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At the Bean
1. My blogging bestie-buddy Julia came to visit last month. It was our first time meeting in person and her first time in Chicago. We had to visit The Bean, of course. Boyfriend pretended not to know us. We also had dinner at Little Goat Diner with my other blogging bestie, Stef, and her husband. Boyfriend ate something called the “Goat Almighty”, which was essentially an excuse for him to eat a goat burger, braised beef, BBQ pork, pickled jalapeños and onion rings all on the same sandwich.

Jehovah Rapha
2. While Julia was in town, we hopped down to Peoria to visit my parents, because Momma Swope and Julia are pretty much besties, too. We took that fine opportunity to go get tattoos – Momma and I got coordinating colon cancer awareness tattoos, because we are obviously badasses. Some of you may recognize the star as the symbol for colorectal cancer awareness. Momma’s also says “Jehovah Rapha”, which translates to “God Our Healer” or “God Who Heals”.

Half Face
3. This past Friday I was featured as the Friday Foodie over at Misadventures with Andi. Make sure you stop over and check out the interview – you can read all about my unhealthy obsession with love of pie, check out my advice for bloggers who are just starting out, and make a new blog friend in the process! Head on over, y’all. I’ll wait right here until you get back.

Loved Cake Pan
4. I’ve been using my great-grandmother’s old cake pan for some secret Christmas recipe projects for you guys, and I can’t decide if I’m really jazzed about the recipe (I am) or if I am mostly jazzed to have an excuse to use my Ma-Ma’s old pan (hint: it’s both). This cake pan has been used to make hundreds of cakes, and each of those dents tells a story of hands working gently yet strongly to make sure each cake came out in one piece. I wouldn’t trade this pan in for the world.

Fall feet.
5. This past weekend, Boyfriend and I visited Ann Arbor, Michigan for the first time to attend the wedding of some dear friends. We ate, we strolled, and we partied the night away at the wedding. Verdict on Ann Arbor: Visit Sava’s, Comet Coffee and “The Arb” (as the students apparently call it – we’re so hip). Skip Zingerman’s Deli (a controversial statement, I know) unless you are jazzed about spending $14 on a corn beef sandwich. Oh, and if you’re from the area, think about having your wedding at the University of Michigan Museum of Art. It makes for a gorgeous wedding venue!

Screen Shot 2014-10-28 at 8.30.05 PM
6. Because I’ve been a little flaky lately, and to thank you all for hanging in there so patiently while I hand you roll recipe after roll recipe, I am giving away some cookies! My friend Susan recently opened her own small-batch, online bakery that specializes in preservative-free cookies made with only the best ingredients (most of which also happen to be organic!). You can visit the Girl in the Little Red Kitchen Bake Shop online any time, or enter to win some of her cookies right here! One lucky reader will win their choice of 1 dozen Signature Chocolate Chip Cookies, Triple Chocolate Cookies, Peanut Butter Cookies, a sampler box of all 3, OR 6 Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich Cookies. How can you beat that? Cookies will stay fresh for as long as 2 weeks if kept in their original packaging, so you can share with a friend…or keep them for yourself. (Take your pick — I won’t tell.)

To win, simply comment and answer the question: What is new in your life lately? That’s it! One winner will be chosen at 10 pm CST on Tuesday, November 11, 2014, and will have 48 hours to respond to my email before a new winner is chosen. (Sorry, giveaway is open to US residents only. But Canadian friends can enter my baking tools giveaway HERE instead!)


  1. Great giveaway! I was matched with Susan in the Food Blogger Cookie Swap 3 years ago and can totally vouch for the deliciousness of her cookies. As for what’s new in my life lately…hmm…lots and lots of work travel! Off to Louisiana Sunday night!

    P.S. Love your tat! My family unfortunately has a history of colon cancer too, so I say the more awareness the better!

  2. I have been dying for a new tattoo…Im going back home to visit my friends and family next week and all I keep thinking about is how perfect a time it would be for a new tattoo. Youve pretty much just told me its the best idea ever. Thanks.
    Also, I haven’t been to chicago in, like, 6 years, and Im thinking its definitely time for a repeat adventure soon, especially since I wasn’t of age last time, drinking age that is ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. The only thing new in my life right now is a determination to be healthier. I’m always looking for good recipes so I was glad to find this blog.

  4. {opting out of giveaway so other people can experience Susan’s awesomeness}

    Love the update! Love everything! and I SO am still intending to visit you in Chicago sometime, maybe after the wedding? Idk but it WILL happen eventually! ๐Ÿ˜€

  5. What is new in my life? Unfortunately that would be going through a breast cancer scare right now, but thinking positive & hoping for the best! Should know something by tomorrow! Keeping calm!

  6. My son will finally get his disability hearing sometime before Christmas. Praying he gets it granted to him this time.

  7. My daughter is a senior in High School, so this year we are doing the whole college visit-application thing. Talk about stressful! I can’t wait to start filling out the financial aid paperwork. It’s going to be a long year!

  8. I love your blog, thank you for all that you share with us!

    What’s new in my life? My LIFE itself! Very true…I was diagnosed early this year with late-stage lymphoma, and after several months of fighting the good fight, and nearly losing the battle a couple of times along the way, I was given the joyous news that I am in remission! (Hooray!) So now I feel that my life is brand new, a brand new beginning. : )

  9. Matching tattoos with Mom? Wow! So glad to meet someone else who likes to take pics of her Converse! It was awesome having you on Misadventures with Andi and you will see me here a lot more often!

  10. Heck yeah, I wanna see some cakes made in grandma’s cake pan! Old kitchen tools are the best! I’ve never been to Michigan and I’ve heard nothing but good things about it. I need to venture to that entire part of the U.S. and do a full-on road trip. AND I’m so ready for another trip out there! And another tattoo! Thankfully I know I’ll be heading back there oh so soooon!! And I’ll be wearing the color, Spa!xoxo

  11. The cookies sound delicious! New in my life is my front door. I didn’t ask for one, but my dad showed up and surprised me with one. It was the wrong size, so he had to exchange it (and this one I got to pick out).

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