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    Here’s How I Survive Living in a City

    kiersten hickman in new york with modern picnic luncher how to survive living in a city

    I’ve been in New York City for three years now, but if you were to count the years I lived in Chicago, I’ve been a city slicker for almost eight years come September. That’s a lot of years to be away from a small beach town, which is the absolute polar opposite of living in a bustling city full of millions of people. 

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    My Favorite Places to Go in Austin, Texas

    I think by now you’ve probably figured out that my husband and I are pretty frugal. We keep our spending on the slimmer side and try to stay smart about our savings. So, when we take any type of trip, it really feels like a treat. And traveling to Austin, Texas for my birthday certainly did not disappoint.

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    What to Do for One Day in Philadelphia, PA

    Getting the opportunity to go on a trip with Oliver is very rare. Finding the right time and having enough money tends to always be an issue. It’s been wonderful to vacation with our families, but a little getaway the two of us? That hasn’t happened since our honeymoon. So I was over the moon when Oliver suggested seeing an opera in Philadelphia.

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    How I Try To Find Peace & Quiet In A Busy Place Like NYC

    I finally felt like I got a grip on things. I was on top of my game at work, Oliver & I were in a good routine of working out and budgeting our food, and I was making new friends and enjoying the city for what felt like the first time since moving here. Yes, it sure felt like I was finally settling the score with New York City…until one day at work when one of my favorite sandals magically broke.

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    One Year of Coffee Shops in Chicago: CTA ‘L’ Coffee Map

    When Oliver & I first started dating, we immediately bonded over coffee. It was in the very beginning, probably week two or something, when we went to our first coffee shop together. Although I would love to say it was a hidden gem, it was actually the Starbucks close to DePaul’s downtown campus.

    We both had class downtown that day, so we met for a quick cup of coffee before I was off to my night class. It was there that we devised our plan to hit a new coffee shop in the city every week, first on Monday’s during that 45 minutes in between classes, but then switched to Friday mornings at 8 a.m. Early, yes, but worth it seeing that handsome face every morning and discovering a new place together.

    After visiting multiple coffee shops and discovering a few places, we thought it made sense to make that a part of our wedding day. Below is a map that was handed out next to a coffee bar at our wedding. It has all the places that we have been together, which actually turns out to be 56 shops. So for once a week that makes a little over a year of coffee shop adventuring, and we thought it would be fun to share it with our readers/friends/Chicago coffee connoisseurs.

    Out of all 56, here’s a few that stood out to us.

    Star Lounge

    Dark Matters coffee is in our top two for favorite roasts. There are a few shop sin the city to visit that have Dark Matters coffee, but our favorite was Star Lounge. Along with having a killer coffee bar, it has an outdoor patio and a quiet upstairs lounge.


    The coffee is just amazing and it had to be noted. There’s a new shop along the 606 that we did not get the chance to go to together, but it’s worth a trip.


    Oliver calls it the “Jesus of coffee,” and after one sip I couldn’t help but agree. This is not exactly a sit down and open-your-laptop kind of cafe, but a simple grab your Java to-go kind of place. Their location on Irving Park was right near Oliver’s apartment, which was super convenient for us.

    The Longroom

    Coffee shop by day, bar by night, we love going there for both. In the morning they also have The Biscuit Man there, and his food is out-of-this-world. We recommend you give The Longroom two visits in order to get both experiences.

    Gaslight Coffee Roasters

    This was the shop we visited the day after we got engaged. Over an amazing cup of coffee we brainstormed the perfect wedding, and the wedding ended up being planned entirely around that simple coffee shop brainstorm.

    Beans & Bagels

    The bagels are great, the neighborhood is fun, and their back room is spacious and private. Oh, and it’s also where we took our engagement pictures.

    Sawada Coffee

    Along with selling the delicious Doughnut Vault donuts, Sawada is located in the coolest location. Lots of space to spread out in the morning if you need a place to getaway and work.

    Baker & Nosh

    Their homemade jelly donuts had us going back again and again.

    Eva’s Cafe

    This was a cute place to just hang out, drink coffee, work, order a sandwich, and be in each other’s company. This shop was close to Oliver’s former job, so we would meet there when he got off work pretty often.

    We’re going to miss Chicago and it’s coffee quite a bit, but we’re excited to conquer a whole new city’s coffee shops. NYC here we come!