went to Chicago.

So I just got back from spending a week up in Winnetka, IL.

My older sister, Ali, lives there with her husband Adam and 14 month-old baby named Ava! She invited both my mom and I to fly up there for the 4th of July to celebrate and then baby/dog sit while her and Adam ventured to California for a wedding. Mom took the baby. I took the dog 😛 His name is Otter and he’s a big fluffy Golden Retriever. 249657_10150269727766826_6851762_nHe’s a pretty clean eater… he’s potty trained…he likes to sleep a lot. Does anyone see where I’m going with this…? Haha Ava is the complete OPPOSITE!Baby Ava My little niece loves to smush her food with her hands or even better throw it on the ground. She is just over a year therefore diapers are still a must. She also enjoys waking up at 5 am and playing ALL day long until about 7 pm when she finally conchs out. She is quite a handful as any baby would be at that age though. The whole experience taught me one sure thing: I am no where near ready to have a family of my own! Babies are work. Thankfully, Ava is a sweet one filled with giggles so it’s hard not to love her.IMG_3506IMG_3569

Anywho, onward to some highlights of the trip!

  1. My sister prepared a healthy simplistic Mediterranean dinner for us the first night. My contribution was the Sumac yogurt dip to go alongside her grilled eggplant. It was all sooo good. I was thankful to relax and watch the food just get placed in front of me! 🙂IMG_3507 IMG_3508 IMG_3509 IMG_3510
  2. Everything was in full bloom! When I’d go out for a morning jog, I found myself stopping every 50 some yards to take pictures!IMG_3513 IMG_3527 IMG_3528 IMG_3540
  3. I got to go to of my favorite healthy quick eat places in the city: The Protein Bar. This place is great.  They are doing exactly what I hope to do someday and that is to change the way people eat on the go. They promote healthy food that can be whipped up in a jiffy! They’re famous for their bar-ritos (a healthier burrito that uses quinoa), but they also have quinoa bowls, salads, soups, juices, and smoothies. I can’t praise this place enough so next time you find yourself in Chi-town or Washington DC, go try it!  Favorite Bar-rito: the Ivy (grilled). Pictured: Green City VEGAN (chilled).IMG_3544
  4. My mom and I visited one of my favorite little fresh produce markets in Lake Forest that my friend, Katie Otterbeck, introduced to me several years back. It’s called Amidei MercatinoIMG_0684It’s located in this tiny little ally, run by a super nice Italian family. They have gorgeous produce. Check out the size of these ugly tomatoes! They were beautiful.IMG_3555So that’s a little about my one getaway for the summer. I hope ya’ll out there are able to enjoy a vacation or two this summer in order to break away from the daily routines we so often get caught up in.