• Travel

    Our Vietnam Itinerary

    Last week I got home from a whirlwind trip to South East Asia with my friend, Anna. We spent 8 days in Vietnam and then headed to Singapore, where Anna lives, for another 4 days. The whole trip was incredible and was totally the change in perspective I’ve needed after a long bought of anxiety and depression. I shared some snapshots of the trip on Instagram, but I wanted to go a little more in-depth about what we did and what I recommend here on the blog. We basically created our whole itinerary based on a series of recommendations so I thought I’d pay it forward to anyone else looking…

  • View of Chicago's The Bean and Lake Michigan
    Travel

    21 Free or Cheap Things to Do in Chicago This Summer

    Since I’ve been job searching this summer, I’ve been watching my pennies a little more carefully than normal. Luckily, that doesn’t mean I miss out on all the fun, either. I’ve been doing a lot of research lately on free and cheap things to do in the city that actually sound legitimately fun, so I thought I’d share with you guys in case you’re looking for something to do! Check it out and let me know if there’s anything missing that’s on your list! Art & Culture Concerts in Millennium Park: Various Dates, FREE. Chicago SummerDance (Dance Lessons and Music): Every Wed – Sunday in Grant Park, FREE. Art Institute…

  • Travel

    The Official Toast Guide to Madison, Wisconsin

    Best Brunch Heritage Tavern – My go to for a proper brunch. They have a variety of Benedict’s, breakfast cocktails, and really good sides so there’s something for everyone. Where I take my parents and out-of-towners when they come to visit. Get the Heritage Tavern Benedict, the Lobster Scramble, and the ham cinnamon roll. Short Stack Eatery – For a hangover cure or breakfast for dinner. They have all the classics and some fun features like a ‘blind special’ and some pretty insane hours. If you’re looking for a fun and simple brunch place in the morning or the middle of the night, this is it. Get there early, though,…

  • Travel

    San Francisco Recap + Why I’m Taking More Friends’ Trips

    In the midst of all of the craziness of moving and coming back to Chicago, I treated myself to a little vacation time. I spent a long weekend in San Francisco with some of my oldest friends, Haley and Megan, and we did a whole lot of eating, drinking, touristing, and sitting around watching choreography YouTube videos. It was awesome. Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to travel quite a bit, but I’ve done most of it with either my family or significant others. Ever since planning this trip to SF, though, my friends and I have been asking ourselves more and more: why don’t we travel with each…

  • Travel

    My Trip to Japan: Nara and Tokyo

    As much as I want to keep living vicariously through my photos of Japan, this is my last post! This was honestly the trip of a lifetime and it has been such a joy going back through my pictures and reading my journals from it. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned, but I was actually really nervous to go on this trip – this was the furthest I’d ever travelled on my own, my first trip to Asia, and only the second time I’d travelled alone in a country where I didn’t speak the language. But I knew it would be such an incredible experience and I was ecstatic to…

  • Travel

    A Few Snapshots from Colorado

    Last week I was in Denver for work and got to tack on a weekend in Boulder to visit my dad and stepmom. I don’t travel a lot for work (unlike a lot of people) so it’s nice to be able to make an event of it when I do. My parents have been living half the time in Chicagoland and half the time in Boulder for a while now and are planning on setting up shop full time out there soon so they were happy to show me around. They know the good hiking spots and fun bars and it was such a treat to relax after a week…

  • Kyoto Garden Japan
    Travel

    My Trip to Japan: Heian Shrine + Kyoto

    Day Four – Kyoto, Heian Shrine, and Teramachi Street My first full day with Betsy started out with a serious hangover and an incredible lunch. After a night of drinking a boat load of mugi the night before – a potent Japanese liquor – and still being very jet lagged, I was not in great shape. But we dragged our asses off our mats and went to grab yakiniku with Betsy’s friends from the night before. They seem somehow unfazed by the entire ordeal or maybe I just couldn’t tell in the flurry of Japanese. Hangover or not, though, yakiniku was by far the best thing I ate in Japan,…

  • Japan Fushimi Inari Shrine Toro Gates
    Travel

    My Trip to Japan: Fushimi Inari Shrine

    About 2 weeks ago, I went over to visit my best friend from college, Betsy, who has been living and teaching English in Japan for over 3 years. We were inseparable in college (we sometimes got mistaken for a couple) and I hadn’t seen her since she graduated from Bryn Mawr in 2014. She had plans to come visit me in Dublin last summer, but her flight literally got cancelled while she was on the plane. It was tragic, there was lots of crying on both ends, I almost rented a puppy in my grief. But a year later, we finally got it together, prayed for no flight cancellations, and were reunited. Once again,…

  • Travel

    Biddies Abroad: Emily Schumacher in France

    Hey there! This is the first of a series I’m doing here on TOAST called Biddies Abroad. After having my own experience living abroad, I’ve become really curious about the lives of other young women who are spending time outside of their home country. So, I decided to ask! Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing stories of some majorly amazing women and the challenges, joy, and growth that came with living abroad. Up first, we have my lifelong friend, Emily Schumacher, who has spent the past year living and working in France as an English Teaching Assistant. We talk about letting go, living in a second language, and how…

  • Travel

    Winter on Lake Monona

    With all this beautiful weather we’ve been having, I had to get outside so I took a long glorious walk down by Lake Monona last weekend. I feel so lucky to live right on the isthmus (the best geographic term, right?) and to be so close to both of Madison’s gorgeous lakes. Winter has been a tough time to move to a new city – everyone is in hibernation and there’s not so much going on – but this little thaw we’ve had has gotten me so excited for Spring. After being away from the Midwest for so long I’ve forgotten how much the cities come alive with the weather! I…