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Taking Life Back and Chicago Good Food Festival

It seems that after a few weeks of reclusiveness and feeling not like myself (even before Phoenix, actually, but brought even more to the fore by the fun and joy of Phoenix), I am continuing to get myself back—but it truly is a case of “getting by with a little help from my friends!” And running and fitnessy things. And food. Because duh.

In fact, I am declaring this spring to be all about just that: 

Taking life back.

I definitely feel that is what this March has been about for me, and with Spring and renewal and sex crazed rabbits all that jazz, I think that the theme of taking life back is perfect. You don’t even need to have lost it, per say, rather, just continue to encourage yourself to live YOUR life. Rather than some idea of what it should be! Like last Thursday–FIGHT.

baby fist pump 2

I may or may not feature this baby on every other post from here on out.

I had a great time last week at several different events and get togethers, so I wanted to mention a few of them—all of which contributed not only to a great week, but a Marvelous weekend!

Thanks, Katie!

Thanks, Katie!

So backing up to last Monday

I had lunch with Erin (who is now gainfully employeed and gets to torture people for pay at Sweat Chicago! I can’t wait to take another class from her :D). Unfortunately, when we had lunch, I was in a bit of a state, even to the point of being unable to pick what I wanted to eat. I got the plainest salad ever, but the dressing was great (I also spilled it all over myself, typical of that day) and the baguette super fresh. Thankfully, I felt much more like myself after lunch with my girl.

susie erin lunch date

From last week’s lunch at Xoco


I had the Nike Training Club class in the morning, and that night I met ups with some other previous and new friends at a get together hosted by my friend Christina and Sarah Baker. I loved hanging out with Jesi and Sapna and meeting Colleen, even if I always feel like a schlub next to these perpetually-put-together women. Luckily, I like them, so their futures are secure. For now. Whahahahah. Ok, I’m good.

media love balanced babe suzlyfe pepperminting giordano

I at least had on green for St. Patrick’s Day.


I fought through that tough run (with a bit of help from my social media friends) and then met up with Austin and Katie of Daily Serving–which you might remember from my post on low sugar, nutrient dense foods for training and fitness, my Instagram, or if you follow blogs that profiled Expo West.

daily serving product collage

A preview of some of the new snacks!

I made a salad that size of my torso and then chatted nonstop with these awesome ladies for the next hour. Stay tuned for a full review of the new products, as well as more info to come as they continue to expand the business! If you read this blog and are interested in healthy, delicious, and nutritious food, this is a company that you need to get to know. Trust. I’ve already finished off much of it because it is SO FREAKING GOOD.


In the morning I went to Pilates Pro Works and got my bum burning on their mega-formers. Also, how great is this sign? I can’t wait to go back! Food that day was all about Alex, and very overdue in that. 

bretzel smoked salmon wecken

Bretzel Smoked Salmon Wecken

Lunch at Hannah’s Bretzel (his first time!) and pulled pork nachos, beer, and a southwest salad (hashtag balance) at dinner at Timothy O’Tooles while sitting at the bar and watching March Maddness. Just the ticket for us, as we haven’t seen much of each other recently!


I went to FlyWheel in the morning, but most importantly, I FINALLY got to have lunch with Sara, who I haven’t seen since we got brunch at Hub 51 a month and a half ago! It was just so good to see her, and to get suitably caught up on each other’s whereabouts and such. Plus, we had ace salads at Hubbard Inn, so what more could you ask for?


I got to return to the Saturday morning running ladies and Erica (who I hadn’t seen since Phoenix). I knocked out 10 insanely windy miles with them—literally I ended up turning back towards home a little early in favor of a less windy part of the trail because I honestly just couldn’t keep fighting it!  But though my run with the ladies was cut a little short, Erica and I were not parted for long

Chicago Good Food Festival

We went to the Chicago Good Food Festival for lunch (well, we all know that “lunch” was more an appetizer).

good food festival chicago collage suzlyfe

This was a bit different from the Green Festival of last fall—the focus here was just on food (duh) and CSA’s as well as delivery services. I was so excited to see some of my favorite companies there, though:

good food festival chicago suzlyfe

Organic Matters (which I was introduced to at the Green Festival last fall. My FAVORITE treat popcorn is their Vanilla Sea Salt Caramel Corn, and their cookies are amazing!)

Cobra Corn (another friend from the Green Festival last fall)

Farmers Fridge (Which I have reviewed here)

Savory Accents (which we discovered at the farmers market in Madison)

Theo’s Chocolate (Which I experienced firsthand at the factory tour in Seattle!)

And to be introduced to some new companies:

Chicago Diner (from whom we got these amazing salads for lunch.

the chicago dinner good food saladI considered the Thai wrap, but then remembered that I was about to walk around eating everything in sight. The salads were so, so good—pepitas, cranberries, roasted cauliflower, sweet potato, mixed greens, and an incredible poblano vinaigrette)

Artizone—Erica knows all about them and uses the service often, but I haven’t yet. I can’t wait to, though! They deliver local and artisan products direct to your door!

Cooked—A meal delivery service that Erica had raved about, and now I can’t wait to try!

The Brinery—I love love pickles, kim chi, and sauerkraut, and actually bought a jar of their brined carrots, as did Erica.

Autumn Berry Project—DID YOU SAY CHOCOLATE FRUIT LEATHER?? Yes I did. Berry fruit leather with chocolate pressed between and pepitas. OMG


I returned to my beloved CorePower for a long C2 practice. I can’t believe the last time I took a full C2 was in October. It was interesting seeing the changes in my body–I had certain regressions and certain progressions. But my body and mind benefited from the active rest. I spent the rest of the day sitting on my bum!

magical shirt

Saw this at Core Power. If it was more my style I would obviously be all over it.

That night I was supposed to have dinner at Velvet Taco with Lauren, Erin, and Bethany. But then Alex had a really really rough day, just a combo of not being able to work out, his team losing, us not being able to spend as much time together, and being overtired from this rotation. And I just couldn’t leave him. I love my friends, but he is my priority. And he needed me. And I had a moment of inspiration and thought that we should go bowling (because our attempts keep getting foiled and he loves it), told him to get up, that we were going, i called and reserved a lane, and off we went. More on that later.

It was a week that was totally jampacked, but it really sufficed to get me going again. I worked hard to live each day as it came and taking what I could from it in whole, rather than sitting and worrying quite so much about the longer term issues. I needed a week of simultaneous distraction and engagement. I chose to be engaged in my life in the present—too much recently have I been living in my head.

Do you feel that anything has gotten away from you recently? What is it? How are you going to try to take it back?

How do you kickstart living in the moment? Do you sometimes have to distract yourself to do so?

Tell me a good food moment of your weekend!

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