Happy Sixth Anniversary, Chicago

So I realize (and feel bad about) the fact that I haven’t posted in awhile. Okay, it feels like forever. And to say we were busy is an understatement. Ellie is now 13 months (what?!?), we had a great birthday party for her at Historic Wagner Farm in Glenview, we had her Christening a few weeks ago, and I chopped off my hair (12 inches; fourth time donating it).

You may wonder, what is more exciting than all of these things? Well, not much, but because I am the Second City Gal, it only feels appropriate that I share that today is my anniversary of living in Chicago. Nate and I moved into a tiny apartment in the Fulton Market/West Loop area six years ago.

Before that, I was living in the burbs while commuting to Lincolnshire for work, and visited Nate in Milwaukee while he attended law school. In 2010, after I landed my first job in the city, we decided to take the leap and move in together. The rest is history.

When an old post showed up in my Facebook feed, it took me back to that fateful day six years ago, and reminded me how much my life has changed. I’ve changed jobs, relationship statuses, became a mom to George, became a job to Ellie, and so much more in between.

And all along the way, the city has been the backdrop of my story. When I first moved here, I didn’t know how to get around at all–I got lost in the Loop. With my iPhone. Now, I love walking around, going to my favorite restaurants, the ease (and disgust) of the Blue Line, saying “hi” to friendly faces…like Frank Sinatra says, “it’s my kind of town.”

Our lease is up on our current apartment next month, and we debated the big question: city or suburbs? We are in the burbs just about every weekend visiting family…so does it make sense to just bite the bullet and move there? The answer for us, right now, was no. I’m not ready to sacrifice less time with my baby during the week and the convenience of the city. Not yet. 

So, whether you like it or not, Chicago, you have me for another year. Let’s make it one that we’ll never forget. XO



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5 Lessons from My Dad for Father’s Day

I’m pretty blessed to have a lot of amazing dads in my life. I know everyone isn’t as lucky, and I don’t take it for granted.

For this Father’s Day, I thought it would be nice to share some lessons from my Dad. He’s always been a good teacher and wants to give advice. So, here are just five of the many lessons from my Dad (in no particular order).

1. Put family first. My Dad’s family life as a kid was less than ideal, and he made sure that when he was a father, he would be an active part of our lives. We were fortunate because my Dad worked mostly from home growing up, and my Mom was a full-time mom, so we were together all of the time. My Dad was my soccer coach, went to my holiday concerts, and was there for dinner every day. 

2. Education is important. My Dad always pushed us to do our best academically and to take advantage of all our extra-curricular activities. I liked school from a young age; we used to “play” with my sister (she would make my younger brother and I do her homework!). But working hard had its benefits. I had a 4.0 GPA all of high school, and enjoyed things like choir, cheerleading, year book, class council, and more during high school, and my siblings were just as motivated. I wouldn’t be where I am now without the academic support and motivation of both of my parents.

3. Travel. My family is big into travel, and we’ve experienced a lot of vacations together. Skiing, going to Disney World, cruising the Virgin Islands, driving the road to Hana in Maui, sailing in Mexico–my Dad instilled the importance of traveling, seeing the world, and learning about different cultures. I’ve been bitten with the travel bug and it’s in my veins. It’s not a coincidence that I work for a study abroad non-profit now! 

4. Work hard. My Dad has literally made a life for us out of nothing, and showed me that I can do the same. In conjunction with #2, I knew I didn’t just have to be good in school, but also get a lot of work experience. For example, my senior year in college, I did all of my class work, was the co-editor and a writer for the Latino newsletter, was a writer for the school newspaper’s magazine insert, and designed page layouts for the newspaper, too. It wasn’t always easy, but I knew if I wanted to be a journalist, I needed the experience. I still have this same work ethic, and I’m grateful for that.

5. Follow your heart. When it comes to love, my parents have a pretty amazing story of how they met at 15 years old, and have been married for 40+ years. They’ve been a great example of what true love is, and have urged us to find the same. When I fell for Nate at the end of freshman year at U of I, I knew he was special. The more I knew him and spent time with him and his family, the more I wanted us to be together. Thirteen years later, I still feel the same way, and love him more now than I could have before.

Nate is going to be a dad again (don’t forget Georgie!) very soon. I’m due with our first baby in five days (ah!), and look forward to sharing this advice with our child. What a journey it’ll be, and I’m so excited to share it with my Dad, Nate, and all of you.

Happy Father’s Day to all of the dads! Know that you are special and loved! XO

10 Years Later: Remembering Graduation

I’m about to date myself here, friends. On this day 10 years ago, I graduated from the University of Illinois. (Well, I’m almost positive it was this day, ha.) Can you believe it?

I was so young and unsure of what the future would bring. I was going to New York to interview for a job at a magazine. (I think fate stepped in because I really wanted to be with a certain someone–call me a romantic…) 

Nate and I had been together for about 2.5 years at that point, and I remember wanting to marry him because I knew for certain that was something I wanted to do. (It would take law school for Nate, a couple of jobs for me, and 6 more years for that to happen, but he’s worth the wait.)
Flash forward and I’m with a good man who is a good husband, and we are about to become parents in a month (if you don’t count our pride and joy, George Barc King). I have a job that I love working with people that I respect, doing work that I know makes a difference in people’s lives. And I have great friends and family to support me and have along the journey every day. 
(You might be thinking–gag me, right?) Don’t get me wrong: it’s not always sunshine and roses. Nate and I have gone through a lot–just within the last year–so feeling at peace is a very new thing. Life is truly a roller coaster, and I think a lot of it is just knowing that everything really will work out. (That doesn’t mean that I don’t still worry because I do all of the time, but that’s just inevitable.) Being pregnant has even been worrisome to me, but as I type, my baby is kicking me. I used to think that would be the creepiest thing in the entire world; now, it’s the most comforting.
It’s crazy to think, too, that I’ve been keeping this blog for 2+ of the past 10 years. It has been such a nice outlet for me, even if I feel like I can always be doing more. I’m hoping that there will be many more new adventures for this soon-to-be Second City Mama, and that you will be with me to share the way. 

Congrats to all of the grads out there. Be proud of your accomplishments and make all of the work worthwhile by doing something meaningful. Xo