• Confessions,  Favorite Things

    A Taste of Home.

    Jim and I recently attended the holiday party given by our Homeowner’s Association at the clubhouse just up the street. Dinner was catered, but everyone was asked to bring a dessert to share. As we made the rounds greeting neighbors we already know and meeting a few others for the first time, I glanced at the kitchen counter where all of the desserts had been placed. My heart skipped a beat when I saw something very familiar. It was a tin of individually wrapped candies, but not just any old candies: they were Frango Mints, the signature truffle sold by Marshall Field’s in Chicago. Yes, I’m aware it’s called Macy’s…

  • Confessions

    Another Demographic That Needs to Learn “No Means No”

    You probably already know where I’m going here. I’m talking about those super aggressive men and women who hawk Dead Sea skin care products at mall kiosks and, as I discovered two weeks ago, also in Lahaina, Hawaii. What, weren’t you thinking of them, too? I have encountered these people many times, and my normal M.O. is to walk past them as close to the outer wall of the mall and away from the kiosk as possible so they don’t even see me. When I am in the unfortunate position of having to pass by them in closer proximity than I prefer, I have no problem turning down their offers…

  • Blessings,  Confessions

    What I Know For Sure

    Four years ago today, the snowy scene pictured above was my reality in the western suburbs of Chicago. We moved to Knoxville a year and a half ago and no longer had the need for the snowblower we purchased the year that photo was taken. Although it snows occasionally in Knoxville—and yeah yeah yeah the area practically shuts down when it merely flurries and people, who don’t think about the fact that the South doesn’t have the infrastructure to deal with snow, let alone the fact that the hills and sharp curves around here make traveling in icy conditions very dangerous regardless of whether the roads have been salted properly,…

  • Best Thing Ever,  Confessions,  Favorite Things,  Food,  Fun in Chicago,  Pretty Pictures

    Let Me Be Frank.

    Yesterday I wrote about how more isn’t always better and how, although I miss Chicago immensely, I really do have everything I need in Knoxville. Then we took my parents to Portillo’s for lunch today because there was NO FREAKING WAY that I was going to be in the area for two full days and not go to Portillo’s, Thanksgiving or not. I decided that the answer to the question with which I ended yesterday’s post, “Who could ask for more?” is “Me, and I’d like a Knoxville Portillo’s, please.” THEN I’ll have everything I need.  

  • Blessings,  Confessions,  Favorite Things,  Food,  Fun in Chicago,  Travels

    Abundance

    One of the things I love about coming back up north is having the ability to stick up on things I can’t get in Knoxville. Being in Kenosha for this holiday meant a mandatory trip to my favorite grocery store. Woodman’s is a Wisconsin-based chain that is employee-owned and has the largest selection of products I have ever seen, as in four whole aisles of candy, one entire corner of the store devoted to soda pop and other beverages, and an aisle the length of the entire back of the store full of every kind of chip you could ever want, just to name a few. Unlike other stores which…

  • Confessions,  Motivation

    Keep Moving

    It’s been a day (and a night: I’m running on an hour of sleep) so I decided to take the easy way out for today’s post and find a quote that speaks to me. Maybe it’ll speak to you, too. It’s from dancer Twyla Tharp: To survive, you’ve got to keep wheedling your way. You can’t just sit there and fight against odds when it’s not going to work. You have to turn a corner, dig a hole, go through a tunnel – and find a way to keep moving. Let’s keep moving, shall we?

  • Best Thing Ever,  Confessions,  Favorite Things

    I’m One of Those.

    I finally switched out the clothes in my bedroom closet today, trading tank tops and Capri pants for sweatshirts and jeans. I am SO HAPPY. Don’t get me wrong; I really like summer, especially now that we have access to a pool just up the street. As much as I enjoy driving with the sunroof open though, I get a little giddy when autumn kicks in. Just a few things I love about fall: Changing trees and fallling leaves Running our fireplace Hot cocoa with whipped cream The aforementioned sweatshirts and jeans Curling up on the couch with a blanket The seat warmers in my car Chicken matzah ball soup…

  • Confessions,  Favorite Things,  Pretty Pictures

    100 Things I Love

    Here are 100 things I love, in no particular order: 1. My family 2. My friends 3. The British Royals 4. Writing 5. The smell of lilac 6. Traveling 7. Playing cards with friends 8. Food trucks 9. The beach 10. Road trips 11. Laughing 12. Crème brûlée 13. Baking 14. People magazine 15. Steak 16. The Chicago Cubs 17. Taking pictures 18. David Sedaris 19. Dancing 20. Yacht Rock 21. The smell of coconut 22. My house 23. Hot cocoa with whipped cream on top 24. Reminiscing 25. Foo Fighters 26. Dogs 27. Boxing 28. Making people smile 29. Lou Malnati’s deep dish pizza 30. My cherry red KitchenAid…

  • Confessions,  Music

    I’ve Lost the Power.

    I picked Dylan up from the airport last week and, upon arriving at my house he said he had a couple of YouTube videos to show me. “Sure,” I said. “Put ’em on!” As he was searching for the videos on his phone he said, “Oh! I found 2 Unlimited on YouTube!” I know 2 Unlimited, but couldn’t remember their music. Dylan said, “Remember? We used to listen to them in the car all the time! Here, I’ll show you.” He went on and on about how he missed listening to that entire CD. He quickly found the video for “No One” and as he started it, I recognized the…

  • Blessings,  Confessions,  Do I Really Want My Readers To Know This?,  I'm Apparently Old.,  UGH.

    This Is (My) Fifty.

    Today is my 50th birthday. I won’t lie: I am having a little trouble with this. This past week I have been filled with a strange type of upset and a little bit of panic that crashed into me out of nowhere. This “mini crisis” isn’t about anything related to my life itself. I have nothing to complain about (to say the least); the source of all of this is literally the number, and I am mostly surprised that I feel this way…but in a way, I’m not. I was one of those kids who did the math to learn that I would be thirty-two years old in the year…