Today is officially the first day of “fall”, or you could say my fall semester. So yes, it is technically still summer if you’re not enrolled in any college courses but for those of us who are, it’s back to the books. Speaking of which, I have yet to purchase all of mine and of course, my classes begin tomorrow. Why am I not even surprised? This fall I’ll be enrolled in classes Tuesdays and Thursdays from morning until night. Every other day between that I’ll be interning in the day and working at night. Weekends? Yup, those will be saved for reading endless amounts of information on communication (my field), studying, blogging and hopefully fitting a brunch in here and there. A house made almond milk latte at Floriole doesn’t sound too bad either and eventually will manage to try their passion fruit tart via Popular Pays.
As I take a look back on this summer, I’m really in awe of how many things I accomplished, failed to do and then again made happen. The new friends I’ve made, how my summer turned into a lonely day-to-day routine and ended up with me sitting coffee shops daily, writing in a planner I never thought I would own and catching up on Instagram for hours on end, communicating with other bloggers in the city and making plans to meet new ones. I was just on the phone today with my aunt telling her about my upcoming fall and how ridiculously busy I’ll be. Each day I will be going non-stop from 8a.m. to 7 or 9p.m. Sure, I’m a little nervous because I’m normally not that pre-occupied but I am nothing but ready for the intensity, the rush, having my planner filled day-to-day, back-to-back and how I can only grow from the experience.
In regards to looking forward, I’d love to chat a little bit about what some of my favorite parts of summer were and what I’m looking forward to most in the next few months.
Of course four months is not that long but it really has felt like four years. How did I do SO much, yet SO little!? It makes me very anxious for the future, to see what could possibly be in store from now through January.
I took a trip home to Cleveland and saw my three hometown best friends. I took a bus to East Lansing, Michigan to visit my first best friends I ever made in college. I saw The Fray live. Sampled some of the most delicious food ever at restaurants like Presidio, Siena Tavern and Beatrix and got to snap a photo of these delicious cherries the first week of July in Ann Arbor. Yay for Farmers Markets running my life and I, obviously, loved every second of it.
Visiting Ann Arbor and Cleveland made me realize my infinite love for all things travel related. Although I took both of these trips on a bus and they were about 3-4 days long, sometimes that’s just what you need in the middle of a chaotic week filled with nothing but 35-40 hours of work (which is what I was going through). As for this fall, I’ll be taking 15 course hours worth of work, on top of 20 hours interning and 8 hours working. 43 hours here we go.
Whenever I visit my friends (Gina and Darby) in Michigan, I always love cooking up a storm with Darby. The first day we grabbed lattes with almond milk right within the first hour of being in town. Followed by roasting veggies for lunch while we snacked on dates with homemade cashew butter. If you knew my Darby, you would know this is nothing but typical.
Our freshman year of high school, she would watch movies in her bed while a tin of medjool dates sat next to her and a jar of almond butter was latched to her hand. At those moments, I knew I clearly found my long lost foodie best friend. A good kinda feeling if you’re a food blogger.
The photo above of our veggie bowls must be one of my favorites I’ve ever taken. It shows how real and authentic food can be without positioning it so perfectly, with un-natural lighting and so many ingredients. Beets, brussels sprouts and roasted chickpeas with mason jars filled with ice water. The beauty of summer and the simplicity of not living in a city where everything is posed.
I finally got to see this graffiti mural I had been fantasizing over for months and months after seeing it all throughout social media. One day post-brunch, my friend and I got off of the blue line on the CTA, noticed it behind a gas station and we instantly snapped a few shots. Can we also take note of how much I love black? And that dress from Urban Outfitters that I pretty much wore 5 out of 7 days of the week during the summer. Neutrals and simple staples, my kinda fashion.
This was also the same day I think I fell in love with artsy shops and florists. Wait, just kidding. I always loved those two things. But when you’re taking a stroll through Logan Square and every corner has something artsy on it, you notice your infatuation with it much more.
From brunching to exploring the city, I worked my first 6 months at a restaurant job since high school. I had my first workout injury (that was HELL on earth). I was able to gain over 5,000+ followers on Instagram (wah! Thank you, thank you). I met one of my blogging idols. I saw my mom, even if for a quick weekend. I finally attended Lollapalooza. Oh and not to mention, I lived ALONE in the CITY for 4 months. Whaaaaat?
Then there was that one time I received a package from my favorite dairy (funny because we all know how I rarely eat it) company, Siggi’s, that contained what looked like a lifetime supply of yogurt. It was dreeeeaaammy. Sometimes, the food just keeps on coming. What I’ve realized from being a food blogger in the summer and there’s nothing to do after work is that you sample, recipe test and test out some tasty products. All day, ‘erryday.
I’d say my summer was pretty spectacular. Towards the very end, I felt as though I went through an epiphany. A life-changing moment of clarity and realization. Maybe it was meeting my new friend, May, that helped me realize this. Whenever we catch up over brunch and coffee (which lately is every weekend, no shame), we always discuss staying true to ourselves. I’ve found that staying true to yourself means so much more than just creating a brand that you’re passionate about and showing off products and recipes you adore with all your heart.
Staying true to me these days means setting goals for myself and not seeking low expectations. I keep seeing affirmations all over the place in regards to following dreams and balance. On my kombucha bottle tonight, the “words of enlightenment” were: “Life is balancing in all directions. Keep the flow”.
HOW PERFECT?! With technically three jobs coming my way in the next few weeks (work, interning, school), I know it will be important to stay balanced in all directions in order to keep sane. I try to plan out my days accordingly by hour and on the weekends tend to let go a little bit. Whether that means sleeping until 10a.m. and missing that 8a.m. barre class or drinking 4 lattes in a row because I can, and because I want to (and quite frankly, my homemade almond milk and cold-brew have no limits).
My summer ended with this brunch above and I think it was a fantastic way to go all out. Poached eggs and crab cakes are the ONLY acceptable way to end a summer. Now there are only so many more brunch spots I wish to go to in the fall. And more importantly, every coffee shop on my “go-to” list will definitely turn into “gone-to” by December. I’m already planning on heading over to Heritage Outpost next weekend. Woooohu for coffee shop hangs.
Here’s to the end of the year (and the start of a new one?! mind boggling…)! With more blogging, more recipes, more creative juices flowing every which way (even if it means blogging at midnight like I am now). I hope to make it just as wonderful as this summer has been!