Important

Shake Shack is coming to Chicago!

When? I don’t know.

Where? I don’t know.

But apparently it’s coming.

DSC01750DSC01749**This has been a public service announcement from a pregnant woman who loves milkshakes and cheese fries.

(Photos from our trip to NYC last September.)

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Lazy and Graze-y

When it comes to food preparation, I just don’t participate. The only effort I expect to exert in order to get food into my mouth is picking it up or stabbing it with a utensil and putting it there.

Obviously, this is not a realistic way to consume a nutritious and balanced diet. Thus, occasionally I find myself having to do other things like stirring, chopping, mixing and turning on the oven. What the hell?

A couple of weeks ago, I discovered my solution to this annoyance, at least when it comes to snacking: Graze!

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I went to their website, signed up, and now I receive 4 healthy snacks in a cute little box every week for only $5. They are the perfect size for bringing to work or quickly satisfying an annoying hunger pang.

It’s so easy and it’s NOT McDonald’s, which is a very good thing. They have a huge variety of snack options to choose from and you can rate each snack so they know what you like and what to send more often.

Graze is invite only, but lucky for you, I have an invitation code! If you’re interested, head to their website and enter the code PHD5TW9D. You’ll get your first and fifth boxes for free!

This was not a sponsored post (pretty much none of my posts are), but I just like to make sure my readers are healthy and not starving. Because that’s how much I care about you.

Ultimat

The “e” was left off on purpose. I’ll explain.

Vodka has not been my drink of choice since I was frequenting frat house basements back in 2002. Just the mention of the word makes me think of screw drivers and vomiting. In that order.

But a few weeks ago, I was introduced to a vodka that didn’t make me shudder, burn my throat or result in questionable decision-making. In fact, when imbibed in Gimlet form, this vodka was straight-up delicious.

Ultimat Vodka. New! Refreshing! And gluten free! (Yes, I’m an advertising copywriter.)

Will was introduced to Ultimat vodka at a work event. The next day, we were having a drink with some friends before a wedding reception, and he spotted it at the bar. He convinced us to try it, and it got rave reviews.

See? Don’t we look extremely pleased with our beverage choices?

The best thing about it is that all you gluten-free people can drink it and not feel like you’re going to die. One of the friends we were with actually has a gluten allergy. She decided to be adventurous and try Ultimat, and reported back that she felt like a million bucks the next day.

No, this post is not sponsored by Ultimat (although free alcohol is never discouraged by this blogger). I just wanted to let people know that really good vodka does exist. Plus, it seems like a lot of people are having to go gluten-free these days, and I know your drink choices are limited. So here’s one you don’t have to be afraid to try!

Enjoy, my friends.

Image via

Birchbox

As far as the blogging world goes, I’m a little late to this party. But I just signed up and received my first Birchbox, and I was not disappointed!

If you haven’t heard of Birchbox, let me enlighten you. Basically, you pay $10 a month to receive a cute little box filled with samples of high-end beauty products. You can cancel anytime, but why would you? Don’t you like giving yourself presents? On a monthly basis? I know I do. A lot.

My first box included several packets of Befine night cream and moisturizer, Color Club nail polish, Viva La Juicy perfume, June Jacobs Perfect Pumpkin Enzyme Polish and Show Stoppers Designer Fashion Tape.

So far, I’ve only tried the June Jacobs pumpkin polish. You know how much I love pumpkin. It made me want to eat my face. Also, now my skin is super soft. Win.

Grahamwich

In the contest for Cutest Little Sandwich Shop in Chicago (which exists only in my head as far as I know), my vote goes to Grahamwich.

I mean, the people who work there wear newsboy caps. Some even have suspenders. If they were to, say, break into a rendition of Seize the Day, I would fill that tip jar with enough cash to pay for their artsy grad school tuitions. No joke.

Plus, their grilled cheese is made with cheese curds, and you know it rocks.

Go there. You may run into me. I’ll be the sleepy-looking girl who may or may not have stayed up past her bedtime to watch Peeta on Leno last night.

Versatile blogger shout-outs

A couple days ago, lyndawithaycrawford was kind enough to name me in this post as one of the “versatile bloggers” she enjoys following.

It’s a major award! Thanks Lynda! 🙂

I’m not exactly clear on the rules of this thing, but basically, if you get nominated by someone you’re supposed to also name some blogs that you enjoy following.

Now I follow a lot of blogs, including the ones pretty much everyone else follows. (Cupcakes and Cashmere? Cup of Jo, anyone? Love them.) But I think here I am going to highlight the ones that maybe a lot of you don’t know about. I’m spreading your blog-reading horizons. And you’re welcome.

So here they are, in no particular order…

1. afternoons & coffeespoons: Gorgeous photos and poignant thoughts from an NYC girl who really knows how to appreciate life.

2. Another blog from Danielle: Social media pro and all-around fun girl Danielle shares her adventures in STL, daily outfits and random thoughts to make you smile.

3. iHateGreenBeans: Seriously fantastic recaps of The Bachelor and Bachelorette. This blog is pretty much the only reason why I’m still watching (and loving) those shows.

4. A day in the thoughts of LHM: My fabulous former co-worker Lauren posts about her life as a newlywed in the Lou (aka, St. Louis).

5. One Fine Day: Ashley lives in Hawaii, has an amazing Kate Spade/J.Crew-inspired wardrobe, impeccable taste and a super bubbly personality. Yeah, I want to be her too.

6. Peppermint Bliss: Bailey used to live in an amazing house in Chicago. Then she and her husband had a baby and moved to another amazing house in Texas. Plus, she’s an amazing interior designer. The key word here is “amazing.”

7. Running from the Law: Awesome photos on this blog. Plus, Sara is funny, intelligent, thoughtful, and sincere – pretty much the kind of girl we all want as our best friend.

Do yourself a favor and add these ladies to your Google Reader. Go on…

Fun with white balance

If you read my blog with any frequency, you know that I’m a pro at taking really crappy photos with my Android phone. I do have a nice digital camera, but it’s too bulky to lug around with me all the time. Sorry ’bout it!

Last week, I read this post with information from Justine on how to take good photos. And I think it might help drastically reduce the degree of crappiness when it comes to photos on this blog!

One thing that really seems to make a big difference is adjusting the white balance and not using flash unless absolutely necessary. I experimented with it a little this weekend, as you can see below. But please keep the phrase “work in progress” in mind… hopefully my photos will only get better from here!