Life Is But A {Wonderful} Dream

by Jenn (eating bender) on April 28, 2010

Life can take you so many unexpected places.

On this day last year, I was back at my campus apartment at Northwestern following a weekend trip to Arizona to visit my family and take some snapshots for my photojournalism class. There were six weeks left to go in my college career and many new and unforeseen decisions and choices in my future.

The year before that – in 2008 – I was blogging three times a day. These posts were short but sweet and still mean a great deal to me because they were how I introduced myself to all of you – by giving you a peek at my daily life and being shocked when you actually came back to read more 😉 My biggest decisions during that time involved which story, reporter and producer would fit into my Monday and Wednesday newscasts for the Northwestern News Network. Being news director was an incredibly stressful job – especially for college! – but I wouldn’t have had it any other way because it prepared me for what it can sometimes take for us to achieve our dreams.

And so, on this same day in 2010, I reflect on the past week and where I’ve been – living my dream and loving deeply my family, my friends, my business and my work.

I spent my weekend with Mama, Papa and Baby Bender (makes them sound like the story of the Three Bears when I give them those nicknames!) up in Milwaukee, celebrating life.

Not just any life, but that of my newest baby cousin, who was baptized over the weekend. My little brother is the absolute sweetest thing around little kids. He will make a great Uncle Eric someday – but don’t worry, I’m certainly not getting ahead of myself here, readers!! :)

On Saturday night, my dad surprised us by getting reservations at Weissgerber’s Seven Seas.

It was a beautiful restaurant overlooking Lake Nagawicka with many great options on the menu. I don’t have them all pictured due to low lighting, but we did start with an amazing Oysters Rockefeller and seafood chowder, both of which had intense, rich flavors that left you wanting more.

For dinner, I had a veggie-filled pesto pasta. It was a great treat – thanks, Dad!

It was fantastic to see my family and although their visits are always too short, I’m going to be seeing them in just a couple of weeks for my birthday and Mother’s Day, which just so happen to fall on the same day this year :)

Fun facts: I was born on the Saturday before Mother’s Day in 1987. Just in time for my mom to celebrate that year – and my brother was born a couple days before Father’s Day six years later!

This leads me to my next love – my friends, my business and my work. Jill is my business partner but she is also one of my very best friends. We were fortunate enough to travel to Michigan on Monday and Tuesday for our first official business trip by plane.

Our destination was Flatout Flatbread headquarters, where we spent two days immersed in video and recipe shoots for the company’s new Flatout Fresh blog that we launched about a week ago.

I don’t mean to sound like an advertisement for the brand here. I think (and hope) that you readers know me well enough by now to know that I strive to be authentic and real with you.

So I have to tell you that as Jenn – and not as Jenn representing Flatout – I absolutely LOVE this company and what it stands for. There were several times throughout our trip that Jill and I looked at each other in disbelief and said, “are we really so lucky?” We feel so fortunate to be promoting a product that both of us not only enjoy eating, but truly stand behind knowing that it does so much good through community service, dedication to great tasting ingredients and commitment to health.

These are just a few snapshots of the videos we made. We also did several video interviews with the owner of the company, who is incredibly passionate (and very good on camera).

To give you some perspective, Jill and I are used to working with big brands – brands that lack that true personality, who stand behind a corporate wall and legality.

I’m not bashing these brands by any means – they’ve worked hard to achieve their mega status. But it’s nice to work for and on behalf of a nationally-recognized company whose owner is both as hardworking and business savvy as she is personable and relatable. Stacey Marsh is a mother of two amazing young girls. Her and her husband Mike built Flatout from the ground up and remain an integral part of its success. The entrepreneurial spirit that they both continue to embody is truly inspiring.

I will never be afraid to tell you all how much I love this company. Don’t get me wrong – Eating Bender is not about to become all Flatout, all the time. But this blog is meant to serve as a place where I share pieces of my life with you and right now, this company is a very big piece of that life puzzle.

I can’t help but gush :)

Especially when, after two days of intense shooting, we realized our client possesses more energy and spunk than both Jill and I combined. Her constant enthusiasm kept us on our “A” games and inspired us to give our all the entire time. Of course, we would strive to do that anyway – but having a client who is right there with you throughout the experience makes it that much more wonderful and achievable.

When we left Michigan yesterday evening, many hugs were shared. Now I can’t speak for all companies, but I just don’t think that kind of appreciation happens as often as it should. Our client has inspired us not just in the work they do and the product they create, but also in the way they uphold their respect for others at all times. It’s something that Jill and I strive to consider in our own day-to-day business – and to be able to see that from our clients truly warms our hearts. And no, I’m not being too sappy here!

I really just had to share this with you because it’s been on my mind all week :) I hope you enjoyed this little story and peek into my crazy, wouldn’t-have-it-any-other-way life.

Much more to come this week – as I mentioned to you a couple of posts back, I hope to start up a bit of food journaling in May to get myself back on track and share more recipes with you again. Can’t wait!

EDITED TO ADD: Today is National Walk @ Lunch Day! Do you walk during your lunch hour? I try to take regular breaks throughout the day to keep moving!


1 Jessica @ How Sweet April 28, 2010 at 9:09 am

So glad you are so happy. :) And appreciated!!

2 Heather April 28, 2010 at 9:10 am

such a great post! this made me smile for you :)

3 Erica April 28, 2010 at 9:33 am

Glad you had such a nice time with your family :) Isn’t it funny that as we grow up, we value family time more and more?? Flat out totally rocks- going to check out the blog now. Glad to hear that they (as a company) are as wonderful as their product. I seriously can’t get enough of the new chips and their spinach flat outs (my favorite!!). Hooray for your new company….its great to love what you do! I will have to walk my little Franky at lunch tomorrow 😉

4 elise April 28, 2010 at 9:52 am

i can tell EXACTLY how passionate you are about this company…clearly i ned to find flat-outs asap. i hope they have them in CA because im basically moving away from NY because they werent there. kidding! can you imagine moving for a food? im passionate about my eats, but maybe not that passionate. still, im excited to discover all the new products in los angeles that i couldn’t get my hands on in nyc :)

5 Meghan@traveleatlove April 28, 2010 at 10:14 am

So happy for you! You are inspiring. If you still need wine country recs, let me know :)

6 Katie April 28, 2010 at 10:17 am

Welcome, Baby Bender! He’s such a cutie.

I heard you smiling as I read this. I’m so happy you’ve, well, pursued your passion (!) and have found a job you love. You’re an inspiration!

7 Mary (A Merry Life) April 28, 2010 at 11:43 am

That’s so exciting! I love Flatout!

8 Astrid April 28, 2010 at 1:21 pm

You know that you deserve every ounce of success you are experiencing, right? It sounds amazing to be living a career that you are truly passionate about. It gives me hope that I will be there some day, too. Things are already looking up, though! I am having my first giveaway on my blog, come stop by!!

9 thewhatkateateblog April 28, 2010 at 1:33 pm

I love flashbacks! And Flatout Flatbreads! And the fact that youre their tweeter :)

10 Jenn @ Watch My Butt Shrink! April 28, 2010 at 2:25 pm

Awe, your brother looks so cute with the baby! My daughter is a May 9th, baby too!! She’ll be 4 this year – ack!!
It’s great that you’re so passionate about your job and your client. That makes work enjoyable!

11 Janet Scragg April 28, 2010 at 3:20 pm

Awesome pic of Baby Bender with the littlest duck! They are so sweet together!

12 Jessie (Vegan-minded) April 28, 2010 at 3:30 pm

It’s crazy how much things can change in a year. Luckily for you, it has definitely changed for the better! I have only tried Flatouts once, but I remember liking them. Maybe it’s time I buy them again! :)

13 Mama Pea April 28, 2010 at 4:35 pm

I’ve been saving this post in my Reader all day, but after you wrote on my FB wall I had to come comment right away. You and I need to talk about having Flatout featured in the cookbook via the Crack Wrap! :)

14 fightingwithfood April 28, 2010 at 6:46 pm

Flatouts have their own blog now!? I have been living under a rock and I am so excited to hear this (newish) news. I’m addicted to these things – particularly the FO/Laughing Cow combo!

15 eatingbirdfood April 28, 2010 at 7:42 pm

Wow Jenn your passion totally shines through in this post and it sounds as though Stacey and Mike are a great team to work with. I’m excited to see the footage you all shot while there.

I can’t wait to catch up with you soon!!

16 John April 28, 2010 at 7:54 pm

I can really feel your enthusiasm and happiness coming through your post! Betting your smile is bigger than mine was while reading this :-)

17 Courtney (Pancakes & Postcards) April 29, 2010 at 4:00 am

that place looks really cool. I have never tried flatout but see them all over the blog world! after all this, i am definitely buying a bunch of stuff to try out when i move back to the states :)

18 Gabriela @ Fro-Yo Lover April 29, 2010 at 1:07 pm

Awww – such lovely post, girl!
Your baby cousin´s the cutiest 😀
I´m so happy everything´s so great for you!
Be happy, love!
Brazilian XOXO´s,

19 BroccoliHut April 29, 2010 at 6:43 pm

So glad that you got to see your family! I must admit that I am now counting down the days until I see mine for graduation:)
As you are well-aware, I love FlatOut too–such great products and personality!

20 dmcgirl37 April 29, 2010 at 6:46 pm

I love flat out bread, so good :) have you tried there artisan breads? SO GOOD!


21 Katherine: What About Summer? April 29, 2010 at 6:47 pm

I never know what exotic dish to try at seafood places. how did you get into oysters?

that is the sweetest little baby, too! I love how soft the newbies are

22 Mom May 7, 2010 at 11:05 pm

Hi Jenn

It was a truly wonderful weekend and so is this one since you are here with us in AZ! We are so happy for you and Jill to have such a wonderful client that shares your love of healthy food. It’s also fabulous that there is such mutual respect and appreciation.

What I have always loved about your blogging world is how positive it is. People sharing their views and even if they don’t agree having mutual respect for one another. I have read every post and comment on both of your blogs and have never commented until now. I guess it is because I was disillusioned the other day when you shared a former co-worker’s with me. I have to say I now fully understand why your previous employment just wasn’t a good fit. I know the majority there were and still are very supportive of your new venture, but unfortunately a few people there have absolutely no respect for others.

To recap: they follow your blog, make a special post on theirs to make fun of yours and continue with further tweets about “hugs” and “passion” in a negative connotation. Is it high school or the business world? I do have an answer to their quest to replace the word “passion” – it ‘s the negative side of passion – “obsession”.

I mean really! Following someone for two months only to be cruel and nasty making fun of what they have posted? Move on people and get a freakin’ life!

Love Mom

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