As I mentioned in part 1 of the Q&A, I had to split it into 2 posts. You all asked a lot of great questions! In this Q&A, I’ll answer your questions about favorite Chicago spots, travel, and lifestyle. So this one is definitely more light hearted and fun! Last Q&A was more of a personal one where I shared about therapy, anxiety, and kids.
Alright, let’s get started answering your questions!
Q&A: Answering About Traveling, Favorite Chicago Spots, and Lifestyle
What are your bucket list items?
Is this about traveling or life? I feel very blessed to cross off a lot of places that were on my bucket list. The next places on my bucket list are Italy, Philippines, Japan, Iceland, and Thailand. I really want to go to Thailand to experience the Lantern festival. A couple summers ago, there was the Lights Fest right outside of Chicago and it was one of the most magical moments ever. Everything was beautiful and serene, and somehow a flood of emotions went through me. I can only imagine how amazing that experience would be from where this originated from.
As for life, that’s tough! I’m not a daredevil and couldn’t care less about skydiving or anything like that. It would be awesome to run a very successful business or be in some type of leadership role in a future job. I’d also love to continue to live in the city. I was born and raised in the city, and it just feels like home. When my parents moved to the suburbs, it didn’t feel right. Everyone was kind and nice, but to me it feels like a completely different world.
Favorite travel destination so far?
This is hard because I seriously love every place we go. Each destination has something unique to offer! But we LOVED Greece. We had our honeymoon in Mykonos and Santorini, and we were obsessed and get major FOMO every time we hear someone going. Right after we left Greece, we talked about going there every 5 years for our anniversary. Our 5th wedding anniversary is coming up next year. And we are hoping we can make it work to go back again!
Do you have chemo/post-chemo care package recommendations for young women?
I try to create packages based on what I know that person needs or will help them and add in other items that I know they love.
My friend Melanie started a chemo care package company called Handled With Care, and she is amazing. I know her personally, and she puts in a lot of love and care into these packages. There are packages for women, men and kids. They are for sure tailored towards almost anyone that unfortunately has to go through cancer. I also recently came across Thrivosity and I was impressed with their care packages as well!
What do you do on your check ups in the hospital?
It depends which doctor I am seeing. As for my oncologist it’s just to see how I am doing and doing the chest wall exams. She always wants to see me when I go in for treatments. And that’s another reason why I’m at the hospital is for my cancer treatments. I also go to see my onco-psychologist, cardiologist, breast surgeon, and my primary physician. My primary physician specializes in patients with cancer. So whenever I reach out to her, she knows how to handle any ailments I may have, and she wants to see me and do chest wall exams in between my oncologist and breast surgeon appointments.
In general, my medical team is trying to do their best to be proactive. As I have mentioned many times before, having breast cancer under 40 is much more aggressive. There’s a 1 in 3 chance of becoming terminal. Unfortunately, young adult cancer is rare and rarely researched. About 4% of the population is affected.
Do you follow any sort of healthy diet after cancer?
Overall, I try to maintain eating a balanced meal and eliminate eating processed food. But I do indulge especially during the weekends. Following a specific diet is not for me. I tried, but it really affected my mental health. Food really makes me happy. After I gained all the extra weight as one of my cancer treatment side-effects, I attempted a specialized diet and I was miserable. I felt like I was missing out on life. I literally cry about food. My onco-psychologist says it is okay if I don’t have a specialized diet. Just because other cancer patients have it, doesn’t mean I have to do it too.
Food has always been a big part of my life, especially coming from a Filipino family. So as long my meal is balanced, I’m happy.
What is your favorite neighborhood in Chicago and NYC?
I may be a little biased, but my favorite neighborhood in Chicago is Lincoln Park. It’s where we bought our home after all! I like that the commute to downtown is literally a couple stops away on the El, yet you still get a neighborhood feel. It’s a very family-orientated neighborhood.
However, there are a lot of amazing neighborhoods in Chicago! Every neighborhood has its own personality and something unique to offer. Lately, the West Loop is the neighborhood to be in.
I also really love the Gold Coast neighborhood. It is where I lived before living in Lincoln Park. The houses have so much charm. Very Great Gatsby-esque (which happens to be my favorite classic novel). If I had the money, I would love to own one of those homes! It’s also right by Magnificent Mile, and the energy in that neighborhood during the Summer is so happy!
For NYC, I don’t have a specific favorite neighborhood. I think it is a fun city and really enjoy every bit of it. Every time we go, I always discover a new place or area. But, I personally think Chicago is NYC but cleaner and less smelly haha.
Tell us more about your favorite spots in Chicago! I'm visiting in April!
Well you already know my 2 favorite neighborhoods haha (see above). When I think of favorite spots, I think food haha. Although I shared my favorite date night spots, they are restaurants you can go to without a date. The food is amazing and they’re all in different areas of the city! The riverwalk is fun, but I personally think it is more enjoyable during the summer. However, City Winery has these domes that make it possible to eat ‘outdoors’ while it is cold outside.
April is a weird time for Chicago. The weather can be really nice, or Winter can still linger. I highly recommend paying close attention to the weather as it gets closer to the day you arrive. I really hope it is warm by then!
If you love animals/zoos, Lincoln Park Zoo is for sure a must-see. It is free and it is a legit zoo. People seem to be taken aback that LP Zoo is an actual zoo and is free. And of course, you have to check out the lakefront! If you go to the zoo, you are right by one of the many entrances to the lakefront! It is beautiful! My friend didn’t believe that she was looking at a lake because it really looks like an ocean. So she calls it a locean (pronounced ‘lotion’ because she combined lake and ocean together haha).
Definitely go to a rooftop bar. Even though it is not summer, there are some amazing bars and restaurants that can give you an amazing view of the city. Cindy’s Rooftop is very popular, but it can be so crowded. This list shared 20 restaurants with amazing views.
Go shopping on Michigan Ave (Magnificent Mile), State Street (right where Chicago Theatre is), and if you want something more quaint, go to Armitage St in Lincoln Park.
The touristy spots are worth checking out too. Even I still enjoy going to Millennium Park (see the Bean), Maggie Daley Park, Sears Tower (I know it is now called the Willis Tower, but I’m a Chicagoan and it will forever be Sears Tower) and go to the Skydeck, go get a cocktail on the 95th floor of the John Hancock building (very easy to get to if you are shopping on the Magnificent Mile. I recommend going during off hours to avoid crowds and a long wait).
Oh man, I can go on and on about where to go in Chicago. Maybe I should consider writing more about Chicago? What do you think? Maybe it will have a theme? Let me know!
Favorite beauty service spots in the Chicagoland area?
My recommendations will only be in Chicago. I don’t venture out in the suburbs too much unless we visit family. I recently started going to Leah Chavie, and they do an amazing job! They do more than just facials. They also do body & wellness. I’m about to start my first acupuncture there. I’m excited and nervous. I was told getting an acupuncture will help alleviate some of my cancer treatment side-effects.
Other great spots for skincare treatments that utilize safe and toxic-free products are Lena Rose Beauty and Credo Beauty. Lena Rose Beauty is very similar to Leah Chavie but not as invasive and everything is all natural. You all probably have heard me rave about Credo Beauty frequently on Instagram. Credo Beauty is basically like a Sephora or Ulta but only sells safe beauty products. Their store also has a spa! I’ve tried one of their facials and it was amazing!
For hair, there are 2 places. I always go to Lavender Park Hair Salon. I’ve been going to them for years! Recently, I decided to check out George the Salon since several people have raved about them. They also have done an incredible job. I actually shared my review about them in this Instagram post.
That’s A Wrap
So this wraps up the Q&A’s. What did you think of this post? Do you want me to do more of this? I’d love to hear your thoughts! If you all want more of this, maybe I can make it more anonymous by setting up a Google Form survey?