Chicago Photo Diary

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A couple weeks ago, I reunited with six of my college friends in Chicago. My friend Zoe has been going to grad school in Chicago since we graduated, and my friend Adanna recently moved there to go to business school. It wasn’t really planned at first- Audrey picked a weekend in October to visit, then Babe and Ariel bought tickets, then Emily did, and then I decided to join in on the fun!

I haven’t been to Chicago since I was about 11, so I was excited for my first visit as an adult. All I remember from previous trips to Chicago was visiting Shedd Aquarium and seeing my family that lived out in the suburbs. On this trip we had a great mix of going out to see the sights and chilling at my friend’s spacious apartment. I saw the Bean for the first time, we popped by a nice farmer’s market, had drinks at The Hancock (what a view), visited Myopic Books, went out for sushi, and walked around Promontory Point, among other things.

It was really nice to get away for the weekend and spend time with good friends. Chicago, you were pretty cool. I’d definitely like to go back!

Places Visited

Stans Donuts: My friends took me to two donut places while I was visiting (they know me so well). These donuts were really good, but I actually think I preferred the next place.

Glazed & Infused: In Wicker Park, these are located right across the street from each other, so it was easy to sample both. My favorite was the maple and bacon donut- it was freakin’ delicious.

Myopic Books: Of course I’d love this place- there are shelves and shelves of used books. They also carry some new books as well.

Chicago History Museum: Originally we popped in here to get out of the rain, but I’m glad we did. There was a cool interactive space where you could sit and read books about Chicago, or write on postcards provided by the museum. I also saw a sign advertising a silent reading party. Sounds like something I’d be into!

The Bean: It’s a landmark and I’m glad I finally got to see it!

Green City Market: This was a nice farmer’s market and it looked like there were lots of good food options. I also got to sample some tasty apple cider donuts and if I hadn’t been so full at that point, I would have definitely bought a full bag.

The Signature Lounge: We had drinks here one night. The drinks were good, but really it’s all about the amazing view of Chicago (and check out the view from the women’s bathroom too)!

Trenchermen: We had brunch here and I loved the setting. The restaurant is located in an old bathhouse and the building is so cool. The food was great here, except for the roasted cauliflower, which wasn’t really roasted.

Big Star: Yummy yummy tacos. Zoe said that this place is consistently busy, so we decided to eat lunch at a random time so that we wouldn’t have to wait for hours. It worked and we were seated right away. I ordered the taco al pastor and the taco de pollo pibil and I was very happy with both of my choices.

The Beach House

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As I mentioned before, the Bella Beach Bridge House wasn’t our initial choice, but it ended up being the perfect one. When we arrived after a very long day of driving, we were so excited to see that the house looked even better than the pictures online. It was located in such a pretty community and was only a couple minutes walking distance from the beach.

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The house had a very cozy and relaxed vibe and I loved all of the little details. I snapped a bunch of pictures and took some mental notes for decorating my own home someday in the future. Oh, and did I mention that there was a little free library in front of the house? This house was seriously perfect for us and we may or may not have looked up local listings in the area…

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This was really my first time renting a vacation home and it was a wonderful experience. The property staff was very easy to work with when we were making our reservation. Once we arrived, the house had everything we could have needed. I would definitely stay at Bridge House again! Have you ever rented a vacation home?

Last Minute Vacation

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After everything that happened last month, we all really needed a change of scenery. My mom suggested road tripping to Oregon and suddenly my sister and I were planning a last minute vacation. It’s been many many years since we all took a trip together and I didn’t plan the last one, so this was my first experience organizing our family vacation. Make that two families, actually, because some family friends and their kids decided to join us!

We had a vague destination in mind (the Oregon coast) and I really wanted to try renting a place through a site like airbnb or homeaway. We had less than a week to plan this trip and as you can imagine, choices were a bit limited for a party of 10 at this late stage. Thankfully my sister and I tackled it together- we spent hours browsing, emailing, and calling potential rentals. The morning before we left, we still hadn’t booked any accommodations and we were starting to wonder if we’d have to reschedule the trip, but in the end we found a fantastic house.

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With shelter taken care of, all we had to do was pack and take off, right? When we calculated the drive from our home in California to the house in Oregon and saw that it was 14 hour drive, we thought, “that won’t be so bad…” Hahahaha <—- that’s me laughing at my naive self because 17 hours is a loooong time to spend in a car (the 14 hour estimate didn’t include stops, of course). On the day that we left, we had to get a pretty early start, so I was asleep in the car for the first few hours. The good thing is that we had five different drivers, so we could switch around when one of us got tired.

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When I initially packed to go home, I was packing for summer in the desert (so temperatures in the 90s and 100s). I only brought one pair of pants, which I’m wearing in the first picture above. I definitely wanted to be comfortable in the car and those are most comfortable pants I own- I call them my pajama pants. On top, I threw on my swingy denim tee (last seen in this post) and a navy cardigan that I scored at Kohl’s for less than $3 the night before.

Even though it was a mad dash to plan and get everything ready for our last minute vacation, the trip was wonderful. It was amazing to be able to spend so much time with my family and experience a new state together (it was our first time in Oregon!). More pictures and stories from our trip to come…

Yale Photo Diary

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Last Saturday I popped down to New Haven for a brief visit. It was reunion weekend for the Class of 2010 and my roommate and his friends were celebrating. My 5-year reunion isn’t until next year, but I had a couple friends that I wanted to visit. I hadn’t been back in a couple of years and I was struck by how beautiful our campus is. I don’t think I fully appreciated it as an undergrad, when I was running around from class to class. It was really nice to stroll around at this time of year, when the sun is shining and the campus is emptier than usual. I was only in New Haven for a few hours, but it still felt great to get outside of New York City for a little while.