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Showing posts from 2017


Zucchini is back and strong and I'm so excited!

I went to Stanley's for my weekly vegetable run and saw they were $.69/lb.  $.69/lb!  Half my basket was zucchini.

Every time zucchini season rolls around I make this delicious, easy, and quite healthy zucchini soup.  I'm sure I've mentioned it here before, but we all have a lot going on and a reminder never hurts. ;)

So here it is courtesy of Food & Wine: Silky Zucchini Soup.

I plan on making it at least once more before zucchini season ends.

Fun tip:  if you have an immersion blender, the recipe is even easier!  I got mine from groupon years ago and it's still trucking along.


Over the weekend I ran my third half marathon.  Friends, it did not go well.

These pictures were taken after the race when I decided I was not dead.

My stomach was upset pretty much the whole run, but especially the first half and I have a cold.  (Summer colds, eh?)

I still did it though.  I ran the whole thing and crossed the finish line.

Feel free to read on if you're interested.

It took me forever to settle in, pretty much half the run.  It usually only takes me 3 miles to settle in during a marathon.  So that was annoying.  The stomach issues were likely the cause.  I really thought cheese and I were becoming better friends, but that does not seem to be the case.  

Around mile six, when I started to settle in, my body was like, 'oh hey, you've been neglecting me for six miles.  now you're going to be in pain.'

So I was in pain the rest of the run.  In fact, today my knee still hurts.

So, we'll mark this down as my worst half marathon, I finished in 2 hours.  Damn, …

Hopes and Dreams

What are your hopes and dreams today?

When Mike and I are at dinner or just hanging out and have honestly run out of things to talk about, Mike asks me what my hopes and dreams are.  He asks sarcastically and mostly making fun of me because I ask questions along these lines probably too much for his liking.

(I'm banking on him not reading this...he's not a big fan of any blogs not about city planning or cars...)

I roll my eyes a tiny bit (oh how the tables turn).  And then I always answer.  If Mike is always game when I pester him with questions like these, I definitely have to ask when he asks, even if it's sarcastically.  

I really like it.  It makes me think of goals for the day/week/month and it's really good for me.

So happy Tuesday, get at 'em!


I said when I turned 30 in January I was going to start using moisturizer.  Now, 6 months later, I can say I've kind of achieved the goal, but not really...

I have a moisturizer from several years ago, which I received as a Christmas gift.  I used it off and on over the years, mostly off.  I've probably used it more this year than ever before, granted the bar was very low.

I don't like it though.  I don't like the smell or really how it feels either.

Then I heard True Botanicals released a lower-priced Basics collection designed for younger skin, technically for people in their 20s, but whatever.  I decided to try their hydrating oil (the smallest one) to see if I am able to be consistent with use.

First impression: I'm still figuring out how much to use, but I love the smell.

10 Miles

In a couple weeks I'm running another half marathon.  I've done very little training, which terrifies me a bit.  A few days ago I decided I needed to at least get in a 10 mile run to prove to myself I can do it.

To run the 606 from our place, running there, running the whole thing, running home totals a bit over 6 miles.  That's about as far as I've run this season.  
As I passed the midway point, I remembered why running has always been my therapy.  I started feeling really annoyed about things.  Then around miles 6-7-8 I was fighting back tears.  By mile 9 I felt great.  Clarity.  Perspective.  
I know I can do it now.


Mike & I have been going back and forth on honeymoon plans.  He's starting his graduate program a week after our wedding.  Originally we thought we'd just put it off for our one year anniversary.  But let's be real, maybe we can go somewhere for our anniversary AND somewhere small for our honeymoon, just to celebrate the two of us.

First we thought, we'll drive to Nashville or Memphis for Labor Day and spluge on a fancy hotel.

Now we're exploring doing one of those searches on kayak where you say, take us anywhere, whatever's the least expensive.  We think we'll take a look right after the wedding and just go, we're last minute planners anyway.  A surprise for everyone!

Have you ever done something like this?  Any tips?

Monday Dinner

Yesterday was Monday.  I was beat from the weekend.  I didn't want to drive to the grocery store.  I needed to cook something for dinner.

My go to summer dish popped in to my mind: one-pan farro with tomatoes

I walked over to Target after work to get some tomatoes and I was good to go.  

Highly recommended.

Wine Bottles

Does anyone besides me sometimes (read: often) choose wine bottles based on their label?

My sister picked this one out but I would have picked it up too.  I'm also very drawn to labels with bikes.

Just a note to kick start your week :)

Walk It Out

Things are a bit crazy around here lately.  It's a good thing the weather is finally taking a turn to motivate me.

Thursday before Mike left for work he told me everything he's stressed about.  With our wedding and move and start of grad school (for him) in the near future we have a lot of things we need to prep for. We're really doing our best, but sometimes it's too much.  For the past...month ish...when Mike gets home from work I have a list of what we need to accomplish that night.  

One step at a time.

So yesterday I decided we needed to take a break and go for a walk.  

We ended up at Rocking Horse's patio where they have $4 drafts on Thursday and talking about what we need to do, but it was at least a step away from the to do list.


Saturday Morning discussing Napa vs. Sonoma:
Boss: "I did a little research and I saw a comparison.  Napa is for the Land Rover, Sonoma is the Jeep Cherokee." 
I now understand this reference since Mike has many favorite car shows.
"We're not Napa people."

That was all the convincing I needed.

My boss was planning to go after we finished work Saturday and fly back to Chicago Sunday.  Mike was on his way out to join me and we hung out in San Francisco for a few days.  We decided we would rent a car for one day and head out to wine country.

We started out early and visited Big Muir National Park first.  

Then we made our way to Sonoma.  We started out at Buena Vista since it has a lot of history.  Then we eavesdropped other tasters to figure out we would go to Ravenswood.

I loved it.  I was pretty exhausted from the push to get through my work event Saturday and then Mike & I walked over 10 miles on Saturday and Sunday.  Monday was a good day for a break.

It was 30 de…

We Have News (more news)

Mike is starting St. Louis University's urban planning graduate program in the fall! 

September 1 is our official move date, but Mike will be there a couple weeks beforehand to get started.  

I think it's fair to say we're both experiencing some mixed emotions, but we're excited for new things!  

One of Mike's uncle's gave him this shirt for Christmas and I'm pretty sure he wore it for 48 hours straight after he got his acceptance email!

P.S.  Housing options in St. Louis are AMAZING!!!


*Karen tells me that is not what I'm supposed to say, but it makes sense in my head...

Saturday I was in San Antonio for work, I did get to hang out with a friend while I was in town so that definitely made the trip better, combined with the fact that the volunteers there are just wonderful.

I knew Sunday was going to be overwhelming before I left on Friday.  I always write lists when I'm overwhelmed, I wrote a list.  (Even though I hardly referenced it on Sunday.)  Just writing it down helps me feel better.

Sunday we registered for at two places, starting at 9am.  When we finished the second one (which we were both dragging ourselves through) it felt like it was time for was 2pm.  Guys, this experience brought so much clarity to people's registerys.  I would not necessarily say it was a fun experience.  And I am very happy Mike seems to have a vision because we would limit the insane number of options down to a couple options together and then I would say I don'…

We're Engaged!

Mike & I are engaged!  We're pretty excited over here and trying to plan an August wedding.

He proposed at The Robey hotel rooftop and it was perfect.  He wanted a public proposal, I did not.  Somehow we both got what we wanted!
Note:  Mike decided it would be fun to put out our arms, which I followed his instructions.  He then decided it looked silly and did not pass along that decision to me... ;) P.S. Photo credit to my sister!
Just for fun, here are some "fun facts" about Mike:

He did improv at several Chicago places and graduated from iO's program.  One of the reasons we're often going to comedy shows with his friends in them.

He loves chocolate.  Like a lot.  To the point where if there's a sweet without chocolate he doesn't see the point.  This is only really a challenge with birthday cakes because my sister does not like chocolate.

He's a night owl.

He doesn't like yellow cheese.  He will pick around it.

His current favorite video game is grand…


Every morning I fire up a skillet and make kale and eggs.  (I like it.)  Sometimes I will have toast or add some cheese or on special days avocado!

I recently came across this idea for breakfast sandwiches - and I love breakfast sandwiches - on Cup of Jo from the lady behind Smitten Kitchen.  I've jumped in full force the last couple weeks and I love it!

It's super easy and somehow more delicious than my normal kale & eggs.  Maybe it's just the fact of mixing things up a bit.
Add a little water to the egg and beat it before pouring it into the skillet.  Cook briefly before adding the filling.
I'm a big kale for breakfast fan so it's kale for me.  Sometimes I add a little cheese if there's some around. 
Fold it up, right there in the skillet.  Let it cook a bit longer.  This helps my kale wilt a bit and cheese melt.
And done!  Super quick and easy!  I'm a fan of open faced sandwiches so I have a slice of toast at the bottom.


Society 6

My friend, Rubina, mentioned Society6 in the fall and I really enjoy it.

This is a great way to honestly support artists where there main tagline is "Every Purchase Pays An Artist."  Hundreds of thousands of artists use Society6 as a producer and Society6 prints their art on all kinds of products: t-shirts, blankets, art prints, coffee cups
I love my mug that Karen, my sister, gave me for Christmas.  I get compliments at coffee shops all the time and then I go in to my spiel about Society6...

Check it out!

Date Night

I think I've mentioned here before that my love language is quality time.  I am so glad I know this.  Typically, throughout Mike & my relationship we spend a lot of time together on the weekends.  Then we moved in together in August and I quickly found myself gone almost every weekend for work.  I also found myself annoyed at Mike a lot.  For pretty much no reason.  Except for the fact that we weren't spending as much quality time together as I need.

By the end of the fall we figured out if I'm going to be gone, we have to plan a date night for the week.

So last weekend was my first work weekend trip of this year.  We took ourselves out Thursday night (in the rain) and it made a huge difference.  We went to Reno and Spilt Milk and had a lovely night out (even though our clothes were quite wet at Spilt Milk).

Another Newsletter

We all know newsletters are the new thing.  They range from delivery once a day, once a week, once a month and accross the spectrum, delivered to your inbox.  So, another newsletter you ask.  Yes!  And it's great!

My latest discovery that I really enjoy, maybe you've discovered it too, is Eye Level.  It is a bi-monthly love letter to all things literary.  It's currently in it's third issue and I'm in love with it.

I've added great new reads to my library request list, the wait is long, but it's worth it.

Check out their three issues here!

5 Year Journal - Again

I know I've mentioned my 5 year journal here before, but now that I'm in my second year and everyday I get to look back at what I did that day last year I can't tell you how much I love it.  And I imagine I will love it more and more as the years go on.  I'm already dreaming of year 5!  

It takes a maximum of 5 minutes to jot down a few notes from the day and then you move on.

I have this one.  (I'm pretty sure it was more than $12 when my grandma got it for me so that looks like a steal.)
But this one looks amazing!

Wash & Repeat - Bottle Challenge

7 days without a plastic water bottle!  I'm proud :)

Now, wash that bottle and try to use it more often!

And if a campaign catches your eye, let me know, I'm in!

Water Bottle Challenge Summary

1 More Day!  Thanks for helping the environment with me a little bit this week and helping out to do something good!

Today, we have a very informative infographic to summarize.

Thank you for joining me to make a difference!

1 = 240 - Water Bottle Challenge

Hey Guys!  Happy Sunday!

It's already day 5 of the week water bottle challenge!  Did you find it easier or harder to remember your water bottle over the weekend?

Reusing 1 water bottle will prevent the purchase and consumption of more than 240 plastic bottles every year. (source)

Do you remember when water bottles were not popularized yet?  I feel like I do.  I was definitely young, but these are a recent development.  Meaning...we don't actually need them.

Energy to Recycle - Water Bottle Challenge

Day 4 - Fact 4

How are you doing?  Has remembering your water bottle become easier?  It'll be a habit before you know it!

Yes, recycling a water bottle is a better option than throwing it away.  And reusing it a few times before you recycle it is even better.  But right now we're reducing, the best option!

So let's chat about recycling, which is good.  The energy it takes to recycle plastic bottles is mind-boggling. It's no simple task to melt down all those bottles, and the plastic is usually degraded in the process and often can't be used for food-grade products again.  But not great.  (source and view a video of a recycling plant).

Reduce Reduce Reduce

And now for the much anticipated reader sister :)  When I told Karen about the challenge she responded "easy"  She always drinks out of her reusable bottle.  So I told her to send me a photo.  Here you go!

Thank you, Karen!

400 YEARS - Water Bottle Challenge

Day 3 - Fact 3

Plastic water bottles can take between 400 and 1,000 years to decompose. (source)

Let's just ignore the 1,000 years for a second because that's too much.

If you are lucky you will live as long a 1/4 of the life of a quickly decomposing water bottle.  That's only one water bottle.

Guess what?  If you use your own bottle, you don't have to worry!

Let's Talk $$ - Water Bottle Challenge

Here we are, day 2!
I'm always wont to save a buck or two.  How about saving a ton?  

Our first bottled water fact is on dolla dolla bills.

The recommended eight glasses of water a day, at U.S. tap rate equals about $.49 per year, that same amount of bottled water is about $1,400.  (source)

We are lucky enough to currently have tap water you can drink, unless you're in Flint, Michigan, than please don't.  You know they still haven't fixed the issue in Flint.  I bet anyone there will tell you how much they wish they could drink from the tap.  

I remember while living in Mexico we had a big jug of water we would take to the corner store, give them the empty container and take home a full one.  It was heavy!  Seriously, it was probably 30 pounds, at least.  I am always grateful to drink from the tap.

World Water Day - Bottle Challenge

Today is World Water Day!  What a perfect day to start our water bottle challenge!

Did you know it takes 3 times the amount of water in the bottle to make the bottle? And an average of 663 million people worldwide who do not have access to clean water.
Take a second and appreciate clean water.

Read more about World Water Day or consider making a donation to charity: water.

Water Bottle Campaign

One of my friends working in a non-profit once told me they couldn't imagine volunteering in addition to their regular work day because she gives so much of herself every day.  And I get that.  (I'm sure many people who work at for-profit organizations can feel that way too.)  Sometimes it's nice to do something you personally feel strongly about too.  It actually makes you feel better in general.

A couple weeks ago I was at a conference in Atlanta.  I sat down in the general session ballroom at the beginning of the second day.  The night before I worked in my hotel room while crying because I felt so overwhelmed (it made it difficult to read the emails I was answering).  So I was maybe not in the best space to feel interested in anything but sleep.  (Although the run in the morning did help!)

Then the CEO from kicked off the presentations.  When she was done I wanted to move to New York and work for them.  Needless to say it was a good speech.

While I will no…

Basic Illustrator

Oh, hey!

Sorry I've been MIA.  Do you ever feel like you're still tired from a work event you organized 3 weeks later?  Well, that's how I feel right now.  I took a PTO day last Friday to try and piece myself back together...and I think I still need another.

I feel like my job right now is to learn everything and master nothing.  With that said, if you ever need a basic video to introduce Illustrator, may I introduce: How to Vectorize.  It's been amazing this week.

That is all ;)

7 Cents

A Couple Weekends Ago:
Cashier: Would you like a bag today? Me: No, thank you.  I'll use my backpack. Cashier:  Save the 7 cents. Me:  And the environment. Cashier: People seem to care more about the 7 cents. Me:  Not me.
February 1st Chicago put a 7 cent tax in place for plastic bags and somehow it seems to be working!  Last year I was excited about a plastic bag ban and then a loophole slid in for stores to have even thicker bags that "people would reuse."  Spoiler: no one reused them.  And it was terrible.
So as February 1st approached I refused to get my hopes up.
Then I started to notice people bringing in bags or just saying they'd carry their stuff and skip the bag.  
I don't think I will come to understand how in other people's minds 7 cents is terrible and the thicker bags weren't.  Regardless I'm glad it's working.
P.S. Would you like to know more about terrible plastics?  Read here.

Chicago River North Branch

Let me set the scene.  Monday was President's Day, both Mike & I had the day off work and it was 60 degrees in February. 

Once Mike peeled himself out of bed from his recovery from the Auto Show.  (He was there for 12 hours and a little sore on Monday...)  I suggested a bike ride.  There's a sign by us that says Chicago River North Branch 1 1/4 miles.  Neither of us were familiar with it so we thought we go check it out.

First we started with empanadas from Cafe Tola.  Yum!

As we sat there we realized the 1 1/4 miles note didn't make any sense.  There is a Chicago River North Branch that is mostly in the suburbs and the furthest south it goes is Lawrence... was that it? That's definitely more than 1 1/4 miles north of us.  

We still don't know what that sign is referring to, but we ended up on the Chicago River North Branch and it was lovely.  A nice relaxing bike ride.  

We made it up to Skokie and decided to turn around underneath what we believe is the yellow lin…

Happy Valentine's Day!

Hate takes energy, love gives vibes.
This quote from Girls over the weekend is pretty appropriate in so many ways right now.

I've always liked Valentine's Day.  February 1st I get out my card materials and get to work on cards for my family, which I always enjoy doing.  I think Valentine's Day is at it's core a good reminder to care about people...all people.

Do you have plans for celebration?

Turns out Mike & I have very different ideas of how this holiday should be celebrated.  We ended up planning our own celebrations...with each other.

Sunday night we had "my Valentine's Day" and tonight we'll do "his Valentine's Day".  

Everyone's happy.

Running 2017

Guys, we went on our first outdoor run of 2017 over the weekend and it was amazing.

Yes, it was challenging.  Turns out my body just doesn't stay in running shape when I force myself to run 2 miles on the treadmill every once in awhile in the winter.  

Outside is my jam.

I promised Mike we'd go slow and not too far.  We did both.  We probably ended up around 4-5 miles.  Nothing crazy.  We're going to work our way into this.  It was a bit chilly but I still got home happy!

And we stopped for pie on the way home.  Balance.

Weekend Observations

River North will never be my scene.  It just won't.  Even if I get to see lovely friends there.

For the first time in my life, I made it on the "board" of a video game.  And then I didn't know how to put in my initials and put in AAA. :(

I'm not the girl who's going to wait for brunch at a new place (that takes reservations) when there are a ton of delicious places around the corner.  Note: make a reservation for The Robey.

The weekend was full of comedy and I think we all need some comedy right now.

Thursday we started at Unabridged Books.

Saturday we got to Green Mill for Paper Machete 45 minutes before it started and got the last table.  I walked away with a to do list: calling representatives, looking up some laws, etc.  One girl did a piece like "Ann Frank" ... amazing.  Another on women's rights...amazing.  There was a little stand-up: How come guys are called bros, almost as a compliment, and their female counterparts are called basic bitche…

Pod Save America

Anyone else trying to stay on top of everything happening politically and feeling overwhelmed?  Very overwhelmed?  


I'm reading terrifying articles (when the sun's out).  Reading them cautiously and thoughtfully.  Making calls.  Writing postcards.  (P.S.  If you're in Logan Square, Hopewell is having a postcard writing event on Thursday, February 2 at 5:30pm)

Two things I've discovered in the past week and enjoy:

Countable - it's an app to monitor how your representative are voting and what's currently happening in congress.  You can pick what specifically you would like updates on.

Pod Save America - I enjoy listening to podcasts during work.  Usually it's Cardinals podcasts, this week I delved in to Pod Save America.  It is a political podcast hosted by ex-Obama staffers.  They give it to you straight (which is quite terrifying), but their delivery is spot on and I'm not scared the way I am after reading recent news articles at the end.

Give it a try!

Action 1 of 10

Yes, I attended the Women's March in LA.  I was there for work and went to the march with my boss, a volunteer and her daughter, and Mike.  It was beautiful.  A very beautiful day.  Trump's first week in office has been a bit of a slap in the face.

Are you following along with the actions listed on the Women's March webpage.  There are all kinds of things you can do now, the actions gives you ideas for where to start.  The Women's March was the beginning.

The first action: write a postcard to your Senators.  Over the weekend I sat down and wrote.  Will you join me?

I know this is in no way sufficient.  It is a start.  I encourage you to start.  And a postcard is a great start.

Have you seen the girl who is sending a postcard to an elected official every day for 100 days?  Check it out on instagram.

P.S.  Just take a glance at this article.

I turned 30!

Guys, I turned 30 a week ago!  And had my big celebration almost two weeks ago.  It's been a busy couple weeks, but I'm here, now, to tell you about it!

Celebration #1
I started the celebrations with a small Logan Square bar crawl.  It was honestly really fun.  I really wasn't sure what to expect.  With us starting at 3 and traveling to 4 bars I assumed we would be done by ... 8:30..?  I got home at 12:30.  Whew.  My friends know how to party.

We started at Hopewell at 3.  I think this was the perfect first stop for a few reasons.  Hopewell is BUSY on the weekends, even during the day.  This was an easy place for people to filter in and gather as they were able to make it, in a bright and energetic place.  Then as it got more and more busy, we moved on.  Don't get there any later than 3 if you're meeting a group.  We got one of the last "spaces" when we walked in.

Then we traveled down Milwaukee to Rocking Horse.  This was a last minute decision.  I leaned th…