I did it! Taste of Chicago 2014

Two months ago I was given the assignment to plan the Taste of Chicago for Mariano’s from start to finish, while still being a full time Merchandising Manager opening Ravenswood and then a full time Assistant Manager opening Bucktown.  Looking back, it was a lot; but honestly there wasn’t anytime to doubt myself or question if I could do it.

I’ve always had the motto, crush or be crushed.  I really believe having a can-do, I can do or learn anything attitude is the key to success.  And although I had a couple of close call, nearly panic attack moments, I still managed to nearly sell more watermelon slices in one day (11,000 Sunday) then Dominick’s did in their 5 days total last year (12,000).

It was grueling- 14 days on (a few of them 15,17 hour days), 20 miles alone walked on the last day, cutting bins of watermelons like a machine with a machete, torrential down pours on Saturday while unloading trucks with lift gates and pallet jacks- but I managed. I was proud that our chocolate dipped frozen bananas and Italian sausage sandwiches were named best new menu items at the taste by Time Out Chicago and I even managed to make a cameo on ABC7 news

But the best feeling was being open for business the first day and just knowing I did it.  And no one held my hand and I didn’t completely lose it and I really did it all by myself (with the help of some really great mentors, friends and resources).  It has been hands down my greatest accomplishment to date and I just have a great sense of pride for myself, my work and what I’m capable of accomplishing.  


This is from a couple weeks ago… 57kg snatch PR.  I have become more and more confident in the snatch this cycle, missing very few heavy lifts.  I’ve focused on making sure my hips and shoulders rise at the same rate in the first pull which has made a big difference in my lifting.



A ship in port is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.

Sometimes People See Something in You You Don’t See in Yourself

Welcome, Prince,’ said Aslan. ‘Do you feel yourself sufficient to take up the Kingship of Narnia?’

I don’t think I do, Sir,’ said Caspian. ‘I am only a kid.’

Good,’ said Aslan. ‘If you had felt yourself sufficient, it would have been proof that you were not.

C.S. Lewis

Everyone keeps asking me what I want and what I want to do and what I want to be.  What if I don’t want anything and I’m happy doing whatever is asked of me? 


Lifting and dogs! My two favorite things! ☺️

Lifting and dogs! My two favorite things! ☺️


These have been affectionately dubbed as my superwoman glasses.  I wear them to work if I’ve had a rough day prior and they always cheer me up.  
Next week I start another job for Mariano’s. Every time I go to a new store I focus on one thing to improve upon.  I want to continue to work on being patient as a leader.  

Let one guard oneself against irritability in speech;

These have been affectionately dubbed as my superwoman glasses.  I wear them to work if I’ve had a rough day prior and they always cheer me up.  

Next week I start another job for Mariano’s. Every time I go to a new store I focus on one thing to improve upon.  I want to continue to work on being patient as a leader.  

Let one guard oneself against irritability in speech;


And most of all, stop worrying about your happiness. Happiness does not come from a job. It comes from knowing what you truly value, and behaving in a way that’s consistent with those beliefs.
Mike Rowe, Dirty Jobs

If by renouncing a lesser happiness
one may realize a greater happiness,
let the wise one renounce the lesser,
having regard for the greater.

—The Buddha—

Just because it isn’t what you expected doesn’t mean it can’t be more than what you wanted. #perspective #attitude


Weightlifting is just like anything else that we want to be successful at. We just have to keep working on it.
Coach Mark…105kg front squat PR last night!

This… so hard.  Sometimes, even if you’re feeling the tiny-ist bit unsteady and unsure, you just see the right thing at the right moment and you know you’re on the right path and you’re going to make it.  And not only make it, but crush it.

This… so hard.  Sometimes, even if you’re feeling the tiny-ist bit unsteady and unsure, you just see the right thing at the right moment and you know you’re on the right path and you’re going to make it.  And not only make it, but crush it.


This is to be done by one skilled in aims who wants to break through to the state of peace: Be capable, upright, & straightforward, easy to instruct, gentle, & not conceited, content & easy to support, with few duties, living lightly, with peaceful faculties, masterful, modest, & no greed for supporters. Do not do the slightest thing that the wise would later censure.
The Buddha

As I run around Chicago for my brother’s wedding in my first “more than one day off in a week” week since Mariano’s Ravenswood opened exactly a month ago, I can’t believe how unbelievably happy I am with my decision to move down to Chicago. A year ago I was seriously unhappy in Milwaukee with my job. It took a lot more courage than I realized to leave my friends, gym, all the comfort I had known and relied on in Milwaukee. But when I made the decision it was full steam ahead. Know that saying, “don’t look back for you are not going that way”. Dead on. I had no friends a year ago in Chicago. No gym. My first couple weeks of my job no one knew I was coming, I had no direction and the store director hated me because I was on his payroll but in training. But there’s something about Chicago that makes you a little gritty and willing to get your hands dirty, work and prove yourself. So now as I’m walking around downtown with an excited gait
And gigantic smile on my face I’m reminded that I make my own happiness and that I deserve it.  I’m proud to work for Mariano’s.  I love my merchandise manager, dietician and som friends. I love lifting at Sayre Park, Bucktown and Division Street. I’m thankful for my weight lifting teammates and friends. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

As I run around Chicago for my brother’s wedding in my first “more than one day off in a week” week since Mariano’s Ravenswood opened exactly a month ago, I can’t believe how unbelievably happy I am with my decision to move down to Chicago. A year ago I was seriously unhappy in Milwaukee with my job. It took a lot more courage than I realized to leave my friends, gym, all the comfort I had known and relied on in Milwaukee. But when I made the decision it was full steam ahead. Know that saying, “don’t look back for you are not going that way”. Dead on. I had no friends a year ago in Chicago. No gym. My first couple weeks of my job no one knew I was coming, I had no direction and the store director hated me because I was on his payroll but in training. But there’s something about Chicago that makes you a little gritty and willing to get your hands dirty, work and prove yourself.

So now as I’m walking around downtown with an excited gait
And gigantic smile on my face I’m reminded that I make my own happiness and that I deserve it. I’m proud to work for Mariano’s. I love my merchandise manager, dietician and som friends. I love lifting at Sayre Park, Bucktown and Division Street. I’m thankful for my weight lifting teammates and friends. I wouldn’t have it any other way.


Love my job. Every single day.

Love my job. Every single day.


Athletic Things I Freaking Love

Heavy jerks. Lighting up jump serves. Heavy sled pushes. Sprinting. Power cleans. Power snatches. Peppering. Plyo boxes. Farmer carries. Chasing down fly balls, shanked passes and Hail Mary touchdown passes. Lifting from the blocks. Speed ladders. Strict pull ups. Heavy pulls. Batting practice. Find things that you love and then do them !