Category Archives: Friends

Bachelorette Party Weekend in Austin

Sunday night and Monday were extra rough this week!  But the exhaustion was worth it because I spent this past weekend with 14 amazing women in Austin, Texas celebrating my friend Monica!

Monica Bach 1

I arrived in Austin on Thursday afternoon after some travel delays (I hate flying!).  When I got to the condo, the Thursday crew was just getting back from exploring the city.  We hung out for a little bit and then started getting ready for happy hour at Benji’s Cantina.

Of course, we started off with “a few” drinks and then moved on to dinner…tacos!

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After dinner, we headed to Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar.  So much fun!  We had front row seats and spent a couple of hours singing along to all kinds of songs!  In my opinion, Pete’s is a must visit Austin bar.

We also spent a couple of hours bar hopping on 6th street.  For those that have visited Austin before, you know how fun (and interesting) 6th street can be!

Believe it or not, I started Friday with a 3 mile run.  Kim and Laura, Monica’s law school friends, are training for a half marathon, and when I heard they were bringing their sneakers, I made sure to pack mine as well.  Great decision!

After showering and getting ready, the group headed out for lunch at Torchy’s Tacos!  We ate here twice the last time I was in Austin, so I knew the girls would love this place.  Proof that this place is SO GOOD – Monica said she’ll be adding Torchy’s to her “best things I’ve eaten” list!

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Our post lunch plans included a shooting range (again, the same one I visited the last time I was in Austin).  Most of the girls were pretty nervous (who can blame them), but once they got in there and were successfully able to shoot the gun, all traces of nervousness disappeared!  I was one of four girls who decided not to shoot, but I still had fun seeing everyone else enjoy themselves!

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We broke out our matching t-shirts on Friday night.  Personally, this is one of my favorite parts of bachelorette parties.  It’s so fun to go out and see the bride get showered with attention because of her matching entourage!

Monica Bach 2

We had dinner at Licha’s Cantina (another must visit restaurant) where most of us indulged in a couple of watermelon jalapeno margaritas and some very unique and delicious Mexican dishes.  YUM!

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Our post dinner plans included visiting bars, dancing the night away, and riding a mechanical bull!  Good times were had by all!

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One by one, people woke up on Saturday morning and congregated in one of the bedrooms.  This was also one of my favorite parts of the weekends – talking and laughing with all the girls!

After getting ready, we opened some gifts (!) and then headed out to lunch.  I can’t remember the name of the taco truck but it was really tasty and authentic (from what I could tell).

Monica Bach 11

And what trip to Austin would be complete without trying Amy’s Ice Cream!  You guys, this was some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had – so creamy, so rich, so yummy!  Our bride-to-be LOVED it as well!

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After stuffing ourselves silly, we made our way to a blow out bar to get our hair done.  I decided to go the braid route!  In retrospect, it was an interesting look…will definitely stick to a regular blow out the next time around!  Everyone’s hair looked great, and we were halfway ready for our “class” night out.

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Since we wanted to spend time playing a few games before going out, we opted for dinner in (Thai food!).  After a couple hours of playing and talking, all 14 of us headed out to the Container Bar on Rainey Street, where we spent the rest of our night!  We may have also ended up at a Karaoke place and Taco Cabana (for a late night Mexican fix!).

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Roshni and I woke up nice and early on Sunday morning (in a state of pure exhaustion!) to head to the airport.  We (ok, I) miscalculated how long it would take us to get there, so we had a couple of hours to spare.  We met up with our friends who were departing on a slightly earlier flight and then spent the rest of our time talking before it was time to board.

It’s hard to believe that Monica’s bachelorette party is already over!  Only 40 more days or so until her wedding!!  I think it’s safe to say that everyone had an absolute blast in Austin eating, laughing, talking, and creating hundreds of amazing memories!

Day In the Life – Chicago

Our day-to-day life in Chicago is obviously different than what it is in Miami.  Some of the elements (like work) are still there, but the logistics of how we operate are just different.

Since I’ve already shared a weekend update, I thought it would be fun to share a little peak into our “Chicago life” and the things we do on a regular weekday.

This was our day yesterday…

My alarm goes off at 5:30 am, but I reset it for 6:15 am.  I could not peel myself out of bed to go to the gym.  I figured all the walking I do has to count for something!  After I get up and shower, Vishnu gets up and does the same.  We talk as we iron our clothes and prepare for our day.

After we are both ready, we head into the kitchen to eat breakfast.  Samir, who also leaves for work around 7:30, is also doing the same (we’re staying with Roshni and Samir right now!).  After eating toast/cereal, the three of us chat and head out the door.

Vishnu and I walk about 1/2 mile together to the train station.  We chat about life and living in the now.  I love our deep conversations!  When we get to the station, Vishnu takes the train heading north while I head south.

Luckily, the train ride is less than 10 minutes, and the walk to the office is only 5 minutes.  Easy peasy!  I’m at the office by 8:00 am.

Day in the life Chicago 1
Because of the way the Chicago office is set up, I have my own office (with a door).  It’s actually really nice because I sit in the same area as three of my colleagues.  This is such a welcome change since in Miami I only have one other person from my team (who has actually been out of the office for a few months now).

On this particular day, Erin and I head down to Dunkin to grab some coffee when she gets in to the office.

Day in the life Chicago 2
Iced caramel coconut coffee with milk is the way to go!

Then comes a few hours of meetings and work.

Erin, Thea and I break for lunch around 12 and head to Bombay Wraps.  YUM!

Day in the life Chicago 3
Paneer wrap with lentil soup on the side!

After lunch, I have a some emails to respond to and a few tasks to cross off my to do list.

I leave the office around 5:15 pm and make it to Roshni’s place by 5:40 pm.

After talking to Vishnu for a few minutes, Roshni and I head out to Michigan Avenue to find a pair of comfortable flats for me.

Success!

Day in the life Chicago 4
These simple flats are some of most comfortable shoes I’ve ever tried on!  Totally worth the investment!

After stopping at Trader Joe’s to pick up a few items for dinner, we head home.

Salads and pasta are on the menu!

Day in the life Chicago 5
The four of us eat dinner and watch TV together.  After cleaning up, I quickly write up this blog post, chat with the gang for a bit, and head to bed!

While it’s so much fun being in a new city, I do miss my Miami routine.  Thank goodness we have great friends who make us feel right at home!

Well, that’s pretty much our day-to-day routine right now.  I head to London on Saturday night for a week, so I’ll have a whole new routine during that time.  Being adaptable and agile are so my thing now!

What does your daily routine look like?  Does it vary by the day or is it pretty consistent?

FFF: Fantasy Football Friday

Every year around this time, Vishnu turns into this crazy guy who only talks about football.  Fantasy football.

Quarterback this, tight end that, points this, playoff that.

Honestly, I never really cared about all the hype.  It actually annoyed me that football ruled our lives.

Football Fantasy 2

Until this year that is.

This year a group of eight girls in Chicago decided to find out what all the hype is about.  They wanted to know why their husbands/fiances/boyfriends spend hours agonizing over something called a draft.  They wanted to understand why someone would “throw away” hundreds of dollars in multiple fantasy leagues.  They wanted to understand why the crazy smack talk was even necessary.

And so the girls set up their own fantasy football league (with the help of my awesome colleague Thea!).  They picked a date and time to conduct their draft.  They created a draft order.  They came up with fun names for their teams (i.e. Par’s a Playa, Show Me Your TDs, Anksta’s Gangstas, The Plastics).  They even have a “no involvement from your significant other” rule.

And then they drafted their teams.

Sure some of them may have picked players based on how strong they looked or by how cool their names are or if their names sounded vaguely familiar.  But let’s be honest, most picked top ranked players because that’s what the system told them.

And of course, the night of their draft Yahoo was acting up and randomly kicking people off.

But these eight girls persevered.  Even though none of them had ever participated in anything like this before, they persevered.

Fantasy Football
This year’s goal!

And now…let the games begin!

RPM and Siena Tavern

Needless to say, my first couple of days in Chicago have been nothing short of fun. Not only was I reunited with Vishnu after three weeks of living apart, but I also got to try two amazing Chicago restaurants!

RPM

My friend Ankita made a reservation for me and Vishnu at RPM for Monday night– our first date in three weeks (I am so dramatic)! This was my second time dining at RPM and Vishnu’s first.

Let’s just say this was the perfect way to kick off my month in Chicago! As we walked in, I couldn’t help but notice the chic décor – beautiful chandeliers, soft curtains – so romantic!

After being seated, we spent a few minutes deciding what to order. In the end, we decided to share a few different things.

We started out with two cocktails. I ordered a strawberry spritzer type of drink and Vishnu got a ginger blueberry drink – summer in a glass. When our waitress told us about the appetizer special, we knew that was what we had to have. I’ll describe it as best I can – mozzarella, ricotta, mascarpone, basil and tomato stuffed baby squash tempura battered and lightly fried. Essentially mozzarella sticks taken to the next level! For our entrees we ordered two dishes – eggplant parmesan (SO cheesy, so good!) and this seasonal corn pasta (little ‘purses’ stuffed with roasted corn, ricotta, and mascarpone in a light butter sauce). And the grand finale was light, fluffy donuts coated in cinnamon sugar served with two dipping sauces – Nutella and whipped mascarpone.

Warning – [crappy] iPhone pics ahead!

RPM

RPM 2

RPM 3

The food was just as delicious as I remembered! And every dish that passed by our table looked so good!

During dinner, Vishnu and I talked non-stop, catching each other up on life and planning other fun things to do in the city. I missed my man so much!

Siena Tavern

On Tuesday night, we went to Sierra Tavern, except this time it was a group date! Jayesh, Ankita, Samir, Roshni, Vishnu, and I spent the evening stuffing our faces eating and talking…and laughing.  Oh the laughing!

Siena Tavern
No pics of food – just three lovely ladies!

This restaurant also has a very special, laid back vibe. The décor is unique and welcoming – perfect for a big group of people. And our server was very accommodating and offered lots of recommendations.

We were promptly seated. Then began the deliberations about what to order. We decided to order a few different things and share, which was the perfect plan because I got to try a little bit of everything!

We started with beers for the guys and sangria and wine for the girls. Food wise we ordered mushroom truffle pizza, shaved Brussels sprouts salad with almonds and some kind of cheese, potato gnocci in a cream sauce, and tagliatelle with mushrooms in a truffle sauce. Jayesh and Vishnu ordered a couple of meat dishes that they also loved! And of course, we had to order dessert – donuts! The difference between these donuts and the ones at RPM is that they were bigger and came with three sauces that you ‘infuse’ into the donut. Delicious and cool!

There is a reason why everyone was so hyped to eat here. The food is out of this world!

To all my fellow foodies, please make an effort to visit both of these restaurants the next time you are in Chicago. I promise you won’t regret it!

Have a great Wednesday!

Girl’ Weekend in Miami Done Right

This past girls’ weekend was too much fun! Like I mentioned in my last post, Purvi and I hadn’t spent much quality time together since our weddings over two years ago. But we changed that by trying different restaurants, exploring different neighborhoods, and relaxing, all while catching up on life.

Quick side story (that is still relevant) – while chit chatting Thursday night, we realized that it’s been five years (to the weekend) since Purvi and I moved in together my last year of grad school. We decided to dedicate the weekend to celebrating that!

We kicked off Purvi’s arrival with dinner and drinks at Balan’s. The food is pretty good, but what I really love about this restaurant is the location. It’s smack dab in the middle of a very busy and fun area. It also doesn’t hurt that the truffle mac n’ cheese is out of this world delicious!

Balans

While we didn’t make it to the beach this time around, we did get to spend a few hours by the pool one of the days. I can’t remember the last time I relaxed by a pool. We spent our time reading (I got Purvi hooked on Gone Girl!), talking, and swimming. It honestly felt like we were on vacation on some faraway island!

Pool day

One of the places I definitely wanted to take Purvi to was Andiamo. After trying their pizza with Vishnu, I am determined to take all of our visitors there – it’s that good! We enjoyed a half eggplant and tomato/half rosemary potato with gorgonzola pizza. Again, not only is the food worth your while, but the ambiance and the service are great as well.

Andiamo Pizza

And of course we spent an entire afternoon ducking in and out of stores on Lincoln Mall Road. While neither of us bought anything, we did build up quite an appetite and decided to eat lunch at Huahua’s Taqueria. This was actually a new-to-me restaurant, and I’m so glad we decided to check it out. The menu is full of fresh Tex-Mex type items, but the main highlight are the tacos. Purvi and I decided to get two tacos each with a side of queso to share. One of my tacos was stuffed with a spicy veggie mixture and tofu crema, while the other one had fried avocado. I will definitely be back!

HuaHua Taqueria

Purvi, like me, loves to run. In fact, she just started training for her 2nd marathon! I couldn’t let her leave without experiencing my favorite running route, so on Saturday evening, we went for a 4.5 mile run. Running with Purvi made me realize how much I love having a running partner. The time seriously flew by. Maybe I can convince Vishnu to run with me again!

Something else Purvi and I have in common is our love for dancing, so on Saturday night we met up with our friend Khusbu and her coworkers for a girls’ night out. We started with dinner at Dolores But You Can Call Me Lolita and then went to a lounge to dance the night away. Good times were had by all!

Lolita

We slept in a little on Sunday and then just hung out around the apartment for a few hours before showering and heading out to Coconut Groove. I knew Purvi would love this neighborhood and its cute little restaurants and shops. After walking around a bit, we decided to eat a late lunch/early dinner at Lokal. The veggie burgers we ordered were super hearty and tasty, but the fries stole the show – perfectly seasoned and surprisingly not too greasy. I told Vishnu that we have to go back soon, as it is definitely his kind of restaurant – great food, a huge selection of beers, and a fun quirky vibe.

After dropping Purvi off at the airport, I went for a short walk and then proceed to fall asleep at 9:45. I was wiped!

Anyways, here’s to a fun girls’ weekend with a great friend! I can’t wait to do it again soon.

What would your ultimate girls/guys weekend include?