Foodie at heart. I run, bike, explore and can't wait to tell you about it. Always a journalist first-

I’m overdue for a #RonSwansonThursday Quote…let us never forget the gift of freedom!

I’m overdue for a #RonSwansonThursday Quote…let us never forget the gift of freedom!

It’s been a roller coaster of a week thus far…but Einstein quotes always provide a sense of purpose.  This one is no exception.

It’s been a roller coaster of a week thus far…but Einstein quotes always provide a sense of purpose.  This one is no exception.

Books Read in 2014: Killing Kennedy, The End of Camelot.  
Makes you consider your own impending doom and reminds you to appreciate time with loved ones.  Tragic & remarkable story.  

Books Read in 2014: Killing Kennedy, The End of Camelot.  

Makes you consider your own impending doom and reminds you to appreciate time with loved ones.  Tragic & remarkable story.  

2014 Challenge: Transition my diet to include (and accept) more vegetarian meals.  Like this polenta dish topped with brussle sprouts and mushrooms.  My version includes caramelized onions and a bit of parmesan and goat cheese.  #yum #foodiechats

2014 Challenge: Transition my diet to include (and accept) more vegetarian meals. Like this polenta dish topped with brussle sprouts and mushrooms. My version includes caramelized onions and a bit of parmesan and goat cheese. #yum #foodiechats


It’s no secret that food has become a focus in my life.  I found out who I was while working in the service industry and continue to feel connected to it through Chicago’s diverse restaurants and foodie events.  Just five years ago I would have flinched at the word onion and my cooking skills included ordering in.  I never enjoyed the cooking part and never intended to try. 

Since living with Jayson gives me someone to cook for and since my Gma V’s spirit now resides within…I’ve experienced a completely different side of the culinary world.  The entire cooking process engages my creative side and I love that the reward is instant.  I don’t like baking though…which is no surprise as it requires you to follow rules.  Nope, that’s not me.  I like to follow recipes, but I also look at it like a blank canvas ready for my interpretation. 

Ok…the point is…if you live in Chicago, Stephanie Izard is our culinary goddess.  I watched her win Top Chef and have dined at both her restaurants.  I also have her book, which Jayson tracked her down to sign and gave me as a anniversary gift.  (Momement to appreciate this gesture).  Since I can’t afford culinary school (cooking classes in general are terribly expensive) and I like challenging myself, I’m taking a page out Julie Powell’s book (Julie & Julia) and cooking my way through Girl in the Kitchen.  It’s 90 some recipes and I’m giving myself a year (mainly due to budgeting) but I think it will truly help me become a better chef.  Her book is full of techniques and “Ingredient Spotlights” as she calls them, which cover a wide range of culinary directions. 

I call it the “Make Your Mouth Happy Challenge” as she’s been quoted saying she likes to “make your whole mouth happy.”.  I don’t intend to blog every second of the experience, but will share highlights.  This is just one of many 2014 goals, because lets face it, I’m an Aries and we have to stay active, so one challenge is simply not enough.  Stay tuned for the others!  Happy 2014 everyone!!

Luna’s Year in Review

It’s that time of year…time to memorialize our year in the form of lists. I like to play along.  It keeps me going in hopes that each year gets better and better. 

  1. New England Trip: Really was the highlight of my year.  Boston is indeed wicked and I love travelling new places with my love. 
  2. Second City Show: More rewarding and educational then my costly Bachelors.  I am writer and always will be.
  3. Book of Mormon / Anniversary: I LOVE JAYSON and I can’t believe I am so lucky to spend my life with him.  What better way to celebrate than Orchestra –level seats to the hottest show in town.
  4. Four Half Marathons this year!: Do you know how cool it is to say you completed four half marathons in one year? 
  5. Getting a grill: I know it sounds silly, but this is the first place I’ve lived in Chicago where I could have a grill and it is amazing.  Thanks Mom & Dad!
  6. Up North: I am so incredibly blessed with a wonderfully-loving and entertaining family.  I am so happy that I have been able to set aside time for them. 
  7. Promotion: Just when I started focusing on those other things like family, relationships, and balance…a promotion comes along!  
  8. Christmas 2013: First time Jayson & I spent a Christmas together and we managed to split our time between both families.  Three states and hundreds of miles later we’re still smiling and are incredibly blessed. 
  9. Pirate Room during Food & Wine Disney Vacation: Yup…just like it sounds.  It was amazing.
  10. GNMAA Gala ProgramPretty cool to see your name as the representative for your company’s contribution. 

Honorable Mention  

  • Jayson getting a bike! I am so thrilled and humbled.  This will be a past time that we can both enjoy together. 
  • Eataly Opening.  The market mecca known as Eataly has come to Chicago and while it really is one of the highlights of my year…it more so reminds me that I need to get back to Europe, soon.

Happy #RonSwansonThursday - enjoy!!

Happy #RonSwansonThursday - enjoy!!

Today is my Monday, so here’s a little inspiration for your week.  It reads…”People are like bicycles.  They can keep their balance only as long as they keep moving.”  And of course it is from one of my favorites…Albert Einstein.  In a letter to his son, Eduard (1930).

Today is my Monday, so here’s a little inspiration for your week.  It reads…”People are like bicycles.  They can keep their balance only as long as they keep moving.”  And of course it is from one of my favorites…Albert Einstein.  In a letter to his son, Eduard (1930).

I don’t usually write about products or goods…but I’ve been meaning for some time to call attention to The Feed.  The Feed is a monthly box that comes packed with energy bars, brews and gels to keep you energized during your workout.  It’s geared towards cyclists and you even get a nifty Team Garmin water bottle with your first month’s starter pack, but many of the items can be used for any type of workout (especially running!).
Each month I can’t wait to get my new box.  There’s always a special, hand-written message from Tally and sometimes they throw in extra goodies.  My favorite are the Rip Van Waffles.  
My grocery store doesn’t always have the greatest selection and Fleet Feet is close, but not that close…so getting a monthly variety has been not only convenient, but super fun.  I’ve also learned about new products that have helped me improve and kept training on pace.  
Signing up is super easy and there are multiple options to chose from. With Christmas right around the corner…it might make a great gift for the cyclist or sports enthusiast in your life. Check it out here: https://thefeed.com/
And as Tally says…Ride fast!

I don’t usually write about products or goods…but I’ve been meaning for some time to call attention to The Feed.  The Feed is a monthly box that comes packed with energy bars, brews and gels to keep you energized during your workout.  It’s geared towards cyclists and you even get a nifty Team Garmin water bottle with your first month’s starter pack, but many of the items can be used for any type of workout (especially running!).

Each month I can’t wait to get my new box.  There’s always a special, hand-written message from Tally and sometimes they throw in extra goodies.  My favorite are the Rip Van Waffles.  

My grocery store doesn’t always have the greatest selection and Fleet Feet is close, but not that close…so getting a monthly variety has been not only convenient, but super fun.  I’ve also learned about new products that have helped me improve and kept training on pace.  

Signing up is super easy and there are multiple options to chose from. With Christmas right around the corner…it might make a great gift for the cyclist or sports enthusiast in your life. Check it out here: https://thefeed.com/

And as Tally says…Ride fast!

Retail can wait until tomorrow #ronswansonthursday

Retail can wait until tomorrow #ronswansonthursday

It’s #RonSwansonThursday …Enjoy!

It’s #RonSwansonThursday …Enjoy!

2013 Racing Recap

I’m tired.

I pushed myself this year and am happy I did so…but I’m really tired.  Still…I can’t wait until next year!

This year I ran four half marathons and a 15K.  Last year I only ran two halfs and no 15K.  It is true, as they say, that you become addicted after just one.  

Here’s a look back:

February: 

I jumped into Disney’s Princess Half rather impulsively.  I was so in love with the Wine & Dine that I wanted to keep going.  As I’ve said before, I will more than likely not return to this race for many reasons, not the least of which being that training is simply horrible in the winter months.

June, July, August:

For the first time I really, truly trained as I should and for a while I was hitting every single training run.  Until…my knee started hurting.  I’ve never had problems with my knee and it scared me.  When it didn’t go away I decided to rest for two weeks.  I know (shaking my head)…but looking back it was probably the right choice.  Lesson #1: Listen to your body!

September:

Jayson registered me for the Brewers Mini Marathon as a birthday present and I’d been looking forward to a race in my hometown (finally!).  As the race drew near I became excited and anticipated a new PR…until Jayson got sick and I soon after.  They didn’t tell me what I had; they assumed strep throat and even though we were both knocked out for several days, I decided to run.  This was probably not a good decision.  I still PRed, by nine minutes despite my illness and ALL THE HILLS.  Lesson #2: Check the elevation graph before race day!  I would consider this race for next year although it’s not at the top of my list.  The price is right, but the hills are a bit more of a challenge then I’d like.

October: 

Oh shoot…the Monster Half Marathon is in just three weeks!  I only ran six times in between the Brewers Race and the Monster Half, mainly due to the Chicago Marathon 60+ hour work week, but I managed to incorporate more yoga into my routine.  When Race Day came I was nervous, but felt ready.  I purchased a FlipBelt at the ChicaMara Expo and ran with my phone for the first time.  With the perfect Pandora station, right temperature and a nice, flat course, I actually PRed again with a 2:31 time…I was so close to breaking 2:30.  This was also the first race Jayson and I ran together.  He tackled his first 5K with great success. This race gets major props for starting on time, moving through the corrals quickly and super awesome volunteers.  Overall, this was my favorite race this season.  Without a doubt, I’d go back.  Oh, and they were serving PBR at the end.  Lesson #3: Get a FlipBelt…trust me!

November:

Ok, I’m tired.  I need a break.  No, I need to keep running and stay strong for November.  I’m tired.  Yup…that was on repeat for three weeks straight.  I kept at the yoga, but the running slowed down…mainly due to the colder temps.  Two weeks after the Monster Race I had the Hot Chocolate 15K.  I thought about just running the 5K and almost changed my mind when the course split but I kept at it.  I just slowed down and tried to enjoy the race.  

A week later I traveled to Florida for my second go at the Wine & Dine Half Marathon.  I was excited…but tired.  The temps were a bit warmer than last year, which is good for vacation, but not for PRing.  I didn’t PR, but landed right in between my two prior times.  Not bad for a race with quite a few hills and an abundance of walkers that always seemed to stop directly in front of me.  This race was again a blast and I hope to return.  Lesson #4: Don’t expect to PR on your very last race.  In theory it sounds right, but as it was my last race, I wish I would have focused on enjoying everything I love about racing instead of worrying about that darn PR.      

Today: 

It’s time for a bit of a break.  I’m really proud of my achievements this year and can’t wait until next year…I think I’m ready for the big one!  For now though, it’s time to just regroup and enjoy if only for a little while, not having any immediate obligations.  Thank you all for your support and encouragement these last few months…I couldn’t have done it without you!

Greetings from Florida #wereonaboat

Greetings from Florida #wereonaboat


In celebration of fall, it’s time to bring back #RonSwansonThursday in which I feature the best moments of my favorite TV character.  

I know it’s Friday, but I forgot to post yesterday and I simply couldn’t resist.  This one is great.

(Source: mareluna3001, via liz-lemons)

A Spectacular September

The month I’d longed for and dreaded simultaneously has come and past.  Much of what I’ve been working toward in life came to a head in September, but I dreaded what I would do when it was over.  It’s like that scene in Eat, Pray, Love (the movie) when Julia Roberts in trying to mediate in the air-conditioned chamber and she suddenly realizes “What am I going to do when this year is over?”  Yup, that’s what I feared.  

A little more than a year ago I started writing classes at The Second City Training Center.  I’d always wanted to take a class and through the series of events that led to my part-time bartending job, I ended up with a free class.  A nice perk that I took advantage of immediately.  When I started the class I had no idea that young twenty-somethings come from around the country to complete this very program.  I also had no idea that it would be a year-long investment with such wonderful rewards.  More about that in a post to come!  But for now, all you need to know is that my program completion certificate means more to me than my bachelors.

September also marked a very special milestone for me and Jayson.  Three years!  Jayson surprised me with Book of Mormon tickets and gave me a signed copy of Stephanie Izard’s Cook Book…which he tracked her down to sign.  Clearly I am spoiled and loved more than anyone has ever been in the existence of human life.  I arranged the dinner plans and brunch the next morning.  

Dinner was at The Melting Pot as I had never been and Jayson had mentioned it a time or two.  It was fine, but the place that stole the show was Zed 451 the next morning for brunch.  $90 (not including tip) is more than I usually spend on brunch, but if you have the chance I would highly recommend this local favorite.  You start with a buffet of salads, cheese, fruit and assorted items and then they serve you table-side with an unrelenting supply of goodness.  My entree favorites were the thick-cut bacon, carved turkey AND buffalo-chicken and waffles.  Yum…  Like I said, I normally don’t spend that much on one meal, but it was well worth it and I would go back in a heart beat.  

Ok, ok…kind of got off track there.  But I just wanted to say that after three years together, Jayson and I are still bonding over brunch, one of the very things that brought us together.  

At the end of September, I also had my second half marathon of the year…another gift from Jayson…the Brewers Mini Marathon.  Never before had I truly trained as I should and I was running faster than ever before!  I was healthy and ready and then…a week before the race, Jayson got sick.  Not just sick, but really sick.  I’ll spare the details, but within a couple days, I got sick too.  And then because Jayson was sick my plans fell through for getting to Wisconsin after my last Second City Show on Friday in time for the race on Saturday morning.  And I was still sick. 

And…and…and…I had to choose.  I had to be an adult and realize that not everything works out perfectly and sometimes there isn’t a magical answer behind a secret door.  I chose to miss my last show in lieu of the race. 

I made it to Wisconsin Friday night and ran Saturday.  Despite having strep throat a week earlier, I achieved a new PR.  And now I’m on to my next challenge.  Three halfs in three months (more like six weeks).  I finished the Monster Dash this past Sunday with another new PR and we head to Disney for the final race in two weeks.  

So, I guess in summary.  I’m really proud of where I am in my life.  September came and it really, truly was remarkable.  Now it’s October, and that’s almost gone too, but I’m ok.  I’m even better than I was in September, because I know that I am not going to be a zombie waiting for life to happen.  No matter what, I will continue to go after my dreams and keep pushing forward.  And no matter what, I’ll have Jayson by my side every step of the way.  


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