On Getting Unstuck: Pizza Before 10am

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potato pizza

After an hour at my computer this morning, it was pretty clear that it wasn’t going to happen. I needed to get a document out that required a decent amount of care and I felt…stuck. I felt a lot of things, actually, but stuck was clear. Which often manifests itself into doing everything but the thing I need to do and this morning, it looked something like this:

Check Twitter. Check Instagram. Ooh, I like that coffee mug, where is it from? I miss Italy. Twitter. Molly McNearney is hilarious, let’s read through her entire feed. Hey Luna, come sit on my lap. Sitherenow, bad cat. I should go to Owen + Alchemy to get juice. Or order lox and a bialy from Southport Grocery. Oohh, donuts. I want a donut. Instagram, has anyone else posted? Let’s text friends. I am hungry. Or bored. Maybe hungry. Check Instagram again. Definitely need a donut. Or juice. Or prosecco.

Ahh, the seductive dance of distraction.

What I have found is that creation has to come from creation- creating rarely comes from a standstill place for me, I need to be in motion, already making.

So I made pizza. Before 10am.

I set out the few ingredients I had and got to rolling, cutting. I sprinkled the rosemary over the potatoes and reached for the parmesan. It felt so good to be making something, to start with nothing and end up with something. Sometimes, it may begin with a few words on a page and sometimes, it might be making something with my hands.

Something from nothing.

Those words are sticking with me today, a reminder that it’s possible, in life, in projects and in pizza, as long as you start where you are.

And this morning, starting where I was meant coffee and pizza before 10am.

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{is dousing food in balsamic a thing before noon? if it wasn’t, it is now…}

On Solo Days and Checking Things Off

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Our second day in Colorado a few weeks ago started with -16 degree temperatures. -16.

Let’s just say skiing with everyone that would not have set me up for success. No way.

So I took a solo day in the town of Breckenridge. I bundled up and shopped along the darling Main Street, ducking into coffee shops when I got too cold. I found an fantastic noon yoga class and the teacher sent me to Amazing Grace for lunch, this sweet little all-natural eatery inside a yellow house.

One of my most prized possessions is my copy of 2001 Things to Do Before You Die. For 10 years, I have been checking things off. There are so many memories within its pages. Some are simple like “bake brownies” or “make a paper snowflake” and others, I specifically traveled to check them off like “Dance in the gazebo while on The Sound of Music tour in Salzburg” and “Contemplate beauty at the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris”. Actually, items in the book crafted my itinerary for backpacking around Europe after I was done studying abroad. I was 20, I had this book and off I went.

For everything that has been checked off (“change your last name” was the most recent), there is still so much to do, to see, to experience. And I think that’s why this little book means so much to me and why I tucked it in my bag to Colorado. Sitting in that little yellow house next to an icy window in Breckenridge and flipping through the pages, it was impossible to remember the stories behind the check marks without scrolling my gaze toward the things I am excited to do next. Such is life, right? The past is always there but so is the current moving us forward.

Sparking my interest to check off this year:

  • Get your picture taken in a champagne tub in the Poconos
  • Make a thermos full of margaritas and watch the fireworks
  • Make homemade tortillas
  • Drive a bus
  • Risk saying no more often

One thing is for sure- I adore solo days in new towns and I am just as enthused about future adventures and what might be checked off while experiencing them as I was when I was given 2001 Things to Do Before You Die 10 Years Ago.

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Current Obsession: The Skimm

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Do you guys read The Skimm? I have been obsessed with it since last summer so I figured it was high time to share it with you. The Skimm is a daily email newsletter that gives me basically everything I need to know about what’s happening in the news…all in the time it takes me to scroll through the email. It’s like having your super smart, well informed friend give you a succinct rundown of the things.

I consider myself to be pretty aware of what’s happening in this world we live in but The Skimm has been a gamechanger, allowing me to know a huge breadth of information in a few minutes. It’s the jam and I feel like I learn so much every day.

If you’re interested, you can sign up here.

(this is not a sponsored post, I just really, really love reading The Skimm every morning!)

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Now What? | Winter in Chicago

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Ahh, winter. The part that isn’t shrouded in Christmas lights and shopping and festive parties. This time of year always makes me wonder “Now what?”…

Last year, the Polar Vortex kept us all pretty home bound and while this year isn’t exactly a reprieve, I think it’s going to allow for activities not on our couches so I present to you a few things coming up in Chicago to get you out and about. But don’t forget to bundle up.

{links in italics}

January 22: Publican Quality Meats presents Troublesome in a Little Butcher Shop- PQM & Off Color Brewing are teaming up for this open house featuring five bites by Chef Corey paired with the perfect craft brew.

January 22: Southport Grocery Secret Supper- a three-course meal that is a secret until you sit down. With Southport Grocery’s love of local and amazing food on their regular menu, it’s certain that what hits the table during a secret supper is sure to be amazing.

January 23: Vibeup- Vibeup is a wellness company striving to build a community through unique events and initiatives that encourages a healthy lifestyle.  The upcoming launch event offers a  60 minute yoga class + after party at the Godfrey Hotel with organic food, fresh juices & cocktails.

January 29: First Bites Bash- the official kick-off of Chicago Restaurant Week, this event in the Great Hall at Union Station gives a preview from over 50 restaurants of what’s to come January 30-February 12 when the dining scene in Chicago is celebrated with $22 lunches and $44 dinners.

February 8-March 22: 40 Days of Transformationjoin Om on the Range for 40 days of yoga, meditation and community. This is my favorite studio in Chicago and sounds like a great way to get through a winter slump.

February 12: First Look for Charity- a little black tie action, be the first see this year’s Chicago Auto Show and support raising money for the Special Olympics.

February 14: Little Goat’s Valentine’s Day Partywhy oh why has Valentine’s Day become all about prix fixe menus? Is Valentine’s Day the new NYE? Problem solved- Stephanie Izard and the crew at Little Goat are throwing a good, old fashioned V-day party- dancing, drinking and that beyond amazing food they are known for.

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Quotable

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“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Happy Monday, friends. Whether it was good, bad or ugly, it is over…be done with it. Fresh start tomorrow and every day.

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Speaking of skiing…

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The one move I managed to master with gusto on our New Year’s ski trip was après. Definition? The day is over—time for drinks and swapping war stories from the slopes.

Breckenridge Brewery was a blast with our crew but I have to say that placing a Mexican joint at the base of Vail Mountain was a stroke of genius. Margs and queso, chips and salsa…it was a match made in après ski heaven.

 

Link Love

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baked oatmeal

Unless you happen to be on a tropical island this week (and if so, please send for me), these sub-zero temps are announcing winter in a big way. This baked oatmeal helps.

While you are keeping cozy and warm this week, check out this You & Yoga podcast featuring Jacki Carr. It is fantastic AND an indoor activity- double win.

Also an indoor activity: free days at The Museum of Science & Industry.

Between this article about the things Americans can learn from Italians and the Instagram feed “What Italy Is”, I am dying to go back to Italy. Red wine will have to suffice for the time being.

I have been taking refuge from the cold at hot yoga (Om on the Range is amazing) and every time I hit my mat, all I can think is “I am just here for savasana.” I need this shirt.

This yoga event at Thalia Hall looks awesome. And instructor Wade Gotwals is awesome so tickets should definitely be procured.

Webster’s Wine Bar is being rebirthed into Harry’s Velvet Room, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Do you save your fancy candles/lotions for…ever? I loved this Shauna Niequist post about how this is the year to burn the candles.

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On Mountains and Mantras

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It’s not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves. Sir Edmund Hilary

I spent last week at an average of 10,000 feet elevation. For a girl from the flat Midwest, there is something about mountains that blows me away. My husband and I joined friends for a some skiing and relaxing in the Rockies and for the entire 5 days, a majority of what came out of my mouth wasn’t so much words but gasps of “they’re so beautiful! And big!” I didn’t get over how grand and gorgeous they were, not for a single second.

Mountain beauty aside, I hadn’t skied in 6 years. Going up the gondola for our first run, all I could think was that this was a terrible idea. These were the Rocky Mountains. This was 12,000 feet. This was not at all like anything I had ever skied before. This was a terrible idea. I could break something, hit a tree, this was a terrible idea. I was silent the entire way; I got off the gondola without falling (win #1 right there!) and…I skied down the hill. All 3 ½ miles of it. I loved those mountains even more when I was on them and it turned out to not be such a terrible idea after all. It was a pretty outstanding idea, in fact.

That ride up and back down again was really a metaphor for my 2015 mantra: Don’t Be a Wuss. Now, I know that most New Year’s resolutions are inspiring and about what you are doing instead of not doing but this year, I am not going to be a wuss. 2014 was a blessing, a truly wonderful year and when I think about where I want my life to continue to go, what holds me back is me. I don’t always ask for what I want, I take responsibility for things that are not mine to own, I second guess way too often, I apologize profusely when people bump into me for pete’s sake. Now, there’s common courtesy but then there is apologizing for occupying space on a sidewalk. And that’s what I am getting at: take up space, man. Don’t apologize for existing or for achieving or for going after what you want. Trust your gut, always, and don’t make yourself wrong as a default mode. Be bold and take up space and declare who it is you are because if you don’t, who will?

Aka, don’t be a wuss. Go up the mountain because getting back down is absolutely possible.

So cheers to 2015, a big, bold, bright year if I’ve ever seen one.

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