Friday, December 30, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

New Year's Eve has people reflect on the year's past on what they have accomplished or what they hope to accomplish in the coming year. Although resolutions are so cliche, I think it's a good idea to have some sort of goals to work towards as we start a New Year.

The New Year allows us to start fresh, to wipe the slate clean and move forward to a better self.

As for me, I would like to think about what I would like to do in the coming year which I suppose you can call them "resolutions" but I like to think them as improving my "quality of life".

I want to be able to travel more and attend more events such as concerts, museums, etc. Of course this would mean having to cut back on other splurges such as going to fancy restaurants and dining out. I am also going to make cooking at home a priority and in fact have started that already.

Fashion and shopping will always be on my activities list but I know if I shop in a way where I can still look fashionable but not have to break the bank I should be ok. Investing in quality pieces also goes a long way than just buying several pieces where they won't last after one year (just gotta hit the sales!).

Cutting back on dining out should mean that I can afford a gym membership, and I would love to join the gym that is literally around the corner from me. However, I am waiting until the weather gets better and they do their $1 initiation fee special, which would be worth it to me. It will then last me for the whole year.

Of course not dining out does not mean not being able to hit up a wine bar or lounge once in awhile :-) And I just might host an event at my house next year, at least one :-)

So there you have it, my New Year's resolutions!  I want to be able to look back on this post and see how much I have accomplished. Plus, more exciting surprises for 2012 are yet to come and I'll keep you posted!

Have a safe, Happy New Year's everybody!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Local designer spotlight: Meghna Designs

(Credit: Dijana's Dare to Blog)

In addition to my blog, I also write for Chicago's Fashion Scene Examiner. Meghna Designs , a jewelry line based out of Chicago, contacted me and sent me some samples so I can feature them to my readers.

The jewelry line features bright, colorful jewels that range from necklaces, cuff bracelets and dangle earrings. These pieces are perfect to spice up your holiday wardrobe this season. 

You can also pair these up with some basics like t-shirts and jeans which can instantly glam up your simple wardrobe in seconds. Sometimes all it takes is accessories to really make an outfit stand out.

Prices range in the $200-$300 range, which to me is a little steep for costume jewelry, but the stones are pretty heavy and I am assuming the stones on these jewelry is what is making them so costly.

Alas I was unable to keep any of the samples, which to me, was interesting, considering most bloggers who get sent samples usually can keep the items as long as you write about them. Their reason was that they don't have enough for their showroom so they are unable to offer any samples. Too bad. 

To check out the rest of the line please visit the site here: Meghna Designs

Friday, December 9, 2011

The older, the wiser....

you become. I celebrated my birthday last week and I find myself being wiser than I ever was 10 years ago. I have also become more private about a lot of things and don't feel like I need to shout on top of mountains every moment of my life if I choose not to. Or that I don't need to break the news right away.

I also definitely have learned that the most important things in life are your health, your family, and your friends. And it's even more about the quality not the quantity of friends either.  I also learned that it's no use trying to compete with others and complain what you don't have compare to what they have.  There are people out there who also don't have what you have also. There will always be someone out there with more money, more status, more power,etc than you, so no need to worry about this.

I work in a dialysis center with people who have chronic kidney disease. It's a daily reminder for me how grateful I really am to have my health. Sometimes your day goes bad and you can't help wonder why the things happen the way they do. But my line of work puts me back into reality and I am thankful for that.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Hello there...

Long time no blog! I got super super busy towards the end of the summer and early fall. After numerous searches from one side of the city to the other, I finally found my match and moved into a beautiful brand new two bedroom condo by the lake. I have on my block alone two Thai restaurants, two pizza places, two coffee shops and two drycleaners(weird how everything comes in pairs).

I also had my in-laws staying with me from Europe for two months, amongst other things(more to come on that ;-) So yea, I have been pretty busy, but I am back and slowly starting to blog again.

I will write some more later, just thought I'd drop in real quick! Cya soon!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Summer Healthy Living Series 2011-update

Hello again,

The thermostat is rising here in Chicago, over the past couple weeks we have reached 90-100 F index temperatures. It put a damper on my running and zumba plans because it's just been way too hot. I took a staycation and did a lot of walking on Michigan Ave, but checking out the city's restaurant scene didn't help either.

So I have fallen of the exercise wagon but I am planning to get back on again. I started off this morning with some strength workouts:lifting weights, sit ups, leg exercises,etc. I will probably do some more this evening.

Tomorrow I'm heading to Indiana to visit family but Monday I am going to aim to get into my routine again. Wish me luck! With these extreme temperatures, it can be challenging. Gotta love Chicago weather!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Summer Healthy Living Series 2011

So after that not so successful attempt to do the Dukan Diet, I decided to get fit and in shape the old fashion way: eat healthy and exercise. The weather in Chicago has finally stabilized so I have kickstarted my diet and work-out routine. It's not a bad idea to journal about it so I was thinking I can write my experiences on my own blog.

First off, I signed up for weekly Zumba classes that so happened to be walking distance to my place which is a bonus. So I do this for 60 minutes a week, I signed up for 5 classes total.

In addition, I have downloaded the couch-2-5k program on my ipod and I am now also running three times a week. I love this program because it starts you off slowly and there is a coach that guides you how long to run for between walking. Every week the program is longer and longer until you reach week 10 where you are supposed to be able to run non-stop for 30 minutes. And the music is great-house music!

I try to make my weekly grocery trips to Whole Foods so I can pick up fresh organic fruits and vegetables. I am trying to get creative with my meals such as cucumber and hummus wraps, different salads, lean meats,etc. If I do crave pizza, which is my favorite, it's usually a thin crust variety with fresh vegetables and mozzarella.

I haven't weighed myself yet so I will have to keep at it and then see my results.

I'll keep you posted and stay tuned for my next post on my progress. I don't have a whole lot to lose but I  do need to shake off this winter weight I still have.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Dukan Diet-my experience with it.

Whenever a "new" or even "old" diet comes to the States I can't help but try to see if it would work. Kate Middleton lost a bunch of weight for her Royal Wedding back in April and there was a recent public engagement Prince Williams and Princess Kate attended where Kate still showed her slim figure.

I made it through one and a half day on the 'Attack' phase and alas, I am no longer pursuing this diet. In a nutshell, the diet calls for 3-10 days of this phase where only fat free dairy and lean meats can be eaten. Then the next phase incorporates salad greens and non-starchy vegetables. Oh, and you must exercise too.  Eventually you are able to eat whatever you want but you have to designate one day where you eat fat free dairy products and lean meats only for the rest of your life if you want to keep your weight off.

The key ingredient to this all is Oat Bran, not the rolled or steel cut kind that we have here, but pure 100% oat bran, which is hard to find here in the States. Apparently, this diet has been popular with the French and all of Europe for years now. I kinda want to think this diet may help the morbidly obese patient who has tried everything in their power to lose weight but it takes more patience and discipline for those who only want to lose a mere 10-15 pounds.

Did I mention you have to exercise on this plan? I am sure that has a large part in Kate's weight loss and other celebrities who have tried this. Princess Kate has her own private gym and has spent all of her life being active.

I think I will stick to cutting calories, increasing my exercise activity, and stay away from fried fatty foods. I think I will continue to eat whole grains, lean meats, drink my green teas, and stick with organic vegetables. It's my exercise that I need to tweak, which has been hard lately with the up and down weather changes we have been having in Chicago.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

On a Hiatus...

Hey guys!

Sorry it's been awhile since I have posted,but I recently became a contributing blogger for ChicagoNow! So I have been busy trying to build up my posts there. I didn't forget this blog,I just took a hiatus for now,so I should be back soon,just thought I'd check-in and say hi! See you soon! :-)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Border's to close stores throughout city and suburbs

You must have heard by now that Border's,which houses books,music,and cafes, have filed bankruptcy and will be closing all of their stores in Chicago and surrounding areas.

This is sad,really. Yes it was a big box that was sprouting everywhere and when the recession hit,so did visiting and buying from these kind of places.

 Ipads and other digital devices have also replaced buying real books in person.

But is it really the same experience? I would much rather purchase an actual  book or magazine from the store where I can turn its actual pages,cozy up on my couch,drinking my green tea. Or would prefer going to a cafe,picking up a few magazines and a java and spend hours flipping through the latest styles. It was my therapy.My favorite was the one on Michigan Ave.  I took Grad school classes at Loyola's Water Tower Campus across the street and before and after school would go there to study.

My interest in reading goes back as far as I learned how to read at the age of 5-my mom would take me and my brother to the library and we would check out books from there all the time. I would take huge stacks of books and would read them all in one sitting,I'm not kidding you. My first acknowledgement of my love for reading was reading 100 books in first grade and getting a trophy for it.

Barnes and Noble's have closed some of their stores but I believe they are still around. There are local bookstores around here that I may have to venture out-it's even better if you can support local businesses.

Internet has paved  the way we interact with each other now,and also includes the way we spend our free time whether it's reading from an e-book or shopping online. I really hope you can have a balance from both worlds so that these type of activities in person don't go away.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hearts A Bluhm


I took this picture of this heart and others that are spotted all over Michigan Ave. It's part of a campaign to raise heart-health awareness from Northwestern Hospital's Bluhm Cardiovascular Center called Hearts A Bluhm

Various businesses and organizations came out to support this awareness through their contributions. To see other hearts(they are really cute!),if you have time,go check them out in person or check them out and the campaign at

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Internet,Social Media,etc-are we too open about all of this?

As I sat at the break room table at work last week,people around me were saying how people reveal way too much on facebook. I have heard this all too many times before. The statuses that people put on their facebook and twitter raises eyebrows for those that are not into divulging very much. Many people view these social network sites as evil but those same people have profiles themselves.

Recently the Egyptian protests have caused their government to shut down the Internet,blocking users to use facebook and twitter to get the word out on what is going on,although some news still gets leaked out of there. Are we taking advantage of our right to freedom of speech? What would happen if the Government shut down the Internet in the US?

Or are we too liberal when it comes to social media? Why do people reveal as much as they do on the Internet these days? Or has freedom of speech reigned always in America and this is just another way to express this right? Another theory could be that it is a form of journaling,which is known for it's therapeutic effects. Or it can be as simple as a way to keep in touch with people as we get older and become more busy with jobs,marriages,kids,etc.

There are times where I refrain from revealing too much on my blog,which kind of defeats the purpose of having a blog,but it really comes down to what you are comfortable with. Some days I feel like revealing more than other days.

And I think that is what makes all of us unique in a way,just as in real life,some are more extroverts,while others are more private. And this country allows us to choose which route we want to take when it comes to this topic.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

City vs Suburbs-the ever so debatable question.

So 2011 is here and this will be my fifth year living in the city of Chicago. It has its cons(they JUST raised taxes,parking meters,crime,and the highest gas prices in the US) but it's pros outweigh them-wonderful parks, restaurants, museums,a variety of shops to choose from,a convenient public transportation system,and a very diverse ethnic scene.

Now comes the critical part-where to live once kids come into picture? This is something that even though I am not pregnant(don't be spreading rumors now lol),I am looking down the road when I do have kids,what will our family lifestyle be like? City dwellers? Or Suburbanites? I recently had this conversation with a fellow colleague over lunch today who is working in the city as well as living downtown with her husband and one year old.

I grew up in a typical suburban town where the most exciting thing to do is hit up the community mall,TGIF's(or any of those big box restaurants,Olive Garden,etc,you get the pic)or a sports bar dive. Everyone for the most part had at least 2-4 cars in their driveway,garage,and a backyard. I had a pretty good childhood though,complete with backyard,swingset and sandbox.  As I got older however,it didn't seem to appeal to me the suburban lifestyle so I went to Grad school in Chicago and loved it ever since. I did have to move back temporarily but hated it. Luck and persistence had enabled me to move back to the city where I wanted to be.

Now of course,the ever so ending advice pours in as I contemplate my next move. I live in the city but work right outside the city in the suburbs where most of my coworkers live. Numerous times have they advised me that the schools in the suburbs are better,and you get a backyard,a garage,etc. Oh and the kids! The kids will have a backyard,you cannot raise a kid in the city without a backyard! My colleague views it otherwise: she takes her child to the public library often and takes advantage of the wide variety of parks we have,especially along the lake. The Chicago Public School system,however,is one up for debate,as different parts of the city apparently are "better run" than others. As Mayor Daley steps down and others try to take over to be the next mayor of Chicago,this will be a focus on their agenda.

Part of me wonders if staying in the city is such a great idea,and there are times where I do have this inkling that I want to be in the suburbs,because my childhood was great and would want that for my future children too. But then I also think of the numerous things I can do with kids in the city too that I was unable to as a child with all the attractions it offers. And being able to walk to let's say, to the dry cleaners,theatres,and shops is such a big bonus(and good for you healthwise).

Either way,I have to just ignore the noise that everyone tries to give me(including my parents who definitely want me back close to them in the burbs) and figure it all on our own with my husband. One thing we don't want is live in the middle of nowhere just to afford a McMansion and an Escalade which so many people we know are doing,but I see no point in that.

If you live in the city and are starting a family I would love to hear your advice on how you are doing it! So far I am hearing good things from the ones that do.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Free entry to Art Institute of Chicago January 3rd to February 4th

Picasso.Monet. Renoir. Starting January 3rd to February 4th the Art Institute of Chicago will have free admission all day long including evenings! Check out some great classic works as well as modern pieces in one of Chicago's greatest landmarks it has to offer. With winter in full swing in Chicago, what would be a better way to enjoy it while staying warm at the same time.