• Food,  Friends,  My Friends Have Mad Skillz

    New Food Swap Book! (Get it.)

    Local food swaps have become a thing. What are they? Well, they’re all a little different but the basic idea is that a bunch of people from one community come together to trade homegrown or homemade items. After everyone arrives, time is spent walking around, checking out what everyone brought (and sometimes sampling), and then when it’s time to swap there’s a negotiating frenzy. Typically everyone goes home with a bag (or box) full of goodies, extremely happy about trying some new things. My friends Emily Paster and Vanessa Druckman created the Chicago Food Swap a few years ago; the first one was held in December 2011. I was able…

  • How To,  I've Got Mad Skillz,  My Friends Have Mad Skillz

    An Amateur’s Guide to Arranging Flowers

    Here’s something you don’t know about me, after two billion years of blogging (I know; I can’t believe I left a stone unturned either): I adore arranging flowers into vases or other containers. ADORE. As in LOVE. It dates back to the late 1980’s when I was an eighteen-year-old newlywed, working at LeeWards Craft Store. I worked in the custom frame shop, which was located adjacent to the floral department. Two women who worked in Floral, Judy and Cherry, were much older than me–probably my age NOW–and very maternal towards me. I loved hanging out with them and was fascinated by what they did. They stood at the counter day…

  • Amazing People,  Best Thing Ever,  Blessings,  Fun in Chicago,  My Friends Have Mad Skillz,  Proud Moments,  Something That Could Change Your Life

    Five.

    Sunday was a great day. On Sunday Tracey and I, along with our incredible cast of ten other women and one Pete, brought the fifth annual LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER CHICAGO show to the stage. I don’t write as much about LTYM here on Suburban Scrawl as I used to. I’m not sure why that is, because it really has become a part of my practically-daily life all year round. Being involved with LTYM on a few different levels is still a life highlight, and it just keeps on getting better. Like Sunday. Our fifth show? Wow. Time flies when you’re having fun. Five years in and it’s still a…

  • Friends,  My Friends Have Mad Skillz,  Travels

    I Love L.A.

    I just returned from a visit to the site of the #BlogHer16 conference in Los Angeles. I love L.A. I. LOVE. IT. Of course, my rose-colored glasses were deeply tinted on this trip, what with the “late January getaway from Chicago winter” and the “spending three and a half days with the most awesome team ever” elements. Los Angeles was a dream, and I wish I could’ve “slept” a little longer. Literally and figuratively. On the way out, I got to walk through my favorite corridor at O’Hare airport. Of course, when I was sitting at the gate in the middle of a flight delay that would last nearly two…

  • Bean,  Childhood Memories,  Confessions,  Friends,  Music,  My Friends Have Mad Skillz

    What Happens In High School…

    I attended high school in Knoxville, Tennessee so when we come here to visit our parents (both sets still live here), I always try to make time to get together with one of my oldest and dearest friends, Kate. We went to high school together and were extremely close in our junior and senior years. While we lost touch for nearly eight years after graduation, I sent a letter to her parents’ address when I was pregnant with J and we reconnected. I love our relationship; it’s really stood the test of time. In addition to our high school adventures, she flew to Chicago to be the decoy surprise when…

  • Amazing People,  Best Thing Ever,  Blessings,  Favorite Things,  Food,  Friends,  Fun in Chicago,  My Friends Have Mad Skillz,  Pretty Pictures,  Something That Could Change Your Life

    I Nearly Nailed @MomoFali In The Eye With A Gummy Bear Last Night.

    Honestly. It was close. More on that in a bit. The 2015 BlogHer Food conference is in the books, and it was awesome. I loved that it was in my hometown for many reasons, not the least of which was that a bunch of my local friends (some food bloggers, some not) were in attendance. Working a conference on my birthday when work doesn’t seem like work AND I’m surrounded by so many people I love wasn’t too shabby of a gig, I have to say. My friend Aimee Giese of Greeblehaus, who I’ve known online since 2008-ish but with whom I’ve never spent more than a minute or two…

  • Friends,  My Friends Have Mad Skillz,  Random Thoughts,  Something That Could Change Your Life

    Enthusiasm is Contagious. Let’s Spread It Around.

    I cried this morning. It was a good cry, though: my favorite. I was actually on the phone with a close (close close) friend and she was telling me about something in her life that had been looking pretty grim for a while but just had a huge turnaround. She started crying and then I started crying, and it was just the best. I kept saying, “I’m just so happy to hear you sounding happy!!” I felt such joy and wished I could bottle it. Then I took Roxie for a walk, and since that’s where I do a lot of good thinking, my brain wandered from this morning’s conversation…

  • Amazing People,  Confessions,  Do I Really Want My Readers To Know This?,  Friends,  My Friends Have Mad Skillz

    Friends First.

    Momo and I met online seven years ago, at some point in 2008. (In Internet time that’s virtually 575 years ago.) We met in real life in June of 2009, when I helped bring a van full of meat to her house. (The Momo’s Meat Wagon story is here.) We’ve been close friends ever since. I became her contractor at BlogHer three years ago, and for every day of those three years I have been one half of a total Dream Team. I don’t think every pair of friends could have a successful work relationship, but we do. We have worked together seamlessly, with excellent communication and just the right…

  • Amazing People,  Blessings,  Confessions,  Friends,  I've Got Mad Skillz,  Jim Has Mad Skillz,  My Friends Have Mad Skillz,  My Kid Has Mad Skillz

    Coping Skills For Mostly Happy People

    I’m lucky in that I don’t have too many bad days. I’m constantly counting my blessings and I realize all the time that my life is pretty darn good. I am a completely normal human being though, which means that I’m not happy all the time. Life is a roller coaster: ups AND downs are part of the deal. Yesterday? Was a downer. Being a mostly happy person, I tend to freak people out when I’m having a bad day. It’s not that my friends think I cannot have a bad day (or am not allowed a bad day), but when I’m walking around living a 21st century Pollyanna life,…

  • Amazing People,  Best Thing Ever,  Favorite Things,  Food,  Friends,  Fun in Chicago,  I've Got Mad Skillz,  My Friends Have Mad Skillz,  Skydeck Chicago,  Travels

    Life In The Fast Lane Surely Make You Lose Your Mind

    It just hit me on Tuesday evening, right after I dropped Liz and her middle daughter off at the airport (how much I hate goodbyes could be a whole other post, ugh), how much I had done/accomplished/enjoyed in two weeks. It made me dizzy, and perhaps piled on more exhaustion, on top of my exhaustion. It also made me smile. The last two weeks of July just might have been the busiest two weeks of my entire life, but I’m not complaining. It was a blast. First there was the BlogHer conference in NYC. I went into it exhausted; the weeks leading up to conference weekend are crazed for our…