My Non-Predictable Life in 2022

There is something comforting about predictability. 

I can wake up each morning with the predictable morning routine of making my bed. I can order my favorite Starbucks drink and be confident in predicting it will taste the same whether I am in Chicago, Barrington or even out of state. I can make my weekly staple dinner knowing before I take a bite, what it will taste like. Ordinary predictable living is quite typically the norm for most.  And I do say that in judge-free good way as I am in that majority! It does help bring a clarified understanding of order and ease to daily living. Personally, I find predictability brings me more peace and satisfaction than the potential chaos of the unknown. While I am a strong social extrovert, "spontaneous adventurer" has never been words to describe my personality which is why predictable is quite easy for me to sustain for weeks, months and years later.  

So, how is it that my comfortable predictable ways started to become dissatisfying?

It wasn’t until I was well into my 30’s that I really started to travel outside of IL. I wasn’t born into a family of lifestyle travelers and thus, I never felt like I was missing out on the experiences that came with traveling. Took becoming an adult to see the value of using my income for a plane ticket over house accessories or a new wardrobe.  Took traveling to learn how ordinary days are still great days to come home to, but some of life’s most remarkable days are found getting lost in another city or country.

While in Cabo

I just recently returned from a week in Cabo, Mexico and I think that is what stirred up my desire to live this year with a little less predictability and dare I say more adventure. It was a trip that was nothing close to my generally predictable days as each moment seem to be its own adventure.

While in Cabo, I enjoyed some incredible “new” dinner dishes at some unique restaurants – one such restaurant designed their space around an outdoor rain forest setting. The large trees and natural environment paired so beautiful with each entrée.   And so, while gauche is for me a must order off any Mexican menu, this night I put it aside to try something new and every bite was worth the change-up.

In traveling to Cabo this week, I met new people. I spent part of a lunch chatting with a Cabo local and another day we spent an entire day on the most beautiful boat with a crew of 5 … you can only imagine the stories shared and the memories that were created. And so, what I noticed within those moments is that while my inner circle of friends sustains me on a regular basis there is a rich gift and a good memory that comes in sharing some of your time with a stranger.

While in Cabo, I heard live music in a foreign language. It was fun and enjoyable to listen to even thou I had no idea what words were being communicated. It was something other than my American playlists and it was enjoyable to listen to. And so, what I found in that experience was while I enjoy my kind of music, I could come to appreciate music even more if I would be willing to listen to a variety of musical talent. 

This trip to Cabo was extra-amazing and perhaps it was because I wasn’t in the chill of Chicago or perhaps it was that I took a break from predictable living.  All I know is that I really want this trip to be more than just the memory of a week away. I want to carry it with me into 2022.  While I’m not so big on new year’s goals, I can take my Cabo experience and create a little more day in and day out adventure to year 2022. 

My 2022 non predictable life will include….

Making one new dinner dish a week. I’ll share this on the blog this year. I’m starting this week with Julia Childs Coq Au Vin (Yep, for all those Emily in Paris fans … you know all about this dish) 😉 Trying new food adds flavor to your kitchen and life.

Traveling to new places. While I love weekends at my place in Chicago, I know Chicago and have experienced a lot of what it has to offer. I want to discover what weekends away look like in new places in 2022. I’m sure my girlfriend and travel expert Andrea will cover me on this one.

Stopping already with the over played play list. While driving, I will listen less to my killer but predictable play lists (yes, I know the order the songs are played) and listen more to audio books or the radio because there is a great surprise that comes from hearing a new song for the first time. Right???

Being more intentionally inclusive. Sometimes I find it hard to bring in a new friend to an established circle of friends, but I will toss aside any potential awkwardness to welcome new people into any of my circles because every friend was once a stranger.

Ordering something new at Starbucks – Ok, I’ll try a new winter drink even though my venti skim hot chocolate lite whip is so satisfying on a blister cold day.

Skipping bed making …. Yeah, no I don’t think so!

I hope this blog post inspires you to continue to enjoy what you know, while also creating some extraordinary moments that come from trying something new. 

Happy 2022!

The Gift of Music

As the holiday shopping season reaches the 10-day countdown, I’m sharing one of my favorite all time gift ideas with you. Not only is this a fun and unique gift that represents the giver, it is absolutely FREE and you don’t even need to leave your house to go purchase it. Now, before I share this gift idea, I want to tell you a little something about me.

Since the start of time (well ok more like the point in time I can remember my youth), I have always had a love for music. I had a great collection of what were known back in the day as cassette tapes. It was quite an array as I often ended up receiving 70’s music along side my requested music choice of Michael Jackson or Van Halen. My mom naturally thought I would certainly like the music that she listens to, because we all know how much kids listen to their mom’s music. Well, it turned out Barry Manilow and the Bee Gees were pretty bad ass after all! I would spend so much of my youth listening to music on my boom box or that really cool Walkman with those ever so soft headphones speakers that touched up to my ears as I wrap over my head that hip headpiece while making my way around the town.

My love of music carried over into playing the piano, it carried over into some good but mostly not so good attempts at vocal lessons, and eventually also into dance. As an adult it still is a strong heartbeat to most my days. From concerts, to long car rides to gym workouts and just about every meal spent cooking at our kitchen, I have music going in my ear quite a lot. Now it’s not the same Walkman anymore but rather is is with the cool sophistication that time has brought to us, as we can now listen to our music anytime, anywhere on the magical device called a cellphone. I can grocery shop to my own playlist of music by slipping those little air buds into my ear. Which takes me back now to this holiday gift idea for you!

Have you ever considered the magic of music?  Music truly has this magic ability to relive a moment in time. Music can pick you up in a down year like Covid. So, what better FREE gift to give to someone you care about this holiday season, then to create for them a playlist. A playlist is unique because it is a direct reflection of the music that has filled up many days within your one life. A personal playlist is so easy to make. 

Recipe for Creating a Music Playlist

When putting together a playlist I suggest the following tips ….

Country Music Hall of Fame, Nashville TN

Country Music

Back four years ago, my husband and I celebrated our anniversary in Nashville. I entered that city as a total rookie to the country music industry, yet somehow Nashville has this way of converting everyone into a country music fan. As my weekend in Nashville came to an end, my days of listening to country music just came to a start. 

My gift I share with you today is my most overplayed Country Music Playlist I created. This playlist brings on every possible emotion one could know – but most of all it brings a smile to my face every.single.time - and I hope now to yours as well . Enjoy!

Country Music Fav

Sunrise, Sunburn, Sunset – Luke Bryan

Doin’ What She Likes – Blake Shelton

Loving Arms – The Chicks

I Don’t Know About You  - Chris Lane

I Fall to Pieces – Patsy Cline

Just to See you Smile – Tim McGraw

Take Your Time – Sam Hunt

Beer Can’t Fix – Thomas Rhett

Without You – Luke Combs

What if I Never Get Over You – Lady A

Girl Crush – Little Big Town

What Ifs – Kane Brown

Your Gonna Miss This – Trace Adkins

Beautiful World- Kenny Chesney 

Best Concert I EVER attended - Thomas Rhett at The United Center in Chicago, September 2019

Fall Favorites for the Entertaining Kitchen

From apple orchards to harvest squash to thanksgiving dinner, the fall season is a special time in the kitchen. On today's blog I am sharing some of my fall favorites in both my home kitchen and One Life's kitchen.

Favorite Kitchen Collection

What can I say about that has not been said before?!?! Love everything about the look of classic beautiful kitchenware. Mackenzie Child Courtly Collection just makes the table dinner all the more elegant. These pots are good for cooking and absolutely perfect for serving-up right at the table. The extra win ... couple less platters you have to clean up.

Favorite Recipe Source is our go to for delicious recipes. Tieghan Gerald is a MUST follow on social media! Every recipe that our kitchen has made from Half Baked Harvest has been so delicious. In addition to finding delicious recipes on both her instagram and her cooking blog, Tieghan has a couple delicious cookbooks (which you can purchase on her site) that would make for a nice addition to your cookbook collection or even a perfect gift for that food lover in your life.

Favorite Centerpieces

OK, I am a firm believer in candles and centerpieces to enhance the dinner table. While I enjoy purchasing fresh flowers for the table, the only small problem is flowers don't last for long. I found one way to preserve a table centerpiece for an entire season is to buy dry flowers. This awesome fall arrangement from I never seem to leave Heinens without picking up some kind of floral. Just wait till you go in there and see their holiday dry and fresh arrangements...OMG!!!

Favorite Fall Harvest Table Setting

Get This Table Setting Look - I really enjoy decorating the table for dinner parties. Nothing like watching the reaction of our guests when they see the table dressed so beautiful before them. I think the table accessories are like the jewelry to a cocktail dress or the pocket square to guys jacket. A little something extra is always necessary for the Thanksgiving table. I'm sharing some tablescape ideas from a recent friendsgiving event we put together at One Life Kitchen.

The farm to table wooden chargers, as well as all the glassware, utensils and the "must have" white plates are all from When it comes to cooking supplies or accessorizing your kitchen, World Market has everything you need to make your kitchen the heart of your home.

Favorite Greeting Cards

As a guest, it is always a nice gesture of etiquette to send a thank you note after attending a dinner party. While a thank you text or email gets the job done, there really is nothing that compares with the handwritten thank you note. Something sweet about unexpectedly receiving a card in the mail amongst all those bills and junk mail. My favorite go to stationary cards are