friends with babes

Remember the baby shower I hosted last month? The lady had her baby! Brendon and Emily Eisner are some good friends of ours here in Chicago. They are wonderful people and I am so happy to share that they have been blessed with a beautiful baby boy, Logan Dominic. Lu and I had the privilege of meeting Logan a couple weeks ago. He is the cutest lil guy! Seriously, he is just precious beyond words. He is peaceful and calm. He makes the cutest faces. He is awesome, which makes total sense because his parents are awesome. 

Lu and baby

Logan. What a sweetie.

What is a blog post about babies without mentioning Cooper Waldrip?  Cooper is my dear friend, Abby’s baby. Abby, her hub and her baby live in Boston. Sadly, Lu and I don’t get to see them often. It would be a perfect world if we lived in the same city with all of our friends. Coop is an angel. I miss him. I think he’ll be turning one in May, which is crazy! Fortunately, Abby posts pics of him on various social media outlets so I get my Cooper fix. Below is a picture I stole from her and a couple of Cooper at our wedding! Coop will most likely grow up to be a male model. And he’ll have the brains, too. 

What a sweetie.

That sweater and those boots… adorable.

the best of friends!

It seems like there are quite a few pregnant woman around me these days. Two of my coworkers are pregnant. One of the instructors at Shred is pregnant. She impresses me. I think it’s wonderful that she is exercising during pregnancy. I hope that I will be able to do that someday! I don’t know if I could continue shred though! She’s one tough cookie. 

On an unrelated note, special shout out to my older brother. It’s his birthday today! Happy birthday, Vince!! 

happy birthday, Vince

xo. ltw

HIPPA approved

This is my first post about work. I assume all of you know what I do for our livelihood. I say our because I’m bringin’ home the bacon these days. Actually, I like to say bringin’ home the chicken. Or bringin’ home the fish. Because we almost never eat bacon. Although there is some bacon in our fridge right now. I think it’s expired.

I’ve been a nurse at Lutheran General Hospital for six months. I was hired last July and I started in September 2011. Some days I feel like I’m hitting my stride. Some days are overwhelming and I have to ask for help from my fellow, more experienced nurses. I cannot believe how much I have learned and grown over the past six months. I am so thankful to have gotten this job. New nurse positions are quite hard to come by in Chicago. Actually, my nursing assistant yesterday is a nurse herself; she graduated last May and still has not found a nursing position despite applying to hundreds of jobs. I think that hospitals in Chicago can be selective and only want nurses with experience because it is such a big city with many prospective nurses. I understand why hospitals would want nurses with experience. Obviously, they know more. And it’s cheaper for the hospital to train them because their orientation is much shorter. However, it presents a catch 22 situation for new graduate nurses… how does one gain experience if nobody will give her a chance!? The world is a competitive place. It’s scary.
Advocate Lutheran General Hospital
Now that I have been working at Lutheran for six months, I am eligible to float to other areas in the hospital. Floating means going to work on a different floor with different ailments, different fellow nurses and a different layout. Talk about intimidating. Yesterday evening, I floated!! I was so very nervous. I had never even stepped foot in the area that I would be working in for eight hours. See the picture of Lutheran General above? Behind the beautiful new tower there is a yellowish brick building. See it? That’s where my floor is. It’s called the “classic” building. Also known as, the old place. I floated to the new tower last night so everything was different. It was quite fancy! I am glad to report that I had a wonderful experience. The nurses there were equally as helpful as the nurses on my floor. And I was given a fair patient assignment (meaning they didn’t give me the really challenging patients or several admissions just because). I hope this sets the tone for my future floating. Of course, I’m sure I will have some difficult days when I float, just like there are difficult days even when I don’t float, but I’m glad to know I can survive it. I will be floating quite a bit over the coming months! 

Why would our floor float nurses to other floors? We float nurses when we are overstaffed for our patient census. Why are we overstaffed these days? Because we are under construction! As I mentioned above, our section of the hospital is older. But we are being remodeled! Soon we will keep up with the new part of the hospital and have better amenities. Part of our floor is closed because of the construction so our patient census is always low these days. We are usually floating at least one nurse each shift.

As much as I was dreading floating, I think it will continue to be a good experience. It’s always beneficial to learn to adapt to a new environment and be flexible. I believe it will only make me a stronger nurse.
My momma, also a nurse, pinning me at my pinning ceremony last May
There you have it. My first post about work. I always hesitate to talk or write about my job because of HIPPA. I take patient privacy very seriously and I would never want to share any sort of confidential information. I think this post is definitely HIPPA approved, though. :)
xo, ltw

lulu swag

Yesterday, I took a stroll in the beautiful summer-like weather to the Halsted Lululemon to see my big bro and get myself some spiffy new workout clothes. I tried on dozens of things and wanted all of it. I left with four garments – two tanks, one set of running crops, and a jacket.
new tank & jacket
You can’t really see the pants pictured above but they are the chase-me crop for running. They seem to be made from a slightly different fabric than the rest of Lululemon’s spandex pants. They’re nice.
before Shred this am. sleepy head.
The orange tank was recommended to me by Vince. Why did he recommend this product? Because “the silver threads prevent odor.” Is that a hint? And how does that even work? Anyway, I obliged and even wore it to my Shred class this morning. I loved it. It’s a looser fitting tank, which is opposite of my other Lulu tanks. I like having this breathable and flowing top in my arsenal of running attire. Although, it doesn’t look all that loose in this picture. You’ll just have to trust me.
Vince wasn’t able to hook me up with his employee discount because they are super strict. But he did let me in on a big secret…. the best product in the store. What is it? Men’s boxer briefs. Vince and the other guy working in the store yesterday both agreed that once you go Lulu undies, you’ll never go back. Naturally, I got Lu a pair. Ladies, get the man in your life some Lulu boxer briefs and he’ll owe you big time.
I was up at the crack of dawn to be at Shred by 7:15 this morning. I snapped a pic of the rising sun behind the Hancock building. I love Chicago.
I’m bummed the weekend is over, and it’s back to work this afternoon. But I’m trying to make today a good day. The best news is, I’m one day closer to the big frijol’s return! Happy Monday!
xo. ltw

st pattys & random things

Happy St Patrick’s day! In honor of the holiday, I watched this video just for a couple of chuckles. Gets me every time. 
Chicago was beautiful today with lots and lots of people out. The weather was absolutely perfect. I love this city! I was so excited to have the weekend off. It’s my first weekend off since Feb 4th, which is crazy. I didn’t participate in any St. Patty’s festivities except for wearing green to flaunt my Irish side. I do have Connolly in my blood! Today I had a leisurely morning sipping coffee and perusing the internet. I stopped by my parents’ place, hit up the grocery store and got in what ended up being my hardest Shred workout to date. Pretty nice Saturday, if you ask me. Last year our family celebrated St. Patty’s together. Let’s just say it involved Irish whiskey, a limo and a piano bar in Lincoln Park. Good times and good memories with the Traynelis clan.

the green chicago river

Lu is in Vietnam for his spring break this coming week. Things are lonely around these parts without him. He’s traveling to Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. I’m jealous! I’m also praying that he is safe during his travels.

i miss my bean! summer 2011

This evening I’ve watched a couple episodes of Cougar Town on demand. Has Courteney Cox had work done? She definitely does not look as good as she did in her Friends days. I still love her though. I like Cougar Town but it is kind of a weird show. The camera work and acting reminds me of Srcubs.

I have spring shopping fever! Now that the weather is nice, I’m all about looking for new and cute spring dresses like this one. I also love shopping for workout clothes. My sweet Mexican momma got me a gift card to Lululemon for my birthday. I think I’m finally going to use it tomorrow!! I’m excited. 
I cannot wait for the tulips to pop up around Chicago. Spring in the city is heavenly. Another perk of spring? Nectarines are back in the grocery store! Lu and I call these reenies and I can’t get enough of em. In fact, I’m going to have one now. Mmmm. 
tulips in chicago last spring. looking forward to flowers this spring!
Life is good right now. Just need a bean to return safely to me!! Hope you all are having an enjoyable weekend, too. Top o’ the evenin’ to ya.

xo. ltw

shreddin on a sugar low

Hey readers, I don’t know if I ever officially told you that I signed up for the Chicago marathon. I know I mentioned the possibility in this post but I never followed up. It’s happening in October. My actual training will start in May. But before the running training commences, I am striving to become a little bit healthier. I need to be in tip-top shape before I endure the grueling task at hand.
I’ve made two changes in my lifestyle. 

The first change? Strength training. I admit that in the past couple of years my strength training has been pretty much non-existent. In college, I loved group power and body pump. But I haven’t been to one of those classes in years. I would get on a weight kick periodically but it’d never last for more than a week or so. That needs to change… That needed to change yesterday. Fortunately, my awesome older bro gave me the best Christmas gift last year. I got one month membership to Shred 415. What is Shred? It’s a gym. But more than just a gym; Shred isn’t your average, run-of-the-mill LA Fitness (no offense to LA Fitness). It consists solely of coached classes. Each class is one hour long. Shredding is all interval training, which means alternating high-intensity cardiovascular training with strength training. This is absolutely perfect for me! For sixty minutes, my mind is focused on pushing myself to get stronger and faster. The interval concept allows me to really go hard for a short period of time then enjoy the quick recovery period. I love having a coach there challenging my fellow shredders and me. Sometimes it’s nice to have somebody telling you exactly what to do. At this point, I am planning on attending three classes each week. I leave the workouts feeling exhausted but, at the same time, oddly refreshed. My free month expires in April so I’ll have to reevaluate at that time. I’m hoping the big frijol and I can make a few tweaks in the budget and squeeze in a membership for me! Actually, he’s going to join me at a class soon so maybe he’ll be interested, too. If there are any Chicago folks reading this, you should totally give Shred a try! Let me know if you’re interested and we’ll do a class together.

What’s the other change?

I’m on a sugar low. It’s no secret that I have a sweet tooth…. A wicked one. I got it from my pops. He can easily put down an entire row of Oreos in one sitting. Though Oreos are not my weapon of choice, I know I can throw back quite a few, as well. I relish anything chocolate. The dessert the I don’t love is ice cream (gasps). That one stumps people. I think it’s just too cold. And I also dislike puddings, custards and mouses. Now that I think about it, those desserts are kind of like warm ice cream. Maybe it’s a texture thing. Or maybe I just don’t like desserts one has to eat with a spoon. I’m digressing. Sugar low? Yep, I’m cutting out sweets cold turkey. I have decided that no good (beyond those few seconds of chewing and bliss) comes from eating sweets. I’m not doing this for a finite amount of time. And I definitely do not expect this to be any sort of permanent life change. It’s more just a way to motivate myself to eat healthier in general. I anticipate this sugar cleanse to last for a couple months or so. I may or may not sneak just a few bites here and there. :) I know my good friend Abby has successfully done this about three years ago. She will be my inspiration! Fortunately, my hub is very healthy so no temptations will be coming from him. He doesn’t even really like sweets. He snacks on chicken breast.

adios oreo. but happy 100th birthday.
There you have it. That’s what I’ve been up to. Eating healthier and exercising my body in new ways. What have you guys been up to?

xo, ltw

I will clean the shower today.

I will clean the shower today. I will clean the shower today.
I don’t mind cleaning the kitchen, washing dishes, vacuuming, sweeping or ironing. I secretly enjoy folding laundry. I hate cleaning the shower. It’s a strong feeling. The rest of the bathroom? I’ll do it without complaint. But the shower gets me time and time again.
It’s so tiresome and absolutely impossible for me to do without getting soaked. Besides, shouldn’t the shower should be self-cleaning? I mean it gets soaped up everyday. Or is the shower a filthy spot collecting all of the germs we wash off of our bodies? Let’s go with the former.

my nemesis
I have been telling the big frijol that I’ll clean the shower all week. In fact, I’ve had my cleaning supplies on the side of the tub since Sunday. He probably thinks I’m just talk.

 supplies have been ready since Sunday

So on my lovely day off, I will spend too much time getting this thing cleaned. I’d rather be at the beach with my toes in the sand, sipping a margarita and basking in the sun. A girl can dream.

xo, ltw

[almost] everything happens for a reason

Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about things. Things? Well that’s not vague at all. By things, I mean the occurrences that happen to us everyday both big and small; the things that make up our lives. I find myself saying “that happened for a reason” daily. It’s as if my faith in a higher power has grown exponentially over the past year or so. I use to think we have to accept things happen for a reason because otherwise we’re just SOL, pardon my French acronym. But now I truly believe there is some order and purpose in this crazy universe.
There are times when I arrogantly believe I know the reason. For example, yesterday morning I woke up with a strange bout of nausea. I couldn’t decide if coffee would be a good or bad choice. I knew that I neededwanted some but I was worried it’d put my stomach in an even bigger knot. But I was exhausted! And had to perk up for a shift at the hospital. Something’s gotta give. I decided to get the coffee. On the way to work, I stopped at McDonalds for some top-notch cafe (Not. Surprisingly, the Starbucks in my neck of the woods are not 24-hour establishments. Whaaa?) I get to work and get out of the car. At this point, I haven’t had so much as one sip of coffee yet. I place the coffee on the roof of my car to zip my coat. Almost instantly, a huge gust of wind comes and knocks the coffee right off my car spilling it down the windshield, which has never happened to me before. Hm. That was the big man’s way of saying “don’t you dare put that in your stomach unless you want to be in for a rough morning.” I immediately thought “oh my goodness, that happened for a reason! I’m so glad I didn’t drink the coffee.” That was seriously my first thought as I watched the coffee trickle down my car. I wasn’t even frustrated or mad or any of those negative adjectives, which means that I’m probably not a true coffee addict because an addict would have thrown a hissy fit (and not realized this happened for a reason). 
Want another example? Whenever I have an awful day at work, I know the next day will be a really good one. I’ve recognized this pattern over the past six months. Bad days at the hospital are almost enough to make me want to cry, run away and never come back. But that would be immature, wouldn’t it? I return the next day with my head high, and I know the big one will reward me with a really satisfying shift. I think it’s his way of saying there will be tests and this isn’t going to be easy but you made it through and you can do it.
Those are two examples from my daily life of things happening for a reason. Of course there are those tragic and devastating events that shake the faith. The events that nobody thinks could possibly happen for any good reason. The reason is beyond our comprehension. But still having belief in a higher power after those events is the definition of faith. Those events make faith hard. It’s easy to believe in the good things.
As the title of this post states, not everything has a reason behind it. Some of the minutia of everyday life is random or choice driven. Like deciding on whether to have Indian or sushi for dinner. Sometimes a girl just wants some chicken tikka masala and there is no higher force pushing her there. Just a hungry stomach and a craving. Or maybe there is a reason. Who knows. 
What do you think?
xo. ltw


I’m not known for my natural artistic ability but I do try to tap into that creative side on occasion. One thing I enjoy is knitting and crocheting. I find both activities quite relaxing. And there is something to be said for producing a garment or blanket by hand…. and actually being able to use it! 
My mom and I went to this cute knit shop called Nina in Wicker Park. I decided to make a cowl/hood scarf. The yarn for this project is kid mohair and silk. In other words, it’s delicate and perfect for chilly spring days.  Here is a picture of the finished product on the Nina website. I’ll post a picture of mine once I’m finished. 

lots of yarn!

I struggled choosing between burnt orange and olive green for a color pop.  I ended up going with olive green, light tan and powder blue, as pictured on the right.  The colors on the cowl/hood will fade into each other.

green reminds me of spring!

I’m not finished yet but I’ve made some progress. It’s a nice activity for a cold and dreary
[and lonely] March day like today. I say lonely because my hubs left for NYC this morning and will be gone all weekend. This is our first time apart as married folk! I miss him.

so soft

There was somebody else interested in the yarn… what a booger.


If anybody wants to make this scarf, I will share the instructions! It’s super easy… just a regular knit stitch on circular knitting needles. Let me know if you want the instructions. Happy Friday! 

xo. ltw