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For the Love of Hot Dogs

Last week was the five-year anniversary of Derek and I’s First Official Date. We met in December and had agreed to keep things easy for a bit, but he decided to plan a not-Valentine’s Day date in Chicago for the two of us. I am often asked why I have such a love affair with hot dogs-and you’re about to find out.
To be fair, I’ve always found hot dogs tasty-they have to have the snap, the sweetness of the relish, the tart of the mustard, and the softness of the bun. That’s how I prefer my hot dogs-char grilled with yellow mustard and sweet relish. It was only several years prior to this epic life-changing February 15th had I discovered the Portillo’s Chicago Dog, SuperDawg with crinkle-cut fries, or my beloved Hot Doug’s (RIP) fancy encased meats.Before that, I took my dog just as I described above.
During the short time Derek and I had been hanging out I had mentioned how amazing Hot Doug’s was (and all the other delicious foods in Chicago) and he planned a non-Valentine’s Day date f…
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Another Self-Care Sunday

Hello wonderful peoples!
It’s Sunday! I just love Sundays-a time to take it slow and cozy before the week starts. I know that the Sunday sadness is a real thing (it happens to me too sometimes) but I find the peace right before the chaos to be my most favorite moment of the week. It’s like the deep breath you take right before you say “I love you” for the first time to someone, or the smell of cookies cooling on a rack before you can take a bite- it’s a fleeting moment but it is worth treasuring with all you have. As I said before, I often spend Sundays on our couch in the ‘comfy spot’ in my coziest clothes and a blanket completely covered in cats. I drink coffee and watch cooking shows before I start a slow progression into any chores or other things I may want to accomplish.My newest addition to Sunday Funday is yoga and writing JThese things fill up my emotional cup and help me practice self-care so that I can give my all to the week to come.
There is so much research on the bene…

When a Facebook Group Dupes You Into Buying Lemons, Make Lemonies?

Did you know that Aldi’s has a cult-like following? I’m a member of a Facebook group that talks about new products and gives reviews and recently folks were talking about Meyer Lemons. Ohhhh they’re so sweet! You can eat like them like an orange! Ohh magical lemons! I’m totally down for some miraculous citrus so I buy in.I picked up a bag a couple weeks ago and one night I peeled one of these mysterious fruits and took a big bite.
I had a very bitter surprise that these things are NOT in ANY WAY sweet. In fact, I found them to be more bitter than a normal lemon (which I will eat raw when served as a garnish. Don’t judge). I made probably 50 various bitter/tart/sour faces before I could get up and do something different with my life. I felt personally victimized by the Aldi cult. And was stuck with a bag of lemons. You know the saying, when life gives you (or an Aldi group tricks you into buying) lemons, make something.
I thought about making a lemon curd to go with that cheesecake I m…

I am Going to a Super Bowl Party and I am Taking...

Happy Super Bowl Sunday for any of you who enjoy football! I am not the biggest football fan (give me baseball, give me hockey, give me anything that moves quicker than a snail) but I do enjoy a.) food, b.) friends, and c.) commercials (okay, not all the time). We have standing Super Bowl plans every year with some friends and we all tends to be ‘in charge’ of a specific piece of the food array. Before Derek and I were together I believe he was in charge of ice and chips (and candy) but since I arrived on the scene I’ve been slowly infiltrating the plan (and it seems to be well received)! I enjoy having an opportunity to try out fun snack foods and of course, desserts. It can be a little challenging to feed the masses things that everyone will enjoy so, I tend to keep my audience in mind (nothing too spicy, no mustard, and we have a peanut allergy in the mix) and hope for the best.
This year I’m bringing one tried and true dip, one snack that everyone has been raving about online, an…

The Power in the Mistake

No one likes making mistakes, right? It’s painful-you feel embarrassed, like a failure, and worst of all…you may have let someone down. Ugh. I spent a lot of time in my younger years terrified to make mistakes but luckily I have learned (through some pretty painful lessons) that mistakes are human and so very often, force us to grow.
I am not a perfectionist. I live a very Wabi-sabi approach to most of my life nowadays. When I create things (art, crafts, blogs even!) I strive for good work-but-I try not to beat myself up if there’s a minor mistake here and there (take my last blog-I learned that there were some formatting errors that weren’t visible to me so I apologize for that! I think it’s fixed now. Adding photos makes it all weird.) This is funny though because my professional career is very much about accuracy-if I make a big enough mistake it can lead to money lost or that big scary thing I said above-letting someone down. There’s a balance in my life then: Monday through Fri…

The Big Easy-With a Whole Lotta Soul

Last week I was able to join Derek at the end of a work conference for a few days in New Orleans. We did a whirlwind tour and lived to tell the tales. Here's a rundown of what we did and what we ate while visiting The Big Easy.


I can still vividly recall Hurricane Katrina and the devastation that came along with it for Louisiana and Mississippi. It was late August and I was driving from my university to my hometown and all I could do was cry. For whatever reason I felt with very serious conviction that I needed to drive the 50 miles home with no air conditioning in solidarity for all those living in the real-life nightmare after Katrina. I still remember all the semis loaded with goods to truck to survivors, the news coverage, and learning that some of my friends were going to step away from college to go help New Orleans rebuild. Any tragedy is tragic, but for whatever reason Katrina sat heavy in my heart.


But as many people may already know, and I can now attest to, New Orleans…

Snowy Self-Care Saturday

Bonjour les amis! It's another winter wonderland here in the Midwest so I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to practice some of the allusive ‘self-care’ we all talk about but never really get around to doing.
So I started my day with coffee and kitty cuddles. Made an egg scramble using some fancy bacon (pancetta). Watched some cooking shows and the snow finish up (for the afternoon anyhow.) I practiced a little French (I’m determined to learn at least basic French before we visit in 2020). I went and had an hour-long massage. I came home and had a lunch of some of my favorite foods (olives and cheese). I took a long bath (complete with hair and face masks) and then started a new (to me) show on Netflix (Chef’s Table). I just finished dinner-it wasn’t anything fancy but I sure do love a good bowl of ham and beans. I’ll finish the night with some tea and more kitty cuddles (I don't necessarily have a say in this-they are clingy since I'm the only human home).
A lot o…