Bakery Walk: Lower Manhattan

My colleague and I were only in NYC for 24 hours after a training in upstate, so I reached out to my women’s travel Facebook groups (feel free to ask me and I’ll invite you to the groups) and requested suggestions for bakeries, cafes, and restaurants. These ladies showed up! With so many awesome suggestions, we decided to do a Bakery Walk – Lower Manhattan style.

Once Upon a Tart

The streets of New York City are lined with restaurants and cafes that I think you could go to a new place every day for the rest of your life and never repeat. I was happy to have received so many suggestions so our choices could be narrowed, though I’m sure that if we’d just seen Once Upon a Tart while walking past, we would’ve stopped in no matter what. As you can see by the pictures, this place is adorable. Our barista was lovely and that chocolate chip cookie was snarfed in 2.5 seconds.

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My Dream: Hygge

From a young age I assumed my life would go the traditional route: meet a man, fall in deep, passionate love, get married, buy a house with a picket fence and a blooming garden, have babies, live happily ever after. When my life didn’t exactly work out that way, I started dreaming more broadly.

For starters, I wanted to move to Asia. I’d been there in college and had *that* feeling when I was traveling around China; I knew I’d live there again. So, I did it. I researched, I day-dreamed – a lot – and moved to Hong Kong.

Then when I was in Hong Kong and my “get married and have a baby” dream wasn’t coming any closer to fruition, I dreamed up a new dream: at the age of 35 if I was no closer to having a family, I would move abroad again. I’d always been interested in joining the Peace Corps, I wanted to learn Spanish, I’d like to see more of South America, etc. The possibilities were endless.

Recently, though, that “move abroad again” dream faded. I like living in Chicago. I love my job. I love my new yoga gig. My family is close. My life is here and I’m not ready to leave – even if 35 is 1.5 years away. As the “move abroad again” dream receded, a new dream formed:

Own a tea shop & yoga studio

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Let Go and Let God

“Let Go and Let God”

It’s certainly not an expression you’d ever hear me say, let alone believe, yet when a friend wrote about it in a recent blog post, it stuck with me. Not because I believe that God is doing anything for me, but because sometimes I really do need to let go and let life happen as it happens.

The guy I’m dating may soon be the guy I dated. We had “the talk” last night and agreed to meet up this weekend to discuss where we see our relationship going. I don’t have high hopes. For the last 24 hours, I’ve been nervously chewing over every little thing about him, about us, about me, about my future, about…you get the point. I can’t sleep, I can’t eat, I can’t do anything other than think about the fact that I may be single very soon and if that’s something I actually want (because, admittedly, it might be something that I want even though it terrifies me).

My brain hurts. My heart hurts. My eyeballs hurt. And, while I can’t physically eat a giant cupcake or guzzle a glass of wine right now, I can Let Go and Let God or more appropriately for me – let go. I don’t have to decide today, tomorrow, or next week who I’m going to marry, if I should have a baby by myself, if I should adopt a kid, or if I should move to Seattle to start fresh. Instead, today, tomorrow, and next week, I need to take part in some self-love in order to let go.

Girl Brain 2.0

In the past seven years that I’ve been writing this blog I’ve talked at length about dating, including touching on the infamous and rarely discussed amongst couples: “Girl Brain.”

Girl Brain is the ever-present reason why girls act the way they do around boys.

It’s been so long since I’ve been in a “real relationship” that I associated Girl Brain only to the beginnings of a relationship aka the dating stage. Yet, here I sit 6 1/2 months into a relationship – the second longest I’ve ever dated someone IN MY LIFE (feel free to applaud now) – and I’m here to tell you that Girl Brain does exist while in a relationship, too.

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2017 So Far!

It’s hard to believe that nearly 2 months have gone by since I last wrote a blog post. Since deciding I was going to move to Hong Kong, I’ve written on a fairly consistent basis. Sadly, this year, though, I’ve lacked the motivation to just sit and write. When I do have spontaneous thoughts about good blog ideas, I haven’t been writing them down or cracking open my laptop and writing them that instant as I used to do. I attribute my lack of enthusiasm to write to the fact that I’m just too darn busy! Luckily, though, it’s all good things:

  • I started teaching a new yoga class!! It’s at 360 Chicago, the beautiful 94th floor observation deck at the John Hancock building. (P.S. I get free tickets if you want to come!). It’s on Saturday mornings at 9:30. The pay is great, the view is amazing, and next week I’ll be on TV promoting it!

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Restaurant for Two: Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille

Restaurant for Two: a feature where I bring a friend to a restaurant and we write a review together. John is a foodie, so we made a date night out of it. 

From start to finish, our meal at Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille in Oak Brook was delightful. The service was impeccable; everyone – the hostess, our waiter, the Nutty D’Angelo maker (see below for video) – was polite, friendly, and willing to answer any questions we had. Starting right at dinner time, the lights were turned way down low to set the mood, the wine wall was fully stocked, and the pianist was crooning jazz.

Because we were there for a tasting for this review, John and I were served multiple dishes that were sized down so we could fit it all in. Please note that dishes are smaller in these pictures than they will be when served to you!

Our first course was served with a mini martini trio; the drinks menu offers nearly a dozen options for you to add to the trio. We were treated with Perry’s new Smoky Rita (Hornita’s Black Barrel tequila, fresh-pressed lime juice and agave nectar, with a habanero rim); the Mango Passion Fizz (mango passion Belvedere vodka, peach liquour, fresh-pressed lemon & lime juice, Chandon brut champagne); and the Mai Tai (two types of rum and fresh lime juice with a hibiscus rim and edible orchid).

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Taking Chicago by storm…one date, one yoga class, one salsa lesson, one blog post, one trip, one drink, one meal, one new friendship at a time.