As the year comes to an end, I want to spill about 2015’s ups and downs, highs and lows and what’s to come for 2016. This year was my first full calendar year of being “The Chickpea” in “The City” and while my main city was Chicago, I ventured to Los Angeles, San Diego, Wichita, Kansas City, Cleveland and Ann Arbor.
I’ve met countless influential people, created and taste-tested tons of recipes and even ended up with a job at one of my favorite workout studios. I’ve finished off jars of nut butter, stayed up until 3a.m. writing papers and walked 10 miles to Lincoln Park. But through each train trip to yoga or walk to Whole Foods to pick up an ingredient for my Sunday night dinner, I’ve grown as a blogger while also developing my passion for public relations and the food industry further than I thought possible.
This industry filled with creative health nuts is something I’m extremely proud to be apart of and every person that I can inspire or introduce a new product to, the happier I am at the end of the day.
On my birthday, January 28th, I started working for one of Chicago’s biggest restaurant chains – Lettuce Entertain You. Working at one of the busiest and top-rated restaurants in the heart of downtown Chicago did a 180º on my life. I spent weeks in the winter waking up every Monday and getting on the train at 5:45a.m. I broke my first restaurant dish, drank a ton of Intelligentsia lattes and devoured countless “Straight A” salads (arugula, salmon and avocado).
I started ClassPass in February which led me to realize that strength training (barre and yoga) would make me feel more confident and balanced than I ever thought I could be. I always had this image of working out being primarily cardio and after struggling with disordered eating habits for the past 3 years, kicking cardio to the curb was a huge relief. Through ClassPass, I found CorePower yoga which really moved me to feel strong inside and out. You can read about that here.
This led me to an unexpected foot injury that lasted half of the summer, resulting in me relaxing rather than going to extremes with my workout regimen. That’s when I left my restaurant job and focused more on my blog and a difficult but engaging 20-hour a week internship come September.
Through these past 12 months, I’ve struggled a lot. Whether it be deciding to quit my job I loved so much and stopping my yoga membership to heal my foot to withdrawing from a class this semester due to my insane work load, there have also been so many positives…
I realized my infinite love for cold brew coffee and kombucha. And avocado toast.
I realized how badly I want to hire my best friend as my personal assistant and photographer. She took all of these lovely photos and I kid you not, she will work for me one day if I ever make this bloggy thing the real deal. a.k.a my job. Goals.
One of the coolest moments? When I first started being recognized as Chickpea in the City. Not gonna lie.
The events I’ve attended, the food products I’ve received and landing my dream internship working with a Chicago-based food company (Simple Mills).
While I visited Cleveland these past two weeks connecting with my family I haven’t seen in a year and my best friends I haven’t seen since June, I felt so grateful to be back where it all started. Sitting at my uncle’s dining room table where I remember purchasing my domain and working for 8 hours straight into the night figuring out how the heck to put a header on my site. I’m telling you, 2016 holds a lot for Chickpea in the City:
I turn 21 at the end of January.
I’m going to Portland, Oregon in March for vacation which is one of two hopeful dream locations to live after I graduate.
I have hopes of getting an internship or job in California this summer and even if I don’t make it, I’m going to try damn hard.
My job will be focused on making recipes. More time for the blog means more time for content! This makes me a little bit over the edge excited.
Last year, I made a post-it note on my computer with a few tasks I wanted to complete in 2015. Not thinking any of them would happen, the other week I crossed off every. single. one. They all happened. Can you believe it? One of them was attending Lollapalooza and another was taking a Soul Cycle class. I’m laughing at myself thinking those were on my teensy weensy bucket list but hey, they happened. I made ’em happen. I made recipe posts happen when all I wanted to do was sleep. All of it has motivated me for 2016 to set even more goals and set them HIGHER. Set them BIGGER. And set them SO much BETTER. Who says hard work and dedication can’t take you where you want to go?
Here’s to one heck of a year and cheers for another!
P.s. I love all of you chickpeas.
*All of these photos were done by my best friend Lylah Wolff. She is an exceptional photographer and I can’t thank her enough for these shots.*