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  • Joey Chestnut wins the 2016 Nathan's Famous hot dog eating contest at Coney Island.

    On traditions, the Fourth of July, and a hot dog eating contest.

    Joey Chestnut and Matt Stonie took their prime spots at the center of the table and, from the moment the clock started ticking down, they were both fully focused on the win. For the first few HDBs the...

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  • New York from New Jersey.

    New York. This Year.

    I spent Fourth of July weekend in New York. Obviously. It was my eighth visit since my first time in 1999 and my seventh Fourth of July spent in the city since 2007. Whew. I was there, mainly, for the...

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  • Chicago Skyline

    In June I…

    Went to a bonfire at Promontory Point in Hyde Park. Went to Maifest and Do Division festivals. Watched a lot of The Bachelorette. (And seriously, why has no one ever greeted me for a date with a boy b...

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  • Adrian Morgan | Ribmania Ribs Eating Contest at Ribfest Chicago

    Ribmania.

    In a week I leave for a long Fourth of July weekend in New York. If you know me at all or if you’ve followed my blog even remotely closely, you can probably guess the primary purpose for the tri...

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I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.

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Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
Val Bromann - Choosing FIgs

Hi, I'm Val. I spent most of my 20s in a standstill, unable to pick which path in life I wanted to take. I wanted the nomadic life of a traveler but also wanted the husband, the condo, and the kitten named Bacon. Unable to decide which life I wanted more, I did nothing. When I turned 30 I’d had enough of putting my life on hold and decided to start “choosing my figs.” So, I quit my job and bought a one-way ticket to Europe. After 3 years on the road I’m back in Chicago, exploring the city, decorating my apartment in too much teal, and planning my next adventure. Learn more.


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Where do you want to go?

My life list. What have I checked off? What do YOU want to check off?