‘Friends’ Category

14 October 2013

An extra special Chicago Marathon

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Friends

I’m about to share two points that are somewhat unrelated, but will make sense.

1. I’m super nerdy about the Chicago Marathon. Maybe it’s because I love that it runs right by my apartment, but going out to cheer and watch as people run through my hood makes me ridiculously happy and inspired.

2. I’m also super supportive and nerdy for my friends and the things that are important to them. Maybe it’s a fault, but if they have a dream, I’m all about supporting them and helping them make it happen.

This year, those two points intersected.

In January or February, my male platonic life partner Ryan told me he wanted to run the Chicago Marathon. And (thinking he was kidding), I said that if he did it, I would run part of it with him. Well, then he registered for it (f*ck) and things got real.

I probably could have told him I was kidding and yeah, I wouldn’t do it too, but I’m a woman of my word (something that shocks many people), so while I was already training (painfully) for a 5K, he started marathon training in May and I really stepped up my game.

And after months of training, sweat, trips to Fleet Feet and just talking about it. Marathon day (yesterday) came.

To keep on track with my 10K training, I had to run 5 miles yesterday, so I promised I would run that distance with him as support. Up to that point, I had only run 4 miles (which was insanely painful) the weekend before, so 5 miles seemed daunting. And the entire time I was waiting for Ryan to appear on the marathon route, I was nervous.

But then suddenly, as I was standing with his parents and family (who were in town to support him too), he appeared at mile 7, gave me a high five and we took off together, with his parents cheering behind us.

I ended up run/walking 8 miles with him. A new distance record for me. And, NO PAIN IN THE LEGS. The entire experience was surreal. People cheering, music playing, people high fiving you as you went along. The energy was insane. And being there with one of my best friends, laughing, sharing Gatorade and gripes about the aches in the legs, made it even better.

I met him at the end of the marathon too, seeing him exhausted and holding his medal and feeling this intense burst of pride and joy for him. We both had a milestone that day and got to have them together.

Totally worth the agony I am feeling in the legs today.


29 November 2012

My first kid’s birthday party

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Friends, Random

I’m at the stage where many of my friends are having kids, or on their second one. Yikes, it’s THAT time?

But with that stage comes kid birthday parties. First off, I loved birthdays as a kid. Presents, cake, singing, games, GOODIE BAGS. It’s the best.

And now that I’m on the other side of the kid’s birthday party, I can say this as a single lady attendee:


Not too long ago, I was invited to a friend’s son’s birthday party and after missing his last two, I made it a point to be there and support the mom (my friend) and her adorable family.

There were 10 children, their parents and four non-parent, single/engaged people.

Everyone brought gifts for the birthday boy, I brought two bottles of wine. I AM THAT FRIEND.

But all that wine was gone by the end of the night :) Just saying.

I don’t spend a ton of time around kids, especially large groups of them, so when the kids gathered for pinata and present time, and the kids were screaming (at a deafening decibel), laughing, running around in a herd, I had a moment of intense, “holy shit, there are so many of them.”

And I think they smelled my fear.

Or at least the parents did because several of them came up to me and another non-parent friend saying, “so did you guys survive that?” or “Does this make you want to hold off in having kids?”

Clearly, they’ve been in our shoes.

Yes, it was a bit terrifying but it was still fun to watch them get excited opening gifts and look a tad confused when everyone sang “Happy Birthday.”

And since more kids parties are in my future, I will be stocking up on the wine. It was a hit.







17 July 2012

The challenges of making friends

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Friends, Random

Making friends has never been easy for me. Whether it was making the wrong friends, getting burned too many times or my own inability to connect with people, it hasn’t been an easy road.

And it doesn’t get easier as you get older or move to big cities. When I moved to Chicago, I knew no one. It took me six months to connect with someone (by accident) and fortunately, a group of friends spawned from that. That friend, and some of that group, are no longer in the picture.

My history, and that experience reminded me that making friendships and connecting with people are things I’ll always struggle with.

I didn’t leave college with a solid, tight group of friends. Maybe it was transferring schools or other things happening at that time, but that didn’t happen. I had friends and people I hung out with, but not deeply connected friends I actively keep in touch with to this day.

Then, I read an article in the New York Times about the evolution of friendships in adulthood and it hit on exactly how I feel about this topic.

For a long time, work has always been my #1 priority. I prioritized that over friendships and a lot of social experiences. My upbringing was focused on job, career, getting financially and professionally established. Friendships were never told to take a back seat, but that inevitably happened. And now that I am financially and professionally stable, I am prioritizing relationships and friendships, something that now I’m catching up on after years out of the game.

And when you don’t play sports, have a boyfriend or kids, connecting is tough. I’ve met a lot of people through blogging, work and random occurrences in the city, but those aren’t your 20-year-old self friendships. Life, work, priorities and other things get in the way, and despite those people in my life, I still find myself alone more than I thought it would. This isn’t a bad thing but again, when catching up on life, it’s a realization.

And even in my desire to connect with people, age, history and time has reminded me to be careful of who I let in. After turning 30, I shifted my priorities of who I want to spend time with. Gone are many of the constantly negative people I used to hang out with and now, I invest in friendships with people I want to spend time with and who are good influences for me.

This isn’t easy and often, takes a LOT of time. But the friendships I have in Chicago, through work, blogging, etc. are those I want to be in my life. And those who show they cannot make our friendship a two-way street, they move to the sidelines.

Starting over with friends or looking for them, is never easy. And putting boundaries on those you have, isn’t either. But it’s a process in finding people meant to be in your life at that particular time.

I’m not a great friend all of the time, but I like to think that to those I am friends with, I’m not too bad to hang out with :)


28 May 2012

Favorite parts of the weekend

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Chicago, Food, Friends

I love long weekends, especially when the city is quiet and there are few set plans.

Memorial Day for me wasn’t too exciting, but it was relaxing, which is exactly what I needed. It also allowed me to slow down, rather than run from one place to another. Sometimes, that rat race gets exhausting.

Some of my favorite parts of the quiet weekend included…..

BEER IN THE SUN (which coincidentally burned my fair skin)

Shopping at Gap where I purchased my first-ever maxi dress looks ridiculously hot on me, IMO

Frozen yogurt (it was hot enough where this was so necessary)

Brunch with friends (zucchini, tomato and cheddar omelette. Yes!)

And a Memorial Day cookout with friends which included sitting in Lincoln Park on a cooler night, eating food off the grill and throwing the football around.

I don’t have a photo of that but it was a perfect evening.

Now, I’m ready for a two-day work week before I jet out of town, not a bad way to ease in to vacation.

What were your favorite parts of the long weekend?

21 November 2011

Scenes from New York

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Friends, travel

Happy Monday! And Happy Turkey Week!

Before I succumb to the craziness and cooking in a few days, I decided to get out of Chicago for a weekend and visit Arielle and Lacey in New York. I love New York (almost as much as Chicago) and being back, but this time in fall, was just what I needed.

Sure, there was a lot of walking, drinking and eating (A LOT) but the best part was catching up with good friends and laughing (a lot). That may sound cheesey, but it’s true.

So to best sum up my three days in NYC, here is a little photo sampling of my trip.

Yep, lots of eating and drinking. But everything was amazing and I was on vacation so…calories don’t count :)

How was your weekend? What’s your favorite thing to do on a weekend away?