Who would think that starting out my Friday at work and ending it in my apartment Sunday night with my roommate watching The Real Housewives of Orange County (what she’s lured me into), I would be filled with so many emotions. From spending Friday night with my three absolute best friends I’ve found at my college to meeting one of my absolute favorite bloggers today, Jordan Younger, I could not be any happier with how these past three days have turned out.
I spent the whole entire beginning of this summer completely perplexed and over worked, doing nothing but work, work, work and yoga, yoga, yoga. Granted, I loved every second of it in the moment but now that most of my friends are back in town and I’ve been meeting tons of fellow bloggers, I feel productive in a whole new sense of the word. I used to devote my whole entire time and energy into fitness, especially being alone in the city. I realized that too much of a good thing can turn bad. Too much fitness obviously can drain you, just like eating too much kale and quinoa is never really “the best thing”. Now I’ve been spending my days filling my planner with events, meetings, hours of interning and blogging to-do lists! Also a lot of hemp milk lattes at Metropolis are happening every morning. My go-to treat.
I ended up grabbing one this morning because Sundays are “treat yourself with lattes” days in my book. Most people have pancakes. Me? Yeah, I walk a mile across my campus and grab one of these iced treats while talking to my best friend from Ohio over the phone. #bliss
I paired it with a mixed berry chia jam I made last night over the stove. Chia jam is one of my favorite little condiments to make because you can melt any fruit, add a ton of chia seeds to it and within seconds it turns to a thick jam consistency. I added local honey from Kansas and wah-la!
Aside from the outrageously creamy (but 100% non-dairy) $4 latte I enjoyed this morning, yesterday was just as perfect. Sharing the day with my new favorite foodie pal, May (mentioned last week in my post about The Allis), we got to have our first look at the Green City Market located right near Lakeshore Drive. The market is currently being held Wednesdays and Saturdays from 8a.m. to 1p.m. with tons of local farmers ranging from produce stands to meats, cheeses and even pickled vegetables.
It was my first time seeing beet ketchup, actually… who knew that was even a thing? Or vegan portabello and kale tamales? Gosh I love farmers markets with my whole heart.
While May grabbed some golden raspberries and two carts of these gorgeous tomatoes, I grabbed yellow and purple cauliflower (which were so beautiful when roasted), red and green striped tomatoes, a colorful arrangement of sweet peppers and a tin of peaches! I can’t wait to tear right into those peaches… mmm!
Going to show how bad May and I get sucked into pretty aesthetics and sceneries, we left the market wanting nothing more than a good coffee but instead ended up in A New Leaf florist shop, daydreaming about every bouquet lining the walls. Apparently huge circular pots filled with succulents are the rage now? I might need a few of those in my apartment…
Growing up, my mom was always, always gardening or taking me to florists while she picked out seeds and arrangements. It’s just one of those little things that brings back all of the right feels and gets me thinking how much more I am loving branching into the lifestyle sector of blogs despite my extreme passion for food. Browsing the flowers in between the market and our juice pit-stop was the idea of a balanced day.
We stopped into Real Good Juice Co. in Old Town (one of my favorite juice shops aesthetic-wise) and were immediately sucked into the names and colors of the juices, smoothies and yogurts. How can you not want to photograph everything that has a succulent behind it and is covered in black and white?! That is what I live for (if you can’t tell by my Instagram already). Call me a basic millennial but it’s true.
I splurged on the $9 coconut yogurt with a mixed blueberry topping and homemade almond granola. Holy heavens. I haven’t had coconut yogurt since I hopped on the Siggi’s train and I think I fell in love again with non-dairy yogurt. It was homemade too, blended from coconut meat.
May ordered the “Yello! You’ve Reached The Greensteins” with arugula, matcha, apple, avocado and banana and the Punky Juice-ster – matcha, almond milk, chlorophyll and chia seeds.
Matcha is everything these days and with housemade almond milk…. KILLER! May and I were both shocked at how low in sugar it was since usually matcha drinks are packed with sweeteners.
Of course when you’re a foodie your day can never just end at one juice spot. I had to show May a newer juice joint that just opened up a few months ago called JuiceRx (in case you couldn’t tell, Old Town loves its workout classes and healthy food options). We tried these little $5 shots filled with Matcha green tea, cacao, cayenne, ginseng and orange. They tasted like chocolate covered oranges.
Fun fact: while taking this picture, we both stuck out our hands against a random brick wall and this woman approached us. We thought she was asking us for money as we both just completely ignored her, trying to get the perfect ‘gram shot. No worries, she was just trying to get passed us and we were in the way… typical. But it was funny nonetheless.
I got a good laugh out of the moment, that’s for sure.
After we grabbed snacks, we ended up getting lattes at Dollop Coffee all the way in Streeterville. I had not walked as much as I did yesterday since two weeks ago during Lollapalooza. I also had never walked from the tip top edge of Old Town to The Loop…. excuse me but what!? If you look at a map… that’s far. Pretty much the whole span of the city.
Just kidding but maybe close.
We ended up making plans for another foodie-venture next Sunday at Fig and Olive which I couldn’t be more excited about, as it will be my last fun summer fiasco before my fall semester begins. I am so thrilled to go back for brunch here since their whole atmosphere teleports you to sunny California. a.k.a my dream come true. The crostinis too… shrimp and avocado… ahhh I want it all right now.
May and I talked for a solid three hours at Dollop over growing our brands, staying true to who we are and loyal to the companies we support. It’s not always easy to respond to several emails at a time or to go to every workout class in the books. Sometimes you need to turn your phone on airplane mode and go for a sunrise run or do yoga in the comfort of your living room rather than a SoulCycle class filled with nothing but Lululemon. Our mutual realizations.
Personally, I’ve found that surrounding myself with like-minded people is the best way to achieve not only balance but an uplifted spirit and high energy. By just reading someone’s blog or looking at their Instagram it may seem like oh sure you both like overnight oats and attending yoga classes but once you get to sit down and talk to someone about where they’ve been and where they’re going, it’s one of the most inspiring moments. I’ve been able to open up so much to these ladies I’ve met and trust them heavily, even by just knowing them for a short time. It really is mind-blowing.
While I ended my day with one blogger, I began it today with another. Jordan (The Balanced Blonde) has been one of my inspirations since last fall. I remember following her when she branded her website under the name “The Blonde Vegan”, posting tons of raw vegan recipes and juice cleanses. I then remember when she posted her transition away from veganism, battle with Orthorexia and transition from vegan-based blog to lifestyle. It was then I realized that I, too, had orthorexia. Reading her posts while transitioning made me become more comfortable with easing back into dairy and meat products and not being so hung up over eating so restrictively.
When I saw on her Instagram/blog that she was coming to Chicago this weekend for the Create and Cultivate conference for bloggers followed by a small meet-up, I emailed her right away about meeting up. Once again, meeting these women lately has been impacting my life more than I ever thought I would imagine. The meet-up was at Real Good Juice Co. (where I was yesterday), lasted about an hour and maybe 6-8 girls showed up. We all discussed social media/blogs, how we each started following Jordan via social media, her inspiration and fashion line TBV apparel, finding balance (her key message) and the go-to spots in Chicago/L.A. Alfred Coffee, Café Gratitude, The SoHo House… Yes. Yes and Yes.
When I left the meet-up, my heart was full and my mind was exploding with motivation (is that possible?) and ideas. Jordan is such a wonderful example of how quickly one’s blog can grow, how it is so important to engage and follow brands you’re truly passionate about and do what feels right for you. One of my best friend’s has been vegan for over a year and loves it, has wonderful energy and a great outlook on life. I lived on the edge of a vegan lifestyle and found that I truly was not happy. To be honest, it took quite a while to understand that. Each day that I gain more knowledge and meet more influential women, I realize how important it is to find your balance.
This weekend left me inspired to continue pursuing my blog further, deeper and harder. Despite work, classes, interning, working out, cooking and watching Bravo! with my roommate nightly, I want to put my whole heart and soul into Chickpea in the City (trust me, it was already). I hope to only meet so many more inspirational souls as the year goes on!
Here’s to all of the love I felt this week and to much more to come.