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As a recent Chicago newbie, I set out on a mission to survey the streets to find the best Chicago coffee and coffee shops. I know how boring it can be to work/study in the same old spots, and I also know how expansive the city of Chicago is. So, I did the work for you and compiled a list for you to refer to in your pursuit to find the perfect cup of joe. The 5 places I’ve listed below are my tried and true spots and get the Emma Lenhart stamp of approval. And that’s not too easy to get 😉

If you’re anything like me, coffee is very important. Not just any coffee. But deep, rich, flavorful coffee.

Coffee is the juice that keeps me going on long days and drags me out of bed on cold mornings. I can’t remember the last time I went a day without drinking it. (Am I okay?) Well, I’m a night owl and a college student! Give me a break.

P.S. Yes, I have tried all of the Wifi connections at all of these locations and yes, they all work well. I know how important that can be!

The Best Chicago Coffee + Coffee Shops

1. Heritage Bicycles

Best Chicago Coffee Heritage Bicycles

Credit: Emma Lenhart

This is the hands down the coffee shop I frequent the most in Chicago. If you happen to visit this location on a Friday/Saturday, I will most likely be there. Yes, there is both bicycles and coffee at this place.

Heritage is snuggled in a perfect location in Lakeview, with just enough hustle + bustle around, but not so much that it’s distracting. The decor in the shop is extremely minimalistic (and beautiful). It’s basically what I want my future kitchen/home to look like. Well, minus the bikes.

This location is half bike shop, half cafe. Don’t worry, though, the bike side of the building isn’t loud or out of place. It actually adds a nice novelty element and is fun to watch on a study break.

The coffee and drinks at this shop are delicious and I love the pastries, too. My favorite things to get are a latte, and a biscuit (they bring them in from Bang Bang Pie!)

Located: 2959 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60657

2. Heritage Outpost

Best Chicago Coffee Heritage Outpost

Credit: Emma Lenhart

Heritage mentioned twice on this list?! Sorry, but it’s simply just too good to pass up.

Heritage Outpost is the sister coffee shop of the Heritage location mentioned above. I personally decided to make my way over to Heritage Outpost after seeing one-too-many Instagram posts about it on my feed. It looked too good to be true, but alas, it was perfect.

Heritage Outpost is a coffee shop/bar/bakery all rolled into one. That’s right. They serve tequila at this coffee shop!

Another thing I love about this location is that it is actually located in a hotel lobby. While that may sound problematic on paper, (interweb?), it actually works out flawlessly. I love sitting at Heritage Outpost, with a good cup of coffee, and people watching everyone that bustles through the doors.

The decor in this location is also very aesthetically pleasing, with a large wall that reads “Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy coffee.” Amen to that.

Location: 1325 W Wilson Ave, Chicago, IL 60640

3. Buzz: Killer Espresso

Best Chicago Coffee Buzz Killer Espresso

Credit: Eater Chicago

Seriously, if you haven’t been to Buzz yet, please go.

Buzz is located in Wicker Park which is one of my all-time favorite places to hang out in Chicago. The store is a short walk from the Blue Line Train and decorated beautifully. It also has an awesome ambiance and calmness about it that is perfect for getting work done. The shop in Wicker Park also has two levels, which I like. I usually order my drink downstairs, and then mosey my way upstairs to settle in and snag a seat close to an outlet 😉

Located: 1644 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

4. Osmium Coffee Bar

Best Chicago Coffee Osmium

Credit: Workfrom

This bar is located right off the Belmont Red Line and is another go-to of mine. I love the layout of the cafe and how bright and vibrant the colors are at Osmium. Their graphic design is on point (something only I would point out.)

The staff at Osmium is also incredible and I’ve always had pleasant experiences there. My favorite drink to get at Osmium is an agave latte. SO GOOD.

If you fall in love with the coffee served at Osmium and want to make it at home, check out their online store. where they sell a ton of different roasts and blends of their Dark Matter coffee.

Located: 1117 W Belmont Ave., Chicago, IL 60657

5. Gaslight Coffee Roasters

Best Chicago Coffee Gaslight Coffee Roasters

Credit: Bon Appetit

Gaslight is probably one of the busiest spots on this list, but it’s still a great place to get some studying or work done at. But beware, you usually have to keep your eyes peeled to grab a chair/table at peak times during the day.

I like going to Gaslight with a friend and having a laptop date. A.K.A. “Let’s sit next to each other for multiple hours and do work while not talking and drinking lots of coffee.” 😂

Located: 2385 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

Where is the best Chicago coffee shop in your opinion? If you don’t live in Chicago, where do you go in your city to get work done/study? 

Best Chicago Coffee Pinterest


*This post does contain affiliate links.*

It’s officially the holiday season and you know what that means…pretty presents under the tree! But if you are a college student (or just broke in general), buying gifts for your loved ones may stress you out.

Good news! You can still buy great gifts without having to break the bank. All of the gifts listed here in this guide are under $50!

And if you need some extra holiday cash this season, check out my older post here that teaches you how to make money online using some of my favorite sites.

My favorite way to earn money fast is by using Opinion Outpost, a website that pays you to give your opinion about different topics! I love how Opinion Outpost pays out in PayPal 😍 Click here or on the banner below to start earning $$$!

Holiday Gifts All Under $50!

For the Beauty Lover

Have a friend who is constantly making trips to Sephora or dragging you to Ulta? She may be a beauty lover! All of these pretty picks are under $50 and will totally show her that you care, and pay attention to all those beauty gurus she follows on Instagram!

A few of my other favorites for beauty lovers include anything by Mario Badescu (especially this silver powder and drying lotion.) I’ve also given Soap & Glory products as gifts before because they have the cutest packaging ever, aren’t super expensive, and make great gift sets. This gift set is under $20 from Soap & Glory and looks amazing!

For the Fitness Junkie

If your friend hits the gym every day and never goes anywhere without her S’well bottle (another great gift!), she may be a fitness junkie. Receiving quality workout gear is always nice, and something people sometimes may not splurge on for themselves.

Another perfect present to give is a Lululemon headband. These headbands are seriously the best because they have little grips on them that catch all of your flyway hair. I’ve had mine for years and they never give up!

For Your Mom

You can’t forget about momma during the holidays!

While I’m sure your mom will appreciate anything you get her, I always think a well thought-out gift is best. What does your mom enjoy doing in her spare time?

If your mom likes to read, consider getting her a popular book or journal. If she likes to spend time outdoors, think about getting her some nice hiking gear or a fitness tracker. Remember, it’s the thought that counts!

For the Boyfriend/Husband

What is it that is so entertaining about shopping for boys? Who knows.

I love this coffee mug warmer for another gift idea. It keeps your drink hot while being minimalistic enough to keep on a work desk. Another idea is to get your man some merch to rep his favorite sports team. My hometown team is the Cavaliers, so the official NBA Champions shirt is always a go-to 😉

Looking to give everyone on your list great gifts this season, but you're on a college budget? Find presents for all your loved ones under 50 dollars, on the blog. Gifts under $50 for you mom, boyfriend, and more!


*This post does contain affiliate and referral links.*

Looking to start a blog? You’re in the right spot.

I’ve been blogging for over a year now, and let me tell you: it’s awesome. Blogging has changed my life for the better and allowed me to tap into doing what I am truly passionate about. However, I know how daunting starting a blog may seem. I’m here to tell you it’s not as hard as you may think it is to start a blog.

This post is meant to be a step-by-step guide to creating your very own lifestyle blog. I have followed these exact steps (through some trial and error), and swear by the process explained below.

Without further ado, let’s get you started on the journey of how to start a blog!

How to Start a Blog in College

Side note: If you choose to use Hostgator, the hosting company that I recommend in this post (and have always used as a blogger), then I will receive a small commission. I have a coupon code for you to receive 45% OFF your order by using the code EMMA60. Purchasing a HostGator package through this post gives me a small reward for helping a new blogger find the awesomeness that is HostGator 😉  If you don’t want to use my code to receive 60% OFF, that’s fine and you can go directly to whichever website hosting you choose. 

Step 1: Hosting (Recieve 60% off your package!)

Hosting is perhaps the most vital part of starting a blog. It’s a necessary step to take if you want to have your very own blog. It also allows you to have complete and total control of your website or blog, instead of just “running” a blog on someone else’s site (, If you want to protect your content against spam, hackers, and copyright, you need to get web hosting.

While there are tons of options between hosting programs, I truly believe that HostGator is the best. HostGator is the program that I use myself for, and I have experienced precisely 0 problems with my site since using HostGator.

I have a coupon code for you to receive 60% OFF your order by using the code EMMA60.

HostGator allows you to claim your own domain, create custom email addresses (like mine,, and more. Plus, HostGator has amazing customer support and they are always willing to work with their customers on any problems that may arrive.

If you choose to use HostGator for your domain + website hosting, use my coupon code EMMA60 to receive 60% off your order! 

Installing HostGator into Your Blog

  • Navigate to by clicking here. Select “Web Hosting” from the navigation bar at the top of the site. Here, you will find options for buying your web hosting (see picture below.) I pay for the Baby Plan every month, but pick the plan that seems to best fit your needs!
    Start a Blog HostGator Plans
  • After signing up for a HostGator account, log into your account and go to your CPanel (this is what HostGator refers to your Dashboard/Home Page as.)
  • Navigate to the Software/Services tab, and click “Quick Install.”
  • Locate “WordPress” under the column titled “Popular Installs.” Then, click Install WordPress.
  • Fill out the form that appears. This will include your site name (domain), Admin information, etc.
  • Click “Install WordPress” and watch the progress bar load!

Looking to get an easier start with HostGator?

You can skip everything above and get started with your HostGator account easily by clicking here and using my own personalized HostGator site!

Click here or on the photo below to get started with your 1-Click WordPress Installation. You also get a 45-day money-back guarantee when you sign up with HostGator (heck yeah!)

How to Start a Blog HostGator

Step 2: Design

Your WordPress blog will look pretty bare when you first log in. Don’t worry! It’s simple to pick a new theme and start blogging. The design of your blog is what will give readers their first impression of you, so you want to make sure things look pretty + professional!

How to Choose + Install a Theme

If you don’t want to spend any more money on your blog, I would recommend finding a free theme for your blog. There are lots of free options out there and it honestly just takes some trial and error to find something you like!

To find a theme:

  • Log into your WordPress site.
  • Navigate to “Appearance” in the left-hand column of your back-end. Then, click “Themes.” It should look like this (picture below.)

Start a Blog WordPress Themes

  • Click around and search until you find a theme that you like.
  • You can click “Live Preview” by hovering over the theme to preview what the theme would look like with your blog. This is temporary (picture below.)

Start a Blog WordPress Theme Live Preview

  • Once you find a theme you like, click “Activate.” This will install the theme into your blog!

Tip: to fine-tune your new theme, navigate to “Appearance” once again and click “Customize.” This will bring up a ton of different settings your specific theme has, which you can play around with until they reach your liking. This is how you change things like heading size/color, font type, adding a sidebar, etc.

Which theme do I use for

I personally use a paid theme for, called “Aruba Nights” by Pipdig Pipdig creates a ton of beautiful themes, made specifically for bloggers. I highly recommend these themes for those starting a blog!

Pages + Posts

Now that you have your blog’s theme selected, it’s time to add some content. This will vary, depending on what type of blogger you want to be. However, WordPress works the same for all of us.

WordPress works with things called “Pages” and “Posts.” These two things are what will help you populate your new blog with content.

Pages are static and will usually be displayed on a navigation or menu bar. My pages include “About Emma + Contact”, “Career”, “Lifestyle”, “Fashion”, “College” and “Ecourse.” You can find these pages on my main menu (the bar at the top of before you click on anything else.)

Posts are where you will actually write your separate blog posts, draft them, and finally, publish. Figuring out how to write a post may seem tricky at first, but it’s really very simple. After selecting “Posts” and “Add New” from the column on the left column in your WordPress account, you will see something that looks like this: (image below)

Start a Blog New Blog Post

Once you write out your post, you can select to either save it as a draft, preview the post, or publish it (image below.) You’ll also be able to see how your post is doing in terms of readability and SEO. This will be explained in more detail in the next “Plugins” section.

Start a Blog Publishing Options

Step 3: Plugins

Am I a nerd because I love talking about WordPress plugins? Maybe.

Plugins are the little accessories you can add to your WordPress blog to spruce it up and add more functionality. Plugins can involve anything from social media (Pinterest wall, Facebook Page Like Button) to email marketing (contact form, mailing list sign-up.) There is a huge marketplace of plugins, and I am constantly on the lookout for the next, new plugin I haven’t heard about yet to add to my site.

Top Recommended Plugins

To skip the learning curve, I’m listing out some of my favorite plugins that I recommend you add when starting a blog.

  • Better Click to Tweet. This plugin allows you to insert a “Tweet this” button into your blog post. This is an awesome feature to have for your readers so that they can share your post easily to their Twitter followers. Here’s an example below:
I'm learning how to create my very own blog with right now! Click To Tweet
  • Disqus Comment System. This plugin is vital. Disqus is a program that seamlessly integrates with WordPress blogs and will replace the default commenting system. Disqus runs so much smoother, connects to Facebook, and looks a lot more professional (in my opinion.)
  • Yoast SEO. This is the best plugin for SEO that I have found so far. Pretty much all lifestyle bloggers out there use it or swear by it, too. Yoast will guide you when writing blog posts to help boost your SEO score and make sure your post is easily readable.
  • Lightweight Social Icons. This plugin allows you to display icons for your blog readers to click on and follow you on social media.
  • Instagram Slider Widget. Want to display your latest Instagram photos on your blog? This plugin is perfect for doing just that!

Once you install a new plugin, navigate to “Installed Plugins” under the “Plugins” category on the left-hand column in your WordPress account. Once you find your new plugin in the list, click “Activate.” Once your plugin is activated, it will appear blue in the list (image below.)

Start a Blog Plugin Activation

There are lots of other great plugins out there! Check out this guide for “26 Widgets to Dress Up Your WordPress Sidebar” by Mel of A Prettier Web here. 

Have any other questions about how to start a blog? Feel free to email me or tweet me! I would love to answer them or give advice. Happy blogging 🙂

Start a Blog Pinterest


*This post does contain affiliate and referral links.*

The holidays are quickly approaching and you know what that means…it’s the most wonderful time of the year 😉 I know that college-aged girls can be hard to shop for sometimes, so I decided to compile a gift guide of some items I would love to receive (I’m a college sophomore).

Of course, the holidays are about so much more than giving and receiving gifts. I can’t wait to celebrate with family I haven’t seen in awhile, and give thanks for all 2016 has been!

But without further ado, let’s get into the gift guide!

Holiday Gift Guide for a College-Aged Girl


Apartment decor is something that all college-aged girls love, but sometimes don’t want to spend their extra money on.

Get to know the girl you are buying for, and what her decor style is like. Does she like minimalistic, neutral colors? Or is she more free-spirited and bohemian?

My favorite idea for giving apartment decor as a gift is super cute throw pillows. They aren’t too expensive and add a fun touch to any room. Your college-aged girl will love getting a new piece to add to her decor. Looking to buy a gift for a college age girl this holiday season? Check out Emma Lenhart's gift guide on the blog for tons of ideas for this Christmas/holiday season!

This fur pillow (pictured right) is only $10 and so fun! It’s the perfect gift for a secret Santa or friend gift exchange.

Looking to buy a gift for a college age girl this holiday season? Check out Emma Lenhart's gift guide on the blog for tons of ideas for this Christmas/holiday season!

Another awesome gift idea for college age girls is candles. A lot of colleges don’t allow candles in dorms, so double check or make sure she has an apartment before you buy. One of my favorite scents is Volcano. They sell it at Anthropologie too and it smells too good. You can find it here.

Looking for a stocking stuffer? I really love firefly lights for apartment decor (pictured to the right). Looking to buy a gift for a college age girl this holiday season? Check out Emma Lenhart's gift guide on the blog for tons of ideas for this Christmas/holiday season!They are super inexpensive (around $10), and add a pretty touch to any room.

If you haven’t found anything yet, I’ll picture some more of my favorite picks for apartment decor gifts below.



Looking to really impress? Check out my favorite duvets and bedding for this holiday season. Getting a fluffy new blanket or a clean new duvet is ideal for the home decor junkie.


Want the key to her heart? Buy her a Nespresso. Coffee = love.

Pretty pastel colored kitchenwares and monogrammed coffee mugs are a classic go-to for the holiday season. Anything for the kitchen is a great gift idea for the college-aged girl who is just starting to cook for herself.

Wall Art

A pretty mirror or tapestry spices up any apartment and isn’t too expensive. Check out my favorite picks from places like Urban Outfitters + more for the girl on your list!



Receiving a pretty pair of heels/booties for the holidays is the best. Obviously, before you buy shoes for someone make sure you know their exact size and whether they have wide/narrow feet. Also, if you are buying for them online, check the website’s/brand’s size guide to see if their shoes typically run small or large!

I’m seriously crushing over these Jeffrey Campbell booties with silver detailing. Black boots are a staple for winter and I think every girl deserves a pretty pair.Looking to buy a gift for a college age girl this holiday season? Check out Emma Lenhart's gift guide on the blog for tons of ideas for this Christmas/holiday season!

Looking to buy a gift for a college age girl this holiday season? Check out Emma Lenhart's gift guide on the blog for tons of ideas for this Christmas/holiday season!If the girl you are buying for prefers flats to heels or boots, check out these Steve Madden lace-up flats. These flats (pictured to the right) are super on-trend and perfect for everyday wear. Plus, they are rated almost 5 stars by over 70 people and seem to be very comfortable. Score!

Ugg slippers are very popular for the holiday season because they are so cozy and comfy. These slippers are right around $99 and make the perfect gift for really anyone on your list!



Tech gifts are getting more popular with each passing year. When buying tech gifts, make sure you know the model of the phone your college-aged girl has (iPhone 5? 6? Android?) before buying. Below is my tech gift guide for the holidays!

Looking to buy a gift for a college age girl this holiday season? Check out Emma Lenhart's gift guide on the blog for tons of ideas for this Christmas/holiday season!This charging dock (pictured left) can charge several different types of iPhones, iPods/Tablets, and more. It’s the perfect gift for a college-aged girl who wants to keep all of her cords organized and keep her devices charged!

Another great idea is a record player. I personally love my record player Looking to buy a gift for a college age girl this holiday season? Check out Emma Lenhart's gift guide on the blog for tons of ideas for this Christmas/holiday season!and receiving new vinyl albums to play for my friends. This  record player is under $40 and the perfect price point for a holiday gift!



If you are buying for a secret Santa, $25 is usually a good price point to stay under. I’ve come up with a small gift guide below for gifts that are all $25 or under!

Looking to buy a gift for a college age girl this holiday season? Check out Emma Lenhart's gift guide on the blog for tons of ideas for this Christmas/holiday season!One of my go-to gifts for friends is a Soap & Glory gift set. The brand has the cutest packaging ever and the quality of the products is great. (You can find their products at Ulta/Walgreens, also.)

Another idea for a gift exchange is a rollerball perfume. This idea is great because you may not want to buy a full-sized perfume bottle for someone if you aren’t sure if they will love the scent. Rollerballs are so fun and a great way to test out different brands.Looking to buy a gift for a college age girl this holiday season? Check out Emma Lenhart's gift guide on the blog for tons of ideas for this Christmas/holiday season!

You can never go wrong with an Amazon gift card for the holidays. Gift cards are perfect if you don’t know the person you are buying for very well because they will get to pick out their own gift.


One super unique gift idea (that I would personally love to receive) is a subscription service called Candy Club.

Candy Club is an awesome brand that delivers premium candy to your door once a month.The candy is gourmet and arrives at doorsteps once a month in a pretty box with 3 different types of candy. I love this gift idea because it is reoccurring and every time the person receives their monthly box, they will think of you! Plus, it’s super personal while still remaining fun.

Thanks for checking out my 2016 gift guide! What are you looking forward to this holiday season?

Looking to buy a gift for a college aged girl this holiday season? Check out Emma Lenhart's gift guide on the blog for tons of ideas for this Christmas/holiday season!