things i love friday

This Just In: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Thai Noodles, and A Hairspray Hack

Let’s keep it short and sweet today, guys. I have a few things I think you should know.

Hairspray gets pen out of leggings

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I decided to be bold and brave and buy a pair of leggings that wasn’t black. Less than 24 hours later I ended up with a pen mark on my thigh. I thought I could quickly clean it with a baby wipe, but that just left a water mark around the pen stain. So I had the distinct pleasure of walking around the rest of the day looking like I had a boob on my thigh.  Let’s just say “Electric Coral” pants don’t hide mishaps well.

Thankfully, with a little help from Google + my mom, I tried spraying hairspray on the area, giving it a good rub, and throwing the leggings in the washer. Voila! The pen was gone!

Don’t say you never learn anything on this blog!

Jessica @ How Sweet Eats knows how to make KILLER Thai Noodles

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I rarely take the time to make a recipe from start to finish anymore. Usually because I don’t have the spices, oils, herbs, seasonings that are required, and I don’t want to spend the money to stock my cabinets (even though of course that would just mean I’m gonna have a kickass cabinet for the future). But when I saw Jessica’s Thai Noodles I bookmarked it and decided to make it for dinner last night. It was OUTSTANDING. I love pad thai, and even though this wasn’t that dish exactly, it was better than any Thai dish I’ve ever paid for at a restaurant.

Make them now make them now make them now. Thanks to this recipe, I now know how to blanch bok choy. BRB adding that to my LinkedIn profile.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

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…will take you out of your comfort zone. 

I’m not one to willingly put myself in a situation where I’m going to a) look like an idiot b) not be good at what I’m doing or c) be wrestling on the ground with complete strangers. But I did all of that at Brazil-021 in Chicago. Hannette, one of the instructors and possessor of eight world titles, has become one of my friends in the fitness community lately and she graciously invited me to come try out a class. I have never, EVER participated in martial arts, done any kind of combat, or taken a self-defense class, so I was truly at the mercy of the class (all incredible men and women). They were all so kind to me — there were times when I could tell that what they were teaching me was the equivalent of 2+2 to them, but they were patient and encouraging. My favorite part of the class was that all the students cheered each other on. It transported me back to my days playing sports, and I remembered how great it felt to be part of a team.

PS you can look like a fool for 60 minutes and survive. Sometimes I need to remind myself of that!

Dalmatia Fig Spread

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….is the soul mate of your fancy cheese.

You probably think you don’t need something like this. But trust me, you do. You know that sweet, delicious spread that’s always on the perfect cheese plate at your neighbor’s holiday party and you’re too shy to ask what it is because if you do you’ll probably get roped into dog-sitting again? It’s dalmatia fig spread.

I stared at it for probably a good three or four minutes at Jewel the other day, debating if it was really worth the $8. Let’s be honest. Today isn’t payday. But then I thought back to the cheese I was coerced into buying at Trader Joe’s on Sunday and I made the financially-sound and adult decision to buy some fancy jam to go with it. So now I have fancy cheese, fancy jam, and fancy crackers. Throw in the $9.99 bottle of Chardonnay that I snagged and I am turning into quite the broad.

I’m linking up with Katie and Heather — head that way to check out some other favorites of the week!

Happy Friday, folks!

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?


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?