It's funny, the places life takes us. At this time last year, I was hitting my stride as a self-proclaimed food blogger. My BFF and foodie P-I-C (partner in crime), Dish, and I got into the (fattening?) habit of trying new restaurants at least once a week, attended some of the greatest food and wine events in the city, and, really, brought GirlThatEats to life. As the Winter transitioned into the Spring, GirlThatEats transitioned from being a casual hobby to a second job of sorts.
By the time Spring transitioned into Summer, GirlThatEats had become a full time gig. I spent just as much time cruising Chicago's restaurant scene and writing about my incredible experiences as I did working the job that allowed me to afford going out nearly every night (lightly peppered with trips to the gym). During the warmer months, the city, and most certainly it's restaurants, came to life. New establishments were popping up faster than Opentable would let me make a reservation and my already long list of places to try grew faster than my fingers could type.
As Summer transitioned into Fall, my GirlThatEats endeavors fell second to some pretty significant changes in my personal life. First, Dish left me for the sunny AZ desert. Losing one of my best friends AND favorite culinary co-conspirator was a double whammy that left a pretty devastating gap in my social schedule. And though I was able to share my dining experiences with many of my awesome friends & family members, their lives just didn't revolve around eating like mine (or Dish's) did. Around that same time, I decided it was time to leave my long-time job to pursue new career opportunities. Though it was absolutely the right move for me, adjusting to the shift took a lot out of me, and I suffered some pretty severe writer's block.
I decided mid-September to bask in the wonderfulness of my favorite season, decided to sip some apple cider and crunch some leaves under my feet. I decided to take a deep breath and to refocus my life. I also decided that I had been without Dish for way too long, so I convinced her to fly home for the annual Meals on Wheels Celebrity Chef Ball.
Something other-worldly happened to me the weekend she visited. I don't know if it was just having her back in town. I don't know if it was the energy and excitement of the foodie & friends weekend we had planned. I DO know that three short hours after she landed on Friday, October 16, we were dressed to dazzle and ready to dine as we giddily checked in at the Ball, and, for the first time in a long time, I finally felt the same electricity I felt when I attended the same event one year before, back when I was just an aspiring food blogger. It was an electricity I hadn't felt in months and the strenght of its current nearly stopped my heart.
As I hopped from table to table trying delicious dishes and as I mingled with some of my favorite Chefs in the city, I realized that I really, really missed writing about food. I missed the connectedness I had with something I'm so passionate about. I missed being my own version of an adventurer (because anyone who knows me know my idea of an adventure is wearing #4 sunblock instead of #8 while lying on a beach somewhere after a long, brutal Chicago winter).
After Dish left (and after hitting about 7 restaurants in 3 days), I knew it was time to make writing a top priority in my life again. By the time November rolled around, I was back in the habit of visiting new restaurants once a week and documenting my experiences (I promise, those blogs are soon to come!). I met with some awesome editors of a local publication who, get this, actually asked me to write for them! I made it my early New Year's resolution that I was going to commit 150% to making this particular dream a reality, even if I had to do it alone. Nothing could've made me happier than that.
And just then, Fate (and Facebook) tossed me a pretty incredible curve ball. A childhood friend that I had reconnected with(okay, he stalked me out, but that's besides the point) nearly a year before- someone whom I barely knew but knew so well, a person with whom I had been sharing my passion for food with for months- agreed to join me for one of my first "blog" meals in over 6 months. Playfully and fondly dubbed my favorite "new/old", I was excited to finally have someone to share my culinary adventures with, even if only for one night. Cause let's face it, there was a good chance he was going to witness my eating habits and be too grossed out to ever want to dine with me again. Surprisingly, quite the opposite happened. We shared an incredibly delicious meal (I promise, the blog is COMING SOON!) during which he bravely tried some dishes I think were well out of his comfort zone. More than that, though, we shared some pretty amazing conversation and the kind of laughs that made my stomach hurt (or maybe that was all the food?). In fact, he was such an awesome foodie P-I-C (even as a first timer), I let him talk to me about his passion...soccer (I know, I'm nice. What can I say?).
As we freeze our way into February and as Winter transitions into Spring (well, so I hope, anyway), the resolutions I made last Fall are finally coming to fruition. I'm a few weeks out from my first published article, my calendar is booked with lots of reservations for new restaurants to try, GirlThatEats FB & Twitter updates are way more frequent, and the blog is officially back. And, though Dish's place in my (foodie) heart will remain steadfast, I couldn't be more excited to kick off phase two of my GirlThatEats adventures with my favorite "new/old" (and my mom, and my girls, and Wed Night Date Night with Josh, of course). It feels good to be back in the game.
It's funny, the places life takes us.