Dating, Food and Real Life With Emily Belden, Author of Eightysixed

Just about two weeks ago, I introduced you all to a book called Eightysixed. It walked us through the romantic life of a twenty-something girl in Chicago. There were ups, downs, crazy moments and fairytale moments. I mean, who else gets to spend an incredible week with a well-respected, international chef thanks to fate? On the other hand, who in their right mind is attracted to a dug addict? Today, you guys get to know that 20-something girl, only she's not a girl anymore and she found her person. Meet Emily Belden, writer, dating expert by experience and foodie. She's funny, candid, well-traveled in the culinary world and she's here to get personal. Take a look below for our chat.
Christine: Eightysixed was such a great book. It's one of the best I've read in a while so thank you for that. Were there ever any doubts in your mind about taking your blog and turning it into a full-blown memoir? What led to this decision?

Emily Belden: Thank you! There were never doubts, there was just the question: am I really doing this?! I quickly came to terms with it and gave it my all, jumping in head first. My thought was: if just one person feels like, 'hey - this is the story of my life!' then I didn't mind putting it all out there. I didn't mind volunteering to be the worst-case scenario, so to speak.

C:. What do you think is the hardest thing for young women trying to date in today's digital world? Dating just isn't the same thing anymore and it definitely doesn't feel as romantic. Either that or I've just had only bad experiences.

EB: The hardest thing is finding someone who is on the same page as you. I remember going on a handful of dates with guys who I really liked or was attracted to, but we weren't looking for the same things. With apps like Tinder, it all just feels so casual and quick - a hopeless romantic's worst nightmare!

C: What advice do you have for the girls out there ready to give up on dating altogether? 
EB: Hit the reset button and focus on yourself. Do the things you love to do and when you finally feel most like yourself, you'll be surprised who and what comes back into your life.
C: That's really good advice and something I'm finding myself doing lately, to be honest. As a fellow Chicago girl and foodie, I have to ask. What are your three top restaurants you'd recommend for a date? 
EB: I love Chicago Q. Normally, BBQ can be a bad choice for a date (super messy and grubby) but Chicago Q is upscale yet still comfortable. Their patio also looks like it's a page in the Crate & Barrel catalog - a great place to grab Mint Julips or split a slice of carrot cake when the weather warms up.
C: Chicago Q is amazing. I absolutely love that restaurant. Their pulled chicken is fantastic. Can we expect your second book soon? Is there anything you can tell us about it? 
EB: You can! It's a novel called Randolph Street rooted in the dirty little secrets of Chicago's famed restaurant row. It's JUICY.

Thank you so much Emily for taking the time to answer a few questions! I can't wait for Randolph Street to come out. Her writing style is so easy and fun so you can't help but get caught up in the story. Have you guys read Eightysixed yet? If not, you should definitely check it out. Catch my full review here.