Blogs to Bookmark: Personally Paleo

I’m baaaaack. Before the madness of the holidays and our Thailand honeymoon (more on that later!), I launched a Blogs to Bookmark series, featuring other bloggers and blogs I admire. Read on for the second installment, all about Personally Paleo and its founder, Katie.

Sarrandipity highlights the food & fitness blog, Personally Paleo

I met Katie, the blogger behind Personally Paleo, through the Windy City Blogger Collective. Katie, a Chicago-based blogger, had reached out to the group asking for volunteers for her new series, Core & Coffee, in which she meets up with other bloggers for a workout and a bevy of sorts. I jumped at the chance to meet someone new and get a good workout in, so we huffed and puffed through an Orange Theory class, then rewarded ourselves with wine, beer, and a good chat. (You can read all about it here.) Though it’s always a gamble going on a blind date of sorts, Katie was cool, funny, and interesting, and that experience in part inspired me to start this here series of my own. As for her blog, as not-a-Paleo-person, I was pleasantly surprised to find that her posts are relatable to pretty much anyone who likes eating, fitness, and exploring.

Sarrandipity: Describe your blog in one sentence.
Katie: Delicious, healthy Paleo and gluten-free food that work for you and your lifestyle.

S: When and why did you start your blog?
K: I started my blog in late October 2014 with [encouragement from] my family and friends. I loved trying out new recipes in the kitchen and was always sharing them. On top of that, I’d had such a great experience with paleo that I was feeding information about it all over the place. This gave me a source to streamline it.

S: How did you decide on your blog name?
K: That was one of the hardest parts. I was agonizing over it before I even had my first post finished. My boyfriend finally looked at me and said, “Do you think authors name their books before [they’re] written?” So, I started writing my first post. I realized that what I wanted to talk about was my experience with paleo. I didn’t go the super strict route but I didn’t go casual. I figured out what worked for me and wanted to encourage everyone to do the same. Every time I started to write about it I started with, “Personally, paleo…” and thus, my blog was named!

Sarrandipity highlights the food & fitness blog, Personally Paleo

S: What has been the biggest surprise you’ve faced with blogging?
K: Definitely the reach. I’ve had some readers … email me with questions or comments from as far as South Africa! It’s crazy to know that I’m reaching people that far away.

S: What’s your favorite post you’ve ever written?
K: It’s really hard to choose just one post, but I think it would have to be the first post I ever wrote, called the Name GameAs a whole, I have a lot of fun with my Core & Coffee series. It’s introduced me to new ways of fitness and I’ve met some really cool people through it.

S: What do you hope readers take away from your blog?
K: There is no one lifestyle fits all. It’s important to learn what is right for you, your body, and your life. It’s unrealistic to think you will be 100% on at all times, because sometimes life gets in the way. Do your best every day with a little give and take as needed.

There is no one lifestyle fits all. It’s important to learn what is right for you, your body, and your life.

S: Why did you decide to start following the Paleo diet?
K: I had been working out with a personal trainer and had adopted a low-fat, low-cal, low-everything lifestyle. It sucked, but I had lost 60 pounds. Unfortunately, I was still struggling with so many other things. My skin was broken out all the time, I wasn’t sleeping, I couldn’t run more than two miles without having to stop, my self-confidence still sucked, and I became a very obsessed calorie-counter. My boyfriend, Kyle, brought the idea of paleo to me. He struggled with focusing at work and had researched paleo as a homeopathic way of dealing with it. I began looking into it and read tons about experiences people had that were just like mine. Paleo worked for them and I was hoping it would work for me. We decided to try it for one month. That month came, passed, and we never looked back.

S: What’s the hardest part about Paleo?
K: I don’t think Paleo is any harder than any other dietary lifestyle. Some days you want to curl up and eat an entire box of cookies, knowing you will feel crappy afterward. People may question what you eat or why you eat certain foods because they think it is gross or weird. That’s not just paleo though; that’s life. Not everyone likes broccoli and not everyone feels good after a billion grams of sugar.

Sarrandipity highlights the food and fitness blog, Personally Paleo

S: Do you ever “fall off the wagon?” Is it hard to get back on track if you do?
K: Absolutely! It’s easy to get caught up with vacations, holidays, etc. The most important thing to remember is that one setback is not an excuse to continue on that way. If I eat a candy bar in the morning (because chocolate at 10am is totally fine), I can’t continue on my day with the philosophy of, “I already messed up, so why not?” The important part is to be okay with it and set up a plan to get back on track.

S: What’s your favorite Paleo recipe?
K: I am obsessed with breakfast food. When I was growing up, we always had quiche at family breakfasts. One of the first recipes I created was my Quiche Kathleen, which has an almond flour crust and uses coconut milk instead of heavy cream. I could eat this everyday. I also [love] brussels sprouts and bacon. I never even tried brussels sprouts until paleo, and they have quickly become my favorite.

S: What do you say to people who think Paleo is just a “fad” diet or it’s not sustainable?
K: This is always interesting to me. Paleo is just the name. My lifestyle is choosing to eliminate something from my diet that harms my body, that I can’t digest appropriately, or is highly processed. People don’t go up to vegans or to someone with a food allergy and question their avoidance of certain foods or its sustainability. Each person does what works for them. I know my body and how it tolerates certain foods and I choose to avoid eating those foods, just like others avoid eating vegetables they don’t like. As far as saying anything to them, it’s not my place to try and convince someone that what they are doing is right or wrong. If there’s a specific question, I’ll answer it, but I don’t like when people nag me about my choices so I refuse to do the same to anyone else. This is what works for me and makes me feel my best. For me, that’s what makes it sustainable.

Sarrandipity highlights the food & fitness blog, Personally Paleo

S: You’ve been trying out a lot of different fitness classes/studios with your Core & Coffee series. What’s been your favorite so far?
K: Good question. For atmosphere, SoulCycle. It’s dark in there and you really can’t see anyone except the person in front of you and the instructor, but it has an intimate and connected feel. It’s also a great place to pick up some new music. For a good-sore-the-next-day type workout, OrangeTheory. I love high intensity interval classes so much and this one was a lot of fun with the added heart rate feature.

S: What advice do you have for people who are overwhelmed by the idea of starting a new diet or fitness routine?
K: Always start off with a plan and prep for it. If you’re going to change your eating habits, then clear all the garbage out of your cupboards. If you’re going to start a fitness routine, go get a membership and sign up for a consistent class schedule. They say it takes 21 days to form a habit. Those 3 weeks won’t be easy. They’ll suck and you’ll probably want to give up, but it’s important to remember why you are doing this. Don’t lose sight of that. If you can, find a friend, family member or significant other [who] can make this change with you. Holding yourself accountable to someone else is a big motivator. More than anything, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Whether it’s a fitness instructor or an online community, there are people out there willing to help who have been exactly where you are. They’ve done it and so can you.

Catch up with Personally Paleo on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

Photos courtesy of Personally Paleo

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Blogs to Bookmark: Sweaty Reviews
Why I Pay For SoulCycle
13 Thoughts I Had During 13 Miles: Philly Half Marathon

Party For a Cause With Me at Tickled Pink for Bright Pink’s Annual Fundraiser

Join me at Tickled Pink for Bright Pink's annual fundraiser, and use my promo code for $25 off tickets.

February in Chicago pretty much sucks, and it’s admittedly the best month to hibernate and leave the house as little as possible. But this year, I’m inviting you to join me on February 19th for an awesome event that will basically be a beacon in the midst of February’s dreariness. I’m partnering with Chicago-based non-profit organization Tickled Pink for Bright Pink at their annual fundraiser as a Chicago influencer, and I think you should come, too. Proceeds from the event, which will take place at the killer venue, Morgan Manufacturing, will benefit breast cancer research. Check out the info below, use my promo code (ESTP4BP) to get $25 off your tickets, and prepare to party for a cause.

The When: Friday, February 19th from 8:00 p.m. – 1:00 a.m.

The Where: Morgan Manufacturing – 401 N. Morgan St

The Why: Aside from the most important reason—helping to raise funds for breast cancer research—come for the chef stations from 50 of Chicago’s best restaurants, live music, open bar, raffles, and more.

The Tickets: Get them here, and be sure to use my promo code, ESTP4BP, for $25 off.

About Tickled Pink for Bright PinkTickled Pink is a Chicago-based group of marketing, event, and design professionals driven to help those affected by breast cancer; it was started in 2004 by Jodi Fyfe, whose cousin, Carrie Kenney, lost her battle with breast cancer at the age of 35. Fyfe wanted to find a new way—outside of breast cancer walks and the like—to raise money for research. In 2005, Tickled Pink Chicago threw its first fundraiser and raised $35,000 for the cause; each year, it only gets better. To date, the organization has raised more than $1,000,000. In 2013, the organization announced its partnership with Bright Pink, the only national non-profit organization focused on the prevention and early detection of breast and ovarian cancer.

Will I see you there?


Blogs to Bookmark: Sweaty Reviews

Introducing blogs I think you should read (aside from this one). First up: Sweaty Reviews.

Blogs to Bookmark: Sweaty Reviews - via Sarrandipity

One year into this blogging thing, I’m still working on finding my mojo, if you will. I took a long break this past spring and summer when wedding planning took over my life, but now that I’m back, I still often struggle to find the balance between working on paying gigs for other sites and working on my blog. Every week, I come up with tons of new ideas for this here blog, but most of them don’t see the light of the Internet because I end up spending all of my time on my “official” freelance work. There are only so many hours in the day, amiright? Which is why I’m perpetually amazed by other bloggers, and their abilities—even when juggling full-time jobs, families, and social lives—to produce regular, quality, entertaining content. They’re inspiring to me, and give me jolts of motivation to put more work into my own blog, so I decided to spread the love and share them with you as well via my new series, Blogs to Bookmark.

First up: Lindsey, of Sweaty Reviews. Lindsey and I actually worked together in Nordstrom’s Men’s Furnishings department way back in 2009. We recently reconnected after realizing we both write blogs with a fitness angle (ie: I occasionally cover fitness on my blog; her blog is totally fitness-centric). She even re-posted my piece on Why I Pay For SoulCycle. Lindsey and two of her friends started Sweaty Reviews this past summer to give Chicagoans the low-down on the ever-evolving fitness scene, testing out studios and classes throughout the city, while sprinkling in some much-needed tips, inspiration, and deal alerts. I asked Lindsey some questions about Sweaty Reviews, blogging, and how she stays motivated to do so many workout classes. Here’s what she had to say:

Sarrandipity: Describe your blog in one sentence.
Lindsey: Sweaty Reviews is a website dedicated to reviewing workout classes, studios, and instructors as well as discussing fitness, health, and fashion as it relates to our readers’ sweaty lifestyle.

S: When and why did you start your blog?
L: I started Sweaty Reviews in June of 2015. I had begun using ClassPass in December of 2014 and fell in love. I became ‘the girl’ to go to for the best workout classes/instructors around Chicago. I figured it was my duty to share my knowledge with all of Chicagoland’s fitness enthusiasts and not just my friends. I then grabbed some friends who were just as passionate as I was, and the rest is history!

S: What’s your “day job”? How does it affect your blog/blogging?
L: I am a project manager for an insurance company and have been since graduation. I am not going to lie, it is sometimes tough to manage a full time job, daily workout classes, a social life, blogging, and sleep! Luckily I have my partners to lean on when I don’t have time to blog. We work together as a #sweatyteam. I couldn’t do it alone.

Blogs to Bookmark: Sweaty Reviews - via Sarrandipity

S: What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced in blogging?
L: Getting it off the ground. Whenever something is new it can be scary, but we just plunged full force and haven’t looked back.

S: What has been the biggest surprise?
L: The biggest surpriseis how difficult and time consuming it can be to write an article. Sometimes I spend days on an article to make sure I do all the right research, vet it with my partners, and make sure I have all the right images. It is almost like writing a college paper every time, except more fun!

S: What’s your favorite post you’ve ever written?
L: One of my favorite posts so far is my interview with Tracy Chudnow, a Flywheel instructor. I am always so frantic when running into Flywheel (with only 5 minutes to get my bike setup) that her tips on bike setup are a lifesaver.

S: What’s your ultimate goal with blogging?
L: To keep spreading my knowledge of classes, studios, and instructors, to inspire people to become healthy, and to push my readers to try new workouts.

S: What is it like running a blog with two other people?
L: It is so awesome. The two other girls I run the blog with are my best friends. We proofread for each other and take classes together. It makes the blog that much more fun. I always intended to work with others; doing this alone just doesn’t have the same allure.

S: How many fitness classes do you do each week?
L: I try to go to about six workouts a week.

Blogs to Bookmark: Sweaty Reviews - via Sarrandipity

S: Is there any fitness trend or class you won’t try?
L: No! I want to/need to try them all!

S: What’s your current favorite workout?
L: This is such a hard question! [It] really depends what I am in the mood for. I love Yoga Sculpt on Saturday, a good cardio burst like Flywheel on Fridays, and during the week I like to mix in HIIT (like Kick@55 or SWEAT Chicago) and weights (like Sculpt at Lateral Fitness or Crossfit at ChicagoFitLife).

S: What’s your advice for people who may be nervous to try a new fitness class? 
L: My best advice would be to connect with the teacher/owner of the gym. I was terrified to try Crossfit, so I came in about 10 minutes early to chat with the owner. He made me feel so comfortable and gave me some extra attention during class. Now Crossfit is one of my favorite classes! Just take it slow [and] don’t psych yourself out; every classes has people of all different fitness levels. Most importantly, working out is about YOU, so just go and do your best; there is no where to go but up!

S: Do you ever just not want to work out? How do you motivate yourself?
L: Yes, I definitely have my days. I just tell myself it is ONE hour out of my day and remind myself how good I feel after. But, I won’t lie, sometimes I do skip and get Fro-yo instead 🙂

Catch up with Sweaty Reviews on Facebook and Instagram.

Photos courtesy of Sweaty Reviews

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Inspiring Things I Heard From Michael Strahan, Tom Arnold, and More at Chicago Ideas Week

Last year, my first week of being a full-time freelancer coincided with Chicago Ideas Week, a week full of talks, interactive “labs,” and experiences that can inspire even the most cynical. I covered it for Michigan Avenue Mag online, and it was the perfect way to kick off my new career. This year, I went back for more and it was just as amazing as I remembered. I recorded a commercial voice over at the iHeart Media offices, designed my own BucketFeet shoes, met and got books signed by Beverly Johnson and Michael Strahan (I nearly died), and teared up in public listening to Kristin Spodobalski (the late Stuart Scott’s girlfriend)—and that’s only a fraction of it. I compiled some of the most inspiring things I heard throughout the week into a piece for Michigan Ave Mag (it was hard to not make the article 8,731 pages long). Check out a couple highlights below, and click through to read the rest.

Inspiring words from Michael Strahan, Beverly Johnson, Tom Arnold and more at Chicago Ideas Week

Michael Strahan during his Chicago Ideas Week Talk

Michael Strahan, NFL Hall-of-Famer and Co-Host of ABC’s Live! With Kelly & Michael

On failure…
“I’ve had a lot of failures in my life. But I don’t look at them as failures, I look at them as opportunities that did not work out the best way that I would’ve loved for them to work out, but they also were opportunities for me to learn; opportunities for me to get better.”

Beverly Johnson, Supermodel, Actress, and Author of The Face That Changed It All

On opening up about being one of Bill Cosby’s victims…
“In 2014, as most of you know, women came out and talked about Cosby drugging and raping them. And I sat there watching these women tell their stories and realized that my story was very similar to theirs. And they were telling the truth. And they were being victimized and criticized and vilified, and… I couldn’t [stay quiet]. My conscience and my principles made me write an article for Vanity Fair telling about my encounter with Cosby.”

Continue reading on Michigan Ave Mag for more quotes from Strahan, Johnson, Spodobalski, Peter Sagal, and more. 

Photo courtesy of Chicago Ideas

Why I Pay For SoulCycle

Why I Pay For SoulCycle - Sarrandipity Blog

For those who have been friends with me on any sort of social media for long enough, you know that I. Love. SoulCycle. I love it more than a fat kid loves cake; more than Kanye loves Kanye…all of that. I got hooked while living in New York, and have been looking forward to the Chicago studio openings since before they were even planned (the power of positive thinking). Yes, I understand that it’s expensive. And yes, it’s true I probably wouldn’t have tried it if I didn’t get to take my first classes for free through work. But I did try it, and quickly went from only going to SoulCycle when someone else paid, to sacrificing funds from my own bank account for a seat in the dimly lit studio. But why?

1. It’s cheaper than therapy. We all know that exercise in general causes the body to produce endorphins, which in turn make you feel good. SoulCycle adds on to that natural high with, well, soul. Though some teachers definitely tap into the inspirational aspects more than others, I usually leave class with at least one reminder to put things in perspective, or give myself a break, or just let shit go. A few months ago, I underwent a minor surgery and couldn’t exercise for two weeks, during which I fell into a bit of a funk, feeling lethargic and glum. My first workout after that break was a SoulCycle class. When I arrived, I was definitely in a “mood,” not thrilled to have had to leave my cozy condo and navigate rush hour crowds for a workout. By the time I left, I felt all at once energized, relaxed, and motivated. The combination of the dim lighting, killer playlist, and (not-too-over-the-top) affirmations from the instructor, plus the endorphin-producing moves, acted as a 45-minute, calorie-burning therapy session.

2. I save money in other places.  Countless people have flat-out told me I’m crazy to spend my money on SoulCycle. It’s not worth it, they say. It’s a waste of money, they say. It’s frivolous, they say. But, how do they qualify these things? See, I’m not a big drinker, so I rarely buy multiple rounds of $7-$15 cocktails every weekend, and my at-home stash won’t need replenishing for many months. (Though, one of my New Year’s resolutions was to drink more wine.) I don’t habitually go out to boozy brunches and high-end dinners, and seeing a movie in a theatre is a rare treat. (I realize this is painting a rather lame picture of me: I swear I’m fun and social, but I’m all for chill nights in, or Sundays on the beach instead of in a bar.) I see nothing wrong with people spending their money however they want to spend it, whether that be on movies, bars, restaurants, or in-app purchases for iPhone games—which is why I refrain from judging. I’ll spend my money in my way, you spend your money your way, and we’ll all live happily ever after.

3. The ambiance is amazing. And I’m not just talking about the low-lighting, candles, and aspirational wall-decals inside the studios themselves. Despite the fact that people exit each class dripping in sweat, the common areas are generally clean, bright, and fresh-smelling. They lack the dinginess of many other gyms. The air doesn’t reek of stale sweat and excessive B.O. And that’s nice.

Why I Pay For SoulCycle - Sarrandipity Blog

4. It increases my chances of becoming best friends with a celebrity. I’ve never been lucky enough to see perfect-specimen Jake Gyllenhaal in an NYC class (even though I’m told he goes ALL THE TIME and when I lived in New York I went A LOT), BUT in one class, Bradley Cooper was on the bike right behind me, which was almost equally amazing. Never before and never since have I worked so hard in a Soul class. (I mean, he was obviously watching me the whole time, right?) Bradley and I didn’t actually interact—it’d be uncool to bother a celeb when he’s trying to just be normal—but some day I’m bound to have a natural interaction with a celebrity at a studio and become best friends. (And I really hope said celebrity is Kelly Ripa, who I’m also told goes often. I love her.)

5. It’s fun. Boredom is probably the biggest reason I skip going to the gym, or half-ass it when I’m there. I have trouble staying motivated to start, or continue, a cardio workout when it’s just 45 minutes (give or take) of the same thing. People roll their eyes when they hear SoulCycle entails “choreography,” but regardless of what it’s called, the variety of moves within one class—from push-ups and crunches to “tap-backs” and weight-lifting—keeps me focused and invested in the workout.

6. It offers a workout I can’t get anywhere else. I’ve been on the receiving end of the sarcastic, “It’s too bad you can’t ride a bike for free outside!” anti-SoulCycle comments more times than I can count. Listen, I love riding my bike along the Chicago lakeshore. It’s good exercise in a beautiful environment, but it’s a completely different type of workout. As for other, cheaper spinning classes? Typically, I don’t feel like they go above and beyond anything I can do on my own. SoulCycle’s distinction isn’t just in its unique choreography. It’s in the fact that the choreography is done to the beat of the music. And that the instructors carefully craft playlists that ebb and flow with the sprints and climbs in the class, so whether you’re cranking the resistance or spinning the pedals at warp-speed, you’re doing it to a clear rhythm, with guidance from a teacher who could probably keep the beat while posting an Instagram, chugging a glass of wine, and arguing with Comcast customer service. And the teachers don’t just demonstrate what you should be doing; they actively push you to do it better, constantly reminding you not to cheat yourself out of a ($30) workout. They’ll emphasize proper form, repeatedly stressing the importance of keeping your butt back and knees in. They’ll turn up the resistance on your bike if they think you can handle it. They’ll make you hold your arm weights in the air for way more time than you think you can. In my first class at Chicago’s new Old Town studio, the instructor, Anthony, hit the nail on the head with one sentence: “It’s about how you move, not that you move.” Anyone can sit on a bike on a platform and play a few tunes while you somewhat aimlessly ride along, but SoulCycle classes take it to the next level, giving me a fantastic return on my investment.

7. I want to. I just wrote a whole blog post justifying why I pay $30 for SoulCycle classes now and then, but the bottom line is, I do it because I like it and I want to. Sue me. (Just leave me with at least $30 a month.)

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7 Things They Don’t Tell You About Becoming a Homeowner


My fiancé and I recently bought our first condo. It was awesome and exciting and super grown-up-feeling. We’re obsessed with it, and I’m amazed and grateful every day that I walk into it (this is partially because I truly feel hashtagblessed that I can own a lovely condo, and partially because I still can’t believe I went from living in a one-bedroom-converted-to-three shoebox apartment in New York to owning a condo with windows in every room in Chicago). That said, there was a whole lot of shit we did not see coming when we decided, ‘Hey, let’s take this terrifying plunge and buy a condo.’ Here, just a few of them:

1. No seller will give your offer a second look unless you’re pre-approved. For a mortgage loan, that is. And getting pre-approved is a pain-in-the-ass process that requires you to dig up tax returns, pay stubs, bank statements, medical records, sleep schedules and school report cards for the last 20 years of your life. (I may have made up three of those things; I’ll let you decide which ones they are.)

2. You have 2.5 minutes to think between seeing a place and making an offer. If you see a place that you kind of, maybe, might possibly, love, you can think about it for the amount of time it takes to walk out the door and get out of earshot of the listing agent. (Really, we deliberated while standing in the garage of the condo; didn’t even have time to leave the property.) Then, you need to speed race to your realtor’s office to make an offer (better have that pre-approval letter on your person at all times). Once submitted, keep your fingers crossed so hard that when you walk into your inspection days, weeks, or months later there isn’t some lovely surprise that you just happened to miss in that 10-minute showing waiting for you. Oh, there’s only one light switch to control all the bedrooms? The crown moldings are actually made of plastic and attached with crazy glue? Too damn bad.

3. You don’t just write a personal check for the down payment, get your keys and go on your merry way. After your offer is accepted, you have to be all sorts of responsible adult and do things like set up a wire transfer, purchase and prove you have homeowner’s insurance, make sure your property taxes will be paid, and oh, so much more. Then, at the closing, you have to sign approximately 1,571 papers that you trust say and mean what your attorney says they do (actually reading them is for suckers, and it’s basically a foreign language, anyway). And don’t forget the millions of additional costs on top of your down payment: closing fees, attorney fees, inspector fees…they bleed you dry, I tell ya.


Outside our first–rental–apartment together, blissfully unaware of what homeownership would hold.

4. Something will break. Approximately every month. It could be the shower, the air conditioning, the fridge…the possibilities are endless, but trust me: there will always be something that needs to be fixed, or replaced, or thrown out the window in frustration. And you can’t just call or email your landlord, who will in turn get everything taken care of without you doing or spending a thing. Nope, it’s on you now. So save some of that money you were planning to spend on to hand over to repair men instead.

5. Speaking of repair men…You don’t need to call them (or other professionals) for everything. Like, apparently it doesn’t take an electrician to set up your built-in speakers. And you don’t need a heating expert to tell you that your heat isn’t working because your gas isn’t turned on (but if you do bring one in, he’ll cost approximately $90 to share that lil nugget of info and flip that switch).

6. You have to be a part of—and answer to—a condo association. Unless you are one of the lucky ones who purchased a single family home, chances are you’re going to be part of a condo association. That means if you want anything done in the common areas of the building—Fancy up the front lawn? Install motion detector lights?—you have to go through them, and it’s gotta pass a majority vote (unless you want to pay for it out of your own pocket, in which case, well look at you.)

7. But you can do whatever you want to your own unit. This may seem obvious, but it’s hard to get used to the fact that if you want to paint, you can do so—and it can be any color you want. And if you want to change the backsplash in your kitchen to neon green tile? Or install a chandelier made from recycled beer bottles? Go for it! The world is your oyster! (But if you want to install outlets in the floors, apparently that is not an easy task, considering it involves hacking into your downstairs neighbor’s ceiling. Apparently.) On a related note, you become absurdly excited about things like backsplash and paint and outlets, and there is no turning back. You’re a homeowner now.

Clip: “Woody Allen on the Magic of His Latest Movie”


That picture there? It’s me (or more accurately, a side view of my hair, my notebook, and my iphone voice recording app), interviewing Woody Allen. It was one of the coolest, most humbling moments of my writing career. I only got a few short minutes to speak with him–it was on the red carpet for the Chicago premiere of his newest movie, Magic in the Moonlight–but it was a great few minutes. I had no idea what to expect from Mr. Allen himself–would he be scary? quiet? rude? funny?–but ultimately, he was great. Actually reminded me of any, well, older man, who likes to tell people stories. What he did share with me was already fascinating; I’m sure if we talked longer, there’d be some tales for the books. Here’s what I did get out of him.