I decided to visit Chicago at the worst time of year, because if I could like it despite the weather then, I could like it anytime of the year. It really solidified for me that that's where I wanted to be. I took a drop-in Second City class and saw one of their sketch shows. Feel in love with the form. I originally flew in to Milwaukee to visit a friend and then we drove into the city. It felt like being in a different country, with all the snow and such.
Lots of cosy coffee dates with girlfriends, and daydreaming about travel because a few of my best friends were all over the world - Denmark, Australia, Peru...
Began seeing as many Oscar nod films as I could (I've now seen Zero Dark Thirty an embarrasing amount of times). 30 Rock ended and along with my pulse.
Mardi Gras came early this year and fell close to my grandmother's birthday, so I made her a homemade king cake (my first ever, I was pretty proud of myself). My maternal family roots are in Mobile, AL (the birthplace of Mardi Gras), as well as New Orleans. For Valentines Day, I made some sassy sugar cookies, as well as this Thai Chicken Pizza. Keeping with my parent's tradition for nachos on Super Bowl Sunday, we made Gyro Nachos. They were a hit. Chinese New Year happened, declaring 2013 Year of the Snake (1989, my year, baby!). Also had this song on repeat.
I returned to Charleston to visit with college friends, it was warm and green as always. Saw St. Lucia and HAERTS live, in all their glory. Shared a tutorial for a Stacked Teacup Stand and made a delicious Lentil Salad. Also celebrated Easter with family. Kate Boy was my jam.
Made another visit to Charleston because one of my friends, who was living in Denmark at the time, would also be in town. We ate chicken waffle tacos, walked along the beach, and defaced things with googly eyes. Went out on the town with co-workers and college friends, soaking up the ATL while I still could. Enjoyed the crisp, spring weather and blossoming trees.
Visited Charleston for the last time in a while - a best friend who just finished traveling Peru was also there. Lots of catching up, laughing, and eating chocolate - what we do best. I made a really cool computer sleeve with Caseable, using my photos from Morocco. My birthday and Mother's Day fell on the same day this year, so we had tacos and went to the Frida Kahlo exhibit at the High Museum. Exactly how I wanted to spend it. Celebrated later that week with friends at the bars. Work was busy with graduation cakes and the start of wedding season. Made this Moroccan Carrot and Chickpea salad.
My 5-year high school reunion happened (only in Catholic school) and it was really interesting to see everyone and talk to people that I normally didn't in high school. Hoping to make it to the 10-year. I made this Keyboard Frame for Father's Day and shared a tip about coffee ice cubes. Fell for the sound of Rhye and desperately wanted to see this art installation. Trekked to Chicago with my dad to find an apartment. After a few days we found it with time to spare. It's crazy to think about how much our opinion changed from the first time we saw it, all the way to signing the lease. It was a fixer upper, and now it's home. Also binge-watched the new Arrested Developement, I personally loved it.
Such a full, busy month trying to see everyone and pack up my life before I moved. A best friend from college came in town for her birthday week, so we were able to spend a lot of quality time together. Since she loves all things British, I made her this Pimm's Cake. Met up with my friend Kelsey (Peru) in Asheville, NC who was working as a raft guide on the river. A friend let us stay at her apartment and we spend a few days exploring the city, sharing as much food as we could, and watching some Netflix movies. We take vacations very very well together. I went out lots with my high school, college and work friends right before leaving. They were all great send-off's. I left my job of 4 years, and my mentor. It was very emotional. Started buying and packing for Chicago.
Moved into the apartment on the 1st and spent the rest of the week with my parents getting everything in place and fixin' it all up. The day they left was the most emotional day for me, I have tried not to cry since. My roommate didn't arrive until 2 weeks later, so I spend my time unemployed by exploring the city and binge watching Orange is the New Black. I was very fortunate that I got a full-time job only a week and a half after moving there. Second City classes started at the end of the month and I began making friends through that and learning the improv comedy form.
Started seeing some improv shows around town and making friends with co-workers. Saw MS MR live with my roommate who luckily shares my taste in music. Went to the Renegade Craft Fair and got some goodies for the apartment. Made this Curry Pita Bowl and sent my dad some Coconut Almond Macaroons for his birthday. I couldn't get this song out of my head.
Fall looks so good on Chicago - all the colors are so vibrant, it took me by surprise. Hannah and I finally ventured into the farmer's market downtown. My parents came in the middle of the month for a visit. We saw a Second City show, took an architectural boat tour, explored Andersonville and ate our way around town. Had Lou Malnati's Deep Dish and we finally became fans of the Chicago-style pizza. Continued making new friends and ended the month at a birthday party/Halloween bash with improv peeps (my costume this year was a Deer in Headlights).
Met up with my parents in San Francisco for a pre-Thanksgiving trip. We drove along Highway 1, Big Sur, spent a few days in Carmel, did Muir Woods and wandered around the Mission district of SF. It was a wonderful, scenic trip that was equally re-juvenating. Since I worked on Thanksgiving, a co-worker invited me over to her place for dinner. I made my Southwestern Corn Casserole and Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows. She was such a gracious host and everyone there made it a great company- it was a good first holiday spent without family. This month I also cooked up some Sausage and Kale Soup as well as some Slow Cooker Asian Chicken.
Loved experiencing Chicago during Christmas - the Renegade Craft Fair, Andrew Bird concert in an old church, Zoolights, Christkindlmarket, Macy's windows, the inches and inches of snow! It's hard not to be giddy about it all. Saw Anchorman 2 at midnight with a friend who is just as obsessed - and also saw Frozen (phenomenal). I flew home on Christmas Eve for 9 days and spent quality time with family and friends.
Sometimes I cannot believe I made it here to Chicago. A year ago I wasn't sure when I would be moving or who I would be living with or what I would be doing there. But I freakin' did it! Getting to this point wasn't easy, nor was getting everyone on board, but I think friends and family and most importantly myself know that this is where I supposed to be right now. I am not taking this time for granted, but I am extremely grateful for the way things have turned out.
For 2014, I'm looking forward to making more friends and spending more time with the ones I do have, involving myself more with the comedy scene (that's all on me) and continuing strong relationships with my friends who are far away.
Happy New Years!