All posts by Ashley

Love in the Time of COVID-19

Surprisingly, dating apps did help keep me sane during Shelter in Place. So, what happened when the world (kinda) opened back up, you ask? Read below to find out!

Guy #1: I talked with this guy for literally the entire time we were quarantined – from March 9 to the end of May. As soon as bars opened up for outdoor service, we met up for a couple of drinks. He was…nice. (Nice is code for boring.) But we were both a little rusty and decided to meet up again, this time for a Bruno walk. Walking the pup is a safe, quick, easy “date”. We honestly didn’t have much to say and neither of us tried very hard to keep in touch afterwards.

Guy #2: After dinner and drinks, we decided to keep the date going with a little walk and Italian ice. It was probably the best date I’ve had in quite some time (and I’m not just talking about quarantine time). We made plans to meet up again, but then he slowly started to fade away. Then…

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Hits and Misses (Coronavirus Style)

May 2, 2020

Things I miss, a list:

  1. My yoga students
  2. 360 Chicago’s view
  3. Seeing my friends and family in person
  4. First dates
  5. Walking by restaurants, looking in the restaurants and see a lot of people (aka prosperity)
  6. Lazy grocery store visits
  7. Hugs
  8. The el
  9. Going into the office
  10. A day with no tears
  11. Sleeping through the night

Unforeseen benefits, a list:

  1. More time with my parents
  2. A cleaner home
  3. More time to cook and bake
  4. Virtual yoga classes with friends and family
  5. Virtual yoga classes from my local studio
  6. Virtual yoga classes from my favorite studio in New York
  7. Teaching virtual yoga classes to Girl Scouts (can you tell that yoga has been a lifesaver for me?!)

What else can I do but write?

Thursday, April 2, 2020

These, my friends, are trying times. Life is rough here in 2020. The Coronavirus is in full swing – taking people out left and right. We’re stuck at home in hopes of keeping the virus at bay. But healthcare workers are certain that nearly everyone will get it, no matter what precautions we take. We’re being told to stay at home and to only leave for essentials like dog walks and grocery runs. Toilet paper is sold out in nearly every store. Furlough days are being passed out like candy on Halloween.

We’ve got Netflix. We’ve got Zoom. We’ve got #wfh (future self, that means working from home).

Stores are closed. Restaurants are only open for takeout or delivery. Grocery stores – once a beloved place I could spend an hour traversing the aisles and reading labels – have become anxiety inducing experiences. What if the virus is on the carts? What if the cashier has it? What if the store doesn’t have any of the items I need or want? What if I don’t wipe down everything I bring home well enough and I get the virus?

And then if I get the virus, what happens to me? I live alone, besides my very adorable dog. Bruno can’t go to the grocery store. Bruno can’t walk himself. Bruno can’t take care of a sick person.

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Can the Universe Get it Wrong?

For many years, I felt like the universe had made a mistake.

When making plans at age 18 to do an overnight visit at my now alma mater, I was adamant that I stay in a sorority and see what real life was like living in a sorority house. In fact, when looking at colleges, I refused to attend any schools that didn’t have sorority houses. I was enamored with the idea of living in a house full of sisters. So, when I set up my overnight visit to Illinois Wesleyan, I made sure to request that the overnight portion be at a Greek house. My request was granted and a girl from AGD showed me around, let me shadow her in classes, and stay in their dormer overnight.

I was smitten. After that visit, I knew that I was going to IWU and I knew that I was going to going to join AGD. But, when Bid Day came, AGD turned me down. I got my second choice. And that was the first time I felt like the universe had made a mistake. I cried and cried. But, I accepted the offer of my second choice. And I thrived for the first two years there. Until, I met a boy. That boy took me out of my fun-loving self and into his world. And, for some unknown reason, I left my own world willingly. I left the friends I’d made with no kicking or screaming – from either the friends or from me.

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A Visit to Low Country

Last summer, my friend Annie and I decided to take our first (non-work) vacation together. After reviewing my “Where to travel in the U.S.” list, we settled on Charleston, SC and Savannah, GA.

Flights were pretty inexpensive in/out of Charleston, so we decided to rent a car to make the most out of our Low Country experience and travel through Hilton Head to Savannah. This list is simply what we did – I’m sure there are a LOT of places we didn’t hit up since we only had a few days.

Charleston, SC

This southern city is all charm. Known for its good food and historical sites, the city deserves a few days of your time.

Food & Drinks
  • Check out King Street for a bunch of restaurants, dessert shops, and happy hour specials.
  • Callie’s Charleston Biscuits – This is a must for breakfast! We tried a few of their little biscuits with toppings like cinnamon and blackberry jam, as well as the biscuit breakfast sandwiches. We ate a lot of biscuits for two people.

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Sightseeing
  • Boone Hall Plantation & Gardens – Did you know that the movie The Notebook was partially filmed in Charleston? Click on that link and you’ll recognize that while in Charleston, they filmed at Boone Hall. Claiming to be “America’s most photographed plantation,” it’s worth the visit just to drive down the lane. Be sure to do the hay ride to get a glimpse of the working farm and grounds.

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Volunteer Hours

When I moved from Chicago, I left behind multiple volunteer positions. Now that I’m settled into my home and Bruno and I have a good routine down, I was ready to give back again.

My first volunteer shift at the Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry was tonight and it was wonderful. Each Wednesday and Saturday, the pantry opens its doors to those in need to collect groceries. My role tonight was as shopping assistant; this means I helped people pick what food they wanted to take home with them.

All of the shoppers were extremely grateful and happy. When a fellow volunteer asked one woman how she was doing, she had a big smile on her face, saying, “I’m blessed. I will have a meal tonight.” She then choked up, and said, “I didn’t have anything to eat last night.” I also got a little choked up, but tried not to show it when she came to my station.

I love living in Oak Park for many reasons, one including how nice everyone always is. All of the fellow volunteers were extremely friendly.

As soon as I got home, I signed up for a monthly slot! It was a great evening and I’m looking forward to going back.