college

Memorial Day 2014: Girls Weekend in Lake Geneva

Good morning guys! Anyone else crazy confused about what day it is? I’m sure most people have gotten over the novelty of the holiday weekend but man it was so good that I just can’t move past it! How could I complain, though, about a fast-moving week? I’m basically in the express lane to the weekend!

It’s rainy and humid here in Chicago on this foggy morning but it seems like summer is finally here to stay. I’m going to take what I can get and not mention how sad I am that we skipped spring, one of my favorite seasons growing up. Considering it was snowing in the suburbs just weeks ago, however, I should really count my blessings that June seems to be right on schedule.

Okay enough with the chit-chat. I have to tell you about my trip!

First things first, if you’re in the Midwest and need an escape, look no further than the beautiful Lake Geneva. I’m not sure if it was the weather, the quaint little shops, our animated hotel Concierge named Chad, or the excitement of all being together, but my friends and I had an absolutely incredible trip.

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I woke up early Saturday morning to get a quick run in before my friend Jordan picked me up for the trip. Sidenote: I love the suburb where I’m from. I always make fun of the suburbs of Chicago and how happy I am that I now live in the city, but there’s something so comforting about being able to go home. It’s safe, slow, and has beautiful running routes.

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I could just keep running for days…

Anyway, after a quick run to Trader Joe’s to pick up beach snacks we were on our way! I was particularly excited because it was the perfect excuse to use my new picnic basket. There’s a smidgen of 50s housewife in my blood so this made me way too happy.

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Snacks included Trader Joe’s greek yogurt kale and spinach dip (it really is as amazing as it sounds) alongside carrots, chopped celery, and whole wheat pita crackers. Oh and homemade “sangria” – white wine, Fresca, and frozen berries. Don’t knock it til you try it!

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Best news of the weekend: I didn’t burn! Besides a little redness on my chest I didn’t leave Lake Geneva a hobbling lobster like I usually do. Point, Lauren.

Because I know you’re curious, we definitely ate our way through the city. Between the best ice cream in the country from Kilwin’s (toasted coconut with chocolate shavings) to the slow roasted, pulled chicken sandwich from a lakeside joint called Popeye’s, it’s safe to say I left Lake Geneva stuffed and satisfied. Oh and did I mention they have the cutest Starbucks I’ve ever seen? It was adorable!

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I was almost too embarrassed to put the following picture up, but, CRAB CAKES and garlic dressing. Does it get any better than that?

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Oh and just so you don’t think I went to Lake Geneva alone… 🙂

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I can’t tell you how great it was to have a girls weekend with my friends. It’s been a year since we graduated and even though it seems like our lives are going in all different directions, we’ve done a pretty good job of staying friends. These girls mean the world to me and I’m so lucky that we all lived on the same dorm floor freshman year. I remember leaving for my first year of school and my mom telling me how important it would be to make girlfriends in college. I always had a few girlfriends but mostly guy friends in high school thanks to having a serious boyfriend at the time. I didn’t know if I would make new friends, let alone a group like this. But it happened and now I have friends for life thanks to these lovely women. I really can’t express enough how great it is to have a loving, supportive group of friends like this and it was wonderful to take a three day vacation with them. Oh and did I mention we got friendship bracelets? 23 going on 12 🙂

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Questions:

  • I know I’m late to the party but tell me about your weekend!
  • Are you still close with your friends from college?

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the sunshine award: I promise I’m unique!

Holla at my fellow Chicagoan SuzLyfe for nomiating me for the Sunshine Award! You know what that means…you’re about to learn new, random, unique things about me!  I never in a million years thought that strangers on the internet would want to know intimate details about me, and I wouldn’t be creeped out by it. In fact, it only seems appropriate that you all get to know more about what makes me, me, other than my insatiable love and need for food and a good sweat session. So without further ado….

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1. I have been to 12 different countries. My favorite place was Prague in The Czech Republic, and my lease favorite was Venice, Italy. I haaaated that place. It was a claustrophobic girl’s worst nightmare.

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2. Speaking of that, I’m claustrophobic. I had a traumatizing experience when I was little where I got trapped crawling through a dark tunnel, with someone in front of me and behind. It was the worst feeling of my life and I’ll never forget that panic. Ever since then, I can’t be in small, dark, enclosed spaces, and if I’m locked in somewhere, I have a panic attack.

3. In high school I pierced my cartilage with a safety pin (it didn’t end well)

4. My head is too big to fit into hats. I just tell myself it’s because I have too big of a brain 😉

5. I ate so much cereal in college that some of my friends referred to me as the “cereal killer”. I even went as that for Halloween once.

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6. I have a twin brother!

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7. Austin is my favorite city in America

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8. I lived in Washington D.C. for a summer – and in two months made some of the best friends in the world. We still talk today!

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9. I’m in a sorority – Pi Beta Phi

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10. I was a barista in college. It was a humbling experience but also one of the most fun. I wish everyone could work in the food industry for at least a year because it really gives you a whole new outlook on life. Plus, I got free drinks whenever I wanted, so not only did I make money but imagine how much I saved on coffee throughout college!

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So there’s that! I feel like you know me on a whollllle new level now. But now I need to hear some random things from you! Tell me something unique about yourself! Give me some workday entertainment.

what I’ve learned since graduating college

While I’m only 9 months out, I think it’s a good time to get a post out like this. While I love writing about food and fitness, sometimes it’s important to write more personal post so you can get a better feel for who I am as a person, not just a food fanatic. Because contrary to popular belief, I’m not always Instagramming photos of sandwiches or Yelping the best donuts in Chicago 😉

You sit. A lot.

Train. Car. Office. Dinner. Movie. It’s all done sitting. Luckily I have to walk about 35 minutes each way to work in the morning but other than that, spending the day sitting is, quite frankly and literally, a pain in the ass. I get up at 5pm and my knees hurt. What’s up with that? Hey young adults, let’s change the culture of sitting.

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You never have to read off a piece of paper again if you don’t want to

            I sit at a computer all day every day. When I walk, I’m listening to music on my headphones. When I get home, I turn on the news and scroll through my Instagram feed. I text constantly. I have headaches and wonder where they come from. I don’t read anymore. Even the occasional magazine would be nice, albeit a waste of $5. My eyes need rest from the bright lights of a screen and the constant connection to social media. I feel myself getting sucked into the internet-obsessed world, one where asking for eye contact when we have a conversation needs to be explicitly stated. Everything can be done online now, and even though most times it seems like a saving grace, it sometimes feels like it sucks the life out of me at the end of the day.

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Writing cursive nowadays is next to impossible

Every time I have to write a check it’s a struggle. The third grader inside of me is shaking her head in shame.

Money still disappears

You think you’re going to spend less money because you’re not buying $1 shots at the seedy college bar followed by $5 Papa John’s pizza, but instead you replace that habit with a more grown up one: happy hour and a lot of Starbucks.

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You wonder, now what?

When you’re in high school, you have a very well-rounded identity. You sing in choir, you play on the varsity basketball team, and you know exactly when the Homecoming dance is coming up and how you’re going to ask your date. Everything falls together in a predictable pattern, something so comforting and easy. In college, things get a little fuzzy. However, once you make it past the gen-eds, you become a student of a specific field. You also join a sorority or Frisbee club or some other extra-curricular to make you feel better about all the binge drinking you participate in. But once you get that diploma, all of that disappears. I remember on my graduation day I turned to my dad and said, “It’s weird to think that, starting today, if I didn’t need money, I wouldn’t have to do a single thing from this moment forward.” I had no classes to go to, no appointments to keep, no functions that had been pre-organized for fun….nothing. Since summer was approaching the inevitable identity crisis didn’t hit, but once August came and I didn’t hop back in the car to Champaign, I realized, okay, now it’s time for the real world. So, who am I? I’m not a student, I’m not a Pi Phi, I’m not going to see my college friends very often anymore, and I’m certainly not going to be given a job with the snap of my fingers.  It was a scary time which I luckily handled in a healthy way, mainly by working out. Exercise is one constant in my life that isn’t changing, and that won’t change as long as I make sure to make it an integral part of my life.

People will do whatever it takes to convince you that their life is perfect

This is something I wish we could all change – early and mid 20s are a time about change, uncertainty, and lessons. I think it’s safe to say that everyone goes through this (at least I, personally, don’t know anyone who has it all together yet). And yet, for some reason, in social situations we all feel this need to make sure people think we’re happy, that the job we have right this second was our plan all along, and that we’re already living our dream. It’s all one big perpetual fallacy that we keep promoting because no one is brave enough to say “Shit, I don’t know what I’m doing yet but I know this path I’m on is taking me somewhere.” I’m going to work on being more proud when I talk about my current situation.  “Oh I’m working a 9-5 internship, unpaid, and working three nights a week as a waitress to pay all my loans off and still have enough money for a rather unfortunate latte addiction.” Because, honestly, I’m happy with the life I’m living right now—and I shouldn’t worry if it’s a good enough answer during something as insignificant as small talk.

And finally,

You have the freedom to do whatever you want, whenever you want, for whatever reason you want. I know a few people who already feel stuck. We are young, we have time to change our minds without being called heinously irresponsible, and yet we oftentimes don’t want to take it. Why are we in such a hurry to get in on the rat race? I’m still exploring and I have a few ideas up my sleeve, ideas that I’m pretty excited about. I’m happy with the person I am and who I’m becoming. While things aren’t always easy, I most definitely still have the attitude that I have this whole, beautiful life ahead of me, and I’m not about to squander it. Even though I sometimes feel like the pieces aren’t fitting, I have enough faith in the world, in God, and in myself to know that it’s all going to fall together. And honestly, keeping that attitude is half the battle.

So for now, I’m going to keep going to brunch on the weekends, watching shitty ABC family sitcoms, and eating an ungodly amount of bagel sandwiches. Because while I might not have it all together on paper, I really like the life I’m living.

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girls night in

I spent yesterday applying for some more full-time jobs in the city, so by the time late afternoon rolled around I was definitely in need of a sweat session.  Luckily my bootcamp has a night class, so  I headed there to get a good workout in.

ImageNot fun.  (But such a blast). yaknowwhatimean?

This workout kicked my but.  Knee raises (reverse crunches hanging from a pull up bar) AND burpees?  Cray cray.

((Sidenote, since I started doing Crossfit-like workouts I’ve noticed that my core is becoming incredibly strong. I love it!))

I ran home and showered really quickly because I had a girls night to get to.

Since we all graduated from college four months ago, my group of girlfriends has worked really hard to still stay close. One of my friends Monica put together a video montage of pictures from freshman-senior year and invited us all over to have dinner and watch it! How sweet!

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We all brought over some food (my contribution was the cake batter rice krispie treats in the right corner) and snacked until everyone arrived.

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My plate (plus more chips and carrots)

After we all got to Monica’s we settled in and watched the video. It was so sweet and well put-together. Seeing all those pictures was crazy because I can’t believe I was ever that young (but at the same time it feels like I was JUST that young–definitely one of the most bizarre parts about growing up.

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After the movie we sat around a reminisced for awhile. It was so nice just to spend a night with my best girlfriends!

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The gang minus a few!

This morning I hit the snooze button and missed BOTH workout classes that I was considering going to. Oh well 🙂 I need sleep!  The best part about this morning was that my family was unanimous in wanting bagels for breakfast, so another pumpkin season craving has been satisfied!

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Pumpkin bagel with pumpkin cream cheese and coffee with pumpkin coffeemate (not pictured). A little overboard? Not possible.

Now I’m planning on watching college football all day, maybe doing some yoga, and going to work at the restaurant tonight. It’s a beautiful September weekend–fall is finally here!

Question: what’s your favorite kind of bagel? Do you have an Einstein’s Bagel near you or is another place your favorite?