Soulful Sunday is a weekly dose of inspiration from busy Chicago women who still manage to stay balanced no matter what their career—or life—throws their way.
Soul Sister: Lera Thompson, special events director for Headquarters Beercade.
Thompson ditched the idea of going to law school after working at a property tax appeal law firm for nearly two years. Realizing that law really wasn't the route that she wanted to take vocationally, she found her way into the hospitality industry, working everywhere from Crimson Lounge to the Sound-Bar Group before working at HQ. "I believe that every event is an opportunity to introduce new guests to Headquarters Beercade," said Thompson."My ultimate goal is to produce a unique, memorable experience that guests will want to tell their friends about by ensuring that guests receive efficient service, exceptional drinks and food, and warm interactions with our staff."
How she unwinds: "I horseback ride almost every morning. I've been riding hunter/jumper horses since I was seven years old. Now, for the first time in my life, I'm finally able to lease a horse, which allows me to ride more often than just taking one riding lesson a week. I make the reverse commute to Batavia, Illinois, and ride at McIntyre Stables—the same barn where I rode in middle and high school. The horse I lease, Alaska D, is a former Grand Prix jumper, and she's just awesome. We've developed a special bond, and she even nickers to me when I turn down the aisle toward her stall in the morning.
"Starting my day off at the barn centers me in a way that nothing else does. It's what gets me up in the morning and gets me through even the longest days. Going to the barn to ride gives me to that 'third place,' a place that's separate from work and home, where I can go and enjoy time doing what I love. It's a place that's set apart and insulated from the daily grind. I always leave the barn with a clear head, ready to start my day on a good note, no matter what it brings.
Despite the fact that it does take quite a bit of time and planning to be able to drive out to the suburbs almost every day, the early mornings are totally worth it (and I'm not naturally a morning person)."
Balance tip: "Sunday brunch is always a great way to relax on Sundays, in my book! You really can't go wrong with a good Bloody Mary (luckily, we have an awesome one at HQ). I also use Sundays as a day to catch up on things for the week. Depending on the event schedule, my time is often very limited for necessities like cleaning and laundry. This helps me start my week feeling organized. I also enjoy starting DIY projects on Sunday nights—usually far later at night than I should. But sometimes that's when inspiration strikes. Lately, I've been on a terrarium-making kick."