I recently picked up temp work assisting the tour buses for a convention. After close to two years of a covid hiatus it felt both great and a little odd to be walking the halls of McCormick Place, chatting with old coworkers, and grabbing overpriced Starbucks coffee. I helped the driver navigate and review schedule changes. We drove through various parts of Pilsen on a rainy, dreary day. I had a really good conversation with the driver about her emigration here from Cuba as a child, and shared my own experiences moving to the US at the age of 4.
Our last stop was at the National Museum of Mexican Art. It had always been on my list of places check out, so I was very excited! Fortunately, I was able to join the tour, learn about the history, and witness some really great works of art. Our tour guide did a wonderful job of really painting a vivid and personal picture of the artists and different pieces.
perfect days like this one! This is one of the reasons I absolutely love picking up temp work with conventions and trade shows. I thrive on learning new things, meeting people from all over the world, and hearing their stories.
I hope everyone enjoys seeing these works of art as much as I did.
Over the pandemic I got a customer service job that was primarily phone based. There was a great deal of verbal abuse, but what was even harder was the emotional labor aspect of it.
Every day, I spoke with over a dozen people on the phone. A lot of my conversations went well, we talked about some amazing things, laughed and I was able to help them navigate a complex process. These positive conversations were heavily overshadowed by lots of heavy, sad , heartbreaking interactions. Many of these people had battled cancer, other health problems, were recovering from heart failure, and told me about their countless medications, and the death of their family members. Some of them cried, got silent for a moment or openly told me how much they miss their deceased loved ones. Others shared their mental health struggles, and chronic pain. I could hear their heavy sighs and breathing patterns change as emotion filled their body. Listening to their tales, absolutely broke my heart.
It also reflected very strongly on the attitude of that boomer generation. They had a sturdy attitude of “suck it up, work hard, buy a home, and don’t complain” instilled in them and preached it to their offspring and grandchildren.Very few of them waxed on about their jobs and the the value of working hard. Most of them spoke about their hobbies and how much they loved, valued and missed those close to them.
Their stories really made me rethink the importance of my life and to reevaluate my priorities.
Life really is short and hearing their experiences really drove that point home.
This time of COVID isolation hasn’t been the easiest for most of us. In addition to losing access to physical affection, face to face interaction, stability, perhaps our job, and various in-person experiences, it’s brought to the forefront a lot of introspection.
While, like many others, I am feeling the squeeze of loneliness and the discombobulation of missing routines, I also feel a certain sense of peace about some things.
I certainly don’t miss waking up to a phone filled with missed robocalls, and an overflowing inbox. I don’t miss being overwhelmed with a ton of daily calls, messages, emails, and texts. I don’t miss being so harried and running from place to place and feeling like I always have to be ON!
But, there are plenty of things I yearn for and perhaps that speaks volumes about what’s really important to me. I miss cooking with my friends, I miss the coffee baristas at my favorite cafes who’ve memorized my order- small coffee in a medium cup coming right up. I miss hearing people laughing, the different expressions others make when telling their stories. I miss my coworkers from various agencies and their stories and mannerisms. I miss hearing live music performances and seeing the interested faces of the musicians as they’re totally in their own elements, feeling the rhythm deep within and bopping along with the beat. I miss hearing live comedy shows and seeing people act out their stories, and the crowd laughing- or sometimes booing along! I miss my writing class and my art class. I miss intently listening to their various life experiences. I miss running into random strangers and hearing their stories and laughing along with them, or sometimes sharing in their sadness. I miss so much, but I do appreciate the moments of downtime and learning about what’s truly important to me.
I will be using this time to continue doing introspective work and taking stock of what’s really important to me. Here’s to sipping my coffee, and slowing down for a change. How have you been spending your quarantine? What have you learned about
I took this shelter in place order as an opportunity to cook up all the things! I love making food, but unfortunately all too often find myself with a fridge filled with things that have spoiled because I haven’t gotten around to using it all, or being persuaded to eat out instead with my friends.
I grabbed some groceries and got started on my food journey. I started off slicing up an entire pineapple into bite-sized chunks for smoothies and snacking.
Later, I tried my hand at making caramelized onions, since I don’t care for raw ones. They turned out really well and perfectly sweet.
One day, I had a hankering for an upgraded chicken sandwich, so I gathered a yellow onion, mushrooms, coconut lime seasoning, sliced swiss cheese, a bolillo roll, and chicken breast. I caramelized my onions in the slow cooker with some sunflower oil early on in the day. Then, I pan-fried the mushrooms with garlic and salt and mixed them with the oily deliciousness of perfectly sweet onions.
Then, I sliced up some chicken, seasoned it with coconut lime powder and cooked it to perfection. I sliced a bolillo roll, added swiss cheese and then melted the cheese with the chicken and veggie mix.
It was amazing! Mmm! Here’s to cooking more delights until the shelter in place order wraps up. Stay safe, everone!
I’m back after a long absence and come baring food pics for your enjoyment! I recently went on a trip to New York to visit my parents, celebrate my recently passed birthday (yay for summer birthdays!) and have a great time!
I started my trip off by filling up on coffee and delightful delicacies from Porto Rico Coffee and Sahadi’s. As we all know, I am absolutely obsessed with coffee! Most of my trips typically involve making stops for gourmet goodies, and this one was no different.
A few days into my trip, I visited Industry City with my parents and tried various treats from the different restaurants. The first stop was at Avocaderia, where I got avocado toast because it’s amazing and also, I’m a typical millennial, haha! The pepper added just the right amount of spice 🙂
My parents decided that taking normal pictures was simply not happing today 😛
My last day, I was in the mood for good food and history and decided to check out Fraunces Tavern. This historical establishment was the meeting place of George Washington, before and during and after the Revolution, and is said to be Manhatten’s oldest building. This building houses a museum with various art and artifacts from this time period. They also have a fun photo booth, for a slightly modern twist on things!
After I was done exploring the rich history and checking out interesting things, I went downstairs to discover the beer and food. History is much better when you can eat it! I made it just in time for happy hour, and ordered some meatballs in tomato sauce and topped with melted cheese, and red mashed potatoes and a happy hour beer. It was very tasty and quite filling.
I can’t wait to come back here next time and try more food. It was the perfect ending to a week well spent!
Checking out the fixed price lunch at Kendall College.
I had been meaning to check out the Kendall College Dining Room’s fixed price lunch for a few years now and finally did so, last week. Their three-course meal is $18 or $22 with a glass of house wine. My friend, Mark joined me on this particular culinary excursion.
The dining room had quite the display of historic dishware, bakeware and other food preparation related things. We were seated right next to the kitchen so we had a direct, clear view of our food being prepared. There was a great window view as well.
We started off with bread and honey butter, which made me so unbelievably happy! I have a certain soft spot for honey butter! It reminded me of the butter from Honey Butter Fried Chicken.
I enjoyed delicious Metropolis coffee with the bread and butter, because, how could you not combine these things? Haha!
I started my meal off with the pea and mushroom risotto, which was simple and packed with flavor. I really like combos that include a few well-balanced ingredients so I can really taste everything clearly.
Mark got the radish salad as his starter. I ordered the pork chops as my entree and Mark ordered the salmon over lentils.
We both finished up our meal with the vanilla creme Brulee, which was really good and not too sweet.
Normally the three of us plan everything to a tee, sharing recipes, getting groceries together, and discussing things in great detail.
Sometimes life gets crazy and you still want to connect, but don’t feel like cooking up all the things. This calls for hitting up the deli section of your independent grocery store and creating a spread of alllll the appetizers. If you’ve never tried this, you should.
The three of us hit up Morse Market to grab the goods. They have an extensive variety of food. The freshly made salads and bulk section are my favorite. Their chocolate covered cranberries are great.
Grabbed chicken, potatoes, various types of salads and delightful desserts. We had yogurt salad, tofu salad, sea food salad and more. The curried tofu salad is my absolute favorite.
Earlier this week I stopped by Serendipity Labs for a PickWick Coffee pourover demo and tasting. Ah coffee, education and coworking spaces- 3 things I like in 1 place 🙂
Jenny and Justin did an amazing job describing the cafe, educating everyone about coffee and pouring delicious samples.
PickWick has 2 locations, 1 in West Town and another in a tiny, magical, tucked away spot downtown. They serve super high quality coffee to the Chicago community and take that task very seriously. The cafe focuses on single origin coffee. Freshness is a top priority for them. They roast the coffee according to what it offers. Justin stressed that time, temperature and air are crucial factors for getting an amazing coffee.
Their Rwanda blend is bright and acidic.
The Guatemala blend is floral and sweet.
They also brought freshly baked croissants.
I don’t think it gets any better than this 🙂 Can’t wait to come back to the cafe!
I’d been yearning to go on a little day trip to Milwaukee for some time now. It’s pretty close to Chicago and has a lot of cool things to explore. So one rainy day in March, I drove down with my boyfriend to hit up a few cool spots.
Oh man, where do I even start? We got to the brewery an hour before our tour and ordered some brunch. I got the german hash, which had hashbrown, sausage and other amazing things. One of the best brunch items I’ve ever eaten!
After we finished eating, we ventured inside for the brewery tour.
The tour guide, was very knowledgable and sassy. What a great combo 🙂 Lakefront Brewery is the 1st place to make the Pilsner Wisconsin is famous for. It was founded in 1987 and was the first in the USA to bottle fruit beer after prohibition was repealed. The current building was once an old coal fired power plant that was supposed to be torn down.
I love tea and volunteering for awesome causes. Combining these two things is just awesome. A little while back I was intrigued when I saw a Facebook boosted post about a Tiesta Tea event focusing on passing out goods, including tea of course to those less fortunate. I was all about that!
We all gathered up and awaited our assignments. Everyone was divided into groups with 1 driver for each team. Tiesta succeeded in receiving several coat donations and warmth kits which included snacks, toiletries and more.
We visited a number of shelters and helped distribute snacks, hot tea and kindness.
Oh did I mention, we had a few celebrity appearances? Dee Brown volunteered right along with us.
Afterwards we all went back to the Tiesta Teas office to relax with food, beverages and of course, tea! I’m really more of a whiskey girl, so I paired my whiskey with tea. Mmmm deliciousness.
Great job guys in rounding up a good group and helping out those less fortunate. Till next year ❤