Tuesday, March 31, 2009

BOW Challenge: The day before

Cue the Rocky theme song because this girl loves a challenge.

13 days ago I was indulging in one of my daily must-reads, Apartment Therapy and saw the announcement for the launch of SocialWorkout.com. Oh, that looks real good I thought—click. 5 minutes in and I was all hearts and rainbows, so I set up my profile and committed myself to the April Body of Work Challenge. This is a community I'd like to be a part of. Badasses galore.

I wouldn't say that I signed up in an effort to win any of the fab prizes, but I'm no fool, I'd gladly accept them and their fabulousness if I somehow make it to the top. I am mostly pumped up (pun shamelessly intended) about the excuse to do something that I have never done before—30 days is alotta days in a row.

I currently work out 3-4 days a week with one of workouts being a weekly hoopdance class that I teach on Sundays. I'm not a treadmill gal. I like variety. I kickbox, work with my trainer Sari Weis, take trapeze here and there, have a love/hate relationship with Bikram yoga and have been having a 5yr romance with hoopdance.

Over 2yrs ago I made some dramatic changes in my diet (went raw) and while it's been a transition, definitely for the past year I have been eating a primarily raw diet. 85% raw is a pretty good estimate. I am still learning what foods jive best with me pre-workout and I am going to use this opportunity to actually document what I eat and what my energy level is that day. I will also be sharing some of my favorite raw recipes here throughout the month.

I have decided, like most of my BOW peers, to establish some goals, all "setting-an-intention" style:
~ I WILL use this month as an opportunity to spend more time with friends and family by partnering with them for workouts.
~ I WILL gain more muscle tone, flexibility, creativity in movement and strength.
~ I WILL figure out what raw foods and what combination of those foods will support me for the optimum workout.
~ I WILL make the time to blog to the best of my ability every day so that others may benefit from my experiences.
~I WILL make working out a top priority.

and last but definitely not least,

~I WILL make myself and SocialWorkout.com proud.

See ya'll tomorrow. Best of luck to everyone with their Challenge!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Keep Austin Weird

Austin, Texas was a great ole time. Cupcakes, TexMex, parties, old friends and new friends all under the umbrella of beyond unusual weather (40F and rain, no joke). Austin is home to unbeatable live music, vintage shopping galore and truckloads of cowboy boots. I was in heaven and here are the photos to prove it. I'll be back Austin...arms open wide.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Thursday, March 19, 2009


I just returned from a much needed getaway to Austin, Texas. I shot about 6 rolls of film while I was there and until I get them developed and can share, I thought I'd post my favorite photo (taken by my friend Matt) from that weekend. My good pal Matt lives in Dallas now (we used to work together at VSA) and he drove to meet me in Austin with his adorable gal, Angela (center). This is us having a horrible time at the Frog Design Interactive SXSW party.

More of Matt's pics from that weekend riiiight here. And stay tuned for mine...


I am digging this color combination.
More! More! More!

Social Workout “Body of Work Challenge”

This girl loves a challenge.

Staring April 1 I will be working out every single day and blogging about it here and on Social Workout’s new site (which is a genius site BTW) as a participant in their Body of Work Challenge.

Why am I doing this? I wouldn't say that it is in an effort to win the yearlong membership to Crunch gym or any of the other fab prizes, even though I'd gladly accept them. I am mostly excited about the excuse to do something that I have never done before--30 days is alotta days in a row. I currently get some workout time in 3-4x a week and I eat a diet of about 80% raw foods. I wonder what patterns I will find between food and certain exercises like high intensity Bikram Yoga or a meditative hooping session. What new workouts will I discover to keep it interesting? How strong can I become? How focused? How flexible? How tired? Will I sleep better? Will I be superultra obnoxiously happy? All I know for sure is that “Fun Fitness” isn't an oxymoron so I'm pretty jazzed to see where this goes...

Join me! I would love the support whether you participate in the Challenge as well or if you just want to comment on my progress, offer suggestions or try out the workouts I'm incorporating into my plan. Support feels all warm and fuzzy, and I encourage it.

So. Read all about the Social Workout Body of Work Challenge and look for my daily BOWC posts here (with video and pics) and on the Social Workout site starting April 1.

High five!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Polaroid Project: So close

I cannot wait until I can wear little dresses again because it is warm and sunny outside.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Busy Beaver Button Company

My pal Kathy and I participated in the sMACdown Mac n' Cheese competition and fundraiser benefitting The Organic School Project last month. I shared hooping with the attendees and she made it into the TOP 5 (beating out a Top Chef winner and Chicago’s fanciest chefs) with her Peanut Butter n' Jelly Mac n’ Cheese recipe. Yeah, that’s right. It was beyond delicious. One of my favorite Chicago businesses was kind enough to post about us and the event today—Busy Beaver Button Company! Read the blog post and visit their site...they are a really solid biz and we love them. You will too.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Raw Style: Vanilla Strawberry Swirl Ice Cream

I was inspired to create this raw, non-dairy Strawberry Swirl ice cream recipe on a rare and beautiful 60° day this March. I drove to Stanley’s with the windows down and tunes blazing on the stereo. Magicalness indeed. In typical ChiTown style, the next few days were cold and rainy (oh, Chicago, I still love you). So, for the next few months I will have the memories of making this Strawberry Swirl ice cream with the breeze blowing through an open balcony door with sun dancing around the kitchen...you’ll be able to taste the sunshine in this recipe, promise. Bonus: You don’t need an ice cream maker!

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makes approx. 4 cups
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Tools needed:

What you need for: Vanilla Ice Cream
2 cups fresh raw vanilla almond milk
1/3 cup raw agave nectar (light color if available)
1 tbsp raw honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp raw coconut oil
1/4 tsp pink Himalayan sea salt (can use regular Sea Salt instead)
2 1/2 cups of fresh young coconut meat (approx 3 young coconuts. How do I open them?)

What you need for: Strawberry Swirl Sauce
15-20 organic strawberries
A pinch of pink Himalayan sea salt (can use regular Sea Salt instead)
3 tbsp raw honey

Let’s get started: Vanilla Ice Cream
Put all vanilla ice cream ingredients in the blender and blend for 3 minutes. You want to blend it for a while to bring it to the creamy consistency that an ice cream maker would create.

Once properly blended, pour mixture into a deep dish, cover it and place in the freezer while you make your strawberry swirl sauce (Don’t let ice cream freeze yet. You just want to chill it).

Strawberry Swirl Sauce
Rinse your berries.

Select 3-4 of the prettiest strawberries and chop them into small pieces and set aside. Take remaining berries and strawberry swirl sauce ingredients and blend until liquified. Spoon chopped strawberry pieces into blended strawberry liquid and gently stir with a spoon.

Viola! You now have strawberry swirl sauce. Transfer the sauce to a container or tiny pitcher (a container for creamer works well) that makes it easy to pour.

Remove vanilla ice cream from freezer and carefully pour strawberry swirl sauce in a—you guessed it—swirly pattern into your vanilla ice cream mixture. Cover your container, place in freezer and once your creation is frozen, go to town.

Psst! Share with friends, they will love you for it.

Raw Style: Vanilla Almond Milk

If you are looking for alternatives to dairy milk, you will love this recipe for fresh vanilla almond milk using soaked almonds (why soak?). Enjoy it straight from the glass, on your favorite cereal and look for future recipe posts that use this vanilla almond milk. Raw vanilla almond milk is enzyme-rich, very hydrating and you can store it in the fridge for about 5-7days. It may separate, so shake it up before using/drinking. I tend to make a bunch on Sunday and use it throughout the week.

Feel free to experiment with this recipe. Want it less sweet? Don't use agave. Want a plain almond milk? Nix the vanilla. Add raw cacao powder for chocolate milk or fresh organic strawberries for strawberry milk. Bananas, mint...have fun.

“This is amazing. It tastes like melty ice cream” a friend once told me as they polished off two glasses. Bingo.

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makes 3 cups
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Tools needed:
Nut milk bag or cheesecloth

What you need:
1 cup raw soaked almonds (start with 3/4 cup raw unsoaked—they expand)
1 tbsp raw agave nectar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp lecithin granules
1/4 tsp pink Himalayan sea salt (can use regular Sea Salt instead)
3 cups of fresh young coconut water or store bought (ex: VitaCoco, O.N.E or Zico)

Let’s get started:
Soak your almonds in filtered water for 6-8hrs. I usually get them soaking the night before, hit the hay and they are ready in the morning. Try not to soak longer than 12hrs. No time to soak? Skip it, but here is why soaking is optimal.

After your almonds have finished soaking, drain and rinse them with filtered water.
Put almonds and all other ingredients in the blender.

Blend on high speed for about 1 minute, until all ingredients are liquified.
Set out a large bowl and place the nut milk bag or cheesecloth in it and pour the liquid from the blender through the bag or cheescloth and squeeze until all you are left with is almond meal. Save the almond meal in the fridge. You can make delicious pie and tart crusts, desserts and cookies out of it and it keeps for a few weeks.

Transfer the milk into a glass and/or storage container and enjoy!

Saturday, March 7, 2009


It was a rainy day here in Chicago, but my pal Kathy and I ran around snapping photos of our beloved Chicago (for an upcoming project) anyway. I'm glad we did. We picked up tasty polenta cookies at the Bleeding Heart Bakery and stopped and took time to appreciate many places that we probably would drive right by on any other day.

Stanley's Fruits & Vegetables

Stanley’s Fruit & Vegetable Market is one of my favorite places in Chicago. They play great music, the colors are unbeatable and you walk out of there with 4 bags of produce for under $30. The place is almost magical. If you are sneaky, you can document some of it. Check it.

Onion & Celery

I made some veggie juice last night and some very lovely things popped up and said “hello”.

Maudie’s Teacups

My grandmother's teacups...

The lost roll: Purge day at Renee's

Aaaah, the delight of finding the lost roll of film. You wake up one morning thinking “now, why didn’t that shot I take of Renee in the pink blouse show up in the rolls I had processed?” It bums you out a bit because you knew it was a lovely shot, but you get over it and assume that it must have been shot #25 on a roll of 24 exposures. THEN. You find a roll of unprocessed film in the bottom of your Freitag bag and “Score! I wonder what this is...” turns out to be all the shots that you knew you took at Renee's that day. Sometimes, it's real nice to know that you aren’t a crazy.

View all the newbies and oldies here.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Chicago Love: Driving around town

Two of my favorite shots from driving around this weekend.

More Chicago shots here.

The Unsinkable Molly Brown

These are shots from the musical The Unsinkable Molly Brown. “Belly up to the bar boys...”


One of my favorite gifts this past Christmas was a box of beautiful ribbon candy. The second I opened it I thought "photoshoot". View the entire Flickr set here.