September. It was a month.


Keep up with PT exercises. I’m so embarrased at this point that this is at the top of my 2015 goals.

Weekly yoga. I made it to three classes. One 6am class, one deep stretch, and a 30-minute yoga session at the BeHealthful Retreat.

104 strength workouts. (2x per week.) I did five. I went to TITLE Boxing Club for the first time and loved it. I’m still digging kettlebells.

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1,000 miles. 19 total miles. 15 running, 4 cycling. So. There’s that.

Art & Culture:

Perform again. I already hit this goal in May … BUT … I’ll be performing again in October! At Vaudezilla’s Halloween Student Spooktacular. Click the link, my stage name is even on there!! This is at rehearsal:


Read 18 books. I’m doing so terrible at this goal. I started Working by Studs Terkel for September book club. I didn’t finish it. I skipped the book club meeting.

Attend at least one art-related thing per month. I SAW MADONNA. I scored free tickets at work. I took my best friend. We both cried at different points during the show.


I also sort of finally made it out to Second Fridays in Pilsen (open art galleries) for like 20 minutes. I made it to a friend’s chill DJ set at a local bar… that counts for something. During which I tried a chili beer, that was tasty.


Stop talking myself out of doing things. I went the Goose Island 312 Urban Block Party even though I wasn’t sure if I’d end up wandering around alone the whole time. Thankfully I did manage to find my friend Megan.


Volunteer. We had our exit meeting for our BVA project with the Audience Architects. Overall, it was a great experience for me. Not only did I contribute to an awesome project and make some great professional connections (one of whom I’m starting to view as a personal mentor/inspiration) but it helped give me even more insight into the type of work I enjoy (spoiler: it has to do with numbers) as well as possible freelance work I could be doing.

Decrease our debt. Yeah yeah yeah.

Other stuff that happened in September: 


Our annual “holy crap we have to use that water sports Groupon/gift cert/etc before the season ends” Labor Day weekend excursion. Stand-Up Paddle Boarding is really hard when there are some waves. I did a combo of Sitting/Kneeling Paddle Boarding and regretted not opting for a kayak like my husband.


I finally watched Frozen for the first time. It was really good! This picture of with my niece + nephew was actually taken at my cousin’s kid’s birthday party. Close enough.

When running is no longer what it was

Just like “real” life, my running life seems to be going through cycles. Starts and stops, peaks and valleys. Good and bad.

When running was good for me, it was awesome! I was setting PRs! Running all the miles! I did something I never ever thought I would even want to try – I ran a marathon!

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And friends! I made so many friends! Through blogging, through group runs and through running clubs.

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Running was so many things to me. Happy hour. A way to stay physically fit. A way to stay mentally fit. Long hours pounding the pavement also helped me cope with some personal stuff that I may have been literally running away from.

So what happens when you can’t do the thing that you love, and that does so much for you?

Last year, I dealt with runner’s knee. I “graduated” from physical therapy with instructions on what to do so that I could run.

Well you know what, physical therapy is boring. Doing the same repetitive exercises is boring. And the pain never totally went away.

Running is now something else to me.

It’s fear that my knee with hurt.

It’s frustration when it does hurt.

It’s holding myself back from going to group runs because of those things above.

Instead of using the time spent running to clear my mind or to challenge myself to get faster and stronger, I spend the time focusing on my knee and how it’s gonna feel during the run, and after, and tomorrow, and when I might run next so that I don’t aggravate it too much.

And so … I haven’t been running. Because running isn’t what it was for me.

And I do miss it. Seeing the blue lines for the Chicago Marathon tangents on the streets, I feel a pang of sadness, of wishing I could be out there next Sunday.

The only one who can change this is me. The only thing I can do is focus on what my physical therapist told me. If running is something I really want to do again, for more than 30-60 minutes per week, I’m the only one who can make that happen.

But it’s hard to get over that mental hurdle when I can go swing weights around for 60 minutes and feel like a badass, or I can go run for 60 minutes and feel discouraged.

You can guess what I’ve been choosing lately.

Has running ever been something negative for you? How did you get past that? 

First World Problem – Running in the city is a pain

I haven’t been running very much for the past year due to runner’s knee, but I also haven’t been as motivated to run. Perhaps it’s because of the pain that it can lead to. Or the fun I’m having doing other workouts.

Or perhaps it’s because running in the city can be a pain in the ass.

Well, not totally. If you live close to the Lakefront Trail, it’s great!! 20 miles of pretty much uninterrupted trail with some of the best views anywhere!


I don’t live that far from the Lakefront Trail. Only about two miles. But considering most of my runs as of late are 3-5 miles, it’s too far. I can run to the lake and immediately turn around. Or I can get myself to the lake by other means – take the bus, take a Divvy (without a helmet, because what would I do with that while running?), or drive, which means dealing with parking. When the run itself will take under an hour, spending the extra 20-30+ minutes to drive/bus/bike doesn’t seem worth it.

So, that leaves me with running from my front door (of the buildings that I live or work in). Which means pedestrians. Intersections. Stop lights. Busy roads with no sidewalks. Broken glass and other litter. Uneven sidewalks. Dogs. “Undesirables” (aka creepy dudes). I love my neighborhood and all, but it’s not the greatest for running. What Chicago neighborhood is though?

City, suburban or rural, what annoys you about running where you live? 

Homemade Vegetable Broth [Recipe]

This is barely a recipe.

I like to save most of my vegetable scraps and turn them into homemade vegetable broth, which is great to use in recipes that either call for broth, or in place of water in savory recipes. And it could not be easier.

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Step One: Hoard your vegetable scraps in the freezer. It’s easier to list what I don’t save instead of what I do. Potatoes will make your broth startchy, beets will make your broth dark red, so I don’t save scraps from either. I try not to include seeds. I do include herbs. Veggies that are wilting are fine, but obviously not anything that is rotting or growing mold. But everything else is good to go! Including the parts of vegetables that you wouldn’t normally eat like stems and ends.

You still want to clean anything that you use. I store it in a zip lock bag, marked “NOT GARBAGE” so that my husband won’t throw it out.

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Step Two: Get out your slow cooker. Once a gallon-size freezer bag is full, it’s time to make broth! The frozen scraps go into the slow cooker along with any other veggies in my fridge that are about to turn, anything off my herb plants that looks overdue, along with some olive oil, salt, and a few cloves of garlic. I top it all off with water until the slow cooker is full.

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Step Three: Cook on LOW for 8 hours. You can stir occasionally just to make sure everything is submerged and what not, but otherwise you pretty much leave it alone.

Step Four: Let it cool. Once the 8 hours is over, I put on oven mits, remove the ceramic bowl and let it cool on my stove. Once it’s cooled a little bit, I remove the veggies with a slotted spoon.

Step Five: Store it. I save plastic containers from take-out (or gelato). Once the broth is cooled enough, I use a soup ladel to fill the containers. Make sure not to fill completely since it will expand as it freezes.

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Step Six: Use it in recipes! You can make soup, or anytime a savory recipe calls for water, use broth instead. Or, of course, use it in recipes that call for broth. Since I don’t use a lot of salt in my broth, I make sure to add it when cooking with it.

Do you make your own broth? Any other suggestions? 

The Price of Pumpkin: Beer Club #2 with Lakeshore Beverage

Have you heard of the Lakeshore Beverage‘s new Beer Club? Every month, they invite bloggers, beer writers, influencers, industry folk and friends for a private gathering to learn more about (and enjoy) a certain beer. I’m not sure if I got on the list because I’m a blogger or because Lakeshore’s digital marketing specialist used to report to me, for a very brief period of time, at my previous job.


This month’s Beer Club featured Pumpkin Ale from Schlafly Beer:


Dan Kopman, co-founder of Schlafly Beer pours a Pumpkin Ale. Source.

In addition to their Pumpkin Ale, we also enjoyed their Kolsch and Dry-Hopped APA, while listening to Dan share his story on the history of Schlafly Beer, as well as how they created their Pumpkin Ale. The important distinction is that they wanted to create an actual Pumpkin Ale, and not merely a pumpkin-flavored beer. While they didn’t give away all of their secrets, they did share that inspiration came from getting a juice at a health food store, and realizing they needed to find a “giant ass juicer” to make the beer they wanted. The result was a damn tasty beer.


The beer in the pint glass is actually their Kolsch, the Pumpkin Ale had a richer, amber color, as you can see in the photo of Dan above.

I will admit that while I love pumpkin, I’m not a pumpkin-flavor nut. I don’t drink Pumpkin Spiced Lattes, and honestly, I don’t go out of my way to drink pumpkin beer (I won’t turn it down though). However, Schlafly’s version is worth it. It has a lot of flavor, so it’s not something I would drink a lot of in one sitting, but would be great in place of a cocktail after dinner, perhaps with a slice of pumpkin pie or pumpkin bread, both of which were served during Beer Club.

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If you’re interested in learning more about Beer Club, learn more and submit your info on the Lakeshore Beverage website.

What’s your favorite pumpkin beer? What do you enjoy your pumpkin beer with? Alone or with food? Dessert? 

Sneak Peak of the BeHealthful Retreat

The BeHealthful Retreat is coming up in two weeks on Sunday, September 27th, and I’m excited to share a sneak peak of the gorgeous space it’ll be in!


Zen lounge for lunch, cooking demos, and more.

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Large “movement gallery” for yoga, pilates and more – and complimentary yoga mats will be provided that attendees can take home.

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Large space for the 5 interactive panels.

And as a bonus, attendees, can attend a ton of complimentary pre-conference workshops, including a cooking demos and more fitness classes.

Want to join me? Sign up today! Early bird pricing ends 9/20.


Race Report: Super Bears Shuffle 5K


What’s this? A race report? Maggie ran a race?

Well, to be honest, Maggie was offered a couple of comp entries to this race. I am nowhere near “racing shape” and this race really proved that point for me.

A couple comp entries meant my husband could join me for the Thursday evening race, even though …


Yeah. He’s a Packers fan. It’s a cross I have to Bear (heh) and despite this obvious flaw, he’s worth it ;-)  Also made him realllly easy to spot in the crowd.

We both showed up to Soldier Field around 6:15 for a 6:30 start, and we needed to pick up our bibs and check our bags, so by the time we got to the start corrals, they were packed. Since neither of us was feeling all that competitive, we didn’t bother trying to shove our way in and just lined up in back. We started around 6:40.

The course was a little crowded at first, but even though it was on the Lakefront Path, it wasn’t terrible. However, I wasn’t really trying all that hard. I ran with my Jabra Sport Pulse ear buds, which read out my stats every quarter-mile, including my heart rate. So I knew what effort I was at, and it was so not the effort I used to aim for during a 5K. But I also haven’t been doing much in the way of endurance lately, so I didn’t bother trying to push it. It would not have gone well.

The race course included some fun football-themed stuff, Emily does a much better job capturing it all. I ran past most of it, but I did high-five Staley Da Bear. My husband apparently did some trash-talking around the tackling dummies, something about comparing the dummies to the Bears. He said he got booed. And loved it. You can’t proudly be a Packer fan in Chicago without learning to love the hostility.

So I thought perhaps during the race, I could ramp up my heart rate, even if I wasn’t pushing it quite as high as normal. But by mile 3, I wasn’t really feeling like I had a kick, and my heart rate actually got lower. I finished in 29:09 … not my best, but hey, not my worst! And not really all that surprising given my lack of running as of late. Maybe now that the weather is cooler, I’ll find my running motivation again.

While waiting for my husband to finish, I ran into my friend Kelli, and after we got our bags, we ran into Emily on our way to get our free beers.



After finishing our beers, my husband and I walked over to Kroll’s for dinner and then took a short Uber ride home. I love living close to the Loop.

Overall, this was a fun race with some nice swag – I love the shirts and this is one of the nicest medals I’ve ever received.