Forgive the lack of posting in the last week or so; I’ve been celebrating my 29th birthday in many ways! Last weekend, I was able to see one of my dearest friends, Britt, in South Bend. I also experienced my first Notre Dame Tailgate, which may have some of the best people watching in the Midwest! We drank White Claw hard seltzer, which I’d never heard of before, but clearly it’s the next big thing! I’ve also always found the ND campus to be gorgeous; lush trees and lawns with pretty, well-kept buildings that give off a chateau vibe. While in town, I also enjoyed the local Barnaby’s pizza and spending time with Britt’s 3-month-old son, Tommy! He’s so smiley and throws back a bottle like nobody’s business! Look at us here with our stylish fall vests.

Vests only for a Notre Dame tailgate!

It is so cool to see such a close friend that I love and respect settling into the role of motherhood. This baby adores her and smiles so much when she’s around. Case in point:

How cute is this!?! Pure happiness after a classic diner breakfast in South Bend.

On Sunday, I returned Marge’s car in Wilmette and then we went to her personal trainer (a really nice bodybuilder) for a strength training session where proper form is emphasized. The kettle bell squats and tricep extensions on the TRX were pretty intense and I was sore for at least a day and a half afterwards. That evening, after a delicious salmon dinner cooked by Marge, I took a Lyft back to the city. I took Monday off and slept in until 8am (can you believe?).

I went for a walk by the lake in spite of the overcast skies and ran some errands in addition to a little remote work (can’t ever fully get away from sales). The evening was topped off by a wonderful deep tissue massage to break down all the “knots” from training.

On myactual birthday morning, I felt really happy in spite of the gloomy weather. When I got to work, I got a number of lovely birthday wishes and Andrea, my very close friend and our Operations Manager, brought in a yogurt parfait breakfast because I like to eat healthier and typically don’t enjoy super sweet treats. It was delicious; including fresh strawberries and granola with toasted nuts. I also received some wonderful birthday cards from my “nieces”. Take a look at this one!

If only life was always full of smiley butterflies and sheltered ants and warm sunshine! 🙂

Later that evening, I had a cozy dinner at Demera, an excellent Ethiopian Restaurant in Uptown, near the Riviera Theatre on Lawrence and Broadway. We enjoyed a nice Cabernet, which I promptly spilled from gesticulating (or flailing) too much, but we were saved by two-ply table top paper. For dinner, we had family style messob:

Includes fish, curried cabbage, spicy lentils, lamb, beef, fish, split peas, and collard greens on top and eaten with injera, a fermented sourdough flatbread made from the tef grain.

I highly recommend trying Ethiopian food. It may not look pretty, but it’s incredibly flavorful and filling without the guilt as it’s heavy in protein, vegetables, and fibrous legumes! Shockingly, I ate the majority of the spice cake à la mode that the kind staff brought out. It was the perfect “cherry on top” for the evening.

I demolished the majority of this! The sauce was lemon infused, so more savory than your standard restaurant birthday dessert!

Another important facet to my birthday I want to mention is regarding Facebook. Facebook has made a lot of mistakes and they understandably have a lot of ethical/lethal nightmares. I do believe that they redeem themselves somewhat with the Birthday Fundraiser function. A week or so in advance of your birthday, Facebook suggests that you establish a fundraiser of your choosing using their simple platform to raise money for the cause/organization that is meaningful. On top of that, they also chip in $5 to get you started. I have really enjoyed seeing these pop up for my friends and loved ones and it feels good to honor and celebrate them by giving back to something that matters to them. As you can imagine, when it was my turn, I was very excited!

I knew almost immediately that I wanted to support the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA). NEDA is “the largest nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting individuals and families affected by eating disorders. NEDA supports individuals and families affected by eating disorders, and serves as a catalyst for prevention, cures and access to quality care”.

I am very happy to say that my years of eating disordered behavior are over. I’ve been living free from the behaviors for maybe four or five years now. But for about a decade, I was plagued with various iterations of disordered eating. And it started at age 11! I know that seems quite shocking, but these days, you’ll find children as young as seven or eight afflicted with ED behaviors and severe depression.

Back in 2001 when this struggle began, eating disorders were still somewhat taboo, overgeneralized, and not fully understood. One of the biggest resources to me as I grew up was NEDA. I would go onto their website to read the stories of others struggling with their eating disorder, whether it was anorexia, bulimia, exercise bulimia, overeating, etc. Reading these words about the expression of pain, anguish, desire for control or perfection, as well as the bumpy road to recovery allowed me to feel less alien to my peers. Now, the website has forums for sharing and strategies. They also emphasize community and education. Did you know that eating disorders can affect anyone irregardless of age, gender, race, sexual orientation, etc.? Did you know that anorexia is one of the most fatal mental illness conditions? In our society, we are hammered with imagery of how our bodies should look and it can quite literally kill you or a loved one if pursued too far.

That’s why NEDA and eating disorder awareness and treatment is so very important. It can be overcome, but having the resources available is so important as eating disorders are by nature highly isolating and private behaviors. Feeling as though you’re part of a community and you’re not alone is paramount in recovery.

My goal was set for $500 and my beautiful friends and family surpassed that goal to $570! I can’t believe it. I’m so touched and honored to know so many generous people. I want to say thank you again from the bottom of my heart! This is so important to me and I felt truly loved.


Celebrations will continue with a combined birthday family dinner on Saturday night at Penumbra, a Latin restaurant in Logan Square. Bill’s 32nd birthday is on Sunday and so we’ll enjoy a nice sit down together with Margie. I very much look forward to that as Bill and I have become very close again and he always makes me laugh in addition to sharing my offbeat humor and interests.

Cheers to all that have made me feel content and loved. It’s a beautiful feeling.

*My featured image is me with my late grandmother Helen! Her birthday was October 1st and mine is the 2nd. I miss her. Bless you Grandma!

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