Happy almost Valentine’s Day, friends. This year has been so many things rolled into one already and we’re only two months in. I first started this series “The Little (Chickpea) Things” at the end of last year to give you a glimpse into what I’ve been loving lately and up to but once the holidays hit I kind of trailed off from the blog. But baby.. I’m back! I’ve got a few life updates to share, some personal things/vulnerable posts I’ve thought about that I want to get out and tons of things I’ve tried/eaten/enjoyed lately that you need to know about.
First things first, a little life update.
You may have seen my post mid-January where I chatted about my recent stay in the hospital. I’ve told the story so much in the past two weeks alone to friends that it started to feel somewhat traumatic to me/like I was reliving it. Usually I’m the type of person who can openly share anything but within the last few months it’s felt more difficult. However, I want to share it today and right now because if anything it’s made me gain a new appreciation for life in general – as if I thought I already had an incredible appreciation for it… this just made it 100x stronger. I think things like this are important to discuss because of the mind shifts they give us.
A few days after the New Year, I had unexpected bleeding from my uterus (probably due to hormonal shifts and a huge amount of stress my body has been under in the last 7-8 years) out of the blue. It was so terrifying, unexpected and traumatic (as one could imagine — especially a woman). I’ve had rather heavy periods my entire life but this was unlike anything I had ever experienced. I explained it to people as a shark attack and was sitting there with no help. I lost so much blood I was delirious but by the grace of the universe, I managed to go home after a 36 hour stay (which felt like a lifetime) and medication. As a result of the stay, I became anemic and had to go on a few supplements and medication, 3 doctors appointments as check-ins and a follow up a month from now. I also had so many shots/blood drawn that I gained so much respect for those who suffer much worse/are in the hospital for weeks or months experiencing even harder issues. It really puts your life and your health into perspective.
But back to the situation… it happened to end up being a fluke happening. Of course I think it is a result of not having a menstrual cycle for a few years due to disordered eating (from being underweight) and hormonal imbalances… but the doctors wouldn’t really tell you that. Nor have they. I don’t have any problems inside of my uterus as of now, no endometriosis, no cysts. And surprisingly nothing hurt in the hospital (besides being prodded with IVs). Nothing really to report there. Two ultrasounds confirmed that. And no medical advice is needed beyond what my doctors have given.
After losing my mom and aunt in 2017, I gained a new appreciation for life and an entirely different perspective on it. I’ve talked about it plenty of times but death and grief show you the smallest things in life matter, specifically our health and the ability to move our bodies freely, without any pain or discomfort. For about 7-12 days after I got home from the hospital last month, I started to feel so much better – as if a light switch went from off to on inside of my body. I ate better than I have (tons of red meat and leafy greens!), rested and took things really slow. If anything, this entire experience showed me how much our bodies need rest to bounce back. We often think of it as being lazy, unmotivated or weak but in reality, it’s only building us up to be better than before.
Since the chaos of the random hospital stay (what a way to ring in 2020), I went to my first yoga class last Saturday and ended up crying in shavasana from being so overwhelmed. With how my body has bounced back so quickly. The strength of my body alone to have gone through what it did and to be where I am now. It was exactly one month since I went into the hospital and the fact that I made it to hot yoga in just 1 month after feeling so horrible made me gain a new appreciation for my body – beyond what it looks like at X point in time. I want to dive into this in a separate post but after struggling with disordered eating and body image for over 10 years, when you would give anything to just feel normal and healthy INSIDE, the physicality of your outside appearance is utterly meaningless.
I remember my boyfriend kissing my forehead after I hadn’t showered in 3 days in the hospital (I can imagine I smelled like an antique store smh) and just thinking of how lucky I was to even be standing there. I could not have given a single shit if I looked a mess, etc. Things could have been way worse (they weren’t), I could have taken longer to recover (I didn’t) and I had the best, most supportive people around me. My boyfriend amazed me in ways I didn’t even expect and my good friend and trainer paid $60 in parking to drive me to the hospital and stayed with me through tests. So many blessings despite such a weird, unexpected, horrible event.
Anyway, that aside! I’ve been waking up super early the past few days, getting in workouts or walks, co-working at WeWork with a few friends and have never felt better mentally or physically (slowly but surely). I think this year is going to be really good. Good things coming! I can’t wait to share it all with you. From fun partnerships to hopefully more travel, I feel good stuff always comes after the bad.. So here’s to a solid year ahead.
On a lighter note, I want to share so much goodness here that I’ve previously shared on my Instagram in the last few weeks… I’ve done a few partnerships (that I’m still obsessing over their products) and dined out at my usual go-to spots. And I started working with my friend Lauren (photographer in Chicago) who is just SUCH a light. So happy she found me!
Products I’m loving lately:
Coconut Peanut Butter Perfect Bars – I mean, hello, DIVINE! I actually had one of these for breakfast every day I was in the hospital and usually have ⅓ blended in my morning coffee for the best Peanut Butter Cold Brew concoction you will ever try. You can find them at Whole Foods or on Amazon.
Lesser Evil Foods Popcorn – I first fell in love with this brand in college when I first started my blog and then got super sick of popcorn but because Dustin is obsessed with it… naturally it grew on me again. Lesser Evil makes “paleo puffs” which are essentially paleo cheetos. Amazing, I know. I would recommend getting the sampler box of their popcorn to try all the flavors but the no cheese cheesiness is by far the best and I don’t even like cheese popcorn.
Ippodo Tea Matcha – Two weeks ago I randomly stopped wanting coffee (as I was going to Dunkin’ every morning) and started making hot matcha lattes in my Vitaminx. I now crave it every morning, especially on my way to a morning workout. I’ve used Ippodo in the past and in my opinion they are the highest quality I’ve tasted. And avail online, in New York (they have a store!) and on the ‘zon.
Mush Overnight Oats – A company based out of Chicago (yaaasss!) that I am literally, actually, honestly (all of the words I use too much but need to for this) LOVE them. Essentially they are mini overnight oat packages with little spoons under the lid. They come in a few different flavors but the coconut and cold brew AND vanilla bean are my personal favorite. I love having them with greek yogurt, peanut butter and banana. Love love love! Sold at Plum Market in Chicago.
Ned’s 1500mg Hemp Oil – Truthfully, I’ve been using THC in addition to Ned recently to help my sleep and stress levels but I will never not be using Ned (especially in the day time before working or after a workout). They make a THC-free hemp oil (cbd) in 300mg, 700mg, and 1500mg. I find that a full dropper of the 1500mg (about 50mg of cbd) works best for me personally and I take it up to 3x a day, daily. You can use the code “CHICKPEA15” for a discount. I’ve been using their products since November 2018 and will support them always!
Four Sigmatic Adaptogens and Blends – I’ve been using Four Sigmatic’s beverage mixes and adaptogens for the last two-three years and LOVE their stuff, especially the Mushroom Hot Cacao (tastes like the best, less sweet hot cocoa ever) and Reishi Elixir (add this to coconut milk and cbd for the best latte that will help you sleep at night… trust me). They’re having their 50% off Winter sale for the next 3 days and you need to stock up! Use code “CHICKPEA” for 10% off additionally (this code is endless but the sale only lasts to the weekend).
Restaurants and Cafés I’m into…
Eleven City Diner – South Loop. The turkey avocado club with bacon added on rye w is my new favorite thing and something about those fries… wow. I also love coming here for weekend brunch and getting their bagels with the chive cream cheese. I’d advise coming on a weekend past 1pm so it isn’t slammed.
Chicago Q – Gold Coast. I went here with Dustin on his birthday last year, had their carrot cake which was the size of a small child and I will never forget it. I get their flight (on the menu for dinner) which is pulled pork, pulled chicken and brisket. Comes with THE best fries (in my opinion) and tons of sauces. Items to also try: fried alligator, hush puppies and burnt ends… and the kale coleslaw is unlike any other slaw.
Herb & Alchemy – Lincoln Park. You guuuuys. Hands down THE BEST MATCHA of my year slash in Chicago. I found this place through my friend, Steph, and then went on a work date there last week. I was wary because every single matcha I’ve tried in Chicago is always way too sweet (usually because of the nut milk used) but Herb & Alchemy uses nothing artificial, no refined sugars and MALK Organic almond milk. Their matcha is pre-made and sweetened with date syrup but is barely sweet.. It’s unreal. Must. get!
NoMad Chicago – River North. A cute and very photogenic cafe, retail space and event space… it’s like half Anthropologie, half café, half co-working spot. A lot of pink. They’ve got matcha and oatly (if you love oatly) and a few seating options. Super trendy!
Other spots I went to that I love love love are Mini Mott and Galit. I went to Galit for my birthday with Dustin and ordered two orders of pita, the brisket hummus, the steak with brussels and potatoes (heaven on Earth) and their potatoes. That is hands down my favorite restaurant in Chicago (and the best hummus I’ve had in Chicago, at that). As for Mini Mott, their burger and fries are just.. The best. Also, both of these restaurants are in my post “Chickpea in The City’s Guide to Chicago: My Absolute Favorites”.
Now when I was sick, my brother ended up traveling here 3 days later and helping me with EVERYTHING. From getting my groceries to cooking me every meal. He did it all and I can’t even fathom it every time I think of it but he made some KILLER recipes I need to make again, stat. Including…
Ambitious Kitchen’s Orange Gingerbread Swirl Loaf. Monique never lets me down and this was actually the best thing. I loved that it had molasses (did you know molasses has tons of iron?) and it wasn’t too sweet. The glaze was incredible.
Broma Bakery’s Best Bolognese. We made this with Dustin the last night my brother stayed with me and threw it over Rao’s noodles. Added parm. Made me love pasta, marinara and meat sauce more than I thought I could.
Bon Appetit’s Beet and Ricotta Hummus. I wish I still had a photo of this because Jack (my brother) made it look exactly like the photo. He is a die-hard Bon Appetit fan and makes their recipes nightly. I loved how simple this was and the ricotta easily could have been subbed for a dairy-free alternative or just none in general.
Lastly, to end this post and my 2nd edition of The Little (Chickpea) Things, I’m sharing a few brands I’ve been trying out lately that I’m really into that don’t apply to food 😉
Recent favorite brands:
Everlane – I got hooked on Everlane last year but I just really love all of their basics. I find I need to size up in pretty much all of their shirts/sweaters but their Oversized Alpaca Sweater is simply the best and their new Perform leggings are similar to Lululemon’s compression style leggings for half the price. Only $58 for sustainably made, high quality leggings? I’ll take it!
Nuuly – My friend Sammy got me to try Nuuly at the end of January and I am hooked! Think of it like a clothing rental service from boho brands, specifically. They carry styles from my favorites like Anthropologie and Free People and the key is you get to “rent” 6 items per month for less than $100. I love this for people who travel a ton, you want to mix up your outfits at work or you’re like me and you’re constantly shooting new content and don’t want to spend $130 on one sweater you’ll wear once. Use my code here for $10 off your first month.
Lark Skin Co. – A new natural skincare brand I’ve been LOVING. Their coloring/branding is everything but all of their products are tailored to sensitive skin, use simple/clean ingredients and so far I’m loving everything – including their custom facial oil that is customized for specific needs (for me, it’s hormonal acne). Also loving the green coffee and avocado under eye roller.
That’s all I’ve got for now but I’m looking forward to the next few weeks and sharing more with you bbs (babies) soon. I’m unbelievably excited for Valentine’s Day just because I love nothing more than giving people gifts so having another excuse to do so makes me so happy. And we’re going to a new italian restaurant in Lincoln Park (new to me) which I’ll share post-feasting. Oh and I bought this beauty of a 6-drawer dresser today for my new room and cannot get over it. It’s the little (or big, expensive West Elm) things that really excite me, you know?
P.s. A lot of these product links are affiliates which that means if you purchase the product, I make a small percentage. This helps support my blog, my business and overall Chickpea. I only share the things I truly love and want YOU guys to get because they’re just.. The best.
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Happy almost Friday, love you! Thank you for reading, always.