A Day Trip to Chicago

One of my favorite parts about Madison is its vicinity to Chicago. As a young girl I always dreamed of one day living in Chicago so I could be near the American Girl store downtown (Now though, there are soooo many more locations than just the Chicago store. Not. Fair.)

But there are many more things to do and explore in the city than just the American Girl store. So my boyfriend Jorge and I packed our bags for the weekend to stay with our friends in Chicago before we make our final move this week to New York.

There’s just something purely blissful about going downtown with no agenda, sunny weather and a full day of nothing-ness. And that’s exactly what we had on Saturday. We took the train down with our friends just in time to catch lunch in the city.

IMG_8725IMG_8726

For those of you (much like me) who had never heard of the restaurant Vapiano, it’s a must. Technically, it’s an international chain. But I’d never heard of it, and we had the most amazing lunch there. I got a ricotta and spinach ravioli and Jorge got a Diavolo pizza with fresh bell pepper. Both were made FRESH right in front of us in a matter of minutes. And for a lunch in downtown Chicago, it was surprisingly (and thankfully) cheap.

IMG_8735
Following lunch, we made a beeline for Millennium park to walk around in the sunshine, see the bean and, of course, make a stop for some Italian ice (watermelon, strawberry and lemon, please!) We finished off the afternoon with a long walk around the lake and up the river on the river walk. I still can’t believe we’re leaving this city behind. But, hey, New York is even better. And it’s only a few days away.

FullSizeRender

7 Days of Lemon Water

I’ve always seen claims that warm lemon water in the morning is one of the best things you can do for your body. And with a simple Pinterest or Google search, you’ll find endless posts that claim that lemon water provides endless health benefits both inside and out. Although I was always drawn to these claims (and, I have to admit, I LOVE citrus), I could never hop on board the lemon water train with all the craziness and instability of a school schedule.

IMG_0829

Following my graduation  a few weeks ago, I decided to start my journey with lemon water. As my boyfriend likes to remind me, it takes 21 days to create a habit, but even after 7 days of my lemon water test, I am here to tell you that I am already reaping the benefits.

Here are some of the claims that Pinterest posts and blogs will try to tell you about the benefits of warm lemon water.

  • Detoxifies the body
  • Alkalizes the body
  • Hydrates lymphatic system
  • Lowers stress levels
  • Fights bad breath
  • Hydrates body
  • Prevents UTIs
  • Improves digestive health
  • Promotes weight loss
  • Balances pH levels
  • Replaces caffeine
  • Creates happier, cleaner skin
  • Boosts immune system
  • Relieves respiratory problems
  • Boosts levels of Vitamin C
  • Reduces heart burn
  • Purifies blood
  • Boosts brain power
  • Improves liver function
  • Boosts mineral absorption

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_0816

From my novel experience, these are the benefits I’ve actually experienced:

 

Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 8.22.03 PM

It’s amazing how much I felt energized after drinking only a cup of warm lemon water. I didn’t feel groggy in the mornings, and even after a few days, I didn’t feel a dependency on coffee.

 

Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 8.23.17 PMWhen I was doing some internet searches on lemon water benefits, there was a lot of research showing that your body naturally dehydrates itself overnight. The lemon water did nothing short of hydrate my body and rejuvenate it right away so I didn’t feel sluggish.

Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 8.25.43 PM

There was also a lot of research proving lemon water’s improvements on digestion. Although I’m not a doctor, I can say with certainty that the lemon water helps me feel not as full after meals, particularly breakfast, which always a difficult meal for me because I love it, but it makes my stomach  hurt if I eat it too quickly after waking up.

 

Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 8.27.04 PMAlthough I’ve personally never really struggled too much with my skin, I am guilty of occasionally forgetting to remove my makeup (resulting in problem pimples). Admittedly, one of the days during my week with lemon water, I went to sleep with my makeup on – and somehow the lemon water did magic on my skin and kept its clear nature  despite the built up oil from the leftover makeup. Also helpful: the lemon water seemed to diminish my under-eye  bags.

Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 8.28.15 PMRight now during the change from spring to summer is THE WORST for my allergies. Although allergies aren’t the same thing as a common cold, it was almost miraculous how much healthier I felt after a cup of lemon water. My allergies seemed to be momentarily tamed with just one cup.