25 Things You Don’t Know About Me

Flowers 25 Things final

I knew my first week of work would be all over the place schedule-wise. Like a good blogger, I drafted a few posts to keep in my queue for busy days. This is one of them.

I’ve had a subscription to US Weekly for many years. Perusing celebrity gossip is one of my guilty pleasures. In the summer, nothing sounds better to me than lying on our pool deck with a stack of trashy magazines. One of my favorite features of US Weekly is the “25 Things You Don’t Know About Me” section. Each week a different celebrity shares a variety of random facts about his or herself.

25 Things

I realized that even though you visit this blog, you likely don’t know a whole lot about me. While I’m definitely not a celeb (ha!), below you’ll find some fun facts about what makes me tick, everything from embarrassing childhood admissions to quirky talents. Enjoy!

25 Things Lizzie


1. I love haunted history and try to visited a haunted place in every city I see.

2. I have a talent for painting my own nails – both hands!

3. Before high school dances, my friends made appointments with me (at my house) to have their hair and makeup done. Before one homecoming, I had eight people scheduled starting at 9 a.m.

4. I have a hard time watching movies that were made before 2000. The screen looks too “scratchy” to me. Bobby still hasn’t accepted this.

5. I studied abroad in Vienna, Austria in college and visited six different countries in seven weekends.

6. My hair is naturally curly and frizzy. I have been straightening it for exactly half my life!

7. I have two older brothers; Jeff is 39 and Garrett is 29.

8. My mom is an interior designer. 😉

9. I would probably choose Kraft Mac ‘N Cheese and a Cobb salad as my last meal on earth.

10. I have God awful seasonal allergies and take three prescriptions year round.

11. Bobby and I met at his company while I was working as a temp there during grad school.

12. When asked what kind of car I wanted as a little girl, I would tell my Dad, “a pink corvette filled with skittles.” Go figure.

13. I danced ballet from the time I was four years old until I was a sophomore in high school. I try not to live with regrets, but I wish I’d never quit!

14. I have a serious phobia of spiders. Seriously. Even typing the “s” word makes me sweat.

15. Buffy the Vampire Slayer was my obsession as a kid/tween.

16. I find showers to be a waste of time. I could lie in a hot bath and read every single day.

17. I am very organized, but somewhat messy at the same time.

18. I have a strange talent of being able to whistle at a very high decibel.

19. When I was little, my mom was changing a light bulb and she was unaware that the wire had a short circuit. The spark shocked her hand and she lost two fingernails. There was blood everywhere! Now I am terrified of changing lightbulbs and have only done it once.

20. Even thought I have a Dad, two brothers and a boyfriend who are avid sports fans, I know very little about sports and care about them even less.

21. When I was in middle school, I thought Britney Spears was the most beautiful girl I’d ever seen.

22. I had a pet gerbil named Louis as a kid. Louis was psychotic and you could only pick him up if you wore gardening gloves.

23. I’ve never owned a dog (but I love them!).

24. I was watching horror movies by myself in the dark by the time I was nine. Normal, right?

25. I’ve never had a brain freeze.

I’m tagging Courtney (a fellow sucker for surveys), Chelsey and Claire to play along if you’d like! 

Flowers 25 Things final


Questions for you:

  • What’s a fun fact that few people know about you?
  • Do you follow celebrity gossip?




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Filed under Fun, Q&A, Survey

Meal Prep & Workouts for the Week: Feb. 1-7

Hello Monday!

It’s been a while since this girl was up at the crack of dawn to start her work day. I’ve officially had over six weeks of zero obligations since school ended in December. It has been so stress-free and invigorating to be able to run errands in the middle of the day and sleep as late as I want; however, my down time has also been monotonous and draining. At some point, you run out of things to fill your day, ya know? While I genuinely enjoyed my last stretch of free time for God knows how long, today marks a new chapter: day one at my new job!

I don’t start until noon, so I’m excited to have the morning off to workout, to spend some extra time getting ready (but let’s be real, I picked out my outfit two weeks ago), read blogs and the news, and enjoy a hearty breakfast.

Speaking of news, have you heard about the Chicago blizzard? From the Chicago Tribune website:

Screen Shot 2015-02-01 at 8.27.43 PM

Form the time we woke up, the snow did not stop. The last time I measured at 4 p.m. yesterday, we had over twelve inches! Crazy stuff. There was no way we were braving the elements for the Superbowl, so we stayed home and just simply chilled out in our cozy clothes. It was a lovely little Sunday.

What did you end up doing for Superbowl? Were you homebound because of the snow?

As per usual around here on Mondays, I’m sharing my tentative dinner and fitness plans for the week. I know the first week at my job will be busy and possibly include some later nights, so I made sure to prep enough stuff for both of us to grab in a pinch (read: hangry).


meal prep


Side note about the black bean brownies. I subbed a couple of things and used a blender + mixer instead of a food processor. I must have done a few things wrong, because I thought they were awful! I also couldn’t get passed the fact that I was eating chocolate with black beans. Note to self: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. 😉

black bean brownies


  • SundaySalmon & stir fry veggies
  • Monday: Spaghetti squash with marinara sauce (I made my grandmother’s *infamous* sauce recipe on Saturday, froze a bunch of it, but kept enough in the fridge for this week!)
  • Tuesday: Ground turkey quesadillas
  • Wednesday: Gorgonzola herb baked chicken & roasted broccoli
  • Thursday: leftovers
  • Friday: takeout
  • Saturday: TBD


  • Monday: 40-minute cardio + yoga
  • Tuesday: 40-minute cardio + lower body strength training
  • Wednesday: yoga
  • Thursday: rest/foam rolling
  • Friday: 40-minute cardio + upper body strength training
  • Saturday: 20-minute cardio + yoga
  • Sunday: rest/foam rolling


I’ll leave you with this precious photo of Baxter. All he wanted yesterday were rubs from his dad.

Baxter rubs

Have a great rest of your day!




Filed under meal prep, Workouts for the Week

Favorite Finds Friday {1/30}

Good morning!

As soon as I hit publish on this post, I’m headed out to a dentist appointment (awesome) and some errands. Today started a bit later than usual since Bobby and I were out way past our weeknight bedtime of 9 p.m. We had a reservation at Cafe Ba-Ba- Reeba, one of my favorite restaurants in the city. When I first moved to Chicago, Ba-Ba-Reeba was a go-to for my girlfriends and me since it’s affordable and always delicious. Bobby and I hadn’t officially celebrated my new job, so last night we did just that over a pitcher of white peach sangria and Spanish tapas.

Cafe Baba Reeba Chicago

Spicy potatoes

Spicy potatoes & lamb meatballs (my favorite)


Manchego cheese flatbread


Butterscotch custard & mini banana split for dessert

I could wax poetic all day long about my love for Ba-Ba-Reeba, but it’s time to jump to the real reason you stopped by today, Favorite Finds Friday. If you’re a new reader to The Magic Tree (welcome!), Friday’s post is always a bit random. It’s the place where I share my favorite finds from the past week, including links, pins, articles, recipes, products and anything else that made my week!

  • Madewell booties. I was on the lookout for weeks for the perfect pair of tan booties. Once these babies went on sale last month, I snatched them up and couldn’t be happier. Unfortunately, the exact boot is sold out, but I almost went with these, as they’re very similar.

Madewell Booties

  • I’ve been on a major kale salad kick lately. This one included craisins and parmesan cheese.

Kale salad

  • I love this classy southern gal, and don’t think she’s ever looked better.

Reece Witherspoon


Liked what you saw today? Check out past versions of Favorite Finds Friday:

Have a fantastic weekend, friends! ❤




Filed under Favorite Finds

40-Minute Treadmill Walking for Beginners

Yesterday was one of the best days ever.

Whole Foods opened in our neighborhood! While this may not be news to some, the ‘hood has been void of a major grocery store for over a year now. Chicago is a very walkable town and to have to drive to buy groceries is just a travesty. I’ve been counting down the days until I could spend my whole paycheck on organic chia seeds and $8 cold pressed juices. 😉

Like the strange person that I am, I woke up early to stand in line with 499 of my closest friends.

Whole Foods line

We were all vying to be one of the first 500 people into the store so that we could snag complimentary gift cards. They were handed out at random and ranged in value from $5 to $25, with one lone gift card worth $500. I, of course, was the lucky recipient of a $5 card. Ha! But hey, it was still a fun hour or so spent in line. I made some new friends and tried a number of samples that were passed around.

Whole Foods Samples

Some sort of cookie bar & locally brewed coffee

I also came away with a green juice. A bit too much cayenne for my taste, but I already know I’ll be a frequent visiter to the juice bar. I love a good fresh juice, but absolutely hate to clean my juicer. Who’s with me? Such a pain!

Whole Foods green juice

Also, if you can’t find me, I’ll be here…

Whole Foods Cookie island

Drowning in icing and sprinkles. Most people drink after a stressful day? I eat cookies.

We even went back to Whole Foods for dinner to take advantage of the 50% off hot bar. It was a freaking mad house and I was so overwhelmed that I just shoved random items into my cardboard boxes. Don’t ask me what’s in there. I don’t know.

Whole Foods Hot Bar

Now, to switch gears a bit, let’s talk fitness. When the cold temps sweep into Chicago, I feel the need to take my workouts indoors. You guys already know I’m a big fan of at-home workouts, but I also turn to the treadmill to vary my routine a bit. I’m not much of a runner and never have been. I ran a half-marathon once in college, kind of enjoyed training, but also never felt those runner endorphins people talk about (leading me to think they are a myth!).

I am however, a big fan of power walking. If I set the incline and speed at just the right levels, I see a major calorie burn on my polar watch and really feel my heart pumping. I could never walk at the same speed or incline throughout the duration of a treadmill session. I would die of boredom before I found out if Adnan Syed is guilty! (any Serial fans out there?). Interval training has become integral to my consistency with cardio.

This 40-minute treadmill walking workout is perfect for beginning exercisers or anyone who is looking for a moderate calorie burn. It’s something I turn to at least once a week on the days that I use our building’s gym.

*Please remember that I am not a personal trainer or a doctor and am just sharing what works for my personal fitness level. Always listen to your body and check with a professional before starting any exercise program.

40-minute treadmill walking beginners


Questions for you:

  • What’s your favorite ingredient to put in fresh juice? <– I love carrots for the flavor and color.
  • What’s your go-to form of cardio? <– Spin class for me. I miss Fly Wheel!




Filed under Treadmill Workout

New Job Anxiety

new job anxiety

Last night Bobby brought it to my attention that I haven’t talked a whole lot about my new job on here. I included a few details in a Favorite Finds post a few weeks ago, but other than that, my mentions of it have been sparse. Funny, because all I’ve been thinking about lately is my new 9-5.

Well guess what? Next Monday, I start a job that I’ve been dreaming about for three years! I’ll be a staff therapist for a small private practice that specializes in treating eating disorders.

I didn’t know what an eating disorder was as a kid. Weight was never a topic of conversation in my family, and my mom purposefully kept “fashion” magazines out of our house. She didn’t want me to develop a negative body image, for which I will always be grateful. I danced ballet into my teen years and watched friend after friend go to “dance camp” for the summers. In reality, as I would find out later, they were in rehab for an eating disorder. While I never developed eating issues of my own (thank God), I became passionate as to why someone develops a compulsion about food and what the health consequences can be. In my late teens into early twenties, I read so many memoirs and fiction novels about women with eating disorders. I couldn’t learn enough. I enrolled in graduate school two years ago with the sole goal of working as an eating disorders therapist. At the risk of sounding too trite, I feel like it’s the reason I was put on earth.

There is literally nothing else I would rather be doing with my life. 

Even though I (will be) making a living by listening to others, I have a hard time opening up about myself. Yes, I write a blog that’s about my life, but my primary goal is to inspire others to live a balanced life. I guess my fear in talking too much about my career would take the focus off the “healthy living” genre that is this blog. I thought that emphasizing how happy I am that I’ve found my dream job and how proud I feel would be too “me, me, me!” I figured that expressing my anxieties about starting anew and not being a good enough therapist would seem too negative Nancy. I worried that you come here for overall health inspiration, not details about my working life.

But what am I so afraid of? This is my blog; my corner of the world where I can write about whatever the heck I please. This new chapter in my life is what makes me me. My life is not consumed by health and fitness. I am so much more than that. I vow to be more open with you moving forward, my friends.

If you made it this far, thanks for reading! ❤



Filed under Goals, Social Work

Healthy Superbowl Snacks

There are some seriously mouth watering recipe ideas as you scroll down this post, so I won’t keep you too long. I’ll just give you a quick rundown of my eats lately.

Ye ‘ol standby, overnight oats for breakfast.

Overnight Oats

1/3 cup plain greek yogurt + 1/2 cup almond milk + 1/2 cup oats + 1.5 stevia packets mixed together and kept in the fridge overnight. Topped with 1/2 banana + walnuts + honey in the morning.

White Bean Tomato Soup

Tomato & white bean soup for lunch with an unpictured piece of homemade oat bread.

Skinny Pad Thai

Lightened up pad thai for dinner.

Are you excited for Superbowl? I’m not going to lie to you, I’m just in it for the food and Katy Perry. I actually had to ask Bobby who will be playing this Sunday. I have no clue yet what our plans are, but it will definitely involve some football-themed treats and a good dip or two (I am a sucker for dips).

While brainstorming the menu for this coming Sunday, where do you think I turned? Pinterest, obviously. I am nothing without Pinterest and I’m not afraid to admit it.

Healthy Superbowl Recipes Final


Buffalo Cauliflower Superbowl Snacks

Baked Blooming Onion

Jalapeno Popper Dip

Mini Corn Dog Muffins

Skinny Taco Dip

Cauliflower Bread Sticks

Apple Nachos

Broccoli Tots


Questions for you:

  • What’s the best part of Superbowl for you – the game, the commercials or the halftime show? <– halftime show all the way!
  • What’s your favorite kind of dip? <– I love Mexican dip as long as there are no olives 😉




Filed under Snack Ideas, Superbowl

Still Alice, Meal Prep + Workouts for the Week

Hey hey! Welcome to the last week of January, my friends. I wish I knew where the month went.

Before we kick off your regularly scheduled Monday programming, I must share with you the GNO (girls night out) that was had last night. It started with sangria at a local spot, Emilio’s Tapas, followed by a slew of Spanish small plates.


cheese plate goat cheese hummusAfter dinner, we headed to the movie theater to see Still Alice (a novel that we were assigned to read in grad school). Still Alice, the story of a college professor’s diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer’s, is one of those narratives that comes along every once in a while. A heart wrenching, poignant, true-to-life depiction of how a deteriorating illness can turn a person into a shell of her former self. The story highlights a significant lesson that life is precious and can change with the snap of a finger.

Now how’s that for starting your Monday?

But honestly, it is a fantastic movie and even better book.


Because I am a great procrastinator when it comes to studying for the LSW, I decided to outdo myself with meal prep this week. I always make egg white muffins and some form of chicken for salads, but I added a few more recipes to my arsenal this weekend.

No bake oat balls prep No bake oat balls Tomato white bean soup

Meal Prep Tomato white bean soup pot



Workouts for the Week:

**You can keep up with my fitness now on the new Workout Log!

  • Monday: 20-minute cardio + yoga; foam rolling
  • Tuesday: 40-minute cardio + strength training (lower body)
  • Wednesday: yoga
  • Thursday: rest/foam rolling
  • Friday: 40-minute cardio + strength training (upper body)
  • Saturday: FREE power yoga class @ Nordstrom
  • Sunday: rest/foam rolling


Filed under meal prep, Workouts for the Week

Introducing the Workout Log

Just popping in today with a rare Sunday appearance. For my fellow Chicagoans, I hope you’re still in your PJs (like me) and staying out of the sideways wind and snow.

I’ve been updating the blog this weekend and wanted to direct you to the new Workout Log page. You can follow along while I keep myself accountable to exercise. I’m always striving for that healthy balance and hope to inspire you to do the same.

workout log final

I’ll see you in the morning! Have a great night. ❤


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Filed under Workout

Favorite Finds Friday {1/23}

Happy Friday, my friends! Any plans this weekend? I have nothing too exciting on the docket, just a few errands and more organizing and studying, plus dinner and a movie with some gal pals on Sunday.

But let’s get down to it, the real reason you stopped by today, Favorite Finds Friday. In case you’re a new visitor to The Magic Tree, Friday’s post is my corner of the e-universe where I share allthingthings from the past week that have made me laugh, cry, think, drool or covet. I’d love to hear about your favorite things from the week, so feel free to link away in the comments section.

  • OPI Funny Bunny. My new favorite nude for weekday nails, and the best part? I bought it on eBay, my secret (shhhh!) source for brand new beauty products for a fraction of the price.


  • The Miss Universe pageant that airs this Sunday at 7 p.m. CST. I’m not ashamed to admit that I am obsessed with beauty pageants. I look forward to Miss USA (in June) more than any other TV program all year. Just for fun, I’ll throw it back to September of last year when I competed in Miss Illinois USA.

Gown 1

  • Gigi New York totes are 50%! Did you hear me? 50% OFF! It’s probably my favorite bag I’ve ever owned and they are never discounted this much. Here’s how I styled mine in black (with monogram):


  • This makes me LOL. 

Screen Shot 2015-01-23 at 10.04.41 AM

  • Perfect your salad game.

salad game

  • Wise words.


  • Paddle boarder who wanted to see orcas gets an up-close look. <– Mesmerizing! Fast forward to 1:45. 


Past editions:




Filed under Favorite Finds

5 Favorite At-Home Workouts

Hey hey!

I’m coming at ya at little later than usual this morning. We went to dinner with Bobby’s parents last night and by the time we arrived home I just didn’t have it in me to write today’s post. Actually, I lied…I had no clue what to write about today. I was simply uninspired. I’m trying to bore you less and less with just my daily eats and workouts for the day, and provide you with a little more substance (just a little more – don’t get greedy now).

Then it dawned on me.

Ever since I quit ClassPass, I have been looking for ways to maximize my workouts either in our living room or in the building’s gym. There are so many great online, and not to mention FREE, sources for exercise out there. It’s almost not even worth it to join a gym these days (you didn’t hear it from me!).

But first, let’s rewind a little to yesterday.


I spent the morning working on some blog stuff while chowing down on a bowl of vanilla overnight oats. The usual ingredients went in the mix, including 3/4 cup vanilla greek yogurt + 1/2 cup oats + 1/2 cup almond milk mixed together and left to sit in the fridge overnight.


In the morning, I topped my bowl with a drizzle of honey and walnut pieces.

I had a facial recently and the aesthetician suggested that I add walnuts (great sources of omega-3s) to my daily diet to combat dryness in my skin. Obviously I bought walnuts the next day. I am a sucker for unsolicited beauty advice.

Also, I couldn’t help but show you how much my photography skills are improving. Just look at those colors!

breakfast 2

Not really. I will never be a photographer.

Yesterday was a yoga day, so I spent a few minutes searching Amazon Prime and YouTube for a longer-ish video. My girl Tara Stiles never disappoints, so I went with her 50-minute yoga workout for strength and energy. I’m at the beginner-advanced stage and can never find a video that appeals to my current skill level. This one was perfect. I am a pretty flexible human by nature, but when it comes to any poses related to back flexibility, just forget it.

mat baxie

Recycled photo, but pretty standard procedure for trying to workout in the living room!


Lunch was pretty freaking boring, but I feel obligated to show you a photo anyway.


See, I told you. Sauteed kale + shredded chicken with BBQ sauce + a pear.

We went to dinner at Frankie’s on Michigan Avenue. And because I never want you to actually think that my diet only consists of oatmeal and kale, I must share with you that I had two pieces of pizza and a salad plus pumpkin spiced chocolate chips when I got home.

Balance, people.


Some of the fitness sources that I turn to on a regular basis are detailed below. Let me know if you try any of these!

5 Fave at Home Workouts final



strength training guide

  • 4. Gina, Julie and Courtney’s blogs. All three gals are NASM certified personal trainers and I have been turning to their blogs for inspiration for many, many years.
  • 5. YogaDownload.com. A hidden gem in my opinion. Search by length, level or style to find the perfect yoga series.


Questions for you:

  • Where do you find at-home workout ideas? 
  • If you’re a blogger, do you take photos on your phone or do you own a fancy camera?
  • Are you a fan of overnight oats?



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Filed under At home workout, Inspiration, Motivation, Workout