i visited one of my dearest friends in chicago last weekend and it was just perfectly normal. we ate, drank wine, caught up, went out, and just lived a weekend in her new normal. and it was perfect. as much as i love visiting new places, i just as much love visiting new friends.
here are a couple of snaps from the weekend — i would apologize for there not being more, but i am kind of glad there’s not. i was present there and that’s how i like it!
first trip of 2017 in the book. and a road trip checked off my year 23 bucket list.
the most gorgeous window display
mahi mahi tacos for two please
an adorable cafe that i am now obsessed with called left coast
curry bowl for the win
if i ever open my own shop, i want a little llama by the dressing rooms like this shop had
morning walks along the lake
wine courtesy of the owner — LOVED this restaurant. was called the dawson.
the gal pal herself
the way the water isn’t distinguishable from the sky
the first thing she told me about her apt is that it’s one block from TJs
i am still trying to figure out how to share my travels here on the blog but one thing i know for sure is that i share it best with my photos. so this travel blog will mainly be just that.
the short story of this weekend trip from december is this:
i used to live in highlands ranch, co. i lived there from 6th-12th grade and it was wonderful for so many reasons. but SO much of my time while living there was consumed with soccer as i played on club teams through my junior year of high school. while i wouldn’t change that, it did cut into my adventure time while i lived there. so going back for a weekend as a young adult with the freedom to go wherever and not have to tell my mom was quite exhilarating.;)
i was able to visit with my brother who still lives there, cruise through the mountains with the windows down blasting taylor swift and see some friends. it was the perfect getaway and reminded me why i love traveling so much.
since most of my time was spent with friends catching up over good food (i highly recommend avanti food and beverage, little man ice cream, snooze and city o city. AND the whole foods in boulder. i was in awe of that store.) and going on mountain drives, i’ll let the photos do the talking for my weekend in denver.
ps this ^ red rocks amphitheatre is where i graduated from high school! it’s like my favorite fun fact. also one of the coolest things i have ever/will ever do.
i’ll be keeping you in the loop on all my travels in 2017 but i had to polish off 2016 before i started new adventures.
for those of you who don’t know, i lived in st. louis for the last four years while attending saint louis university. so this city wasn’t exactly at the top of my list for places i wanted to move after graduation. i literally sold all my furniture and moved to california to look for a job while living at home with the mindset that i would never move back.
that’s not meant to sound as dramatic as it comes off.;) i was just ready for something new and i placed a lot of my young adult identity in living in a new, bright city. since i had lived in st. louis, i didn’t see it as new and bright.
upon moving back, it feels like a completely different place than where i went to school. i live in a new part of the city and work in an area with a lot of young professionals. i have a different routine but a lot of familiar faces and, of course, place to eat.
there’s just a completely fresh vibe. when i swing by campus to see a friend or go to ikea (long live the swedes as my dad would say), i am almost surprised to see campus because it feels so different now.
with all that being said, one of the best parts of st. louis is the food scene. to say i am a foodie is an understatement. i LOVE good food and people in college constantly asked me for recommendations on where to go for dinner, brunch, ice cream and everything in-between.
so i am going to start keeping track of my ventures both in st. louis and elsewhere and label them on instagram with the hashtag #aniathefoodie so you can always search for something you saw on my instagram of something i ate through that hashtag! enjoy my first (documented) foodie experience!
I have wanted to try Cafe Natasha for FOREVER and I finally went on Sunday with my pal Sonya. It was amazing. AMAZING.
I have to preface that I love Persian food – saffron chicken, tabouleh, jasmine rice, feta cheese…it’s all good in my books.
The service was good, the $7/glass Cabernet was a hit and they also have a Gin Bar that has a trillion types of gin which would be cool if you know someone who loves gin. It’s displayed on the wall and it’s pretty darn impressive. Other than the Gin Bar, the decorations were minimal but it was clean and I was too distracted by my fat glass of wine to notice. #hangry
Anywho, Natasha (yes, like THE Natasha) took our orders and brought us our food which was pretty freaking cool. Sonya and I ordered the same thing (#typical) which I can’t find on their online menu but it was basically a big bowl of greens topped with saffron chicken, this feta cheese magical thing, cucumbers, radishes, onions and a tzatziki type of dressing. Oh, and pita chips if you can eat those! #allergiesruineverything
IT WAS SO GOOD. The proportions were spot on (which I am quite serious about – proportions can make or break a salad/dish/anything) and I would definitely recommend it. Honestly though, everything on the menu looked amaze and I can’t wait to go back to try more.
I don’t say this lightly, but it could be one of my new go-to’s for STL recommendations to people. It has options for everyone – meat lovers, falafel lovers, vegetarians and even has a gluten-free menu! If you’re in the area, it should be at the top of your list.
vibed to fixer upper while writing. i would talk about my new love for chip and joanna but i might just have to devote an entire post to that.
(you can now ‘pin’ all my images to Pinterest! yay!!!)
every time we ask people we meet here in fresno what they love about living here, they say that the accessibility to natural beauty is their favorite. fresno itself is an agricultural hub and definitely has a small city vibe with not a lot of city action. although the things to do around town are growing, the attractions nearby are unbeatable.
i need to get out of the house every so often and have a little adventure. especially when i spend most of my week in front of a computer or lurking around my house. luckily my parents understand that my camera needs to come out every so often or i go crazy, and they are willing to take day trips with me. #threemusketeers
this particular weekend, we ventured over to bass lake, about a two hour drive one-way. one thing you should know about me is that i LOVE driving around and listening to good music with the windows down. honestly it’s probably in my top 5 favorite things to do. i make a pretty darn good dj if i do say so myself.
so i cranked up adele, mumford & sons, billy currington … and the ‘rents got into it! mom said, very wisely, “adele has a very beautiful voice.” you heard it hear first, folks! 😉
we headed out on a small hike but mainly just enjoyed the scenery. there is such a power to nature and even just having a couple hours in the fresh air did wonders on all of us.
naturally i had my camera slung around my neck and stopped every five seconds to take a photo. the models were quite nice and didn’t care. 😉
the lake was so blue and beautiful – it made me miss living in washington like crazy. my basically-twin-sister marea lived on a lake. we were born two days apart, our families went to the same church, we were inseparable at school and out, and i spent probably just as much time at her house as i did at my own. she lived on a lake and now whenever i see one, i am hit with nostalgia for those days of grass covered feet, root beer floats and “snorkeling” for fish.
i love the lighting in forests. i would love to do an engagement shoot in there. it’s so intimate and the light comes through in the most beautiful, speckle-y way. it makes me wonder if forest fairies exist…
it was a beautiful day. this summer has been all about taking advantage of small moments of adventure so cruising with my parents listening to good music made all well with my soul.
vibed to out of the woods by taylor swift while writing.
all photography is my own. i completely don’t mind if you use it for personal use! these images have been gracing my computer desktop quite a few times.