Weekend happenings: The November Project, Shamrock Shuffle 2016, and One Giant Food Tour

I feel like that’s what will be written on my tombstone. “Here lies Lauren, her life was one giant food tour.” You’ve heard me lament here and whine there, wailing that my finances and waistline will catch up to me one day if I continue my eating habits.

But then I walk by a restaurant where they strategically make the kitchen smells come from the sidewalk grate, my friend texts me that she’s craving tacos, or I realize it’s been over 48 hours since a I’ve posted a meal on Instagram and the blood starts crawling more and more slowly through my veins, as if I’ll drop dead if I don’t remedy the situation.

And so the food tour continues.

Thursday it was tacos. The tacos craving struck REAL hard after an hour of yoga, a HIIT workout at Sweat, and then an hour of teaching the following HIIT class.

It seems a bit odd that we have a fish taco joint in Chicago, but I’m not going to question greatness. Buzz Bait Taqueria does it right. The chips come out piping hot and covered in salt and seasoning every time, and the mahi mahi tacos are tossed with slaw and an addicting peanut sauce.


Friday morning I was up bright and early, before the sunrise, in fact, to try out The November Project in Chicago. It was my first time and I’m sold! The November Project is a free fitness movement that has found a home in many major cities across the country. It is a community of like-minded people all with the goal to get moving. The Chicago tribe meets at The Bean at 6am on Friday mornings and the energy is booming from the very start. One thing I’ve noticed as I’ve gotten older is that adults don’t want to let on that they like being part of a community. It feels weird to be jumping up and down in a circle with a group of adults screaming “I AM THE SHIT!” but that’s just what we did during our warmup. And everyone LOVED it. Because let’s be real — deep down we’re all just a bunch of kids dressed in suit coats and donning Michael Kors rose gold watches, and it’s time we all admit it. We need our workouts to be fun, our team to be motivating, and laughter to be at the center of it all. Hence why The November Project has caught on like wildfire in Chicago.


Because I started the day so early I didn’t have a chance to pack any food for the day, so the great food tour that is my life continued.


I headed to my favorite midway spot between my two jobs, Goddess and the Grocer, for shrimp gumbo, a mini baguette, and a *magic* bar. So many delicious things in that bar — chocolate, butterscotch, salt, sugar, coconut, all the works. I kept it in my purse throughout the afternoon and it was an immediate sugar rush with every bite I took.

As if I need an excuse for all my eating out, I worked a double at the store this weekend so the last thing I wanted to do on Saturday night when I got home was to cook my own dinner. Not to mention that my neighbor asked me to watch her baby for a few hours that night so I knew that in order to push through even more work, I needed to have my dinner handed to me. So I picked up the healthiest thing I could think of so as to make myself feel better about the whole thing. Thank goodness healthy can be delicious.


This awesome Vietnamese shop is a hop and a skip away from my place, so I find myself there often. I call it my Vietnamese Panera. They have sandwiches, soup, and salads, except you actually get to branch away from Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice to something a little more exotic.


Not to mention it’s fast, cheap, and adorable. Spring rolls + chicken soup for the win.

Thank goodness I was properly fueled for my crazy night ahead.



Oh well — I was basically paid to babysit cats (the baby slept the whole time) and I got to watch Friends. It was for the best, though, because I wanted to be up bright and early to cheer on some friends who were running the Shamrock Shuffle downtown in the AM.

I headed down to the Loop around 8am Sunday morning to cheer my favorite luluLEMON on (yes he’s wearing a lemon suit).


Even though it was freezing, it was great to be a part of the unofficial kickoff to running season in Chicago. I can’t wait to hit the pavement again! I don’t see any more marathons in my future, but I’m definitely down to get speedier. That’ll be my 2016 goal.

PS Thanks for sticking with me as I get back in the swing of things. March was a month of visitors and traveling, and that made blogging hit the back burner. But I’m glad we can pick right back up where we left off 🙂


  • Is it officially “running season” where you’re from?
  • What’s the best thing you ate all weekend?


  1. Yes for fun workouts and being surrounded by a community! And double yes for fish tacos and Vietnamese food! The Asian food scene here is huge and I love it – give me some beef pho any day! 😀
    Best thing I ate this weekend was some chicken and eggplant that we we grilled up on Saturday – and some dark chocolate easter bunny! Yum!

  2. I would say that Erin’s life has basically become a food tour. You all and your grilled cheeses and cookies 😀 I love that NP picture of you guys all rainbowed out! That is awesome. I feel like I participated a bit in the unofficial official kickoff of running season by RUNNING

  3. You are an excellent writer. Can I just say that? How did you learn to write so well? Do you have an undergrad of some sort? Not that you need a fancy education to write well, because you’re obviously gifted. But anyway, I had to say it. Your writing is fantastic! I hate it when you don’t blog! I keep obsessively clicking here and I was pleased as punch to see a new post. 🙂 LOVE the cats pic. So great.

  4. fish tacos just cannot be avoided or denied. i am so inexplicably happy they made their way into my life a few years ago and can’t get enough of them as well! so fun that you have a great group of fitness friends to enjoy your city with!

  5. Why is it called “November” project though????

    My November project = planning a wedding cause that’s when I am getting married. It’s like cardio for the brain all hours of the day! lol

  6. I loved that description of the November Project. I think the group/community aspect of fitness classes is the main reason that people keep coming. What an awesome way to make friends and enjoy each other’s company!

  7. I love that you find so many great restaurants wherever you are! And I love reading about all of the delicious meals, even if I’m far away in NC and don’t get to try them, too 🙂

    I’ve heard a lot about November Project, mostly from other bloggers, and it sounds amazing! I checked and there’s not one in my state but I’m so glad you got to enjoy the one in Chicago! And did you all intentionally group by color in that picture?!

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