Wednesday, August 6, 2014

i love lucy!

Happy Birthday, Lucy!

In honor of the comedic genius, Lucille Ball, watch some of her funniest moments here. Although my favorite Lucy moment is pictured above. Do you know which episode it's from?

poland highlights - part four

As I already mentioned in part three of my Poland highlights post, I spent my first full day in Krakow just walking around. So this a disclaimer that you are about to see a lot of street photos from that day. But I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoy sharing them with you.

A view of the gothic Wawel Castle.

Wawel up close.

Krakow's Main Market Square. I should have just stood in the middle and taken a picture of every view of the square, but I didn't. The only side you won't see is the one with the Hard Rock Cafe restaurant. It just doesn't really fit in with this otherwise picturesque view.

St. Mary's Basicila in the square. Those clouds were ominous and were looming overhead all day. I'm really surprised I did not get rained on.

A view of Grodza Street and some of the buildings you'll see along the way to the Main Market Square.

Kolonko No. 6 was a restaurant I had read about in the guidebook. It gets great reviews and is in the Kazimierz neighborhood so I knew I wanted to eat here. And it did not disappoint.

I had a yummy green salad with grilled polenta and paired with a Dry Apple Cider. Ebert and I came here for breakfast on our last morning in Krakow. We sat in the garden patio listening to music from this musician and it was just perfect.

I like this photo because it shows how they still put up posters with glue. These types of advertisements are all over the city.

A cobblestone street.

A street that will take you to the Old Jewish District. Actually the cobblestone street in the picture above will also take you to the Old Jewish District. I discovered that these streets run into each while I was just walking around. Look at the reddish brick building in both pictures to see what I'm talking about. That's the magic of just wondering that I love.

The Old Jewish District of Kazimierz.

The Old Synagogue.

A restaurant in the Old Jewish District with a really cool bike parked outside.

The light at this restaurant.

Another street in Kazimierz.

Street art.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

summer strolls

image via create.your.happy

A few weeks ago I went on a walk with Amy KR and a group of lovely people who had gathered together for one of her summer strolls. As with all things Amy KR does, it was absolutely lovely. It was a perfect summer evening for strolling through the neighborhoods of Chicago. And as we strolled we chatted, stopping along the way as Amy pointed things out to us and then we finished the walk where we began. Afterwards Amy treated those of us who could stay to some ice cream at Jeni's. It was nice getting to meet new people who all come together just to experience something lovely.

But what I realized after this summer stroll is that I need to go strolling more often. So that's what I've been doing. Whenever my mind is stuck I find the best way to unstick it is by getting my body moving. Sometimes grand ideas will emerge during these walks, other times the quiet and peacefulness is all I need. Of course, it's easy to go on these strolls during summer when the weather is gorgeous. I only hope that I'm able to find the motivation to stroll outside when winter comes.

If you're in Chicago this Friday, August 8 at 8:08pm then come join us at The Bean in Millennium Park for the last summer stroll. It'll be a lovely night for some Beckoning of Lovely- it's sure to be magical!

Monday, August 4, 2014

poland highlights - part three

The last part of our trip to Poland was spent in Krakow. It's a beautiful and vibrant city that feels like it's on the verge of a modern, cultural boom. It still has that old European city charm but it's a lot more progressive than I expected. I highly recommend visiting Krakow.

We took a bus from Chrzanow to Krakow arriving at the main train station late in the afternoon, much later then we planned due to some rain and traffic. The bus terminal is located behind the main train station which is attached to a gigantic shopping mall and is very confusing to navigate through for the first time. We had a heck of a time just getting out of the train station. To catch a taxi you have to go to the top level of the mall's parking garage. Weird, right? But since it was raining there was a line of people waiting and, of course, no taxis. So we decided to take a streetcar but we didn't know where to go to catch one. We walked around the mall with our guidebook but still had no idea where to go. We even went back to the train station to ask for directions at an information desk and still couldn't figure out where to go. It turns out that you have to walk all the way through the mall to get outside and then go under a pedestrian bridge to the streetcars. When we finally figured this out we still had no idea where to buy our tickets or how to get on the streetcars. They run in the middle of the road so you have to walk through a lane of traffic to get on. We decided not to risk this, which turned out to be a good thing because we realized later that had we taken the streetcar we would have taken one that was headed in the opposite direction of where we were staying.

When we finally jumped into a taxi we were over an hour late meeting the Airbnb hosts we were renting an apartment from. Ebert and I feel pretty confident about taking public transportation, living in Chicago we take public transit often, but in Krakow we definitely felt like stupid tourists. Typically we would not stress about any of this, we usually like the adventure of getting lost and turned around in a new city, but since we were keeping people waiting for us it made the experience less than enjoyable. Luckily they weren't too annoyed with our tardiness and recommended a great restaurant nearby.

The apartment was located right along the Wisla River in the old Jewish Quarter of Kazimierz. The neighborhood is becoming a trendy and hip part of Krakow with lots of great restaurants and bars. Our hosts told us to go to the Barka, an old Dutch cargo boat that is now a restaurant. Several other boats turned restaurants line the banks of the Wisla. Unfortunately, it was cold and rainy so we couldn't dine on the deck.

After dinner we walked across the bridge and discovered that it was a lovers bridge.

Lovers will lock a lock to the bridge, then throw the key into the river forever locking their love together. It was quite romantic stumbling across this bridge at night with my own love. There was even a bride and groom taking pictures. I knew about this famous lovers bridge but had no idea there are hundreds of them worldwide. Here's an interesting article about how some Parisians feel about these love locks.

The next day while Ebert was at his conference I wondered the city streets- I had no plans this first day I just wanted to see what there was to discover.

I did quite a bit of walking this day and what I came to realize is that Krakow is a very easy city to navigate, once you get out of the train station that is. I would walk down one street and see something off in the distance so then I'd walk down another street and before I realized it I was back where I started. Once I figured out the lay of the city it was so fun and easy to get around.

Thursday, July 24, 2014


Ebert and I are headin' to Nashville for the weekend. We'll be visiting some friends who recently moved there from LA. It's great having friends from our LA days, which seems like a lifetime ago, on the same side of the country as we are. We're hoping the drive is easy so we can visit them often. They just had a baby too, so we're super excited to meet their little guy. This will be my first time in Nashville. Any suggestions on things to do and places to eat?

Checking one more thing off the list. Summer…you're absolutely the best!

Monday, July 21, 2014

poland highlights - part two

I can't believe that a month ago today Ebert and I were arriving in Krakow. I can, however, believe that it's taken me this long to share more photos from our trip. There's always some reason for a delay. Eventually I'll stop procrastinating and just get to it.

Anyway, this is the first picture I took in Krakow and it's the distance I traveled on a bus from the plane to the terminal. Enough said, right?

Our friends live in Chrzanow- a small town about 45 minutes outside of Krakow.

This is the main market square and several different views of it from our hotel room. Depending on the time of day, and I'm sure the weather, it was either really busy or really quiet. The nice thing about the square is that there are two outdoor restaurants serving beer and food. You can see the huge umbrellas of one of the restaurants in the following pictures. The other restaurant also had gigantic umbrellas and, from the first picture, is up the stairs to the right. I really should have taken a panoramic of the entire square. Looking back on all my pictures I wish I would have taken more pictures in general, but at the time I thought I was taking plenty. It's funny how that works- I want to see every detail from pictures and not just rely on the images from my memories.

This is a view of the square from the other restaurant.

The streets of Chrzanow. I just love the pops of color in this photo.

A quaint garden we came across on a walk.

Friends since they were 7-years old.

The park. As you can see from the picture the park is very green and full of these lush, tall trees. The funny thing is that they have this beautiful park but you aren't allowed to walk on the grass…

You have to walk on the cobblestone path. There are a crazy amount of pigeons in the trees so this is probably a good thing. It's still pretty to walk thru though.

There are only two hotel options in Chrzanow. We stayed at the Hotel Platan, conveniently located right in the main square. It was clean, comfortable, very affordable and served a delicious European style continental breakfast. We would definitely recommend this hotel to anyone staying in the area.

I could go for this refreshing summer beer right now. It finally got warm enough to sit out on the square. Ebert and I could have spent all afternoon under those umbrellas just drinking beer, reading, and people watching.

These two I tell you…I just loving seeing them together.

Wujek (uncle in Polish and what Gabi affectionately called Ebert) could always make Gabi laugh.

And just look at her smile!

Next up…highlights of our time in Krakow!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

raw food cleanse: day 3

I finished my 3-day raw food cleanse Friday night. I decided to end it Friday night rather than Saturday morning because Ebert and I had an impromptu date night. We went out to dinner and then saw a friend in a play. I didn't want to rush back into eating "normally" right away so we dined at a vegan restaurant called Native Foods. We've eaten there before and the food is really tasty. I don't feel bad about ending the cleanse early because I still ate very clean even though I did have some cooked food - there was seitan in my salad, as well as some cooked veggies and we did order a side of sweet potato fries and they were oh so good. I didn't eat any animal product, sugar, or drink alcohol so I feel pretty great about that. Like I mentioned the other day the only thing I really missed was being able to eat cooked food. Ok, and maybe I missed drinking a little bit. It's not that I drink excessively, it's just nice to have a cocktail or a glass of wine at night.

I won't go into detail about what I ate on Day 3 because basically it was the same as Day 1 and Day 2. I didn't feel like making a variety of food since I was only doing a 3-day cleanse, it was much simpler to eat a variation of the same thing. Besides not eating cooked food this cleanse was not that different from how I eat on a regular basis. I think I would need to do a longer cleanse to see definite changes. It did feel great though to commit to something and finish it. I would like to continue to focus on eating more healthy, this is always a goal of mine. I feel like I go through cycles of taking really good care of my body and then other times just not caring at all. I would like a healthy body through a good diet and exercise to be a constant. That's definitely a goal of mine this year.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

raw food cleanse: day 2

I really like cooked food. This is what I've come to realize from Day 2 of this raw food cleanse. There are just some foods that taste better cooked, like broccoli. I tried eating raw broccoli today but it doesn't taste as good as when it's steamed or roasted.

This morning was similar to yesterday morning. When I woke up I took a teaspoon of Apple Cider Vinegar, then drank a glass of warm lemon water and, yes, I did drink coffee again. I'm weak. I know it, but coffee is just so good. Then, I drank a green smoothie. I forgot to mention yesterday that I also had a green smoothie for breakfast. My go-to green smoothie consists of spinach, a banana, mango pieces, water and coconut oil. It's a simple and delicious recipe.

I didn't have a mid-morning snack today, but lunch was similar to yesterday - cauliflower rice, kale, but I added raw broccoli instead of an avocado. And this is when I realized that cooked broccoli is more delicious than raw broccoli. I ate an apricot, raw nuts and some raisins for my afternoon snack. I was feeling particularly hungry this afternoon so I ate way more for my snack than I did on Day 1. I think this was because I didn't drink as much water as I did yesterday. I have a tiny bladder so I hate having to go to the bathroom every half hour, it gets annoying. I know that's a terrible reason for not drinking more water, but it's the truth.

I wasn't feeling very motivated to make anything new for dinner especially since I had so many leftovers from yesterday so I pretty much ate the same thing as I did yesterday - cauliflower rice sans kale but with an avocado, sauerkraut, and some cucumber salad. I was still feeling a bit hungry so I also ate some cherries and strawberries. I feel pretty satiated right now. I'd say the main thing that I'm craving is a drink. I sound like a lush but really it's because it's the perfect summer evening for a cocktail. One more day to go.