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Last month I had the pleasure of hosting a "For Reals Meal" - a Chicago dining series created by Jessica Murnane. The concept is that each month Jessica selects a "host" to cook a plant-based meal and throw a dinner/lunch party accordingly for 5 strangers of their choosing. This curated group then bonds over the new fare and friends that they've been introduced to and lives happily ever after!

When Jessica asked me to host I was pumped yet concerned about the logistics given I don't live in Chicago. Jess didn't seem down with my Houston road trip idea (rude) or an al fresco picnic in Grant Park. (Who doesn't love Chicago in winter?) But then she suggested having her friend, Anne Owen, owner of Owen + Alchemy, whip up some food and renting a hotel room to eat it in. We high fived and never looked back.

I handpicked a group of fellow creatives who are doing things I liked and/or wanted to know more about! Joanna, for example, is a literary agent. As someone who writes books, I loved getting more insight into her daily grind. At the end of the day though it was just really nice to break bread (plant based of course!) with likeminded chics who share the same life ambition as me - make a living doing what they love.

Top Left: Jessica Murnane (creator of this website you are looking at)
Top Center: Joanna MacKenzie, Literary Agent at Browne & Miller
Top Right: Jess Keys, The Golden Girl
Bottom Right: Merl Kinzie, Clyde's Rebirth
Bottom Center: Me
Bottom Right: Caitlin Kerr, The Foxglove Studio

The Menu a la Owen + Alchemy:
-Sprouted grains salad, roasted local carrot, smoked tomato vinaigrette
-3-kale salad, shaved fennel, almond, radish, creamy avocado dressing 
-Kelp noodles with jalapeƱo, lemongrass vinaigrette, daikon, cilantro, scallion, sesame, carrot, and wakame

Bon Appetite Biatches! The food was TO.DIE.FOR. My favorite was the kelp salad but that's like saying my favorite TV show is Homeland. It doesn't mean I'm not equally obsessed with House of Cards too.

Here's Anne, who in addition to the meal, brought some of her most popular juices from Owen+Alchemy.  #delish

We also had this kind of juice.

Ladies who lunch.

Dessert was orgasmic. Jess made her famous chocolate chunk cookies. She explained these suckers best when she said "a lot of times my food is good considering its plant based. These cookies are good without having to take that into consideration. These cookies stand on their own." Amen sister. Now pass me another one.

Caitlin geeking out over the cookies.

After everyone left Jessica and I stayed back and she interviewed me for the 18th episode of her podcast. She called it Becoming a Cancer Champion + The Power of Telling Your Story. We laughed throughout the entire thing mostly because we think we're hilarious (we are) and possibly because of the formerly mentioned champagne "juice".


*Thanks to Eva Deitch for the amazing photography. You can see more of her work here

*Thanks to Owen+Alchemy for the DIVINE food.

*Thanks to Jessica for inviting me to host. Also, Jess has a new e-cookbook coming out called A Year Of Breakfast that I contributed to. Check that out here!



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