Birthday Bytes.

“Allana loved her birthday so much she would start planning the next years party the day after her birthday.”

Oh, it’s the truth. This is what we tell people when they ask what our birthday parties were like as kids. My brother Matt loved the presents, I loved the parties. Matt would rather get one big gift and no party whereas I would beg and plead for the biggest and most grand party ever, inviting everyone I knew (which, as kids, were your 20+ classmates from middle school, your cousins and family friends.) I was and still kind of am a total people-pleaser. And what better way to please people than to throw a giant fun party with cake and games?

Years later and I still love the party. However, when you’re turning 26, Barbie parties aren’t as cool and the internet exists. Facebook posts, texts from your best friends, face-time with out-of-town family – all of its just a bit more special on your birthday. The mere thought that someone takes a second out of their day to wish a happy day for me, well – that makes my day and I’m so grateful for all of your well-wishes. Seriously, all of them.

Thinking back, my 25th seems like yesterday. Four of my best NYC girlfriends & I got all dressed up and went to Otto, right in downtown Manhattan. We guzzled wine, devoured pizza and cupcakes and toasted to a fabulous year with wonderful friends. My old ass was home by midnight on the phone with my mom in Chicago, rambling about how I was too tired to make it past 11:30 p.m. It was really wild.

Now, it’s 365 days later (?!) and I thought I’d share a look back on some of my favorites from the past year. It’s been a crazy one to say the least, but one that was filled with laughter, a bit of awkwardness, plenty of fancy cocktails and so many bytes. I’m so pumped for what 26 has to bring and I’m excited to share it with all of you. Thanks for being great friends and a fan of the bytes. It means more to me than you know.

Bavarian pretzel at The Publican served with pimento cheese.
The day this happened.
Blueberry “poptart” from Gaslight Coffee in Logan Square – if you haven’t tried this, you truly haven’t lived.
My first taste of Jean George’s crispy salmon sushi rice rolls at Mercer Kitchen in NYC. Little did I know that this one “byte” would eventually lead me to “Check, Please.”
Salty Pimp from Big Gay Ice Cream in NYC. I dare you to find a better ice cream cone.
The pistachio donut that sparked a gchat revolution.
“Coping mechanism” at Roberta’s in BK. One of our last meals together as roommates. Clearly, we were handling it well.
A very special goodbye NYC lunch with a favorite at Union Square Cafe.
I miss that subway stop.
Finally getting to sink my teeth into the Au Cheval burger.
Chocolate donut at Perennial Virant.
Waffle sandwich from Wafel in the West Loop.
Vegas for Matt’s 21st last December.
Reunited with my best girls this summer.
Missing Central Park Sundays with C.
Old Town Social for some early evening cocktails.
Negroni Slushie from Parson’s.


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