Friendsgiving at our apartment 2013

Friendsgiving dinner at our new apartment – 2013. New tradition has been born!

Friday, November 22 2013. This is the date the first Friendsgiving was experienced by me. This was also the first “real” Thanksgiving dinner I ever had. The true American way.

Check out how Polish people spend their Thanksgiving (aka my parents and I, recap 2012) and while we try to do it at least kind of Thanksgiving, we are Polish and we did not grow up with this holiday so it is new to our repertoire even though I have lived in the US for 10 years now.

So Friday is a short day at the office and we only work until 3pm. It was a nice and relaxing day, I got a lot of stuff done and was just relaxed by the end of the day awaiting the time to go to the grocery store to get some ingredients for the two things I volunteered to make: cranberry sauce and cookies.

I arrived at home around the same time that Meredith and Jane came with their groceries and Meredith started on preparing the chicken right away since it would have to roast for 3 hours or so. Oh yeah, we decided to do chicken instead of turkey because it’s smaller and cheaper. No one (I can but it’s okay) can tell the difference anyway. Both are good and similar.

Then I went ahead to make the cranberry sauce so we didn’t have to worry about it later. It was SO good and I cannot wait to share the recipe with you guys on Wednesday. You will love it. Everyone enjoyed it and I was especially satisfied because it contained no sugar and was still sweet enough to be great.

Homemade Healthy Orange Cranberry Sauce Recipe (vegan, no sugar added)

We were all starving at 5pm but we had to wait till 8pm to start eating when most of the food was all prepared.

Photography by Kamila Gornia

Jane was making cornbread stuffing. Doesn’t she look so cute cooking?

Photography by Kamila GorniaMeredith was preparing the batter for her brownies so we could put them in when the chicken was done roasting. We put several other things in the oven too around the time the chicken was almost done.

Photography by Kamila GorniaJenni and her boyfriend brought a lovely salad with homemade dressing and green bean casserole. I’ve never tried the casserole before and it was really good. Everyone kept being surprised at how many Thanksgiving staples I haven’t tried before, haha.

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Inspiration & Perspiration Workshop in Chicago ’13 with Sweaty Betties

Oh. My. God…

I never knew how one weekend could transform a person so much. I am a ball of emotion still and I am still processing everything that has happened. I came in unsure of how it will look like and relaxed but certainly not thinking it would change my life. I came out… transformed. Inspired. Amazed. Full of emotions I never knew I could feel.

But I’ll start from the beginning and try to give you the best recap I could :)

Inspiration & Perspiration Chicago 2013 Sweaty Betties


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Healthy Living Summit in Twin Cities, MN

Hey everyone! I finally made it back home from my extended weekend in Minnesota! As promised, I have a full recap for you of my time there – starting with the very reason for going aka Healthy Living Summit 2013!

healthy living summit reviewhealthy living summit review

My mom had a symposium in Bloomington, MN that Monday after my summit so it was perfect timing. I convinced my parents that they needed a vacation too so we ended up all driving there together and stayed at the hotel together. It was a win-win! ;)

The drive was long. 6 hours on the highway coming from northwest suburbs of Chicago to downtown Minneapolis. I slept some of the way there thankfully and we did not hit any traffic on the way there so we managed to get in right on time.

healthy living summit review┬áHere’s the view from our hotel window. It’s only the 5th floor (out of like 25) in the Hilton but it was a gorgeous view anyway. I couldn’t help but notice how familiar Minneapolis felt. It was like mini Chicago except cuter and cleaner.

Minneapolis Minneapolis

I checked out some mini demos upon registering and picking up my swag bag. Then it was time to get ready for a fit-mingle which consisted of dinner and cocktail party.

Photography by Kamila Gornia Photography by Kamila Gornia

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The calming properties of nature

As I mentioned in my previous post recapping my trip to Southern California, it was my first time seeing the ocean. It was a beautiful sight and something I did not expect to have such a calming effect on me. Yes, I know pictures of beaches, ocean, and the hum of waves are profoundly calming on a person, but I didn’t actually see it in action until that Friday afternoon in Carlsbad, CA.

The ocean is so big, it was almost impossible to grasp. I couldn’t help comparing it to Lake Michigan, which is also very very big, but nothing like this Pacific beach.

I wanted to remember my time here. I wanted a souvenir. I saw a bundle of rocks and I picked one up that seemed to be the right size and shape for me. I don’t know why I picked that particular one but I did and I took it with me.


The rock has a very smooth surface and it is oval shaped. It’s very pleasant to the touch. Touching and moving it around in my hand gave me a peaceful feeling and I knew this was the perfect souvenir for me. It’s crazy how a simple object like that can also have an effect on us. It’s just a simple piece of rock!

But this particular rock has history. It came from somewhere. It has been washed up and over by the ocean waves, again and again. The waves created this texture and surface naturally. The shape was created by itself. The direct contact with nature and the sun and the ocean is what gave this simple rock so much positive calming energy.

I wasn’t the only one who thought the rock was special. I showed it to my mom when I came back and as soon as she touched it she said “Oh wow, it is so calming…” and she closed her eyes. I knew it then! This rock is special and I will take care of it.

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