The Importance of Being Reese

Movember: The One Important Checkup EVERY Guy Needs to Have

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Movember and the #LennoxMovember campaign, however, all thoughts and opinions are mine alone.  *The names have been changed in this story to respect the privacy of my friend and her family.

Three years ago my former co-worker and friend Sara* buried her husband. They had been married for 16 years and had two beautiful children.

Just let that sink in for one moment.

We often hear about these stories on the internet, or through a friend of a friend, but can you imagine how devastating it is to personally go through that type of loss?

For three years, I've watched Sara struggle to put together the pieces of her shattered life and try to move on. I've watched their children grow up way  too fast. They went from carefree and happy, to heartbroken and way too old for their young years. But that's what loss does. It's steals your youth.

Mark* passed away at the tender age of 43. He had prostate cancer. Mark was, by all accounts, a healthy guy. A year or so before his death, we actually all ran a 5k together. Mark finished about 10 minutes before Sara and I and spent the rest of the evening teasing us about our time. He did Crossfit a few times a week. He was even talking about signing up for a Triathlon. He was seemingly invincible. Until one day he wasn't

And that's the scariest kind of disease. The one that attacks no matter how healthy you are. No matter how many salads you eat or cigarettes you don't smoke.

A few weeks ago I told Sara that I was going to participate in spreading the word about Movember and the importance of men's health awareness. Because she is incredibly brave and self-less, she encouraged me to share Mark's story. And when I asked what kind of advice I should give, she immediately told me how important getting regular checkups are. Especially for men who are over the age of 40.

You see, Mark did everything he was suppose to do, ate everything he was suppose to, but he hated getting his checkups. And maybe there's a tiny possibility that if he had gone to his checkup, he would still be here with us. Maybe he would be here to see his kids graduate from high school. Maybe he would still be here to dance with his daughter at her wedding. And just maybe he would still be here to welcome his first grand baby into this world. We will never know.

This Movember I'm telling you guys how important it is to go to your regular health check-ups. According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation:

" The PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen)test remains an important tool in the diagnostic process. Men over 40 should discuss PSA screening with their physicians to determine if and when PSA screening is right for them, based on health and family history factors, they differ from those of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF)."

Prostate Cancer, like most every other form of cancer, is more easily treatable the earlier it is caught. This means taking the time to go to your regular checkups, and getting your prostate checked could possibly save your life.

Guys, it's important. Do not let shame or embarrassment get in the way of your health.

Want to get involved in the cause?

-Guys, use your mustache to start a conversation about men's health this Movember!

-Simply sign up, grow your 'stache, and raise funds for the cause. Get active with Lennox on
  Facebook On Instagram. For every like, comment, share and RT, Lennox will donate $2 to the  
  cause.  It's a simple as that.

 -Or, you can donate straight to the cause and help Lennox raise money to fund that fight against
  men's depression, prostate cancer and more.

- Finally, throughout the month, Lennox will be posting content on all of their social channels to
  provide information about men’s health issues. So follow along and take notes and share with  
  friends  and loved ones.

If you want to join the fight against preventable and detectable diseases and disorders in men, be sure to follow Lennox on Facebook and Twitter.

 Happy Movember! Be sure to tell a guy you know and love how important his health is this month and, every month!

Until next time,

Bourbon and Maple Glazed Salmon

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I've been cooking lighter meals in anticipation of pigging on all of our favorite Thanksgiving dishes. In my kitchen lighter doesn't mean flavorless, in fact, it typically means just the opposite--flavorful. Though I'm not typically a fan of fish, salmon is an exception. Especially when it has a bold flavor, such as this Bourbon and Maple Glazed Salmon. Not only is it delicious and healthy, but this simple dish packs a powerful punch that will have your taste buds standing at attention.

Though this recipe actually calls for a cup of bourbon and honey, I deviated from my own recipe and decided to give my Bourbon Honey a whirl. I picked it up at a festival in downtown Raleigh a few months ago and have been dying to use it ever since. The company that makes it, Cloister Honey, is based out of Charlotte, and just happened to be in Raleigh for the day. Which is lucky for me because this honey is out of this world! (A special shout-out to their Chipotle Honey which is just as amazing!)

If you're like me, and you already have Bourbon Honey, you can supplement that for the 1/4 cup of bourbon and 2 tbsp of honey. Otherwise, here's what you'll need:


– 1-1.5 lb salmon
– 1/4 cup bourbon
– 1/2 cup brown sugar
– 2 tbsp of honey
– 1/4 cup soy sauce
– 1 Tbsp oil


Rinse your salmon in cool water, pat dry and set aside.

Pour all marinade ingredients into a large bowl and mix well. Add your salmon to the bowl and coat evenly.

Let marinate in the fridge for 1 hour, turning the salmon once halfway through.

When ready to cook, turn the oven to 400 degrees and coat a large clear baking dish with olive oil. Place salmon in baking dish and put into oven.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the salmon.

Serve with a side of veggies or rice.


If you liked this recipe, feel free to pin it for later, retweet it to your friends or share it on facebook! 

Until next time!

Where to Eat, Drink, Sightsee and Sleep in Chicago

Now that I'm finally winding down from two spontaneous back-to-back trips to The Windy City, I wanted to share some highlights from my trips. So if you're heading to Chicago for the first time, listen up close and take notes. Here's where to eat, drink, sight see and sleep when your in Chicago.

The Sights

Cloud Gate a.k.a The Bean

Designed by Anish Kapoor in February 2004, Cloud Gate is made of more than 160 highly polished stainless steel plates. Up close, the highly reflective sculpture captures the beautiful Chicago skyline and give the illusion of a concave mirror. The Cloud Gate Sculpture has become a tourist hot spot and is the perfect place to take your vacation snapshots.

Pretty much the first and only thing I had in mind for my trip(s) to Chicago was The Bean. I made a beeline off the plane the first day, hoping to make it before sunset, but by the time I made it from the airport to downtown, it was already dark. But then reality sank in and I realized that it probably wouldn't be safe to wander around an unknown city, by myself, late at night.

I woke up early the next morning and began my personal sightseeing tour down Magnificent Mile, all the way to The Bean. Quick tip: If you want photos without tons of random people in the background, get there early. Both times, we arrived at The Bean in the wee hours of the morning and were able to take plenty of photos without crowds of people in the background. 

The Bean is even more gorgeous in person, so definitely be sure to add it to your sightseeing itinerary.

The Navy Pier

Originally designed for shipping and recreational purposes, The Chicago Navy Pier was constructed in 1914. During World War I, the Pier became home to several regiments, The Red Cross and Home Defense units. The Stock Market Crash and the Great Depression, caused a massive decline in freight and passenger ship activity, but the pier still managed to keep it doors and docks open to the public. 
Today, The Navy Pier is the largest entertainment and restaurant destinations in Chicago. The Chicago Navy Pier will celebrate it's 100th anniversary in 2016.

I missed out on The Pier on my first trip, so the second time, I made getting to The Navy Pier a priority. Sadly I wasn't able to ride the Ferris Wheel since it was being dissembled, but it was still in a wonderful experience.

I truly had no idea just how large Chicago was until stood on the deck of The Pier and just looked at the Monmouth skyscrapers that just went on for miles. Incredible.

The Chicago Institute of Art

Located in Millennium Park, The Chicago Institute of Art features a collection of art in its permanent collection. It is currently the home of some of the most important contributions to Impressionists and Post-Impressionist artwork including, Claude Monte: Haystacks & Water Lillies, Gustave Caillebotte: Paris Street; Rainy Day, Henri Matisse: Bathers by a River, Vincent van Gogh: Bedroom in Aries & Self-portrait. 

This was another place we unfortunately didn't get the chance to check out, but is still very much worthy of a mention. If you're an art lover, this should be your first destination. I didn't realize how many incredible works were housed in The Chicago Institute of Art until I arrived home and researched it online. There's so much to see that a 3rd trip to Chicago might be in order...

The Willis Tower a.k.a. The Sears Tower

The Willis Tower is a 108-story tower in the heart of Chicago. At its completion in 1973, it was the tallest building in The United States. It held that title for nearly 25 years when it was surpassed by the One World Trade Center building. It is now the second largest building in the United States. More than one million people visit its observation deck each year.

::Ehhh:: I'm just adding it to the list because it's a major travel destination in Chicago, but personally I figure once you've seen one skyscraper, you've seen them all. I'm also not into spending money needlessly, and $20 just to visit the top of The Willis Tower seems a bit excessive.

Boeing Gallery at Millennial Park

To commemorate the 10th anniversary of Jaume Plensa’s Crown Fountain, Plensa presented four new sculptures installed in Millennium Park  for the special exhibition titled 1004 Portraits. The sculptures are portraits of  real girls which he created using cast iron and resin. They continue the story of the original 1000 portraits of local Chicago residents that illuminate the Crown Fountain every day.

Of all the destinations we visited in Chicago, this is surprisingly one of my favorite. There is something that is so peaceful, and yet so hauntingly beautiful about the Boeing Gallery. I'm an artsy person, but never before have I been so affected by a sculpture. This is a must see while in Chicago.

The Foods

You know how every city is famous for a food that they claim is "amazing?" Well Chicago's deep dish pizza and hot dogs are just that--amazing. If I had to only eat one food for the rest of my life, it would be a Philly Cheesesteak and Chicago Deep Dish Pizza hybrid. 


My first trip, I check out Pizano's. This is a family owned restaurant located in the heart of downtown.

What I liked: It was a mom and pop kinda place where all the locals gather. I loved the intimacy of the place and the lack of professional design. There was pretty much no rhyme or reason. Random photos with mismatched frames, and colorful Christmas lights hung on the bar. It was noisy, and crowed, and had very dim lighting, but I loved every bit of it.

What I didn't like: Nothing. I loved everything about this place. Even the fact that it took 30 minutes to make my pizza (which is typically how long it takes to make a deep dish in Chicago, so be prepared to wait). The 30 minute wait gave me plenty of time to wander up and down the block and check out the Chicago night life.


For the next trip, James and I wound up at Giordano's under the recommendation of a true-Chicagoan.

What we liked: The Pizza was amazing. Like ridiculously so. You can also order and ship their Pizza anywhere in the US.

What we didn't like: Giordano's is a chain-restaurant. Which is cool if you're into that sort of thing. We're not. But again, shipable pizza, so that evens everything out.


What we liked: EVERYTHING. This place is fantastic. It's huge, has tons of history and the most delicious hotdogs you will ever eat in your life. It had a real local vibe, like it was the best of Chicago, all under one roof.

What we didn't like: Um nothing. Did you see the part about the delicious hotdogs?


The Hotels

Staying Downtown is a MUST. Let me repeat that, stay downtown when you're visiting Chicago! I know, the hotels can be outrageously expensive depending on when you book, but ultimately, if you're downtown, you're going to save some serious $'s in cab/travel fare. The first time I traveled, I choose wisely. I stayed in The Whitehall Hotel. One of Chicago's oldest hotel, it is located one block away from magnificent mile.

It was fabulous. (Just stay away from the mini bar--$5 for a small Fiji water, no thank you).


The Transportation

While we're on the topic of cabs and travel, let me give you the best piece of advice you'll read in this post. Avoid cabs at all cost. Believe me, it was an expensive mistake I made the first time around, and luckily managed to avoid during the second trip. A very kind woman we met in the hotel lobby hooked us up with two free rides from Lyft and Uber, but even without the free rides, these alternatives are much cheaper in comparison to a cab. To give you an idea, the first time I took the cab from their airport to my hotel downtown. The ride was roughly 25 minutes and cost me $35. The second trip, we took Lyft from the same hotel, to their airport and spent roughly $18, including the tip! Big difference! Take an Uber or Lyft and tip well.

We didn't get to ride the L, but we did get to check out the bus system. Easy to navigate and right on schedule. We purchased an all day pass for $10 per/ticket. Worth it in my opinion if you're planning on using the bus or L frequently.

So this basically sums it up. Chicago is a gorgeous city and I highly recommend adding it yo your travel itinerary. Because Chicago has such a large airport, it's relatively easy to track down an expensive ticket to travel to The Windy City.

Have you ever been to Chicago? What Chicago sights would you add to this list? 

Lantern Festival Giveaway

Lantern Fest Girl

Dis­clo­sure: Blog­gin’ Mamas is host­ing this give­away and I am receiving a 4 pk of tickets myself in exchange for participating in this giveaway. All opinions expressed are my own. Sponsor is responsible for prize fulfillment.

The Lantern Fest is coming to Fayetteville, NC aka Fort Bragg and we've partnered with a group of Bloggin' Mamas in the area to bring you this Family 4-Pack Giveaway!

About The Lantern Fest:

At The Lantern Fest, thousands of revelers join together armed with lanterns for one unforgettable spectacle. There will be music, dancing, s’mores and, when the time is just right, we will light the sky with our highest hopes, deepest regrets, and fondest dreams.

Where & When:

Saturday, November 21st 2015
Fayetteville Motor Speedway, 3407 Doc Bennett Road, Fayetteville, NC, 28306

Event Day Info:

Gates open at 1pm. Lanterns will fly when the sun goes down. Be sure to arrive early enough to park, check-in and find a place to enjoy the event.

Things To Bring With You:

**No glass containers and no outside alcohol will be permitted by the venue A blanket or chairs for sitting A jacket in case you get chilly A smile, because you’re never fully dressed without it Some money or a credit card to buy a snack or drink Your dancing shoes! Oh and one more thing, please try to carpool. The venue may be charging for parking.

Volunteer & Charity:

Angels of America’s Fallen honors ALL of our fallen; those who fell in training, in combat, from illness while serving, and from invisible wounds after their service. We recognize the sacrifice they made, and the sacrifices their families continue to make EVERY day. We believe we have an obligation to help the children of our fallen as they grow up without their parent. It’s an honor to get them involved in positive activities with a coach or instructor who can mentor them.

Saturday Lantern Fest Pricing

With your Lantern Pass, you will receive a wristband granting you entrance to the event, a Lantern, a marker, a lighter, and a s'mores kit (with enough supplies to make 4 s'mores).***NOTE: Kids 3 and under are free, ages 4 to 15 will need to register with a "$5 kids pass", they will receive entrance to the event as well as a small gift *** Adult Tickets vary depending on when you buy them. They are $35pp now, and then starting 11/14/15, they are $40pp. On the day of the event, the tickets go up to $50pp.

Click Here To Get Your Tickets!

And Now For The Giveaway!

Win Lantern Fest Tickets for Fayetteville NC Nov 21st. US 18+. Ends 11-18-15.

One Win­ner will Win a Family 4 pk of Lantern Fest Tickets (ARV $110)! Give­away begins Novem­ber 13th, 2015 at 12:01am EST and ends Novem­ber 18th, 2015 at 11:59 pm EST. Open to US res­i­dents age 18 and older. Win­ner will be selected by and be noti­fied by email. See the Rafflecopter wid­get below for full terms & conditions.

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