On My Mind · Restaurants · self care · Tea Review · Travel

Life update: Chicago Jazz Fest, Recent cat photos, friend visit

Hope everyone had a good Labor Day Weekend!

The past few weeks, I have been a little MIA because I’ve been working A LOT, trying to keep up with freelancing, getting consistent with physical fitness and volunteering at my local animal shelter. Since it’s been a while, I’m going to do an update post about what I’ve been up to. It’s a long one, but worth the read! (and spoiler alert, if you get to the end you’ll enjoy cute kittens and some cupcake food porn).

1. Jazz Fest and an afternoon in downtown Chicago
This past weekend me and my boyfriend both had Sunday off (we work together and our schedules don’t line up all the time so this was great!) so we headed downtown for the Chicago Jazz Festival. I am a huge fan of jazz music, and really enjoyed the artists we saw.

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George Fludas Quartet quartet brought some laid-back jazz tunes to the festival, perfect for a Sunday afternoon.

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Doreen’s Jazz New Orleans was a great time. Doreen plays clarinet and sings, and with her four piece band she brought a lot of energy to the stage — people were really getting into the music. Being a clarinetist myself (though I haven’t played in a while), I can really appreciate good jazz clarinet playing, and Doreen has a lot of talent.

Spending time at the jazz festival makes me really want to get back into music… just need to find the time!

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Every time — literally every single time — that I’m in the city with Damien, we always stop at Argo. Today I got the ginger green iced tea and it was so good! I love ginger teas, they are spicy but really make me feel great, and this one was a perfect way to rehydrate after spending some time in the sun.

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On our way to the car to leave, we stumbled upon this After-Words Bookstore, a great place for awesome used books on E. Illinois St. I love love love used bookstores, but they’re also dangerous. I probably shouldn’t have gone in, but I was glad I did, because I found some great stuff, and they had good prices as well.

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They had a section just with cat books, so enough said. I’m sure I will be going back here in the near future.

2. Lots of cats!
If you read my post in July about finding my fit for volunteering at my local animal shelter, you know about how much I’ve been enjoying helping out at the humane society. I did a lot with them in August, taking lots of cat photos and helping out at fundraising events. We raised a lot of money, and I also just get the warm fuzzies — literally and metaphorically — spending time with homeless felines (and of course, my own furbabies). I like to help them by taking positive photos of them being cute and fun, to help their chances of finding their furever home. And they help me just as much as I help them. I’ve noticed that while it might be hard to find the time some weeks when I’m really busy with work, it’s always worth it to go, even if it’s just for a little while 🙂Cinnamon and Cappucino.JPG

3. Friend visit!
Since I moved, I haven’t gotten to see my friends as often, so it was awesome to catch up with my good friend Clare. We got to do all of the fun stuff we used to do, like biking, drinking tea and beer and playing with cats. During a nice long bike ride on the Erie Lackawanna Trail, we went to a place that I’ve been wanting to try for a while — Angel Hair Juice Bar and Cafe. It was a great place for smoothies and delicious vegan food, and I plan on going back next time I go out for a ride, at least for some juice.

Angel Hair Cafe

4. Hiking
Another thing that’s kind of pathetic considering that I’ve almost lived in NW Indiana for a year is that I just recently discovered an awesome nature trail really close to home. There’s a group of parks in the area, and while I visited the one in Crown Point with my brother in July, Oak Ridge Prairie is a great place to get for a short or longer trail trek before work or on a day off.

Nature hike

5. Made dairy-free cupcakes

I have always had lactose issues, and have been doing pretty well cutting it completely from my diet. This was easy in all-areas except baking. I have always loved using butter in my baked goods. But this month, when i volunteered to make homemade cupcakes for a work potluck, I decided to try substituting the butter in the frosting for coconut oil (I’ve been using oil in my cakes for a while now, so that wasn’t really anything new). Kind of a risk to take when serving to people, but they turned out really good!

Cupcakes

How did your August go, and what are you most looking forward to about September? Let me know in the comments below!

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