A day at the farmers market

Did someone say fresh local honey?

This weekend I ventured over to a little town called Wheaton, IL to check out their Saturday French Market. I’m a sucker for the words “fresh”, “local”, “natural”, “non-GMO”, “better than the grocery store produce section”, and I was not let down with the beautiful choices of fruits, vegetables, honey and even homemade cheese.

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Fellow market browsers checking out the local bargains.

There is something so special about knowing exactly where your food came from, and the people who run these stands are proud of their products. I was intrigued by one stand that had a giant British flag hanging off the back of it, and it turns out that there were some very British men selling sausages. Of course, I had to hear their accents so I asked them a few questions. They were a little insulted when I said that I don’t eat sausage, but they got over it.

The produce was gorgeous. I saw a poppin’ red pepper that looked like I could see my reflection in it. There was a head of romaine lettuce that looked out of this world. Don’t even get me started on the wonderful assortment of berries.

Aside from all the delicious food, including some donuts and crepes, there were beautiful fresh flower bouquets for a bargain price, handmade soaps and a super adorable home decor shop.

Not only are you getting a better product when visiting your local farmer’s market, but you are supporting a local small business which is oh-so-important to me. While the hot summer days are almost behind us, maybe it’s time you check out your own local market this weekend and pick up some great stuff to add to your meals.

I ended up leaving with some homemade, fantastic cheddar cheese, a whole bunch of fresh blackberries and a big jar of honey.

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Have a great Monday everybody and keep eating local.

-Emily

 

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My trip to Seattle

Back in February, after little deliberation, my boyfriend and I planned a trip to Washington state for June. I had one thing on my mind, and it was graduating college and immediately leaving for the trip the next day. It acted as my motivation for months. Turns out it wasn’t the best idea I’ve ever had. The trip was great, the timing could have been better.

I am terrified of flying. I don’t have any reason to be, I’ve flown before with no issue, but in recent years the fear has escalated. So, I had to figure out a way to get to Washington (because I was not ready to face my fears) any way I could without flying in a plane. We chose to take the Amtrak Empire Builder from Chicago Union Station allllllll the way to Seattle, a 47-hour trip. This was not my boyfriend’s idea, he’s great for agreeing to it.

While planning, I thought of it as an adventure. NO. BIG. DEAL. We bought coach seats for around $300 roundtrip, about what we would have payed with roundtrip airfare, and, well, you can read my review of the train ride here.

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We did survive the train ride. We had some awesome views to get us through it, but not until Montana. The food was overpriced and bad. Okay, I’m done.

The morning we finally arrived, Seattle graced us with its lovely grey glow and it was just what I imagined. We rushed to the rental car place to pick up what we thought was going to be a Hyundai Elantra, but ended up leaving with a CAMARO.. we weren’t complaining.

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Tom taking a picture with his medium format at Whatcom Falls Park.

The first stop on our trip was Bellingham, WA, where we stayed in the best little Airbnb. Shoutout to Donna & Vincent for being so kind and helpful, letting us check in a little early. It was the perfect place for us and the BED WAS A 10/10… especially after “sleeping” in a coach seat for the previous two nights.

 

Bellingham is such a great town with adorable shops, amazing little food spots and of course, coffee shops. We are still raving about the crepes and coffee/tea from Magdalena’s Creperie. Fairhaven is right next to Bellingham and also has a great little downtown area, totally worth checking out. Mt. Baker is very close nearby to both these towns, so everywhere you look (when it isn’t cloudy) while driving around you are graced with gorgeous views.

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We had three days in Bellingham, which was enough time for me to find Kombucha Town, a bar that served some delicious kombucha on tap. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t fully cooperate, but there were a few moments of sunshine. We went up to Mt. Baker wilderness and took a drive up until I started freaking out when we saw the ice capped mountains through the mist. It was truly beautiful though, I highly suggest going there at some point in your life.

 

 

As our time in Bellingham came to a close, we packed up the Camero, stopped at Whole Foods to grab some Kombucha Town cans and hit the road back towards downtown Seattle.

After such an amazing stay at our first Airbnb, we were a little bit disappointed with what awaited us at the Seattle place. It was fine, we can’t really complain for the price we payed per night, but it definitely could have been better. Each night I had to wonder whether there was a ghost standing next to me or not. Whenever we walked back in from outside, we were hit with the mixed odor of super old house and cat pee. It was fine, wouldn’t stay there again.

 

 

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BUT WOW.. SEATTLE.. You’re great. It was such a great time getting to know the beautiful neighborhood of Wallingford, where the average home price seemed to be over a million dollars, and where we stayed. We took a nice stroll to Gas Works Park quite a few times during our trip, which is this awesome industrial park overlooking downtown Seattle.

We had to pack a lot into six days, so we didn’t get to do EVERYTHING in Seattle,  but we did a decent amount. We walked all over Capitol Hill, stumbling upon a delicious Mexican restaurant called Fogón (where we definitely ate twice). We found our way to the Space Needle, but didn’t go up.. i.e. crippling fear of heights.

The historic Pikes Place Market really tickled my fancy with it’s gorgeous flower bouquets that were such a bargain. We saw the first Starbucks, but didn’t bother going in since it had about a mile long line. More on Starbucks soon.

 

 

We went to the Chihuly Garden and Glass, located right near the Space Needle, which was a great experience. Who would have thought that colored glass could evoke so much emotion? There are people there would you will think are trying to take your picture so you buy it at the end, but really they are free professional photos and who doesn’t like free photos? Take advantage if you ever go. Also, be sure to stay for the little movie clips they play of Chihuly talking about his process.

 

 

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If you want a cool way to spend 30 seconds, take the Seattle Monorail. It will take you up to the equivalent of Chicago’s Magnificent Mile where you’ll find some shops and food. I think every city should get a monorail.

The Seattle Art Museum was a good time, filled with a lot of beautiful art, including a lot of indigenous and Native American artwork and clothing. There is a wonderfully huge deconstructed tree hanging from the ceiling to greet you. Admission cost is just a donation, we gave $5 each and it was most definitely worth it.

 

 

As a former Starbucks gold card member, I felt a deep obligation to check out the Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room, and oh am I glad I did! While we didn’t get into the original Starbucks, this was *in my opinion* much better.

It had the class you would expect in a higher end Starbucks, with copper and wood detailing, coffee extraordinaires carefully brewing up some expensive concoctions (like a nitro cold brew float) and the roasters themselves, making sure the tourists get quite the show as the roasted beans make their journey from toasting to the bag.

It’s tough to get a seat since the place is so busy (we went twice and couldn’t get a seat either time), but even if you sit on the staircase like we did, it’s worth the trip. According to one of the workers, Chicago is getting their own 4-story Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room pretty soon.

 

 

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I’m dating a huge baseball fanatic, so we did check out one of the Seattle Mariners games while in town and I thoroughly enjoyed myself (even though I don’t really care for baseball). The stadium was really clean and we even got to see it’s convertible ceiling in use as it started to rain. The game was complete with an extremely drunk 21-year-old kid slurring and getting into a fight with his girlfriend and getting disowned by his friends.

 

 

We did not see Mount Rainier until the end of our trip, since the cloud cover was pretty serious, but when we did it was so breathtaking. We took an Uber up to Kerry Park to sit with our fellow tourists and take in the views.

To get a little bit closer to nature, we ended our trip with a beautiful hike called Rattlesnake Ridge, which was over 2,000 feet ascending to the top (more than us flatlanders are used to). With the encouragement of several peppy pups who ran up the trail with their owners, we made it to the top and took in the beautiful views. Thank god for a good pair of hiking boots and socks.

 

 

We packed a lot into a week and a half in Washington, but I’m so glad we had such an incredible experience. This trip was truly one I will never forget. I have so much respect for the Pacific Northwest and hope to be back soon. If you have any more questions about our trip, just leave a comment below.

Thanks for reading,

Emily


A few more random photos from the trip:

 

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Valentines Day + Everything Since

Hello beautiful followers and readers,

I hope you are all having an absolutely lovely and wonderful Friday. I have been waiting for this weekend for what seems like forever. This week has been absolutely crazy for me. Since I am on term (trimester) scheduling, instead of semesters, we only have 10 weeks to make everything happen. It is an absolutely PACKED schedule of things to do and due dates.

Luckily, I am done in just two and a half more weeks after today and I really have never needed a break more. My birthday falls during spring break (March 21st) which is something to look forward to.

So let’s rewind a bit, since I haven’t filled you guys in on anything in a while.

Valentine’s Day was almost 2 weeks ago now, but it was a great day. I put a ton of time and effort into working on an element of Tom’s gift which was a book of things I love about him, I KNOW I’m a cheese ball, just leave me alone. But, it turned out really nice and I think I may have made him shed a tear, which is always my ultimate goal when I make sentimental gifts; tears of joy.

I also got some really cute gifts, like a DIY mug that says “you’re my cup of tea” and if you know anything about me, you know I love tea (check out my other blog ALL ABOUT TEA here). I also got a huge heart-shaped box of chocolates which disappeared rather quickly and some beautiful flowers.

Before our gift exchange, we went to dinner at this absolutely FANTASTIC restaurant that we are obsessed with. It is essentially the most stuck-up foodie place in our area, but the food is 100% worth it. We raved about how great our food was for probably a week straight after.

Tom bought a vintage polaroid camera off of Ebay that arrived literally just in time for Valentine’s Day, and we were very excited to put it to use. The film is around $22 for 8 pictures.. which is so ridiculous I can’t even stand it, but we figured if we take one picture every once in a while it would be worth it.

Aside from Valentine’s Day, we also celebrated Tom’s 22nd birthday just a few days later of February 18th. Let’s just say we ate way too much cake for a week. He now has been using the “excuse me, you’re younger than me” way too much, even though he is just over a month older than I am.

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Birthday Hats for Adult Babies

Aside from his birthday, not a whole lot has happened. I’ve been completely devoting every second of my life to school, which SUCKS, but it’s okay because the degree will be worth it.

I will be back soon with posts other than “what’s happening in my life”.

Thanks so much for reading and continuing to follow me even though the feed has been slow lately.

If you do care about my everyday life and what I’m doing, check out the links below to all my social medias where I’m much more active daily.

-Emily

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Instagram: click HERE

Twitter: click HERE

Snapchat: dynamitedelight

 

Is This Week Over Yet?

Hello Everyone!

Today is only Thursday, somehow. Does anyone else feel like this week is absolutely dragging? Maybe it’s just me, but either way I am very excited for this weekend.

I started off my day with my favorite thing: a smoothie.

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I usually stick with my regular mango, peach and strawberry smoothie, but today I switched it up thanks to a trip to Whole Foods last night. I made a blueberry, blackberry and strawberry smoothie instead and it was a delicious change. It was a beautiful purple color too, and because I’m five inside, color matters!

Here is a super quick recipe for it:

1 Ripe Banana

1/2 Cup of Ice

3/4 Cup of Blueberry/Blackberry Frozen Fruit

1/2 Cup of Frozen Strawberries

3/4-1 Cup of Almond Milk (whatever is needed to get a thick, pureed consistency)

  1. Add everything to blender
  2. Blend
  3. Enjoy

From there, I had to study super hard for one of 4 math tests that will be given throughout this term (this was the 2nd one) and it stressed me out quite a bit. But, it is now over and all I can say is that I hope I did OKAY.

Then, I wandered around town, grabbed myself a nice green tea from DAVIDsTEA (if you haven’t yet.. CLICK HERE to check out my 2nd blog completely devoted to tea) and tried not to freeze to death. I walked around Barnes and Noble looking for some new stuff to read. I found stuff, but didn’t buy anything.

I was really just killing time (2 hours to be exact) because I am a commuter student and I have to be on our student radio station 2 days a week. So after my class, I had to wait for my 5:25 broadcast. It’s totally worth it, though, because I love being on air.

I then met up with my good friend Jasmine at Starbucks for a little business date. We are working on creating a collaboration blog currently! Our first post should be up and available within a few weeks (hint: our first post might deal with feminism). There will be plenty more on that coming up.

So, it feels good to finally be able to relax and have some time to myself.

Tomorrow is Friday, everyone, we did it.

Thanks for reading,

Emily

 

 

 

Health Kick: Cutting Processed Foods + Sugar

Here’s a little history: A few years ago, I got in SHAPE. I made the decision to change my absolutely awful diet and work out as often as I could. I lost a good amount of weight and for the first time in my life, I had a flat stomach. It felt amazing! 

Not only did my body feel great, but I was feeling so much better mentally. I was constantly motivated and energized. 

For the past year or so, I have kind of found myself going back to my old ways. I eat whatever I want, and I’m not necessarily gaining any weight, but I feel like crap all the time.

So, I’ve made the decision to start eating healthy again and to start incorporating more exercise into my week. 

  
I am going to cut out most (nobody’s perfect) processed foods and stick to a whole food diet. I also want to try to limit sugar as much as I can, aside from natural sugar in fruit. 

These are my personal goals for right now and I’m very excited to see how I start to feel.

Kind of ironic that I’m staring this on Fat Tuesday..

I will post updates and other health related posts as I go along on this journey. 

Thanks for reading, I hope you all have a lovely Tuesday!

-Emily

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Instagram: Click Here

Twitter: Click Here

Room Decor Details

Happy Saturday!

Today I woke up feeling inspired to continue working on decorating my room just the way I want it. I always have a billion ideas running around in my head for what I would love my space to look like (thanks to HGTV, specifically Chip and Joanna Gaines).

But, since I don’t have a whole lot of free time and because I am definitely on a budget, my room is slowly coming together. If only decorating was FREE.

I don’t really have a specific style when it comes to decor. I am very inspired by everything mid-century modern and I also love a nice, bright room. I like to do a nice mix of cheap, vintage and DIY items.

Whenever I go to a antique store, I am on the search for pretty much anything that I can use for my room (though I unfortunately haven’t found much as of lately) or for my whole home, which I don’t have yet. I don’t find anything wrong with stock-piling things for your future home.

So here are just some small details of the progress of my room so far:

I’ll try to link the things that I can remember!

Desk Area:

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First of all, the desk itself is one of my absolute favorite things. It is mid-century modern styled and it was really cheap. Here’s the link to it: DESK.

I love how simplistic it is, but fashionable and functional. I still need a proper chair, because I’m using a really shabby folding chair (not pictured.. for a good reason).

I have been accenting with copper, as you will see, because I think it’s just so much classier and chic than silver or gold. I have a small desk lamp from IKEA, my favorite store, which really brightens things up and adds some character.

I also have some smaller details, like a white jewelry tree, little decorative cup, candle, office supplies and some pictures of my favorite things.

I also plan on creating a interesting gallery wall around my desk, but that is definitely still in the works (since I don’t have anything other than a mirror and chalk board).

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This little chalkboard, which I got from Target, was so cute to me. It hangs above my desk and really adds a little bit of flair.

Also, bonus points if you know where this quote is from.

Bookshelf:

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This bookshelf was something I desperately needed, and is one of my most recent purchases. Until I got this, my books were in boxes collecting dust, when all I wanted was for them to have a home (YES THERE ARE SOME LAME BOOKS, I was a Twi-hard at one dark time).

I found this bookshelf at IKEA and I’m pretty sure it was around $20. I can’t find it on their website, so it may not exist anymore?

I like to throw a ton of random stuff on it to give it a kind of eclectic look.

Where would I really be without my Ron Swanson bust and my Chicago skyline print I got from an artist off Etsy? Not anywhere good.

Extra Little Details:

This little banner that I DIY’d is one of my favorite details of my room. I actually intended for this to be christmas snowflake decor, but since it can totally pass for just your normal banner of flowers.. I’m keeping it up forever. I think it works so well against my blush pink accent wall.

I have two of these IKEA hanging lamps in my room. They were actually the start of my copper obsession. I thought they were the most unique, adorable light fixtures ever. I put Edison bulbs in each one, because they are just so much cooler than your average bulb, obviously.

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AGAIN, another thing from IKEA. I fell in love with this cart the minute I saw it. I originally saw the sample in a light, pastel blue, but since it didn’t match my room I got this charcoal grey colored one. Aside from it being packed with too much stuff, I love it.

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The last little thing I love is my Himalayan Salt Lamp that my boyfriend got for me for Christmas. I keep it next to my bed since it creates a low, dim reading light. It’s absolutely lovely and I’m obsessed.

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That is my progress so far and I’m loving how it is coming along. I will be posting updates if anything changes along the way.

Thanks so much for reading,

Emily

TEA WITH EMMY

Hey everyone,

I hope you are all having an actually fantastic week. I am, despite it being midterm week, but I really can’t wait for the weekend. The Super Bowl is happening on Sunday which means I get to see some great commercials, watch Beyonce slay us all and of course hear Gaga bless us with the National Anthem. These are all very important things in a young woman’s life. Other than the actual football playing, the Super Bowl is totally my thing.

So, through all the hectic-ness (not a word, I made it a word) of the past few weeks, I forgot to tell you guys that I have a 2nd blog! It’s primarily for my college course where we are forced to post a few times a week. I chose to make mine all about tea (obviously) and if you guys want to check it out click this: teawithemmy

I just put up a post entitled “Perfect Teas To Gift For Valentines Day” since I’m a crazy tea lady.

I have some pretty exciting posts coming up soon, so be on the lookout for those.

But, until next time,

Thank you guys for following and reading!

-Emily