All posts by Ashley

The League + Marathon First Dates

Before we begin, I have a confession to make: I went back to online dating. But, I swear, it’s not what you think. Before rape joke guy and before my trip to Costa Rica in September, I heard about a dating app called The League. It was touted as being “exclusive” since there’s a waiting list, and it connects to both your LinkedIn and Facebook profiles to prove that you’re legit (no bots there!).

I joined aforementioned waiting list BEFORE I had forsaken online dating, so when the email came through two months later and two weeks ago that I had been “accepted,” I was pretty hesitant to say yes. Maybe, though, this was the universe’s way of saying, “Don’t give up on dating/online dating just yet!” so I hit the install button. I mean, I was grandfathered into this decision!

Continue reading The League + Marathon First Dates

Animals and Adventure in Costa Rica: Tortuguero

In order to maximize our time in Costa Rica, Shelley and I spent only about 1 1/2 days in each city we visited. We made sure to do everything we really wanted before heading on our way to the next destination. From La Fortuna, we traveled to Tortuguero, most notable for the sea turtles (tortugas) that lay eggs there a few months out of the year. The town is flanked by water – the canals on one side and the Caribbean on the other – which gives it a very laid-back lifestyle.

IMG_1931

Sightseeing

Sea Turtle Night Tour

“The town’s beaches are considered one of the world’s most important nesting sites for green sea turtles, which weigh up to 400 pounds and can lay up to 700 eggs per season. Nightly turtle tours depart several times daily during nesting season [July-October].”*

This was hands-down one of the coolest things I’ve seen! A guide takes you onto the beaches of the Tortuguero National Park where spotters are looking for giant turtles to lay their eggs. The mamas swim up onto the shore, dig a hole, and as soon as they’re ready to lay the eggs, they go into a trance-like state. That’s when you’re able to watch. We saw one mama lay a few eggs, which was pretty magical.

Continue reading Animals and Adventure in Costa Rica: Tortuguero

Adulting: Buying a Condo

Even though I live by myself, pay taxes, contribute $400 a month to my 403b, spend way too much money at the grocery store on all-natural and organic foods, no longer have student loans, own my own car, and work a 9-5, I still don’t feel like an adult. I keep thinking that maybe I’ll truly feel like an adult when I get married or have kids or buy a house. I don’t feel like a child or even a young adult, but I just don’t feel like…my parents.

There are some perks to not feeling like an adult. I still look youthful, I get lots of birthday and Christmas presents from my family, and no one seems to expect me to bring anything to the holiday family get-togethers.

Recently, though, I got the itch to buy my own place. I’ve lived in Chicago for five years and for 4 years and 11 months of that, I had no desire to own a house. I even said I was happy to rent for the rest of my life. About a month ago, the flip was switched. I was ready!

Continue reading Adulting: Buying a Condo

Animals and Adventure in Costa Rica: La Fortuna

In order to maximize our time in Costa Rica, Shelley and I spent only about 1 1/2 days in each city we visited. We made sure to do everything we really wanted before heading on our way to the next destination. After leaving Monteverde, we headed on our way to La Fortuna, home to the famous Arenal Volcano.

Sightseeing

Don Olivo Chocolate Tour

This $25 tour may seem a bit steep in price for 2 hours, but with the amount of food you’re given, it’s worth the price and more! The owner of the farm walks you around sharing about the many fruit trees that grow there. These trees not only protect the cocoa trees, they serve as a good source of revenue for the owners. The best part is all of the amazing fruit and chocolate you get to eat! We tried star fruit, papaya, pineapple, bananas, and oranges right from the tree. We also pressed our own sugar cane juice, and made our very own hot chocolate from the cocoa bean we picked ourself! Tours leave at 8am, 10am, 1pm, and 3pm, and the price includes transportation to/from the farm.

Continue reading Animals and Adventure in Costa Rica: La Fortuna

The Fictional Narrative

Tonight I went to a live taping of one of my favorite podcasts, Why Oh Why. It’s a show about relationships and dating. I swear sometimes the host is inside my head saying everything out loud for her listeners that I am thinking (and sometimes writing about). When checking in to the show, you got to pick a name tag for yourself: Hi I’m Single or Hi I’m Not Single. There were also numbered paddles for the singletons. After you gave a brief bio to the ticket-taker, she was meant to give the matching numbered paddle to your “wingman”. And while this was actually a misnomer, the point was to match a man and a woman together so they could start chatting and, of course, fall in love.

Continue reading The Fictional Narrative

Restaurant for Two: Prairie Grass Cafe

Restaurant for Two: a feature where I bring a friend to a restaurant and we write a review together. My pal, Lindsay, and I tried out Prairie Grass Cafe in Northbrook for brunch recently.

Prairie Grass’s menu is separated into meals more typically thought of as “breakfast” and “lunch.” Lindsay and I, we took our breakfast seriously this day. Our meal started out with a Cinnamon Almond Coffee Cake. The dish came out warm with icing sliding down the sides. While this was a special for the day, I sincerely hope they keep it on the menu forever and ever because it was the best coffee cake I’ve ever had.

Continue reading Restaurant for Two: Prairie Grass Cafe