About Me

Five Goals for May

About Me


Every year about this time I think “Yay, summer!” And then I remember I live in Chicago and we don’t get consistently get summer for another month. So while I’d like to make one of my May goals to go for drinks on a patio or rooftop, well, I think I’d better save that one. But before we get to my May goals, let’s see how I did on my April ones, shall we?

April Goals

  1. Actually study one chapter a week of my NSCA book – Ha! Well, this one certainly didn’t happen. I’ve gotten to chapter 6 of….24, I think? It’s just a LOT more science and physics than I was expecting. However, I did take one of the practice tests and did better than I did the first time I took it. So there’s that.
  2. Get my overhead press into the triple digits for my one rep max – This one didn’t happen, either. I did manage two reps at 65 pounds which, considering my previous one rep max was 70 pounds, means I’ve definitely increased my strength. Slowly but surely I’ll get there!
  3. Take clothes to the consignment shop – I took a bunch of items to the consignment shop and they took 5 of them. The rest are being saved for fall or got dropped at Goodwill on my way home. Score!
  4. Read another book – I finished A Beginner’s Guide to Paradise: 9 Steps to Giving Up Everything and really enjoyed it! It’s a nice mixture of light hearted reading and actually thinking about what you’re doing with your life. I’d recommend it.
  5. Try a new brunch restaurant – Yep! Sarah from Windy City Wanderlust helped me complete this one with our trip to The Publican.

So what do I want to make happen in May?

  1. Complete at least two more chapters in my NSCA book.
  2. Play one of the new board games I just bought (my coworker recommended Castle Panic and Red November so I bought them both).
  3. Go to dinner at a new-to-me restaurant in my neighborhood. If I get to sit outside all the better! I’m thinking MAD Social. Anyone want to join me?
  4. Run a mile in under 7 minutes. I’d like to see if I can do it at 9.0 MPH on the treadmill. That’s a 6:39 mile, I believe. 
  5. Read another book. I just got Pretty Girls for my Kindle and I’d like to actually start (and finish) it!

How about you? What do you want to accomplish in May? Maybe voting for your favorite outfit from April? Hint, hint.

Five Small Goals [April]

About Me


In case you need a refresher, in February I decided that each month I was going to come up with five small goals for the month instead of big goals for the year. So far it seems to be working for me!

How did I do with my goals from last month?

March Goals

1. Try a new recipe – Yep! I tried several, actually. Of all of them, though, I think the keeper is this Herbed Roasted Chicken Thighs with Potatoes. I modified it a bit by using boneless, skinless thighs, adding minced garlic to the vinaigrette, and baking the potatoes for about 20 minutes before adding the chicken. Still, it was amazing and I would highly recommend it!

2. Not over schedule myself – Based on my list of things I did in March you’d probably think I failed at this one. But, I don’t think I did. I had a lot of weekends at home, lots of evenings re-watching the West Wing with my husband, and several dog park visits with the pup. So, personally, I think I did pretty well here.

3. Set some personal training study goals – If anything, this is the one I struggled with. The book is 24 chapters long and once I got it and cracked it open I decided I was going to study one chapter a week. Yeah…I’ve barely made it through the second chapter. It’s a lot more biology, chemistry and physics than I was expecting! Trust me, there will be an April goal for this one.

4. Read at least one book – I actually struggled a bit with this one, too! Due to having to upgrade the software on my Kindle I actually lost most of the ebooks I had checked out from the library. The only hardcopy book I had was Luke Skywalker Can’t Read and Other Geeky Truths by Ryan Britt. I mean, I’m a pretty decent nerd. I get a lot of nerd culture. I’m married to a HUGE Star Wars nerd. I’ve seen the Doctor Who reboot but, still, there were quite a few parts of this book that sailed right over my head. Which means I really only finished it because one of my goals was to finish a darn book!

5. Learn to make pie – This totally happened and here’s the proof. I went to visit my mom the first weekend in March and we made crust from Hoosier Mama Pie Company’s book and the salted caramel apple filling from this recipe. Pie crust is still a bit of a mystery to me so I think that means I just need to make more pie.

April Goals

So what do I have on the list for April?

  1. Actually study one chapter a week of my NSCA book – if I can set aside 30 minutes per evening I think I’ll be doing well.
  2. Get my overhead press into the triple digits for my one rep max – My one rep max is currently 70 pounds for overhead press but I’m doing a lifting program that is supposed to help increase it
  3. Take clothes to the consignment shop – I have a slowly growing pile that I just need to deal with.
  4. Read another book – If I don’t keep this on the list I won’t do it and I actually do like reading!
  5. Try a new brunch restaurant – I rarely go out to brunch (too many crowds) but I keep hearing good things about several brunch places in my neighborhood that I want to try!

Linking up with Nicole

Five Small Goals [March]

About Me

Back in February I decided that each month I was going to focus on accomplishing five small goals. I’m much better at small goals than I am at big, hairy ones so breaking it down this way is more fun for me!

But, before we get to my goals for March, how’d I do in February?

  1. Do our taxes – Yes! I finished these on Sunday evening. And thank goodness for paying student loan interest. That put us over the edge from owing money to getting a refund!
  2. Buy my personal training certification study materials – Yep, yep. These are purchased! Should be here any day now. Then the fun really begins, right?
  3. Read at least one book – I finished The Girl on the Train. What did I think? You’ll just have to wait for my review on Sincerely, Jennie! I also tried to start The Language of Flowers but wasn’t in the mood.
  4. Try a new restaurant – I actually tried two! Yes, we went to RPM Steak for Jason’s birthday. It was quite good, but, I have to say, if you like really fancy steak places then I would recommend Bavette’s. But the bar at RPM Steak is amazing for people watching.
  5. Schedule at least one happy hour with friends – The second new-to-me restaurant I tried was because I scheduled a happy hour to check out the newest pizza place in my ‘hood with two friends, therefore crossing off this goal. We went to Forno Rosso. Two thumbs up from these girls!

Well, look at that! I accomplished everything on my list! So, what do I want to accomplish in March?


  1. Try a new recipe – I’m pretty good about trying new things and I recently pinned this Egg Roll Stir Fry that I want to make. I save my experimenting for weekends, though, so this might have to wait for a week or two.
  2. Not overschedule myself – Why is it that some weeks you have nothing and other weeks everyone wants to schedule something? I try to limit my after work activities to one night a week but sometimes it’s hard to skip things. I’m going to use this goal to focus on talking with Jason about attending things before I say yes. Which, I fully admit, I have a tendency to do.
  3. Set some personal training studying goals – Is it silly to have a goal to set some goals? My materials haven’t arrived yet so I don’t really know what to expect. But I want to actually crack them open and not let them sit. So, a goal to set goals it is!
  4. Read at least one book – I went on a book reserving spree at the library and, of course, they all came in at once. I’d like to read at least one of them!
  5. Learn to make a pie – For Christmas I gave my mom the Hoosier Mama Pie Company cookbook and promised to come make pie with her. Guess what I’m doing this weekend?

Linking up with Nicole

Five Small Goals [February]

About Me

Back in January, Bri introduced that she was going to focus on five small goals each month. I thought, ‘What a great idea!’ and then never did anything else.

Well, that changes today! Bri posted her update on January and her five February goals this week and I’m not going to procrastinate any more! Here are my five small goals for February.


  1. Do our taxes – Normally we’d have these done by now but we’re still waiting on a few things. Jason had three jobs in 2015 so that is going to make it interesting. Yay for TurboTax!
  2. Buy my personal training certification study materials – We got our bonus and raise information at work this week and I know where some of that is going! I’ve decided to go with NSCA because that’s what my current gym trainer has and I love him. He’s also already said he’d be a resource for me if I need help with anything.
  3. Read at least one book – I’m flying to Florida in two weeks and I love to read on the plane. I just need to find a good book. Any recommendations?
  4. Try a new restaurant – Is it cheating to put this on the list when we already have reservations at RPM Steak for Jason’s birthday on Friday?
  5. Schedule at least one happy hour with friends – I’m really bad about reaching out and scheduling things with people so if I put this as a goal hopefully I will hold myself accountable.

One other slightly more obvious goal for February? Run the Gasparilla Half Marathon (the reason I’m flying to Florida).

There are so many things I want to accomplish this year but I’m pretty bad at goal setting. Hopefully having a little list each month will help!

Linking up with Writes Like a Girl




What’s Up….Saturday?

About Me

Hey there, everyone! I’ve got a fun little bonus Saturday post for you today.

I just found out about What’s Up Wednesdays from Mel, Sheaffer and Shay and thought it would be a good way to start incorporating more “personal” stuff.

What we’re eating this week: 

I mentioned the Chicken Avocado Burgers yesterday. My friend Anne commented that she’s been making those for years. And, yes, I totally got the recipe from her. She knows a good recipe!

Other items we’re having this week? Tacos. Always tacos. I alternate between making them with ground turkey and lean ground beef.

Monday I had pizza at Nellcote. Wednesday I was out late at a photo shoot (!!) and ended up making myself pancakes and eggs for dinner.

So, yeah, a little all over the place.

What I’m loving:

One of the gals I follow on Instagram posted the most awesome workout leggings from Forever 21! I know I just said I’m not shopping but AHHH! Hide my credit cards! These are also amazing.

What we’ve been up to:

This past week was a bit crazy and I barely saw my husband! Monday night I went out to dinner. Tuesday night I attended a complimentary Orangetheory workout class with my running club. And Wednesday night I took advantage of an awesome photo shoot deal with That’s A Doozy and Tim Rothe Photography. Photos will be on the blog once I get them!

What I’m excited about:

I’ve been talking to my personal trainer about getting my NSCA certification (that’s the one he has and since I love him to death, why not be the same?) and he seems super amped to help me out. So, once I have the money to get the books I’m going to start studying!

What I’m wearing:

At this very moment I’m wearing my favorite t-shirt and jeans. I actually wore the same tee to work on Wednesday and took photos while wearing it along with my new faux leather leggings, a black, white and gray plaid top, and polka dot sneakers. Hope to share those photos soon!

What I’m doing this weekend:

Goals? Go for a run with the pup, maybe stop by the Randolph Street Market, get coffee and a doughnut at Sawada, and create a blog “media kit”. Still not sure exactly what that means but I hope to figure it out this weekend!

What I’m looking forward to next month:

At the end of February I’m traveling to Tampa to run the Gasparilla Half Marathon! I may have to break my no-shopping streak to buy a pirate-themed running outfit.

How working out affects your wardrobe

About Me · Fitness

I don’t really know how to write this post without sounding like I’m bragging or like I’m vain or, I don’t know,  like there’s something wrong with me. Because I’m not writing it for any of those reasons. I’m writing it because I’m proud and I want to share something that’s been working for me.

And what is that something? Strength training.

Photo Jul 23, 4 02 21 PM

Tracking journal customized and provided c/o Journal Menu

I know, I know. You’re thinking, “Wait. This is a style blog. Why are you talking about working out?? Don’t you have a fitness blog for that?”

But here’s the thing: working out can change your body. And when your body changes it changes what you wear.

For example, take these three dresses.


Which are all from Le Tote, by the way. Which I love because it lets me try things I wouldn’t think I could wear…until now. Try it yourself for 50% off with code ERIN25. Sales pitch over. 

Last year at this time I wouldn’t have felt comfortable wearing them. In fact, for the longest time I didn’t feel comfortable in a wrap dress at all. I felt like they clung, showed every bump I had (or imagined I had) and just weren’t flattering. Never mind a body-skimming knit dress that could possibly enhance a bulge or two.

Now, I know, you’re rolling your eyes and thinking that I’ve always looked just fine. But, when you’re in your own body and wearing your clothes every day you can tell when something is off. In fact, I noticed it with my red and green pants.


When I replaced my original red pants I had to go up a size. Actually, I had to go up two sizes. And I almost replaced these green pants that I’ve had since 2012 because they had gotten too tight in the waist. I haven’t been a couch potato in years, but clearly whatever I was doing (running all the time) wasn’t doing enough.

But last fall I met a woman in my office who had an enviable physique. I asked her what her secret was and she told it was the book Thinner, Leaner, Stronger. So, I bought it. And it became my bible. How to eat, how to workout, what to lift at the gym. I even got a personal trainer that I meet with once a week.

And it paid off. I lost 10+ pounds, I’ve got almost visible abs for the first time in my life. I’ve got muscle definition in my arms that sometimes you guys even comment on. I can deadlift 1.5 times my bodyweight. And I’m even a faster runner! I don’t follow TLS as religiously anymore (I mean, I do have to train for triathlons and try amazing drinks) but I still workout 4-6 days a week, mostly doing strength training.


Journal Menu lets you choose what type of workouts you want to track and customizes the pages in your journal to match

So, believe it or not, I’ve actually had to re-buy those red pants TWICE, getting them in smaller sizes each time (thank goodness The Limited still sold them!) and now the green pants are a tad bit loose. Actually, a lot of my clothes are too loose. Most of my pencil skirts are too big at this point. Thankfully I rarely have to wear them. But, I have expanded my dress options because now I feel much more comfortable in knit dresses!

I am proud of what I’ve accomplished and, I have to say, I’m thrilled that my wardrobe options have expanded! I never thought I could wear a wrap dress but, look, here I am rocking one.

I promise I’m not being compensated to tell you about Thinner, Leaner, Stronger and while I received the Journal Menu for free I’m not getting paid anything additional to include it in my life. I just really think it’s awesome that yes, you can make a significant change to your body if you really want it.

If you want to know more, just ask. I know that talking about weight and body shape and what you look like isn’t necessarily “polite” conversation, but it’s such a huge part of my life right now and has had such a big impact on even my wardrobe that I felt weird not sharing.

Now, excuse me, I’m off to find some more dresses that make me feel like a million bucks.

June 4, 2015 - 4 of 4

Weekend in Words

About Me


 Friday | Saturday | Sunday 

Happy  Monday, everyone! I hope you enjoyed your weekend. Mine was super busy and, as such, no outfit photos again today. However, it sounds like many of you enjoyed last week’s Monday post so I hope you enjoy this one.

For the past three years I’ve spent the first Friday and Saturday in May working at the Wisconsin Marathon. A friend and I drive up from Chicago to Kenosha, Wisconsin on Friday morning and spend 12 hours on our feet in a hotel conference room handing out race bib numbers and t-shirts. Runners are generally nice people so it’s actually fun. Plus, I get to help answer lots of questions from people who are doing their very first race.

Saturday morning we wake up at 3:45 AM to get ready, eat breakfast, put on all the layers, and get to the race site by 4:45 AM. My friend and I typically work at the runner info booth and this year wasn’t much different other than that we were also doing bib pick-up and registration for the newly added 5K. However, after all the races start we have plenty of time to goof around.


The weather was absolutely beautiful and this was the first year I wasn’t freezing while being outside for another almost 12 hours.

And because I’m crazy I decided that Sunday morning I would also get up early and join my Live Grit team for a 43 mile bike ride. I meant to get a picture of my bike shoes but they’re not all that exciting. The ride, though, that was an adventure. Thankfully other than having a near-miss collision with some of my teammates (everyone is fine; no worries) my ride went smoothly. Not so much for lots of other people in our group, though. We had several mechanical issues, two people missing turns, and lots of other craziness.

By the time we got back from our ride I was exhausted but it was too nice a day to not take Chewie to the dog park. So, off we went so he could play in the water.

chewie_poolOf course I knew I’d get wet so my flip flops made their first dog park appearance. I would apologize for not having my toenails painted but, let’s be realistic, I hardly ever have my toenails painted.

After the park Chewie and I both passed out on the couch until Jason got home from his day of racing his car and we went to dinner at our local bar.

And here we are on Monday. I’ll be putting up a round up of the Top 10 Remix post soon but after that, well, I’m out of outfit photos and not sure when I’ll be taking more. So, don’t worry if you don’t see me around for a few days. However, I do have another fun giveaway to the Randolph Street Market coming up so don’t go too far!

Weekend in Words

About Me

The beginning of the week are the most difficult days for me to post outfit photos unless I have free time on the weekend to shoot an outfit or two.

weekend-shoesFriday | Saturday | Sunday

Which is why I’ve been thinking about making Mondays a little bit more about me instead of just an outfit photo or two.


Anyway, this past weekend didn’t start off so great. Unless you go back to Wednesday when Jason and I went to a Bottle and Bottega painting event at Geek Bar. Jason was a Kickstarter supporter of the bar but we’d never been until last week. I convinced Jason to join me because he could paint a Death Star. And a TARDIS.

paintingsCan you tell whose is whose?

Thursday evening Jason and I went to Brooklyn Boulders, the indoor climbing gym near our apartment.

10838150_10152559741952035_513488758920131896_oOlder photo but you get the picture

Friday afternoon was a work event at Dave & Buster’s so by the time I got home I was pretty wiped (and, admittedly, pretty buzzed from the free open bar).  Both Jason and I basically fell asleep super early because Jason had to be up at 4AM in order to be at work at 6AM (and I had had one too many beers). This is why I sometimes can’t get outfit photos on weekends; my photographer works two 12-hour days in a row.

However, instead of outfit photos, I spent my Saturday morning arguing with several doctor’s offices trying to get a prescription filled. Let me tell you, fighting with people to get your anti-anxiety medication refilled is SO much fun. I hate talking on the phone on a good day. On a day when I’ve been out of meds AND have PMS? Yeah.

Sorry, that was probably TMI. Just trying to keep it real.

Anyway, once I FINALLY got someone to agree to refill my medication, I met a friend at Randolph Street Market where I sampled some yummy pesto and smoked sea salt while perusing both the vintage and non-vintage wares.  I ended up buying some vintage serving platters for myself and a few fun things for gifts. I’m looking forward to going back this summer when there are even MORE vendors to choose from!

vintage-dishesThen it was lunch in Greektown before hopping over to Live Grit to help them celebrate their one year anniversary. I helped start their Tuesday night run club, they’re teaching me how to swim, and they convinced me to do my first triathlon this summer.

Oh, speaking of which, if you need a new training swimsuit and don’t want to pay full price I highly recommend doing the swimsuit grab bag from Swim Outlet. You pick your size, brand and style and they pick the pattern and colors from what they have leftover from previous year’s models. I didn’t care what I got color-wise so this was perfect for me!

swimsuitIt’s this same $70 suit but instead of black and pink mine is bright blue and pink and was 50% off

Sunday morning I went to the Tri Gear Swap Meet hoping to score a wetsuit. I promptly learned that I will be paying the extra money to Live Grit so that they can help me figure out how to put on the darn thing!

After that it was over to Maggie’s for a clothing swap! I finally got a black collared shirt and the cutest red sweater (among some other things).


Sometimes I get stressed out when I can’t get outfit photos for the blog and I do miss just writing about my life without worrying about if I have pretty pictures (or, heck, any pictures at all!)

So, I hope you don’t mind the occasional “this is my life” post!

Behind the Instagram

About Me

One of my blogging friends, Katie, recently did a post where she showed what was really going on behind the carefully crafted Instagram shots she had shared recently.

I try to do a decent job of sharing both great outfits and not-so-great outfits here on the blog but it can be easy to only show life highlights. I mean, who wants to read about the grumpy stuff all the time, am I right?

Still, I thought Katie’s idea was genius and, after seeing several other bloggers do the same thing, I decided to jump on the bandwagon. It also helps that I haven’t had a chance to take any more outfit photos yet this week so I needed some filler 🙂


Original caption: Apparently someone in unit 416 left the Easter ham in the oven a bit too long.

What I was really thinking: I’m strangely calm about the fact that our building could have burned down. I’m mostly just annoyed that no one can figure out how to turn off the fire alarm. Thank goodness the weather is nice since we have to stand around outside!


Original caption: Radler and gin? Well, okay. #palomino #milwaukee #dangerzone #brunch 

What I was really thinking: I just ran my second fastest half marathon ever and I have no friends or family here to help me celebrate. The bartender took forever to get to me and I’m so lonely and woe is me and OH LOOK FOOD.


 Original caption: A little bummed that I spent a good chunk of a beautiful Saturday inside, but I loved helping people register for the Good Life Race in #oakpark! #fleetfeet #runchi

What I was really thinking: Thank goodness they let me enter registrations and do troubleshooting all day! If I could do this for a living I’d be in heaven.


Original caption:This morning’s post-run fuel brought to you by @eastmanegg and @thewestloopisthebestloop #thewestloopisthebestloop

What I was really thinking: The amazing sandwich I’m about to have is NOT on my diet and I don’t care. But, man, it would be nice if I could eat whatever I wanted no matter how far I ran or how many weights I lifted.


The Top 10 Remix Challenge

About Me · Office Appropriate Outfits - Spring

I’ve mentioned it a few times since last week, but Sarah over at Sarah’s Real Life is doing this crazy thing where she challenged us to pick 10 items from our wardrobe that we feel represent our style. Items that we felt just screamed out as us when we saw them. Items that we knew had “us” written all over them. And then the goal is to wear at least one of those items in every outfit until the end of April. Here, I’ll just let her explain it.

Picking out those 10 items is actually harder then you’d think. Why? Because how many of us really know our style? I feel like I had a pretty good handle on it when I had to dress business or business casual. A little traditional. A little preppy. The occasional trend throw in there.

Now, though, I’m struggling. Casual has always been the hardest dress code for me. And it doesn’t help that I’ve actually lost 10 pounds and reshaped my body using strength training over the past few months so many of my clothes fit me differently now than they used to.

So, since I’m struggling to figure out my casual style, I also struggled to pick out 10 items that really screamed “ERIN” when I looked at them. But here’s what I came up with.

top-10-remixWhite blazer | Leopard flats | White jeans |Red pants/skirt | Gray fringed scarf | Rhinestone cluster necklace | IL Love You Forever tee | Red tweed jacket | Navy and white polka dot top |Leopard print button up shirt

How did I decide on these items? Well, I decided to frame the question as, “What items in my closet did I A. buy full price because I had to have them, B. lusted after and searched out after I couldn’t stop thinking about them or C. would be upset and immediately try to replace if something happened to them?”

And these are the items I came up with. Some have been in my closet a long time. Others are newcomers. And, yes, I wrote pants/skirt up there. I really wanted to include my new red skirt but Chicago weather in April is totally unpredictable. So, if it’s playing nice I’ll wear the skirt. If it’s not, I’ll wear the pants. And based on the weather forecast so far it’s looking like pants weather.

I’ll tell you more background information about each of the pieces as we go along. I hope it will be fun for both of us!