Memorial Day 2018

I know that we try to keep our blog light-hearted, but I wanted to mention some organizations that assist the military and their families during their time of need.

Disclosure: The person that I am writing about is a close family member that is, in general, a very private person. Though they have social media accounts, they did not announce the news on that platform that I am about to state here. They decided to let the family and friends know individually and through word-of-mouth. Due to this, I am going to omit pieces of information that may disclose their identity. Though I will be discussing their health, I will only be giving snapshots of the complete picture of their experience.

I made sure that I was granted permission by this person with what I can and cannot share before posting this blog as well.

I know that we try to keep our blog light-hearted, but I wanted to take this opportunity to present a few things. I wanted to mention some wonderful organizations that help our military families in order to bring awareness for them. I once worked for a company that matched charitable donations, give perks like wearing jeans for a month if you donate to their featured charity and, if you volunteered 30+ hours in a calendar year, they give you $500 to donate to the charity of your choice. So, I was always looking to donate my time and money somewhere. Whether it is through programs with your job, or if it is the end of the year and you want to get a tax break through charitable donations, I hope that this article can inspire you to help these organizations out also. Plus, with Memorial Day coming up, I thought that the subject would be apropos.
If you already do something similar, such as sending care packages to the deployed troops overseas, or you volunteer your time and skills with veterans transitioning back to civilian life, then that is great! Keep doing your good deeds! (However, if you happen to fit in any of these other organizations in the future, then I will be happy too!) I was aiming to bring these organizations to light to those who were like me – unaware that they exist — and present the good that they do to support the military and their families.

So, as far as my story goes, it begins a little like this…

Continue reading “Memorial Day 2018”

LobsterGram Feature

Ever want to get fancy AF, but really REALLY don’t feel like putting pants on? Story of my life.

Ever want to get fancy AF, but really REALLY don’t feel like putting pants on? Story of my life.
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Continue reading “LobsterGram Feature”

Wanderlust Wednesday: Trip to the Land of the Rising Sun

Tokyo, Japan

I am not sure why, but I had always been drawn to Japan. I originally went on a group tour around part of the country. Initially, I had the philosophy of only going somewhere once, unless I had already finished seeing all that I needed from the world. So far, this is the only place that I made that exception.

Continue reading “Wanderlust Wednesday: Trip to the Land of the Rising Sun”

Suburban Highlight: Schaumburg-esque

I’ve come to realize a growing popular opinion: The suburbs have nothing to offer.

Excuse you. Check yourself.

So I’m going to do a mini series of suburban highlights. I’ve had to reiterate how often we do date nights within a 10-30 minute drive and not have to get on a highway. It’s so nice to NOT have to pay for parking or walk a couple blocks from our car to get to the front door of the restaurant. I’m starting with my hometown of Schaumburg. Because trust me, you’re going to enjoy this as much as I do.

Continue reading “Suburban Highlight: Schaumburg-esque”

First Bites Bash 2018

Every year to kick of the coveted Chicago Restaurant Week, Choose Chicago hosts a little event called First Bites Bash. With over 60 restaurants, it’s a means of getting a glimpse of the 14 days that follow.

This year, it took place inside the Aon Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier, and it was a perfect venue.

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As you walk in on the lower level, you are obligated to not just look around you but ABOVE you, towards the grand ceiling.

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You were also able to enter on the second floor and from the wrap-around balcony, getting an aerial view of the hustle and bustle below.

Continue reading “First Bites Bash 2018”

Hubbard Inn Winter Menu Preview

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This time of year is always a time full of family, magic, and holiday cheer, but it is also always a time of frantic planning, shopping, hosting, and altogether chaos. Some nights, I just need a short break. A few hours where I am able to relax, dine, and drink with adults. I replace the Doc McStuffins theme song with jazzy lounge music. I replace the yoga pants and slippers with fitted pants and some boots. Continue reading “Hubbard Inn Winter Menu Preview”

Be Thankful

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Today I am thankful for very many things. In order of appearance in my day (not priorities, I swear!), there is coffee. 20171123_081702

I am thankful for this sustenance that allows me to carry on with my multi-faceted lifestyle. It’s been a crazy way of living, balancing work life, food life, and family life. If you know me personally (or even superficially via Instagram), you know calling me a coffee addict is an understatement. But trust me when I say this: you do NOT want to be with me on a day I haven’t had a cup of strong coffee before 9am. 

Whoops, let’s focus on positive thoughts. I’m thankful, furthermore, for the Chicago foodie community that I have grown closer to over the past year.

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I’ve been taking pictures of my food & writing restaurant reviews for over 10 years now, but it hasn’t been until recently that I started finding “my people”. The people who just get it, who don’t judge when I get excited about the visual appeal of a dish. We get criticized & ridiculed, often while we’re working (YES it IS work!),but with the support of my friends, we’re able to laugh it off.

Now, let’s get to the sensitive mushy stuff.

I’m thankful for my family – both immediate and extended. I’m a mother of two, a sister to one (-in law to 3), cousin to way too many. I try to spread myself out and give attention to everyone, but sometimes often I find that my priorities are mixed and I choose the superficial lifestyle over what’s real. To be honest, it’s because it’s easier. Or it’s because I’m too tired to make the efforts. But regardless of how much I know I’m sucking at this adulting gig, my family is always there for me. And the unconditional love goes way beyond my need for coffee, my need to take pictures, and definitely beyond my need to network (I’m horrible at that sometimes too so -meh-). Guys – I’m sorry to make you compare your life to mine, but my family is pretty darn amazing. Today and every day, I wake up (okay fine, and hunt for coffee first) and realize how lucky I am to have them.

My girls, first and foremost, are my everything.

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We go on adventures with almost all of the free time I have. Sometimes it’s as simple as a late night drive thru trip for some Steak & Shake Side-by-Sides. Other times, we make a day out of Chicago. Or Skokie (Hi Shake Shack.. sponsor me please. Or just build in Schaumburg). But no matter what we do or where we go, we’re making memories. And eating and taking pictures of what we’re eating but hey.. they’re my daughters after all 😉

And then there’s this guy.

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Today marks 10 years since the last first kiss I ever had. 10 years since my last “first date”. 10 years since I thought “Alright, maybe it’s okay to settle down and let one guy make me his priority for once” 10 years since I thought “This will be the only guy I crush on that has a fauxhawk.” (also the last time I ever thought that). We’ve been through a lot together, and I can’t imagine going through any of it with anyone else. He’s got my back and I’m lucky to have him too. As much as I roll my eyes at almost everything he says & does, I also love him more than I’ve ever loved anyone. But let’s be real here – he’s way lucky to have me too. Do you know how much random free food he’s gotten in the past year? The way to a man’s heart is bringing home a Chuy-changa “just because”. AND IT WASN’T EVEN LEFTOVERS – that’s real love there people.

Anyways, that’s enough for today. I made Mia a fortune teller/cootie catcher, and she’s growing very impatient that I’ve told her to “hold on” before playing for the 17th time (I’ve counted).

Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving! I can’t wait to see what everyone’s dinner table spreads look like! I’ll be sharing ours on my Instagram story, so if you haven’t already, make sure you’re following along!