady in the world." You're so smart. The smartest in the world." I just peek my head outside the bathroom to confirm that he isn't talking to me. He isn't.

I'm slowly acclimating to the idea that Tim and Pebbles have a special relationship and I can't compete with that. There are two ladies in his life now, and I accept that.


Dog-Parent Hacks

Play

Pebs loves to go to the dog park. She doesn't interact that much with other dogs, but prefers to play fetch with the dirty tennis balls at the park. Unfortunately, the dog park we go to doesn't have much grass, but instead a lot of asphalt. We recently went to the park with her only to realize afterwards that she completely scratched off the first layer of her paw pads. She was bleeding, but didn't seem to mind. We put on some neosporin and called the doctor. Her paws ended up healing fairly quickly, but now we try to find a grassy patch so she can run around without severely damaging her paws.


Food

This was a tough one. We wanted to make sure Pebs has the proper nutrients in her food. When she was younger, she hated kibble and only wanted human food. We started to buy this canned food from Krisers and mixed it with Royal Canin kibble, and she actually finished her meals. We also tried to do the raw diet, but unfortunately after a couple of bad tummy reactions we decided to take her off it. After the doctor told us she has been losing weight, we decided to have her try the Ziwi Peaks. air-dried dog food. She loved Ziwi Peaks, but it was a bit on the pricey side. We finally found something that works and it's affordable. Tylee's! All of  Tylee's "ingredients are human-grade and selected for their incredible health benefits, and frozen to maintain their full nutritional value so your dog can enjoy all of the health benefits and flavor they have to offer". When I pour her a meal, I can see little chunks of broccoli, carrots, melon etc. She's been eating it with delight and gained her weight back.


Dog shopping Hack : We purchase most of our food/toys on Chewy. It's like Amazon, but for dogs only. 


Socialization

To ensure socialization, Pebbles goes to daycare twice a week. There, she can interact with dogs and adapt to their different personalities. I also take her to my crossfit classes as dogs are allowed and it  exposes her to other people and dogs. Those who met Pebbles before, know that she is a bit skittish. Last night, she got so scared of our Roomba, she jumped and slid on the ground and flipped on her back. We didn't know if we should laugh or snuggle her. Poor girl, gets frightened so easily. We're still working on building her confidence. If you have any suggestions, please share!


Overall, adopting a dog has been one of the best decisions we made so far. She adds so much happiness to our life that now when she is not home, I can't handle the silence. She's been a wonderful doggo so far, and I hope that one day, she will love me like a real mom.



Dog People

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This weekend when I asked Tim if he read my last blog, he asked me if I wrote about Pebbles, our dog. I replied with no so he wasn't inclined to read it. I wasn't surprised with his lack of interest as fashion isn't really his forte. What interested me most was his high interest and unconditional love for Pebbles. I love her too and can't imagine my life without her, but sometimes Tim gives her waaaaaaaay more attention that he does me.

Have you ever felt like your significant other loves your pet more than he loves you?  

Back Story



Two years into our relationship, we started to talk about getting a dog. Tim was set on getting a golden retriever so we started to research different breeds, where we can get them, adoption agencies with goldens etc. When things started to get real, I thought it would be wise to bring up the fact that I'm allergic to certain dogs and highly allergic to cats. My dog allergies have subsided and show up around certain dog breeds. I told Tim that it would be wise to foster a dog first and see how I react. It would also give us an opportunity to try out being dog parents. I heard about One Tail at a Time through my friends who frequently foster doggos and had a foster fail situation and adopted the cutest chihuahua names Belle. We signed up to be foster parents and found Pebbles through a newsletter that One Tail sends to all foster parents. We fell in love with her and her brother Bam Bam. We requested to foster her on September 22, 2016. Bam bam was already taken care of, but Pebbles was ready for us! She was the cutest pupper ever. When I picked her up, she started licking me as if she knew I will be her new mommy. Our lives changed for the better that day. Pebbles became part of our family and on 10/22/16 we adopted her. It was like raising a child, I assume. We had to potty train her, teach her how to walk up the stairs, and train her to listen to us. It was a bonding experience, and revealed what kind of parents we may be in the future. We started off by looking for trainings. If you have a new puppy and you live in Chicago, you might want to consider going to Anything is Pawzible.There was so much to learn.



Today, I can't imagine my life without Pebbles. Tim is absolutely obsessed with her, and I adore him for being such a good dog dad. Sometimes I hear him showering her with compliments," Oh yes you are, yes you are the most beautiful lady in the world." You're so smart. The smartest in the world." I just peek my head outside the bathroom to confirm that he isn't talking to me. He isn't.

I'm slowly acclimating to the idea that Tim and Pebbles have a special relationship and I can't compete with that. There are two ladies in his life now, and I accept that.


Dog-Parent Hacks

Play

Pebs loves to go to the dog park. She doesn't interact that much with other dogs, but prefers to play fetch with the dirty tennis balls at the park. Unfortunately, the dog park we go to doesn't have much grass, but instead a lot of asphalt. We recently went to the park with her only to realize afterwards that she completely scratched off the first layer of her paw pads. She was bleeding, but didn't seem to mind. We put on some neosporin and called the doctor. Her paws ended up healing fairly quickly, but now we try to find a grassy patch so she can run around without severely damaging her paws.


Food

This was a tough one. We wanted to make sure Pebs has the proper nutrients in her food. When she was younger, she hated kibble and only wanted human food. We started to buy this canned food from Krisers and mixed it with Royal Canin kibble, and she actually finished her meals. We also tried to do the raw diet, but unfortunately after a couple of bad tummy reactions we decided to take her off it. After the doctor told us she has been losing weight, we decided to have her try the Ziwi Peaks. air-dried dog food. She loved Ziwi Peaks, but it was a bit on the pricey side. We finally found something that works and it's affordable. Tylee's! All of  Tylee's "ingredients are human-grade and selected for their incredible health benefits, and frozen to maintain their full nutritional value so your dog can enjoy all of the health benefits and flavor they have to offer". When I pour her a meal, I can see little chunks of broccoli, carrots, melon etc. She's been eating it with delight and gained her weight back.


Dog shopping Hack : We purchase most of our food/toys on Chewy. It's like Amazon, but for dogs only. 


Socialization

To ensure socialization, Pebbles goes to daycare twice a week. There, she can interact with dogs and adapt to their different personalities. I also take her to my crossfit classes as dogs are allowed and it  exposes her to other people and dogs. Those who met Pebbles before, know that she is a bit skittish. Last night, she got so scared of our Roomba, she jumped and slid on the ground and flipped on her back. We didn't know if we should laugh or snuggle her. Poor girl, gets frightened so easily. We're still working on building her confidence. If you have any suggestions, please share!


Overall, adopting a dog has been one of the best decisions we made so far. She adds so much happiness to our life that now when she is not home, I can't handle the silence. She's been a wonderful doggo so far, and I hope that one day, she will love me like a real mom.






Do you love to feel like a rockstar? Do you spend hours picking out an outfit and think," I have NOTHING to wear." Are you guilty of buying clothes above your budget and not caring because you look and feel fabulous. You may be suffering from FOD (Fashion Obsessive Disorder). Not to worry, there are others like you. I self-diagnosed myself sometime after graduating from college. I became more self aware, curious, and passionate about fashion. I craved pushing the fashion boundaries, trying to represent myself as an individual and not a conformed female who meets all the current season's fashion standards. I must admit, I haven't been too adventurous lately, but don't fret, it's coming.
There were times when I felt like I was not able to meet my vision. The clothes that I saw in my mind's eye were either too expensive, nonexistent, or simply not practical. If I saw a piece of clothing I loved, the following thoughts would emerge: 

  • Will I ever wear this again?
  • Do I want to spend $200 on sequin shorts?
  • Is this just a seasonal craze?
  • Will color blocking be forever cool?
  • Will I grow bored of this hot pink turtleneck?
  • I need to purge my closet. 
  • Do I have shoes that would match this?
  • Ohh...look at those earrings, ....$150!!? 
  • Maybe it'll go on sale! 
This internal conflict would go on for days if not weeks. Sometimes I would get lucky and the item I have been eyeing finally goes on sale and I would purchase it. I still had feelings of guilt because do I really "need" those pants? 


"How do I actualize my fashion vision without the commitment, without spending my whole paycheck on an outfit I may wear once a year, and finally, get UNLIMITED options straight from the runway?"


Alexis Orchid Maris Dress $409 @ Revolve
RTR Unlimited $0



It was fate. When I first saw an ad for "Rent the Runway", I felt like it was calling my name. It was as if the clouds have cleared, and the sun was shining right down on me and my laptop, researching the policies, memberships, and process of the "Unlimited Rent the Runway" subscription. I "took the plunge" and signed up for the Unlimited closet of my dreams. It was a game changer. Now before I go on, let me preface this post by saying that, in my opinion, it is perfectly acceptable to rent clothes. There is nothing to be ashamed of and frankly, renting high quality clothing, for a set monthly price, is a smart financial move, in my opinion. ( Side note: If you ever watched "The Good Wife", I hope you catch the reference.) Yes, using this service is for women who appreciate fashion and it does not make us shallow or materialistic. It makes us self aware rockstars. I wanted to mention this because when I started this membership I doubted the monthly financial payment and the whole idea of "renting clothes". I'm renting these clothes, but I don't own them. They are used. ( Sidenote: Oftentimes, I receive new items with the tags still on)

It's a bit like owning a house or renting an apartment. I don't want to feel bad for renting an apartment and not owning a home. Times have changed. Flexibility, adaptability, and cost efficiency are the factors I consider when I make life decisions... and fashion, let's be real, is a yyuuuuuuugge influence on my quality of life so I thought :  

"Do what makes the most financial sense for YOU."

Or as my wise, fashionable, successful, super boss-friend Julie would say, " You do you, girl."

Moving on...

At the beginning, the subscription allowed 3 items on rotation. I would choose some casual blouses for work, maybe a dress for the weekend/work and a fun summer top. Starting the subscription in the summer was ideal. There were so many opportunities to play with different dresses for nights out and I finally felt like I was meeting my fashion needs. During this time, a friend of mine, who is also suffering from FOD, also signed up for RTR. Our conversations primarily revolved around our newest RTR deliveries....they still do. I'm sharing this post because "Rent the Runway" helps me manage my FOD. I no longer shop for clothes because I have an unlimited closet at my disposal.

Try it out. 

If you're interested in getting a piece of this service, you have many options. The option that most women are familiar with, are the 4 or 8 day rentals. These are one time rentals primarily used for special occasions like weddings, birthdays, bridal showers etc. You can take advantage of this service if you have an upcoming event and don't feel like spending $300-500 on a gown/dress you will wear once this year. BUT... I think it's more cost efficient to just get the monthly subscription for $89/month for 4 pieces. You also get 20% off your first month. Many dresses are rented out for about $100 a piece so consider that when signing up, 

In a nutshell...
Pay as you rent
  • 4 or 8 days
RTR Update
  • $89/month 
  • Four rentals per month
RTR Unlimited ( Cha Ching- That's the one I have)
  • 159/month
  • Unlimited rentals per month
  • Keep as long as you want
Some perks

1. Easy returns- They provide you with a prepaid shipping label so you can just drop of your items at a UPS drop off ..easy peasy lemon squeezy
2. Dry cleaning and rental insurance is provided. Got a stain on a dress? No worries, just return it hassle free. 
3. If you live in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Topanga, or D.C you can drop of your items there and IMMEDIATELY pick up something from the store. Keep in mind, the store has limited inventory so you may not find exactly what you are looking for. 
4. If you fall in love with an item you rented, you can BUY IT at a discount price!

Strategy

See By Chloe Navy Parsia Dress $420
RTR Unlimited $0

Shoes: 
Corlina Ankle Strap Sandal VINCE CAMUTO $99.95

Bow Crazy. This is one is perfect for work or play.
Drop off your items at the store and either choose items at the store or pick something online for delivery. If you drop off your clothes at UPS it may take 2 days for the item to be checked into the warehouse and another 2 days for the new items you chose to be delivered to you. To save time, drop off the clothes at the store. 



To show you some examples of the dresses I recently chose, I collaborated with my friend Justyna, who has, what I would call, creative finesse with photography. We had a great time exploring my neighborhood and laughing at my unsuccessful attempt at being a model. Who knew it would be hard to represent the clothes in an attractive manner and move naturally at the same time?


Love the details on this little number
Shoshanna Lace Vina Dress @ Anthropologie $418 RTR $0 with Unlimited
 








Chicago, IL, USA

The Ultimate Fashion Hack




Do you love to feel like a rockstar? Do you spend hours picking out an outfit and think," I have NOTHING to wear." Are you guilty of buying clothes above your budget and not caring because you look and feel fabulous. You may be suffering from FOD (Fashion Obsessive Disorder). Not to worry, there are others like you. I self-diagnosed myself sometime after graduating from college. I became more self aware, curious, and passionate about fashion. I craved pushing the fashion boundaries, trying to represent myself as an individual and not a conformed female who meets all the current season's fashion standards. I must admit, I haven't been too adventurous lately, but don't fret, it's coming.
There were times when I felt like I was not able to meet my vision. The clothes that I saw in my mind's eye were either too expensive, nonexistent, or simply not practical. If I saw a piece of clothing I loved, the following thoughts would emerge: 

  • Will I ever wear this again?
  • Do I want to spend $200 on sequin shorts?
  • Is this just a seasonal craze?
  • Will color blocking be forever cool?
  • Will I grow bored of this hot pink turtleneck?
  • I need to purge my closet. 
  • Do I have shoes that would match this?
  • Ohh...look at those earrings, ....$150!!? 
  • Maybe it'll go on sale! 
This internal conflict would go on for days if not weeks. Sometimes I would get lucky and the item I have been eyeing finally goes on sale and I would purchase it. I still had feelings of guilt because do I really "need" those pants? 


"How do I actualize my fashion vision without the commitment, without spending my whole paycheck on an outfit I may wear once a year, and finally, get UNLIMITED options straight from the runway?"


Alexis Orchid Maris Dress $409 @ Revolve
RTR Unlimited $0



It was fate. When I first saw an ad for "Rent the Runway", I felt like it was calling my name. It was as if the clouds have cleared, and the sun was shining right down on me and my laptop, researching the policies, memberships, and process of the "Unlimited Rent the Runway" subscription. I "took the plunge" and signed up for the Unlimited closet of my dreams. It was a game changer. Now before I go on, let me preface this post by saying that, in my opinion, it is perfectly acceptable to rent clothes. There is nothing to be ashamed of and frankly, renting high quality clothing, for a set monthly price, is a smart financial move, in my opinion. ( Side note: If you ever watched "The Good Wife", I hope you catch the reference.) Yes, using this service is for women who appreciate fashion and it does not make us shallow or materialistic. It makes us self aware rockstars. I wanted to mention this because when I started this membership I doubted the monthly financial payment and the whole idea of "renting clothes". I'm renting these clothes, but I don't own them. They are used. ( Sidenote: Oftentimes, I receive new items with the tags still on)

It's a bit like owning a house or renting an apartment. I don't want to feel bad for renting an apartment and not owning a home. Times have changed. Flexibility, adaptability, and cost efficiency are the factors I consider when I make life decisions... and fashion, let's be real, is a yyuuuuuuugge influence on my quality of life so I thought :  

"Do what makes the most financial sense for YOU."

Or as my wise, fashionable, successful, super boss-friend Julie would say, " You do you, girl."

Moving on...

At the beginning, the subscription allowed 3 items on rotation. I would choose some casual blouses for work, maybe a dress for the weekend/work and a fun summer top. Starting the subscription in the summer was ideal. There were so many opportunities to play with different dresses for nights out and I finally felt like I was meeting my fashion needs. During this time, a friend of mine, who is also suffering from FOD, also signed up for RTR. Our conversations primarily revolved around our newest RTR deliveries....they still do. I'm sharing this post because "Rent the Runway" helps me manage my FOD. I no longer shop for clothes because I have an unlimited closet at my disposal.

Try it out. 

If you're interested in getting a piece of this service, you have many options. The option that most women are familiar with, are the 4 or 8 day rentals. These are one time rentals primarily used for special occasions like weddings, birthdays, bridal showers etc. You can take advantage of this service if you have an upcoming event and don't feel like spending $300-500 on a gown/dress you will wear once this year. BUT... I think it's more cost efficient to just get the monthly subscription for $89/month for 4 pieces. You also get 20% off your first month. Many dresses are rented out for about $100 a piece so consider that when signing up, 

In a nutshell...
Pay as you rent
  • 4 or 8 days
RTR Update
  • $89/month 
  • Four rentals per month
RTR Unlimited ( Cha Ching- That's the one I have)
  • 159/month
  • Unlimited rentals per month
  • Keep as long as you want
Some perks

1. Easy returns- They provide you with a prepaid shipping label so you can just drop of your items at a UPS drop off ..easy peasy lemon squeezy
2. Dry cleaning and rental insurance is provided. Got a stain on a dress? No worries, just return it hassle free. 
3. If you live in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Topanga, or D.C you can drop of your items there and IMMEDIATELY pick up something from the store. Keep in mind, the store has limited inventory so you may not find exactly what you are looking for. 
4. If you fall in love with an item you rented, you can BUY IT at a discount price!

Strategy

See By Chloe Navy Parsia Dress $420
RTR Unlimited $0

Shoes: 
Corlina Ankle Strap Sandal VINCE CAMUTO $99.95

Bow Crazy. This is one is perfect for work or play.
Drop off your items at the store and either choose items at the store or pick something online for delivery. If you drop off your clothes at UPS it may take 2 days for the item to be checked into the warehouse and another 2 days for the new items you chose to be delivered to you. To save time, drop off the clothes at the store. 



To show you some examples of the dresses I recently chose, I collaborated with my friend Justyna, who has, what I would call, creative finesse with photography. We had a great time exploring my neighborhood and laughing at my unsuccessful attempt at being a model. Who knew it would be hard to represent the clothes in an attractive manner and move naturally at the same time?


Love the details on this little number
Shoshanna Lace Vina Dress @ Anthropologie $418 RTR $0 with Unlimited
 











It happened. On Tuesday, March 6th, I turned 30. It was a quite an uneventful day, other than my coworkers decorating my cubicle and making me feel super special. I spent my evening throwing on one of the face masks I bought at Ulta and sipped on my protein shake with Pebbles by my side while watching "Sex and the City'. It was perfect. The weekend before my birthday, I went to my mandatory nutrition class before I started my crossfit shenanigans on Monday. The information I received from our nutritionist was mind boggling.

1. No alcohol for 6 weeks
2. No milk with your coffee ( Thankfully I have an nespresso machine so I've been taking shots of espresso every morning instead of enjoying a regular latte or regular coffee with creamer at work  )
3. No delicious desserts
4. Balance/portioned meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner
4. Drink your protein shake, mixed with water in the morning and as a snack after lunch and before dinner
5. Crossfit classes 3 days a week

Ultimately, I can handle the bland, unpleasant meals, the crossfit classes, and the no no to desserts, but what hit me the most is the "No alcohol for 6 weeks" part. Who in their right mind would ever choose that? If I knew this not so miniscule detail before signing the "contract", I would most definitely not consider it. Fortunately for them, they don't disclose this at the orientation meeting. So there I was, sitting at the nutrition meeting, excited to learn all about healthy food, when I hear the nutritionist say the words " No...., alcohol.... for..... 6 weeks.". It was as if I was watching this moment in slow motion. Jaw drop.

via GIPHY

 Shocked, defeated, and completed unprepared to say no to alcohol, I began to google zero calorie cocktails, drinks, anything alcohol related, frantically on my phone. Everything the nutritionist was saying now was white noise while I processed this new possible lifestyle change I may have to abide by. As the nutritionist wrapped up, she asked for any final questions. I raised my hand and asked, " Is it absolutely no alcohol? What about low calorie?" She looked at me and said," No. You don't want one beer or drink impacting your progress."

via GIPHY

As I got up and left, I realized that once I'm committed, I have to commit all the way. After all, I'm not an alcoholic. I just like a drink or 3 after a long day. Is that too much to ask? Mission accepted. I can do this.

On Saturday and Sunday I had a Corona light with my dinner (I've been craving Corona's lately) and enjoyed my "Last Supper." On Monday, I had a girls night where I tested my strength and surprise surprise I did it! No drinking for me. It also helps when some of your girlfriends are also dieting, due to our 5 upcoming weddings this year, and don't drink with me. The 3 crossfit classes were doable. It reminds me of high intensity interval training, which I was already doing and enjoyed. It is now day 5 of my Crossfit, diet, and alcohol free life, and let me tell you, I FEEL GREAT! Mentally, I feel very focused, clear headed, and overall positive. Physically, I feel stronger and almost addicted to the pain. (I should also disclose now that I have an addictive personality). I also weighed myself (a requirement) and already lost 2 pounds and went from 25% body fat to 22%. Seeing THAT was motivating enough to not feel terribly sorry for myself for missing out on all the delicious food out there. I also want to get my money back. The premise of the 6 week challenge is that if you meet all the factors, one being losing 5% body fat, you get your money back. Cha Ching! Give me my money! Very motivating.

My next short term challenge is not drinking the mimosas on my 30th Birthday brunch celebration and refraining from eating the bacon and delicious brunch snacks. Maybe if I smell the bacon it will be enough? Happy Thoughts.

As I conclude, I realize that I love food and alcohol too much to give it up completely. I will commit to this insane crossfit diet and meet my goal, but after that I'll go back to enjoying my life with delicious food and drinks and in return punish myself with extra exercises. I like that strategy much better. Maybe I'll even stick to crossfit.




CrossFit and zero alcohol




It happened. On Tuesday, March 6th, I turned 30. It was a quite an uneventful day, other than my coworkers decorating my cubicle and making me feel super special. I spent my evening throwing on one of the face masks I bought at Ulta and sipped on my protein shake with Pebbles by my side while watching "Sex and the City'. It was perfect. The weekend before my birthday, I went to my mandatory nutrition class before I started my crossfit shenanigans on Monday. The information I received from our nutritionist was mind boggling.

1. No alcohol for 6 weeks
2. No milk with your coffee ( Thankfully I have an nespresso machine so I've been taking shots of espresso every morning instead of enjoying a regular latte or regular coffee with creamer at work  )
3. No delicious desserts
4. Balance/portioned meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner
4. Drink your protein shake, mixed with water in the morning and as a snack after lunch and before dinner
5. Crossfit classes 3 days a week

Ultimately, I can handle the bland, unpleasant meals, the crossfit classes, and the no no to desserts, but what hit me the most is the "No alcohol for 6 weeks" part. Who in their right mind would ever choose that? If I knew this not so miniscule detail before signing the "contract", I would most definitely not consider it. Fortunately for them, they don't disclose this at the orientation meeting. So there I was, sitting at the nutrition meeting, excited to learn all about healthy food, when I hear the nutritionist say the words " No...., alcohol.... for..... 6 weeks.". It was as if I was watching this moment in slow motion. Jaw drop.

via GIPHY

 Shocked, defeated, and completed unprepared to say no to alcohol, I began to google zero calorie cocktails, drinks, anything alcohol related, frantically on my phone. Everything the nutritionist was saying now was white noise while I processed this new possible lifestyle change I may have to abide by. As the nutritionist wrapped up, she asked for any final questions. I raised my hand and asked, " Is it absolutely no alcohol? What about low calorie?" She looked at me and said," No. You don't want one beer or drink impacting your progress."

via GIPHY

As I got up and left, I realized that once I'm committed, I have to commit all the way. After all, I'm not an alcoholic. I just like a drink or 3 after a long day. Is that too much to ask? Mission accepted. I can do this.

On Saturday and Sunday I had a Corona light with my dinner (I've been craving Corona's lately) and enjoyed my "Last Supper." On Monday, I had a girls night where I tested my strength and surprise surprise I did it! No drinking for me. It also helps when some of your girlfriends are also dieting, due to our 5 upcoming weddings this year, and don't drink with me. The 3 crossfit classes were doable. It reminds me of high intensity interval training, which I was already doing and enjoyed. It is now day 5 of my Crossfit, diet, and alcohol free life, and let me tell you, I FEEL GREAT! Mentally, I feel very focused, clear headed, and overall positive. Physically, I feel stronger and almost addicted to the pain. (I should also disclose now that I have an addictive personality). I also weighed myself (a requirement) and already lost 2 pounds and went from 25% body fat to 22%. Seeing THAT was motivating enough to not feel terribly sorry for myself for missing out on all the delicious food out there. I also want to get my money back. The premise of the 6 week challenge is that if you meet all the factors, one being losing 5% body fat, you get your money back. Cha Ching! Give me my money! Very motivating.

My next short term challenge is not drinking the mimosas on my 30th Birthday brunch celebration and refraining from eating the bacon and delicious brunch snacks. Maybe if I smell the bacon it will be enough? Happy Thoughts.

As I conclude, I realize that I love food and alcohol too much to give it up completely. I will commit to this insane crossfit diet and meet my goal, but after that I'll go back to enjoying my life with delicious food and drinks and in return punish myself with extra exercises. I like that strategy much better. Maybe I'll even stick to crossfit.






When I was growing up, I never fully appreciated or understood how complicated planning meals for the week can be. When I was younger, we would always have home cooked meals. Most often, we would have a soup and a second meal #spoiled.  I cringe at the memories of me complaining about something that I don't want to eat. How rude of me?! My mom spent a good chunk of time and money PREPARING meals for us, and I had the audacity to complain. I'm very disappointed at my younger self. Fast forward to 2014. I'm living in the city with amazing roommates. I'm feeling great. Young, wild, and free. Eating what I want, going out with the girls, getting appetizers and drinks, and not really cooking myself "real, nutritious" meals. The definition of a "home-cooked" meal was a bag of boiled ravioli, some olive oil, pesto sauce, and some shredded cheese. That was my favorite meal. Easy, quick, and warm. A year into these deeeelicious meals, I meet my future-husband Tim, an Ironman finisher (multiple times), and marathon runner who is borderline obsessive on eating healthy, exercise, and participating in any type of physical activity. Almost the exact opposite of me. There goes my favorite meal... bye bye ravioli. Although I must say, before discovering something that changed our lives forever, spoiler alert, BLUE APRON, we were on the ravioli diet for a good couple months.

Enter: Blue Apron. 

It all started on a bright, August, sunny day. Specifically, August 12, 2016. The day we received our first blue apron package. I was a bit rattled as the menus appeared complicated. The name of the menus were:

1. Curried Catfish & Coconut Rice
2. Spicy Chicken & Korean Rice Cakes
3. BBQ Pork Burgers & Corn on the Cob

These meals were restaurant quality and I was uncertain of my cooking abilities. To my disbelief,  the menu was straightforward, included pictures, and was very user friendly. If I had further doubts, I logged into the website and checked out their "Hints & Tricks" section.  Our food planning changed drastically. We had 3 meals a week, and only had to buy breakfast, snacks, and maybe some lunch supplies. What I love most is that we can switch cooking duty. On the days that I work a little later, Tim takes over cooking duty. It's so pleasant to come home to a healthy, home cooked meal. The convenience of this service makes me hope that I can keep it when I have a larger family.

Cost
  • 2 person plan for 3 recipes per week is $59.94
  • Family plan 3 recipes per week is $104.88 or 4 recipes per week is $139.84
Wine Pairing

There is also a wine pairing option for $10/per bottle or 65.99/month. The catch is the wine bottles are 500ml instead of the standard 750ml. We did this for a couple months, but then realized that we need more wine than just two glasses so we stopped the delivery.

As you will find out in future posts, I'm scheduled to get married this August. Along with that comes "Bridezilla Symptoms" like, dieting, caloric intake obsession, and exercise mania. I'm not gonna lie, getting married is VERY motivating when it comes to changing your eating and exercise habits. I even resorted to decreasing my alcohol intake to twice a week. I mention this because Blue Apron will be absent from our lives in the next 6 weeks. I signed myself up for a Crossfit 6 week challenge with a goal of losing 5% body fat. One of my girlfriends, also getting hitched this summer, is crossfitting and she has already lost 2% body fat. I start Sunday. I'll let you know how it goes.

As I conclude this post, I hope I convinced you to try Blue Apron at least once. It just MAY change your life forever.







Life Hack #1: Blue Apron



When I was growing up, I never fully appreciated or understood how complicated planning meals for the week can be. When I was younger, we would always have home cooked meals. Most often, we would have a soup and a second meal #spoiled.  I cringe at the memories of me complaining about something that I don't want to eat. How rude of me?! My mom spent a good chunk of time and money PREPARING meals for us, and I had the audacity to complain. I'm very disappointed at my younger self. Fast forward to 2014. I'm living in the city with amazing roommates. I'm feeling great. Young, wild, and free. Eating what I want, going out with the girls, getting appetizers and drinks, and not really cooking myself "real, nutritious" meals. The definition of a "home-cooked" meal was a bag of boiled ravioli, some olive oil, pesto sauce, and some shredded cheese. That was my favorite meal. Easy, quick, and warm. A year into these deeeelicious meals, I meet my future-husband Tim, an Ironman finisher (multiple times), and marathon runner who is borderline obsessive on eating healthy, exercise, and participating in any type of physical activity. Almost the exact opposite of me. There goes my favorite meal... bye bye ravioli. Although I must say, before discovering something that changed our lives forever, spoiler alert, BLUE APRON, we were on the ravioli diet for a good couple months.

Enter: Blue Apron. 

It all started on a bright, August, sunny day. Specifically, August 12, 2016. The day we received our first blue apron package. I was a bit rattled as the menus appeared complicated. The name of the menus were:

1. Curried Catfish & Coconut Rice
2. Spicy Chicken & Korean Rice Cakes
3. BBQ Pork Burgers & Corn on the Cob

These meals were restaurant quality and I was uncertain of my cooking abilities. To my disbelief,  the menu was straightforward, included pictures, and was very user friendly. If I had further doubts, I logged into the website and checked out their "Hints & Tricks" section.  Our food planning changed drastically. We had 3 meals a week, and only had to buy breakfast, snacks, and maybe some lunch supplies. What I love most is that we can switch cooking duty. On the days that I work a little later, Tim takes over cooking duty. It's so pleasant to come home to a healthy, home cooked meal. The convenience of this service makes me hope that I can keep it when I have a larger family.

Cost
  • 2 person plan for 3 recipes per week is $59.94
  • Family plan 3 recipes per week is $104.88 or 4 recipes per week is $139.84
Wine Pairing

There is also a wine pairing option for $10/per bottle or 65.99/month. The catch is the wine bottles are 500ml instead of the standard 750ml. We did this for a couple months, but then realized that we need more wine than just two glasses so we stopped the delivery.

As you will find out in future posts, I'm scheduled to get married this August. Along with that comes "Bridezilla Symptoms" like, dieting, caloric intake obsession, and exercise mania. I'm not gonna lie, getting married is VERY motivating when it comes to changing your eating and exercise habits. I even resorted to decreasing my alcohol intake to twice a week. I mention this because Blue Apron will be absent from our lives in the next 6 weeks. I signed myself up for a Crossfit 6 week challenge with a goal of losing 5% body fat. One of my girlfriends, also getting hitched this summer, is crossfitting and she has already lost 2% body fat. I start Sunday. I'll let you know how it goes.

As I conclude this post, I hope I convinced you to try Blue Apron at least once. It just MAY change your life forever.







I woke up this morning feeling extra excited! Not only am I working from home, but I started A BLOG! When I told my fiancé about it, he was all, "Don't you already have a diary?" 



via GIPHY

This isn't a diary. (Tim if you're reading this, let me explain ).

This is more of a self-discovery/development project. My goals here are as following


1. Enchance my writing skills and feel confident enough to share them with the entire world.

2. Share life hacks with the ladies out there, men welcome as well (no discrimination here)

3. Explore my tech savvy abilities by embedding videos, creating screencasts, and most IMPORTANTLY becoming a self -proclaimed model of my "Rent the Runway" unlimited closet.

via GIPHY

To wrap up this post, I wanted to share with you a quote from one of my girlfriends. I told her about my 30s blogging venture and she replied with some words of wisdom.

" I had similar feelings going into my 30s that almost made me not enjoy my last year in my 20s. 30s are awesome, I give less fucks. I feel better about myself and that realization comes that happiness comes from within - allowing yourself to be happy, and not letting circumstances fuck with you. I mean I sort things into what I can change (what is up to me) and what I won't be able to influence." -JZ

Flip the Script

I woke up this morning feeling extra excited! Not only am I working from home, but I started A BLOG! When I told my fiancé about it, he was all, "Don't you already have a diary?" 



via GIPHY

This isn't a diary. (Tim if you're reading this, let me explain ).

This is more of a self-discovery/development project. My goals here are as following


1. Enchance my writing skills and feel confident enough to share them with the entire world.

2. Share life hacks with the ladies out there, men welcome as well (no discrimination here)

3. Explore my tech savvy abilities by embedding videos, creating screencasts, and most IMPORTANTLY becoming a self -proclaimed model of my "Rent the Runway" unlimited closet.

via GIPHY

To wrap up this post, I wanted to share with you a quote from one of my girlfriends. I told her about my 30s blogging venture and she replied with some words of wisdom.

" I had similar feelings going into my 30s that almost made me not enjoy my last year in my 20s. 30s are awesome, I give less fucks. I feel better about myself and that realization comes that happiness comes from within - allowing yourself to be happy, and not letting circumstances fuck with you. I mean I sort things into what I can change (what is up to me) and what I won't be able to influence." -JZ

As I start to reflect on the approaching "dreadful" day of March 6th, my 30th birthday, I'm left wondering if I should be celebrating my various accomplishments, like becoming a dog mom to the most wonderful pupper in the world(see picture) or if I should be creating a list of all the things I DIDN'T accomplish before my thirties. I'm being hard on myself. It's really not THAT bad. It's not like I'm living on the street with no job, no friends, and no future. But is that the standard I'm comparing my life to? Maybe I should be reaching higher? I guess my question is," Am I doing everything I can, professionally and personally, to be an inspiration....to my dog? Would Pebbles want to be me when she grows up?" These are the questions I'm asking myself as I approach my, as some people call it,"The Dirty Thirty". So please join me on my journey through my 30's. I will share fashion brought to you by my unlimited subscription to "Rent the Runway", my dogs adolescent development, and anything else worth sharing. Disclaimer: Take these posts with a grain of salt, they're meant to be light, reflective, and pleasant. 
Chicago, IL, USA

Here it goes...

As I start to reflect on the approaching "dreadful" day of March 6th, my 30th birthday, I'm left wondering if I should be celebrating my various accomplishments, like becoming a dog mom to the most wonderful pupper in the world(see picture) or if I should be creating a list of all the things I DIDN'T accomplish before my thirties. I'm being hard on myself. It's really not THAT bad. It's not like I'm living on the street with no job, no friends, and no future. But is that the standard I'm comparing my life to? Maybe I should be reaching higher? I guess my question is," Am I doing everything I can, professionally and personally, to be an inspiration....to my dog? Would Pebbles want to be me when she grows up?" These are the questions I'm asking myself as I approach my, as some people call it,"The Dirty Thirty". So please join me on my journey through my 30's. I will share fashion brought to you by my unlimited subscription to "Rent the Runway", my dogs adolescent development, and anything else worth sharing. Disclaimer: Take these posts with a grain of salt, they're meant to be light, reflective, and pleasant. 

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