Flowers for Every Occasion

Flowers for Every Occasion

BouquetAndTrayThere are few things that make me happier than a surprise bouquet of flowers. From their vibrant color to the intoxicating smell, a fresh bouquet in my apartment brings a huge smile to my face. And it’s not just me! Studies show that flowers trigger happy brain chemicals – so they actually do improve your mood. Which is why they make the perfect gift for every occasion.

Whether it’s to express condolences or joy, for an anniversary or Valentine’s Day, a birthday or Mother’s Day (Hint! Hint! At least one of these is coming up soon), a beautiful bouquet is the perfect way to show you care. Continue reading “Flowers for Every Occasion”

2018 Goals: March Recap

2018 Goals: March Recap

Does anyone else feel like March flew by? All of the sudden I woke up and it was April but still as cold as a brisk day in February. Maybe that’s why I can’t comprehend that March has come and gone and more goals can be checked off – or that I’m just getting to this post and it’s already the 18th. (I promise a new goal is to write these for you sooner!)

It was admittedly a mixed month of goal crushing and, well, not crushing. I managed to try out a new recipe and TWO new studios, but unfortunately my book of the month rolled over a little into April. While I’m bummed that I didn’t finish it in March, I’m happy that I was able to start another amazing read and that I’m pushing myself to finish it so I can get on to something new for April. While I may not have hit my true goal, I’m still doing things that help me become a better person and push me to do things that I previously wouldn’t have, and in my book (pun intended) that’s a win. Continue reading “2018 Goals: March Recap”

Coworking Meets Luxury in the West Loop

Coworking Meets Luxury in the West Loop

I don’t know about you, but often times my environment dictates my productivity. When I try to power through work at home I find myself taking breaks to do laundry or grab a snack from the fridge, wander to bed and need a nap, or the dreaded “I can get this done while watching The Real Housewives.” And while I’ve looked into coworking spaces to get my blogging done none ever fit my needs. They felt too informal, had kitchens I could wander in to for beer and coffee and get distracted talking to someone, or were spaces that felt more like a hangout than a work environment. That is, until Co-Optim moved into the West Loop. Continue reading “Coworking Meets Luxury in the West Loop”

2018 Goals: February Recap

​This post is one that has taken me a long time to write – not because I didn’t hit my goals – but because I really only enjoyed one of them. I thought I failed because my recipe wasn’t great and didn’t photograph well, and I felt guilty because I did not like the studio I tried – but then I realized something: this is the whole reason I set these goals.

Some months will have more joyous outcomes than others, but every month I’ll get out of my comfort zone, learn something, and try something new. I’m learning to cook (even if some meals are not photogenic or delicious), I’m reading books that will help me grow and develop, and I’m trying new workouts to push myself to work new muscle groups and try things that make me uncomfortable. With that being said, here’s what I was up to in February:

Continue reading “2018 Goals: February Recap”

International Women’s Day 2018

International Women’s Day 2018

IMG_7531.JPGAs many of you know, International Women’s Day (IWD) is coming up this week. On Thursday, March 8th, people throughout the world unite in order to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. In addition, IWD marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.

As explained on its website, IWD “has been observed since the early 1900’s – a time of great expansion and turbulence in the industrialized world that saw booming population growth and the rise of radical ideologies. International Women’s Day is a collective day of global celebration and a call for gender parity. No one government, NGO, charity, corporation, academic institution, women’s network or media hub is solely responsible for International Women’s Day. Many organizations declare an annual IWD theme that supports their specific agenda or cause, and some of these are adopted more widely with relevance than others.”

The theme for this year’s IWD is Press for Progress, a call-to-action designed to help accelerate the statistic that gender parity is over 200 years away. To learn more about the theme, which kicks off March 8th, visit their website, here.

Events will be held world-wide to celebrate, create dialogues and cultivate positive change. And while you can find events for cities across the world on the International Women’s Day site, I’ve created a round-up of some exciting things happening in Chicago.

Continue reading “International Women’s Day 2018”

2018 Goals: January Recap

For those of you who saw my post on my goals for 2018, you know that every month I’ll be reading one new book, learning one new recipe, and trying on new fitness studio. Well, I can proudly say I survived the first month with all my goals still on track, though it did require a lot of last-minute reading (about 70 pages if I’m being honest).

Continue reading “2018 Goals: January Recap”

The challenge

The challenge

The other day my friend Geoff sent me a challenge. He told me that every day I should set three goals for myself. They could be to try a new restaurant, make a new friend, go to the gym – whatever I wanted – but at the end of the day if I didn’t accomplish my goals I have to reflect on why. As he said “progress not perfection. ”

It got me thinking about what we do in a day and the ripple effect it has and the progress it helps us make day by day. How reflection can help us. How motivation can guide us. And in addition to setting goals, I began reflecting on what I could practice daily to help myself progress daily towards my goals. So from now on, day by day, I strive for these things:

Continue reading “The challenge”

New Year, New Goals

It’s officially the new year and everyone is talking about their resolutions – except for me.

Honestly, I hate new years resolutions for the sole fact that they stem from such negative feelings about ourselves. With the focus primarily on how much weight we need to lose, what we failed at in 2017, or the old saying of “new year, new me” the constant need to change ourselves year over year astonishes me. In fact, I’ve already seen posts from people beating themselves up because they already “failed” at their resolution. It’s been three days! There are so many opportunities to make things happen, don’t get down on yourself already! It may be a new year, but I am the same, self-loving me that you’ve known and (hopefully) loved all year.

While I don’t want to spend the year attempting to change who I am at my core, or resolving to change how I look, I do want to go into 2018 with some goals that I can accomplish. They’re not meant to change me, but they are some things that will help me grow as a person.

Continue reading “New Year, New Goals”

2017: What I Learned

2017: What I Learned

Am I the only one who can’t believe 2017 is just finally coming to an end? Looking back on this year and all of the things that have happened it’s hard to believe some of it was within the past 365 days. From travel to work to my health, so many big changes and events happened for me this year that it’s hard to comprehend that I haven’t had a few more breakdowns. If I had to describe the year in one word it would be learning.

Every part of this year taught me something new about myself and about others – whether the lessons were good, bad or still undecided.
Continue reading “2017: What I Learned”

My Whole30 Survival Guide

My Whole30 Survival Guide

As many of you saw, I recently did a month of Whole30. Ever since finishing and sharing my experience, I’ve been flooded with messages from friends and followers saying they’ve been inspired to start a journey of their own. As you carry on throughout your Whole30, or begin to plan it out, here are some of my top tips to help make it as seamless as possible.

1) Find friends to do it with you
I cannot put in to words what a world of difference it made to have people on their Whole30 journey with me. I actually did not have any immediate friends doing Whole30 with me, but I joined a group led been Instagram babe Everything Erica, who organized a large group along with her friend Brett from Her Tasty Life. We had a Facebook group full of women supporting each other, sharing recipes, and venting through our experience. It made it so much easier to have people to talk to who understood what I was going through and could help me get through the tough times and celebrate the good ones. If you don’t have friends who want to join you, a supportive online group is the next best thing.

2) Meal Prep
Meal prepping is one of the best ways to stay on track with Whole30. By preparing all your foods, you’re able to control the ingredients and be certain that your meals are 100% compliant. Not to mention, it helps you feel empowered in the kitchen and fully in charge of your diet and life. I recommend setting a routine that works for best for you to do a grocery haul and prep for the week. I typically recommend Sundays for anyone who works full time because it helps you get ready for your weekday lunches, but any day can be prep day!

3) If you have to go to a party or happy hour, eat beforehand
This is one thing I learned early and fast. There is nothing worse than leaving work and heading to an event only to find there’s nothing you can eat or drink. (Well yes, you can have water, but it doesn’t look as fun as those fancy cocktails your fellow part-goers are sipping.) I would always head to these with a full stomach so that there was no temptation to try a small bite of anything.

4) Adjust your portions
Remember – you are cutting out grains, legumes, dairy and more. These are calories you’re used to consuming, and things that probably filled you up enough that your typical veggie portion was smaller. But on Whole30 you need to make sure you are eating enough to keep from getting sick or undernourished. There is a great guide that shares the recommended portion sizes, but a general rule of thumb is a palm sized protein and filling the rest of you plate with veggies. At first I couldn’t get the hang of eating so many veggies on my plate, and I could feel myself suffering for it. The first few days I felt sick and weak, but after re-evaluating my portion sizes I quickly bounced back to my energetic self.

5) Keep approved snacks hand
OK, so snacks are not necessarily coveted in Whole30 – you’re intended to strive for 3 meals a day, but sometimes things get in the way. You have a big workout, have kids to wrangle around and lack time for big meals, you’re used to six small meals a day, or something happens and you’re starving and need something to hold you over. This won’t ruin your Whole30, as long as you don’t indulge on things that aren’t approved. I kept a bag of cashews at my desk at work for emergencies. If I planned a post-work trip to the gym I’d eat a half a handful of nuts to get me through my gym since my dinner was now going to be eaten around 9pm. Or some days my lunch was smaller than I’d thought it was going to be and I just needed something to ease my headache. It’s better to have something available than to have no options and cave into something that isn’t approved. Another great options is to keep carrot and veggie sticks ready to go in the fridge. Add some Primal Kitchen Ranch and you’re good to go!

6) Find new ways to ease your emotions
One thing that Whole30 really opens your eyes to is how much our eating habits are driven by our emotions. You may celebrate successes with a big meal full of cocktails and treats. Or you may eat away sadness with a pint of ice cream. Whatever your vice, it’s hard to find someone who doesn’t have at least one emotional eating habit. Mine were celebratory margaritas, stress beers, and sad pints of Jeni‘s Goat Cheese and Dark Cherries ice cream. Now I celebrate success with present for myself (think manicure, new shirt, or new candle), ease stress with a massage (I love seeing what Groupons are available), and when I’m sad I hit the gym and work it out. Instead of having food as a crutch I’ve found new ways to replace healthier forms of wellness into my emotional responses.

Have you tried Whole30 yet? What is your biggest piece of advice for a first timer?