I Am A Writer

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Identity is a weird thing. 

Over the years, I have often said I am the things that I do. I am a yogi, I am a runner, I am a PR/marketing professional, I am a cat mom (kidding on the last one, I have never actually said that out loud). And that’s fine- people do that all the time. I enjoy those things and do them regularly. But identity is a weird thing; the things we do can find their way into who we perceive ourselves to be and that isn’t always the case.

I have practiced yoga. My practice is not who I am at my core, I am who I am even if I am not on my mat regularly. I work in PR and marketing. I work very hard to be very good at it but if I didn’t do that, I would still be me. 

I was on a call last week when someone brought up my blog and asked if I might be interested in writing about something. I could feel my body language change. I sat up even straighter, my brain was flooded with ideas, my energy and excitement level piqued. When I got off the phone, it hit me- I am a writer. Writing for this blog and other projects feed me in a way few things do. I am a storyteller, I am word lover, I am a writer.

And you know what I haven’t been doing? Writing.

The only thing I can come up with is that I have been working so hard to be good at my new(ish) job that I have jumped ship on other things that make up my identity. In May I declared “I am going to be the best [insert job title here] ever ever ever” and have been spinning my wheels trying to be that ever since. I have been successful, I enjoy my job…and that is not who I am. It’s where I spend a lot of my time, it’s a big part of my life, it contributes to my big picture fulfillment and desire to achieve…and it’s not everything. The moment my blog was mentioned on that call and I thought about writing, I was immediately calmer, more confident, more comfortable, more rooted. 

Which was a welcome reaction considering I have been dipping my toe in the “Who am I, what am I doing?” pond for the last few weeks.

I am a writer, I am a storyteller, I am a maker. 

I am a writer. 

So expect more around these parts from here on. I believe the more we do the things that make us who we are, the better we are at everything else we do and will be doing more of that…starting now.

In 10 Years

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le deux magot

I remember sitting at Les Deux Magot 10 years ago at a table outside tucked in a corner. It was cold, Spring just hitting Paris, and I was finishing “A Moveable Feast.” I read a lot of Hemingway and Fitzgerald while backpacking after my study abroad was over so going to one of their old haunts was one of the first things I did after getting off the train at Gare du Nord. I treated myself to a cup of coffee so I could sit at that tiny table as long as I wanted; I was 20 years old and even though I was coming off of what I see now as an incredibly ballsy time period in my life, I remember sitting in that cafe entirely caught up in “Would I make the right decisions in college, what should I do for my career, where should I live, do I really like my friends, would I fall in love again?” Basically, would everything be okay? Would I be able to do it, whatever “it” was?

I was back at that same cafe a few weeks ago. The sun was shining, the benefit of Summer spilling into Fall, and I was passing by after spending several hours in a cooking class. I treated myself to a glass of champagne so I could sit at that tiny table as long as I wanted. I watched the bubbles rise and burst and when I entertained some new questions floating through my mind, I thought…


Yes, everything will be okay.

Yes, you will be able to do it.

In the past 10 years, each of those questions were answered in one way or another. A decision is the right one simply based on the fact that you made it and everything absolutely works out even if it doesn’t because you are strong enough, smart enough, capable enough to move toward what is next. Turning 30 didn’t really mean anything to me, I had no list of 30 things I learned, but sitting in the sun on the sidewalk at Les Deux Magot remembering so viscerally who I was the last time I was there made me realize that the difference in the last 10 years is that I have learned that win, lose or draw, I’ve got this. It’s going to be okay, it is already okay, you’ve got this.

And you know what else? That independent, ballsy girl was still there on that patio. Coffee or champagne, some things never change.



On Speaking Up.

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Lyndsey was the “best friend I never met” until we shared a random cup of coffee in a random diner because of a random flight cancellation that landed her, quite literally, in Chicago and cemented her as the real deal, real talk, speed dial necessary presence in my life. We both recently went through big changes professionally and as we are approaching the end of that intense season, she said to me “We really did shove each other into the fire, didn’t we?”.

Yes, yes we did. And thank God for people who won’t let you tolerate things in your life that have the potential to harm your soul, to dim your light, to change your voice. I am so grateful for my tribe, for my people who shoved me into the fire the last few months and the years and years before that.

Below is an excerpt from a blog post Lyndsey wrote yesterday after speaking up in a training for her new job. We all know that moment- biting our tongues, knowing that what we are hearing is searing a hole on our insides and weighing whether or not it’s “worth it” to speak up.

I am not quiet for all of the women who are.

Women close to me, who’s secrets scare them into thinking no one could ever love them. Who’s true desire would mean, life could fall apart, not believing that falling apart is the one way to truly build again.

I am not quiet for all the women who have given me their full hearts, and the journal entries, both literally, and in confessions when I hold their hand, things they’ve never told anyone…cause what if someone knew.

And my question back is.

What if someone knew.

I say it right back to them. Do you see the difference? Say it to yourself again, like this.


What if someone knew?


My life, has become worth living, because people now know. And they love me in spite of, because of, and without condition.

I am not quiet, for her, and her, and the generations before me that were. Who did stay quiet, not because they did not have a truth to tell, but because the world is no place for the truth. So lets leave it alone, shall we. Lets say that we are fine. Lets never ever share over candles, and standing in kitchens, and driving with the windows down…what we truly desire.

Speak up. Please.


You can read the entire post here. And then speak up. Tonight, tomorrow, forever. Because it is worth it. Always and always.

Thank you, Lyndsey for your words and your truth and your difficulty staying quiet about the things you believe in the most.


Just a Chi Town Update: Sparkly & New

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Well, hello there! Welcome! Am I overdressed? Do you like my shoes?

As you may have noticed, things look a little spruced up around here. Real talk- things are a lot spruced up around here.

I have been writing Just a Chi Town Girl for 5 years now and in that time, the experiences, photos, writing and everything in between have grown, just as I have. The website itself though? Not so much. I don’t have the same haircut I had 5 years ago, why in the world did I have the same website design? It was time.

For as much as things change, they do stay the same. I am still that girl who loves Chicago and calling it home makes me wildly happy. My family is my heart and my husband Ryan and our cat Luna Bell have grown that love times a million, to say the least. Some days, I am confidant my cooking skills have grown as well…other days, not so much (buckwheat waffles did not go well). I started this blog while sitting/living on a friend’s couch and while I have an actual house (err, condo) now, I share the same enthusiasm I did about it that day 5 years ago.

Thank you for reading and for being a part of this little community. I hope you love this new and improved little corner of the internet and are living a life you love in a place you love too.



Some Cheeky News

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chee•ky (chē’-kē) adj. : definitively bold; impudent and saucy

I am SO excited to share that I am taking this show on the road- I am now a featured contributor over at Cheeky Chicago!

Cheeky is an online lifestyle magazine designed to connect the bold, fun and fabulous women of Chicago with exciting happenings all over the city and content to inspire you to be your cheekiest self.

My first article is an interview with life-pro Allie LeFevere who is helping women all over the world live their best lives. It went live this morning and you can check it out here.

I will, of course, be posting here daily but keep an eye on Cheeky Chicago as I will be popping up from time to time over there too! I am so appreciative of this blogging and writing community that has so graciously allowed me to share my words- thank you so much for reading.

Lots of love and Cheeky’ness,



Illumine Chicago

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This is Lourdes (isn’t she so beautiful??) and last night was a big celebration for her- it was the launch of her magazine! Illumine Chicago is a magazine dedicated to yoga and wellness in Chicago. This yoga community is amazing and when Lourdes saw the opportunity to create a space to unite, celebrate and share that community, she put out the call and attracted some of the brightest writers, photographers and editors in the city, they connected with people making an impact and boom- Illumine Chicago’s premier issue is out.

It’s a beautiful publication and I am always so moved when I see people identifying a need in the community and using their passions to fill it. I first met Lourdes 4 years ago when I took her class- not only was the class amazing but you just knew that this woman was a gift to everyone who rolled out their mat in her studio. Congratulations to Lourdes and her team- thank you for taking the home you’ve created in Chicago yoga and sharing those gifts with all of us.


Bread & Wine: A Review

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I loved author Shauna Niequist’s Cold Tangerines and Bittersweet because reading them felt like sitting down with a girlfriend over coffee and digging into those things in life that we celebrate, those that we mourn, the lessons we’ve learned and the faith that holds it all together. In reading Shauna’s third literary gem, we’re switching from coffee to wine and shifting the conversation to the relationships that make up a life and the meals that happen along the way.

To be clear: transitioning from coffee to wine is always fine by me.

Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes explores through a collection of essays what it means to be nourished on the inside and out and how through our relationship with God, we end up nourishing those around us. They say that life is what happens while you’re making other plans and through Shauna’s incredibly relatable writing, she shares the life that happens while you’re sitting around your table. While filled with some seriously delicious recipes, this is not a cookbook. The recipes act as place markers almost- the food made meaningful by the experience surrounding it. And the experiences surrounding the food are beautiful opportunities to celebrate the way God teaches and feeds us as we, in turn, teach and feed, figuratively and otherwise, those around us.

Bread & Wine feels very full circle to me. With Cold Tangerines, I shamelessly said “Me too!” to Shauna’s quest for celebrating the joy in everyday life. By Bittersweet, I needed the voice that gently reminded me that there are two side of the joy coin and I could sit with the side that hurt without having to pretty anything up; that God’s grace was more present than ever. Bread & Wine opened me up to the possibility that simply showing up and starting where I am is exactly what God created me for and how I will best serve my community, around my table and otherwise.

So, cheers and bon appetit- Bread & Wine is sure to fill you up, in more ways than one.


Bread & Wine in 3 Parts

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I’ve been in a season of “enough”. Strong enough, good enough, enough time, enough energy, enough sleep, you name it. I travel frequently for work and when packing for a trip a few weeks ago, the idea of not having enough room in my bag was, oddly, more than I could handle and I forfeited my usual small cross-body bag for a new, much larger one. With this cavernous bag now at my disposable, I could cast off some of my “enough” worries and bring in more of what I needed. Like my advance copy of Bread & Wine..

I planned on waiting until I was situated on the balcony of my hotel room at the base of the gorgeous Catalina foothills to crack open the cover but it turns out that 3 hours on a plane sandwiched between 2 people with no regard for personal space was the perfect time to read Bread and Wine. This book would have been perfection had I read it on the moon. Peanuts for lunch was a far cry from the incredible recipes author Shauna Niequist shares in the book but what really filled me up was her words, the stories of the community she has cultivated through time around her table. She is deeply passionate about connection and the life that happens around food and around our tables. After reading the last chapter, all feelings of “enough” had disappeared and been replaced with some serious inspiration. Creating community is about showing up as you are, finding your people and nurturing those relationships. There’s no room for enough when you’re talking about love. I feel the most whole, the most at home around a table with people I love and to read a book that speaks to that made me feel deeply heard and connected to communities around tables I have never seen.

Bread & Wine comes out in a few weeks and to celebrate its release, I am doing a 3-part series this week. You’re looking at the intro, tomorrow is the review and on Wednesday, we’re making some magic happen in my kitchen (seriously, magic).

It’s worth saying that all opinions are 100% my own and my wholehearted support of Bread & Wine is just that. Shauna’s books have made a big difference in my life over the last 5 years and I am thrilled to share Bread & Wine with you!