Eating Gluten-Free at a Conference (Or How I was SO Hungry at BlogHer13, that I Thought About Eating Katie)

I promise there are only a few more BlogHer13 posts left. I’m saving Dr. Travis for next week. I know that you are anxiously anticipating my afternoon with the real life McDreamy…but you must wait. PATIENCE is a VIRTUE, bitches.

It is now Thursday. My eating/digestive schedule is STILL off kilter. Why? You may ask?

Over the weekend at BlogHer, food things were tricky.

It is very annoying to have to ask about EVERY. PIECE. OF. FOOD. That enters my mouth. When I cook at home, I know what I’m eating. When we go to restaurants, they tell me what I can eat. When I go to a conference, a little sign might be there. Or a little sign might not be there. But you have to ask. About EVERYTHING.

Here are my notes for the BlogHer team on the food. Hopefully next year, I’ll be back to eating gluten.

1. I am not a vegan. I am not a vegetarian. I am a meat and cheese eating girl TESTING out a gluten-free lifestyle. Meat. Cheese. I want those. I don’t want your fake chorizo and weird scrambled tofu.

2. If you tell someone a food line is “gluten-free,” It’s best to keep the FLOUR tortillas off the line…especially when you have labeled them CORN TORTILLAS. It’s best not to have GLUTEN in the vegan stuff. Or you should have a separate line for those items. Or be VERY CLEAR that it contains gluten. I saved some girl from having a giant attack of glutening because the lady in charge of the line told me that the vegan food had gluten in it. (When I asked if I could eat eggs and meat off of the normal food line).

3. If you invite a girl to a secret special lunch, and she asks if there is gluten free food, do not wait an hour and 10 minutes into the presentation to say, “Oh, by the way…you can’t eat the main courses.” She will then leave to meet with the hot doctor and be very. very. very. hungry. And crabby. If I had known, I would have left and gone to the regular food line…

BlogHer13 Food

This does not a lunch make.

BlogHer13 Food

I could eat 1 item on this plate.

BlogHer13 Food

Sauces do not a lunch make. I wouldn’t let them take the plate until I consumed all of the nuts, the pepper and most of the rosemary. I almost bit someone’s arm off to keep it.

4. If you have an important everyone-must-go-to-this-event at dinner time. Fucking serve up some dinner. If you don’t want to serve dinner, fine. CHANGE THE TIME OF THE ALL-IMPORTANT-EVENT. ESPECIALLY…if the emcee is going to be an hour late and the event is going to run over even longer…making the end time an hour and a half later than expected. (I’m talking about Voices of the Year. And I’m talking about Queen Latifah. I was hungry and cranky. Forgive me.)

5. If someone is starving enough, they’ll eat anything. Consequences be damned. Did I ask about gluten in the sausages? The cheese fries? No. Did I care? No. Was I totally sick in the middle of the night, resulting in the very bizarre Best Buy drama day on Saturday? Yes. Do I blame gluten or grease? I don’t. Know. (Seriously, though, I slammed 4 sausages while I was in line for cheese fries, which were gone before I could even grab a glass of wine. Which was good, because then I had 2 hands for the calming effects of wine and water–by water I mean the Chicago River, which Katie and I snuggled on a bench in front of with our beverages.)

6. A gluten free line with deli meat that is not labeled as gluten free frightens me after I was told that there was gluten on the same line the day before. So I did not eat lunch. I was sick anyways, so that was a moot point anyway. I skipped the keynote in order to eat food. I felt a lot better.

While I’m still feeling the effects of this weekend’s weird food schedule, I’ve come to the conclusion that I may not need a gluten-free diet. I thought that I felt better, but it could just be the fact that I was eating much healthier…we’ll see. I’m giving it 2 more months (So October 1, I’ll be enjoying some type of gluten to discover the results.)

Did you go to BlogHer? Tell me about your food experiences?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

BlogHer13: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

As I’m still wrecked from this weekend, this will likely be the shortest of my BlogHer posts. A recap, even. But there will be more. So if you don’t want to hear about BlogHer, I suggest you return in August. When I start talking about GenCon. I know. Lucky you.

The Good

  • Queen Latifah emceed the Voices of the Year.
  • I got to spend some quality time with some of my favorite bloggers (and my best friend!)
  • I have a RIDICULOUS number of blog posts pre-written in my head. Including my very own interview with the glorious Dr. Travis Stork. Go ahead. If you don’t know who he is…Google him. But Google Image that shit, because DAYYYYUUUMMMM.
  • The Pioneer Woman, Pillsbury Doughboy, Optimus Prime and Me.
Pillsbury doughboy at BlogHer13

hee hee!

The Pioneer Woman at BlogHer13

I was SO much less obnoxious meeting her than I was with Jenny Lawson.

Seriously. Fucking Optimus Prime.

Seriously. Fucking Optimus Prime.

  • I got to meet Thoughts From Paris DJ. Who I can’t not call Paris. Because that’s his name in my head. And he (kinda) knew who I was. Which pleased me.
  • I got a LOT of free shit. I know it’s bad form to say I was all over the swag, but just like a pack of wild dogs on a 3-legged cat…I was AAAAALLLL up in the free shit business.
BlogHer13 Swag

That’s me…Hanging out with SOME of my free stuff. I went home with a double full suitcase, a duffel bag and 6 grocery bags full of stuff…which we then crammed into the car.

  • The best party? Queerosphere. They had cheese cheese and more cheese. And lamb chops. Best food I ate all weekend.
  • Somehow I made my way into the Disney movie party. And saw Delivery Man. A few months early.

The Bad

  • Queen Latifah was late.
  • I was almost always hungry.
  • I was tired.
  • I didn’t feel like I really related to a lot of the speakers that I saw. And then I couldn’t see them all because I had other places to be and things to do. It was a bit on the overwhelming side.
  • I was really hungry.

The Ugly

  • Queen Latifah was SO late that I was starving AND missed Austenland (though I DID still get the free bag and t-shirt)
  • OK, mostly I was always starving because of this gluten free nonsense. (Hey BlogHer, I’ve got some suggestions for next year! Actually, I’ve got a whole blog post about food coming up.)
  • Mostly I was Starving. With a capital S.
  • Did I mention how much I missed food? And eating on a regular schedule that included dinner?
  • The Best Buy Story. Tomorrow. You’ll see.
Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

BlogHer in Chicago: Restaurant Edition AKA Where to Eat Reasonably Priced Tasty Treats

Greetings to all of you fabulous people heading to BlogHer this month! For those of you not attending, feel free to take a tour of my favorite city on the planet as I offer Chicago touristy tips and how to prepare yourself for 4 glorious days in Chicago. Hopefully, you didn’t miss my first Chicago BlogHer post, because…well I thought it was fucking awesome…and helpful. Because I can help you get cheap parking.

So I work in the Loop. I work on State Street. Two blocks from the giant metal jellybean that we call The Bean. I’ve included my top eateries in the area (and a few that are slightly out of the way) for you to nosh on when you’re not rockin’ the conference at BlogHer.

Quick Serve/Fast Casual Restaurants

As I’m always on the look-out for fast, cheap or easy, here are my favorites.

Pastoral: My favorite city cheese shop. Go grab a sandwich, a salad or just enjoy a hunk of cheese, a container of olives and some meaty meaty meat candy. I freakin’ love this place. It’s on Lake, just west of Wabash. Go. Do it. You’ll thank me.

Toni Patisserie & Cafe: Looking for a sweet treat? How about a little French bistro? This place is fantastic. A great little French bakery with tasty salads and sandwiches.

Oasis Cafe: Another Mediterranean spot, hidden in Jeweler’s Row. Literally, you have to trek to the back of a jewelry store for this one. Worth the trip.

Hannah’s Bretzel: Brian really likes this place, though I think it’s a little hipster. The breakfast sandwiches are amazing, though.

The Chasement: The basement of the Chase Building on Dearborn and Madison/Monroe, this weekday operational lunch cafeteria boasts several tasty treats in one spot. We’ve got lots of cafeteria dining in The Loop, so you can head out with your blog friends and eat 27 different things.

Macy’s on State: The 7th Floor boasts several quick serve options (Get the chicken Caesar salad from the salad bar on the 7th floor OMG) and the basement offers another cafeteria (I like the basement salad spot–make your own tasty salad on the cheap-ish). Plus it’s the original Marshall Field’s. Go. Steer clear of Frontera Fresco if you don’t want to spend $5 on a single tamale that tastes like soggy cornbread with no accouterments save a tiny bit of salsa. If you’re looking for a nicer dining spot, The Walnut Room is world famous and lovely!


The Gage: This upscale tavern across from Millennium Park offers a tasty venison burger, indulgent wild boar poutine and a delightful Scotch egg that I wish I could still consume (darn glutens). Cool atmosphere. Great food. $$$

Elephant & Castle: There are a few of these laced throughout the city. An English style pub, where you can enjoy a pint and the closest thing to my mom’s Yorkshire pudding that I’ve ever tasted. Good food. Great beer selection.

Monk’s Pub: They don’t split checks, so bring cash, but the awesome atmosphere at this tavern is worth it. Throw your complimentary peanuts on the floor and enjoy one of the largest beer menus I’ve seen in a while. Gluten-free beer indeed.

Kitty O’Sheas: They have a killer bloody Mary. This Irish pub is located across from Grant Park on Michigan Ave in the Hilton. We stop in for a drink before Bears games. Tasty.

Guys, this is Chicago. There are THOUSANDS of tasty places to consume noms and drinks. Explore. Our food is delicious. If you need help deciding, YELP is a Godsend. Get the App. No, they aren’t paying me. Yes, you can follow me on Yelp and read my reviews.

What are your favorite restaurants in downtown Chicago?


Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Lions and Tigers and Beers Oh MY!

Yes. Yes I did say beers. Not bears. Beers.  Saturday night was my goodbye to beer party. OK, really it was Living Social’s Beerfest at the Zoo…but what a way to say goodbye to my gluten-y beer. Amiright?  (Yes, I’m giving up gluten for the next several months [and possibly forever] to find out if I have gluten sensitivity. This is a decision my doctor and I discussed together–kids don’t try this at home…but anyways…more on that later) So we paid a bunch of money to go to the free zoo after hours, drink beer, listen to tunes, and eat snacks (OK, other people paid a bunch of money…Chrissy was frugal and got 3 of her pals to sign up so that she got it for free #lovelivingsocial). Aside from the ridiculous overcrowding and the less-than-worth-it VIP tickets, it was a great time with beer, friends and food trucks.

Of course, 3 days later and I still feel like crap–so maybe this gluten-free thing isn’t such a bad idea…Aaaaanyways.

Unfortunately, sleeping animals don’t photograph well at night with Smart Phones, otherwise you would totally have the cutest most ridiculously adorable pictures on the planet right now. Especially chimpanzees. OMG I love them so much right now. Because they sleep all cute and human like.

So you’ll have to settle for ridiculous pictures of my people.

Beer and Tigers. Yes.

Beer in the cat house? Okay!

Feed the animals beer!

She was brilliant. I copied her idea the rest of the night…feeding beer to the fake statues.

Stupider like a fox

Yep. 30 minutes in and I got in trouble for climbing on the display. It was a platform. Platforms are made to be stood on. I thought. The guy was so flabbergasted like he just couldn’t understand that this entire event was one giant photo op.

drunk ride on the carousel

Hello drunk ride on the carousel! I don’t know if there’s a happier place to be…Oh other than Disney World.




monkeys and beer

The last animals that I fed for the night. Right outside the ape house.









See. She's brilliant.

See. She’s brilliant.

Living Social Beer Fest

Living Social Beer Fest 7

Living Social Beer Fest 6

Living Social Beer Fest 2

How was YOUR weekend, blog friends?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Have I Mentioned That I’m a Hypochondriac?

OK, so y’all are PROBABLY going to think I’m crazy (if you don’t already…and if you really don’t, WHERE THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN?) after reading this…but it needs to be said.

In addition to the unhealthy fear that I will have MS (ever since watching the Annette Funicello Story when I was a kid) and the irrational fear of botulism…I’ve recently begun having new thoughts when it comes to my health and well-being.

Perhaps. Maybe. I might possibly. Have a gluten intolerance. Or full blown Celiac’s Disease.

You see, I’ve had some…let’s say digestive issues…for a while now.

And recently, I discovered that headaches can be a direct effect of a gluten intolerance. And have I told you about the crazy headaches I sometimes get? In which I have to wrap my head in a heating pad after popping a whole handful of over-the-counter pills in order to fall asleep?

And then yesterday I GOOGLED the canker sore in my upper lip, you know because maybe they’ve come up with a new way to kill canker sores, amiright? And you know what I found, BLOG FRIENDS?

Celiac’s Disease. Causes. Canker sores.

And Google doesn’t lie. Especially when Google is advised by WebMD.

For the past month or so, I’ve been reading labels, learning what I may have to give up, savoring every piece of bread, noodle, cupcake, cookie, muffin, bagel like it might be my last…deciding “I can do it.” and “Oh God no! Not the cookies! Not the breakfast sandwiches!”

And so Blog Friends, I think I’m going to go find out for real about this one. What would you do?

If I think that I'm a hypochondriac, does that mean that I am one?

Do you ever feel like a hypochondriac?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!