Midwestern Musings: Chicago

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There’s more than one way to pack your day full of activities in Chicago, but if I had my choice, my Saturdays in the city would be spent eating great food, supporting local businesses, catching a game, and walking through the park.

Chicago doesn’t have the hustle and bustle of other cities, but the energy is captivating nonetheless. I recommend starting your day off right with an early lunch at Ikram. I know I’ve mentioned this cafe before, but the food and shopping is too good to only talk about once! Dishes are local, and your server will be able to tell you which farms’ produce is on your plate that day. Downstairs, thumb through the likes of Proenza Schouler and Givenchy in their bag section, or check out the shelves of amazing sneakers in the back.

If you’re looking for local, fair trade goodies, head up to Lincoln Park to check out the Green Heart Shop. This is great if you need to pick up a gift for just about any occassion, and their handmade jewelry selection always has cool one of a kind pieces.

No weekend in Chicago is complete without a trip to Wrigley Field. Whenever I travel, I always make an effort to go to a sporting event. Rubbing elbows with the locals while throwing back a few is always the way to go in my book. And if it just so happens to coincide with looking at cute guys in uniforms, who am I to say no? For great deals on tickets, go to ScoreBig.com. It’s like Priceline for sporting events; you get to bid on the ticket price. I usually end up snagging great seats for half off!

Finish out your day with a stroll through Millenium Park. There are tons a cool sculptures (aside from just Cloud Gate) and great little side parks to poke in to. Often times there will be games of chess happening on the sidewalk. Depending on how many beers you’ve had at the game, you can always challenge one of the pros for a quick round. Otherwise, sprawl on to the grass on the Great Lawn and watch the clouds go by.

What does your perfect day in Chicago consist of? Let me know if the comments below!

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#INSTAFOOD: New York, New York

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I should have picked a different day to start a juice cleanse because these photos are making me miss chewing, carbs.. and well, food. Needless to say, I couldn’t help putting together a little homage to all the delicious eats that I tasted while in New York last month.

Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 8.33.41 PM Rosemarys. (Greenwich Village)

Using herbs and veggies from their rooftop garden, this hotspot defines fresh for the downtown brunch lovers. Be sure to taste some of their homemade pastas and fresh squeezed juices.

Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 8.36.16 PMPies n Thighs (Williamsburg)

Don’t leave this place without trying the chicken biscuit! While I may not feel hipster enough to eat at this Brooklyn joint on the reg, I definitely find myself being pulled back by the pie.

Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 8.35.15 PMCafe Moto (Williamsburg)

One of my favorite spots in all of Brooklyn! Stop in for some live music, a glass of wine (on draft), and their mac n cheese, which they serve with apple sauce. Trust me when I say, between those three things, you have a winning combination.

Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 8.36.58 PMBaked (Red Hook)

Looking for the ultimate place to grab a cappucino and a pastry? Look no further than this off the beaten path spot. This a great place to fuel up before you take on the day. If you aren’t a lemon tart fan, try their crowd-pleasing cinnamon bun.

Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 8.37.16 PMCookshop (Chelsea)

For farm to table goodness, skip the tourists at Chelsea market and plop yourself down on the trendy patio on 10th Ave. You’d be doing yourself a disservice by not getting a cocktail with your meal. I had the Peaches B. Crazy.

Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 8.35.34 PM10 Degrees (East Village)

When all else fails, go for the happy hour specials! With 2-for-1 drinks from noon until 8pm, and a charcuterie served in massive portions, this is a great place to post up and do some work New York style.

Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 8.37.34 PMThe Marshal (Hell’s Kitchen)

Places like this don’t pop up in Hell’s Kitchen everyday. If you’re in the area, you won’t regret stopping in for a taste of everything local. From spirits, to veggies, to the honey drizzled over house made fudge… most things don’t come from more than 100 miles away.

Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 8.36.44 PMRed Hook Lobter Pound (Red Hook)

Whenever I’m homesick, all I need is a lobster roll to transport me back to my coastal hometown in Maine. I also recommend snagging a cup of lobster mac n cheese for good measure because nothing says comfort food quite like pasta.

Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 8.34.57 PMCafe Habana (Nolita)

Tired from a day of shopping downtown? Fear not! The tacos and cheesy corn at this hipster Cuban establishment will fuel you for another round of scowering vintage shops and looking for deals.

Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 8.34.23 PMHandsome Dan’s (East Village)

With old school candy like warheads, razzles, and pop rocks, there’s no way you can go wrong at this lower east side candy shop. Embrace the sugar rush and go all in with a sno-cone!

This just scratches the surface of the culinary experiences to be had in New York. Tell me where you love to chow down in the comments below!

P.S. Be sure to follow me on Instagram at @venturetravelist

Windy City Style in Chicago

Screen Shot 2014-08-27 at 7.33.06 PMEmbracing the few days off I have left in Chicago, I decided to check out some of the sites that I had yet to see in the city. Between the River Walk, Cloud Gate, Millenium Park, and a few stops along the way to satisfy my sweet tooth, it was a successful outing.

Normally, I don’t traipse around the city in heels, but these ones by Guilhermina are so gosh darn cute and comfortable, that I’ve had a tough time taking them off these past few weeks. Now that the weather is slowly starting to cool down, I’ve been working to transitional those summer pieces into something a little more wearable for Fall. My advice: get ready to layer, and start sticking to a more neutral, muted palette.

If you have the need for sugar and sustenance like I do, consider taking the hike out to Ukranian Village where you’ll find  Hoosier’s. The mini pies are great to share, and I love the decor!

Feel like staying in River North? Ikram is a great non-touristy option. They have a cafe on the second floor serving seasonal salads and thoughtfully prepared entrees. But, the real treat is the cookie plate that is perfect to share with friends! After you’ve satisfied your culinary craving, head back downstairs for some of the best shopping Chicago has to offer. The handbag selection alone is enough to make your head spin!

Looking forward to a few more updates on Chicago. Keep your eyes peeled for my Wrigley Field post coming soon! ❤

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Oh, Canada!

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Hi all! Sorry it has taken me so long to put a post together. Traveling for work with the Ben & Jerry’s Core Tour (check out the blog I’ve been writng for them here) has kept me super busy, and I’ve had little to no time for a breather. Luckily, last weekend I had an opportunity to take a quick trip to Vancouver for a friend’s wedding. I flew in the night before, so I would have the day to explore the city and managed to see some really cute spots, and even caught the sunrise.

That night I dined at Chambar, which is one of the great hot spots to post up at the bar and grab a bite to eat. Their beer list is extensive, and they have carefully curated some funky wines to add to their ‘by the glass’ list. For food, I highly recommend trying the Beouf et Champignons and the Veau et Calamar. I ended up tasting five courses (shhhh), and you really can’t go wrong with any selection. Be sure to save room for dessert because the Mama Rizk is out of this world.

One of the great things to do on a weekend morning is head over to Granville Island Public Market. Yes, I know it is a little touristy, but it offers unique views of the city, and has some yummy treats to keep you going for the rest of the day. If you’re staying in downtown, head to the Hornby Street dock to catch the Aquabus over to Granville Island. You can snag a daypass for $15 CAN and explore the rest of False Creek throught the day as well. It brings you to straight to Granville Island, but also to other fun neighborhoods like Yaletown and Chinatown for good shopping, snacks, and a bit of culture.

For the ride to Granville, it’s only about 3-4 minutes to get across the creek. Once you’re in the market, check out J.J. Bean for a jolt of to good stuff and pair it with a doughnut from Lee’s. If you’re looking for something a little more savory, try Omi Japan our Gourmet Wok for a taste of some traditional eastern cuisine.

After that, it was back to the hotel for wedding prep for me. As to what happened for the rest of the night… there was open bar, what do you expect?

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Sundays in the 202

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Having spent three weekends in D.C. on the job with Ben & Jerry’s, I think I’m finally starting to peel back the layers of the city and finding some true gems. There are so many different fun things you can do on a Sunday in D.C., and between brunch and some shopping, these are just a few of my favorites…

Union Market, which has awesome selection of artisan foods, makes it a perfect spot to stop for lunch. There are also shops that sell organic goods, kitchen accessories, and beautiful fresh flowers. What more could you possibly need on a Sunday?

If you aren’t feeling up to walking around the market, the brunch options in D.C. are plentiful. Lots of restaurants are embracing the farm-to-table trend, and it’s easy to find delicious, seasonal fare on a Sunday morning. Some of my favorites are Poste, Beuchert’s Saloon, Birch & Barley, Founding Farmers, and The Pig (all which I got to sample while on the Core Tour). Once you have satisfied your appetite, I recommend heading down to Georgetown for some shopping on M Street, especially at Wink, which has some amazing pieces that you definitely need to add to your wardrobe.

I would also be perfectly content strolling around D.C. taking photos of all of the beautiful row houses and snacking on sweet treats that I picked up at the Eastern Market. That’s the great thing about D.C. — there’s a Sunday activity for every mood.

Have any other Sunday activity selections? Let me know in the comments below. ❤

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Super National

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It has been way too long since I have posted last! So sorry! I was traveling from Tampa to D.C. last week with the Ben & Jerry’s Core Tour, and just got down to business when I arrived in D.C. Good thing business included sightseeing, brunch, and photographing some incredible sunsets. Even though I’m working, I think it’s important to see the city as a tourist every once and a while. So, this weekend, I decided to walk the National Mall and check out the monuments and memorials for myself.

The other great part about being in D.C. right now is that I have an awesome apartment right in Dupont Cicle. If you are planning on visiting, this is a perfect location to stay in. It is walking distance to most of the sights, and there are tons of great dining and shopping options right in the neighborhood. If you’re keen on keeping up with your fitness regime on the road, hit up Flow Yoga Center on P Street. It’s $45 for the first month, which includes unlimited yoga. So, if you’re planning on taking advantage more than 4 or 5 times while in D.C., this is the way to go.

Looking forward to continue updating you on my time in the Nation’s Capitol! xo

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