City Slickers Gone Campin’

Last weekend, I….

  • Stayed up until 5 am talking and drinking around a campfire
  • Didn’t shower for 48 hours – and sweat profusely in that time
  • Ate a lot of s’mores and hot dogs
  • Drank more Bud Light & Coors than I care to admit
  • Slept in a tent on a sloped hill
  • Took a nap in a hammock (it was glorious)
  • Hung out with Jedi the Pug (Barklee Ann is jealous, I know…)

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Let’s just say camping was a huge success. It’s been years since I last went camping with my family. I honestly don’t even remember when the last camping trip was but it was likely in Michigan and I was probably in high school. Since then, my brother has been trying to get a camping trip planned. Finally, this year, I committed a weekend on my calendar to making the trip to Bloomington, IN. My brother is one of those people that has ALL of the gear that you could ever need for a weekend camping trip. He fogged the camping site for bugs before Manny and I arrived, brought us a tent to use (cuz hello, we don’t own one), bought the majority of our food along with the utensils needed to cook it, and let us use his air mattress pads so we didn’t have to sleep on rocks for two nights. It’s true camping but with all the things that I would forget if I planned it on my own (related: we didn’t even bring pillows or towels. That’s how unprepared I was and how prepared everyone else was.)

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When we planned the trip we didn’t realize that it was over the summer solstice. It must have been fate that we’d celebrate the beginning of the summer by doing something we did throughout my childhood. It’s always refreshing to get out of the city for a weekend but especially when it’s to get a big dose of fresh air (well except for our B.O.) and time with my family. I think I’ll be camping again sooner rather than later – I’m just going to make sure it’s not YEARS before we do it again.

Running has felt so much more enjoyable lately. I ran 30+ miles last week (baby steps!) and even managed my first real workout since before Boston. I surprised myself in that workout – just 4 x 3 min surges but I managed a faster pace than I thought I would. I had way more motivation to get out and run than I did a month ago. I am still having a hard time switching back to AM workouts and the humidity in Chicago has certainly been something to struggle with. But I still have a few more weeks of easy base mileage before I jump into any kind of real training schedule. Slowly, but surely I think I’m getting my legs (and my fire) back. I’m still working through the details of this fall, but I will definitely jump into a 5k and a 10k this summer to see where my fitness is at. I’m sure it will be slightly humbling but at least I’ll know what I need to work on. I’m starting to get more excited about training, especially now that I’ve taken 4 weeks to just run when I feel like it.

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More smiles lately! (and hey, I can touch my toes!)

Besides, the camping trip was more relaxing when I didn’t feel the need to squeeze a run in. 🙂

– J


Running, Lately

Running lately has been as fun as I’d hoped. Back to routine, back to progress. I enjoy running more when I’m working toward a goal and a new training cycle is definitely making me excited about what’s to come. My body is slowly getting used to 5 runs per week again and I’m all too happy to climb into bed at night. After three weeks of a new training cycle, I’m happy to see that I really haven’t lost any speed since Boston (which is surprising considering the sloth-like state I assumed for 5+ weeks!).

This past weekend I went home to see my family for the first time since Christmas (other than seeing them in Boston). I was looking forward to the trip for weeks, especially because we have a new addition to the family and I’m an aunt to THREE crazy boys now. Unfortunately, the trip didn’t go as planned and after car trouble on Friday night, I was really upset and disappointed that our Friday night plans with my family were botched and we had to return to Chi to deal with the car.


Luckily, Megabus had available seats on an outgoing bus the next morning and a decent return time on Sunday afternoon. Friday was a long and exhausting night but I forgot about all of that when we arrived at my mom’s house and the entire family came over to enjoy an afternoon hanging out at the house and in the back yard. It’s times like these when I really miss the peaceful quiet of my mom’s backyard. I sat on the deck in a comfortable chair with a beer in my hand and closed my eyes while the sun shined down. (If I stopped to imagine it, I felt like I was back in Cabo minus the sun pool.) That feeling has me longing for an apartment with a small patch of “green” in the concret jungle of Chicago.

Because of the travel difficulty on Friday night, I wasn’t able to run my normal long run on Saturday morning. I switched it to Sunday morning. After dragging myself out of bed, I laced up and went out around my hometown. Since I was in high school, the park district has added plenty of paths and trails that basically go all the way around the town. I’m nostalgic about the older paths because I ran them when I was younger, during cross country in middle school and high school. It’s funny how they never seem to change, but I’m glad they never do.

I usually run out-and-back on a lakefront route in Chicago but I felt like I was ‘exploring’ more during Sunday’s run. In a matter of 90 minutes, I ran through practically the entire town. And I got some nice hill training in too because, unlike Chicago, the town actually has hills!

These pictures are dedicated to all the urban runners out there. This is what “nature” looks like, people!

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If you run in the city, when was the last time you ran on a wooded path? Do you make an effort to find paths or trails like this every once in awhile? Do you prefer city or suburban running?


Staying Centered & The Little Things

One week left in January and I feel like I’m off to a good start. I’ve been very busy. Outside of my 9-5, a lot of other things are brewing. Some days I wonder how I’m going to get it all done (secret: most days… I don’t). I don’t know what I’d do without my giant yellow planner with plenty of doodle space. I really should start using pencil to jot down my TO DOs because over 70% of what I scratch in it occurs on a different day than I intended. But so it goes.

I feel like a broken record on my blog. In the past few months, life has been so busy that this blog really just allows me to take a step back and look at where I’m at and what I could be doing better (running, or otherwise). But I guess it’s important to reflect. And so, I will.

I wrote about my 2012 goals a couple of weeks ago and I have to say, I’m doing very well so far! 10% of my income has gone into my savings account where it shall not be touched. And I have been writing down my “moment of the day” every night before I go to bed. Some days I forget, but I can always think of something that made me happy from the day before. If you’ve ever kept a journal before, you probably know that it can be time-consuming and become more of a list of things you don’t actually enjoy about your life. I’ve side-stepped that process and so far, I think it’s working. Let’s call it “PAUSITIVITY“.

I’ve been pretty inconsistent with my training since the Chicago Marathon. Just check out the image below to see how sporadic it is. October through December was a period of “run when I want to, don’t run when I don’t”. I dedicated some time to exploring a yoga routine. And…I rested. Yes, rest! Sweet, glorious rest. I didn’t obsess over when I should run based on my busy schedule. I didn’t think to myself, “I should have run ONE more mile this week just to make it to so many miles”. It was nice to have some down time. And now I’m back at it (if you could consider 3 weeks of 25+ miles consistent!).

Weeks #42 and #1 are the only weeks in the past year when I didn’t run 1 mile. Week 42 was the week following the Chicago Marathon when it was incredibly important to stay put. And Week 1 was a sick week spent at home under the covers and drinking hot tea. I don’t like to see gaps in my mileage, but hey. I worked hard and resting was my reward.

[Another confession: The last time I ran over 100 miles in a month was September and I’ll surpass 100 this month. It’s the little things.]

The little things that have made me happy lately:

  • Rearranging furniture and making the apartment feel a bit more homey (if that’s even possible). Manny and I had some of his family over a few weeks ago for their first visit to the new place. We had mimosas and they told us how proud of us they are. :happy:
  • Hot tea. Every night lately has been a ‘tea night’. And I can’t get enough of my peppermint fix.
  • The option of running inside OR outside during the winter months + my short commute to the gym. My gym is a few blocks from my apartment, rather than a train ride away like last year. It’s allowed me to be consistent and relaxed at the same time. (I thrive on my alone time at home to keep me sane!)
  • Puppy cuddles. ‘Nuff said.
  • Time with loved ones. Nothing’s better than a lazy hotel stay with my mom, drinking beer, eating pizza, and watching House Hunters International (before falling asleep around 10 pm :-))
  • Nuun! I depended on Nuun for my hydration strategy through my training and racing of the Chicago Marathon this past year. I am addicted. And I was so excited today at work when I realized my shipment would be waiting for me at home after work. (Again, it’s the little things).
  • A good book (or two). I finished 1Q84 last week and will finish Bossypants by Tina Fey this week. The first–deep, methodical, whimsical, and intriguing. The second–fresh, chuckle-inducing,  and silly.
  • Lavender-scented candles at night. :Relaxation:

I’m going to continue to be patient with myself and realize that not everything I want to accomplish will be accomplished this week, but that it will be accomplished eventually. What are your “little things”?


She’s growing up!

When I say “she”, I mean my sister. And when I say sister, I mean TWIN sister. Over Christmas, her boyfriend of many years proposed and…

She said YES!

It’s all very exciting. We’ve become thoroughly addicted to Pinterest (not that we weren’t before, of course) and we already have plans to get together in February to begin the dress hunt. She’s so on top of things, even though she thinks the countdown has already begun. We’ve got 8 full months to make sure it’s a special day.

Congrats, sis!


I’m baaaaack! + Spring Racing Schedule

I hope everyone had a lovely, fantastic Thanksgiving holiday weekend with loved ones. I had a great time hanging out with my brothers and nephews all weekend. (The sisters were doing their own thing in DC and I missed them terribly. But they missed out on some delicious food and hot toddies…just sayin’). It was unseasonably warm in Indy, just as it has been in Chicago lately. On Friday, we had a toasty high of 63 degrees! SIXTY-THREE!? Absolutely wonderful. I’m glad I brought plenty of running shorts with me as opposed to leggings because I put them to use.

The Drumstick Dash was a success. It was a much different experience this year than last. (Last year involved sideways rain and a lack of preparation apparel-wise on my part. I hadn’t truly gotten into my running kick at the time and just ran the race to have fun. Well, I guess as much fun as you can have running in sideways rain.) I’ve slowly been healing after I was diagnosed with peroneal tendonitis in my left leg and I wasn’t sure if I’d RACE or RUN the Dash. My dad even found me 2 minutes before start-time and asked me the same question. I told him I didn’t know—but I think I did. 🙂 Because I took off runnin’ and got into a rhythm with my tunes right away.

I must be lucky when it comes to running into people I know (literally) because I saw an old high school friend that went to France with me at the time during the race. We chatted as much as we could (I told you I was racing!) and agreed we’d try to catch up afterward. It was nice to see a friendly face and be surprised during the race.

The Dash is only 4.5 miles but it feels much longer because of the small turns you take through the Broad Ripple neighborhood. I had enough distractions and I set my sights on some other runners up ahead to keep the momentum up. By the 3rd and 4th mile, I had thoroughly shocked myself. I looked down at my Garmin and it didn’t budge from a 7:00-7:10 pace. Where was THAT coming from!? It must be the rest I’ve been taking lately with this tendinitis issue. I even managed a 5k PR during a 4.5 mile race. (My previous PR was in August and it was a poor effort on my part. Still, that was my PR at the time). I finished the course in just over 32 minutes.

Age Group: 14th place
Overall finish: 492/5604 *top 9% out of those with timing chips (15000 people registered, 5604 with chips)

I didn’t have much tenderness in my left leg the day after like I did when I first experienced pain there. I’m so happy the pain is going away and I’m able to run longer distances now. I even ran 6 miles before work this Monday! Talk about starting the week off on the right foot…or left?

This morning I got up early and managed to find the time to do both a biking and running workout. I got on the bike for 20 minutes while I waited to snag a treadmill at the gym. I am not on a structured training plan right now (which is awesome), but I decided I would run 4 miles today. I started the pace at 8:30/mile and ended at 7:06/mile. Last year when I started my training in February, my pace for 800 springs was around 7:50. Now that is an easy run. It’s funny what time and dedication can do within a year’s time. I’m looking forward to starting off even healthier this year and working towards a fun spring racing schedule.

Since I won’t be able to register/run Boston until 2013, I’m looking forward to dedicating the spring to my half marathon time. My current half PR is 1:43:48 (average pace 7:55), while my marathon PR is 3:32:53 (8:08 average pace). My average pace for the half and the full definitely shouldn’t be that close. And I know I’m capable of running the half much faster. So, without further ado, my spring racing schedule:

  • Rock ‘n Roll National Half Marathon– March 17th 2012– Rock ‘n Roll always has really well organized races and this will be a good excuse to get out to D.C. and visit my twin sister. 🙂
  • Carmel Half Marathon– April 21– I’m excited about running this one. I grew up minutes away from Carmel and I’ll have a hometown crowd there cheering me on (thanks to my nephews! :-)) The price is right and it will be nice to run a race in Indy again.
  • Bayshore Half Marathon– May 26th–I think I most excited about this race. It’s small (they only allow 2300 runners) and flat and scenic. My brother will be running the full and WILL qualify for Boston at this event. It’s going to be a good day 🙂

I’m sure Coach has a specific pace in mind, but we’ll see how the season unfolds. I feel like there’s a lot of good stuff to come. If this morning’s 7 min pace is any indication to what I can look forward to, it’s going to be a great spring running season.

Have you registered for your spring races yet? What are you focusing on? Do you like having a structured racing plan or play it by ear?


Autumn Loves

Lately I’ve been savoring the little things BIG things. It’s the time of the year to think about what you’re thankful for and what you’ve accomplished in the past 11-12 months. I’ve been thinking about it lately and decided that I’d be silly to think that life is anything but good.

Life is good.

I am super happy about some things happening in my life and the lives of friends & family. It’s easy (especially in the city) to feel compartmentalized and sectioned off from the rest of the world. But everyone is working towards something awesome, it seems. I’m happy to be around people that are driven, know where they want to go, and are figuring out a way to get there. (Again, this goes back to the video I posted last week—I still can’t get over it.)

Short and sweet…I’m thankful for:

  • my sister, Lindsey. My day wouldn’t be the same without our Gchat convos. PLUS she just got hired by a landscape architect in D.C. and she’ll finally have a job doing exactly what she wants to be doing! I’m so excited for her–for real.
  • a workplace with a lax dress code. Because dress pants on a rainy day just don’t work out as well as jeans and boots do.
  • my sweater drawer. I will be thankful for this drawer for approximately the next 5 months.
  • the fact that I survived Bikram yoga last week!!! I’m obsessing over this new workout and love the way I feel after sweating for 90 minutes in a room with a ton of other sweaty people trying to contort their bodies into odd shapes. There really is nothing like it.
  • my puppy. She may be a rascal sometimes (admittedly, she’s not really a puppy anymore), but she always goes crazy when I come home after work.
  • an active family. I’m running the Drumstick Dash in Indy this weekend with my mom and brother. How awesome is that?
  • hot apple cider. ’nuff said (even better when it transforms into a hot toddy)
  • the ability to feed myself good food. I look forward to cooking good dinners every weekday. Good food, good beer, and good company is all I need.

The little things have become the big things.



I always thought of myself as photogenic…

This past weekend, I ran the Hot Chocolate 15k with my older sister, Brittany. And, as I alluded to in my previous post, we had a lot of fun sprinting to the end after a nice run through the city. Luckily, there were photographers present to demonstrate how photogenic and how unphotogenic we can be. Proof below…

Here we are. Lookin’ pretty. We may be cold, but we’re put together. Looking forward to getting the race started and running for hot chocolate and fondue.

It’s about to get ugly…

I spotted the Marathon Foto dude. So maybe I am photogenic. Unlike THAT dude who just had to push ‘stop’ on his Garmin at the exact right moment in time. (I kid. I get it. Time is important.)

This is my favorite. Wait for it…….

Bahahahhaa! This is Brittany. After I told her that she should probably use those legs–afterall, she WAS on the 4 x 800 relay team in high school when they hopped right on up to the Indiana State Track & Field championships. Yup, that lit a fire under her butt! (That and she WAS running for chocolate. duh.)

So there you have it, proof that we can be photogenic if we put our minds to it and proof that we may not be that attractive when we lose our minds. But at least we had fun. 🙂


A Lot Can Happen In 365 Days

I’ve lived through one year as a post-college graduate. And in that time, a lot of things have happened. So many things have happened, that I most likely can’t remember all those tiny moments that helped shape the year and how I’ve changed in that time. Graduating with a degree in International Studies and a concentration in  Environmental Policy, I really had no idea what I was going to do. I had dabbled in dreams of graduate studies in Urban Planning, lightly considered some fellowship options that would allow me to travel (even if it was within the U.S.), and spent countless hours searching sites with job postings that I didn’t think fit my personality/interests. And, just like many college graduates in recent years, I was feeling pretty uneasy about not knowing what I was going to be doing day-to-day for the next couple of months.

It all began at the coffee shop down the street. For three to four months following graduation, I worked as a receptionist at the alternative health center I’d worked at through college and devoted my remaining free time to scouring job postings from every possible source available. I edited and re-edited my resume while sipping down delicious bottomless cups of coffee at The Jumping Bean Cafe–all while gradually becoming hopeless in my job search. Several months went by and I finally began to get any type of consistent response from a couple companies, 4-5 phone interviews, and 3 in-person interviews for me to land a job in an industry that didn’t quite ‘fit’ with the aspirations I had for my future. I guess you could say I was persistent…and willing to put some larger dreams on hold in order to begin paying off those dreaded student loans. All in all, it took 5 months of dedication to land a job with a company with employees that are relaxed, courteous, responsible, and fun.

I wouldn’t have been able to keep my cool or ease the tension of my job search if it hadn’t been for creating some secondary goals for myself in the interim. In January of last year I decided I wanted to run my first half marathon. Registration for the Indy 500 Festival Mini Marathon had already closed by the time I made my decision (the race is the largest half marathon in the United States and is notorious for closing out registration 5+ months before race day). Transferring bibs from someone no longer wanting to run the race would be invalid as well. But I was determined and wanted to run the race even if someone else’s name was displayed on the bib I was wearing. I didn’t train terribly hard for the mini marathon–but I don’t think that was the point. I needed a distraction. I ran somewhere between 12-15 miles each week and tried to get ‘serious’ about training but had difficult squeezing in the time to run between working 30 hours a week and going to school full-time (and sometimes having a social life). I was running myself ragged with every endeavor except for actually running, but still wanted to add the mini marathon to my list of accomplishments.

I finished the mini with a solid time of 1:56:xx and a solid, even pace of about 9:00 per mile. I had shocked my system and forced myself to be bit by the running bug. Two weeks ago I PR’d  at the Flying Pig in Cincinnati with a time of 1:46:45 to qualify for Corral D at the Chicago marathon. Post-race, I realized that I was 45 seconds away from Corral C (woohoo!) and have decided to run a second half marathon this year on June 4th. The running bug doesn’t give up easily. Now, a year later I have accomplished much more than I thought I would in a year’s time–whether they be personal, educational, professional, or physical–they all allowed me to grow. Running just happens to be the momentum behind all of the memorable events of the past 365 days.

A brief (and most likely, uncomprehensive) list of 365 days worth of accomplishments and happiness:

  • Ran my first (and second) half marathon
  • Celebrated my grandma’s 90th birthday (and counting…)
  • Graduated college
  • Witness my friends become employed, move around the U.S., and fall in love (all while smiling!)
  • Got a precious puppy!
  • Celebrated 3 years with Manny(4th in June!)
  • Got a ‘grown up’ job
  • Learned lots from my twin sister’s travels backpacking around the world
  • Saw my older brother get married!!!
  • Cheered on my brother at the 2010 Chicago Marathon
  • Inspired myself to do the same + add to my stack of running bibs in 2011

Once you look back on the past year, I’m sure there’s more to your own list of accomplishments than you originally thought!


What?! You Never Mentioned Our Family Is Polish, Mom!

I was always aware of my family’s Swedish heritage growing up. My grandma Suzie always had Swedish flags and memorabilia displayed in her house. It was always something that was “there” , but I suppose I wasn’t at an age to take full advantage of asking the right questions of the people that (in hindsight) probably would have been the best people to ask in the first place. Suzie, my world-traveling grandmother, was always interested in where the family came from and helped a close cousin of hers work on a genealogical account of my entire family. I have never seen actual proof of this, but I was told when I was younger that it was because of this published genealogy of my family that we were entered into the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest traced family lineage published in a book. I mean…how cool is that?! I haven’t seen the book since I was around the age of 12, but I have always felt a certain amount of pride due to the fact that my name and date of book was one of the last names to be published in that book. And today, you will find that I am by no means the end of this very, very long line.  (Babies are everywhere in my family now!) After my grandma’s death I became more attached to the idea that we had a strong Swedish heritage. In fact, one of my favorite possessions I inherited from my grandma Suzie is a 2 x 6 tapestry that reads “Uff Da”. For those of who that don’t know what this means, this is all you need to know: it means everything. Any time you are frustrated, you say “uff da!”. Any time you just feel like sighing and wondering what’s going on in this crazy world, you say “uff da”. If you drop an ice cream cone on a hot, summer day, you exclaim “uff da!” and proceed to go buy another one [Note: I only WISH ice cream seemed appetizing to me at the moment–but as it is 12 degrees cold outside and Mother Nature dumped 4-5 inches of snow on Chicago last night, I presently do not have the taste for ice cream.] Wikipedia describes it as a term of “sensory overload”–no matter which senses those may be. The other inherited possession that I treasure is a small, wooden Swedish heart that reads “valkommen” (welcome in Swedish). I have hung it in the doorway leading from my kitchen to the living room in my apartment and think of Grandma Suzie every time I walk under it.

Now, beyond the fact that I know that our family lineage has been traced pretty far back in time and that my both sides of my family have a Swedish heritage, I know next to nothing. I don’t necessarily place blame on myself or others for this lack of family knowledge, but I’ve recently come up against this idea in the past year or two. It makes you wonder, “why don’t I know this information?”. A recent conversation with my mom made me stop and think twice about when (and, in fact, if) I ever asked my mom questions about her side of the family when I was younger. Like most kids, I am sure I was required to ask my mom questions like “where did my great-grandmother live?” or “how many cousins do you have?” as part of a genealogy project in grade school, but I’m fairly certain that information went in one ear and out the other because of the fact that someone was forcing me to ask them. And so, I’m circling back around as people tend to do in life and asking questions I want answers to. But maybe it’s easier to find these things out as they come along instead of quizzing each of my eldest family members ‘where we come from’ (no, I’m not talking about where babies come from). For example, a recent conversation with my mom revealed something new to me about  my heritage without me even asking.

ASIDE: I used to work at an alternative health care clinic in Chicago. I became really close to my co-workers and still consider them family despite the fact that I’m not longer working there. A few weeks ago, we all got together and went to a Salt Cave in a Polish neighborhood on the west side of the city called the Galos Caves. I didn’t know what to expect, but figured it would be something I’d like having worked in a healthy-conscious environment for a few years. The Galos Caves are basically reconstructed to feel like real salt caves in Eastern Europe. The ceilings and walls are packed with salt and your feet are gently massaged as you walk on salt crystals to your seat in the cave. When you walk in, you can tell the air is different. The cave temperature is comfortable and you are told to breathe deeply. After sitting for a few minutes in a reclining chair that lifted my feet above my head, I felt I could already feel the effects. The iodine in the salt has countless benefits according to people that frequent the caves. It helps to cleanse the body even by deeply breathing in the Dead Sea salt. After a few minutes, I realized that I could taste the salt on my lips but could not feel a difference in the air as I breathed. Ten minutes later…I was sleeping deeply like a baby. Thirty minutes later I woke up feeling refreshed, relaxed, and very happy to be in a cocoon-like position for that long. (Note: I was sleepy after a long week of work–but I have a feeling the end result would be the same should I try the salt caves again). Afterwards, my former co-workers and I “zombied” over to the Polish restaurant next door and gobbled up $8.50 worth of a delicious buffet with perogis and other traditional Polish dishes.

After gliding home feeling completely full, happy, and relaxed, I fell fast asleep for an entire night of rest before work the next morning. And, to my surprise, I was shocked to discover that there may have been an inherent reason for me to have enjoyed myself as I did that day after speaking to my mom on the phone. She nonchalantly said, “my grandma came to the United States from Poland”. WAIT WAIT WAIT. “What did you say?!”, I asked. And again, “yeah, your great-grandmother was 100% Polish”. All I could do was ask her why I hadn’t been told this before or how she could have neglected to tell me this until I was twenty-three years old. Here I am, thinking that I am predominantly Swedish  my entire life,going around saying “uff da” like it’s something that non-Swedish people wouldn’t understand, and wondering what I can do to make my Christmas “Swedish-fied”…and I find out I’m just as Polish as I am Swedish!

You can imagine my surprise. I might as swell swap my Swedish Fish for Perogis! So now, after experiencing a Polish salt cave and eating a traditional Polish buffet all during one wintery Chicago night, I have come to terms with another side of my family heritage. And I’m perhaps all the wiser for learning not to ask questions and picking up on this information as it comes along.

Na zdrowie!

– J

October = Wedding Guest Bliss

In the past three weeks I have attended two absolutely stunning weddings. The first, my surrogate-older-sister here in Chicago, Stephanie Hewson, married her Italian foodie man, Mr. Scordato. And second, my very own brother, Cory, married his first and only coffee-shop love, Kristen,  in a beautiful outdoor wedding.  If I could go to a wedding every 6 months and if every wedding were as much fun as these two were, I would do it…just because there’s no limits to what you can do with a wedding and with a lovely couple who wants to share it with their own loved ones. What makes me so impressed by the two weddings I attended this October was the couples’ will power to “stick to their guns”. They obviously knew exactly what they wanted and ensured that every last detail was executed beautifully. I am not one to get all lovey-gushy—but it was hard NOT to feel that way when these brides and grooms shared their love for each other, their families, and their friends so willingly and easily.

The Betrothed: Stephanie Hewson and Mario Scordato

Stephanie wore her an heirloom dress for the ceremony and splurged on her dream dress for the reception (can you tell?). She looked so gorgeous. The wedding was complete with “his” and “hers” cocktails- whiskey and apple cider for the guys; Chambord and white wine for the gals. The food was a reflection of the newly-married couple, who finds delight in food each and everyday. If I could afford to be fed by them everyday, I would. It was a testament to their foodie talent that I actually ate and enjoyed their shaved brussels sprouts (Shhhh! don’t tell the mom!). The sentence I kept repeating in my head throughout the night was “this is a movie wedding, this is a movie wedding, this is a movie wedding”. Perfect occasion for a crazy-awesome couple who adore each other. The pearly stringed lights draped across the tent made the wedding feel magical, like we had stepped onto a different sort of atmosphere altogether. After admiring the ambiance and being in a semi-comatose state after such a taste-bud-pleasing meal, we got to roaming and enjoyed time with Steph, her man, and all of her friends. I wish we could have stayed longer–I could have star gazed outside that tent for hours.

“They Did It!”: Cory Poore and Kristen DuHack

CORY GOT MARRIED!!! The bigger bro finally did it. I knew he was happy with Kristen when…I saw them together for the first time. Hanging out with them is like hanging out with old friends that you never get sick of. I wish I could hang around with them more often. –And their wedding was a reflection of their relaxed & calming nature. They let everything happen for them on their wedding day. It may be different from a guests’ point of view but everything seemed to be easy & carefree at the Poore wedding. Seeing my brother cheesin’ during the ceremony made me so happy. All smiles to start the rest of his life with a beautiful person and my new sister. THE FAMILY IS GROWING! If only we could dance the night away every night with such a fun group of people! 🙂 There really are no words for how happy I am for Cory and Kristen.

Maybe it’s the time of the year, maybe it’s my affection for both of these newlywed couples…or maybe it’s just easy to be comfortable in such a fun-loving environment. :sigh:

– J