Tips for Training & Completing a Marathon + What I Would do Differently

October 13, 2015


I can hardly believe that I finished my second marathon a few days ago. This second one was so much harder than my first, for a few main reasons:

For my first marathon last year, it was all new and exciting. I stuck to my training pretty well and the race day conditions were ideal-mid 50s and sunny.

This year, I was more lax with my training. I did my longer weekend runs but had less motivation to get in my shorter runs during the week. Also, the weather for race day was less than ideal. Hot and super sunny. I left with a major sunburn.

With two of these under my belt I thought I would share some tips I’ve learned along the way, as well as a few things I’d do differently if I ever do one of these silly things again.unnamed-1


+Treat your training days like the actual marathon. During your training, you will have 16, 18 and 20 mile runs. On these long runs, treat them with the same importance that you would for actual race day. If you have the same mindset for long training runs that you do for the actual race they will be so much easier. I promise you, a 20 mile run by yourself is SO MUCH HARDER than 26.2 miles with thousands of other people. So wake up early, have energy chews, water and a bangin’ playlist. Also, I played around on Snapchat a lot while doing my longer runs. This made it more fun and felt like I was interacting with people like I would be during the actual marathon. I posted my progress on My Story and received so many encouraging photos from friends in return. The proud, smiling friends sending photos from their cozy beds help after 14 miles at 9 am.

+vice-versa, treat the marathon like you did on your long runs during training. Mostly I mean that you should eat and drink the same things that you did while running your 18 and 20 mile runs during training. If you ate organic honey chews and shot blocks (like I did) during training, eat those things during the actual race. If you have never had a banana halfway through a long race, I don’t think that race day is the time to experiment. You don’t know how your body will respond and this is not that time to see if a banana will actually upset your stomach.

+Run home from work. While training for my first marathon, I would bring my running clothes to work with me and I would run home from the office. It made my weekday runs so much easier. This year, I live ten minutes from where I work. So I walk home form work, change into my running clothes and then get on my way. But let me tell you, once you’re home it’s SO hard to get motivated to go back out for a workout. I would find ANY excuse to stay at home. “Oh, the bed is unmade, I can’t possibly go on a run, I need to clean this entire bedroom!” Running straight from work eliminates that problem all together. Invest in a small running backpack and run home from work if you live a reasonable distance away.

+Use an app like Map My Run. This is (maybe) obvious, but Map My Run is my running app of choice. It helps me keep track of my pace and logs my routes for me.

+Play that funky music, and maybe a podcast. Good music is so important for me to enjoy my runs. I use Spotify and basically spend all training season building an epic playlist. Everything from angry 90s chick music (‘sup Alanis) to inappropriate rap to sing-along pop. Also, during training, having a podcast lined up to listen to is really helpful, but be aware that your pace will probably be slower than it is while running to a beat. For me, it was worth it a few times to have words to listen to to distract me, even if my mile times were slower.

+Have a rockin’ support system. I am so lucky that my boyfriend and best friends are so supportive and encouraging throughout my training and on race day. They always checked in on how my training was going and how I felt about the upcoming marathon. During race day, they chased me all over the city and spotted me at five different spots. FIVE! Sasha even ran with me for three miles AND they made a huge blowup of my face (haha!) They are truly the best, and it would be so hard to run without their support.unnamed-2


+ Create a schedule, and stick to it as best as possible. This is a pretty obvious one, but still worth mentioning. As soon as you register for your marathon and make the commitment to run, create a schedule. Print out the schedule, put it on your fridge, wtite it in your planner, put it in your phone calendar. Put. It. Everywhere. Be consistently reminded of the miles you have to do each day. My favorite resource for creating a schedule is through Hal Higdon. His Novice 1 & 2 programs are 18 weeks long and I used it for both marathons and half marathons that I’ve ran.

+ SMILE! On race day, smile so much and so big! It helps. Interact with the wonderful people cheering you on at the sidelines. Even though you don’t know them, they are there to support you. Read their funny and inspirational signs. Smile at them when they clap for you. This is one of the best parts about the entire day. It’s incredibly emotional to have thousands of complete strangers showing how proud they are of you. Take it all in, it’s one of the most helpful things to get you to the finish line.unnamed-3


+ Listen to your body and see a doctor. I will do basically anything to avoid seeing a doctor. I hate going, I’m slightly afraid and I find it to be such a hassle. But I really should have gone to a chiropractor or physical therapist during my training this year. About three weeks before the race my right hip started hurting and I should have gone to get it checked out, but I didn’t. About halfway through the marathon it flared up and hurt so badLY, which really hindered my finish time.

+ Sunscreen! and vaseline! Put on sweat-proof, water-proof, high SPF sunscreen on long runs and on race day. The weather was so warm and sunny for the marathon and my chest, shoulders, back and face were tomato-red by the end of the race. Applying sunscreen might be obvious for some people, but if I forgot, then I’m sure there’s someone else out there who could use a reminder too. Similarly, use vaseline to avoid chafing. I have never experienced chafing like I did for the marathon. My underarms were in so much pain! Put some vaseline on in the morning of the race and take the vaseline that they offer at the aid stations throughout the course. unnamed

+join a run club. Personally, I am so much more motivated when other people are counting on me to complete something. I wish I had joined a run club so I could hold myself more accountable. If people are expecting me to show up and run 10 miles with them, I’m much more likely to stick to it then if I’m only holding myself accountable. It would also make runs much more fun and a great way to meet new people. A few good resources for run clubs throughout different cities are Lulu Lemon (ask your local store) and Meetup.

+ Don’t compare yourself to others & to your past. For my first race, this was really simple because I had no PR or past experiences running a marathon, I was creating my PR that day! But for the second time around, I had this number lingering in my head that I kept thinking about. A number that would be really satisfying to beat. I kept saying that I just wanted to finish, that was my goal, but in the back of my head I had this number there. And guess what, I didn’t beat it. Not even close. I actually took about 15 extra minutes finishing my second race than my first one. For a number of reasons: the weather, my hip, my training. When I crossed the finish line, along with the excitement was also a layer of disappointment, and I wish I could take back that feeling, because HELLO I just ran 26.2 miles and I should feel nothing but proud! Did you know that only .5% of Americans have run a marathon? You did something that 99.5% of the US population couldn’t do!! Something to think about when you feel disappointed with your results. Along with this (and also, pretty obvious) is not to compare yourself to other people. There will always be someone faster than you, who followed their training more closely than you did, but you’re not running for them.. you’re running for yourself and comparison is truly the thief of joy when it comes to marathons (and most things, honestly).

So there you have it.. my tips for successful training and marathon completion. I am certainly no expert, but I hope the knowledge I’ve gained from running two marathons so far is helpful to someone.

Happy running!


fashion / minimalism

Fall Capsule Wardrobe

October 2, 2015

Welcome to my fall capsule wardrobe! Here I’ll show you everything that I plan on wearing for the next three months (37 pieces, including shoes!) Before I jump into the fun stuff, let me talk about why I’m choosing to limit my closet to these 37 items.

I have been playing around with a capsule wardrobe for a few months now. At the beginning of the summer, I decided to not purchase any clothing from June 1st through September 1st, and I actually stuck with it. (which is crazy, y’all! I was such a shopaholic!) Overall, I saved more money in those three months than I normally do and I found that over time, the temptation to go shopping, window shopping, or browsing online decreased dramatically. Opening up more time to do more important things.

I’ve been so inspired by minimalist fashion bloggers ( is my fave) and the “less is more” mentality. I noticed over the last three months that my last minute shopping decisions were leading to more money spent on things that I didn’t really want and need long term. I also would spend a lot of time shopping sales and buying things because they were cheaper, and not necessarily because I loved them, leading to a closet stuffed full with things that didn’t bring me much joy.

So, I purged my closet, donated so many things over the past three months and tucked things away in storage that I know I won’t wear for the next season, and now here I am with these 37 pieces. I’ve been dressing with this wardrobe for over a week now and it’s been so nice to get dressed in the morning with a closet full of things that I’m  excited to wear. Although the quantity of my clothes has decreased dramatically, the overall quality of the pieces I do have is so much greater than before.

Now for the fun stuff, the clothes. Here we go:

Fall Capsule Wardrobe_tops blue check shirtchambray shirt – purple plaid shirt (gap)

Polka dot shirt (anthropologie) – floral shirt (piperlime) – grey long sleeve tee

striped teehome teegreen v-neck tee

grey tee – white baseball tee (j crew) – grey sweatshirt

black sweatergrey patterned sweater – navy & grey sweater (anthropologie)

grey v-neck sweater (similar) – dark grey cardigan (similar) – burnt orange sweater (gap)

Fall Capsule Wardrobe_Bottomscargo vest (similar) – denim vest – striped skirt (similar)

striped dress (similar) – silk pantsgreen high-rise jeans

distressed skinny jeansdark skinny jeans – distressed boyfriend jeans (similar)

Fall Capsule Wardrobe Shoes

red suede bootiesbrown leather bootiesblack booties

nude d’orsay flatsblack flats

black leather bootsbrown tie-up bootsbrown leather boots

black leather vanswhite high top converse

Let me know if you are interested in seeing how I style my capsule! And if you have any questions about capsule wardrobes, feel free to ask a question in the comments, or over on my instagram.

xo, e


best birthdays

September 17, 2015

ice-cream-with-unique-toppings-17I’ve always been a lover of birthdays. My birthday. Friend’s birthdays. Half birthdays! Any reason to eat cake and throw confetti around is a beautiful thing. For me, celebrating the past year of your life and welcoming a new one is equal parts fun and reminiscent. I always like to take time to remember all the amazing things that happened in the past year, as well as the challenges, and create goals and intentions for the year to come.

A friend recently asked me what my favorite birthday has been. And it’s so hard to choose just one. I made my love for birthdays extremely well known growing up, and my mother always went above and beyond. Here are some of my favorite birthday memories:

For my 8th birthday, my mom took me and a few my closest friends to see Madeline in the movie theater. We all got popcorn and candy and at the time I thought it was the biggest deal to have all of my friends with my at the movies. We later went to Friendly’s and had ice cream. My mom, friends, a good movie and junk food. My ideal birthday at 8 is pretty similar to what my ideal birthday would be today.

When I turned 15, my mom and dad took me and two of my closest friends to New York City for a long weekend. My girlfriends and I made mixed CDs for the 6 hour car ride and we rocked out the entire way. We shopped, ate amazing food and explored the city. It was perfection and over the top and oh-so fun. My 15th birthday happened about a week after my parents told me we were moving across the country, so I think they were trying to buy my love at this point. It worked pretty well.

My 21st birthday was spent in Florence, Italy while I was studying abroad. My five roommates and I went to one of our favorite restaurants, Trattoria Dante, which was mostly our favorite place because they always gave us free wine and limoncello shots, which is really all you need on a 21st birthday. Here’s a photo.. see what I mean about all the wine!


This year I have no idea what’s going on, Samu has something up his sleeve and I’ve tried to get it out of him but he won’t budge. Of course I’ll give the entire run-down of events here next week..because I’ll find any excuse to keep talking about my birthday.


//main image via


30 Days of Creativity

September 1, 2015

30daysofCreativityWelcome to September, friends. While most people are mourning the sunshiny days of summer, I am completely content to transition into cooler, crisper fall days. Let’s break out the scarves and pumpkin flavored everything. Autumn, I’m ready for you.

September has always been my favorite month. It’s been a long-time joke in my family that I celebrate my birthday all month long. I really think everyone should adapt the same mindset. Celebrating yourself 1/12 of the entire year? Sounds pretty ideal.

So while I’ll be eating pounds of cake guilt-free and taking advantage of all the birthday freebies (Free Ben & Jerry’s on your birthday? Incredible!), I’m also focusing on being creative all month long.

I’m super hesitant to call this a “30 Days Challenge” because the word challenge kind of takes the fun out of it. So I’m going to avoid that all together, and just call it the “30 Days of Creativity.” Sound good?

I’ll be painting, writing or drawing a little bit every day this month and invite you to join me! It’ll be so fun and really cool to see the art we can create if we just take a few minutes each day to set aside the work and the to-dos and unleash our creativity.

I’ll be checking in a few times throughout the month to share what I’ve created and hopefully to hear about your art as well!

Have fun and happy September!!



Workout Motivation

August 19, 2015

Nothing motivates me more than cute workout clothes. The marathon is only 52 days away and the milage for my weekend runs are getting higher and higher (I’m scheduled to run 16 this weekend.. gasp!). But I am so much more excited to spend multiple hours running at one time if I have my favorite Lulu Lemon shorts paired with my hot pink tank. It just feels good! I can’t explain it any more than that. If you’re like me and need an extra boost to get your running shoes on and your butt out the door, here are some cute running clothes I’m currently lusting over. Happy running!
Cure Running Workout ClothesBras: onetwothree   Shorts: onetwothree   Tops: onetwothree




The Best Brunch Spots in Chicago

August 18, 2015

the best brunch spots in chicago


Is there anything better than weekend brunch? The answer is yes – weekend brunch in Chicago. Chi is doing it so right with all of its incredible brunch options. There are so many places in this big city to get your eggs and bloody mary’s, so I thought I would create a list of the best brunch that I’ve had in Chicago. Happy Brunching!

Over Easy (Ravenswood): I have to mention Over Easy first because it’s the brunch spot that I go to most often and honestly my favorite. Located in the northern neighborhood of Ravenswood, Over Easy provides an extensive menu with so much variety. Every week there are 4-5 specials, one of which is always a special benedict. The best thing to get at Over Easy? Without a doubt is the Sassy Eggs. It’s potato, egg + guacamole goodness. A few things to know about Over Easy – There will most likely be a wait and you’ll have to wait outside (although there is complimentary coffee while you wait) and there are no espresso drinks on the menu, so go to Starbucks beforehand if you need a latte fix. Trust me, this place is SO GOOOOD.

The Bongo Room (Uptown & Wicker Park): The Bongo Room is a pretty well known spot, and for good reasons! If you go to the Uptown location, try to sit outside. The back patio is lined with a fence of plants and flowers. Also if you can, get there right when they open at 9, otherwise you’ll be waiting for a table for a while. Anything from the “sweet” section of the menu is incredible. The tea selection is also really great with options like Toasted Almond. So much yum!

Summer House (Lincoln Park): This is the spot to go with a bunch of girlfriends and take photos. Seriously, this space is so pretty and airy. I want my home to look like it! If you can, try to sit in the Vitamin D room. The ceiling is made of glass and the light it lets in is so great. The menu is a knockout as well. The Morning Sandwiches are really good and they have a full bakery with endless sweets. I recommend taking a cookie to go.

Big Jones (Andersonville): Delicious Southern cooking in the Swedish neighborhood Andersonville. Oh my Goodness. Firstly, get a latte. It’s one of the best lattes I’ve had. Secondly, when you go on the weekends, you’re given complimentary beignets. Is there anything better? No. For the main dish, I think the corn griddle cakes are incredible and Sam recommends the Gumbo Ya-Ya.

Tre Kronor (Albany Park): Albany Park might not be the most convenient spot to get to, but trust me, Tre Kronor is sooo worth it. Tre Kronor is traditional Swedish breakfast with menu items like Pannekaker, Swedish pancakes with lingon berries. The restaurant itself is nestled inside a two story home, making it so warm and inviting. Make sure to get the raspberry danish and latte to start! And after your meal, visit the Sweden Shop next door! It’s my second favorite part about going to Tre Kronor (after the danishes).

Homeslice (Lincoln Park): Normally I would not recommend a pizza place for brunch, but Homeslice brunch kills it. First things first, your bloody mary is served with a tiny slice of pizza on top. Incredible. If you are craving a sweet, indulgent breakfast, order the french toast sticks. They’re served with ice cream making them brunch and dessert all in one. If you aren’t feeling so decadent, I recommend the pulled pork hash. The menu isn’t extensive, but the bloody mary alone makes this place worth it.

The Publican (West Loop): A somewhat classy, German farmhouse is how I would describe The Publican. There’s a lot of meats and cheeses on the menu, and it’s oh-so good. It has to be if it’s located in the West Loop, right? Most of the seating is communal, so get a coffee, the crab scramble and make friends with the people sitting next to you.