10 Best Bites at Chicago Gourmet 2019

This year Chicago Gourmet marked a special occasion for my husband and I, our first day/night alone in Chicago since bringing home our baby girl. My parents were gracious enough to watch our daughter so we could have an inaugural “Parents Day” to celebrate nearly 9 months of parenthood and spend some special time together in our own city, just the two of us! Last year I was pregnant at the event and was really looking forward to trying all the wine and alcohol I missed last year, in addition to many of the raw and seafood items that were on my “off-limits” list in 2018.

20 Essential Baby Items

Now more than six months into this whole baby thing, I’ve been able to look back and evaluate the top products that worked for us. I’ve made notes on each item with suggestions where to find them and if we recommend borrowing or purchasing second hand.

5 Reasons to Dine Out Alone

Recently while in San Francisco for business I found myself flying solo for dinner when my client had to cancel at the last minute. So, after some fast and furious SF Eater stalking I decided to give Trestle a call to see if they could fit me in for dinner that evening. I was pleasantly surprised to find that they could accommodate a party of one for 8:00pm that evening.

Summer Family Fun in Lake Geneva

Lake Geneva has always felt like an extension of Chicago even though it’s another state away due to it only being about an hour and a half drive. I have fond memories of going there as a child, stopping at the Brat Stop on the way up, taking boat rides on the lake, checking out the local ice cream shops and dining on cheese curds! 30 something years later I’m excited to share a taste of lake life with my daughter for the first time!

How to Support a NICU Family

There are a lot of emotions that come with having a baby that needs to spend time in the NICU before coming home. I was envious of all the sleep-deprived parents who got to bring their baby home right away while I was leaving mine at the hospital each evening. I was angry that I never had the chance to moan about how uncomfortable the ninth moth was. I was sad that I never had the chance to get the baby’s room ready and “nest”. I felt guilty that my body failed me and my baby. At the same time, I was so grateful for the amazing care from the nurses and doctors in the NICU who cared for Callie during her stay. Especially the nurses that fielded my 12:00am, 3:00am, and 6:00am middle of the night phone calls with patience and reassurance when I woke every three hours to pump the milk I’d bring my baby every morning.

A New Adventurer is Born

If you’re a frequent reader of Dash of Adventure you may have noticed I’ve been MIA for a while. I’m glad to say that I have a great excuse for taking a bit of a break, on January 11th we welcomed a baby girl, Callie Rose, into the world!

Where to Work from Home in Lakeview, Chicago

As more and more employees eschew a standard 9 to 5 work life or aim to avoid the dreaded commute either on a crowded highway or train ride, working from home has become a popular work option. This definitely isn’t a complete list, I’ll plan on adding to it in the future as more places pop-up. Here are my top favorites in the Lakeview neighborhood to work from home.

IfOnly Experiences for Good in Chicago

Recently IfOnly reached out to me about trying one of their unique experiences that benefit worthy causes around the world. If you’ve read my recent post, you’ll know that I feel passionate about partnering with companies and attending events that have charitable ties. Especially in the food world, where there can be too much waste, allotting funds towards worthy causes that can really use it makes an enormous impact.

5 Day Itinerary for LA and Palm Springs

LA and Palm Springs are two cities that you should spend a lot more time than just five days, but sometimes that’s all you have! I’m here to tell you that even though may not see and do everything on your list, you can still fit in a whole lot. Jeremy and I are lucky that we have family in both locations, so we have fantastic tour guides in California. We were lucky that our family tailored our visit to both of our favorite things: eating and spending time outdoors. Here were the highlights from our visit and the perfect five-day itinerary!

Planning the Perfect Chicago Summer Weekend

I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while now and now that it’s summer weather (most days) in Chicago it’s finally the perfect time to share some of my favorite Chicago summer activities.  Some suggestions are tried and true, but I’d like to think that at least a few are ideas that might not appear in a typical google search. Mix and match your favorites for the perfect Chicago summer weekend!

Keep on Traveling Tony

Those first few moments you find out a family member or a close friend have passed away are initially shocking and then filled with grief. This morning when Jeremy broke the news to me of Anthony Bourdain's passing he delivered it in a way that you would have thought a good friend had died, and one had. Anthony Bourdain is/was the biggest travel influence in our lives and the person that pushed us to follow our dreams.

5 New Orleans Neighborhoods to Explore

On our seventh (Jeremy) and third (Stephanie) trip to the Crescent City, so we made a concerted effort to make it off Bourbon Street and out of the French Quarter to explore some of New Orleans’ other unique neighborhoods and try some new restaurants. Of course, we couldn’t neglect all of our old favorites! Below are some of our suggestions for enjoying a long weekend in NOLA that hits up five different New Orleans neighborhoods.

Camping Near Chicago

Last summer we made a vow to get out of the city more and spend more time in nature. Even though the Midwest doesn’t have the scenery of a Colorado or an Oregon, there are still plenty of places to camp near Chicago that will help you reconnect with nature. There are great locations in Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin and even Illinois that are a two-hour drive or less and have great trails and campsites for a night or two away.

What to do in San Sebastian in Fall

San Sebastian was the last stop on our Spain itinerary and likely the one that I’ll wax poetic about for years to come as it combined two of my favorite things: the outdoors and food. We visited in their off-season, which meant some restaurants were closed and it was a bit too chilly to want to hang out by the beach and ocean.  What could have been a downer was actually really nice as we had both hiking paths and spots at pinxto bars available for us whenever we wanted.  

10 Things to do in Madrid

By the time our train pulled into Madrid we’d hit our Spanish stride and were starting to feel like travelers again and less like tourists. The majority of time spent in Madrid was picking different neighborhoods to walk around and explore, with a few sites sprinkled in here and there.

5 Day Itinerary for Barcelona

Follow the itinerary below for a perfect five days in Barcelona! If you want to mix it, try and pick and choose 2 touristy things per day and mix it in with lots of plaza people watching, eating and drinking! With 5 days in Barcelona I’d say we did a pretty good job of packing in a good variety of activities, food, museums, and neighborhoods. There is certainly some wiggle-room in our itinerary to add more activities, make it more relaxed, whatever is your vision of a dream vacation! 

How to Live Like a Local in Barcelona

This year Jeremy and I decided to choose tapas over turkey and booked a two-week trip to Spain over Thanksgiving! It seemed like the perfect time given that we had two extra days off work for the holiday and it would be after tourist season in Spain making everything a little bit less crowded and more affordable. We also had some fantastic fall weather while we were there as it was in the high 50s and low 60s most of our trip. We chose to visit three different cities during our time in Spain: Barcelona, Madrid and San Sebastian.

My Favorite Bites from LuxeHome CHILL and Spain’s Great Match

Right before the holidays this year I had a chance to attend two tasty food events in the city, LuxeHome CHILL and Spain’s Great Match. As you know I’m not attending as many food events these days, but both of these had a super appealing list of wines and restaurant pairings that I wasn’t about to pass up. It also helped that Spain’s Great Match was occurring right before our travels to Spain and was the perfect event to get us ramped up for two weeks of Spanish wine and food.