The Taste of Chicago was last weekend and I decided to bust my ‘paleo’ diet for the day and eat all the things with Tony. Just in case you wanted to see some of the goodness, I thought I’d write a little recap of what I ate.

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WELCOME to the beginning of what I’m calling The Chicago Series, an Ambitious Kitchen guide to the absolute best spots for food & entertaining in Chicago! This first guide came about because of my unprecedented love for donuts, coupled with a crazy good low key donut scene in Chicago.

Ever since moving here almost two years ago, I’ve been incredibly impressed with the amount of delicious donut shops. Each place specializing in their own unique take, from fat and yeasty to classic old fashioned with a twist. What could be better than starting the day with a donut, a cup of coffee and a sense of adventure? Not much.

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Here’s a fun fact: Tony and I first met in Arizona. I was on vacation in Scottsdale with my girlfriends and he was in Spring Training for minor league baseball. One night we were randomly introduced and immediately hit it off, The rest is history.

For that reason alone, Arizona will always have a special place in my heart. I love its romance (not just in the fairy tale sense), but rather how it draws you in from the moment you get off the place. Arizona radiates rustic character, beautiful landscapes, southwestern food flair, Native American influence, plenty of outdoor activity and warm sunny weather.

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The beginning of January hit a few weeks ago and this smoothie was in full rotation as my breakfast of choice. To be honest, I enjoy smoothies at all times of the day during each season. Not only are smoothies delicious, but they give you the ability to pack a lot of nutrition into one glass. And that’s something I love!

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I’m back with the second part of my amazing trip to Pensacola. If you missed the first part, you can check it out here!

I’m quite excited to share with you this version because it contains some of my favorite places to EAT! Honestly, I can’t tell you how much I was surprised by the incredible food in Pensacola. Everything from seafood and steak to bread pudding and pastries. Holy YUM.

After your first night in Pensacola, you might not be that hungry because your belly was STUFFED so my best advice is to eat brunch rather than an early breakfast. George Artisan Bakery is a favorite and loaded with major goodies.

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As you probably know via Snapchat and Instagram, I’m been traveling like crazy lately. I simply love it. And it’s not because I have that millennial thing called wanderlust, it’s simply because I believe traveling is good for the soul. Because it teaches if you to live a life full of adventure. Because it challenges you and changes you in ways you imagined it never could. Because you get to see the world, the people that live in it and how unique each culture is. Because it exposes you to things you were ignorant to. Because it inspires you. And mostly because it’s an experience you will never forget. Remember material things fade, experiences don’t.

So here I am with another wonderful recap of my recent travels to Pensacola. Have you ever been? Surprisingly, TripAdvisor named Pensacola Beach one of the top 25 beaches to visit. And not only is there a beautiful beach, but Pensacola is booming with INCREDIBLE food, art, fishing, shopping and an amazing heritage (it was one of the first settlements!).

I’m breaking my trip up into two parts to share my experience with you throwing everything into one post seems like a bit of overkill. So, here we go!

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My mom moved to Utah this past August and I finally got around to planning a trip out to see her a few weeks ago.

To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect; I had never been to Utah before nor had the desire to visit. However after spending two days in Moab, I was more than pleasantly surprised! The food was scrumptious, the people were sweet, and the landscape was gorgeous. I can’t wait to return!

Here’s the lowdown on our trip — from where we stayed to what we ate:

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About a month ago, I attended #SharingbytheShore, an intimate food blogger retreat held in Traverse City, Michigan. Over the past year, I’ve been to a few blogging retreats and always had a positive experience; this trip was no different.

You might be wondering why food bloggers have retreats. Well, it gives us the chance to connect, learn more about one another on a more personal level, laugh, eat, and share our blogging skills/experiences. Every one has a different work style, reason they blog and what they’re passionate about. Like any other industry, it’s important to get together and learn from one another (similar like you would at a conference).

I loved this retreat in particular because we were in such a gorgeous destination. Before attending, I had never been to Michigan before (except the Detroit airport). It was a five hour drive from Chicago and couldn’t have been more beautiful. And, the entire retreat was sponsored by Milk Means More — we couldn’t be more thankful for having such a kind, generous sponsor help us learn from one another.

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