"Back From Vacation"

Hi, everyone. Remember that time I disappeared for a good three and a half months with no warning, and no out-of-office letting you know when I'd be back (gasp!)?

Yeah, I'm sorry about that. The summer filled up fast, and sadly blogging fell by the wayside.

  • The exciting news is I've spent lots of time thinking about how to make Thirty Somewhere bigger and better, and I have new tricks up my sleeve for the coming months.
  • The bad news is I missed spending the past few months with you, hearing what you've been up to and sharing stories of my own. Let's try to make up for that, right now. What's new? Here's my rundown:

We celebrated America, in one of America's greatest cities, with cocktails, one of America's greatest pastimes. 

 Spending Chicago's sticky-sweet Fourth of July evening at  Drumbar , next to the all-American, all-lit-up red, white and blue  John Hancock Center . 

Spending Chicago's sticky-sweet Fourth of July evening at Drumbar, next to the all-American, all-lit-up red, white and blue John Hancock Center

 I certainly miss this (slight) tan.

I certainly miss this (slight) tan.

We wet our German whistles celebrating Oktoberfest... with lots and lots of Chicago-brewed beer.

 Spending my birthday weekend enjoying an epic  boy band medley at  Revolution Brewery's Oktoberfest . 

Spending my birthday weekend enjoying an epic  boy band medley at Revolution Brewery's Oktoberfest

 Seriously, check out  Revolution's Oktoberfest  if you happen to be in Chicago that weekend next year. We had eight tickets to refill those giant beer glasses over just a three-hour period, plus food, plus fantastic entertainment -- both musically, and from our fellow exubert attendees. It's a good time.

Seriously, check out Revolution's Oktoberfest if you happen to be in Chicago that weekend next year. We had eight tickets to refill those giant beer glasses over just a three-hour period, plus food, plus fantastic entertainment -- both musically, and from our fellow exubert attendees. It's a good time.

We commemorated our #BasicBia love for Starbucks, pre-#RedCup "fiasco," with pretty on-point Halloween costumes.

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 A former colleague makes the most fantastic cookies. Every time they're around, the resounding review is, "OMG. This cookie doesn't just look good; it tastes AMAZING." I can vouch, after eating at least a third myself. Check out her creations, and put in your orders, at  For Sweet's Sake .

A former colleague makes the most fantastic cookies. Every time they're around, the resounding review is, "OMG. This cookie doesn't just look good; it tastes AMAZING." I can vouch, after eating at least a third myself. Check out her creations, and put in your orders, at For Sweet's Sake.

And now that we look back, if it seems like we've been nesting here in Chicago, you're on the right track...

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We're nesting in the NEW HOME we finally locked down last August!

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 A GIGANTIC thanks to the BEST REALTOR in Chicago,  Gwen Stark ! Not only did she help us find our dream home, but she kicked off our closing celebration with the cutest champagne toast possible. FIND HER if you're looking to buy!

A GIGANTIC thanks to the BEST REALTOR in Chicago, Gwen Stark! Not only did she help us find our dream home, but she kicked off our closing celebration with the cutest champagne toast possible. FIND HER if you're looking to buy!

 We have a ways to go, but we're slowly making this place our home. I'm excited to finally have wall space for all the vacation art we've bought over the years!

We have a ways to go, but we're slowly making this place our home. I'm excited to finally have wall space for all the vacation art we've bought over the years!

Honestly, for those of you who were part of our condo purchase roller coaster, you probably understand why we didn't have much time to travel, or to blog -- or to do anything really, beyond pushing to seal that deal.

We're so glad we're finally settled in our very first home, picking out paint colors, scoping out new furniture and hosting our best friends for any excuse to throw a party. While we've been checking out West Elm more than the West Indies lately, we're finally ready to scratch that insatiable travel itch again. 

And that means you can expect a lot more fun and exciting updates on Thirty Somewhere! Plus, I'll be pulling in travel tips from fellow wanderlusters who've logged a lot more miles than me. Get ready for lots of fun ahead. Buckle up for the ride!

Thirty Somewhere: Mapping Out 2015 Travel Goals

Pop the champagne: Thirty Somewhere is officially one month old today! Thanks so much for following along over the first few weeks -- it's already been a fun ride, and we're just getting started.

Now that I have a month under my belt, I've started thinking about my bigger goals for the blog -- and for my own wanderlust. I started Thirty Somewhere purely to share my own travel experiences and hopefully give you ideas for new places to explore. Plus, I know how hard it is to find good travel tips online, so I hope I can serve as a trustworthy resource as you're planning your own trips. 

Over the next couple months, I'm going to continue sharing my favorite places, especially using Jauntful more to bring you in-depth city guides for a growing variety of domestic and international destinations. I'm also excited to start pulling in tips and stories from some well-traveled friends and experts with unique perspectives and experiences to share.

And finally, and perhaps what I'm most excited to share, I also have a few personal goals to start working toward that will (hopefully!) translate into even better content for your reading pleasure. So without further ado, here are my travel goals for the remainder of 2015:

Wish me luck, and stay tuned for fun updates as these plans get underway. Do you have any travel goals this year? Let me know, and I'll do my best to come up with some fun ideas for you to help bring them to life!

Coming soon...

I'm anxiously awaiting Thirty Somewhere's official launch in February 2015! Until then, keep an eye on Twitter, where I'll be sharing out some of the best travel news and tips I come across.

  Off the Beaten Path : Discovering elaborate alleyway street art in Antwerp, Belgium (July 2014). 

Off the Beaten Path: Discovering elaborate alleyway street art in Antwerp, Belgium (July 2014). 

I can't wait to meet you soon! Safe travels.