You guys, I got 5 on it so hard you're not even going to believe it...
Sooooooooooo, I want to see how quickly I can come up with 5 random things, or thoughts, or products or whatever the f*ck I want to come up with from my past week on earth. Right now it is 3:46pm on Monday. Timer's on. I want to give you a taste of how much time really goes into this content that seemingly is so easy and takes no time at all...
1. Blogging. I decided to start a blog to allow for some creativity and something else to focus my energy on that was "mine" outside of my work andsocial life. I vowed to give it a year, and that, I will do. What I've learned from this journey so far is that IT'S A LOT OF DAMN WORK. I think I've said this before in one of my posts somewhere, but there is so much to learn and so many things to link and find images for. And you have to know your shit, kinda. I mean, I'm not gonna provide an annotated bibliography or anything, but I'm also not just going to make shit up and type it here for you to believe as truth. You have to go to events, try new places, research people and sites, etc. So, in the interest of blogging and bloggers, and to show some appreciation for their hard work that I enjoy partaking in, here are a few bloggers that I think you should follow, if you don't already. I really, really like them:
www.erinsinsidejob.com - Erin Bahadur's blog is not only chock-full of info on good places to eat, healthy food ideas and wellness and fitness motivation, but surprisingly, it's very inspirational. Erin is real. And she is open. And she's a boss. And you can thank me later.
www.cupcakesandcashmere.com - Emily Schuman is one of my favorite bloggers. Yes, she's huge now and maybe doesn't even directly write her own content anymore b/c she has employees and a whole business to run, but her taste is impeccable, and I love her insta stories (mainly because her daughter Sloane is insanely adorable and independent, and her husband is super doting on his little gaggle of girls...which is just fun to watch, ya dig?
www.drizzlekitchen.com - Kendra Peterson is an AMAZING chef. She literally knows everything about food (at least to me she's an expert and I ask her questions all the time). She specializes in clients with food allergies, so many of her recipes are dairy and/or gluten-free...but have no fear! If you want to eat all the food allergies in the world, you will still like her food and want to binge eat it. She provides great tips for, not only food, but wellness, too, and can cater a kick-ass party. She's even coming out with her own cookbook soon, how cool is that?!
2. There is no way I'm going to finish this post before my workout starts in 30 minutes. But since I'm on the subject of my workouts, let's go there. I pretty much solely go to BTY Training Lab in the West Loop. Since I've been going there (mid-January) I've lost almost 10 lbs AND gained muscle in the process (I need to get my measurements re-done and will update you guys with more recent and specific results soon). It's kind of a Crossfit-focused workout. We lift heavy weights 4 days a week and then 2 days a week are reserved for metabolic conditioning (AKA Metcon. AKA my ass is grass every f*cking time b/c the workouts are so challenging). Anyway, I really like it. A lot. Plus the people that go there are great and very welcoming. So if you're looking for something new, or want to get involved, send me an email and I will provide you with more info!
3. Bath & Body Works. Did you know that their plug-ins and candles are toxic? I mean, I didn't think they were the most organic, clean and pure products on the market by any means, and I know there are several other brands in the same boat, so I don't mean to pick on B&BW. Butt I am a HUGE fan of their wall plug-ins and was devastated when I heard from several different sources (Healthy Holistic Healings, Wellness Mama and Woman's Day among others) that those and their candles pose dangerous health risks for us and for the environment. Well shoot, what to do now? You thought I was going to leave you hanging, didn't you. Well I'm just not that kind of person. In comes essential oils. I bought a starter kit from Doterra the other day and am so excited to get my order! Another similar option is Young Living, but I had a convo with a vendor at my local farmer's market this past weekend, and she told me that there are several other options for high-quality, "therapeutic grade" essential oils that are actually cheaper due to the fact that they're not from a multi-level marketing company (cheaper b/c there are less people that need a piece of the pie). Sure, maybe they don't provide you with your own personal rep who can educate you on all the possibilities and uses of essential oils (which is extremely valuable, don't get me wrong), but you can save a little money without sacrificing quality is all I'm sayin'. Here is the company she referred me to that she uses out of Jackson, MI: Rainbow Meadow, Inc. Once I get the lay of the land and am a bit more educated on essential oils and the best uses for particular scents, I'll probably start purchasing from them and will surely update you on my site.
SO. The plan is to switch out all of my toxic candles for either soy (which are clean, but not the BEST option), or beeswax candles which are apparently the absolute most pure type of candle, and toss my plug-ins, sad as it will be. I think the best substitute for my 'plug-in' obsession is an essential oil room diffuser or a DIY version of the Bath & Body Works plug-in. Comment below with cleaner options for scented candles that you use...I'm curious to know!
Update 5/24: I received a great recommendation from my friend Karen for Big Dipper Wax Works out of Seattle, WA. 100% pure, handcrafted beeswax candles scented with aroma-therapeutic essential oils. I'm going to place an order and will let you know what I think!
Okay I gotta go workout. I'm stopping the clock at 4:13pm and will restart again tomorrow.
4. Me again! It's the next day at 11:02AM. So I'm picking back up here where I left off...and the timer's back on!
Ada Street. I love this restaurant. I'm going to setup your perfect date night. Are you ready? Okay, start with dinner here, nestled in the quaint, un-treelined, warehouse-y area over by the North Ave. Home Depot and a gas station...sounds romantic, right? Don't be fooled. Upon entering this unassuming establishment, your expectations won't be high. But once inside, you'll get a dark, swanky-yet-hipster feel, complete with dark walls, moody lighting and a full vinyl collection that is sure to get you toe-tapping. The servers are great, not to mention incredibly friendly, and the food is fantastic. I'd opt for the following: Crispy Black-Eyed Peas, Polenta Fries and Italian Burrata to start. Yellowfin Tuna Tartare and Forbidden Black Fried Rice for mains, and don't miss the simple but rich AF "Chocolate" dessert (Literally a pot of dense chocolate sea salt and Tuscan olive oil that you spread on mini toasts...so good).
And don't forget about their back patio (obviously weather permitting). A truly urban oasis with a ping pong table and strong enough drinks to turn even the worst date night into the time of your life.
5. Keep Good Company. Have you ever heard the saying, "You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with" (Jim Rohn)? I am finding this to be more and more true as I get older. There are all different kinds of friends we can have. Some are the most fun to shop with and some are the best happy hour companions. Some are longtime friends that you've known since elementary school and still connect with, no matter how much time has passed, and some are your fitness friends that encourage you to be healthier. Some will pull out more creativity in you than others and some will be your travel partners. But regardless of the things that make you compatible with someone, they should always elevate you in some way and to some degree. If that isn't happening simultaneously, maybe you should think twice about how much time and energy you're giving them.
I believe that life is a series of events and circumstances that offer you the opportunity to grow and become an overall better, stronger human being (both emotionally and physically). If you want to push the limits, inspire others, and lead by example of being your best self, then you should expose yourself to people who are doing those things on a (at least somewhat) regular basis. Doing so will help you to expand your thinking and live life on a higher level, in general.
So picture who you want to be and how you want to be. Find people that reflect those qualities in their daily life and go hang out with them! You're not going to click with or be friends with everyone you meet. Choose to spend your time with people who bring something to the table, and make sure you're providing something for them, as well. Practice positivity, think outside the box, break the chains of negative stories that you grew up thinking about yourself and find people to help you do it! This is your tribe. And once you've found them, hold on tight.
I've found mine, and I know I'm an incredibly lucky girl because of it.
This post took me approximately 1 hour and 28 min to finish. And posting it to all of my social media will literally take me another 30 min. So basically 2 hours for the simplest post a person could probably write. I'm telling you guys, this blogging stuff is no joke!