Chicagoooooooo: I'm in love!

WARNING: Long post! I'm feeling very expressive today. And this is for all of you who've been wondering what I'm up to in Chicago. "I'm in love, I'm in love & I don't care who knows it!" - Buddy the Elf

A quote from my one of my favorite movies, and how I feel about my new city. Every day I discover something new about Chicago that I adore and I can't help but reflect on the last year of my life. Exactly one year ago, moving to Chicago was barely an inkling in my mind. I actually had no idea where I wanted to go but knew I need to go somewhere other than WI. After traveling to Seattle, San Francisco, Denver & New York City last summer, the decision came down to NYC and Chicago. Shortly after I arrived back from NYC, I found out my baby sister was expecting her first baby and I knew I wanted to be close enough to home that I could still drive back and visit. So there you have it - Chicago was the obvious choice so I can still get niece snuggles in as much as possible! I still hold NYC dear to my heart; maybe it will be the next adventure for me :)

I'm not going to lie, it's been a huge adjustment for me and been quite scary (emotionally) and lonely at times. Starting over in the largest city I've ever called home, and not knowing more than a half dozen people was tough on this introverted girl. I've really had to put myself out there and I'm pretty proud of how much I have grown in the last 365 days but particularly the last 250-ish days. Every day is a new adventure for me.


Beautiful Chicago skyline, you're mine!

What you can find me up to in this new city of opportunity:

  • Yoga - a must, to keep me in balance!
  • Zumba - getting my dance fix on at some of the most fun dance classes I've ever been to. We dance to Britney and Beyoncé... I mean, how can I not go?! Takes me back to my high school dance team days! I LOVE dancing!
  • Training for a 5k. This girl has never been a runner but I'm doing it and not dying! I actually can't believe how good it feels to run.
  • Volunteering at PAWS Chicago (I get to play with the shelter dogs!) Check out this amazing organization's website:
  • Photographing anything and everything that inspires me.
  • Meeting & making new friends through doing all sorts of fun things.
  • Dance parties in my kitchen, while cooking. I'm sure my neighbors love this!
  • Networking and building my business wherever I can. Starting some new pet, boudoir and high school senior projects!
  • Eating! Alllllll of the eating! There are so many wonderful places to eat here. And then I have to go to the gym - see first three bullets above!
  • Discovering Chicago cocktails & beer. It's finally summertime and Chicago has some of the greatest rooftop bars.
  • Walking & exploring new neighborhoods whenever I can. I.walk.everywhere.
  • Discovering new coffee shops.
  • Grabbing some Vitamin-D at the beach.
  • Girls' nights with some of the most fun and uplifting ladies I've met along my journey.
  • Long talks about life, over cocktails, with my roommate on our urban flower-filled patio or in our cozy kitchen.

Summer Bucket List: (Gonna' be hard to top last year's summer but I'm sure going to try!)

  • Kayaking on the Chicago River
  • Run the Tiki Run 5k
  • Finally get the tattoo I've been thinking about for two years!
  • Explore the 606 Trail
  • Cubs Game (A must - duh!)
  • Drinks at the Signature Lounge at the top of the John Hancock building
  • Checking out the hundreds of festivals
  • Great America... so close & I LOVE rollercoasters and I haven't been in years
  • Whirlyball
  • Social dance classes. Hip-hop, salsa & ballroom to name a few
  • Craft Brewery Crawl
  • Join a Beach Volleyball & Kickball league
  • Farmer's Market exploration
  • Buy a bike so I don't have to drive as much (driving/traffic in Chicago is the worst. Parking is second worst.)
  • Something adventurous like sky-diving!!! Always wanted to and this is the year of actually going forward with the things I want to do.
  • Touristy stuff that I didn't think I would want to do but now want to: architecture tour, ride the ferris wheel at Navy Pier, skyline boat tour, Chicago underground tour, Adler planetarium, Buckingham Fountain, Willis Tower, museums & the Shedd Aquarium are some possibilities.
  • Get my Etsy shop open & start planning a cookbook with my food photos
  • See as much live music as possible at all of these festivals
  • Try Pequod's Pizza - I hear it's the best
  • Check out a Broadway show
  • Be an "extra" on Chicago Fire - this isn't a summer thing since they're probably not filming in the summer but I think it would be fun
  • This is far out there, and I have no musical talent, but think it would be so fun to join an A capella group and pretend I'm in Pitch Perfect! It's so fulfilling to be part of something with others who have the same interests. Which is probably why I love Zumba so much!

Things I can cross off the done list:

  • Bulls Game
  • Cyndi Lauper at Chicago Theatre!!
  • UP Comedy Club - saw #DateMe!
  • Apollo Theater - saw The Great Love Debate & had my online dating profile read in front of what seemed like a hundred perfect strangers!
  • Lincoln Park Zoo - I photograph there allllll the time!
  • Rock Climbing! On a date! Conquered a fear.
  • Speed dating. Tried it. Most likely won't do it again!

The checked-off list seems so little compared to all I want to do and I feel like I missed some things! If anyone wants to join me on any of these things I have yet to do, hit me up!

All, I'm happy and I'm well. I'm finding my way here and I'm loved. For all of you who have helped me along the way, I thank you from the bottom of my big, sappy heart! #lifeisgood