Starting anew.

Well, well, well. I guess I can only stay away from my beloved Beanstalk for so long.  I’m sitting here on my couch, morning coffee in hand, and I have a sudden urge to post on the ol’ blog. Old habits die hard.

So here I am, posting on the ol’ blog with not much to say. Or, too much to say. There have been so many things that have happened since my last post that I vote we just start anew. I don’t have the energy [or the memory] to update you guys on everything that has happened since February. My birthday, Lu’s birthday, summer holidays, summer vacations [New Hampshire, Denver, Iowa City]. I got to see family, see old friends and make new friends. Life is good, isn’t it?

Starting anew on the blog right now feels appropriate.. a part of me will always consider September the beginning. Even though my world doesn’t change in September, it use to change in September. I always loved the first day of school. The kiddos in Chicago go back to school today. Wishing them a happy & successful year.

Alright, this dinky little post is all I have for now. I’ll be back with my random musings on a more regular basis. Off to yoga. Bye.



flatiron hike in boulder,co


cubs game, the walker bros


beautiful days in chicago.


current situation:this papaya as good as the papaya in mexico. can’t get enough.



the eve of the marathon

It has arrived. The Chicago marathon is upon us. Twenty-four hours from now it’ll all be a memory… and let’s hope it is a good one.

The city is abuzz with people from all over the world who come for one measly race. And by measly, I mean gargantuan. Last year, the Chicago marathon had the most finishers of any race in the US with 37,315 people crossing that finish line on Columbus Drive. There were 109 countries represented. It’s known to be an extremely fast course (think Midwest: flat, flat, flat) and home to many PRs both amateur and professional. Yes, I plan to be one of those people and throw down a PR tomorrow.

The course takes us through 29 neighborhoods in the city with adoring fans lining every inch of it. The crowd is one of the best things about the Chicago marathon; so many people come out to support the runners and that’s what makes it simply amazing to run this race. But it’s not all fun and games. The city raked in over $243 million in economic impact last year’s race weekend. Holy moly. Can I get a cut of that?

Last night Lu and I ventured down to the Expo at McCormick Place to pick up my bib and race-day info packet. We stayed for an hour or so snacking on samples and browsing various vendors amongst fellow runners. I got to take the annual #ownChicago picture at the Nike booth. Below is this year’s photo on the left and last year’s on the right. Yep, I’m in the same hoodie. Recycling outfits. No shame. There was also an #ownChicago board we signed… go little bean!

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I hogged the photo booth until I got a picture with “Laura owns 26.2”.  Let’s hope it doesn’t own me. It sounds like tomorrow will bring perfect conditions. At race start it’s suppose to be in the upper 50s, the low 60s by noon and no chance for rain. I like it.

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Here’s a picture of the big frijol at the Expo. Yep, he took the Divvy bike inside. What a goon. I love that goon.

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After the Expo, we stayed up entirely too late watching blooper reels on Youtube. Yes, you read that correctly. Blooper reels. It was lights out at 1:30am but this little bean couldn’t fall asleep until 2:30. Cue: Sleeping in until almost noon… Oops. You know sleeping in that late means I’m going to need a fat cup of joe in my favorite coffee mug from my sweet Mexican Momma.


A lazy Saturday is just what the doctor ordered. I did do a two mile shake-out, slow paced run to get a little blood flowing. The rest of the day will be spent hydrating followed by carb loading tonight and hopefully a much earlier bedtime.

I have the outfit all ready to go: my favorite Lululemon running capris, Brooks base layer on top, and Brooks Pureflow 2s on my footsies. I’ll probably sport the black sneakers tomorrow. I love how that shirt says run happy. Run happy!


My fuel is ready, too. Strawberry Shot Bloks and jelly beans. My plan is to refuel at mile 8, 13, 20 and 24. I didn’t refuel enough mid-race last year, a key error that I won’t be making this year. No matter how many marathons I end up doing (and this one will quite possibly be my last), I will always think it’s strange to eat while running.

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I want to thank each one of you for your loving support. Thank you so much to those who donated to the charity group I am running with, Imerman Angels. Thank you for the kind words of encouragement. I’d like to give a special thanks to one of my besties, Meghan, for sending me beeaaautiful flowers this morning (in a lovely tea cup, I might add) and making me smile big today. She’s seriously the best. Hurry up and get back to Chicagoland, Megs!!

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If you’re interested in seeing my pre-marathon post from last year click here. And here is the recap of last year’s race.

Alright, I’m out. Going to get ready for the big pasta dinner tonight.  Lu and I are kicking it old school and going to the original gangster, OG, the Olive Garden. Haven’t been there in who knows how long. Hello, breadsticks and delicious salad. Can’t wait to see you again.

Please, send me good vibes! I’ll be back with a race update in a couple of days.

xo, lw

it’s that time of year.

….It’s that time of year. Yep, you know what I’m talking about. It’s soup time. It’s suppose to be in the mid-60s in Chicagoland today so I figured some homemade tomato soup just makes sense. Vitamin A, anyone?

I found THIS TOMATO SOUP RECIPE last year from the ever entertaining and delicious How Sweet It Is blog, and I’ve made it multiple times. Amaaazing. Comfort food at its finest. Maybe it’s the cheese (mascarpone and havarti) that makes this soup extra delectable. Maybe it’s the blend of spices. Maybe not. This is one of those soups that is definitely worth the extra time invested — it ain’t no Campbell’s tomato soup. I dare you make it.


One of my favorite kitchen tools is my garlic press. Love it. Do you have one yet?


I’m a little sad that summer days may be behind us (read: I’m actually super excited for fall but I feel like I should mourn the loss of summer like everybody else is doing). Let’s take a look at some highlights from the last couple months of my summer.

First up: Family wedding in Guadalajara. Lu’s beautiful cousin was married in August. It was lovely to see Lu’s momma’s home city and spend time with the family. It was a gorgeous wedding. We also got to spend an afternoon in Tlaquepaque., which is an adorable artsy town next to Guadalajara. We brought home a few fun souvenirs including his & hers leather jackets. Let’s chalk that one up as the most random purchase I may have ever made. Maybe I’ll whip out that leather jacket this weekend now that fall is in the air.







Next up: Grilling with Papa T. The man can make a mean scallop. And that sweet corn took me back to my childhood in Iowa enjoying sweet corn by the bushel each summer. So delicious. We spent a few evenings eating good food with good company. And a pretty good view, if I do say so myself.


Next up: Big brother-in-law and his lady friend came to visit us in Chicago for a fun long weekend. Events included celebrating his birthday, eating at Girl and the Goat (my new favorite restaurant in Chicago. It DEFINITELY lives up to the hype. I didn’t expect to be so impressed with the food. While the price tag was steep, it wasn’t outrageous. I’ll be going back in about four months aka the amount of time it takes to get a reservation there), wandering the city, watching football and playing lots of candy crush saga.





And finally: Babysitting our niece, Sophie. She had us wrapped around her little paw while her parents were away. We love that kitty. Except she did have some feisty moments where she would attack us and chase our toes. It was all in good fun.


There has also been a whole lot of watching Breaking Bad this summer. And fresh summer eats. Check out these grilled chicken/shrimp kabobs. I smoked out our whole apartment making these bad boys. That was interesting.


As these days of summer are winding down and we begin the spiral into shorter days and colder temps, I want to leave you all with the following thought. I hope you all are doing well. xo, lw



independence day

Alright, I realize the 4th of July was so last week but bear with me because I’m going to post about it anyway. HBD, America!! I had the day off work and was able to celebrate the good times with a couple hundred of my closest friends at North Ave beach. =) The big frijol and I hit the lakefront for a few hours with my little bro and Kelly. The weather was decent enough for me to get a killer sunburn that is just now healing… this nurse made a bad decision going sans sunscreen. Seriously, what was I thinking?! I honestly never do that. And I never will again.

After the beach, we came back to casa de bean for some steaks and drinks. Matt and Kelly even brought along their sweet little Sophie kitten for the evening. She is so darn cute. It was a true American day complete with country music and fireworks over Navy Pier. Thank you to those who gave us freedom and those who continue to protect our freedom in this great country of ours. I hope y’all had a lovely 4th, too.






Until next year, fourth of July. Cheers to America! xo, lw

PS: Did you spot the American flag reflection in Lu’s sunglasses? Pretty cool, huh?

sometimes i make strange decisions

Well today is Sunday, which means another long run.  This week, I had 11 miles on the agenda. I would actually consider an 11 mile run to be a medium-length run so I wasn’t feeling overwhelmed. I was looking forward to getting out and enjoying the nice, sunny Chicago weather.

Then I made a strange decision.

I decided to wear my lululemon running tights and head out shortly before noon on what turned out to be one of the hottest days of the year… So by strange decision I actually mean really bad decision… It was 85 and sunny and I was the idiot in black pants.

At about mile six, just after turning around, fatigue hit. My heart was fine. My lungs were fine. My muscles were fine. But I was overheated and as dried up as Amanda Byne’s career. It was brutal. I had to stop for water at least half a dozen times. Of course I got nervous that I was drinking too much water and losing too many electrolytes. I don’t bring fuel unless I’m going over 13 miles so I really had nothing to help me at this point except my will… and my momma.

My sweet momma came along for the ride and rode her bike while I ran. It was so nice having her there. I eventually stole a sip of her gatorade. Here is a picture she snapped during our return to the city. That little black speck is me. What a gorgeous day.


I finished the run, albeit slower than what I would have liked. 11 miles in 01:44:00 = 9:27 min/mile average. That pace is about thirty seconds slower than my goal marathon pace but I’m not beating myself up about it. That time does include many stops at various water fountains. I learned today that there is a long stretch on the lake front, just south of 35th street, that doesn’t have a water fountain for about a mile and a half. I found myself cursing the city of Chicago for overlooking that little area. But I survived. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.
Who else did a long run today? Anybody do it in pants?

It’s time for me to get a new pair of running shoes. I love Brooks Pure Flow. What color do you guys like? Black or purple?

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I’ve been hydrating like crazy since I’ve been home to avoid a dehydration headache later. I hope you guys are enjoying this weekend and these lovely summer days. Make them good.

xo, lw

summer solstice

Happy Summer Solstice to you. Summer has officially arrived in the northern hemisphere. Chicago will have 15 hours and 13 minutes of sunlight today with the sunrise at 5:16am and a sunset at 8:29pm. After today we start the slow decent into darkness, as the days get shorter and shorter… But let’s not think about that now. Let’s enjoy these long summer days and warm summer nights. It’s finally going to be in the 90s in Chicagoland this weekend. Maybe I’ll roll my windows down and cruise to some Florida Georgia Line (loving that song right now. Who’s with me?). What are you doing to enjoy summer? Who wants to celebrate by getting sushi with me?


While we’re talking about the elements, has anyone heard of a supermoon? A supermoon is the closest full moon of the calendar year, which means it appears bigger and brighter to the little people on earth. A supermoon will rise in the night sky this weekend. Keep an eye out for this lunar wonder.


What have I done on this summer solstice morning? I woke up and did my training run before breakfast. I’m trying to run before breakfast as often as possible because I keep finding articles online that suggest exercising on empty improves glucose tolerance. After the run, I came home and enjoyed some of this:


Those are scrambled egg whites with a veggie sausage patty, avocado, a sprinkle of feta cheese and cholula. I also mixed up one of my greenish smoothies. Good stuff.


What’s happening in your world today? Hope you’re making this summer day a good one!

xo, lw

congrats, grad.

Many congratulations and felicidades to my hub, the big frijol!!

He graduated with an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business this past weekend and he did it with high honors. His dedication to the program was inspiring. Lu worked so hard day in and day out. He not only worked hard on his course work, but he also held several internships, began his own start-up with peers and was involved in multiple clubs on campus. What’s even more impressive? He did it all with a smile and a good attitude. Ok you’re right, I’m quite possibly his number one fan. But all bias aside, I can honestly say not once did I hear Lu complain about his work or displace stress on others. He just went on his merry way and got stuff done. I couldn’t be more proud of him. Congrats, Lu!

Lu’s mother, father and brother traveled to Chicago to celebrate his graduation. His cousin and grandma also came from Mexico to join in the festivities. Since my immediate family all lives in Chicago, they were around to party with us as well. We had a grand old time.

Let’s take a look at some pictures from my iPhone. One day, I hope to get a real camera. Like a Nikon (hint, hint).

Before all the hoopla, Lu and I went to dinner, just the two of us, at The Pump Room to celebrate. Cheers to the graduate.


Once folks started arriving, we got our tourist on. We walked around the city – stopped at the bean and Water Tower Place. Lu went into Lego Land because once a boy, always a boy. We took a tour of the Chicago by bus. We ate deep dish pizza. We enjoyed this city.





photo-67The graduation ceremony itself was probably the least boring graduation ceremony I’ve been to. They had two very good speakers, Eugene Fama and JB Pritzker. I was engaged the whole time. And the 800-some name reading went by remarkably quickly, too. I got a little bit sad when it was all over… (cue nostalgia)







After the ceremony, we went to a tasty dinner at Bistrot Margot a cute French restaurant in Old Town. Then the youngsters went out on the town until t-h-r-e-e-a-m… I am not conditioned for that kind of partying. But it was fun. I ran into my bestie, Meg.


We had such a wonderful long weekend and as with most things in life, it all went by way too quickly. Congrats to you, Lu. Now it’s on to the next journey as a guy with an MBA from the BEST business school in the world. ;-)

xo, lw

happy father’s day.

Happy Father’s Day to all you Papas out there.

And most especially, Happy Father’s Day to my wonderful Papa T. You have a kind and giving heart. Your dedication and work ethic are inspiring. I cherish the time we spend together… I am truly blessed to be your daughter. Thank you for all that you have done and all that do, dad.


This year was an extra special Father’s Day because we had both papas in Chicago to celebrate. My papa-in-law, Esteban, is amazing. He is the life of the party, and we wouldn’t want it any other way. To celebrate the hombres in our world, my mom-in-law made an amazingly delicious Mexican dinner for the family. We got our red-meat on (this is Father’s Day. You gotta eat like a man.) and indulged in some beef tinga, guacamole, rice and chayote followed by a homemade strawberry pie for dessert. You best believe we all ate like kings.

After dinner we engaged in some friendly family competition in the form of Catch Phrase. That game is fun. Obviously, the ladies won. We ended our lovely Father’s Day with a lovely walk along the lakefront. For the first time in the history of Chicago, there was no wind on the lake. It felt so right but so wrong at the same time.


I hope everybody got to enjoy this day with the fathers that they love just like I did. There is nothing better than family time.  Stay tuned for more frequent posts… Life has gotten in the way of my blogging the past few weeks! I have some catching up to do.

xo, lw

of all days to not have my iphone.

And just like that it’s June. Wow.

Last weekend when all of you guys were enjoying Memorial Day, I was cooped up in the hospital saving lives (read: cleaning poo). But that meant that I had most of the weekdays off this week so when everybody went back to work on Tuesday, my three day “weekend” was just beginning. I think momma nature was looking out for me because the holiday weekend was rainy & dreary but my days off were, for the most part, glorious. So what did I do? I hit the lake front for a couple of runs.

11 miles south on the lake front in 01:36:35 (8:47 min/mile)

an easy 6 miles south on the lake front in 54:38 (9:06 min/mile)

I have fallen in love with running south on the lake front. Until recently, I would almost always run north. North toward the trendy neighborhoods, the beaches, the cute moms pushing their baby strollers. I think I was ready for a change of scenery. My runs south take me miles past McCormick place. Once you get far enough south the trail is lined with trees, wildflowers and surprisingly large fields of well-kept lawn. It’s really quite lovely especially when you catch a glimpse of the Chicago skyline in the distance.

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On the slower six mile run, I was enjoying the ride and enjoying the view. I was running without music, which is one of my favorite things to do (if you’ve been reading my blog for a while you have heard me refer to this as running meditation). It was about 9 am and hot. I had noticed a large police presence along the trail. There were two to three officers every quarter mile or so. And then… out of nowhere… there was Marine One. I’m not talking a little speck of Marine One up in the sky. I’m talking Marine One about to land 100-ish yards from me. There were four large double-bladed choppers (google tells me these are called HMX-1 ch-46 Sea Knights) and the single blade Marine One chopper. The aircraft entourage flew over our heads casting shadows over us like an eclipse. The noise was loud but not as loud as one might expect. Maybe they were in stealth mode. What felt like gale-force wind whipped my ponytail into a knot. It was quite the experience.

Obama was in town for some fundraisers for the Democratic Party. We treat him like a king when he comes to this city. He gets airlifted from O’Hare to downtown and back. Now that’s the way to travel. Avoiding traffic on the Kennedy? Yes, please. I always knew that his helicopter landed near the lakefront and I have heard before that his lands in Soldier Field. Not this time.

Even though it was a work day, there were plenty of joggers and bikers out along the lake front. When Marine One flew over us, everybody stopped what they were doing and looked up. I think we all had chills. It really was awesome to see these amazing aircrafts so close we could taste their dust. We watched them lower toward the ground on a grassy hill south of McCormick place. They touched down just out of sight. Everybody around me, including some police officers, were snapping pictures with their smart phones. That’s when I thought to my self, “something cool would happen on the day I don’t have my iPhone.” I believe that is what we would call a first-world problem. I actually considered asking the girl near me if she could email me her pictures. Then I realized that might be creepy.



I spent the rest of my run thinking about how cool that experience was and wishing I had pictures to share with you guys.  I also spent the remainder of my run starving because I ran first thing in the morning without eating, which I never do. I had stumbled across this article on the New York Times Well-Living Blog that outlines benefits to running on empty. I realize that article is a little outdated – 2010 – but I still thought I’d give it try. I can safely say that I was ravenous when I finished those six miles. And there you have my random weekday run that will go down as one of my most memorable runs ever.

Has anybody had a cool presidential experience? What about exercising on empty… Do you do it? I hope everybody has a wonderful weekend. Can you believe it’s June?!

xo, lw

we might have a problem.

Good morning. Coffee in my Boulder cup makes me miss Colorado. Ah, lazy mornings. Big bean on the couch next to me watching Nadal pick his wedgie before each serve in his match against Federer the Italian Open. The perfect Sunday morning.


The temperature is climbing into the eighties today, which makes me giddy to get outside. But first, let’s talk our problem… because might have a sushi problem.

Earlier last week I was up in Lincoln Park getting my nails-did at a spot that just so happens to be close to one of our most favorite sushi spots ever, Toro. In true bean fashion, once I realized that I was mere blocks from Toro and they were about to open, I couldn’t get past the idea of sushi for dinner (even though I had already planned to make a curried chicken & quinoa dish). I warned Lu I was -this close- to picking up sushi to go and his response of “do it” made me love him just a little bit more than I already did (if that’s possible). So we had a random mid-week sushi dinner that didn’t disappoint. If you ever go to Toro, our must gets every time are: sunny, kamakazi & el fuego.

Last night we went out to a place in the west loop, Sushi Dokku, with our favorite Chicago couple. One word: b-l-i-s-s. Their sushi literally melts in your mouth. The flavor combos are amazing. Their sauces? The best. I could eat this for dinner every single night. I got sad when it all ended.



Look at that cute little design they made with the sauce. I love it. I couldn’t imagine my life without raw salmon and I hope I never have to. Oh, except one day in the future when the bean family is with child. That will be a very difficult time. I may need counseling.

Anybody out there have a sushi problem? Why is it so.darn.good? It is seriously one of the finer things in life.

Happy Sunday people! I’m headed out for a jog soon and hopefully playing some tennis with Lu this afternoon if we can find an open court. Enjoy your day.

xo, lw