Greetings from the good ole USA! I’m really excited to be back. As you may have seen from my social media, I’m in the States for multiple reasons, one of which is a Midwest book tour. I’m incredibly honored to share the inspirational stories from my book, Flavors of Life.
I actually flew into Chicago from Amsterdam, but travelled back to Michigan for a few days to see my immediate family. My adventures took me back to Chicago, though.
Wednesday, October 12
I stayed with a good friend of mine, and boy did we have a blast! On my first full day in Chicago, it was raining cats and dogs, so we grabbed our umbrellas, put on our raincoats and rain boots, and went out for a walk. I suppose that’s what living in the Netherlands does to one… not afraid of the rain. We passed this little pottery-painting place on the way, and let our inner artist run wild. Of course the moment we saw these flamingo coffee mugs, we knew what we were going to decorate. I named my Frank, and my friend named hers Frannie.
Thursday, October 13
Thursday I had lunch with someone I met in Amsterdam who actually lives in Chicago. My oh my, the view from his studio is stunning (photo one below)! From there, I made my way to North Avenue Beach (photo two below) and the Lincoln Park Zoo, ultimately ending in the Lakeview neighborhood. JA Café (photo three) was taking place that evening, and I was so excited to be a part of it and meet some wonderful travellers from around the world. JA Cafe is a travel-related meet-up based in Chicago. Thank you, Pola, for organizing it (even though you couldn’t be there in person – we’ll meet one day, I promise!) and Pawel for leading the discussion. I enjoyed hearing your inspiring stories and travel plans. Thank you for your support, as well, with my book. JA Café was held at Julius Meinl, which is this cute little coffee house originally founded in Vienna, Austria. Sitting there, sipping coffee and chatting with newfound friends, made me feel like I had never left Europe.
Friday, October 14
On Friday, I met up with my cousin for lunch at the Little Goat Diner (photo one). This place is the sister restaurant of Girl and the Goat, which I heard has a three-month waiting list. Stephanie Izard, who was on Top Chef, owns it. The atmosphere is laid back, the servers are super friendly, and the food is fantastic! That afternoon, I walked around downtown, soaking in the sunshine and the sights. I read for a bit in Millennium Park (photos two and three) and then watched the sunset from the Lounge of the Hancock Building on the 96th floor (photo four). I just sat at the bar chatting with the people next to me, admiring the colors. Spectacular! There was a short wait to get in, but especially being a party of one, I was able to quickly secure a seat.
Saturday, October 15
The weekend was devoted to a good friend of mine’s wedding. Friday night I had the rehearsal dinner and Saturday we were busy with wedding festivities all day. I was honored to be one of her bridesmaids! The entire day was magical, from start to finish. Plus, we all wore converse, so comfortable, too. Congratulations, Lauren and Carlos! Wishing you two a lifetime of happiness together.
Sunday, October 16 and Monday, October 17
Before leaving Chicago, I had brunch with some family friends – so good to catch up – and explored the Chicago botanic Gardens with my good friend. The last night we went out for Mexican – one of my favorite cuisines – and ended the entire trip with a chocolate piñata. It is exactly as it sounds like: a chocolate ball filled with mini churros and fresh fruit like blackberries, strawberries, and pineapple. They give you a wooden bat and everything, so you can smash it open like a real piñata. There’s even a video, but I won’t go that far…
Thank you to Chicago and its wonderful people for an awesome week! I loved every single minute. Stay tuned for my next blog post about my time in West Michigan, college towns like East Lansing and Ann Arbor, as well as events in Metro Detroit.
Where are you headed next? Let me know in the comments below!