Up To This Point

Hellooooo!  I’m glad everyone likes the “voice of Mon”.  Good to know for when I’m out of town next… (Hey Mon- I’m putting you to work.)

So my road trip out went well.  Or at least as well as it could.  Construction plagues me every where I go.  As does Christian Rock stations in the middle of Illinois.  Nothing against it, I just don’t prefer it.  I got a little tired of listening to Enrique every 20 minutes.  I did like it, Enrique.  But after hearing about how you “like it” that often, I stopped.  Sorry.  I will now save that tune only for when I’m fist pumping in the club with Pauly D.  In the end, I compromised with the smooth sounds of Ryan Seacrest.  Apparently he’s quite popular in mid-Illinois.

Anyways, I thought I’d just give you a quick recap of the highlights of my little trip so far…Bad Idea #1.  When you go to Subway and say “large iced tea”, and they ask if you’d prefer the 32 oz or the 44 oz, do not say “hell yeah, let’s go with the 44 oz!”  when you are at the beginning of your 8-hour journey.  It was as big as my head.  My bladder is not as big as my head.  Simple math, Amy…

More simple math?  Add another one that size and that’s how much iced tea I had the entire trip.  I don’t learn from mistakes- which is a trait I seem to carry on throughout all aspects of my life.  Sigh…

And how freaky does my neck vain look?  Ew.Bad Idea #2- adding red onions to your sandwich.  It’s not that I’m concerned about my breath so much (I’ve gotten out of the habit of making out with truckers at trucker stops- it only ends in heartbreak), but they’ll pile them on.  Which means I pick alot of them out.  And just crumple the bag and toss it to the side.  And they sit.  And sit.  And sit.  And pretty soon your car will reek of onions.  Gross.  I think it still smells.Finally made it to St. Louis!  Hooray!

During rush hour.  Booo….

But it’s cool.  The rush hour I experienced is child’s play compared to my mess I deal with on a regular basis…I heart Wrigley Field, but I miss my Cardinals.

I also miss getting into the playoffs.  (What is the deal, Cards?!?!)Stopped and met up with one of my lovely ladies, Laura, for dinner.  Mistake #3- pace yourself well on roadtrips.  I ate way too early and had the shakes by the time my food came (probably partially due to the tub of iced tea I put down earlier).  No good.  This wrap vanished as quickly as it came.

Since our dear Mary was down and out with a serious head cold, and because Laura picked up some more hours for work for the next day, I made the last minute executive decision to finish the entire drive (versus spending the night in St. Louis like originally planned) and go the last 3 hours that night.  Because I’m a champ.And with the help of my good friends caffeine and sugar (Swedish Fish?  How’d you get in there??!?!), I did it.  I only regretted the decision to finish the drive for about 15 minutes in a downpour outside of Jefferson City.  My window wipers don’t seem to be up to par. 

I rolled into good ol’ St. E around 11:45.  Both of my parents were up when I got home.  I’m suspicious that they were actually sleeping and set their alarm, but I won’t say anything…I also woke up to rain.  Considering the wedding this weekend is supposed to be an outdoor affair, this is no bueno.  The sun later came out, but we need this rain business to go away completely!

By the way, if you look in the upper most left corner in the picture above, you can see some of our closest neighbors.  Say howdy!The cat also is not amused.  I’m not 100%, but I’m thinking this is the cat my mom endearingly calls “puke cat”.  Because it likes to eat grass.  A lot of it.  And then I’m sure you can guess what it does next.  On our new patio.  Regularly.

I believe I’d have stronger words for the little stinker, but my mom’s much more of a lady than I ever claim to be.After a walk with my mom and some working out with my resistance bands (Yes, I travel with them.  No, I’m not ashamed.), much of my day looked like this.  Reference my Subway drink of choice and then the picture above and you’ll get an idea of how much I love iced tea.  I love it at home the most.  I’m aware my mom uses an iced tea maker (is that cheating?), but it’s still some of the best ever.

And that’s a  new library book.  I finished I Know I Am, But What Are You? by Samantha Bee (love her now), and picked this one up because they finally had it waiting on the hold shelf for me.  I still have a whole stack that I checked out last time, but I’ve been waiting forever (or two months- same difference) for this one to become available and wasn’t gonna miss my chance to read it!  I love Sloane Crosley.  And like to think I’m like her.  But in Chicago instead of New York and with less disposable income.

So yeah.  That’s the last 24 hours in a nutshell.  Just so you know, I haven’t been commenting on the blogs, but I’m still very much stalking you quietly.  Not to creep you out or anything…

I hope you all have a great weekend- I’m off to the rehearsal dinner!

We Can Walk There

Helllloooooo!

Here I am at the end of my vacation (insert “booooooo” here).  There’s so much to say and so little time to do it… so I’ll summarize the highlights for you:

-Interesting people are found on planes.  The worst that I spotted was a mother and son team that matched.  Not coordinated for a family photo- but matched as they were walking through an airport.  Mother and daughter coordinating I get… but really- that poor kid.    Loeb’s Deli was where we ate as soon as we got to DC and were on our way out to explore.  It was also the place where I got assaulted by a crazy old woman in the bathroom for “crowding her at the sink”.  I was leaning in the mirror and fixing my makeup.  But apparently that’s reason enough for a good shove and cursing.  Good to know.

- It’s hot in DC.  Like super hot.  Which is unfortunate for when you decide to walk EVERYWHERE.  But we persevered.  And perspired.  And covered some serious mileage during our trip.  Check out a few of the sights we walked to:- I realized that boy will be boys. As my brother and I were taking this picture, there were two men to the side of us making the Washington Monument strategically placed in their picture to look like a penis.  They were probably 60.  Hence the knowing smiles my brother and I possess in this picture.

- I had interesting eats all weekend.  My favorite restaurant?  Madhatter in Dupont Circle.  I had the Alice Burger, which was a veggie burger.  I wasn’t as huge of a fan of how chunky all the veggies in it where, and it fell apart when I bit into it.  But the sweet potato fries were awesome!

- My favorite restaurant is different than my favorite meal.  The fav plate of food was breakfast on the last day when we went to Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe.  It was a book store, cafe, and bar all in one!  They pretty much give you an excuse to sit and never leave… love it.I had a waffle craving and this was killer.  Funny that my favorite meal was so standard- but sometimes that’s just what you’re looking for…

- Because of the days and days of walking and walking and walking, I didn’t officially workout.  I tried once to go to the fitness center to do weights.  But turns out the only weights they had were also part of the first weight machine ever made.  Whatev.  They were the first thing I did when I got to the gym last night once I got back home.  No worries!- This is my favorite picture.  My mom is yet to embrace the new technology we like to call the “digital camera”.  We often take two pics.  One with the digital for fun.  Then one for the “real” camera.  - Needless to say, the fam had a great vacation!  It was the first time my brother and I had ever been there- and we crammed in everything we could.  My favorite part was probably the American History Museum.  Or Ford Theater.  Or Arlington…. I’m overwhelmed with choices!

-Now it’s back to normal.  And unpacking.  Ugh- unpacking is worst than packing.  I’ll probably just live for a week out of my suitcase… before I have to pack it again for the Healthy Living Summit!  Such a hard life… :p

Have a wonderful and lazy Sunday everyone!

You Have Spoken

And I listened.  Wine it was!  In all reality, it wasn’t going to take that much convincing… but I am glad you all agreed.  ;)

I also hope you had a glass for yourself.  Please tell me you did…

As soon as I got home from work, I ran to the gym.  Mon and I were rocking out the elliptical for a while.  Then a fun mile.  Then abs and weights.  Then the stairmill.  Weeee!  My ADD loves nights like that.

Finally, I got to the wine…  And the movie.  I rented Sherlock Holmes.  Maybe I was just tired.  Maybe the plot just couldn’t keep my interest.  Maybe I was bored with Robert Downey Jr’s ridiculous mumbling the entire movie.  It was exhausting and I couldn’t get sucked in enough to care about it.  Oh well.

This morning I was really excited about today’s run.  It was four miles.  Four miles without working all day first.  Four miles that I don’t feel rushed to start before the sun goes down.  Obviously, I need to start doing morning runs again.  I think I’d enjoy them a little more.  But then there’s that feeling that I’ve gotta rush through my workout to get in the shower in time for work. I just can’t win!

Clearly, I should just not work.  Ever.  And only run.  Ah in a perfect world….

But anyways, I was a little sad it was cloudy and the sun wasn’t really out.  No complaints, though- it’s supposed to rain at some point today and it didn’t when I was at the trail.  Four miles at an 8:26 average pace.  I’ll take it.  I didn’t have negative splits the entire time.  But that’s because according to my Nike+, mile 2 was a sluggish one.  Which is fair- it’s a slow and subtle incline for the majority of it.  And I don’t do subtle.  Never have, never will.  There’s my excuse for my crap mile.  I’m crossing my arms, sticking out my chin, and sticking to that excuse! 

Have you been celebrating National Salad Month?  Did you actually know it was National Salad Month?  Well… you do now.  I celebrated today.  But then again, I celebrate three or four days out of the week thanks to my love/routine of salad for lunch at work.  I’m never hungry right after I’m done running… it takes about an hour or so to kick in.  So when my stomach gave me the green light, I had this:Really simple turkey wrap and salad.  Refreshing.  I’m sad it’s gone.  :(

I won’t, however, be sad when the turkey I bought is finished.  I remember now why I don’t buy it often… I get sick of it after a couple days.  Seriously- how did Jared do it?  If I had deli every day, my body would revolt.  For reals.

My cousin contacted me this morning about possibly doing the 13.1 Chicago and she wanted to see if I was down to participate if she came in for the weekend of it.  But let’s make this clear- SHE is doing the half.  Not me.  There’s a 5k that also happens that day that I’m signing up for.  Probably.  It kind of works into my training schedule well- I’m supposed to do a race the weekend after the 13.1 Chicago, but I’m just gonna swap weekends.  No biggie.  Plus more hangout time for me and the cuz.  Perfect-o. Now the question is if we can convince our moms that it’s a good idea for them to come up from Missouri.  I know how they just LOVE standing around early in the morning watching runners go by for a couple hours…

Since I didn’t do yoga last night for one reason or another, I’m getting ready to do that now.  A nice stretch is necessary.  Maybe it’ll make me feel all long and lean for martini night tonight with some of the chicas.  I can always dream, right?  Btw, anyone a martini fan?  I favor the really rich ones (aka my heart melts for chocolate martinis)- but I’m trying to keep it light tonight.  Suggestions?

Have a good Saturday! Namaste…

Socialization

I’ve spent a lot of weekends resting and staying in as of late.  I have no problems with that.  I actually enjoy it.  But not this weekend… this weekend I remembered what the concept of socialization was all about (although I may be a little rusty… ;)).

After the three of us (my cousin, her friend, and I) getting our workouts in yesterday, we cleaned up as to look publicly acceptable, and headed down to the city to meet up with cousin #2 in Bucktown for a late brunch.  Really it was well past any hour that breakfast should be served in, but if there’s any cinnamon rolls involved, I still call it brunch.We ate at Blue Line Lounge and Grill- right under the Blue Line stop.  They had a little outside patio area that would have been so cute to sit in- had it not been SO COLD!  (Thank you Chicago weather and your mind games… I’m THIS CLOSE to needing therapy because of you.)  Niki got there right after we did, so as soon as she sat down, the family gossip came out again!  Don’t think we’re rude- there’s 35 cousins on that side of the family- there is a LOT of catching up to do on a regular basis.  Jeanna (my cousin Joanne’s friend) was very awesome about listening to all the tales of our childhood/family musings/where are they nows. 

The food came out and I had the California Stone Flat with sweet potato fries.  After that sandwich, I decided no sandwich is complete without avocado.  Mark my words…Such a sassy group of ladies we are…

After lunch, we all parted ways.  My coming home involved a nap in my favorite spot of my new couch (that would be the corner so I pretty much lay there in fetal position and bask in the glow of the sun shining through my sliding door- I’m a little baby like that.  Or a cat.).

I did, however, wake up and get moving again.  I had some energy stored up at that point and went down to hammer out another mile and a half on the treadmill.  Yes- I used the treadmill yesterday.  The dreaded thing.  The rain made me do it!

Later that night, I met up with my bestie Annie and we went to Rocks in Lincoln Park to celebrate her husband Steve’s birthday.  I really like that place because it’s a casual neighborhood bar.  I’m not so much a fan of the club scene and feel much more at home in a place like this.  Joanne was staying downtown this night and was cool enough to meet up with me again!  We decided this was probably the most bonding time we have had in years!I really want to make a trip to Ann Arbor to see her.  I’ve heard it’s a fun little town to run around in.  Plans must be made…

Anyhoo, because it was Steve’s birthday and Annie didn’t have time to bake anything, we brought a few of the cake bites I made to the bar to celebrate his birthday properly.  I like that Annie called them “cake bites”.  I have decided I’m not a huge fan of the word “balls” unless using it in a more negative tone.  Like, “he’s going to be late and we are gonna be so screwed!”  “Oh balls….”.  So yeah, we’re calling them cake bites now. Happy Birthday Steve!!!

People loved my cake bites.  And can we point out- this is where it sounds better.  Because you can’t say “people loved my balls”.  You just can’t use a phrase like that any more without thinking of Alec Baldwin’s schweddy balls skit.  Which is hilarious and all, but still somewhat awkward.  Nothing like a schweddy ball…

I’m running on little sleep today.  I blame myself.  Didn’t turn the heat up enough.  So I woke up freezing.  But too tired to actually get up and turn up the heat more or grab a cover.  So I laid there.  Frozen.  Looking back, that was a poor choice.

I have got to run.  Time to call my mom (Happy Mother’s Day, ya’ll).  And I have to clean before the peeps show up for a special suburb edition of Lunch Club. Have a wonderful Sunday!

I can’t stick to a schedule.

My cousin called while I was at work yesterday.  Her and another cousin of mine that lives downtown are meeting up for lunch today.  But her and her friend’s sleeping arrangements were disturbed last minute, so she called looking for shelter for one night.  And I was more than happy to oblige.  Quite frankly, I like being able to show off my new furniture.  :)

I told them they must have known I was baking.  While they hung out, we put on the Blackhawks game and I went to town in the kitchen.  I shaved off the tops of the cake to make it flat.  And saved it for later for some cake truffles that I “borrowed” from Bakerella.  Then made the fillings for the cake- marshmallow buttercream and chocolate ganache.

The marshmallow buttercream is like crack.  It’s addicting and will most likely make your teeth rot. Like I said- crack. And I can’t get enough.  Let’s all say it together- CRACK.  I am a firm believer marshmallow fluff was given to us from above- it’s like pieces of clouds from heaven all bottled up for us mere mortals to be teased with.  Did I mention I have issues with sugar…?Then the layering of the cakes happened.  This was not pretty and I seriously started to get nervous that the cake was going to turn out like poo.  But after I evened out the sides and promised myself it’d be ok after a layer of buttercream, I trudged on.

Until my handmixer called it quits.  Seriously- you can’t handle soft butter?  Don’t be such a girly mixer!!!  This was actually before my cousin and her friend showed up, so I threw on a jacket and ran out to Walmart to invest in a new Black and Decker.  Yeah, I was at Walmart at 9:00 on a Friday night.  Jealous?  You should be.  Who’s got a sassy-pants new mixer?  THIS GIRL.

I got home and then started working again.  I was finished with the dirty icing (it’s a real term- I didn’t make it up!) and had it ready for the next layer by the time they showed up.  I actually liked that they missed the earlier stages- my practice cake was looking ROUGH.

But it turned out ok!

TA-DA!  The “sand” is just graham cracker crumbs and brown sugar mixed together.  I’ve got a few more things I’m wanting to do for the final product, but hopefully the destination wedding/beach concept goes over well!  Jaime reads this blog, so let her know what you think… and be honest!  I still have two weeks to change it up a little…

Anyhoo, the three of us gossiped and chatted away all night and then figured we should call it quits and go to bed- the family gossip will definitely be continued at lunch today when Niki joins in on the fun.  Don’t want her to miss TOO much, right?

Oh and today I am working out.  Because of my little random change in plans, I didn’t last night.  I probably could of, but wanted to at least spend some time talking to Joanne and catching up- and not concentrating on the cake the entire time.  Totally worth it.  But I am working out today.  Like as in as soon as I get off of this computer.  My cousin and her friend are currently off running and I am heading out to do some weights and hit the elliptical for some serious WORK.  Like… right…. NOW.

Later!  Have a good weekend!

Holiday Hangover

Does anyone ever have a “holiday hangover”?  Usually my first day back to normalcy is a sluggish one.  I have a feeling today will be no different.  With good reason- yesterday was another long one. 

We started out with a casual Sunday Brunch:It was just the immediate fam and my aunt from my dad’s side of the family.  I like it this way.  :)  Mom made her awesome breakfast casserole and we had some leftovers from the day before.  I’m not a ham kind of gal, but hello breakfast casserole.  I love you.

After brunch, I packed up and pretty much was out the door a little after noon.  I didn’t make it to my extended family’s Easter gathering on my mom’s side- we have a HUGE family on that side.  I figured it would be too hard to do a “quick” stop through.  And it can always be somewhat overwhelming because there’s just soooo many people (my mom has 12 other brother and sisters- holy crap, right?).  So I just headed towards Chicago after I left my parent’s house.Ya’ll come back now, ya hear?  :) 

And in true St. Louis fashion, as I was going through, I heard J Kwon’s “Tipsy” AGAIN.  What is that about?!?! (Jill knows what I’m talking about!)  I thought it was funny the first time I went through, but I had no idea it was still in heavy rotation?  Or that was one hell of a coincidence!

Everybody in the club getting tipsy…. anyone?Ahhh… I’m baaaaacccccckkkkk!

The majority of the drive wasn’t too bad.  I made awesome time for most of the way.  And even was able to time it out so that I stopped at the same Panera on my way back- I think I found my default pit stop from now on.I approve of the clean bathroom vs. the gas stations I’ve been frequenting.  Clearly.  But the salmon club?  Not so much recommended… Plus it’s easier to eat the panini’s and drive. Not that I would eat and drive at the same time or anything…  And no I do not want to participate in your new promotion.  I’m aware that I bought a drink and entree and that qualifies me for a 99 cent pastry or cookie.  But I just ate my weight in chocolate Easter candy and you can ask 10 more times after the last 5 that you just did and I will still say no.  Thanks. Yes I’m sure.  No really, I’m totally aware it’s a really good deal.  NO I DON’T WANT IT, JUST BACK OFF. 

I still heart you Panera.  Promise.

I drove straight into a huge thunder and lightening storm.  I saw it coming about an hour away.  I think that may have been part of the reason I had to deal with serious traffic on the last leg of my trip.  Lame.  Nothing says welcome back home than getting completely soaked as I try to unload my car and drag my soaked luggage up three flights of stairs…

But all in all, it was a good weekend.  I like getting in quality time with the fam.  Especially at my parent’s house, since I don’t get to go back as often as I used to.  Just for kicks, here’s an oldie of me and my younger bro:Is that not the sweetest picture of all time?  We were pretty sassy looking kids.  That’s my brother- but he’s grown up a little since.  And I don’t really call him my “little” brother anymore:I like to think we’ve grown up nicely.  :)  And if you’re wondering, we were pretending to be the weather man (the forecast was up).  And I’m not sure how I can bend my leg that way… weird.  But yeah, that’s us.  I heart my little bro- he’s so grown up and became such a gentleman! 

I also just recently told him about the blog- so if you leave a comment, feel free to say hello!  :)

I’m doing yoga today.  And am running at some point this week to test out the leg.  Cross your fingers!  I’ve supposedly got that 5k next weekend with Annie and it’s time I figure out if I can feasibly do it or not.

Have a good Monday everyone!

Holiday Road

Yep… as you’re reading this, I’m doing one of two things…

Stuffing my face with these:Or I’m on the road again (cue “Holiday Road” from the National Lampoon’s theme).

I have to say I didn’t overindulge ALL weekend until the above pictured candy came along.  I can’t help it.  I can’t stop at just one… or five…  All I can say is that I’m happy my mom (for some reason still unknown to me) didn’t pick up the mini milk chocolate Cadburry eggs that I love.  Maybe because she knew I’d start inhaling them as I laughed manically, all balled up in the corner rocking back and forth? 

Well that’s probably a good reason now that I think about it.

Either way, good bye Easter candy- you were fun.  I’m going to probably have a sugar hangover this afternoon because of the little incident that just happened when I tried to pick up one piece of candy to tide me over until brunch… oops. 

Now all I have to get through is the little tiff with my mom about how much of the candy I should take back with me.  I always say none.  She always pulls out a gallon-sized ziploc bag for me.  Usually we compromise.  My only issue is I’m about to embark on an 8-hour drive.  That candy will be gone by the time I get home.  I know myself too well to have it any other way.

Anyways, all in all, it’s been a good weekend.  Yesterday there was more family time.  I also saw my two friends and their new (as in two week old) baby girl.  Honestly, I’m not around babies often.  So holding this newborn was pretty fascinating to me.  So small!  And cute!  And then I got the “poop face”.  So I handed her back over as to not get stuck with that whole situation…  And my brother and I visited with some peeps after church.  And then up at the local bar.  Needless to say, I got plenty of face time in.  And I always seem to have this conversation:

“So Amy, where are you these days?”

“Chicago.”

“Chicago?!?!  Whatcha doin’ up there?”

“Living the dream.”

“Too damn big if you ask me…. Chicago.  You a Cubs fan now?”

“No, I still like the Cards.”

“Well you better be.  Chicago… all those damn buildings…”

This was pretty much the conversation I had with someone last night.  And I’m positive I had a similar conversation with that same person before.  Twice…  Whatev.  I probably asked him the same questions last night as I did before… works both ways.

Anyhoo, I’m off to shower and such before brunch.  Otherwise, the lingering smell from the bar (which would be cigarettes and deep fry) would make me no fun to sit next to…

Enjoy the end of the weekend!  I’ll have more about the weekend later, but I have got to get moving.  I always miss my fam, but I’m looking forward to being back in my own space.

And seeing what the boy next door is up to… ha.

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