Getting Back to What’s REAL in Chicago

Wow, I can’t believe I’ve gone so long without posting anything.  It seems this year has sucked out all the energy I’ve had for creative endeavors, and in my silence I know it’s been bothering me.

Life gets busy, I get that.  Sometimes even a little “heavy”… I get that too.  This year has been nothing but one thing after the next, but I can’t keep making excuses for why I can’t focus on my own stuff from time to time.  Those who know me well enough know I can close off in times of distress, and I am so aware that thats not how I want to live my life.


Having drinks at The Lunatic, The Lover, & The Poet in Fulton Market with my sister and brother in law… he’s channeling some of that Lunatic vibe.

Checking out The Publican restaurant for dinner and one of my faves for the night would have to be the beef heart tartare.


But every journey starts with that first step right?

So I’ve been on many trips this year, with lots of adventures, and will slowly be posting more from them. I think I’ve been so sucked into either stress or work during a lot of these trips that it’s made it difficult to write about them.

Most recently, I took a trip back home to Illinois and spend some time with old friends.  It was an unfortunate event that led me out there, and I’m not going to get into those details.  Again, another trip that has some bad vibes surrounding it and would normally keep me from writing on the topic.


Night out with my girls, Ning and Dana.  We once put together a whole jumprope routine to Biggie Smalls, true story.  Now we are all mamas trying not to embarrass ourselves in front of hot Lyft drivers.


Which made me think about breaking down some of the REAL take aways. I can’t say I’m over it though.  The worry, heartbreak, and sadness of it all still remain right now, and it will pass but not when I close myself off to what was the better parts of the experience.  Because I’m not going to go into too much detail, this may sound vague, but hopefully its just the first step to a better journey in my writing.

So what was REAL?

First, that cutting off toxic people in your life is absolutely necessary. This year started off with really making some changes to knowing who was just draining everything about me.  Illinois is where I was born and raised, there’s plenty of things that remind me of an old version of me, good and bad.  I don’t like playing roles for people, I don’t enjoy the company of people who can only handle one version of me, and relationships are always two-ways always.  It has taken me my whole life to finally see that reality, and once I did my life got a lot easier.  But when I see something similar happening to people close to me, I get just as upset.

Secondly, sometimes you just need your OLD friends.  Of course with my move across the country it seems like I’ve lost a little connection with some people back home.  It’s nice to have those people that you can pick up with, like no time or distance has made a difference in the relationship.  It was a little strange coming back home to the Bay and hearing my real name after a week of being called “Apple”.  It was nice having people know who I was or what makes me who I am today.  And in some circumstances, with whatever you are dealing with at the moment, sometimes that “old friend” point of view is exactly what you need to see yourself through.


No matter how old I get, Ning’s sweet parents are always so caring… and want to feed me like my metabolism was age 17 again.


Lastly, in figuring out what to write about or how to dissect what my trip to Chicago went, I’ve thought about how nothing I say is new.  Someone had put all of it into words or music before and is a much better wordsmith than I am.  I can read through all these great stories and articles and be none the wiser about how to write my own post.  However, when I hang out with my girl, Ning… it seems like we always have a natural soundtrack to the adventures we get into.  Some songs will come up years later and remind me of very specific events in my life with her, and it does comfort me or pump me up when I hear them.  I thought I would share top 3 songs that would make up part of the playlist for this trip:


Going to leave it at the top 3 songs because if I start getting into all the songs that were played in car karaoke sessions, the list would get too damn long.

Also, I really wish I took more photos or could share more adventures on this post.  I’m glad I got to see everyone that I did during this week and I wish I could spend more time with all of you.  Big hugs and kisses to the ones who I did see, I appreciate all of you.



Taco Fest Chicago where I missed my local Oakland Truck.  You know what’s REAL?  All of the neighborhoods I hung out in are worlds different from how I remember them.  You know what else is REAL?  I don’t need duck tacos with blue corn tortillas and sesame seed sprinkled chicken mole tacos… y’all getting too fancy. 

Visiting a little angel.

Chicago’s normally known for their deep dish, thin crust, or square slices, but there’s a new kid on the block that I got to try.  Rome-based Bonci’s opened it’s first US location, with slices sold by the weight and toppings like salmon, pumpkin, and cured meats. It was all pretty good and  I’m not a fan of pan crust, but I would definitely want to come back just to try more options.

Look at that face, this guy definitely missed me.

And of course, my messy faced queen giving me the daily report while I was away.

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