It was an emotional weekend, but a good one.
Lots of farewells, cheers, and well wishes were handed to me in a few fantastic send off parties.
First up, the friends!
Friday night, a bunch of my dear friends, much of them being fellow colleagues, joined me for a few celebratory drinks at The Brewhouse.
Although it’s hard imagine not seeing these faces for awhile, my friends are amazing and are so excited for me.
Suffice to say, it was a good night but not the best of mornings. Ugh, when will I learn not to mix jeager bombs and vodka.
After a much needed recovery most of the day on Saturday, I got ready for my next, and most important, goodbye dinner with mi amor.
Toly made reservations at “our place,” Bricco, for my final dinner out at home.
Bricco is probably my favorite restaurant in Harrisburg, but they’ve recently added another feature to their menu that makes me adore this place even more; a weekly, locally-sourced inspired menu.
I ordered the special sustainable fish of the day; salmon over a roasted tomato and eggplant sauce with steamed spinach.
It was delicious, but the show stopper of the night was dessert.
Bittersweet chocolate budino with espresso caramel cream, meringue and sea salt. This was as dense and rich as fudge but the sea salt provided a great contrast to the sweet. Just delightful!
Concluding our meal, we threw out the idea of after-dinner drinks but decided both of our stomachs deserved a little break after the previous night’s festivities. We settled for fancy tea lattes at a nearby coffeeshop instead.
It was a great, low-key night and just what we needed.
This morning, I woke up and got working on the last Sunday Breakfast for awhile. Naturally, Toly requested pancakes for the finale.
I then went to Body Pump and Flow and savored every single moment of these classes. I sincerely hope I find a gym that teaches Les Mills in Chicago. Based on my internet searches, I’m not having much luck, but I’m determined once I get out there.
Once I got home from the gym, I quickly changed and bribed Toly to go with me to the grocery store. It was actually more of a tutorial trip to show him what I buy each week and where to find it. I’m pretty sure he is convinced he will survive off of the $100 worth of frozen pizzas and boxed mac and cheese he bought, but regardless, at least he knows where to find the almond milk.
We hit up Panera for lunch where I surprised the girl taking my order by requesting one of the “secret power bowls.” In case you haven’t heard – which you may not have since they are apparently keeping it on the DL – but Panera has a new hidden menu where they offer high protein, exclusive breakfast and lunch bowls that contain little to no processed carbs.
I went with the Chicken and Hummus Bowl but subbed out the chicken for grilled salmon.
So, I’m fairly certain the people at Panera are reading healthy living blogs. I mean where else would they have come up with the idea of using hummus as a salad dressing and topping a salad with a runny egg?
Anyways, the salad was delicious! I’ve been quite impressed with Panera lately, I must say.
Later on, we headed over to my final farewell dinner with my family. My dad put together a massive seafood feast, probably thinking I won’t be eating much while I’m in Chicago.
I happily loaded up my plate with a little of everything; scallops, cod, and half of a crab cake that I split with Toly.
We spent some time after dinner taking pictures, in hopes not to forget what we look like to one another after four months.
But there is one face I know I’ll be missing deeply….
This little guy means the world to me and hearing him say, “I miss you aunt Lauren,” made my heart crumble into a million pieces.
My only request from my family was that we said our final goodbyes over fro-yo since we all know fro-yo is the ideal family bonding experience.
It has been months my friends. I was feeling a mint chocolate theme tonight and went all the way.
My family is the best and as hard as it will be to be away from them this year, they are all so excited to see what will come from this whole thing. Their support means the world!
So tomorrow is my last full day and I’m planning on spending it cleaning, finishing up packing, and for the majority, to myself (and with Toly). It’s been emotionally draining having to say goodbye all week, and I really just need a full day to prepare my mind and heart for what is to come.
Even though it’s not goodbye, a long farewell is still never easy.
Hope you all had a glorious weekend!