No Stress Here

It’s the weekend before Christmas.

That means less than 7 DAYS, people!

Normally, I’m freakin’ a little at this point. Somehow, this weekend doesn’t seem as bad as I thought.

Maybe it was the fact that I hit Target/Trader Joe’s early yesterday in order to avoid the bad crowds. There were still crowds, but it didn’t seem that busy.

Then again, I went sans makeup/shower/good hygiene in general. It’s possible men and small children hid as I strolled past.

Because I chose to break up the Target shopping and the last shopping trip to Michigan Avenue into two different days, it was noon and I had a good chunk of time on my hands. What’s a girl to do?

She runs. She runs 5 solid miles. She notices a hottie jump on the treadmill next to her. And she congratulates herself because that extra swipe of deodorant was a good choice… How you doin’?

Anyway…

Often, when I decide to stay low key for the weekend, I try to make smart decisions in the kitchen.Yay green!

And yes, that’s ranch dressing. The regular kind. My friend Mary and I discussed this once and both totally agree- the extra calories are ok as long as you’ve bringing in all the veggies with it. A massive plate of solely vegetables with some fat in the dressing is better to eat than no vegetables at all. Just don’t drown them. Holla’.

Besides, fat-free/lite ranch is really gross. And that doesn’t make anyone happy.

Another thing that does make me happy?Cookies. Duh.

During the 3rd Blogger Sweet Swap, Jessica from The Process of Healing and I were partnered together! I sent her some Chubby Hubby Cookie Bars last week, and this arrived at my door yesterday afternoon!

She chose to make a few things from How Sweet It Is- cake batter bark and browned butter chocolate chip/brownie cookies.Fabulous.

My roommate and I took down over half of the bark within an hour of opening the package. Truth.

Chocolate reduces levels of stress hormones. It’s absolutely necessary you fit it into your healthy diet over the holiday season. It’s medically proven. Google it.

Speaking of roommates, mine made buffalo ranch chicken last night.A way to reduce stress? When she asks if you want some of it, you say “why yes, yes I would love to not make my own dinner and eat this amazing food instead…”

Buffalo chicken is easily in my top 10. I’m a sucker for that hot sauce.I’m also a sucker for 312. I heart you, Goose Island. Even if you did sell your soul to Anheuser Busch. But that’s a bone to pick at another time…

We decided to hole ourselves up for a relaxing evening of movies. The Change Up, 30 Minutes or Less and The Wizard of Oz. Clearly we just couldn’t decide what kind of genre we wanted to go with. I guess variety is the spice of life.

And here I am now. Well-rested and relaxed. Not normal for a Sunday morning (reference last weekend’s silly foolery).

Off to the gym I go before tackling the last few things on my holiday shopping list. Hopefully with plenty of the Sunday afternoon to spare by the time I’m done.

And that, my friends, is how you have a relatively sane weekend before Christmas.

The Diamond Dash 5k

I’m always one to give myself plenty of time when trying to go anywhere.

This is Chicago. I mean… you could try to drive down the street and it will take anywhere between 5 minutes to an hour.

Think I’m kidding? Don’t.

The roomie was a volunteer for the Burdeen’s Diamond Dash, so we had to make sure she was there at 7:30. We got there at 7:05. Whoopsie. Way too early.

At least we saw a double rainbow on the way. It was decided to be a good omen. Thanks to YouTube.

And it started to rain. Which KILLED me. Annie worked her ass off and has lived and breathed this event for the last 6 months. The last thing we needed was rain. She smiled the entire time anyway.But the rain came and went. So there was still plenty of time to get ready for the race and stretch…My creeper was back. Oh Mon…

So back to the race…

It was a smaller one. But 140 participant for the first year? Pretty impressive.

My lunchtime running buddy, D, and I, along with my girl Laura ran the 5k. After a long night of watching Mizzou football and listening to the awesome party my neighbors were having, we were all feeling a little ragged. But were determined to run this thing balls to the wall.

The horn went off. My guy friend pushed ahead as soon as he was off. I told him I would stick with him for the first half mile at least. I lied.

The first mile was a rough one. My calves were tight and I was tired.

Excuses. They’re like belly buttons. Everyone has one.

So I sucked it up. And kept truckin’.

My stride finally came at mile 2.

The sound of my breathing may lead you to believe otherwise, but I found a dude and set up my pace behind him. For almost 2 miles. And then I passed him. Which was right at the last .1 miles of the course.

Enough energy to pass one. But not the girl in front of me. It wasn’t happening.

Did this bother me?

Eh. Not really. Because I somehow ended up placing second and getting a sweet medal and gift certificate to Fleet Feet!Perfect timing. Because this chick needs new running shoes!

My final time was 24:25- just under a 7:53 pace. I missed my fastest time by about 18 seconds. Awwwwww shucks!

Final impressions of the race? I won’t lie- there’s a lot of bias on my end. Being as how one of my best friends organized the thing. However, I will say she went above and beyond the call of duty. No small detail was left unattended. And the course was perfect for the size of the race. Even the narrowest part of the trail was saved for the end when everyone had thinned out due to pace.

Plus there was a bouncy house. What more do you need?

I’ll be back next year to try and claim my spot as first place female.

Or at least attempt to keep up again… ;)

How did we celebrate the finish of the race?

With beer, of course!Oh and buffalo chicken. Because my weaknesses are buffalo sauce and mexican food. So clearly one or the other would happen.

This is Sunday Funday, afterall.

And because it was Sunday Funday, and because we were at Goose Island cheering on the Bears (we’re not talking about it), I had to get the flight of Goose Island beers…I have had all the beers but the Honkers Ale, but it was a decent deal, so why not?

The Honkers Ale was delish. However, my heart will always belong to the original 312. Holla’.

We ended the night with a mad dash in the rain and some wine from the liquor store down the street and the Emmy’s.Sorta reminded me of when Laura and I lived together in college.

I’m sad she’s leaving this morning. And she may hate me after being stuck in rush hour on her way home to St. Louis.

Oh well. We had a good weekend. One for the books. Yeah- I’m calling it that.

Happy Monday kids. Don’t mind me- I’m gonna go fill up on caffeine and get a little salad detox in. Laters!

Classic Combo

Pizza and beer.  Classic.  It’s such an all-American thing to do.  This is definitely one of my favorite things- there are few combinations that can top it.

And then Holly goes and does something crazy.  She puts beer in her pizza dough.

Clearly all the cool kids are doing it.  I wanted to be cool, too.  So I decided to make pizza last night in a similar fashion.

My beer of choice was Goose Island’s Autumn Ale.And look:This actually worked!  I won’t lie- I was skeptical at first.  But wooooooo hooo!

Because I’m not going to be home much this weekend, I made it a point of holding out on the grocery shopping.  So my options were slim. The only toppings I really had around were mushrooms and onions.  So simple veggie pizza it was.

Make sure to wait until about half way through baking the pizza dough to add your toppings.  If you add them at the very beginning, the middle of your pizza will never bake and you will have a mess.  Live and learn.

The whole baking process takes about 20 minutes.  Easy peasy.  Enjoy finished pizza with the leftover beer.  If you have no leftover beer from making the dough, I suggest pouring some vino.Bad lighting makes my chedda’ cheese look weird.  (insert shrugging of shoulders)

The dough was much thicker than the usual stuff I get at the store.  But that’s cool.  I like it dense.  Sorta like my men.  Remember?  ;)

Let’s review, shall we?  Holly puts beer in her pizza dough.  Beer in pizza dough is genius.  So logically, we can conclude that Holly is a genius.

Neat-o.

What’s one of your favorite combinations?  I also enjoy beer with buffalo wings.  Or coffee with cake. 

Anyways… Happy Friday everyone!!!  I’ve gotta run downtown today to pick up my race packet for the Hot Chocolate 15k after work and going to bed EARLY.  Not only am I running the race tomorrow, I’m also jumping in the car with my friend Annie and heading to St. Louis for the night.  Random?  Yes.  But Annie asked if I wanted to ride along and I haven’t seen a couple of my favorite blondies for a few months, so why not?

Have a good one, kids!

Hey Ma…

Happy weekend everyone!  Was it just me or was that one of the slowest work weeks of all time?

Either way, I’m excited to finally have some rest and relaxation.  And most importantly, get some quality time in with the parental unit who came up to visit while my cousin runs the Chicago Marathon:Hey ma!

As I was uploading this pic, I said, “hey mom, I like this picture.  It turned out well.”

She inspected it (after pulling out her glasses of course) and said, “eh.  I guess I look alright for an old lady.”

Psht.  Now I know where I get my critical eye from…

She and two of my aunts roadtripped their way up yesterday (living on almond joys and gossip- or so I’ve been told) and my mom was waiting for me at my place by the time I got home from work.  So then it came time for our turn at catching up until I finally said I’d need something to eat or an arm would go missing.

Originally we had planned to go out to eat somewhere that at least had real silverware, but I wasn’t in the mood for anything too heavy and she had eaten a later lunch.  Solution?

Why Jason’s Deli, of course. I was craving deli.  This has happened a lot as of late.  Not sure why.  My mom did soup and a salad, while I tried something new to me from the “Lighter Side” part of the menu:I had the turkey wrap- which was filled with turkey, sprouts and guacamole (yes!).  Sans tomato because I’m crazy and don’t like tomatoes in my sandwich.  Also, it came with chips and guac (double yes!) on the side.

Sadly, the Goose Island beer didn’t come with it.  I supplied that on my own.  This was my first time trying the Harvest Ale and I have to say it’s not my favorite.  I still like Goose Island’s Summertime much better.  Maybe it’s just because I prefer lighter beer and not so much the malts, or maybe it’s because that’s me being in denial that summer’s over.  Either/or.

Quick- name your favorite beer!  Or if you don’t like beer- your favorite beverage to relax with?

Anyhoo, this is a quick one because clearly us girls have shopping to do.  With very little time to do it before we travel downtown to meet up with the rest of the gene pool for an evening out. 

Have a great Saturday!  And for all you kids running, GOOD LUCK!  I’ll be in the crowd.  Most likely with a bright yellow scarf.  If I see you, don’t be surprised if I’m jumping up and down like a maniac.  It’s sorta what I do.

Sex and Hockey

Thanks so much for all the words about my latest 5k!  I am still really happy with how I did and am hoping it’ll keep me motivated for the next race I have (next race to be decided- a list of a few I want to do needs to be narrowed down!).

Last night some of us girls (Mon, Annie and I) finally had our girls night out (early evening out?) to go see Sex and the City 2.  It’s been rough to not read everything about it and ruin it for myself, so I’m glad we finally were able to see it.  And…

I really liked it!  The movie was definitely much “lighter” than the first. I’m not a crier, but the first one had me in tears on and off throughout the entire thing.  This one, in my opinion, was more like the actual tv show.  It was light-hearted, while still touching on some heavy subjects that were the undertone of the entire movie.  It was a little long, but I would have a hard time trying to figure out what exactly would have been cut out.  Either way, all three of us left happy with it.  :)

Annie made an exit after the movie to get home (she also had a busy weekend), whereas Mon and I trekked over to Buffalo Wild Wings in hopes of catching the second half of the Blackhawks game and getting some serious food in our stomachs (I was wanting a little reward for the 6 miles I ended up doing yesterday- and yes, I did thrown in another three on the trail after my last post like I said I would).  After being told it was probably going to be a 45-minute wait, Mon and I decided the best move would be to get carryout and catch the game at home.  We also just had a beer at my house- so we saved some $$$ while we were at it.  ;)

So here we are waiting for our food.  Don’t let the smiles fool you- we’re smiling out of deliriousness.  We were HUNGRY after the 2 1/2 hours spent in the movie theater!Mon got some Buffalitos with chips and salsa.And I went for a buffalo chicken wrap and fries.  This girl has had some serious cravings for buffalo chicken as of late!Obviously, I was just as excited about the Goose Island beer…

Gotta love Sunday Fundays…

My bags are packed up again for some running right after work- 3.5 miles today.  I want to get it done first thing because I have some serious grocery shopping and cleaning to get done the next couple of days.  I say “next couple of days” because I’m one of those people who says, “ok, I’m just vacuuming today” or “I’m just dusting in my living room”.  So it takes a few days.  But that’s what works for me- I hate to clean, and I find it’s easier to sneak it in during commercial breaks or something this way.  In my head it makes perfect sense…

Welcome back to the work week.  I only hope there’s plenty of caffeine to go around…

Quick Statements

I’m exhausted. I baked for a majority of the day on Thursday.  It was nuts.  Either way, this is going to be somewhat short and sweet. No pun intended…

Thanks for the great comments yesterday.  I’m pretty sure we went with the fill-in option of having a bug fly into your eye as the worst way to encounter bugs on a run.  It sucks.

The day off was nice.  I did get in a walk on the trail.  I knew it was my rest day, but it’s not like it was strenuous. 

I still have a lot of baking to do after work today.  An entire white triple-layered cake.  And then all the icing.  And then finishing the cake bites that came from the cake that will also be served at the wedding.  Holy crap I’m gonna be busy. 

What did I get done?  Two chocolate triple-layered cakes are layered and ready for final icing.  Scotcheroos (a favorite I make that was specially requested for) are done.  And all the cake leftover from the chocolate cakes are rolled and ready for dipping to turn into cake bites.  The “sand” is made.  The cakestand, flowers, and sea shells are ready.  Whew…

Because I was baking tasting all day, I totally ruined my dinner.  I didn’t have any.  This sucks.  Because I had seriously good planned eats.

I did, however, have this baby while doing some icing work:I used it as a way to cut the sweetness of everything I had been eating.  And since beer and icing don’t mix, it kept me from sticking my finger into the bowl for awhile.  It worked.

As I was lounging in sugar coma, I did decide to watch Grey’s Anatomy.  Best. Decision. Ever.  Anyone else catch it?  I’m pretty sure it made up for the entire season of suckiness.  Way to pull out the big guns, Greys.  Literally.

I had a fun google search term yesterday that someone used to get to  my blog.  “Fish think but too slowly, second city.”  Um… ok.

Although I’m crazy busy, I still have cross training to do tonight.  And am looking forward to it. :)  I need to sweat it out!

Just so you know I did actually eat something healthy yesterday, here was my lunch!Southwestern theme of course.  Because I love it.  Wish I had pulled out the salsa.  Didn’t cross my mind.  Surprising…

Happy Friday!

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