The SoupBox Awards

by Jenn (eating bender) on October 29, 2009

Thanks for all the sweet comments on the banana bread :) As I mentioned in that post, Nicole is an absolute genius in the kitchen, so be sure to check out her blog for many more fantastic recipes.

It’s no secret that I love soup. During the colder months, I could have oatmeal for breakfast and soup for both lunch and dinner and be content – it’s just that good. It warms me from the inside out during a time of year when I can usually be found layering on the long sleeved shirts and sweaters all day long.

So why the sudden tribute to a bowl of liquid happiness? Turns out, I enjoyed oatmeal for breakfast and soup for lunch AND dinner just yesterday via a blogger dinner with Lo and Val at The SoupBox.


After Lo recommended it as a possible option, I checked out their website and found that the restaurant features 12 gourmet soups made fresh every day – including vegan and gluten-free options. Each soup comes with a generously sized chunk of bread. You don’t have to tell me twice!


Immediately upon entering this cozy little restaurant tucked away on Chicago Avenue near Rush Street, you feel…HOT! Perhaps I’m stating the obvious here, but a soup restaurant is likely one of the “greenest” spots in the city in the winter – no heat required ๐Ÿ˜‰ After perusing all the options – yes, all 12 of them – I ultimately decided on the Fall Harvest Mushroom & Barley, which came with cremini mushrooms (one of my favorites), carrots, greens and grains.


This soup was the perfect combination of light (broth-based) and heavy (chunky ingredients). So good, in fact, that all three of us ended up getting it! Served with a hunky – and I mean that in more ways than one – chunk of multi-grain bread which made for delicious dipping.


The three of us found seats near the window and spent over an hour gabbing away. It’s such a treat to hang out with my fellow Chicago food bloggers on a regular basis these days. They are all such great people and it’s never hard to find things to talk about with a shared love of food :mrgreen:


Val’s husband was kind enough to offer me a ride home. But before we left, the three of us snapped a picture – slightly blurry since it was taken outside in the dark (not Mike’s fault, of course!), but I thought you would all still want to see it, so I’ll post it anyway ๐Ÿ˜‰ Don’t mind my disarrayed jacket – it was so hot in the restaurant that I forgot to button up before we went outside!


Good times had by all :) When I got home, I realized that coincidentally, these are the same two bloggers whose awards I have yet to acknowledge and thank them for. I recently received the Kreativ Blogger Award from both Lo and Val. Thanks so much, ladies!


The task is to name 7 facts about me that you don’t know already. We’ll see how it goes!

  1. I lived in Winston-Salem, NC for almostย four years, between the ages ofย two and six. I loved living in the South and think it’s absolutely beautiful!
  2. I have traveled to Vienna, Budapest, Prague, and Paris in Europe, as well as China and Guatemala. All of these trips were very special and fortunate opportunities that I am grateful for.
  3. Bobby and I are deciding between Disney World and Europe for our honeymoon :) I think we’ve convinced ourselves that Disney World would be a nice weekend trip to take another time and that Europe is the best idea for a romantic getaway. Now the choice is whether to visit Spain or Italy – any suggestions?!
  4. I have recently been getting more and more into yoga and have started Bobby on it, too. Expect more about this in a future post!
  5. My ultimate dream is to become a published author. I think maybe some of you already know this but I can’t say it enough. I love what good writing and reading can do for people and I want to help inspire others in some way through that medium.
  6. I am very shy! Most people are quick to point out how quiet I am when I first meet them. My voice is strongest through the written word – hence why I enjoy blogging so much! However, as I get more comfortable I am able to open up and let my personality show through.
  7. I talk to my family multiple times per day. Whether through email, over the phone or on Gchat, I love staying connected to my mom, dad and brother as much as possible. Since we live so far apart, it’s very important for me to know what’s going on with them!

Val also gave me the Over the Top Award. Thank you!


I am so honored! As part of the award, the blogger is supposed to answer this series of questions with one-word answers. This was tough! Hope you enjoy…

1. Where is your cell phone? Couch
2. Your hair? Curly
3. Your mother? Cool
4. Your father? Corny
5. Your favorite food? Nut Butter
6. Your dream last night? Work
7. Your favorite drink? Water
8. Your dream/goal? Satisfaction
9. What room are you in? Living
10. Your hobby? Blogging
11. Your fear? Disappointment
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Loved
13. Where were you last night?ย  Home
14. Something you arenโ€™t? Loud
15. Muffins?ย  Banana-Chocolate
16. Wish list item? Travel
17. Where did you grow up?ย Minnesota
18. Last thing you did? Laundry
19. What are you wearing? Robe
20. Your TV? Gift
21. Your pets? None
22. Your friends? Comfort
23. Your life? Blessed
24. Your mood? Tired!
25. Missing someone? Family
26. Vehicle? Passat
27. Something youโ€™re not wearing? Makeup
28. Your favorite store? Grocery!
29. Your favorite color? Plum
30. When was the last time you laughed? Work
31. Last time you cried? Yesterday
32. Your best friend? Bobby
33. One place that I go over and over? Bed
34. One person who emails me regularly? Mom
35. Favorite place to eat? Home

Thanks again for the honors, ladies! I know these awards have been making their way around the blogosphere, but I encourage everyone to try out the one-word survey – it’s fun :)

One last very important thing to show you before I go…


Look what I received in the mail from Mara! Last names and information have been blurred for privacy reasons, but look how beautiful her wedding invitations are. Can you believe it’s coming up in just a little over four weeks?! I’m sure she can’t ๐Ÿ˜‰ I was so giddy when I received this invitation in the mail and very much wish I could be a part of Mara’s special day. Her wedding is over Thanksgiving weekend and unfortunately I won’t be able to attend because my family has arranged for me to fly home to Arizona for the holiday. But I hope she knows I will be there in spirit and we are still planning on working something out that will allow me to blog some of the details of the day for all of you to enjoy!

Ah weddings. I actually created our Save-the-Date card over the weekend. It’s being finalized now and I can’t wait to share the results with you. It’s completely DIY, which has been very fun.

For those who have planned big events, what are some of your top invitation tips?

Have a great Thursday, everyone!



{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

1 VeggieGirl October 29, 2009 at 9:06 am

So fun that you met up with Lo and Val!!

Congratulations on the awards!

GO TO ITALY!! Specifically, Venice and Rome.

I’m like you with #4, #5, and #7 :)


2 Rose October 29, 2009 at 9:12 am

Such a fun ladie’s night out!

Aw, Mara’s wedding is going to be fantastic. I can’t wait to see pics! Maybe even some video of dancing??? :)


3 Mara @ What's For Dinner? October 29, 2009 at 9:14 am

OMG thanks so much for posting those!! i’m so thrilled with how they came out… honestly, you should hire my friend that made mine! I designed them, wrote the wording, picked the paper…but she did all the hard work! TOTALLY worth the extra $100 to not have to deal with it myself! I did my STDs on VistaPrint, and rehearsal dinner invites are evite!


4 Brandi October 29, 2009 at 9:27 am

aw, what a fun meetup! I wish I lived near the other VA bloggers I know.

I vote for Italy :)

Have a great day girl!!!


5 Kristie Lynn October 29, 2009 at 9:42 am

I would give you a tip, but I definitely lucked out with help. Chris’s sister Beth volunteered to make not only our wedding invitations but also the programs for the ceremony! We told her what colors and okay-ed a design and she did the rest. And they were gorgeous (each one had a hand-tied purple bow at the top)! Like I said, I lucked out :) Very excited to see what your save-the-dates look like!


6 sweetandnatural October 29, 2009 at 9:53 am

OMG – Def. go to Italy! Dan and I visited Florence in August (among other places) and it was wonderful. Super romantic, AMAZING food, beautiful sites. It was perfection. :-)


7 busygradgirl October 29, 2009 at 10:31 am

I would go to Italy. I’ve been both places and Italy, like the others have said, is amazing. Venice, Florence, Rome are all so incredible and different from each other. The smaller towns, like Assisi and Verona, are also great. I would skip Milan (very industrial, not so pretty) and Pisa (a tourist trap).


8 Jenn (eating bender) November 4, 2009 at 6:02 am

Thank you so much for breaking it down by city — very helpful!! We are definitely leaning toward Italy now :)


9 carolinebee October 29, 2009 at 10:31 am

OMG those are gorrrrgeous invitations! That sounds like the bessst place ever, what a brilliant idea, and so fun to meet there with bloggie ladies! I always pass by fun foodie places in Boston, only bloggie/foodiez would appreciate ๐Ÿ˜€


10 Erica October 29, 2009 at 10:54 am

LOVE soup- especially this time of year. I want to eat it every night (but I know Josh would get bored ;)). What a cool restaurant and fun meet up. Love the facts and congrats on the awards. I have a great invitation lady who does everything by hand and who I actually never met (we did everything over the phone, via email, and she sent me samples). If you want her name- let me know!


11 Jessica October 29, 2009 at 10:59 am

I had such a hard time picking invitations. I think it’s best to keep it simple, but go with what you REALLY want. And if it coodinates with your theme, awesome!


12 Lindsay @ bananaandchocolate October 29, 2009 at 11:32 am

I love the idea of a soup restaurant!

Those wedding invitations are so cool!

The best tip I found while we were planning our wedding was post cards. We used them for both our save the dates as well as our response cards. It saved us money on postage and didn’t use nearly as much paper!


13 Jenn (eating bender) November 4, 2009 at 6:04 am

Great tip, Lindsay! We are definitely going the postcard route — thank you :)


14 Karla October 29, 2009 at 12:35 pm

That soup looks scrumptious. What a fun meet-up :)

I love hearing all of your responses to the award ?s– congrats on the awards!

No tips here to share on the wedding deets ๐Ÿ˜‰ but I’m sure they will turn out great! Both Italy and Spain sound amazing…can’t go wrong!

Have a great day Jenn!


15 The Foodie Diaries October 29, 2009 at 12:37 pm

Spain, Spain, Spaaaaainnnn!!! If you need any suggestions, let me know chica!!

And I’m with you on #5 :)


16 Jenn (eating bender) November 4, 2009 at 6:08 am

Ahh! You’re making thing difficult, lady :) Now I’m torn between Italy and Spain — what’s your big “pitch” to convince me? Haha, I issue you a challenge!


17 Andrea of Care to Eat October 29, 2009 at 1:42 pm

Chris and I went to Spain for our honeymoon – two weeks and we went to Barcelona, Madrid, Toledo, Sevilla, Malaga, & Granada. It was a whirlwind, but not too bad either – we got to enjoy each city, but one more day in Granada would have been perfect. If you ever want to see pics, let me know and I can give you the web address to one of Chris’ sites. I think Italy is more romantic, but I had already been there before and we wanted to go somewhere that was new to both of us. Venice and Florence are amazing though :)
I agree with the invites – keep it simple! And don’t put a ton of stuff in the envelope – you don’t need a map – everybody knows how to Mapquest by now :)


18 Jenn October 29, 2009 at 1:57 pm

Congrats on all your lovely awards! They are very well deserved.
My advice on invites is to NOT MAKE THEM YOURSELF. I decided I was going to make my own invites when I got married 6 years ago. Plus, they had to be one of those folded invites that had the invitation act like the envelope, with a pocket that held the RSVP cards and whatnot.
It was a stressful, crazy nightmare!!!


19 Jenn (eating bender) November 4, 2009 at 6:10 am

Thanks, Jenn! Love your name and spelling, by the way :) I think what we’ll end up doing is making the Save the Dates because they are pretty straightforward — but I am definitely not crafty enough to make the entire invite! Good call — I can imagine it was very stressful!


20 nutritionbyeve October 29, 2009 at 2:39 pm

We went to French Polynesia for our honeymoon and had the most amazing time – there are so many places in the world that are incredible to travel to and it’s hard to pick a bad place :)

Invitations are challenging, I loved ours. They were simple with a gold monogram on top with gold gilding along the edges with formal dark brown (it was black tie). I decided I didn’t want to go with the typical black. It was also a single card (not a fold over). Go to some invitation stores to get ideas and I’m sure certain ones will call out to you.


21 Jenn (eating bender) November 4, 2009 at 6:12 am

Thank you! I completely agree — the world is a beautiful place and I just feel lucky to have the opportunity to go somewhere :) Your invitations sound gorgeous as well!


22 Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) October 29, 2009 at 2:50 pm

I used to live in the Gold Coast, Dearborn & Oak. It was such a magical time of my life. I dont miss the weather of Chicago or the traffic but the city, esp. living where I did, has such an amazing vibe. I mean, I used to run up and down LSD and thru the Mag Mile dodging tourists in my running clothes and I used to get annoyed but I think back and cherish those memories of true city life. I was living downtown San Diego for the past few yrs and it’s like a pimple on chicago’s butt…such a dinky nothing town, really. But it had weather going for it. :)

I got those awards too and I need to get going on them….


23 luckytastebuds October 29, 2009 at 3:44 pm

ahhh that does sound like a yumm yummy soup! I guess no crackers are needed since there’s bread around huh? :)

You totally deserve all the awards Jenn! And that wedding invitation is beauuutiful!!! I’m sure you’ll be missed at Mara’s wedding. I’m soo excitted for her too! It’s finally all coming together!!

Hope your Thursday is going fabulous!! :)


24 ksgoodeats October 29, 2009 at 3:46 pm

That place looks awesome!! LOVE that hunk of bread – so grainy! Your coat is really cute! Sounds like all three of you had a great time together :)

PRAGUE! I love that city! Isn’t it like a fairytale? You guys have to go to Italy – HAVE to!! Venice is so romantic and Milan is gorgeous. Plus the food?! Incredible!


25 chocolate pickle October 29, 2009 at 4:18 pm

Your post makes me nostalgic! SoupBox (the location you went to) opened while I was in law school just down the street at Loyola…..since I’m in Milwaukee now, I haven’t been able to have SoupBox and definitely miss it! Glad you liked it:)


26 CaSaundra October 29, 2009 at 5:53 pm

I never even knew a restaurant like that existed! Soups on! :-)


27 inmytummy October 29, 2009 at 6:30 pm

I just got my save-the-dates last week. I designed them myself and used to print them. I think they turned out pretty well.

I’ve been to both Italy and Spain and I liked Spain better.


28 Jenn (eating bender) November 4, 2009 at 6:19 am

Thank you so much for the tip on! You rock — thanks also for the tip on Spain. It’s making my decision more difficult :) Everyone says Italy but you’ve been there and know the scoop. More research must be done!


29 Tou Tou's Little Creation Cafe October 29, 2009 at 6:34 pm

Oh !! that soup place looks fantastic !! I hope it’s a chain store ๐Ÿ˜€ . Especially those heavy dark pots – they look soooo serious!! ๐Ÿ˜€


30 jenngirl October 29, 2009 at 7:15 pm

Wow that soup looks sooo comforting and delish!

I can definitely say that Italy is romantic, AND they have gelato! Never been to Spain, but I’d love to go there someday!

I think you would make an amazing author (you already are!), and I can definitely relate to loving the blogworld because of my shyness as a person, it’s a great outlet for my personality I think.


31 TorontoGirloutWest October 29, 2009 at 8:32 pm

You’re brave making your own invites!!! I am not so brave. :)

Mara’s look awesome and I can’t wait to see yours!


32 Bec October 29, 2009 at 8:33 pm

that soup looks so good! Italy would be so much fun, I love it there :)


33 BroccoliHut October 29, 2009 at 9:18 pm

You know that I am a sucker for crusty bread, especially when paired with a fantastic soup like that! Delicious.

Love Mara’s invites–any ideas on what yours will look like?


34 Jenn (eating bender) November 4, 2009 at 6:20 am

Not quite yet! We are working on Save the Dates right now but hopefully in a couple of months I’ll have a better idea of what the invites will be!


35 Lo October 29, 2009 at 10:07 pm

I swear you have lived and been EVERYWHERE! I am looking forward to having some wine with you ladybug–I am thinking a BYOB place?!! I loved the review of the dinner and all those facts about yourself…please share more on the yoga. My second interview for lululemon (or however you say it) is Monday :)


p.s. found this—
kabocha squash = Japanese squash = Japanese pumpkin = nam gwa = sweet mama = kabachi Pronunciation: kuh-BOW-tchah :) lol


36 glidingcalm October 30, 2009 at 7:43 am

ahhh blogger meet up!!! so fun!!!
(slightly jealous!!)
ahhh Mara’s wedding!! I can’t believe it is almost here either!!
(again slightly jealous!)

love you Benderrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr


37 Foodie (Fab and Delicious Food) October 30, 2009 at 1:49 pm

Sounds like such a fun blogger meet up!

Congrats on the blog awards!

Love Mara’s wedding invitations! They look so beautiful!

So exciting that you already made your Save-the-Date cards!


38 Lara (Thinspired) October 31, 2009 at 1:45 pm

That place looks awesome! I love the idea of a soup bar :)

I’m kind of jealous you get to go to Mara’s wedding, but how fun! Can’t wait for pics of that :)

And I’m with you…I’ll take Whole Foods over Nordstrom any day!


39 Emily October 31, 2009 at 9:07 pm

How fun! ๐Ÿ˜€ That place looks awesome! YUM!


40 Nicole November 1, 2009 at 3:35 pm

Thanks for the shout-out, girl! That soup place looks AWESOME.


41 beth November 2, 2009 at 10:44 am

you would be crazy to go to disney world over europe…i studied abroad in firenze during my under graduate career…it’s an amazing can also easily access rome, bologna, pisa, siena, venice and cinqueterra (gooooooooo’s amazing and great to hike and swim)…i’ve never been to spain but i hear great things about barcelona.


42 Diana (Soap & Chocolate) November 2, 2009 at 12:32 pm

SoupBox sounds like a great place to get soup, especially if there are no nazis involved. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Dearly though I love Disney World, I think you are right on with the Europe idea for your honeymoon. I love Spain AND Italy, though Spain is close to my heart since I spent a semester studying there. Please feel free to email me about your travel plans, as I might secretly have coughprofessionalcough experience in travel… ๐Ÿ˜‰


43 KefirGirl November 3, 2009 at 12:57 pm

ooh – I haven’t had SoupBox in a minute! LOVE me some mushroom barel soup!


44 Marianne November 4, 2009 at 6:41 pm

We have some soup places here, and you know, I’ve never checked them out. Which is crazy, because I love me some good soup as well. Mushroom & Barley would be high on my list of choices as well.


45 Jessica November 13, 2009 at 8:13 pm

I didn’t see anyone else post this invitation tip (although I may have missed it). In very small writing on the back of your response card write a number that corresponds to that specific guest – keep a master list. Inevitably someone will forget to write their name on the response card and when that happens you can just compare it to the master list and you’ll know who it is. No wondering or last minute phone calls trying to figure it out!


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