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You’d Be {Nuts} Not To: DIY Almond Milk

Last weekend, I made my first foray into the world of homemade nut milk.

Everyone who ever told me nut milk is “easy” was a hipster, vegan skinny minnie, so I was pretty convinced it wasn’t at all easy.

Turns out, I was completely wrong.

Here’s what I learned:

I got the basic recipe from Basically, you’ll need 1 cup dry (i.e., pre-soaked) almonds to 2 cups water.

Measure your almonds.

I bought a package of almonds from Whole Foods and made the mistake of not measuring them before I soaked them. The result was a slightly wetter version than I’d have wanted.

Soak your almonds.

I did it for two days, but you can do just overnight.

Drain well.

Add almonds with water 1:2 (i.e. 1 cup almonds with 2 cups water) and blend thoroughly.

Strain almond meal/water mixture.

Use some sort of meshy material to get out every last drop. I used my new nut milk bag from Ellie’s Best which is a million times easier and cleaner than pretty much any other type of straining material, is reusable, and only costs $10. I’ve tried making ricotta and butter with cheesecloth, and it was messy and challenging and I never removed all the moisture. If you decide you need one too (hint: you do), use code “threetimes” for a discount!

Add a little sweetness (optional).

I added a drop of vanilla and some of the honey from my aunt and uncle’s beehives and voila! I am set for a week of overnight oats!

The whole process took like 5, 10 minutes tops of hands-on work. I definitely need to perfect my balance, and I’ll be sure to share when I do! Share your tips and tricks in the comments below!


Disclaimer: Three Times Per Day is committed to only marketing products I personally stand behind. Ellie’s Best kindly sent me over their nut milk bag to try, and they were seriously amazing. For more info about them, head to and remember Three Time Per Day readers get a discount! Use threetimes a checkout for 10% off!

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Lollapalooza 2017 Dining Guide

For some people, music festivals are all about the music. But since the day-long nature of festivals require — at least for me and everyone I know — eating at some point, those of us who give AF what we put in our bodies face a challenge second only to scheduling conflicts about which of the 34 food stalls to grace with our presence.

But since catching all your favorite acts are key, I’ve taken some of the guesswork off your plate so that you can spend more time at the stages and less wandering the food court, staring at everyone’s plates as they leave the stalls. (Please, I know I’m not the only one who does that.)

If I’m being honest, I’m pretty disappointed with the Chow Town line-up, which is pretty anemic and nearly all the vendors have disappointed me at some point in time. A lot of my fave vendors of Lolla past won’t be attending this year, including Momofuku (though, honestly, they’ve been disappointing lately anyway). Plus, I just can’t stand Graham Elliot or his restaurants. But, Lolla has never claimed to have a Michelin star and there are still plenty of absolutely delicious and terribly unhealthy options, as well as some pretty good options for those of us who are tryna keep our summer bods going, don’t eat meat, or can’t/don’t eat a certain grain protein.

My Top Picks

Cheesie’s (Chow Town North) Grilled cheeses are pretty hard to mess up and easy to prepare quickly, meaning you’re more likely to get a freshly made ‘wich. Cheesie’s is famous among stoners and frat boys throughout Chicago for their mac n’ cheese grilled cheese, i.e., mac n’ cheese is the cheese in the sandwich.

Kuma’s Corner (Chow Town North) This Chicago staple is returning to the Lolla scene after 5 years. They have a reputation to uphold, so I’m going to assume they’ll do a good job, even if they aren’t able to make their ginormous metal-themed burgers with all the toppings.

Lifeway Kefir (Chow Town North) Refreshing, tangy, and totally acceptable as dinner during Lolla, Lifeway has yet to disappoint. You can load it up with fruit and it’s easy to walk with, so you can take it with you as you run from Bud Light to Samsung.

Goddess & The Grocer (Chow Town North) These guys are catering champs, so you don’t have to worry about them struggling to bring their restaurants to the small tent. I find Goddess to always be fresh, though perhaps a bit on the small side.

Windsor Ice Cream Shoppe (Chow Town South) One of the best deals in Chow Town. These GIANT ice cream scoops mean you’ll get more than one lick in before it melts all over your carefully curated festival wear.

Pork & Mindy’s (Chow Town South) In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve still never tried Pork & Mindy’s. However, I do know they’ve had some practice with big crowds and food stall life with Lolla 2016 and Taste of Chicago, which means they probably have worked out some kinks that will make them a solid option. Besides, nothing says summer like pulled pork, and I’d place them above Robinson’s on that front.

Sausage Haus (Chow Town North) Again, untested by yours truly. But since it is run by an events catering company, I put some faith in them to be experts at scaling up. Let me know if they don’t toast the pretzel buns though, cause I’ll quickly axe them from this list.

Godiva Summer Treats Truck (Across from Pepsi Stage) No idea what this is, but it sounds *sweet*

Chipotle (Across from Pepsi Stage) This is also new, and I also have no idea what this really means. If it’s truly Chipotle, this could be a great option! I’ll scope on Thursday and report back!


For those looking for healthy options or with dietary restrictions, I’ve just put categorical lists below, with my faves underlined:

Healthy Options

The Goddess & the Grocer (Chow Town North)
Kamehachi (Chow Town North)
Lifeway Kefir (Chow Town North)

In years past, there’s also been a farmers market that has fresh fruit and other healthy options. I don’t see it on the map, but I’ll update if it is indeed there on Thursday!


Vegetarian/Vegan Options

BJ’s Market & Bakery (vegetarian, Chow Town North)
Broken English (vegetarian, Chow Town South)
Cheesie’s (vegetarian, Chow Town North)
Chubby Wieners (vegetarian, Chow Town South)
Connie’s Pizza (vegetarian, Chow Town South)
Country BBQ (vegetarian, Chow Town South)
Dark Matter (vegan, Chow Town North)
Dia De Los Tamales (vegan, Chow Town North)
Edzo’s Burger Shop (vegan, Chow Town South)
Harold’s Chicken (vegetarian, Chow Town South)
Harris Ice (vegetarian, Chow Town South)
Kamehachi (vegan, Chow Town North)
Kilwins (vegan, Chow Town North)
Leghorn Chicken (vegan, Chow Town South)
Lou Malnati’s Pizza (vegetarian, Chow Town North)
Mad Social (vegetarian, Chow Town North)
MBurger (vegetarian, Chow Town North)
Rainbow Cone (vegetarian, Chow Town South)
Pizano’s (vegetarian, Chow Town North)
Sausage Haus (vegan, Chow Town North)
Tallboy Taco (vegan, Chow Town North)
Goddess and the Grocer (vegetarian, Chow Town North)
Lifeway Kefir Shop (vegetarian, Chow Town North)
Smoke Daddy (vegan, Chow Town North)
Windsor Ice Cream Shop (vegetarian, Chow Town South)
Wow Bao (vegetarian, Chow Town South)


Gluten-Free Options

BJ’s Market & Bakery (Chow Town North)
Connie’s Pizza (Chow Town South)
Kamehachi (Chow Town North)
Kilwins (Chow Town North)
Leghorn Chicken (Chow Town South)
Lifeway Kefir Shop (Chow Town North)
Smoke Daddy (Chow Town North)
Dark Matter (Chow Town North)
Dia De Los Tamales (Chow Town North)
Edzo’s Burger Shop (Chow Town South)
Pork & Mindy’s (Chow Town South)
Rainbow Cone (Chow Town South)
Tallboy Taco (Chow Town North)
Tank Noodle (Chow Town North)
Sausage Haus (Chow Town North)


Sweets & Treats

Harris Ice (Chow Town South)
Kilwins (Chow Town North)
Rainbow Cone (Chow Town South)
Lifeway Kefir Shop (Chow Town North)
Windsor Ice Cream (Chow Town South)
Godiva Summer Treats Truck (Across from Pepsi Stage)
Again, no idea what this entails, but Imma find out!!



Da Beers Garden, which should be chillin’ across the street from Pepsi Stage, is likely to have solid craft beer options as well as some foods that are vaguely German, like pretzels and sausage — at least in prior years this has been the case.

Cupcake Vineyards can be found in the “wine lounge” west of Kidzapalooza, since nothing says “wine, please!” like kids, amirite???

If for whatever reason you find yourself craving coffee, Dark Matter is the way to go. I’m not even sure if there are other options for coffee around the festival, but regardless, Dark Matter is my #1 coffee in the city.

Also note that this year you can pre-order your beer through the Lolla App and skip the lines!!!!!!!!! I know, right?! I almost hesitated sharing this lest it increase wait times. But then I decided to go VIP so 😎. Enjoy, plebs.


Vendors I’ll Be Skipping

    • Graham Elliot and his overpriced and progressively smaller lobster corndog.
    • Leghorn Chicken, which was super disappointing at Mamby
    • Rainbow Cone, an unpopular opinion, maybe, but I think the layering of chocolate, strawberry, something yellow with maraschino cherries, mint chocolate chip, and orange sherbet is just disgusting.
    • Connie’s Pizza, Lou Malnati’s, Bacino’s and Pizano’s seem like a good idea — just grab and go. But I’ve found that pizza at festivals is usually soggy and never hot enough. If you must, I’d vote for Lou’s, since it’s classic Chicago, and Pizano, since it’s thin crust and therefore less likely to be a soggy mess. But, again, haven’t had pizza here since Lolla 2013, so I’ll have to scope the scene.
    • Tank Noodle, while beloved, tends to drop the noodle with their festival versions. The noodles tend to just be clumpy and oily (Sorry, Tank Noodle, I know this does not necessarily reflect on your restaurant!)
    • Broken English and Tallboy because they serve tacos, and festival tacos always come on nasty tortillas that are a shame to abuelas everywhere. They’re also usually a rip off.


General Rules of Thumb

  • If a vendor has a food truck, chances are they’ll be better at this food stall thing since they’re used to making things quickly in a small kitchen. There may even be a food truck lot on the south end of Grant Park.
  • Eat at weird times to avoid the lines.

For a guide to the festival as well as my 2017 guide discussing what’s new this year and who I’m seeing, head to


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How to Revive Leftover Rice That’s Gone Hard

Image result for chinese take out

After a long day, you head home, pick up the phone (or more likely, place an order online) for heaping quantities of Chinese food. You’re convinced you’ll devour it all since your day was really shitty and you’re starving. About a dish and a half in, you realize there is no way you’re going to finish it all. You pack it all up and put it in the fridge for tomorrow.

Tomorrow comes, and you can’t wait to dig into your leftovers! You pull out that little white box, open it up, and…alas!…your leftover white rice is hard as a rock.

After a few seconds of severe depression and disappointment, maybe you just call the loss and toss it. But you don’t have to! Hard rice is super easy to revive.

Just put the leftover rice into a microwave-safe bowl, add a few splashes of water on top, and microwave ’til it is nice and hot. Your rice should fluff up and be good as new!

Now go enjoy those leftovers!

Sugars in White Rice

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New Beginnings

I’ve not written much in the past month and half or so for no reason other than I’ve been a busy bee. Between holiday travel, visiting friends, school, work, and freelancing for multiple websites, I’ve hardly had a second to tend to Three Times Per Day.

Last year brought a flurry of trial and error. I took up boxing, which was a success. I joined two wine clubs, which was also a success. I tried to expand the nature of Three Times Per Day, which was an utter failure…should have listened to my Marketing Strategy professor about keeping ones brand clean and crisp. Simultaneously, PIF made the leap to a new living situation and a new job, which both turned out to be decisions more wonderful than we even imagined, and I got to see him get his mojo back.

The year also brought a lot of self-reflection and painful truths. The election forced me to think about my values and perception of feminism more deeply than I had since studying Simone de Beauvoir and Marx in college. Orientation for business school highlighted my strengths and weaknesses as a leader and also revealed the qualities of myself I both like and strongly dislike, some of which I didn’t even realize were habits or aspects of my personality.

Today is not January 1st, but it is an historic day of a new beginnings. I originally began this post as a way to announce my new blog, Total Bad Nass. TBN will be a more holistic blog that focuses on the things I find important and that I think will resonate with those in similar situations: young professionals, working women, recent graduates — all those people trying to figure out what makes them them and how they can live their best life.

It also happens to be the first day of the presidency of a man I did not vote for and whose rhetoric was filled with lies and hate speech and sexism. The first day of the presidency of a man who divides the country far more than he unifies it, from as macro a level as between genders to as micro a level as the dinner table.

However, we must remember: it is not the first day that women, minorities, immigrants, LGBTQ peoples, and their allies are speaking up against those who not only don’t have their best interest at heart, but are fighting actively against it. It is not the first day that people are focusing upon the commonalities between people rather than on differences. Regardless of who you voted for, frankly, it is your responsibility to listen, maintain a critical, yet open ear, and remember that at the end of the day, we aren’t just talking about beliefs, race, religion, sexual preference, or money, but about people.  People are at the center of all this. And people fuck up. Like, all the time. We are flawed, self-serving, and slaves to the world around us. So as we go forward, I encourage you to keep the old adage “you lure more bees with honey than with vinegar” in mind. Focus on changing the things you don’t like in the world rather than using all your energy to hate those things. Avoid becoming a passive observer and contributing to the division. Share your world-view and listen to that of those who are different from you. None of this behavior is easy, but the future won’t be either if we don’t act now.

And then maybe when you need a break from kicking ass and being awesome, you’ll read my new blog.


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A little while back, I wrote a post about the frivolity of this blog given the fact that so many people in the world are facing such great adversity that they will never be able to ponder things like “who makes the best donut in Chicago?” This #GivingTuesday, I am supporting organizations that are helping improve lives so that more people can have the time and security to enjoy life’s pleasures. See below for a list of all the organizations I’m giving to this Tuesday and how you can help support them as well. And, remember, time can be given, too.

Chicago Youth Centers
Chicago, IL

Chicago Youth Centers (CYC) serves children of all ages in Chicago’s toughest neighborhoods, providing academic enrichment and access to resources students otherwise would not have so to help fill the gaps in Chicago’s present education system. For example, some of their 6 centers now feature Maker Labs, which further encourage STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) and social learning that is the cornerstone of CYC’s efforts. Donate now at Or, if you’re interested in volunteering or joining the Auxilliary Board or a local board for one of the centers, shoot me an email at


Slow Food USA

“Let us rediscover the flavors and savors of regional cooking and banish the degrading effects of Fast Food.” This is a line from Slow Food USA’s manifesto. Slow Food supports programs such as school gardens to help cultivate the next generation of healthy eaters. Too few Americans are educated on what healthy, wholesome eating really is, and while there are of course socio-economic barriers that must also be tackled, Slow Food is working to spread the message, support farmers, and preserve food as a staple of culture. Become a member at

Mimi Edelman

Greater Chicago Food Depository
Chicago, IL

What do you think of when you think of the holiday season? While for many of those reading this blog imagine massive feasts surrounded by family or friends in a warm, cozy home, for so many people in Chicago not only is a large meal far from given, a meal at all may be. The Greater Chicago Food Depository, or Chicago Food Bank, is helping ensure children, families, and those in need have access to food year-round and are working to make hunger a thing of the past. Find out how to donate or get involved at Or, if you’re not from Chicago and wish to donate to your local food pantry, find a list of pantries nationwide by visiting


Passion Works Studios
Athens, Ohio

Passion Works is a collaborative effort between disabled and non-disabled artists in a community that used to be home to a massive mental hospital that used lobotomies for treatment. Passion Works is a non-profit helping to dismantle the stigma about learning disabilities by providing a place where those with disabilities are able to create gorgeous art. Order a flower, painting, or even a wedding bouquet now at and get free shipping until December 31st!

Official Passion Flower

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What To Do With Those Old Brita Filters (and the Pitchers)


A few months ago, I got a Brita water filter. Today, I replaced the filter. As I stood there with the empty cartridge, I thought, “this doesn’t seem like something you should throw away or throw in the recycling can either…”

So I did a bit of research. Here’s what you can do with your cartridges:

Mail into TerraCycleTerraCycle turns old Brita filters, pitchers, and faucets into outdoor chairs, bike racks, watering cans, and park benches. Just collect 2 lbs. of Brita products to recycle. Then, using the free shipping label they provide through their website, mail in the box.

Drop off (or mail) for Preserve’s Gimme 5 program. Preserve recycles #5 plastics (which Brita products are made of). Drop your refuse off at one of the 250 drop off locations nationwide or recycle by mail so that your trash can be made into a wide variety of treasures, like mixing bowls, toothbrushes, and bags and totes (just to name a few).


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on being skeptical of journalism: part II

This post was originally featured on my blog What the Health Now? before being transferred over to Three Times Per Day.

I have realized recently that very few people understand how to source check. Facebook has become (among other things) a cesspool for ignorant debates of ridiculously biased or misinformed articles.

I don’t wish to use this post to spew judgment, but rather want to raise awareness that there is a lot of bad journalism out there and that it is very important, whether posting an article on Facebook or using it in an academic paper, to check your sources.

Just one of the Facebook posts that inspired this entry.

It’s important to note that all journalism is biased. News sources get to choose the articles they run, which facts they convey, the language they use. However, reputable journalism is based on well-checked facts and is held to a high standard of ethics. 

PewResearch conducted the Journalism Project to help define the 9 Core Principles of Journalism:

1. Journalism’s first obligation is to the truth.
2. Its first loyalty is to its citizens.
3. Its essence is a discipline of verification.
4. Its practitioners must maintain an independence from those they cover.
5. It must serve as an independent monitor of power.
6. It must provide a forum for public criticism and compromise.
7. It must strive to make the significant interesting and relevant.
8. It must keep the news comprehensive and proportional.
9. Its practitioners must be allowed to exercise their personal conscience.

Pew Research, Principles of Journalism, accessed from

Where I see most of these sensational news sources, such as The Conservative Times, fail is in 1, 3, 8, and perhaps an over-use of 9. These sources have an obligation only towards a truth which serves their political purpose. They do not wholly embrace a system of verification. In fact, their fact checking is near non-existent. These sources pass opinion off as fact on readers who don’t know any better or who don’t wish to know any better, which is their freedom of speech. As a result, misinformed or intolerant readers stick to these sources that only confirm their pre-existing beliefs. In this way, the sources contribute to an ugly cycle of an ignorant public.

NPR has an Ethics Handbook which perhaps covers the bases of journalistic accuracy in a more digestible way, that can be utilized by readers as well:

Selected Excerpts from NPR’s Accuracy Guidelines

Edit like a prosecutor.
Good editors should test, probe, and challenge reporters, always with the goal of making NPR’s stories as good (and therefore as accurate) as possible.

Take special care with news that might cause grief or damage reputations.

Guard against subjective errors.
When quoting or paraphrasing anyone  – whether in a blog post, an online story or in an on-air “actuality” – consider whether the source would agree with the interpretation, keeping in mind that sources may sometimes parse their words even though we accurately capture their meaning. An actuality from someone we interview or a speaker at an event should reflect accurately what that person was asked, was responding to or was addressing.Be able to identify the source of each fact you report.

Give preference to primary sources.
(i.e. information directly from a first-hand account, such as a witness, rather than a second-hand source who heard from someone or third-hand source who heard from someone who heard from someone…and so on.)

Don’t just spread information. Be careful and skeptical.

Be vigilant about presenting data accurately.
It’s easy to represent data inaccurately or misleadingly, especially in charts and infographics. Double-check your numbers and the way you portray them to make sure you’re imparting the proper information.

Source: NPR, Accuracy, NPR Ethics Handbook, accessed from

Again, no journalism is unbiased. However, some journalism is more accurate than others. When reading articles or preparing to site sources, make sure you are being a critical reader and judging the articles by the same guidelines news sources should be judging themselves. Is it fair? Are they using primary sources who are accurate cited? Are they clearly injecting opinion that is not supported by reputable facts, i.e. primary sources?

A little education can teach readers tune a critical eye for good, or bad, sources. I don’t mean to harp on NPR, but their thorough and publicly available Ethics Handbook makes it an excellent starting point for learning how to read critically. For example, they even list case studies of when they went wrong, including how they went wrong. Studying these examples can give some insight into what a reader should be looking for.

As always, the key takeaway is this: question everything. No single news source has all the information and can give you the entire story. Accurately informing oneself requires thorough investigation of multiple sources with different political viewpoints and perspectives to truly be well-informed.

Think about it. If you were to, say, get in a fight with your younger sister, would you want Mom or Dad to only ask your sister what happened? Would you even want them to only ask your young brother, who had been standing by? Or, if this hypothetical situation is lost on your because you don’t have siblings or have never fought with them because you’re part god, imagine if you were accused of a crime. Would you only want the judge or jury to listen to the plaintiff?

Be smart out there, people!

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on being skeptical of journalism: part I

This post was originally featured on my blog What the Health Now? before being transferred over to Three Times Per Day.

I get it, journalism is hard. Less and less people are subscribing to newspapers and it’s no secret that people like cheap thrills. But an article in the Chicago Tribune last week stooped low, far too low to not call them out for it.

The article was about a set of bond deals intended to earn money for the Chicago Public Schools system that ended up doing the opposite. In it, the Tribune went to town on some of the only people attempting, regardless of success, to raise money for our underfunded education system.

I’m not going to pretend that I know much about bond trading, but I know it’s kinda like playing the stock market. You win some, you lose some.

Regardless, this post is not about whether the article was worthy of publication or not. This article is about one particularly shitty approach they took to turn their reader against a public figure.

Okay, I am rambling. Time to get to the point. Here is a direct quote from the article (appropriately in Courier font) which you can read in its entirety here:

Cepeda has an MBA from the University of Chicago and spent more than 10 years as a banker before founding A.C. Advisory. She also married into one of the most influential political families on Chicago’s South Side. Her late husband, Harvard-trained lawyer Albert Maule, was a grandson of Corneal Davis, a longtime state senator known for delivering black votes for Chicago’s Democratic machine. Maule later was appointed to the city’s police board by then-Mayor Richard M. Daley.

“Five months before Maule died of cancer in 1995, he helped Cepeda start A.C. Advisory, according to a 2013 Tribune profile. The firm got its first contract with CPS months later, and Cepeda continues to advise the district and the city. A.C. Advisory received about $4.7 million in fees on CPS deals from 1996 through 2013.”

Okay, so lets dissect this a bit. They begin with the fact that Ms. Cepeda has an MBA from one of the best business schools in the world and how she spent 10 years in finance prior to starting her business. But, oh wait, don’t be fooled, they continue– “she also married into one of the most influential political families on Chicago’s South Side.” 

And if that isn’t dirty enough, they KEEP GOING. 

“Five months before [her late husband] died of cancer in 1995, he helped Cepeda start A.C. Advisory, according to a 2013 Tribune profile. The firm got its first contract with CPS months later, and Cepeda continues to advise the district and the city. A.C. Advisory received about $4.7 million in fees on CPS deals from 1996 through 2013.”

That’s right. Now, Cepeda, a Chicago Booth graduate and an accomplished banker, established her firm and got deals with CPS thanks to her husband, who was political royalty in the South Side (Chicago’s utter disregard of the South Side in all things political, financial, and otherwise important can be topic for another post).

But, since they mention it, why don’t we go and check out that 2013 Tribune profile, appropriately titled:

Adela Cepeda carved her own path to success

Yep, you read that right. The Tribune published another article last year in which they praised Cepeda for being a self-made woman. This year, they decided to instead spin her as a husband-made wife. What were you thinking, Jason Grotto and Heather Gillers? But what do you have to say for yourself, Chicago Tribune??
The evidence is much more compelling in your 2013 article. For example, what they don’t mention in the recent article is that she met her husband as an undergraduate at HARVARD. Yes, that’s right. She was accepted as a Latina female to the most competitive university in the world. Ms. Cepeda came to Chicago to be with her husband whom she met at Harvard, and who was an attorney from Connecticut but had a grandfather who was a state senator from the South Side of Chicago. Cepeda, herself, ascended to Vice President of Smith Barney.
The 2013 article reads:

“Five months before Maule died in 1995, at age 40, he helped his wife draw up papers for A.C. Advisory Inc., a firm focusing on municipal finance.”

The recent article says:

“Five months before Maule died of cancer in 1995, he helped Cepeda start A.C. Advisory…The firm got its first contract with CPS months later, and Cepeda continues to advise the district and the city. A.C. Advisory received about $4.7 million in fees on CPS deals from 1996 through 2013.” 

You don’t have to be a comparative literature major to realize this shows a blatant lack of integrity in the 2014 article, which purposefully implies that Maule used his family’s political history to gather clients for Cepeda and that it began a precedent of an unqualified wife handling and receiving big chunks of tax payer dollars.

The good news is, Grotto is off to Harvard in the Fall, where he, like Cepeda, can study finance, economics, and accounting and can give journalism a rest. I’m still not sure what Heather’s excuse for demeaning the success of another woman is, but maybe she got that from her husband as well.

Again, I get it. Journalism is hard and journalists have to try more and more to make a story. But please be skeptical of all that you read, people. And all that you hear, too.

Over and out,


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Why I Returned It All

A few weeks ago, I went cray cray banaynay on the online shopping. I’m not sure where the impulse came from, but I suddenly felt I needed a new wardrobe and there were so many deals and then all of a sudden…!

But as I sat amid boxes this weekend, I made a decision. It was all going back, and I wasn’t going to buy any more.

Enough was enough. I was tired coming home to an apartment that literally always had stuff laying around. I was tired of feeling financially out of control even though I’m not, and I was tired trying stuff on, sending it back, and keeping track of returns.

I’ve mentioned before how The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up had a big impact on me. As I discovered this weekend, clearly it was long lasting. Suddenly, I was craving clean lines and an empty table. Friday, after a report went out at work, I cleaned my entire desk, threw away all unnecessary papers (let’s be real, I was never going to look at them again anyway), and got rid of all superfluous office supplies. Immediately, my productivity improved. Like, immediately. I sent out multiple emails I had had on my to-do list, finished homework in record time, entered all of my expenses, and was out of the office by 4:30 pm.

In today’s day and age, where more women have more disposable income and at a younger age, it is so, so easy to get caught in the trap. As early as 2009, the Harvard Business Review noted that women were driving the world economy. Women, particularly young women, are the most targeted consumer group due to their spending power. As a result, we are constantly having ads pushed in our faces, constantly feeling we need the newest this and newest that and pressured to update our look constantly in order to be successful. It’s easy to get caught in a whirlwind of constantly spending.

And, of course, there is a pleasure that comes with shopping. Researchers in the UK, for example, found that over 50% of women got a “high” when shopping. Sure, I get a “high” from eating Magnolia Bakery’s chocolate banana pudding. And, if it was shoved in my face daily, I’d probably eat a whole heck of a lot more banana pudding than I ever, ever wanted to with dire consequences to my waistline and arteries. We are constantly pelted with advertisements, like those emails alerting us of seemingly constant sales and new products. Instagram and Pinterest constantly show us new things and where to get them.

So how can you “protect” yourself? Remove the bait.

Unsubscribe from every retailer email list that currently emails you. I promise you’ll still save the money even if you aren’t directly alerted of sales. In fact, stop going cray during sales and stop trying to get your cart to $150 in order to get free shipping! Those are traps! Instead, download the Honey extension for your web browser. Shop only when you need to and buy only what you love. As a result, you’ll save money and end up donating far fewer barely (or not at all) used items. ∎

What other things have you done to remove money-grabbing distractions, save money, or gain piece of mind amid the clutter? Share below!

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My Favorite Podcasts

Favorite Podcasts

My name is Rachael Nass. And I am a podcast addict.

Every day, I commute 30-60 minutes to the office and another 30-60 minutes home. Two or three times a week I go on a run. Every so often during work, I am stuck doing mind-numbing data entry or formatting exhibits in Excel. And while I love music and often listen to it while exercising or working, there are times when I just want a little something extra — a story, a history lesson, comedy. Like many people, I don’t get to read as much as I would like to, and podcasts help to fill that void. Here are some of my favorites:

This American Life

As far as I’m concerned, This American Life is the original podcast. My mom used to make sure we were driving somewhere on Sunday mornings just so we could listen to it on the radio. Every week, the show is centered upon one theme and shares stories, from journalism to fiction to stand up, on that theme. The show is expertly done and every episode is interesting. I would know — I’ve heard almost every one, and trust me there are A LOT.


Created by This American Life veteran (and fellow UChicago alum, woot woot!), Sara Koenig, Serial is true crime at its finest, a whodunit full of loose ends that are constantly making you second guess your opinion on who’s guilty. Season one follows the store of Adnan (my personal fave) and season two the story of Beau Bergdahl (PIF’s fave).

The Splendid Table

Another one my mom introduced me to, The Splendid Table is the foodie’s podcast. The endearing Lynne Rossetto Kasper has taught me so much about food and cooking and makes the most complicated dish seem totally doable. Just make sure you have paper and pencil on hand to scribble down recipes.

Fresh Air

Headed by the best interviewer on earth, Terry Gross, Fresh Air features guests from all walks of life and thoughtful interviews. I end every episode with a little note about some book I need to read, movie/show I need to watch, or historical event I need to research more.

Code Switch

If you enjoy thoughtful commentary about issues around race and identity, then Code Switch is for you. A newer addition to the podcast game, NPR’s Code Switch has gotten up to speed very quickly. Episodes cover things from the dearth of Asian-American representation on TV and the Indian accent and always leave you with something to think about.


Headed by the totally lovable Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich, RadioLab is totally unique and its theme is hard to pinpoint. Usually, the show explores a story, bringing in experts or weaving in testimony from those who were there. The topics can vary widely, but the shows are clearly carefully put together. Because they’re so carefully thought out, these episodes don’t come often, so this show is better savored than binged.

Planet Money

Econ buffs, rejoice! Non-econ buffs, rejoice, too! Planet Money makes economics easy and fun, exploring the economics of the world around us, including one of my favorite areas of study, behavioral economics. Past episodes have explored the Wells Fargo scandal and how to get a Hermes Birkin bag. The episodes are short and sweet, so expect to binge.

99% Invisible

PIF’s favorite podcast, 99% Invisible, explores everything design. And not just around architecture, but how design plays a roll in everything, from public policy to the products we use to the places we vacation. Plus, host Roman Mars has THE best radio voice ever. (PIF’s favorite episode is about Rajneeshpuram.)

Two Dope Queens

Jessica Williams and Phoebe Robinson took the world by storm when they began Two Dope Queens, a podcast which features stand up comedians, many of whom are women or people of color. While, admittedly, sometimes a bit #basic, the totally goofy Two Dope Queens is a refreshing change of pace that often makes me laugh out loud on the L.

Sooo Many White Guys

Phoebe Robinson’s gone solo on Sooo Many White Guys in a show that features sooo few white guys. Instead of stand up, as in Two Dope Queens, expect instead casual interviews with women and people of color, like Lizzo and — one of my favorite people — Hasan Mihnaj.

Don’t know where to start? How about this:

My Favorite Podcast App: Pocket Casts ($4.99 in the App Store)

I’m a huge fan of Pocket Casts’ interface. It may be the only app on my phone that never freezes or crashes, and it’s Discover feature makes it super easy to download podcasts or find new favorites. Plus, the jump forward and back feature makes it easy to rewind when someone interrupts your listening.


This post was non-sponsored.


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