Hello Joyflakes!

It appears that the blogging bug has bitten me again because I can't stop thinking about new posts. I feel like this happens every year around the holidays but hopefully this time I can keep the ideas coming through a full year.

Today dawned dreary and cold with a wind that whips through any amount of clothes so I suppose that winter is finally starting to show its face in the midwest. We've had a lovely fall but I have to say, I'm pretty excited that the weather is finally starting to feel like it matches up with the date on my calendar. It makes it much easier to get into the holiday spirit. Don't you think?

The chilly weather also means that it's once again acceptable to spend every waking moment snuggled up in blankets and sweatpants with hot cups of tea and good books and shows. My favorite! My SO and I got back from our thanksgiving trip to visit both of our families late last night and barely got our things unpacked and put away before collapsing into bed with The Crown. We've become slightly obsessed with it recently and I can't wait to get home and watch another ep tonight.

Winter's coming also marks the fact that my first semester back in school full time is drawing to a close. I am proud to report that I'm on track to receive my best set of grades ever (literally since kindergarten) and will be graduating in the Spring. I honestly thought that I may never get here so I'm very much feeling on top of the world. That said, I've got a few more things to tie up before the close of classes and I've got a couple things left to do for my graduate school applications so I can't rest yet. As my sister-in-law always says, "It's time to kick it to the finish!"

I've got some new things coming at you over my school break so keep your eyes peeled for that!


P.S. My next post is my 100th! How should we celebrate?!

Hometown Living

Hello Joyflakes!

Long time no chat. I've been massively busy with classes and grad school applications and as always, this little blog has taken a back seat. But, I've had this post sitting in my drafts for a while and I feel like it's finally time I finish it up.

When I was 3 years old, my mom got a job at the University of Iowa as an education professor and we packed up our minivan and moved across the country from Tucson, AZ to Iowa City, IA. With the exception of 6 months in 5th grade, and my 3 years in Ames, I've been in Iowa City ever since. It's a great town full of amazingly brilliant people and a surprising amount of things to do each weekend. There's a ped mall full of shops and restaurants and shops and with each change of season, the city changes too. In the summer, it's full of laughing children and street festivals. In the fall, it's football and college students celebrating their newfound freedom. Winter brings a blanket of white snow, fairy lights, and sweaters on the trees. And each spring, you can practically feel the promise of bright futures as students celebrate graduation.

But as much as I love this little city, I'm often reminded of the fact that I've been her for over 20 years.  I walk past my mom's old office on my way to work and class every day. I know exactly where to drive or walk when so that I don't have to awkwardly not make eye contact with the "spare change" rasta or deal with students jumping in front me as they rush from building to building. I know where to park for free no matter what time of day it is. I know when to avoid the ped mall and when the people watching is the best. I recognize store owners and I know which servers and bartenders will give me honest opinions about dinner and drink specials. Long story short, I know this city like the back of my hand.

There are definite pro's and con's to spending your 20s in your home town, and as I finish my grad school applications and plan out the next steps in my life, I'm struggling with the idea that I may end up staying in Iowa City for the foreseeable future. It wouldn't be a bad thing. I'm comfortable and safe in's where I know I will always be welcomed. The grad program I am applying to is wonderful and I know that it would be a great fit for me. But, there are definitely times when I think that my head will explode if I spend any more time seeing the same buildings and faces day after day after day.

My decision for grad school will have a lot to do where I get in and the cost of the program. But I'd be lying if I didn't say that location will play a pretty solid factor too. I guess I just don't know how much I should be worried about where the program is. What do you think? How much should location play into my decision?


For Goodness Crêpes! Louisville, KY

Happy Hump Day Crêpe Day Joyflakes!

When I was a student at Iowa State University in Ames, IA, my friend Emily and I had a tradition of going out for crêpes every Wednesday afternoon or evening at a place called Stomping Grounds where I worked. Stomping Grounds is a french inspired café and coffee shop in campus town and they have some of the best food in Ames. It's simple, the portion sizes and prices aren't outrageous, and its the kind of place  you can go on a date, to study in your yoga pants, or to start a night out with friends with a glass of wine or a beer. In short, it's one of my favorite places.

But since leaving Ames, I haven't had the opportunity to go out for crêpes. So, since my mom and I are planning a trip to France after I graduate, we thought my visit to Louisville was the perfect time to try out one of the crêperies in town.

Enter, For Goodness Crêpes, a funky little place located on Baxter and with a menu that can suit any mood you're in.

The restaurant is pretty small with only about 25 seats, but they pack a lot of flavor into each crêpe on the menu. I opted for a sweet, lemon and berry crêpe called "Quite the D'Lemon" while my mom opted for a breakfast crêpe stuffed with eggs, bacon, cheddar cheese, tomatoes and basil mayo called the "Jiggy Piggy". Both were FANTASTIC.

It's a good thing that I don't live here, because you can bet your butt I would be at For Goodness Crêpes a lot and both my wallet and my waistline would be in BIG trouble. Needless to say, on my next trip to Louisville, we will be making a stop for some crêpe goodness.


The Farmers Market: Louisville, KY

Happy Wednesday Joyflakes!

I love the farmers market. It's by far one of the best parts of summer. At home in Iowa City, we have two farmers markets a week and it's a great place to kill some time, eat some delicious food, and stock up on the amazing fresh summer produce. But since I'm currently in Kentucky visiting my parents (although  by the time you read this I supposed I'll be in Wisconsin), I got to experience another farmers market in Louisville.

We went in with a mission to have a great breakfast, and to buy a bushel of corn to put up for the coming months when fresh produce isn't so readily available.

Breakfast consisted of breakfast burrito bowls for my parents and a delicious breakfast sandwich on a fresh pretzel bun for me. We sat at picnic tables and talked about all of our plans for my visit. The list included lots of food to eat and lots of shopping. My kind of vacation!

After scarfing down our breakfasts, we headed into the stalls to buy peaches, tomatoes, berries, and of course, corn.

Don't you love all of the colors!? The peaches were SPECTACULAR! Perfectly ripe and juicy without being smooshy. yum.

One of my favorite parts of farmers markets is the fresh flowers. While I rarely feel like I have enough of a budget to stock my house with fresh flowers at the moment, I can't help but admire them. Especially when there are sunflowers (my favorite flower) in abundance!

Corn in hand, mission accomplished, we headed home to put up our 60 ears (and eat a few too!) but more on that later.

What do you love about the farmers market?


Bucks Chicken & Biscuits Chicago

Good morning Joyflakes!

One of the best things about Misha's family living in Chicago is that we get to eat at new places almost every time we go to visit them. On our recent trip to celebrate Chicago Pride, we got in touch with my southern side at Bucks Chicken & Biscuits.

Bucks is located on Division in Wicker Park and it is a perfect little oasis of southern hospitality in the bustling big city. We chose to sit out on the patio and soak up the summer evening along with our delicious food and my favorite, Cheerwine!

The fried chicken is delicious and the biscuits come with a pot of honey so you can drizzle to your hearts content. I however, opted for the head on shrimp and grits which were pretty dang good, I couldn't wait to dig in and managed to totally space on taking a picture.

No dinner at bucks is complete without a little dessert and in my opinion even if it's not Cookout, you can't go wrong with a Cheerwine float.

If you ever find yourself in Wicker Park, make the time to stop at Bucks. It is definitely a place I would like to go back to again and again. What are your favorite Chicago eateries?! Where should I try next?