When A Friend Comes to Visit

I have a lot of people come in from out-of-town to visit.

It’s hilarious. I became a much more interesting person once I moved to a cool place like Chicago. Who can blame them? It’s a cool place.

Juuuuust kidding, ya’ll. I know they love seeing me, too. Not just my awesome city.

Don’t tell me otherwise.

Anyway, when friends come, there are a few things I always make sure to do.

Like have them meet my Chicago buddies…Megan, Laura and I attended Festiv-Ale on Friday night- a benefit featuring some of the best breweries in the Midwest. My highlight of the night was one of the pumpkin ales being offered. And also anything Half Acre had to offer me. Because it’s delicious.

I’m not a beer snob by any means. But this event makes it a little rough to go back to the Bud Light chillaxin’ in my refrigerator. Le sigh.

There was also food:We saw everyone walking around with this pastry-like concoction and HAD to track them down. Stuffed with kung-pao chicken and pulled pork. They look kinda bland, but I promise it was a party in my mouth.

Insert joke here.

Also, what’s a girls weekend without shopping?I’m not a huge fan of malls. They make me overly anxious. But I’ll take a stroll down Michigan from time to time. Of course, my stroll includes stops at H&M and Charming Charlies. Not Gucci.

One day…

And because my friend is a college friend, I ALWAYS insist on making a trip to the Mizzou bar for college game time.True Tiger for life.

Someone please tell me why my head looks so huge in that picture. Sigh… I’m so awkward…Oh and I always make sure my girls get their fill of Mexican food. Even if it’s just guac and salsa at a bar. We’re not picky.

I also force my love of the Chicago Bears on them. That’s a non-negotiable. But she doesn’t know that’s happening yet. Not until 1:00 this afternoon… ;)

And because we’re both advocates of fitness, we’re off to the Burdeen’s Diamond Dash 5k this morning!

That beer we had Friday night isn’t going to run itself off….

And The Thunder Rolls…

Mark my words- this is the ONLY time you will ever hear me reference a country song.

It just seemed appropriate.

My drive yesterday was… interesting. The office closed at noon yesterday and there might as well have been a gunfire start as I rushed to get out of the city and on the road. Directly into a downpour. For about 2 hours.

It amazes me how many people don’t feel it’s necessary to put on their lights in a storm. Not so much out of concern for their safety- but do they not realize how much of MY time is going to be wasted if cars begin to collide? Geez.

Clearly it’s all about me.

Anyway, after I was out of the crazy, there was still constant rain. So I won’t complain about the flat boring drive of cornfield after cornfield- mostly because I couldn’t see them.

Thank goodness it never fails- I always hear and rock out to Chumbawumba while driving through central Illinois. Talk about a perfect theme for the drive. I get knocked down… but I get up again…

Once hitting St. Louis, the calls about the tornado warnings started coming in. I was driving straight towards them. And baseball-sized hail that was accompanying them.

Fabulous.

Because I already had decided to stray a little from my regular route to swing through my old college town, I missed the tornadoes sweeping through. Completely. 

Had I not decided to go that way, I would have been in the middle of all the storms that hit St. Louis. Lucky was DEFINITELY the word of the day. Especially since I had to pee like crazy in St. Louis but was able to hold it while speeding buckling down and getting through in a reasonable amount of time.

That couldn’t have been good for the kidneys.

Again, I have no idea how this luck happened- because this is the ONE time my friend was able to meet up out of all the times in the last year we tried to sync up my travel plans with hers. Oh Mizzou! How I’ve missed you!

I’m sorry I haven’t come to visit more often. It’s not you- it’s me. I’ve been busy. But promise to try and come back really soon.

With two practically sleepless nights and a day of work and driving, you bet your ass I slept well last night. And then sat all morning and watched my mom bake sticky buns. After multiple trips out, I remembered this time to bring my own coffee. My dad only drinks decaf. And we won’t even get into how pointless I think decaf coffee is.

My parents are retired teachers. There are a lot of things with apples on them in their house. Typical.

Everyone in the house has been slow moving so far this morning. The rain is still coming down. The laziness continues.

I brought my trilogy of Jillian Michaels dvds. One of them will be broken out this afternoon. Because clearly I’m not venturing outside in all the rain. For reals.

Enjoy  your Saturday, kids! And for those of you traveling- be safe and have fun with the fam!

Such a Rush

Why is it that I feel horribly rushed when there’s only three days in my work week?

It’s strange.

But yet, it happens.  Like last night- instead of my usual routine, I met up with my friend Bailey at the mall to do some last minute New Year’s shopping.  She has a bit of a NYE date and asked me to assist her. 

Hilarious- because my fashion sense is in the medium to medium-low range at best. 

And we don’t even need to get started with my accessorizing skills.

Either way, there I was trying to help her out while peeking at some stuff for myself.  Being two days away, I still have NO CLUE what I’m doing. A backup outfit may be a good idea.  Plans are flying around from multiple sources. Some intriguing. All with the possibility of being a lot of fun.  All logistically challenged.

Right now, I’m comfortable admitting that the idea of a low-key New Years keeps getting better and better.  It’s easy.  Simple.  Cheap.  And I’ll wake up the next day in my own comfy bed. In legit sleepwear.

After last year being an overpriced failure of an evening, and the year before involving an incident with my new coat being stolen IN coat check, can you really blame me?

Stay tuned. The final decision probably won’t happen until that day. 

Since it was later than usual when I got home, it was decided right then and there that shopping was my cardio for the night. I was wearing heels.  And Woodfield is the 5th largest mall in the United States. Include all the dodging of slow walkers and oblivious children (grrrr), and that’s a legitimate workout.

Plus, The Insight Bowl was on.  Mizzou vs. Iowa.  The cable channels at the gym do not include ESPN and the television is too tiny for sporting event viewing. 

Priorities, people.

So I sat my butt down and enjoyed dinner with the Mizzou football team (or at least tried to as they seemed to struggle through the entire game).Told you I’d start up the avocado rage soon.  And Thousand Island dressing was a random purchase made last week on a whim.  Best.Idea.Ever.  Usually, I go for a basalmic variety. And even when I do creamy dressings, it’s ranch all the way.  But there was a buy-one-get-one going on and this caught my eye.

I could not be more satisfied with my wild ways.  A different dressing?  Crazy talk!

Another crazy move I made was the trip to the gym this morning. Lately, the dvd morning workouts have been just fine since the weather requires wasting precious time bundling up like mad.  But it’s been quite some time since I’ve got some decent mileage in. And “No More Trouble Zones” has left me a little sore in the arms.  Weights weren’t being used today.

A 4-mile run!  I’m a total geek about it, too.  My alarm went off a little after 5:00 and I was actually excited to get up.  This must mean 5 days away from cardio makes me straight-up crazy. Noted.

Excited to work out?  Yes.  Anything crazy about the actual run?  Not really.  4 miles at an 8:41 pace.  It kicked my butt, even though I wish I would have had more time for my cool down walk.  Another 1/2 mile or so would have been nice.  I heart my morning workouts, but the rush to get done is such a suck.

During my short cool down, I said hi to the sassy Miss Heather.Heeeey girl, heeeeey!

I know she posted about her article that she did for Women’s Health ages ago.  But our gym’s magazine selection is sad at best.  And a few months behind. 

But it’s cool.  It’s like I was surprised and excited for her all over again.  Neat. :)

Plus when I find a new magazine in the rack there, it’s like gold.  Victory!

Anyways, it’s the 2nd day of my 3-day work week. I hope your work days (unless you’re on vacation- lucky ducks) are also going just as quickly!  Later, kids!

Everywhere and Back Again

I’m going to be cheap and use a shot of Jake Gyllenhaal naked to catch your attention:I’m not ashamed.  He is quite the handsome man.  And has come a long way from his Bubble Boy days. ;)

But yes, I just made this late breakfast. Yesterday was a whirlwind and I’m all out of whack it seems.

That can sometimes be a good thing. 

I got up early for a coffee date at O’Hare with my fantabulous friend Ashlee.  She had a 4-hour layover and we were determined to take advantage of it.Hey girl… heeeeeeyyyy!

 O’Hare is a huge place.  And I have no sense of direction.  So it took a bit to finally come together.  Which is sad, because I had a plan.  And a sign for when she walked out from the gate:Totally didn’t get to use it.  But it’s the thought that counts, right?

And yeah- we have nicknames.  I call her monkey and she calls me penguin.

You can try to understand our crazy if you want to.  But I don’t really even know how we became so weird…I already had breakfast, and Ashlee’s not a big breakfast person, so we split a cookie from Starbucks.  The white chocolate icing was fab.  But we both said the same thing.  Crunchy sugar cookies are not nearly as good as soft ones.  Truth.

After a couple hours, she had to leave for her flight home.  I’m being mischievous and am already coming up with ways to sabotage her next layover so she’ll have no choice but to stay in Chicago.  For good.  Muhahahaha…

I also had another friend who was in the area for the weekend from Philly.  We went to college together and there was an MU game on last night, so it only seemed natural that we made our way to The Spread (my favorite Mizzou bar in the Lincoln Park neighborhood).The three of us slowly and randomly worked our way around the city. It would have been faster had we not had a cab driver who hated life and decided to tell us why and then the other cab driver who seemed more lost than we were. 

My favorite spot of the night was at Cubby Bear just outside of Wrigleyville.  The big Northwestern vs. Illinios game was played inside of Wrigley field yesterday and ESPN College Game Day had been there.  Needless to say, the streets were packed.  The bars were full.  The drinks were flowing.

The pizza was also ordered.  And demolished.

We crashed at a friend’s house (drinking and driving should never be mixed, kids!) and I woke up with a bit of a headache.  Which is somewhat surprising considering how much we ate at the end of the night.  I’m not a big believer in Advil (seriously- I’ve only stashed one or two sample packets of Advil at home from work for worst-case scenarios), so my cure came in the form of this: They should really come up with a bigger size for their iced teas.  Like a pony keg.  I’d dig it. Because this was obviously not enough (refer to coffee in the first picture that was immediately consumed after my tea was gone).

I think I have a caffeine addiction.

I also think that is not a surprising revelation.

I also think it may be time to lounge some more.  It’s Sunday.  Sundays are lazy.  Truth.

Productive Member of Society…

…today that would not be me.

Or at least I don’t plan to be.  I did run a sweet 3 miles.  Which is great when I just say that.  When I add the part where I was planning to do 6… well, then it seems somewhat lackluster.

Eh. But Halloween is not about running.It’s about sugar.  Which may or may not have been the cause of my odd rush of energy that was quickly followed by a crash and burn.  It’s cool.  At least I am fully aware and am embracing my love for anything chocolate that comes individually wrapped in a fun size wrapper.  Only fun size- because really, those mini candy bars are just stupid.  Just enough to satisfy you?  Please… just enough to make me annoyed that I don’t have more. 

So I’m keeping this a quick one so that I can get back to my busy day.  I’ve got a RedBox coupon burning a hole in my pocket (yes- RedBox is only a $1- but the coupon is still a maja’ win in my book).  And as to balance out my tribute to sugar today, I was sent some Fresh Express salad coupons from Tiffany over at Simply Shaka:After a massive fail at Mizzou attempting to show up for a game against Nebraska, I got home to such a sweet note from this chica.  Thanks Tiffany- I needed that!  :)  Both the note and the coupons- especially since I was hanging out with guy friends while watching the game yesterday.  My quota for bread, meat, and cheese may have already been met for the week.

Well.  Not the cheese part.  That’s a whole different story…  ;)

Happy Halloween everyone!

How are you celebrating today?

Football and Sweet Potatoes

Go MIZZOU!!!!  I’m still a little hyped up from yesterday’s festivities.  If you’re not much for college football, you may not care that my Tigers took on the #1 ranked Oklahoma and, after may heartbreaks in the recent past, won!!!  My friend Jon and I were in Lincoln Park at The Spread (a Mizzou bar).  The bar was pretty packed- not only were we playing Oklahoma, but it was our Homecoming.  So the last couple minutes of the game were pure madness.  I’m positive the last round of shots weren’t necessary, but for the sake of celebration, we had to do it… right?

And for that reason, I’m grateful my 8 miles happened yesterday instead of today.  Whew… 

With this longer run, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  Because of busy weekends and um, stomach issues, I haven’t done much more than 5 miles in a session as of late.  But I took it easy when I started out and had no problems slowly increasing my speed up to an average of 8:41 for the run.  The last mile was rough just because I was getting pretty bored being on a treadmill the whole time.  This must be the reason the treadmill times out at an hour.  The manufacturer just knew.

I don’t know about you, but after 8 miles, I get a weee bit famished.  Actually, I’m a monster.  So it’s important to feed me. 

After the baked pumpkin pancakes, it seems that orange would be the color of the day.There are apparently a million ways to roast sweet potatoes.  I’ve got a list of a few variations I want to try (still working my way up to the peanut butter ones).  This time around I went with a bbq/cajun twist and seasoned them with paprika, chili powder, a dry bbq rub and a little brown sugar.

I highly recommend this.  I was eating them straight off the pan.  Before and after I made my big salad for lunch…Since I had cajun sweet potatoes, I figured cornbread on top of my salad would be appropriate.  I was right.  It totally was.

Question of the day: what is your favorite way to make sweet potatoes?  I’ve still got quite a few from the last time my mom brought some from our garden- so keep the ideas coming…

I’m off to watch more football… Go Bears!  :)

Oh Hello Friday

What took you so long?

I don’t know about you guys, but I haven’t been able to keep track of what day it’s been all week.  My cold, the weather and sleeplessness has all thrown me off.  Finally Friday came, smacked me in the face, handed me some coffee, and said “get your act together- it’s the weekend!”

So I’ll do my best.  It helped that I made it to bed early (errr… 15 minutes) and slept in past the workout alarm again. I would feel bad about it, but I don’t.  I need sleep- I have a long run tomorrow and this weekend that at one time had nothing planned is now full of good stuff!  Life happens.  You just have to try and keep up.

So clearly I’ve slacked on the workouts this week.  Bu at least I can call yesterday a win.  I actually made it out of bed in the AM to do some Shredding and resistance band work.  Then, after work, I made it to the workout room just in time to snag the treadmill.  I’ve been missing running all week!  I pulled out 4 miles at 8:25 pace. 

Yes, total it seems like there was a lot of exercising that was done.  It’s like my body knew I’d be skipping out this morning. It’s smart like that.

Just because I put more minutes into my workout yesterday, doesn’t mean I didn’t go run some errands (err… found an excuse to go to Target).  While I was there, I stopped to say hello to the lovely Andrea:Isn’t she just adorable?  I met Andrea back in August at the Healthy Living Summit after we had been going back and forth on blogs and email.  Her blog is wonderful- post after post of amazing food and stories that make you feel like you’ve known her forever.  Congrats Andrea!  :)

Anyhoo, I did miss a few of my favorites in the Thursday night lineup (which I will be watching OnDemand at some point this weekend), but still had time to throw together a decent meal and sit down for some Grey’s.It’s kind of like the egg bake I made last week  in how it included all the same things- mushrooms, broccoli, onion, parm cheese, mini corn muffin, and even a little spinach (always eat your greens, kids).  I just did it as a scramble.  It’s not as pretty but it’s waaaaaaay faster.  Sometimes you just gotta have quick and dirty.  Ya know?  ;)

Well I’m just gonna stop right now because my coffee is low and makeup is not yet on my face.  I hope you guys have a great weekend!  

OH and because it’s Homecoming weekend and we’re currently ranked #11 in the BCS, I feel the need to end this post with a shout out to my alma mater: Go Mizzou!

Scattered

Hey kiddos.  I hope you’re all having a lazy Sunday morning so far! 

I’m not really, but I can pretend, right?  It’s all good- I’m getting ready to leave for a little flea shopping adventure.  Apparently, my friend Danielle is quite the vulture when it comes to these things.  We’ll see if the rumors are true.  :)

So before I started getting ready to go, I got up and ran a quick few miles while I had the motivation.  Three miles at an 8:15 pace.  And I just need to say how awesomely quiet the workout room is at 9:00 on a Sunday morning.  This may mean I’m the only crazy person working out at that time, but whatev- a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.

Either way, the run was much better than my run yesterday.  I did that 6 miles I had planned because it’s my long run of the week.  But because of all the sugar and wine I had consumed the night before, I was feeling pretty sluggish.  It didn’t show too badly in the time- I had an 8:34 pace (which isn’t too far off), but it was not a “good” run overall.  I felt crappy.  And just “off”.  Bleh.

Either way, I got it in before the Mizzou game yesterday.  My guy friend had to cancel last minute, so Mon was willing to go with me to our local Fox and Hound for eats and football.  Beer and football go hand in hand.Mon got a salad and diet coke.  So the waiter really didn’t know what to do with me when I got my 20 oz beer and cheeseburger.  What can I say?  We just cancelled each other out. 

I think he was even more impressed with how much of it I was actually able to finish. 

After watching a Mizzou win (holla’!), we decided to walk around and check out the Running Away Multisport (RAM) store in Deerfield.  Mon decided she needed a new pair of running shoes and decided to get her stride analyzed.Turns out she has a pretty level stride, but has been wearing shoes that were just a bit too small (explaining how she easily lost a couple toenails when her workouts started getting more intense).I looked around and ended up leaving with a flyer about an upcoming 5k I may do.  Sounds about right.

We’ll see if it fits in the budget.

Oh and the toffee bars were a hit!  I took them to Jaime’s housewarming and everyone loved them.  Good thing- I was happy to get rid of them all!  I loved them- but definitely had my fair share… oops!  ;)

Like you may have noticed, my mind is a little scattered because I’m in a bit of a hurry.  Off to the flea market adventure!

Ode to my favorite workout shirt…

I have a favorite workout shirt.  It’s not super nice- it’s not lulemon, under armour, or nike.  It’s not a special tech shirt that wicks away sweat like there’s no tomorrow.  It’s not a super cute tight workout top.  It’s not one of my race shirts that boasts my accomplishments.  It’s actually quite old.  And probably ready to hit the dust.  But I wouldn’t dare throw it away.  I like it too much.  Even if I do look like a scrub.It’s a seven-year old Mizzou shirt with the sleeves cut off.  Sassy, right?  I took the pic in the mirror- sorry it’s backwards.

It’s not even mine.  An ex-boyfriend left it at my house.  He’s the one who had cut off the sleeves.  The holes in the side of the shirt are horribly uneven.  But I don’t care.

I don’t wear it because I miss him or anything (let’s get this straight- we only dated for a few months and it wasn’t a good situation for either of us).  I wear it because I like it.  And to be quite honest, I look better in it anyways.  This shirt needs me.  Hence the reason I never cared to return it.  Or really even tell him I had it.  I’m not a bad person for doing this.  I consider it a way of calling us even.  Trust me on this one.

I love it because it’s so old, that it’s thin and comfy.  And it’s a shirt from when Mizzou beat #3 Nebraska in 2003- my freshman year of college.  That was a game that they took the goal post down and marched it through campus.  I lived in a dorm that was on the route, so we were all hanging out off the balcony cheering as it went past.  Good times.

Yep, my fave workout shirt.  It gets me through tough workouts.  Like yesterday.  I waited to hit the trail because it was crazy hot (90 degrees?  what?  I was unaware we were skipping May and June and just jumping right into July).  And it was still pretty crazy when I decided I couldn’t wait anymore.  But I did my 3.5 miles and walked another two.  Hence the reason I look like a sweaty hot mess in the above picture…  :p

Anyone else have a favorite workout top/outfit?

I also did yoga meltdown again.  Because I’m random and crazy like that…. woooo….  I think next time I’m attempting Level 2.  No lies- I’m a little nervous about it.

Oh and from yesterday’s post, I think it’s safe to say we’re all closet Jersey Shore addicts.  Sure we may not actually like it, but we feel the need to still watch everyone on that show slowly crash and burn… what a guilty pleasure…

And I’m totally not kidding about Target.  It’s the last place I bought a piece of clothing.  $20 dress.  Still needs to be worn.  I’m hoping this weekend.  I’ve got friends coming to town.  Perfect occasion…

I have another food presentation that I’m attending today.  Let’s hope they bring cookies…. :)

Seriously.  It’s Panera.  And they’re coming on a Tuesday.  And we all know my feelings towards Tuesdays.  There better be cookies.

Shamrock Shuffle 2010

The weekend with the fam was a good one! We stayed downtown Saturday night, and had some good eats at Giordano’s.  There was over an hour wait, but my dad loves deep dish when he comes to visit, so we toughed it out.  As we were waiting, we watched the end of the Kansas game- LOVE that they got knocked out.  (Can I hear an amen?)There were actually quite a few cheers in the bar at about this time… so that’s awesome!  Yes, while we’re on the subject, Mizzou lost yesterday.  We didn’t really even show up for the game at all.  But we also weren’t ranked number one in the tournament and our name isn’t “The University of Kansas”.  That would just be unfortunate.

The next morning, we were at Grant Park bright and early…  It rained/snowed/was crappy all Saturday, so I was so happy that there was only a little something in the air that actually stopped before the race.  We met up with my cousin Niki and then my parents headed their way and we headed ours.  I was actually in a different corral than Niki, so we ended up going our seperate ways as well. 

I was in Corral C of the first wave.  I had never been in a race this big (I believe there were approximately 26,000 who actually ran), and couldn’t believe how crowded together we all were.  Finally, we started to move.  I swear, it was like we were being herded through like cattle…  It was a little ridiculous!

And we were off.  My leg wasn’t feeling 100%, but I wasn’t about to back out (we’ll see if this was a detrimental decision later).  My first two miles were not good.  I was close to a 9-minute mile for both of them.  I couldn’t find my pace and as crowded as we all were, it was not working out well.  Passing was quite an issue.  And apologize for those few people I accidently elbowed.  But it was rough- swerving every which way to get around everyone…

Into the third mile, I started feeling good about the pace I set.  I knew I was making up a little time and I rode it out for the rest of the race.  I wish I knew my exact splits while racing, but again forgot to set the sportsband when I started.  It’s too small.  I forget I have it on!  Lame.

Yeah, that’s me with a handful of snacks.  It may look somewhat selfish.  But that was hardly the case- they were actually handing out boxes for people to stuff as much food as possible in them.  I thought that was a little much… plus we were going to breakfast afterwards.

My official time was 42:36.  I’m ok with that.  I just wish those first two miles could have gotten a do over!  And that my leg would be feeling better than it was at the time of the race.  Right now it’s not feeling so hot.  Did I push my luck?  Yes.  Am I going to pay for it?  Maybe.  I’m a little nervous about it.  I planned to take a few days off after the race (I knew that there would be some kind of soreness/stiffness going on), but I didn’t think it would be as rough as it is.  So yeah… I’m gonna have to figure that one out.

All in all, a good weekend and experience!  I’m so glad my parents were able to come up to see me and watch.  I know that they (and a lot of my friends) don’t always get my love of running, but at least it’s good to know they support it.  That’s all I ask!

We went to a place called Eleven City Diner after the race for breakfast.  Niki had found a few spots, but Yolk was completely packed with racers, so we hit the next one on the list.  In true racer form, I had the “protein omelette” which was egg whites, chicken, mushrooms, and broccoli.  It was yummy!  After I got back home and my parents left, I snacked around all day- won’t lie about that one.  Human garbage disposal.  And Annie was kind enough to offer to fix dinner and wanted to catch up and also get a “race recap”.

After the long day and all the food, I had the best night’s sleep of all time.  There’s no better way to kick off your Monday than being refreshed and ready to go!

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