29 April 2012

Chicago's French Market

Francophile. Yes.  That's me.

As a result, the fact that Chicago's French Market was hosting an open house to give vendors an opportunity to show off their food, drink and talent was right up my alley.

Yesterday, I wandered over to the Market to sample cheeses, bread, jam wine and beer from a variety of the vendors that call the Market their home.  

Chicago's French Market opened a couple of years ago at Ogilvie Station and features a plethora of goodies.  Stalls in the space feature fresh meats and cheese, freshly baked bread, tons of local fruit and veggies, chocolates, crepes, raw foods, soaps and everything in between.  It is a foodie and specialty haven and we are lucky to have it.

Back to yesterday...

The Market was expanded to spill out into the waiting area for the local Metra trains that take passengers to the suburbs and beyond.  Folks were on hand to give you the story behind their product, share their passion for their work and entice you with samples.  

I tasted everything from a gorgeous beer featuring flavors of nutmeg and other spices to an amazing soft cheese flecked with black truffles.  I gulped down half an avocado while sampling about five amazing wines from Croatia.  I tasted an unbelievable fig and black tea jam and chatted with a pinot maker from Willamette Valley, Oregon.  Needless to say, some of the truffle-flecked cheese and a bottle of pinot gris from Oregon made their way home with me for my Skype date night with Dave!

If you are in Chicago...check it out.  It's a pretty fantastic place.

A perfect one for a Francophile like me!

27 April 2012

Friday Letters

Inspired by the folks over here...

Dear Self:  You are officially registered for your first 50K.  Get on it.

Dear Husband:  I am counting down the days and miss you like crazy. 

Dear woman I encountered on the street earlier this week: I hope you are okay.  You got me thinking.  A lot.  I wish nothing but hope and peace and joy for you. 

Dear Chicago wind:  Erm...enough already?

Dear Sister:  I am thinking of you and have been thinking of you, especially this week.  Hang in there.

Happy Friday!

26 April 2012

I Miss You, Canada

Remember not too long ago (ahem, middle of March) when I went home to spend some time in the country that has stolen my heart, mind and soul.  Uh, that's in a good way.

Canada, oh Canada.  

I'm missing you something fierce.

When I went back in March, Dave and I had the chance to spend some quality time together.  Not just in the Jaw, but also in Canmore.  We love it there.  

Clearly.  These pictures prove why.

Lots of hiking and marveling at large pieces of rock that crash into the sky above.  
It's an amazing place.  I highly recommend it.

22 April 2012

Happy Sunday! Love, Chicago


you just need to look in a window to feel better about yourself.

Happy Sunday!

21 April 2012

Running with Krissy (aka Inspiration Maven!)

This morning, I got to experience something I never thought I would do.  Thanks to Patagonia, I had the opportunity to run with Krissy Moehl - an ultrarunner that I've been watching for the past couple of years.  I became aware of Krissy when I moved up to Saskatchewan.  Her words were motivating during that transition period and got me inspired to run my third marathon ever in Saskatoon.

I've run three marathons and this year, I'm going to tackle my first ultra.  Needless to say, Krissy has been a source of inspiration!

To put it in perspective, Krissy Moehl is my version of other people's Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

The Chicago Patagonia crew hosted a great event last Friday with treats to eat, a beautiful new store off the Mag Mile full of great gear and, of course, a talk and video presentation by their trail running ambassador, Krissy.  She shared some tips for recovery after long races, what inspires her to run the distances she does (um, twelve 100-mile races people...just sayin') and her philosophies about pounding the pavement.

I was insanely excited to meet her in person!

Another great thing Patagonia did...a raffle!  They raffled off four pairs of trail running shoes (two for women and two for men) as well as two complete running outfits.

And...can you believe it...I won!

I am now the proud owner of a pair of Patagonia Fore Runners (in deep plum)!  They are more minimalist than I have traditionally worn, but I've been out and about in them and can honestly say...they are AWESOME!  These came to me in just the nick of time as my last pair was running a bit thin in the sole.  Thanks, Patagonia!

*just a teeny bit excited!*

Saturday morning, I had the opportunity to join a great group of runners in Lincoln Park for a six-mile fun run with Krissy.  

We ran from Patagonia store to Patagonia store - Lincoln Park to the Mag Mile.

During her talk on Friday, Krissy spoke about the running community and how much she enjoys running with groups as opposed to running on her own.  That was evident on the run as we chatted on the route, got to know other runners and shared some stories.  

It was an amazing experience...one I will not soon forget!

Krissy's approach to running is inspirational...she lives by three rules (I'm paraphrasing here):

1.  Smile and enjoy the experience on the run
2.  Make sure everyone else is enjoying their experience on the run
3.  Compete with (not against)

Watch her TED Talk where she describes just that:

Thanks to Patagonia for a great weekend...I have the shoes to remember it by!

14 April 2012

Work-Life Balance

Hello again!


Right...I have a blog...

I also have a crazy work schedule and personal life that has had me moving around 
the country from place to place making it hard for me to remember I have a blog.

In the last four weeks...

Moose Jaw, SK
Canmore, AB
Calgary, AB
Louisville, KY
Bayville, NJ
New York, NY
Newburgh, NY
Atlanta, GA
Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN

It's been a whirlwind, but also a fantastic time!  Lucky for me, I love to travel and I absolutely LOVE my job so all is good in the end.

Things started out great with a trip to Moose Jaw to see the love of my life.
We reconnected at home and then spent a little time in one of our vacation spots of choice, Canmore.
It was snowing.  It was beautiful.
We did a ton of hiking and hand-holding and cuddling and eating and eating.

*I have great pics, but they are on my other camera and I am being too lazy to upload them right now*

From there it was off to Kentucky for work (no time for a Bourbon tasting!)
and then off to Bayville, NJ to visit my folks.

I hadn't seen them since the wedding in September.
Which is way too long.

We had a great weekend...hanging out and eating good food.

Nothing but YUM at La Pain Quotidien in New York
Mom and Dad in NYC...SUCH a good time!!!

We even went into NYC to see Newsies on Broadway at the Nederlander Theatre.


Side note:  my sister and I LOVE Newsies!  
We used to sing the songs when cleaning up the kitchen after dinner.  
It was a ritual.  A loud one.
We were STARS!!!

If you don't know what Newsies is...you need to know.  NOW.

I digress...

From Bayville it was back into NYC for work and then a quick train ride up the Hudson River to Newburgh for work.  I had a great time there and even stole a few moments
to cross the Hudson on foot.  They are converting old railroad tracks into walking paths.
It was gorgeous and windy and wonderful.

Crossing the Hudson River on foot!
Following that it was off to Atlanta to spend some time with my sister and her family.
We colored Easter eggs, ate candy, caught up, played with the kids in the backyard 
and enjoyed some quality family time together.

Sisters...all fuzzy-like...I don't know why...

*we may have sung some songs from Newsies...just sayin'*

Post-Newsies time, I was off to the Twin Cities for work.
It was an amazing trip with great work and good food.
We toured the Hmong Village (AMAZING) while we were there and 
ate at an amazing restaurant, Masu.

Masu had the most incredible "doll wall" I've ever seen.

Masu - Doll Wall
And now I am back in Chicago...my temporary home until I visit O'Hare again.

Hope you are having a great start to your spring!!!

02 April 2012

March Top Picks

Here are the top picks for March. 

I know I haven't been around much, but since I can't get internet access while cruising above the ground at 45,000 feet...

Just sayin' - thanks for waiting around for me.

I'll have pictures to share from my quick trip to Canada when I get some time.  Enjoy these top picks in the meantime!


Love the picks from It's That Nice - yes, in fact, it is!  

Who says you can't have pumpkin goodness after the holidays?  Not me!

Soup is good.  Very good.  

Mini-breaks in Canmore...

I love the Banff Hot Springs!

Excellent customer service from them.

Here and here.

Top pick with no link - plans to see family in April!

The final episode of this season of The Walking Dead...ohmygoodnessohmygoodness!

Finishing The Hunger Games trilogy!

Make this and then eat it.  All in one sitting.