One of my most favorite parts of blogging is the ability to look back and see growth and development: individual growth, but also communal (friendship) growth. Mike and Keira have popped up a few times on A Short Blonde. Jordan and Mike were in two bands that toured together ten years ago (!) but it wasn’t until they came down for a wedding in Chicago two years ago that our friendship as a foursome really developed.
In April we spent several days exploring Toronto with Mike and Keira and a few weeks ago they came to Nashville! I’m excited to see where we’ll meet up next.
We took our job as tour guides seriously and brought them to all of our favorite places: from burgers to pizza, from coffee to books, from records to pumpkins and even a little bit of country music.
Did you read this article, The Myth of Quality Time? I first heard about it on the Around the Table Podcast. Essentially the author claims it is impossible to plan deep connection. It isn’t quality time, but quantity time which allows for relationships to blossom.
“We delude ourselves when we say otherwise, when we invoke and venerate “quality time,” a shopworn phrase with a debatable promise: that we can plan instances of extraordinary candor, plot episodes of exquisite tenderness, engineer intimacy in an appointed hour.”
It is in the mundane weekends, running errands, folding laundry and cooking dinner where marriages become strengthened. It is the family vacations and weekend visits where deep conversations happen randomly while kids are running around in circles. Despite the fact that Mike and Keira live in another country the only kind of time we’ve experienced together has been amazing; quantity filled with quality.
^ If you leave Nashville without visiting at least two coffee shops you didn’t do it right! 😉
^ I didn’t realize we matched like a family Christmas card until AFTER I began going through the photos! Haha.
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One benefit to visiting friends while traveling is that you get to explore outside the typical tourist spots. For instance, if you were to tell me you had 24 hours to spend in Chicago I would advise to skip Navy Pier, limit your time on Michigan Ave. and experience a few of the other neighborhoods in the city.
There is so much more to Chicago than Michigan Avenue. Lincoln Park and the Gold Coast are walkable neighborhoods not far from downtown that have a bit more charm. And if you have a car, visit Logan Square and have dinner at Longman and Eagle.
But this isn’t a post about what to do in Chicago, this is about our last day in Toronto! 🙂
Continue reading “Toronto | Distillery District + Downtown”
We packed a lot into our first day in Toronto. After grabbing lunch in Kensington Market, we made our way to the Trinity-Bellwoods neighborhood, to visit Drake’s store, October’s Very Own (OVO). The inside of OVO reminded me of boutiques in LA and NYC, minimal and industrial. I still find it rather amusing that Drake is who he is now considering he started as an actor on Degrassi! Though, I suppose Drake’s career trajectory it isn’t much different than the cast of The Micky Mouse Club (Justin Timberlake, Brittany Spears, Ryan Gosling etc.).
Continue reading “Toronto | Graffiti Alley + O.Noir”
Toronto is a culturally diverse and bustling city. The streets are bursting with energy and each neighborhood has its own charm. Jordan and I were really looking forward to exploring Toronto with Mike and Keira. Mike took charge and mapped out a good route, enabling us to hit several key stops on our first day.
After a morning stop at Tim Hortons for coffee/tea and donuts, we arrived in Toronto by subway. Toronto feels like a cross between Chicago and New York City. There are laws that prohibit street vendors from selling goods on the sidewalks in Chicago, which keeps everything rather clean (unlike NYC) considering its size. Toronto and NYC share the busy street vibes. Toronto and Chicago are both on a Great Lake: in fact, they both have a beautiful stretch of road and parks along the lake shore.
Our first stop of the day was meandering through Kensington Market. I thought KM was in an actual building, but it’s more of a neighborhood: stores and restaurants in old homes with racks of clothing displayed on front porch/sidewalks. It feels like one giant garage sale! If you are in the area I recommend grabbing coffee from Fika Cafe — I had a refreshing mint and cardamom almond milk iced latte.
We ate lunch at Templeton’s Cafe, a fun Asian Fusion restaurant (Chinatown is not far away). I had some amazing spring rolls. We didn’t sit outside, but they had the porch doors open so everyone inside could enjoy the warm breeze. Toronto was experiencing unseasonably warm temperatures and we were not complaining!
There were so many cute and interesting stores to browse through while walking down each street. One of my favorites was Bungalow which offered a mix between vintage and new clothing. I found a really cute sweater that I am exited to style!
Part two of day one coming later this week!
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^Oxford, UK 2013
Throughout the week I scroll through my Bloglovin’ feed, marking posts that I want to revisit. Usually on Wednesday or Thursday, I spend time ultimately choosing which posts I’ll share. After looking over my list, I think a theme developed – clearly, I am ready to travel!
/ / Last year, we ate lunch at Longman & Eagle in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago. The atmosphere of their restaurant/inn is chill, the food is fresh and seasonally prepared — all for a great price. When Jordan and I discussed where we wanted to stay for our anniversary, L & E was our first choice, but all the rooms were booked! Kate’s getaway pictures are absolutely beautiful and only makes me wish we would have found a chance to stay a night before our move to Nashville.
/ / I absolutely love reading travel logs. Before we left for Europe in 2013, I spent a lot of time reading blogs for research/tips. I learned so much through different vacation recounts. Traveling to Amsterdam never really crossed my mind until Naomi and her family went in 2013. The beautiful houses along the canal are reason enough to visit!
I followed Hannah as she traveled through Amsterdam on Instagram and am so glad she recapped it on her blog. I now wish Jordan and I would have considered taking a train to Amsterdam from Paris! I didn’t realize how close they are.
/ / Rebecca reminisced on the 10 things she misses the most about living in NYC. First of all I loved that she had a photoshoot with her friends à la SATC when she moved away. After moving away from home, I now realize how specific certain experiences are to our environment/city. I hope to savor this time in Nashville because if we ever move away, some things won’t come with me (currently I appreciate how GF/Vegan baked goods are readily available in coffee shops!).
/ / Speaking of travel planning, Jordan and I have spent several nights researching places we want to visit when we go to Toronto this spring. This website has been really helpful. Have you been to Toronto? If so, I want to hear your suggestions and tips!
Any travel plans coming up??
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/ / Linking with Meagan and Ashley.
Jordan and I had the pleasure of hosting out-of-town guests over the weekend. They drove down from Canada to attend our friend’s wedding and we were glad they decided to extend their stay. Jordan and Mike toured together in their band days, oh maybe eight years ago, but as couples we hadn’t spent much time with one another.
For the next few days, Jordan and I played the role of tour guide. We brought Mike and Keira all around our little town: including our favorite neighborhoods to take walks through, and of course many of our favorite restaurants. We ordered in Aurelio’s (the original location is local, but there are other locations in the suburbs) one night and chose our go-to, cheese and sausage. Chicago is known for deep dish pizza, but we generally save that for visitors and eat thin crust pizza that is cut into little squares. Jordan is the ice cream king in our house (if we don’t have at least two different kinds available, panic starts to set in), so we had to take them to Dairy Queen. The DQ in town is only open seasonally, so we were happy to get one more Blizzard in before they close up shop for the year.
On Tuesday we spent most of the day in Chicago. Our main objectives were to visit The Lincoln Park Zoo and the beach. Thankfully, the weather was ideal for our plans! Jordan and I visited the LP Zoo earlier in the summer and while we really had a great time, the animals were much more abundant this trip.
We’re looking forward to visiting them in Canada. And I may have already looked at ticket prices 🙂
^ The closest I’ll ever get to a lion, despite my desire as a little girl to have one as a pet. Apparently, I was really influenced by The Chronicles of Narnia and didn’t watch enough Animal Planet to realize how that my dream couldn’t become a reality.
^ This guy was my favorite. In fact, all of the monkey’s in the monkey house were so fun to observe. They generally were hanging out in their family groups.
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