things i love friday: kiddie pools and tacos galore

Aaaaand just like that, it’s Friday again. Don’t you love short workweeks?

Even though it was a short week I still ran into a million things I loved and knew I had to share today with everyone, so without further ado, a few things I love this Friday.


Farmers Markets

Well it’s officially farmers market season and I couldn’t be happier. I love strolling past the dozens of farmers’ stands and checking out the homegrown produce and unique products. From crepe stands to flower stops and some of the freshest fruits and veggies you’ll see in your life, there are few things better than throwing on a casual maxi dress, grabbing all the cash you can find in your house, and walking the sunny streets of a farmers market. I plan on going to the Green City Market in Lincoln Park tomorrow morning, so stay tuned.



2% Greek Yogurt

Why have you all been holding out on me?? The difference between 2% and 0% greek yogurt is like night and day. It was so rich and creamy, it felt almost indulgent. I’ll never buy 0% again – ain’t nobody got time to be afraid of a little fat!



Speaking of that, have you ever put mango in your greek yogurt? Life-changing, I tell you.


It must be the warm weather but I’ve had fish tacos three times this week – can’t stop, won’t stop. I’m still on the hunt for the best fish tacos in Chicago – as of now the honor goes to Benchmark in Old Town but I have two places on my must-go list: Antique Taco and Big Star. I guess it’s my taco bucket list 🙂


At-home workouts

When I move to Lincoln Park in a few weeks I plan on signing up for a gym in the area, but until then I’m still using up my Yoga Loft 2-week pass and doing home workouts. If you’re looking for a fast and effective workout that you can do in your living room blasting Kesha, look no further than the Total Body Workout by Body By Jake on Hulu. Because honestly, what’s better than free?




Have your heard about this? A millionaire is leaving cash taped all over spots in California, from fire hydrants to park benches. He’s tweeting clues from @HiddenCash and hoping people will “pay it forward”. How heartwarming is that? I love little moments of humanity like that – everyone’s coming together and helping each other find the hidden cash, and then either taking their friends out for dinner/drinks or donating to their favorite charity. It’s such a cool idea and brings a little excitement and unity to the world! Fingers crossed he stops by the Windy City 🙂


Movies and Music in the Park

I promise that one day I’ll stop talking about how great Chicago is in the summer. Today is not that day.  Starting next week the city puts on free events multiple times a week such as concerts in the park and outdoor movies. For all the time I’m planning on spending on the grass it’s probably a good idea to invest in some outdoor furniture. How about this?


Is that perfect or is it perfect?

Have a great weekend! Check back tomorrow for a fresh new summer recipe!



  • What are your favorite outdoor activities in the summer?
  • What’s your favorite kind of taco?
  • What are your plans this weekend?



hold off on the amber alert

I think I was getting to the point where I was actually seeing how long I could go without blogging. Over the past 1.5 weeks I’ve snapped photos of my meals, documented workouts, and thought “Oh, that’d be fun to write about!” But I never. actually. wrote. Little did I know I actually have some people who look forward to my posts so I got feedback just short of “do we need to call the police? Where’d you go?” That was pretty funny!

My life has done a complete 180 in the past week. Okay, that’s a tad dramatic. But I had a hard week. I’m going to choose not to elaborate, but it was one of those weeks where my character was tested. Like anyone else, I’m a human being. A human being who makes mistakes and has bad weeks. It took me almost seven whole days to forgive myself for mistakes I’ve made recently and to make the conscious decision to go back to the person who I really am, but I did it. Do you ever have that eye-opening moment where you realize you’ve been acting a certain way that you thought was just fine, but in that one moment your eyes are opened and you realize you don’t recognize yourself in the mirror? It was one of those weeks. A week of personal reflection.


Speaking of that, do you know what’s the worst? When you’re so upset that  you feel like you’re going to be sick for days, and you keep asking yourself, when is this going to get better? What can I do to make this better? And you realize that you have no control. The only thing that can make certain situations better is time. That’s the worst. I’m the kind of person who, when I have a problem, in order to make the “uncomfortable”, the “sad”, the “anxiousness” end, I try to control the speed of recovery. Unfortunately life doesn’t work like a math equation. Sometimes you just have to let your emotions play out and then, when you least expect it, you move on.


 It’s been a really long time since I’ve been that disappointed in myself. Usually I have it all together and I’m fairly proud of the person I am. I still am…I’m not sure what I’m saying. All I know is this time last week I was eating one meal a day, spending my free time curled up on the couch, and I didn’t work out once. I was just sad about where my life was at, how I’d gotten there, and where I was going.

Today I’m all back to normal. Like the snap of my fingers I forgave myself and moved on. I’m at my new job, the weather is in the 50s and 60s (holla!) and I’m still surrounded by everyone I love.  And do you know what I did to fix everything that went wrong last week? Absolutely nothing. I just let time happen.


I’ll be back this weekend with a “normal” blog post. Let’s just pretend this little hiatus didn’t even happen 🙂

So catch me up on your lives, friends. And listen to this beautiful song. Because it’s Friday.

betty white is older than sliced bread

Thank goodness February is basically over! Sayonara, see you later, adios, I won’t miss you. Other than that nice little day right in the middle of the month where I get to binge eat m&ms and get flowers, nothing about February is good. Yeah that’s a blanket statement and it’s probably pretty unfair, but it’s never been good to me. The way I see it is it makes me appreciate March even more! I love walking outside in March and just feeling Spring in the air. Can’t wait to get me some warmth!

ImageOy vey guys do I feel like I have lots to share today. Nothing serious but I’ve just been stumbling upon some of the funniest stories, cutest outfits, coolest facts, etc. etc. and I thought, who better to discuss this stuff than with my virtual friends??

Betches Love This – The Bachelor recap


If you don’t watch The Bachelor you’re really missing out. This season is centered around Juan Pablo, the kind of man who is quite literally my worst nightmare. Not because he’s some arrogant jerk or tough as nails man who is incapable of intimacy. No, it’s because he just doesn’t care. He’s a 30-something man whose depth is as impressive as the shallow end of a kiddy pool. He is constantly asking the women questions like “Why are you thinking so much?” and “You’re so pretty…you’re so cute…this place is so pretty…I’m so happy.” I just want to send him a care package full of things like The Feminine Mystique, a Spanish-English dictionary, and a fucking Thesaurus. The man needs some new adjectives.  This week Andi, one of the FINAL 3 contestants basically had a mental breakdown because she realized this guy, the guy who could potentially propose to her in a week (which, as we all know, is a ridiculous premise of the show), had no idea who she was. And he genuinely had no interest in figuring it out. He loved that she was smart, he loved that she was beautiful and kind, but at the end of the day he was all surface. I know I’m young but as someone who’s been in a relationship for over three years I can definitively say that no relationship can survive on compliments and laughs. Relationships are about friendly debate about civic issues, fighting over why you don’t want to take out the garbage, and facing life’s tough roadblocks together: death, loss of friends, job changes, emotional instability, etc. I think JP seems like a nice guy. He’s the guy I’d love to give me a tour of a soccer stadium, shoot a ball around and buy me a hot pretzel. But I’m with Andi – you can’t just say everything’s “okay”. Feelings are important, and limiting yourself to just saying “okay” when someone challenges you is one of the most frustrating things I can possibly think of and I probably couldn’t handle him for more than an hour.  If you DO watch The Bachelor and haven’t read the “Betches Love This” recaps every week, do yourself a favor and read them,. I always laugh my butt off.

On that note, when did I become such a feminist? Oh that’s right, when I was 18 and finally looked up from my Facebook long enough to take a look around at the world and see just how shitty things can still be for women. You know what’s the funniest thing I hear whenever I tell someone that I’m a feminist? “Oh so I shouldn’t hold the door open for you?” (self-gratifying chuckle). Oh yeah totally—because I’m a feminist I would love it if your manners disappeared.

I don’t know exactly when or why I changed my views on the world. In fact, a few years ago I went to Washington DC and protested against the Roe vs. Wade decision, holding up a sign and marching with other protestors about the sanctity of life. My views on this great tragedy of life haven’t personally changed—but I woke up one day and realized that I am a smart, intelligent, compassionate, rational woman and I have the right to make every single decision regarding my body that I need to make, and I have absolutely no right to tell anyone else what to do. (Sidenote: I still respect both sides and know it’s a tough/emotional topic for so many people, but I wanted to share because it shows a little about my growth as a woman over the past few years). I’m not just talking about women’s reproductive rights either. The Affordable Care Act has, quite honestly, brought out the worst in people and has brought up many different debates including sex education, contraception, religious freedoms, safety, cycles of poverty, etc. It’s a problem that is so much more complex than just “yes or no” or “is it moral”. It’s an issue that should be faced with compassion and empathy. I’m lucky enough to have grown up in a time and place where I had access to education, but some people don’t. It’s as simple as that. So until we start addressing the ROOT of the problem, I don’t think that I or anyone else has the right to shame women for ANY decisions they make. (Again, respect to all).

Ok, unclench. The tough stuff is over 🙂

 8 Surprising Historical Facts That Will Change Your Concept of Time Forever


Betty White is older than sliced bread?? The last time the Cubs won a World Series the Ottoman Empire still existed??  France was still using the guillotine when “Star Wars” came out?

Mind. Blown.

Shamrock Shuffle 8K!

I’m signing up for this race today! I’ve never run an 8K before but since it’s right around 5 miles I think this is going to be my new favorite distance. Not only that but it’s at the end of March so I’m sure it’ll be decently warm without being uncomfortable. Plus people dress up and run around the streets of Chicago—I can’t think of anything more fun! Should I be a leprechaun? A pot of gold? A rainbow? A SHAMROCK SHAKE? The possibilities are endless.


As much as I love my long-sleeved baggy sweaters, boots and skinny jeans, I’m more than happy that spring fashion is in the air. Have you all ever heard of Piperlime? It’s an affiliate of Gap, another favorite of mine, but their stuff is just head to toe gorgeous. Please do yourself a favor and head over to their website and lust over their new arrivals for spring. I’m already formulating plots to make extra money this month so I can afford it. I’m ready to donate plasma—I just want this damn skirt.

ImageBefore I forget….

Holla at my best friend Megan for taking a leap of faith, leaving her full-time job and pursuing something that will make her happy! I’m so proud to be surrounded by a brave woman like you. You’re an inspiration and I know this big risk will pay of tenfold! Let’s celebrate the way we do best – coffee or brunch



Have a great Friday!!


  • What are you most looking forward to this weekend?
  • What’s your favorite race distance? Ever run an 8K and have some advice?
  • What’s your favorite season and why?

random thoughts friday

Vacation dreaming

I love to travel. I have a lot of favorite cities depending on what kind of trip I’m looking for.  Feeling patriotic? DC all the way.  Beauty in nature? Sioux Falls, South Dakota. International adventure? Prague Prague Prague.

But the one city that I think has it all…is Austin, TX.



I’ve been there twice in the past year and a half and it. has. everything. From paddleboarding to live music to breakfast tacos and everything in between, I’m head over heels in love with Austin. Now that the weather is getting colder and colder I can’t stop dreaming about frozen margaritas overlooking Lake Travis while the sun goes down.  It’s a cheap trip and definitely worth it if you just want a few days away to escape to a land where there’s music in the streets and food trucks abound.

Food for thought (literally)


It makes me so sad that my beloved Mars company is up there. M&Ms, I’ll never give you up but man, I just don’t feel good about looking at this chart.  I hate thinking that very few corporations have so much control over what I eat. I’ll never be fortunate enough to go totally organic, but this kind of thing makes me step back and really think about what I’m buying. There’s a reason why no conglomerate can get their hands on apples, you know? Whole foods FTW.

Why I love to write


There’s something special about writing. Until I started this blog, I had pretty much stopped writing for fun, an activity that took up much of my life before I left for college. I’ve always been a million times better at writing than I am at speaking. There’s just something about a pen and paper that helps me get out exactly what I mean, with no fillers or things that can be misconstrued.  I’ve also always valued the fact that I can write down how I’m feeling and look back on it in retrospect. It’s almost as if with everything I’ve ever written I can get a better picture of who I was at that time, when all that I have besides my written words are pictures, and those don’t say much. Most people who write aren’t writing for the sake of it, but because they have something to share that they just can’t muster up the words for.  Even food bloggers, who don’t seem like they have anything important to say, are usually sharing some parts of their personal life through their blogs. People like me who have spent years trying to figure out the “right” way to eat and have come out on the other side just want to share their love for food and fitness to the world. We have something to say.  And while some people can read blogs like mine and think “what’s the point?” others read it and can relate.

Thanksgiving is almost here!

Thanksgiving is on the way! It’s no surprise that this is my favorite holiday of the year. I’d imagine that for many food bloggers it’s the same. And it’s funny because it’s not the food itself that gets me so excited for this day. I’ve always been in love with the process of making food. The family all jammed into a small kitchen, each calling dibs on different stovetops and oven temps. I love having football on in the background while we prepare mashed potatoes or set the table. The rituals are what I look forward to the most. The idea that it’s not about giving/getting things (which can be stressful) but just about being together to eat at one beautifully filled table once a year–that’s why I love turkey day!  In the spirit of Thanksgiving, here is the recipe I made for the big meal last year.  If you’re struggling to think of something to bring to your celebration, definitely consider this (minus the mushrooms because that’s just gross).


Burned out

I’ve worked out once this week. Oh well. I’ve been burned out. My days this week have been spent looking like this:


I also have a pretty bad cold and this weather makes my asthma go nuts so nothing about waking up each morning made me want to exercise. The funniest part is that even though I’ve barely worked out all week, the world is still spinning. Weird, right?

Luckily New Girl has kept me great company. Until this passes, it’s just me, my couch, and Schmidt.



Happy Friday, everyone!


100th post!

Well there’s not much to say except I can’t believe I’ve stuck with blogging for 100 whole posts. Considering it took me years to even get the courage to start one of these things I’m really impressed with my commitment to “I Had a Big Lunch”.  It’s been so much fun documenting my healthy living journey and even though it has become a bit of an obsession (i.e. taking pictures of eveeeeerythingggg), I’m so happy to run this little ol’ blog.

The end of today can’t get here fast enough. Tonight I’m leaving for my first-ever HOMECOMING as an alum. To say that I’m giddy like a little kid on Christmas is an understatement. I can’t wait to dance in the slimy bars, prance down the quad, and visit my friends at the coffeeshop where I used to work…it’s all going to be a blast.

I can’t wait to go home!

Of course before I can go off and celebrate for 48 blissful hours I have a million and one things to take care of. I just sent in a final project for work, packed a dinner for the car ride (mom status), and snuck in a workout that will let me justify my nonstop pizza and beer consumption this weekend.

So without further ado, just a few of my favorite things from this past week.



I’ve been throwing this bad boy into just about everything. Omelets, sandwiches, and of course guac. Let’s just say it’s been a fat-filled week (in a good way!)


Midweek drinks with friends

I was so lucky this past week because I got to spend some time with one of my oldest and dearest friends. Frank and I have been close ever since religion class freshman year of high school. We’re both still in the suburbs most days so it was great to grab a drink with him after work.


I also got lucky and was invited to a company happy hour with Zman downtown, so I finally got to check out the bar I’ve been dying to visit, Howl at the Moon!


No pictures from inside, but just imagine two guys playing piano and a bunch of drunk businessmen. That about sums it up! It was so much fun and I can’t wait to go back on a weekend.

New Workout Moves

IMG_3580 - Copy

Yesterday we took some time to learn the proper overhead squat technique. It was actually pretty tricky! You basically squat while raising a bar over your head.

Look how good I look! Just kidding. Lawlz. But this is essentially the movement. The only problem was that for about 12 hours after the workout my left hand was asleep. It had that “pins and needles” feeling all day. That feeling has gone away today but it’s been replaced by some serious shoulder pain. I think I’ll stick to straight cardio/couch-laying over the weekend to let my muscles rest. Has anyone ever heard of that “pins and needles” feeling happening after lifting weights?


Ughh I’m too obsessed with these guys. I send out pictures of pugs to my friends more than I’m willing to admit. They’re just the cutest.



IMG_3545IMG_3117They just tug at my heart strings every time.


I’m sure this needs no further explanation. Now that the temperatures have dipped into the 40s, there is nothing better than coming home to a hot cup of coffee.


Thanks to everyone who reads and supports this blog! It’s such a fun hobby for me and I really appreciate all you guys–there’s no way I’d have made it to 100 posts without all of you. It started with just my mom and dad reading this to support my silly love of health and fitness and has now become a great outlet for support and sharing with tons of other bloggers and friends. Thank you!

things i love friday

Well it’s one of those days — gloomy and cloudy but still a little humid. Probably my least favorite environment to be in. That probably explains the bad mood I woke up in this morning. You know what the best cure for a bad mood is, though? You guessed it: work. it. out.

I honestly can’t think of a time in my life when I went for a workout and it made me feel worse. Endorphins FTW!

Today’s workout was back to the basics.  After a 200m run warmup along with stretching and some quick practice moves, we got started with the WOD.


Seems easy, but after the first 5 minutes my whole body was on fire. After this 22 minute workout we all tested out our core strength by holding side planks as long as we could. I have to admit I loved this part because this is one of my strengths, so it felt good to be the last one in the class holding up my plank (especially because my upper body strength pales in comparison to most of the people at bootcamp). The whole workout, including warmup and planks, took a little under 30 minutes.  Fast and intense, as always.


Each day I get closer to my goal of being able to do pull-ups and push-ups like a champ. For some reason, while I have always had legs built for a horse, my upper body has been super weak.  It’s funny because you always wonder “what’s the secret?” I’m learning now that there is no quick formula or secret. Since I’ve started doing simple exercises such as ring rows, pushups, burpees, and resistance-band pull-ups, my muscle is slowly but surely building. Don’t come across me in a dark alley!

Now here are a few of my favorite things from this week.  It’s going to be extra food-heavy because I did a great job preparing creative lunches this week so I’d love to share my ideas with you. Enjoy!


I’ve loved Ellie Goulding since I heard her perform on SNL. I’m so happy she’s getting more popular so I get to hear her songs on the radio more often.

I heard this song on the radio the other day and I immediately became 13 years old again. This is definitely a sing-along-in-your-car song. It’s beautiful!




Alright you got me. The closest thing I did to reading this week was looking through inspirational instagram quotes.  I’ll admit it.

Oh and this. Hilarious.

“How the Government Shutdown is Exactly Like Mean Girls”

ImageNow to the best part.



Hummus and veggie sandwich with a slice of swiss cheese and a bowl of black bean sweet potato soup. My mom brought the soup home from work because she knows I have an obsessive love for sweet taters and it was all kinds of yum.


I’ve been doing such a great job of only drinking water (and coffee of course), but when I need something different nothing beats a rootbeer Zevia.  October decorations hanging out in the background just waiting to be placed around the house.


Fruit/veggie bowl. Sugar snap peas, farmer’s market carrots, granny smith apple and lots of pb. This is a much better midnight snack than my usual tortilla chips or chocolate. I’m working on it!


Tuna salad sandwich with half a sweet potato topped with cinnamon. So much going on here it’s mind-blowing.


Peanut butter oatmeal. Filled with lots of chia and flax seeds for extra crunch, fiber, and protein. I’m a weirdo and don’t like eating peanut butter in hot oatmeal (it makes me nauseous for some reason) so I let the oatmeal cool down and then topped it with extra chunky pb.


Remember that time I decided to get all unique and creative and buy a horned melon to see what it tastes like? Yeah it’s not good. It’s like a cross between a cucumber and a kiwi. AKA two foods that should never be in the same realm of tastes. Skip it!



I realize now that I did a good job of conveniently not snapping many pics of all the treats I had this week. I promise my life is not a perfect world of vegetables and whole grains. My sweet tooth is a raging monster and I often munch on the extra fries at work. It’s not about eating 100% healthy during the week and then binge eating on the weekends. It’s about balance and intuitive eating every day.

Have a wonderful weekend! It’s supposed to rain over the weekend so I’m thinking cozy movie days are ahead 🙂


  • Do you have any fun plans this weekend?
  • Out of the four basic exercises in my WOD today (pull-ups, push-ups, sit-ups, and squats), which one is your favorite? Your least favorite?



Current Music: 

If you haven’t heard Timeflies before, you’re missing out on some serious talent.  This guy is a talented rapper/singer who has his friends put topics in a hat and then he raps about them without knowing beforehand what the topics are. It’s crazy! These are some of my favorite versions of his songs. Not all these songs display this raw rapping talent but if you wanna see that just check more of his stuff out on YouTube.

Current Food: 

I did a lot fewer food pictures than normal this week so I have quite a bit to catch you up on!


Quinoa, black beans, avocado, Morningstar chickn patty, bbq sauce, salsa, sea salt and cayenne pepper.


Snacks on the go (I ALWAYS have food in my purse): almonds and carrots


Overnight oats: 1/2 cup oatmeal, 3/4 cup almond milk, chia and flax seeds, 1/2 banana, truvia and cinnamon, all topped with chunky pb!


Tuna salad sandwich, Ezekiel bread, grapes


Plain greek yogurt mixed with truvia and a chocolate Vitatop


Confession…the past week has had a lot of late nights thanks to worries about work and life in general, so I’ve made nachos  twice this week right around midnight (and that’s not including the chocolate chips that have made a permanent residence next to my bed lately). Definitely not the best for me, and I feel it in the morning. Oh well, mistakes happen!

Current Obsession:

I figured I’d rather buy this than end up in the Starbucks drive-thru five times a week for a pumpkin spice latte.  Plus I’m not a huge latte fan when I can just get a nice cup of black coffee.  This just takes coffee to the next level!

ImageCurrent Read: Relish by Daphne Oz



I bought this book a few months ago and after a quick browse I forgot about it. Fail! I really like this book because it isn’t just a cookbook, it has a lot of tips about life in general. I really like Daphne after seeing her on “The Chew”–she seems like someone who has a beautiful, balanced relationship with food.  I highly recommend this book.


The 100 Things Every 20-Something Needs To Realize


LOVE this list. I’m seriously considering printing it out, laminating it, hanging it on my fridge, whatever. It’s just awesome.

A few of my favorites:

  • 13) When you think you’re missing out, you’re not.
  • 44) You should always do your best to look your best because it will make you feel your best.
  • 75) You don’t need to be an assh*le to get ahead in life, but you can’t be a pushover either.
  • 76) Your cellphone is ruining your life. 
  • 88) Sudoku helps fight off future dementia. (Great! I love me some Sudoku).

Have a great Friday!

Question: what’s your favorite item from that list?