Dear Bloggy,

I’m sorry I’ve left this post in my Drafts for 2 weeks now. Every attempt to make this “newsy” or “timely” has been continuously evaded and rethought. Instead, I have left you at the mercy of Spam. And I’m sorry “Twiggy” but I just don’t think my About Me page is the “most helpful article” you’ve ever read.

Alas. Instead of writing about my birthday I’ve been occupied by life that isn’t exactly in line with healthy living.  This included..

  • Hanging in Wrigleyville
  • Touring the city with a friend from NY
  • Overeating at Free Panera Bread day at work
  • A Father’s Day brunch and catchup with Dad after his 10 day Europe vaca. Yum, German chocolate!
  • A Father’s Day/ step-sister’s birthday bbq with the Step-fam
  • Wine, froyo and patio catch-ups with the girls
  • Losing power for 24 hours after a dreadful storm. (Sigh at the candelit showers.)
  • Career Fairing my heart out
  • Attending my second Ragan Comedy Networking Event
  • LA Boy’s 36-hour business trip visit
  • Trying cool beers on the typical Thursday night out
  • My Savta’s (step-grandma’s) 91st birthday
  • Chicago Gay Pride Parade shenanigans
  • Much needed snoozing

But instead of blogging about any of these things, I’m going to leap backward 13 days and finally talk about June 14.

My 23rd birthday!

And as I mentioned, this year I threw my negative attitude (also known as crying and angry-drunk fits) to the curb and embraced the love. THANK YOU everyone for the love!!

While the celebration has come and gone, I really want to share how it went because I had some a wonderful experience and I think it’s important to identify how much a healthy outlook on something so daunting (for me) can really make all the difference! I really tried to enjoy the moment, appreciate each person’s involvement and not get caught up in what did or didn’t happen.

So without any further delay, here’s a recap of my 23rd in 23:

1. I picked Saturday June 11 as the celebration day with nothing important in mind. Luckily, it wound up being perfect timing! So many friends I haven’t seen in a while were in town and able to come partyyy. There were probably 40 people in my friends’ apartment where we hosted a pregame from 9  p.m. to 1 a.m. Because the pregame is obviously the best part of the night.

2. During that time I underwent a small wardrobe malfunction and outfit change. Just like celebrities do.

Outfit #1 from Zara before the skirt’s zipper broke.

Outfit #2 aka dress from Megan’s closet (Forever 21?)

3. And like any good foodie, I hung in the kitchen most of the time, trying Flaming Dr. Pepper shots for the first (and second and third time)! My fav group of guys brought all the necessary equipment as their party present, and I believe it involved lighting a shot of Bacardi 151 on fire before dumping it into a cup of beer.

Go Tim, Go!

4. For the party, I  also made my own white wine sangria which included pear wine, champagne, pineapple juice, orange juice, mango and apples.

5. The apartment hostesses went all out to provide a beautiful assortment of baked goodies and flowers…

Sangria, flowers, cupcakes, cookies

6. And bottles and bottles of wine and champagne.

7. I apparently decided that my birthday was the excuse everyone else needed to party really hard, too. I think it worked.

Gotta get down on Friday Mel’s Birthday..

8. Around midnight, I stood on a chair while the whole room – which included an assortment of close friends and handfuls of randoms – sang happy birthday to me! In any other year, I probably would have hid in a closet and denied it was my birthday (true story). This year, I made a wish and blew out a flaming shot 🙂

9. Then we hit the late night bar Hangge Uppe, where I spun and spun until I got  veryyy tired.

10. Later at 4 am, we had some afties – which mostly meant indulging in some late night fafties and gossip. I led the chips and salsa and gauc domination.

11. I really had the happiest evening. Until I woke up and realized  my friends’ apartment looked like it belonged in the movie The Hangover. There were dirty dishes, crumbs, questionable items and alcohol everywhere! Like a very good friend who caused a huge rukus, I cleaned it up.

And this was just the table…

12. On the hilarious walk to my car, my team of ‘burb-dwellers and I stumbled into a new wave of graffiti hitting the streets of Chicago. Pokemon? As the ultimate Pokefan way back when, this made my day!!

13. Festivities began again on Tuesday at midnight (the time usually reserved for shots back in my heyday) when my sister brought in a cake she made herself. The cake was cookie on the bottom, chocolate ice cream in the middle and brownie on top. I died and went to dessert heaven! What a cutie for designing the concoction herself.

14. I realize I’ve gotten older because instead of I no longer get a slew of calls and texts like I used to around midnight. Instead, I woke up to a ton of texts and had my phone going nuts at 8 am and 5 pm. Guess we’re all on true grown up schedules by now.

15. My boss aided in the indulgence by bringing in birthday donuts.

16. I was originally planning on checking out a new froyo place with my sister for lunch but wound up getting a $10 worth of Whole Foods salad bar instead. The food made me realize I need to visit WF for meal times more often.

17. After work, it was  off to dinner with my mom, sister and step-dad at a wonderful seafood restaurant called Braxton! The past few years, I have opted out of going out to eat in favor of having cake at home with friends and family. This year, we decided to celebrate in style with some very fancy and fresh fish dishes and a nice bottle of wine. The restaurant told you exactly where each fish came from and included in-season specialties. All of our entrees came with choice of sides and there was a great selection of roasted potatoes, maed potatoes, asparagus, broccolini and polenta grits. At the end of the night, they gave us a choice of dessert and we went with their famous carrot cake! It was one of the nicest meals I’ve had in a while and the fresh ingredients made the meal filling without that disgusting full feeling. My favorite thing about Braxton was the waiters walking around with fresh rolls, right out of the oven, to put on your table.

I know the camera phone doesn’t do the dishes justice.

18. With all this deliciousness, I decided to take on Sable’s advice and my slogan again: Birthday (and celebration) calories don’t count!

19. I felt so special and so full of love! I’m still feeling lucky right now thinking about the awesome people I’m lucky to know. I really appreciate the effort everyone made and it was a bit of wake-up call to make more of an effort for others’ birthdays. After all, each text and wall post made a difference. I think I sometimes forget how much simple things can aid in someone’s happiness.

20. And because no birthday is complete without presents, I need to give a quick mention and thank you to those who completely surprised me!  A few special friends and boys in my life really put some smiles on my face.

Is there anything better than mail?

21. Thank YOU ALL for an amazing celebration. You showed me birthdays are not to be feared. You showed me that sometimes it’s OK to step into the spotlight. And most of all you showed me how grateful I should be – to have such fantastic people in my life.

22. Turns out I guess I don’t really have 23 things to say about my birthday. Woops.

23. Thanks if you’ve made it this far! I don’t want to let you down so.. Did you know June 14th is also Flag Day?! So HAPPY BELATED FLAG DAY to all!!


PS! If there are any Chicago bloggers out there who haven’t heard yet, Allie and Sophia had the great idea to host a Chicago Blogger Meet-up tomorrow, Tuesday June 28 at 7 pm at Karyn’s On Green! Let us know if you’re interested!



Filler Healthy Living Sarcasm

Thanks for the wise words and well wishes this week, folks! I appreciate it more than you know 🙂

Unfortunately, I’m evading a birthday recap another day in favor of a continued celebration at Flip Cup Thursday!

Til then, my brother left me the most hilarious wall post on my birthday. I think it’s soo dead on that I will repost it to satisfy a recap for now…

Dear Bloggy,

Today is my birthday!
Instead of cake Ive laid out a colorful array of roasted vegetables that I will eat later out of a ziploc bag. Next Im going to hardboil 2 eggs while I run on an elliptical and tag pictures from Prom 2004. Also, here is a picture of my cat. Did you know I lived in Israel once? Why is my sister so tan?
OH, veggies ready. Mmmm. Gotta go! #Follow me!

– Mel_Kraks

But maybe I just think it’s hilarious because I know I absolutely sound like this – as ridiculous as it is.

In sorta-seriousness /real humor world, there’s new meme hitting the ‘Tube that maybe we can all relate to quite a bit.

You all need to ccccheck it out if you haven’t seen it yet!

Whole Foods Parking Lot 

Thanks again for baring with me!

Here’s to my Michael Jordan year! 

Leaving Negativity Behind

Hi everyone! Thank you for all your support and kind wishes on my last post about the new love interest!

LA Boy left Friday after work and his visit went..good.

What is it about boys in transition? They get weird!

While we had a fun time together for the most part, there were a few moments where I couldn’t help but feel like we were having a hard time connecting. Then we’d wind up putting each other on edge a little.

I totally understood that his 2nd week on the job and first business trip meant that he would have many obligations and perhaps be a bit distracted. It only makes me feel weird because I know I consistently brought my A-game and made an effort to make the trip a good one.

For now, I’m just hoping the next visit can be more relaxed.

Highlights of his quick trip include:

– a visit to downtown Evanston for dinner and walks around Northwestern University

– a drop-by Hi Tops in Lincoln Park for Flip Cup Thursday – the weekly flippy cup competition I normally play in with my friends from school (One day we’ll win it all!) – for cheap drinks and flippy cup entertainment.

Meeting the friends out

– some crazy thunderstorm watching

– a minor injury

Any relationship advice for me?

Usually after a visit or a long-anticipated event, I sort-of celebrate with an eating splurge. An “I’m-so-sad-it’s-over but I’m-so-happy-it’s-over” mindset typically leaves me freely ingesting carbs, dairy, and treats that I  avoided in excess before the impending event.

Super healthy but that’s my habit.

After LA Boy left on Friday, I tried really hard to not freefall my eating habits because I had big birthday celebrations left to look good for. I’m not sure my plan completely worked because I was less than thrilled with the pictures I appeared in. Oy reality check.

With that in perspective, all I can do is push forward and work hard to make myself accountable from here on out.

After all, I have a birthday to enjoy!

My birthday has been rough for me for the past few years because the focus and attention on my happiness has really amounted to a lot of pressure. Even though I blog about my life and am comfortable in the spotlight, I struggle with how to handle days that revolve so much around me. I love showing people I care about them but ultimately feel guilty accepting attention, praise, etc from others. I call it Jewish-Mother-In-Training Syndrome.

This year, though, I’m leaving the negativity behind and going with the flow for my friends and family who want to show their love.

I think my change in attitude is a change for the better. Ill give you a big recap of my celebrations when I hit the “big” 23 tomorrow 🙂

Your birthday: awesomesauce or overrated? How do you like to celebrate?

The Story I Haven’t Told You

Once upon a time I started this blog.

Then, in one of my first posts, I imagined my perfect relationship and opened up the universe to giving me some test drives.

Then I planned a trip to Las Vegas for a convention with 1200 other young Jewish professionals.

Then I took a hiatus from blogging.

But what you never got to see during that month long break were  my sudden influx of constant day-long texts, my new 3-hour phone calls despite a 2-hour time difference, my gossiping with friends over the a whirlwind in my life.

You never saw the dare of a trip I took in April, flown half-way across the country to Los Angeles, to spend 3.5 days with some friends and a guy I’d only met for 17 hours.

Because in Vegas of all places – a city with the tag-line “What Happens Here, Stays Here” – I met a guy. Who I felt an instant connection with. Who wanted to know me better, too.

And during my Staycation last month, when a “friend” was in town for job interviews. I may only have alluded to the datecation in place.

But I never told you the full story. So for that, I’m sorry.

The thing about a blog, though, is – as obvious as it sounds – putting something on the internet makes it public! For everyone to know about!

While our story is no doubt pretty cute and crazy, there’s still a lot of it left to write.

After all, there’s the distance. Our personal histories. An age difference. “Figuring life out” left to do. More getting-to-know to be done. The feeling of not quite wanting to stop life as it is. The people in our life who don’t about it yet. Us not knowing what it is yet.

And the fact that  I’m still very much Young, Wild and Free.

But just because something isn’t serious, doesn’t mean it can’t be really fun!  I believe things are meant to happen and for now, I’m just chilling on the rollercoaster waiting to see what’s next. Knowing that there’s a lot of adventures headed this way..

And this time, I’ll try to clue you in on it, too!

Anyway, LA Boy is back in town! One of his interviews panned into a new gig with a permanent position in LA, but frequent visits and meetings at the headquarters in Chi.

We are both juggling busy work schedules, obligations and a commute (wait, that’s just me) but I’m not going to complain against a few more days in person figuring out the story.

That means Tuesday I prepped my work lunches in advance for one less thing to worry about while he’s here.

For Tuesday – Thursday, I compiled my usual fruit & nut baggies. I like to gobble down as much as possible so it’s all about getting the best bang for your buck. In this case, I compilef handfuls of almonds, raisins, half an apple and some grapes.

Then I roasted a plot of red pepper, green beans, carrots, zucchini, pea pods, and broccoli.

For one dish, I combined hardboiled egg and half a red potato with dill and hummus and topped it with the roasted veggies for a egg/potato salad of sorts.

For another, I added the veggies to a spread of lettuce and apple cider vinegar and ate it along a side of spicy tuna-salmon sushi.

Thursday, would be leftovers. Salmon salad to be specific.

Putting the week’s worth of lunches in the fridge at work on Tuesday seriously made my life easier. Recommended. But I should know that already.

As for the visit in place?

More on that later!

Birthday (and Celebration) Calories Don’t Count

The past few weeks have been all about my hot shot sister. But what can you do? She can’t help that she’s beautiful, fun, intelligent and now..18 AND A HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATE!!

I’m soo happy for and proud of Rachel! And the celebrations all began 2 weeks ago in our quiet house on Tuesday, May 24 at 12:00 am. Since then there has been no shortage of sugar overloads or deliciousness.

Well technically, it all started Monday night, when I cooked up dinner for the two of us. Baked chicken and veggies: plenty of zucchini, potatoes, carrots, broccoli and asparagus to get the healthy in our system and out of the way.

The big moment arrived only a few sleepy hours later. With a knock on the door, I entered her bedroom blasting Trey Songz’ “Say Ahh” on my computer and mayyybe pouring a celebratory drink for the two of us.

Go girl..It’s your birthday!

Tuesday was a feast to be beat!

There were flowers and balloons to accompany the cookies and cookie cakes and cakes (and cereal!!) as gifts…

…And Peanut Butter Frosted Cookie Dough Blondies ala How Sweet It Is…

Make a wish!

..Topped off by a veggie-filled dinner at The YardHouse which she could barely choke down.

Though the company couldn’t be beat 🙂

Thursday, we tackled the Mexican-themed smorgasbord my father prepared for her 18th! He made a ginormous spread of veggies, beans, protein, salsa, cheese, tortillas and guac! MMM.

And more cake –  Red Velvet – Of Course!

To say that I’ve needed a food detox would be no exaggeration.

Buuuuttt….that didn’t happen.

After all, there were graduation festivities to be had!

This girl had Highest Honors, 6 Senior Awards, the stole for National Honor Society and a few community service pins! My brother and I like to joke she is the “last hope for our family.”

This was my 3rd and final graduation to attend for our high school though somehow, the 1,100 person graduation never gets any easier to sit through! The school calls names quickly but it still takes an hour and a half from start to finish for only the  4 seconds of our gal crossing the stage.

Needless to say, after all was said and celebrated, homemade strawberry cake balls were a must!

Do you like birthdays? I hate my own but love others people’s! Whats your favorite way to celebrate a holiday or accomplishment?

Where in the World..?

Most of the world dreams of New York City.


Those I grew up with, of Chicago.


For a few short months the place I dreamed of was Tel Aviv. But I knew life with her could never be my long term future. The same way Champaign, IL was just a transitional residence I would love and attribute to my college years.



The city I long to reside in remains a current mystery – my heart yearning for a blank picture.

I’ve found beauty in each city of the world I’ve visited. There are many places that have caught my brief attention.

And yet – none have ever appealed to me in a way that draws me back continuously. That leave me daydreaming about the caliber of a life that would manifest itself if I lived there.

That instead leaves me jealous of those around me who just knew.

I’m more than happy to stop and stay and make a city my own; appreciate the moments my feet are on its grounds and anticipate the next adventure on its streets.

But if a different suitor calls for me, I leave no trail of commitment or promise of return.

Perhaps that is my forever flaw. That no place will call to me with longing.

And perhaps it is my greatest strength. That no place clenches my heart with an unwavering hand.

My home could just be among those I connect to, my home where the next opportunity invites me. My family and friends bringing the city to life, instead of the other way around.

As my friends begin to settle into their dream lives in their dream cities – adventure is calling me more than ever.

I ask the universe to fulfill the next step of my journey – wherever in the world it may be.

It’s been a great, long year, but I’m ready for my next step.

More general updates to come but for now..

What is the city you’ve always dreamed of living in?