As the brilliant Steve Miller Band put it, “time keeps on slippin’ slippin’ slippin’ slippin’ into the future” (also what’s up Space Jam!! I need to revisit that movie soon)
This year has been off to a wonderful start filled with lots of NEW: friends, places traveled, surprises, food consumed, agents, age. I absolutely loved ringing in the year in a new location. We drove from Santa Fe to our adorable A-Frame in Flagstaff, AZ. Albeit we were a weeee bit hungover, (thanks to too many tequila shots at high elevation) there was something very grounding and humbling about gazing out at the Wild West, appreciating every moment because, damn! So. Much. Natural. Beauty. Andddd we saw a DOUBLE rainbow on January 1st. If that’s not a beacon of good luck I don’t know what is!
On to the fun stuff, pictures! Mostly taken by Sophie who I met through the craziest of circumstances last year. You can read HERE if you don’t know the story. Without getting too “woo-woo” one of the major lessons I learned in 2016 is to always share your love/true thoughts with another–you never know what lovely gift(s) you’ll receive in return.
Room for random stops (isn’t that what these are all about?!)
IN-N-OUT (fact 2/3 road trips we ALL wanted burgers but were never hungry enough to stop, leaving me on trip 3/3 solo eating an animal style double double and loving every minute)
ROAD TRIP #1: Santa Fe to Los Angeles
STOPS: Tent Rocks, Aspen Vistas, 10,000 Waves, La Choza, El Farol
STOPS: Flagtaff (A-Frame House), White Dove, Coffee Grand Canyon
STOPS: LAS VEGAS…what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas…but be sure to check out the Chandelier Room at the Cosmopolitan Hotel (there’s also a newly opened EggSlut and Momofuku Milk Bar so I was in HEAVEN!)
There are many reasons why I love Chicago, not only is it my hometown, but while walking around the city I feel an overwhelming sense of pride. Maybe it’s because the Cubs just won the World Series, probably helped there were loads of holiday decorations–but what I really think it is– is the people. They’re a kinder, hardworking breed who I observed walk with their heads up, equally observing what the city has to offer.
J-walking-can’t do this in LA and forgot how much I LOVE it
Seasons-ok so the lack of sun isn’t ideal, but hello sweaters/scarves/coats/fireplaces
Architecture– I could aimlessly walk around the city for hours and stumble upon new buildings and history
The L– visibly connects the city together, granted waiting outside can get chilly, but it makes Chicago, Chicago
I mentioned here some Chicago food favorites, but here’s an update to the list! So whether you’re visiting Chicago or hosting guests, here are a few things not to miss:
After being open for six years, I finally made it to one of Chicago’s most highly acclaimed restaurants. And HOLY SHIT did it live up to the hype. I went with my family and we finished every small plate dropped at the table, could have licked a few…plus a few cocktails and bottles of wine. No pictures were taken because I wanted to enjoy family time, but highlights were: green beans, broccoli, wood-fired shrimp, bucatini, goat loin and goat belly! The flavors were outstanding!
tip: go with a friend/ your cool aunt/uncle/cousin and sit at the bar, no reservation needed! aim to get there before 7 so you don’t have to wait for a seat.
If I lived in Chicago, this River North spot would be in heavy weekly rotation. It’s part coffee shop, part food market, part work space. I mean can we get one of these in LA? It’s the perfect spot to pop in for a quick lunch and impress out-of-towners–not only can you get Small Cheval burgers, but there’s a healthy salad bar, and hot food bar. Plus drinks to warm the soul, or take the edge off of holiday bustle.
tip: there’s free wifi and ample outlets, so if you need a place to recharge with or without family this place will take care of you.
Open daily in the Daley Plaza, this outdoor Christmas Market is such a fun excursion. I even went while it was pouring down rain with my brother and we had a great time. The hot spiced wine helped I’m sure. There are plenty of food vendors, hello German specialties like brats, pretzels, cheese, strudel. And you’re allowed to walk around with alcohol while in the market. My kind of shopping. The other booths are various holiday craftsmen and decorations offering precious ornaments and nutcrackers. Open 11-8/9PM.
tip: aim to go during the week when it’s a lot less crowded. and as far as parking goes, use the app SPOT HERO to secure parking beforehand. click the link for $5 off your first time!
So maybe you need a little pick-me-up post Christkindlmarket or maybe you just want a quick cuppa to take into the park. Either way, stop into this cute and somewhat hidden alley way coffee house. If you’re not smiling afterwards I’d say you’re a Scrooge.
tip: grab a cup to keep you warm as you walk around the loop!
I can’t bring myself to call the Sears Tower its’ new name, The Willis Tower. How can you change the name of such an iconic building?!?!? Names aside, going up some 1,300ft and seeing Chicago is breathtaking. I happened to have a free afternoon and took the trip up 103 stories solo. I happily played tourist and gawked at Chicago from the tallest point.
tip: make sure you go on a clear day AND for the best view, aim to head up 30 minutes before sunset. seeing the city go from day to night is damn magical. also, lines are shorter for the “ledge” where they have a professional camera set up, but they will happily take a pic or 2 or 5 on your phone/camera as well.
I know I’ve written about this restaurant before, but it will always be a stop when I’m home. The atmosphere is cozy without feeling cramped, and the food. Don’t even get me started. I am never ever disappointed. Their mac and cheese is last meal status along with all of sweet confections.
tip: if you want to work off the mac and cheese//your brunch, grab your hot chocolate to go and take a walk on the 606 trail which is just steps away.
What are your favorite spots in Chicago?? Always wanting to try new places!
August was nothing short of incredible, between being in Scotland for nearly two weeks and coming back to gigs in LA, it was the best mix of “work hard//play hard”. And while I’m already wanting to head back to Scotland, I’ve just hit the 3 year mark with LA- safe to say I love it here too! Enjoy your Labor Day Weekend all!!
SWEET: janetta’s gelateria, st. andrews
If you are ever in St. Andrews, do yourself a favor- even if it’s cold and the line is long- and get yourself a double scoop of Janetta’s gelato. Normally I’m not a vanilla person, but it had been made 30 minutes earlier, so I couldn’t resist the combination with nutella and a flake bar. Napkins necessary.
savory: the oyster shed, isle of skye
Tucked away above the Talisker Distillery (prime real-estate, am I right?) lives the holy grail of oysters. Only open from 12-5 Monday through Friday, we were able to stop in to the “shed” for a couple of oysters. They were some of the freshest and clean babies I’d ever tasted. Better yet, Paul, the oyster farmer, shucks them fresh.
drink: *TIE* Dalwhinnie whisky tasting and the jigger inn ale
Driving from St. Andrews to the Inverness area, we stopped at the Dalwhinnie Distillery, where they are known for their whisky and chocolate tastings. My favorite was the 25 year, and snagged a bottle to bring back stateside. Also, The Jigger Inn Ale (the pub located across from the famed St. Andrews golf course) was a necessary order. Definitely try it if you find yourself there- it has a lot of flavor despite being a lighter beer!
Restaurant: kettle black, silver lake
Before heading off to Scotland, I stopped by the newly opened Silver Lake spot. It was popping! And pretty-“hello interior goals”. Pizza was on point, same with the pasta and cocktails. Happy hour (5-7) is daily too …always a huge plus!
entertainment: clay pigeon shooting, loch lomond
Move over Annie Oakley, you’ve got yourself a new sharp shooter in town! I loved riflery at camp, so when clay pigeon shooting was on the docket I was thrilled. It was a rainy day, hence the yellow jackets, and it was all too fitting with the woodsy range. *No actual birds were harmed* just little hard clay disks. Looking for a similar range in the LA area…if anyone knows of one, let me know in the comments!
It is currently 5:45am in LA and I’ve been up for about an hour. Hello jet-lag! If you follow me on Instagram, I recently wrapped up a 10 day trip all around Scotland.
What exactly was this trip about? I’m glad you asked!
Let’s set the scene: It was around 9am July 5th when I received an email that made me “blink twice”. Not going to lie, my eyes were a liiittle fuzzy (thank you one too many celebrating America’s birthday) but Istoria clothing designer, Rachael Forester, had written asking me to model her freshman collection in Scotland.
I am not a model by today’s standards, but sweeeet
A TRIP TO SCOTLAND- sign me up!
Wait a second…is this too good to be true? There must be some catch…
*checks out Rachael’s social media/blog* no catch, this seem very legit
*check out photographer’s Instagram* ohhh I recognize this page
*Calls Rachael to confirm I am not being cat-fished* she is the real deal
HOLY SHIT I’M GOING TO GO TO SCOTLAND FOR WORKKKK
But how did they find me?? As fate would have it, around June 20th, I left this comment on Sophie Kuller, the photographer’s, post (her last name is pronounced “cooler” btw)
That comment “so special #docklife” made Sophie look at my profile which spiraled into her showing Rachael my profile when their initial model backed out. Crazy coincidence and lucky- but I also realized that had I not been blogging, making silly wine videos, or just being me I wouldn’t have gotten the offer. They saw an authentic person behind the glass of their iPhone screens.
And that my friends is how I booked the job!
Oh right, back to what the actual job was, modeling. Now I’ll expand more on that later when I can release all of the pictures, but in short, I had little experience. Sure, I have had my headshot taken but I hadn’t modeled clothes since my short-lived career as a Carson-Pirie-Scott-Sunday-Coupon regular. The images below are gems, I know.
Despite being green, I didn’t think twice. Here was a fantastic opportunity and I couldn’t say turn it down. So I started flipping through fashion magazines, Pinterest and Instagram to see how the model’s were posing these days. And a little over a month later, I hopped on a plane for Scotland.
Can’t wait to share more images. Have a glass of wine or whisky tonight, after all it’s Wednesday! Cheers!! #scottishfrecklegirl