100 FOLLOWERS!!

I hope everyone is having an awesome Friday night and doing some crazy stuff.

Today I woke up to some awesome news. I reached over 100 followers and I want to say thank you so much for the follows, new and old! I am so happy!! You guys are truly the best. I want you to all know how much I appreciate it.

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Another special thank you to those who read my blog that are not WordPress members and can’t technically ‘follow’ me.. I know you read and THANK YOU.

Wow, I feel like I’m accepting an Emmy.

I promise there will be a ton of stuff coming up still this month that I’m hoping you guys will enjoy reading.

HERE IS A CELEBRATORY LIST OF 100 THINGS I THINK ARE GREAT:

**Dislaimer: Half of this is food***

  1. My Boyfriend (DUH)
  2. Shih Tzus
  3. All Other Dogs
  4. The Beach
  5. Traveling
  6. Writing
  7. Coffee (Even Though I Can’t Drink It)
  8. TEA
  9. Photography
  10. Mad Men
  11. The Office
  12. Parks & Recreation
  13. Portlandia
  14. Any Movie Starring Leonardo Dicaprio
  15. Hiking
  16. Makeup
  17. Cheese Sauce
  18. Pretzels With Cheese
  19. Chicken Tenders
  20. Freshly Made Guacamole/Hummus
  21. BBQ
  22. Chicago
  23. Uber Drivers That Don’t Talk To You
  24. Cupcakes, Cake, Brownies, Ice Cream, Cookies
  25. Smoothies
  26. HGTV
  27. Food Network
  28. Christmas
  29. Thanksgiving
  30. New Years Eve
  31. Halloween
  32. Whale Watching
  33. Going To Flea Markets
  34. Bicycling
  35. Clothes That Are Cute
  36. Concerts That Are Good
  37. Goats
  38. Bunnies
  39. Mashed Potatoes + Baked Potatoes
  40. Honeycrisp Apples
  41. Apple Cider
  42. Strongbow Apple Cider
  43. Wine (Specifically Moscato)
  44. Bonfires
  45. Smore’s
  46. Netflix
  47. Doing Crafts
  48. Decorating My Room
  49. Elephants
  50. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
  51. Watching Vlogs
  52. Reading Blogs
  53. Snow (When I Don’t Have To Go Out In It)
  54. Hot Chocolate
  55. Fall Out Boy (2009 & Before)
  56. Panic! at the Disco (Same as Fall Out Boy)
  57. Marina and the Diamonds
  58. Fuzzy Blankets
  59. Soft Pillows
  60. Autumn Weather
  61. Autumn Candles
  62. ALL CANDLES
  63. IKEA Adventures
  64. Petting Puppies I Can’t Have
  65. Thunderstorms
  66. Italian Food
  67. Planning Trips
  68. Working Out Regularly (I’m Bad At This)
  69. British Accents
  70. Long Walks Through Wooded Areas
  71. Mountains
  72. Sunsets
  73. People Down With Womens Rights
  74. People Down With LGBTQ
  75. Dark Lipsticks
  76. Mexican Food
  77. Laughing
  78. Antique Shopping
  79. Old Houses (Tours of Old Houses)
  80. Anything From The 1950’s or 1960’s
  81. Old Cars
  82. Celebrity Stalking
  83. Kraft Mac and Cheese
  84. Ida Garten
  85. GUY FIERI
  86. Sweatpants, Hair-Tye, Chillin’ with No Makeup On
  87. Drake
  88. Croutons
  89. Baking Desserts
  90. Planning Birthday Bashes
  91. Instagram
  92. People Who Aren’t Racist
  93. Sweaters
  94. Pink Lemonade
  95. Hot Tubs
  96. High-Waisted Everything
  97. Pretzels
  98. Road Trips
  99. Breakfast Places
  100. Hockey

If you actually read through this list, or if you just skimmed, I hope you new followers got a little glimpse into what I like and who I am.

THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH!

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I LOVE ANIMALS (Plus: Experience Being A Vegan)

I am obsessed with animals. My main love is dogs, but I am completely in awe of almost every animal I see. I’ve been this way since I was little, constantly begging my parents to let me have another animal to add to my gang (they would then tell me I could get a stuffed version of whatever I had asked for). I’ll never forget the day, after months of online searching and begging, that we got my first dog Tiger, a very small Shih-Tzu. He unfortunately didn’t have a very long life due to health problems from being inbred (I know, sad).

Then, shortly after, we got my best friend: My beloved Shih-Tzu named Oliver Twist. He came to us sassy, un-cuddly and sort of distant. He has a very big ego still to this day. I think that’s what has always made me love and adore him.. He’s the dog version of me (minus the big ego).

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Oliver (right) and Peanut, my brothers dog (left) on Halloween

I also had a brief stint with a hamster named Charlie. I thought he was the coolest thing ever (turns out HE was a SHE) until I tried to pick him up and he bit me. After that, I was a little distant from Charlie. I’d occasionally put him in his hamster ball and show him some love, but I was too afraid to pick him up again. One night, Charlie escaped from his hamster home and ran across my room. I jumped onto my bed, too scared that if I got down, he would bite me.  I was terrified of a miniature, dwarf hamster. He was found and returned to his cage. To my surprise, my Mom decided to give Charlie away one day to a family friend. I cried my eyes out, but later learned that this was a better decision.

I was soon okay.. because we still had my Shnubby-Wubby (Oliver).

In Spring 2014, I was living in Chicago for school. I had been quite bored during the day in-between classes and had started watching some Netflix documentaries about animal-free diets. I had been kind of big on eating healthy for a good year-and-a-half before that so I figured it was something I could easily do. I had heard of several students around campus who followed this diet and they seemed healthy and fine.  But, this time I wasn’t just doing it to maintain a healthy lifestyle, I was doing it for the animals; my fluffy little friends.

So, that was it. I made my decision. My roommate Taylor decided to join me in this journey. We cold-turkey (hehe) gave up meat and animal products in exchange for veggies, fruits, beans, whole grains and nuts. It’s basically totally amped-up vegetarianism. I shopped at Trader Joes for everything (I 10/10 recommend Trader Joes even if you’re not vegan) since it keeps things pretty natural and cheap. Below is some food I ate while vegan:

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I lasted total about 1 month. I must say, it’s a lot harder to do then it sounds. I have a lot of respect for those who choose this a life-long thing because it’s awesome. If I wasn’t so weak, I would still be doing it, but I am a huge foodie who loves chicken.

If you’re curious how Taylor and I broke the vegan-life, she was taken over by the cheese fry demons, and I (soon after) was taken over by the cupcake demons. We just weren’t meant to be, BUT WE DID TRY VERY HARD.

Some great things that came out of being vegan: my hair was super shiny, my face was clear and smooth, I felt great about myself and I ate at home more.

Chicago is home to some pretty delicious vegan places to eat (even if you aren’t vegan normally, still amazing to give it a try) like The Chicago Diner and Native Foods Cafe. Chicago Diner is if you’re looking for some (normally) unhealthy meals like burgers and shakes. Native Foods has slightly healthier foods like wraps, sandwiches and amazing sweet potato fries.

In my opinion, just because you don’t totally follow a vegan lifestyle, doesn’t mean you can’t try out the foods or try to eat this way a few days a week.

Week in Boulder Junction, WI

So it was time that I, Emily, the city-dweller (and surrounding suburbs) venture out and expand my horizons to THE WILDERNESS OF AMERICA. Okay.. fine.. I wasn’t completely off-the-grid, but I did find myself all the way at the top of Wisconsin in the North Woods region with my boyfriend for a week.

I have to admit I was a little apprehensive going in. I have a hard time with all living bugs and insects.. specifically bees, wasps, spiders, mosquitos, ticks and everything else. I knew that these things were going to be there in SWARMS but I toughened up, packed my suitcase and hit the road.

Six hours later we arrived at a small, adorable cabin in Boulder Junction, WI that we rented which luckily ended up looking better then the pictures. It was right on a beautiful lake. I am still dealing with the separation anxiety of my sweet second home. Here’s a picture of the living area inside:

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I had my first-time fishing adventure and ended up catching several fish on my pink sparkly pole. We spent our nights out on the water and would boat around until the sunset.

I was hit with a bit of a culture shock when we started going to the restaurants in town. I had been out of town several times before and nothing was like here. The walls were covered in taxidermy animals (and for my animal activist self this was very hard to see) and the decor was like a 1970s grandma basement. Basically, there was no glitz or glamour but each place did have some charm and the views made up for what they lacked in style. As for the food, I was not overly impressed when dinner time came. When it comes to meat I only eat chicken and these places were only into cooking fish and red meat. However I SURVIVED just not happily.

On our third day, we drove into a nearby town called Minoqua for some shopping but on our way I noticed a small cabin coffee shop and demanded that we stop on our way back. I have to admit this was the best decision we made the whole trip. Little Creek Coffee Company in Arbor Vitae, WI deserves all the awards. Not only do they offer tons of coffee drinks and teas BUT THEY HAVE A BREAKFAST AND LUNCH MENU. We came here three total times during our 6 day stay. WE WERE OBSESSED. Their iced chai tea latte was to die for and I can’t stop thinking about their turkey and avocado sandwich and homemade soups HELP ME. We enjoyed sitting on their outdoor tables overlooking the lake and we even spotted some baby deers running around. It was magical. Bambi had come to life. The pics below are us hanging out there:

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There is no way I can go through this post without mentioning the most amazing ice cream place ever.. Mad Dog Jakes in Boulder Junction is super great. We went twice during our trip (WE ARE REPEATERS IF WE LIKE YOU). The first time I got the best super chocolate ice cream I’ve ever had and the second time I got blueberry cheesecake and wow it was out of bounds. FLAVOR TOWN LADIES AND GENTLEMEN. If you are ever in these parts you better stop there and get a scoop.. maybe even two.

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Halfway through our trip on a kind of gloomy day (or so we thought) we took a day-trip to Hayward, Wisconsin to the Wilderness Walk. This essentially was a mix between the coolest petting zoo ever and an exotic animal zoo. The 2-Hour drive was worth it even though it was painful after already driving 6 hours just a few days before.  I normally hate zoos but these animals were all saved from injury and could have died without their help. The admission fee was a little steep but once we walked in we knew it was worth it. The first thing I saw was a GIANT LOP BUNNY free to pet and love. I was obsessed with him. This is when I knew this place was great.

We continued on through the day petting various animals and letting them eat corn-filled ice cream cones.. even a giant camel. My favorites were the baby goats that were roaming free throughout the Walk and the baby fawns that stole my heart. It was amazing and I 10/10 recommend. Here we are having fun below:

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A few days later we went to a lumberjack show and watched some ripped guys chop wood.. it was torture I could barely watch wink wink wink wink. Tom kept thinking i was into them and I totally wasn’t. It was actually super interesting though and we witnessed them climb up a 60-ft tree stump and try to not die. I have to give some credit to the 40 year old male in the denim jacket who was in the audience for his hilarious commentary during the entire show. Also, some credit is due to the ENTIRE JOHNSON FAMILY REUNION for creating several obstacles in parking and getting into the show.. but your matching shirts were cool.

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After the show we went out to Eagle River, Wisconsin to visit Tremblay’s Sweet Shop for some delicious fudge because I am an addict to anything chocolate. 45-Minutes later we arrived to the rude employees of the shop who barely spoke 2 words to us and didn’t even respond to our simple hello. Despite their awful service we got some delicious fudge, pretzels and cashew clusters. We also adventured around the town for a few minutes and checked out some shops.

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The next few days were our last and we were filling up our time as much as we could. We decided a fun thing to do for our last day would be to rent some mountain bikes and go for a nice long ride. We embarked on our 3 mile ride to a nearby lake where we stayed and layed on the beach for a few hours. It was beautiful and peaceful. Somehow Tom didn’t burn even though he’s paler than paper. I went in the water but was quickly freaked out by crawfish swimming on the bottom on the lake. I don’t do well with bugs or bug-like things (i know its a fish or something shh). It was a little bit difficult to get ourselves back on the bikes after hours of being lazy but we did and battled the uphill trail all the way back to town.

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I had a great trip and this is just the highlights of what we did. There was so much more to remember and it was an amazing time for Tom and I. I would love to go back again sometime and explore other places as well. My travel bug has been fulfilled for now.