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!

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