At the end of April I headed West to Chicago for a little family shin-dig, we were surprising my grandpa. Sidenote, I was born in Chicago and my dad is from there, but I had never been there as an adult to visit. Gosh, I loved the city so so much. Plus, in all honesty there are few things better than a Chicago style hot dog.
After 4 days in the Chicago ‘burbs with the family, the ying to my yang flew in from the Rockies for 3 days of fun. We stayed in a great little AirBnb near Logan Square, and roaming the different neighborhoods was a real treat. I like how spread out Chicago is, I like the two-story buildings, the wide streets, the street art and all-around industrial feel. We saw the main sites: Millennium Park and the Bean, the Loop…. We had an insane dinner date at Frontera Grill (THE GUAC BTW…) followed by cocktails at Three Dots and A Dash. We had coffee and savory breakfast biscuits and tacos and beer and ice cream and it was all just fantastic. It was three days of grub and catch up, and I honestly can’t wait to go back to Chi-town.
Bang Bang // Breakfast spot, biscuits & pie
Barrelhouse Flat // Cocktail lounge
Big Star Tacos // Taquería
Billy Goat Tavern // Iconic restaurant
Frontera Grill // Mexican Restaurant (reservations needed!)
Goose Island Brewing Co. // Brewry & Tap room
Half Acre Beer Company // Brewery & Tap room
Hopeleaf // Restaurant with extensive beer list
Lula Café // Breakfast spot, Café & Restaurant
Map Room // Pub
Piece // Pizzeria & Brewery
Three Dots & A Dash // Tiki bar
I know, I know… too many pictures in this post: Honestly I couldn’t cut it down any further, there were just so many I liked! ‘Twas another weekend getaway with some lovely ladies… this time northeast across the French and Belgian borders to Holland to find some tulip fields. Low and behold, we also found beautiful fields of daffodils and hyacinths. But before that— we passed [far too] quickly through a lovely town called Rotterdam. I had been wanting to go to Rotterdam quite some time, especially after drooling over Kit & Nancy’s blog and Instagram. The modernity of the city and tasteful design had me dreaming a bit.
We got into town and the rain had us a bit down, but with a little vintage shopping fix, Cube House selfies, stroopwafel stop and recharge we were able to have a chatty and boozy evening at Aloha. Aloha was awesome, but don’t let those Dutch smiles fool you, they rarely take another card besides Maestro (who has a Maestro?!). Definitely plan to have cash on your on your trip, to avoid unnecessary stress. Aloha is a once pool now awesomely tropic bar and restaurant. In the summertime I bet their terrace is pretty rad. I’ll need to head back to Rotterdam sometime, because to be honest when we woke up to blue skies that Sunday we booked it north to find flower fields. Geeks!
The mini road trip started by heading towards Leiden, which I had heard of cos a good friend of mine went to Law School there. Anyways, she had told me to just drive around there, and that is exactly what we did! Before we knew it we were off the main streets near Noordwijk and pulling over to go hang out in random local fields. I honestly am not sure I know what to call someone who grows flowers professionally…? It was beautiful and had me questioning life and my career, ha. Our third field was the most rad of them all: various color palettes and flowers. Luckily Ylenia needed to use the restroom so we wandered around the greenhouse next to the fields, and found the most MAGICAL PLACE THAT COULD EVER EXIST ON THE PLANET. When I say that I am not exaggerating. It’s called Kwekerij en theedrinkerij Noordwijk Buiten, and it’s incredible. There’s even a bus pulled in the side, vintage knick-knacks and fresh flowers all over the place, delicious snacks and teas, wooden and iron tables out in the lawn with a view of the fields, wooden suspended chairs…
And then there were more flower fields.
Aloha // Restaurant & Bar (rezo recommended)
Markhal // Market hall with restaurants, shops & bars
Noordwijk Buiten // Greenhouse café and event space
Tony’s Garage Sale // Vintage shop
Stroop // Waffle Shop
A weekend spent near Poitiers in a dreamy chateau thanks to G&T Weekends.
Sometimes what can do the soul some good is a weekend trip to a castle. Not even kidding. There’s something magical about waking up in a castle. Not having to worry about anything, not having to cook or clean… just a good time with good people. It’s quite simple, you get some snazzy people in one place and magic can be made. This is what G&T Weekends does. This particular G&T weekend organized by the charming duo Gillian and Tess took place in a castle near the town of Poitiers, about a 3 1/2 hour drive from Paris. I had found out about the Easter weekend extravaganza through my girlfriends Haleigh and Lou, and totally knew that I wanted to be a part of it, eep!
The Chateau St. Julien truly was a little treasure in the French countryside, so charming, tucked next to the church of a small town called Saint-Julien-l’Ars with camellias and daffodils everywhere. Its pastel towers are the perfect contrast with any color sky, but preferably baby blue. It has medieval towers with beautiful hallways and secret rooms, a rad spiral staircase, an estate with perfectly lined trees, clawfoot bathtubs, a cozy fireplace and beautiful tiles… the works. 33 young professionals (and good-time cravers) came together that weekend, and we had delicious meals at one long table and our hearts were filled with joy. Between prepared rosé-filled feasts, strolls outdoors with champagne flutes in hand and fireside chats into the wee hours of the morning, there was laughing and even more dancing. We even went horseback riding one morning, took a cooking class and had a French-themed champagne tasting. Everything was prepared for us, and the only thing guests have to do at G&T weekends is have a good time, they sure know how to pamper! There were even snacks!
As busy humans it’s so easy to get caught up in routine and work and work and work, let’s just say a long weekend away with bottomless wine was much needed, and the people there were just sublime.
More about G&T Weekends and their upcoming trips planned in Europe on their site and of course with #gandtwknds.
Ile Tudy, a tiny port town filled with memories of my mother-in-law’s childhood and adulthood, where she would spend every summer in their family home right on the ocean. A magical place that I just love going to when we have the opportunity. This time ’round we came for Christmas with Louis, absolute perfection with the fireplace, good movies and baths in the enamel clawfoot tub. I was very grateful to be able to share this place with good friends post-Christmas, it was truly a pleasure. Here we indulged in delicious local seafood, good wine… we played games, strolled on the beach, ran into the wind. My in-law’s, my lover, Rachel, Haleigh and Anne were the perfect company to long late lunches.
It’s a special place, right on the sea, where you can actually give yourself time to relax and breathe in the fresh air. Sometimes you just need to hear the waves crashing as you’re falling asleep to re-emphasize how small we humans are in this world, eh?
The funny thing about Bretagne – like all seaside climates – is the weather can be just as nice in the winter as it can in the summer. No joke, this Christmas at Ile Tudy we had afternoons far nicer (& warmer!) than last August. It’s a crazy world. Thank goodness in this crazy world there are such beautiful quaint places to make memories in.
After a couple of days in Rio de Janeiro, we set sail for Ilha Grande, about a 3-hour trip (bus then boat, from downtown Rio, we used easytransferbrazil.com). The island has many paradisiac beaches with shallow pools and jungle hikes. There are no cars on the island, and only one main strip: Abraão. The island is a tourist attraction for cariocas, but also for Argentinians. Seriously there were so many Argentinians. On Ilha Grande, hotels are replaced by Pousadas, little home stays or bed & breakfasts often equipped with A/C, hammocks and cute rugs. There are seriously like a hundred on the island, for all budgets and almost always include breakfast!
We spent 9 days on the island. Relaxed on the little local beaches, swam around in the clear waters, explored the more rainforest-esque parts of the island, indulged in fried calamari and pints of fresh juice and caipirinhas…It was perfect. Since the main port is rather small and slightly crowded, we took advantage of taxi boats to discover various dreamy beaches not really accessibly by foot (or far too long of a hike): Praia Lopes Mendes (a one hour hike from where the boat drops you off), Praia Dos Rios or Praia Aventureiro on the other side of the island. Depending on the season, some beaches aren’t accessible due to the intense wave action. Aventureiro looked EPIC, but as it’s a beach facing southeast, the waves were too cray when we were there. La prochain fois. A must see is also the Lagoa Azur, a lagoon on the north side of the island only about 20 minutes away by taxi boat. If you’re a hiker, hike to the Cachoeira da Feiticeira, a waterfall a short hike from the main port, and on the way take a dip in the natural pool, or Poção. And of course, enjoy coconuts whenever possible.
A calm getaway that does the soul some good.