How Do I Spend My Days in Chicago?


A question I get a lot is, “So what are you up to in Chicago?” (Actually, not a lot of people ask me that–this readership is pretty minuscule at this point, but I’m going to answer anyway.)  Tomorrow marks four weeks since my husband, David, and I moved to Chicago.  These last two weeks or so, I’ve started to feel settled and gotten into a pretty good routine.  I’m definitely not as bored as I thought I would be, at least not yet.  I started doing some freelance writing, which I’ve really been enjoying, and really helps to give my days some shape, but also a lot of flexibility.
Come along with me and I’ll take you on a tour of a typical day…

7:30-8am–Wake up, Elaine!  This may sound late to a lot of you, but honestly, it’s about the same time I woke up when we lived in DC.  Except now I’m not feeling rushed to get ready and get out the door.

8-9am-Get ready for the day, watch Good Morning America (not ashamed, it’s my favorite morning show and I love it), and eat breakfast

9-9:30am-Watch the start of Live with Kelly while checking e-mail and doing some ,light online shopping (I bought these mules the other day because the ones I really wanted from Nordstrom were back ordered until May and the Go Jane ones were a third of the price and should be here by Thursday!)

9:30-noon-Buckle in for work time!  Research, writing, e-mailing with the client I’ve been freelancing for.

Noon-1:30pm–YOGA.  My favorite part of the day.  I’ve been mainly going to The Lab in the West Loop and occasionally Yogaview in Bucktown.  I also found a really terrific Pilates studio in River North called Amplified Pilates.

2-4pm–I go to our health club, get a late lunch or post-yoga smoothie and work for a few more hours.

4-6pm–Either run errands or treat myself to a massage, manicure, etc. (there’s a massage therapy school a few blocks from our apartment and student massages are $40 for a 60-minute massage!)

6-7pm–Make dinner (or, ya know, pick up dinner from a restaurant)

7-10pm–Wind down, watch tv, read, etc.

10pm–Lights out!  I’ve been trying to be better about getting to bed earlier.  The central time zone means all of my favorite shows are on an hour earlier, so I have no excuse to stay up until 11-11:30.

So, there you have it.  A day in my Chicago life, 4 weeks in.  Writing it out like that kind of makes it sound boring, but I really, really like it.

Goodbye for meow.

Spring Florals

IMG_2366
It’s been so long since I’ve gotten really dressed up.  I so wanted to put on a nice dress and make my husband take a few pictures of me in the park near our apartment, but it’s raining (again) in Chicago today.  It’s been raining a lot here.  I usually don’t mind rain, but it’s starting to make me feel a little stir crazy.  So, here are some really cute spring-y floral dresses–and they’re all under $200!
Spring Florals

Happy hump day!

Goodbye for meow.


White cocktail dress
$110 – littleblackdress.co.uk

Monsoon cut out dress
monsoon.co.uk

Topshop white prom dress
$94 – topshop.com

Milly short dress
theoutnet.com

Ted baker dress
$250 – tedbaker.com

Hobbs pink dress
$185 – johnlewis.com

Chi Chi mini dress
dorothyperkins.com

5 Things Friday

5-things-friday-1Happy Friday!  I really like when bloggers do ‘5 Things Friday,’ so here’s me giving it the old college try…

purse

  1. This purse.  I saw it at Banana Republic a few weeks ago–just before a particularly traumatic dentist appointment–and thought very seriously about treating myself.  Well, now it’s on sale.  So, I have to treat myself, right?  Right?!

vans

2. These shoes.  I’ve mentioned previously that I fancy myself a bit of a sneakerhead and I really like these.  My husband thinks they look like nurse’s shoes.  I should buy these and show him they’re just what the doctor ordered!  Hmph.

malabeads2

3. These mala beads.  I ordered some mala beads (basically prayer/meditation beads that can be worn as a necklace or a bracelet) earlier this week.  Yet again, I fell prey to a sponsored Instagram post!  I know mala beds won’t make me be able to execute a perfect forearm stand or crazy inversion, but I can dream.

anticrueltysociety

4. Volunteering.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I expect to have a lot of free time in those first few weeks back in Chicago.  With that in mind, I’ve started researching places where I can volunteer with cats.  I wonder if I’ll have to change their litter…

capitol

5. Early onset nostalgia.  I had my last meeting on Capitol Hill this morning.  Even though I’ve worked off the hill for the last two years, I still spend a lot of time there for meetings, briefings, etc.; so it was very bittersweet.  It was exciting and humbling to work on Capitol Hill and there’s a lot I’ll miss about Washington, DC–that view is surely near the top of the list.

Though, this view isn’t so bad either…

img_0068

Goodbye for meow.

Favorite Shoes. Of. All. Time.

shoes

I really don’t like high heels.  I’ve worked in the professional world for nearly 8 years and I can probably count the number of times I’ve worn high heels on both hands.  I really prefer a nice flat.  However, my favorite pair of shoes is by no means a professional work shoe.

This post isn’t sponsored.  (I mean, I wish!  But, I started this blog about 4 days ago, so the offers for sponsored posts haven’t started rolling in just yet.)  Allbirds sneakers are, hands down, my favorite shoes.

I got them for my birthday this year after seeing their ads pop up on Instagram.  I’m a bit of a sneakerhead, and Huffington Post claims they are the “most comfortable shoes. Ever.”  I’m a real sucker for targeted Instagram ads, so I knew I wanted these shoes.  I’d be lying if I said I was instantaneously hooked when I got them.  I wore them around the apartment and kind of thought, “these are nice and all, but I already have a lot of sneakers.”  I wore them on a weekend trip to Charlottesville, Virginia (during an ice storm) and, I’m telling you, they kept my feet dry, warm, and, comfortable the entire time.

Now, I wear them every weekend and just about every day on my commute to work and then reason with myself that by 10am I need to put my work appropriate flats on.

A few things to know about Allbirds:

  • They’re made of merino wool, which means they’re warm, but not hot, and they’re not itchy at all.  (I feared they would be.)
  • You really don’t need to wear socks with them.
  • Reasonably priced at $95
  • I suggest sizing up–I’m a true 6.5 in nearly all brands, but the 7 fits perfectly for me.

Goodbye for meow.

The Leap Begins

Allow me to introduce myself.  My name is Elaine and my cat’s name is Burrito.  We (and my husband, David) are moving to Chicago from Washington, DC in exactly three weeks.  David and I are both from Chicago (Burrito, as a rescue cat, is from the Washington DC-area, I presume), but I’ve lived in DC for nearly 8 years.  I moved here to work on Capitol Hill in 2009 and, for the last two years, have worked at a foreign policy think tank.  Come March, we’re loading up a moving truck (with some help from my dad) and making the 11 hour drive to the Windy City!  Our families are both in Chicago, but it will still be a huge adjustment.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m beyond excited–David and I have been wanting to move back basically since we got married (in 2015) and the time finally feels right!

I plan to use this blog to chronicle that move and beyond, but also share some things I love, which include:

  • Cats, obviously (see: blog title). Specifically, my cat, Burrito.  A stunning Russian Blue-mix.  (I’m, like, 95% sure she’s a mix and not a full Russian Blue.  Any cat experts out there, please leave a comment as to what you think her breed origins are.)
  • Yoga. For about two and half years I’ve been an avid yogi.  My preferred style is a hatha-based yoga called yogahour.  Sadly, there are no studios in Chicago that offer yogahour, so I look forward to trying out many studios and settling on a new yoga home. I’ve taken a few classes at The Lab in the West Loop and have been really impressed.  I highly recommend!  (If you’re in DC, you can take yogahour classes at Capitol Hill Yoga.  It’s an amazing studio and I’ll miss it dearly when we move.)
  • Food. I mean, I’m not a foodie per se, but I do like a good restaurant and make a pretty decent eggplant Parmesan.  I don’t know, I’ll write about good restaurants and stuff.  David will provide some content on food as he is a much more voracious eater and views every meal as a competition with a clear winner and loser: him or the food.

Shopping/Buying things.  I haven’t had much time recently to go shopping, but it’s truly a passion.  I like a good deal, especially at retail stores that are constantly having sales (looking at you Ann Taylor, J. Crew, Gap, and Banana Republic).

Ok, I think that’s a decent intro.  Goodbye for meow.