You and I are not Oprah, and she doesn’t live that way, either

I thought it would be a really fun/cute experiment to spend my evening the way Oprah would want in honor of her birthday today. I assumed that probably meant a face mask, maybe making a gratitude list and certainly texting my Gayle.

To be sure, I did some Googling and found that a woman named Robyn Okrant spent 2008 doing everything Oprah Winfrey suggested. I read an interview with her on Forbes and, while I was expecting some sort of Julie and Julia nonsense blogger cooing on about how she had finally let sunshine into her life, I was instead met with this:

It was incredibly draining, and it made me really sad. It made me sad to think of how many hours I’ve lost–even when I wasn’t doing the project–to blindly following advice and listening to what other people tell me I should be doing to create my own happiness. I wondered how many hours other women have lost in the course of their lives to that.

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Sippin’ that (nonalcoholic cran and seltzer)

The worst part of dry January is having to use the word “mocktails.”

This is my favorite dry January joke. This is my third such year of forgoing booze in the first month of the new year, and I use this joke every time. I am clearly somewhat less interesting without alcohol. Like party games or brunch or furniture shopping.

A funny thing happens when you tell people that you’re giving up alcohol for a month. Most commonly, it triggers some sort of guilt or resolve in people. “Oh I may try that, too, but I have this party next week…” Or some other “Yes, except no I’d actually rather not.” Let me be clear: I am not the friend who needs everyone else to try the diet or sign up for the half marathon. I’m not asking you to join in. I am literally only mentioning this so you know why I’m turning down that beer or not texting to meet for a glass of wine or why my skin will look like it was kissed by Tinkerbell by Jan. 31.

But my favorite question so far has been, “Why not give it up entirely? Why just a month?” Because drinks are delicious and I’m 30 without children so I prefer the path of least resistance when it comes to making plans. I’m simply: A. Taking a break to delude myself for a month that I’ll tackle that project/workout with vigor/clean the hall closet/try to sell the bag of clothes behind my dresser and B. Giving my sweet liver a break after the Jay Gatsby party that is December. Continue reading “Sippin’ that (nonalcoholic cran and seltzer)”

Upcoming Cheese & Yoga workshop!

Exciting opportunity for my Chicago-area yoga and cheese lovers! More info and tickets here.

Cheese and yoga is maybe not the most obvious pairing—but hear us out.

The best way to enjoy a delicious cheese plate is by slowing down first. To catch all the nuances, all of the scents and flavors, you need to open your senses and take deep breaths.

Join Forrest Yoga teachers Anna Schabold and Sarah Steimer for a yoga class focused on turning on your mindfulness with deep breathing and relaxation. We will follow the practice with Virtue Cider and a tasting of five artisan cheese with Chicago’s cheese preacher, Erika Kubick of Cheese Sex Death. Wear stretchy pants, bring a mat, and come hungry.

DATE Wednesday November 29, 2017
LOCATION Elastic Arts, 3429 W Diversey Ave #208, Chicago, IL 60647 (map)
TIME 6-8:30 p.m.

Regular-priced tickets: $45


Erika Kubick is a cheesemonger-turned-preacher, devoted to turning on the next generation of cheese connoisseurs with seductive recipes, pairings, and enlightenment through her blog and events,—a modern guide for cheese lovers.

Anna Schabold is a warm, compassionate and highly intuitive Forrest Yoga instructor and Structural Integration Therapist, and dedicated cheese disciple. She brings a sense of playfulness and wonder to rebuilding our relationships with our bodies through deep breathing, hands-on techniques and focused attention to feeling.   

Sarah Steimer is a Forrest Yoga instructor and writer, finding both practices to have deeply enhanced the other. Her teaching and writing styles challenge you to explore deeper layers, with  attention to detail and a little humor sprinkled throughout. Her relationship to cheese can be described as committed and eternal.

Reasons why I don’t get any writing done

A short list of the near-insurmountable obstacles I overcame to bring you this trash pile.

The laptop is not within reach.

I don’t have my own working laptop. Unless you count the Surface my job gave me, but I’m not lugging that home every day so I can enjoy it for personal use. I know they’re glorified tablets but I take public transportation and every ounce I carry matters. So most of the time, when I want to surf the web or open 16 tabs of articles I’ll never wind up reading, it’s done on my iPhone s—which, yes, is basically the smallest model offered. I won’t be writing the next great American novel on this.

Instead, I borrow one of my husband’s. He has two. Needless to say, I do not have access to the Mac, I get the Asus. I even have my own Windows account on it. This is either thoughtful or strategic because he’s a software developer and, as such, trusts literally no one to have access to his accounts. Perhaps in particular me due to my constant searches for coupon codes from potentially shady websites and Google image quests that take me to gif paradise.

This laptop’s home is on the top of our tall bookshelf. I have to use a chair to reach it. This often feels like too high a mountain to climb.

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Culture vs. Collection

A photo from Karl von Westerholt’s “The Travels of Captain Brass”

There’s a series of travel photographs by Karl von Westerholt that are the size of trading cards. The focal point of each is a monument, building or some other easily referenced cultural landmark. According to, the collection “parodies those globetrotting tourists who travel the world with their photographs like collectors and believe they have understood life in foreign parts.”

I saw the photographs at the Berlinische Galerie Museum of Modern Art when I traveled to Europe this late summer. It was my first trip abroad and the gallery had an exhibit on travel photography (“Faraway Focus”), ranging in ideas and formats that included mundane travel shots that no one takes but are key parts of the trip (at the airport, hotel blahs, etc.) and Europeans’ takes on traveling through America in different eras.

The von Westerholt shots caught my eye in particular, though; this idea of capturing the travel icons and showcasing them as though currency. They’re proof of your cultural prowess, the thing that you brought home and can now flaunt at will. Even a post on how Americans travel by The Telegraph seemed aware of this, pointing to where we like to travel: “Is it famous? Americans are there. You won’t find many of them toottling around Puglia or or Slovakia. They quest for not for the hidden gem, but for the best.” (Perhaps in our defense, the article went on to note that we do receive less vacation time than Europeans—legally, we’re not mandated any, but the average is 10 for U.S. employees—so maybe we can’t be blamed for using our limited time on bee-lining it to the Parthenon, snapping a pic, and moving the hell on). 

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A Basic and Terrifying To-Do List for Fall

I have a lot to get done. Specifically, I need to take action on a slew of ideas. I’ve been wildly inspired lately. This is a complaint. Inspiration is lovely unless you have no system.

I have no system.

This is my to-do/idea list for fall. Not necessarily to be completed this fall. It’s in no particular order because I have no idea how to get organized. But checking things off sounds really good. A list is basic. The fact that my list has sub-lists is the terrifying part.

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