Consequences of a Polish Buffet

As a gift to Jaime for her birthday, I took her out for Polish buffet!  Since her dad can cook some serious Polish eats, and since she always raves about it, I thought I’d find a place nearby that makes a few of her favorite dishes.This is where Old Warsaw comes into the equation.  Copious amounts of comfort food in the middle of the day?  Where do I sign???

I’ve been here once before with my friend Jon.  So I knew what to expect when I walked into the kitchy entrance.  Jaime, however, did not.Seriously now- who doesn’t appreciate neon lights, mismatched carpeting/wallpaper, a vinyl tablecloth, and the most fabulous chandeliers money could buy in 1981? 

Only the best for my friend Jaime.  :)

It didn’t take long to fill a plate there.I’m pretty sure the term “Polish Food” must mean “any way possible you can incorporate meat into a dish”.  If you were vegetarian and lived in Poland, you would most likely starve to death.  You’ve been warned.

My favorite was definitely the stuffed cabbage.  Sounds like a bad idea, but I promise it isn’t.Happy Birthday, Jaime!  Sorry the pic is blurry- I must have been a little dazed already by the food coma that would set in right after this…

I also had to get a pic of the columns that in no way, shape, or form fit in with the theme of the restaurant.  Half the fun in going is the amusing decor. Jaime took this pic right as I was getting whistled at from the highway for a pose that apparently was deemed sexy at 1:00 in the afternoon.

Oops.  But dude- whistling at a girl from a beer truck isn’t helping your case. Clearly I’m a lady and will have none of that…As much as I wanted to spend the rest of the day under a desk passed out from food coma, I held strong.  And was also able to get the last part of my workout in.  I was able to actually get up early yesterday (unlike how I failed to do the day before) and do a round of The Shred.  Then, after work, I made my way over to the gym and was able to control the tv long enough to get in some elliptical time while keeping up with The Big Bang!

After a night of cleaning (you’re welcome, mom), I was still able to get a run in this morning because I’m going out to eat with my mom as soon as I get home from work.  4 miles at an 8:22 pace.  That’s a little more like it…

I was a little weirded out this morning, though, because there’s usually just one or two of us working out at the clubhouse workout room.  But I guess some people (i.e. OLD MAN) like to go for a dip in the hot tub at 5:15 in the morning.  First off, the hot tub is gross and I will never even put a foot into the room where it’s located.  Secondly, what are you doing?!?!?! 

To each their own I guess.

I refueled after my run with some fab breakfast and flipping through a magazine.I love ESPN magazine’s body issue!  Because these athletes are crazy.  And their bodies are ridiculous.  It’s literally page after page of strong and healthy men and women.  I find it inspiring- even though I know others have issues with it.  Do any of you get ESPN mag or have heard of this issue?  Thoughts?

Happy Friday, everyone!  Fridays are usually my busiest day at work, so I’m hoping it will FLY!

Under Pressure

Hey party people!

So believe it or not, this is my last day of the work week!  Crazy, right?  I just recently realized that for myself.  It doesn’t seem like I’m heading to DC tomorrow for vacation- I feel that I’ve been so busy thinking about all the crazy going on that I haven’t had time to think about the span of days that I have off to relax and hang with the family.  That’s not to say I’m not looking forward to it.  I totally am.  It just snuck up on me!  Nothing like getting my act together last minute, right?

So maybe this will be a good Tuesday and not the regular crappy one???  Possibly?  A girl can dream…

Anyways, a few random things to mention one last time about the Rock n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon:

Pham put up an awesome video over on his blog.  Can you believe this was his 7th half marathon?  The kid’s just nuts.  (Dude- totally mean that in the nicest way possible… and let me catch up!!!)  Anyhoo, yours truly makes a quick appearance after 5:30ish in the video.  Excuse me and my tendency to be a Sweaty. Hot. Mess.  Either way, check it out- he shows you what goes on when you’re not running a little late for a half marathon (oops) and also reinforces how great of a course it is.  Holla’.

And the soreness kicked my butt more than I thought it would!  I typed and published my blog post yesterday before I left my place.  Which means I did all that before I went down the stairs in my apartment.  Um.  OW.  I made sure to do plenty of stretching last night because I have every desire to go to the gym today for a light workout.  I’m one of those gym rats (have you noticed?) who tends to panic when I take a lot of time off.  Working out is like a nervous tick or something.  It just has to happen.  Sure, I’ll be walking around and still getting plenty of exercise in over the week on vacation, but I have the need and desire to wear my tennis shoes and use weights and all that great stuff.  So yeah.  A light workout still counts.

Is it allowed to use the half marathon from Sunday as an excuse to continuously eat for two days straight?  If not, I have issues that should probably be addressed…

Out of curiosity, is anyone out there running the Chicago Marathon in October???  Hell no, I’m not running it.  But I do plan to volunteer.  And want to know who I should be cheering on…  :)

But in other running news, I do believe I’ll be running a 15k in November.  I’m taking the race mileage down a notch and instead trying to focus a little more on my speed.  If I decide to do it, training resumes in September… here we go again…

In order to make sure I have enough energy for the day, I made myself one of these:Oats in a Jar!  I’ve really been going for the sunflower seed butter a lot more as of late (compared to others).  I think I like it because it’s not as sweet- like the almond butter that I adore so much.  It’s a sad excuse in saying I’m “mixing it up”, but at this point, I’ll take what I can get.

Anyways, have a good day.  Mine will be spent working, working out and packing.  I may or may not have even started packing yet(don’t freak out, mom) for tomorrow.  Nothing like doing everything last minute- I thrive under pressure. 

And yes… that’s actually a Queen and David Bowie reference.  Did anyone catch that?  I have the urge to go “dun dun dun da da dun dun” for the rest of the day…

Anyhoo… have a good one…

Overwhelmed

Hey kiddos… how was your Tuesday?  Mine was lame.  I know you wondered…  ;)

First off, thanks for all the comments.  Not to freak anyone out about salt intake, I just like to keep it lower (being as how many foods have sodium in it already without me adding it in).  Because no one likes that gross “salt hangover” the next day.  I’ve had it one too many times…  And I do want to point out- I love gnocchi.  LOVE it.  It’s by far my favorite pasta.  But I just wasn’t a fan of that particular brand.  I still have high hopes for sweet potato gnocchi.  And will stuff my face research more to find a better kind.  :)  I don’t mean to scare anyone away from trying gnocchi- because seriously, it rocks.

So anyhoo, why was Tuesday lame?

Welllll…. work was nuts.  Without getting too into it, we’ve got a big event coming up and it seems that trying to stay on top of it and organized is just mission impossible.  I think my lovely friend Mon read my mind because I got an email from her that afternoon that basically said, “it’s Tuesday.  Just reminding you to take a breath.”  I needed that.

I also needed to dip into that chocolate collection from Prague that she left for me last week.  Seriously needed that, too.

What else did I need?  A lunch hour with no talking.  Just reading.  And my super sassy salad, of course…Yeah, I’m desperately trying to use up all the cauliflower before it goes bad.  I swear it’s like I do it on purpose when I’m grocery shopping.  I get over-excited with all the fresh produce.  And here I am scrambling to get it all eaten and not waste… But I digress.

What’s a pretty regular addition to your salads?  (And you can’t say “lettuce”- that’s cheating)  I think broccoli or squash are the two that show up the most in mine… not sure if that’s because I think they’re awesome in salads or because I just really really like them on their own?  Hmmm… deep thoughts for the day…

The book, Cocktails for Three, is still going well.  I’ll admit, it was a little slow for me to get into.  But now I’m a few chapters from the end.  And am seriously curious about what’s going to happen.  Thanks for the recommendation, Jill:)

I crept in traffic the whole way home.  I blame this partially on the rain and partially on the construction.  Stupid orange cones… all I want to do is plow over them and drive through the construction.  My uncle calls it “orange city”.  I call it “orange shitty”.  Because I’m clearly more vulgar than he is.

Finally I got to the gym for a good session.  Ahhhh… is it weird I find relaxation in the gym?  I’m sure the majority of you guys would say no.  I’m sure the rest of the people I know would say yes.  That’s ok.  Us healthy living bloggers are kinda crazy- don’t you agree?  ;)  Elliptical for 32 minutes.  32- again with my random numbers.  I sort of find it fun now.  I also did 16 on the stairmill.  No running was included today.  Because I did spend a little more time on the other cardio machines and also because there was another girl using the good treadmill.  I wasn’t crying about it, though.  It gave me a reason to focus more on arm weights (free weights and machines) and spent much more time on my abs.  It’s all about the core work, right?

Dinner was a veggie wrap.  With veggies on the side.  It was veggie-tabulous.  I would have taken a pic, but I was on the phone catching up with one of my fav girls, and sort of missed the chance.  So I’ll show you breakfast instead:Oats in a Jar.  Seriously one of the best things I’ve picked up from the blogs.  Sure it tastes good, but I just really like eating it like I’m 12.  Because sometimes I think while my body is aging one way, my mind is going in reverse.  I’ll admit it.  But I’m not concerned.  I have a lot of fun this way.  :)  Anyways, this concoction had oatmeal, almond butter, Special K, and coconut.  This seems to be my “go-to” combo out of all my oatmeal creations.  And just so you know, the coconut is key.

My usual rest days are on Thursdays, but I’m switching it up a little bit this week.  After the work day was over, Mon and I agreed a wine night would need to come sooner than later.  Sooner as in tonight.  You gotta do what you gotta do…

Welcome to the hump day, my friends.  I assume my day will be similar to yesterday.  Good because the day flies.  Bad because I’m stressed because the day flies.  But ahhhhh…. that’s life.  :)

Weight Slammer Strikes Again

So I did my cross training last night at the work out room in my complex.  And got stuck at the end of my workout with the dude that slams the weights down.  Ugh.  UGH. 

Like I’ve said before, I understand weight lifting is not a quiet activity.  But seriously- I’m terrified he’s going to break the weight machine.  And I swear that everyone jumps every time it happens.  And then we all shoot him an evil look.  But he’s too busy rocking out to his music that even I can even hear over my music to notice. 

I have choice words.

Let me know if you have any good characters at the gym.  I’ve got a few I know I’ve mentioned from time to time…

Other than that, the work out was good.  25 minute on the elliptical.  15 minutes on the stairmill.  Some weight time before weight slammer took over.  And a quick mile on the ‘mill.  Then I got the f out of there because he was still going strong.  And I’m concerned about premature hearing loss.

Plus, The Hills was going to be on.  And I’m finally in that place where I can admit it’s my guilty pleasure.  I got sucked in a little over a year ago- or whenever it was Lauren’s last season on.  I don’t even like Kristen at all.  I can’t stand Spencer and Heidi.  Why do I watch this show?!?! 

At least I had good eats.  It was a protein-a-riffic dinna’.Spinach and mushroom scramble with cottage cheese.  I’m not sure if I was really feeling the cottage cheese, but it’s nearing it’s cutoff date.  And you know how I hate to be wasteful…

Because there is always a need for some new reads at the gy, I was excited this mag came to my door:I flipped through it a little during breakfast this morning as I made Oats in a Jar with the last of my White Chocolate Wonderful.  Originally, I couldn’t get enough of this stuff, but my interest faded quickly.  I think the WCW is just a little too sweet for me and my regular consumption of peanut butter.  Still not bad- just not my favorite…

Oh and back to my Elle magazine that I still don’t know where the subscription came from- Kristen Stewart is the cover story.  Ugh.  When I saw that as I pulled it out of my mailbox, I almost threw it away right then and there.  I don’t care what people say- she can’t act.  She’s got one dimension.  It’s called “teenage angst”.  That’s all I’ve ever seen her play.  Except for when she was younger.  Then it was “preteen angst”.  But whatev- I noticed the cover also said it was the “Body Issue” so I’ve found a few good reads to keep me entertained as I do work on the stairmill.  So that’s good- because I don’t know how many times I’ve flipped through the two or three People magazines there that are four months old…

Anyways, in honor of National Running Day (yeah, it’s real- put your sneaks on and head out the door!), I’ll be doing 3.5 miles today.  Let’s cross the fingers it’ll be on the trail and not the treadmill.  :)

Happy Hump Day!

Return of the Veggies

After my day of carb-infestation, I was thinking about food cravings.  I like to think the body craves what it needs.  Of course, the exception here being chocolate- unless you’re telling me my body needs it 24/7 to properly function.  And in that case, I have no problems at all.

So today all I could think about was green… and more green… and so on.  I took a lunch to Trader Joe’s to stock up on some more things to get me through the rest of the week of dogsitting in the city.  Then, I got back and was able to make this delicious mix:Mushrooms, broccoli, chick peas and lettuce.  Vegetables?  Check!

After a much dreaded commute (that really wasn’t that bad), I got home and took the doggies around the street to do their business before the crowds got too heavy.  After giving them their workout, I did mine- another round of The Shred on Level 3.

Hazel is no longer afraid of my yoga mat:Namaste, Hazel.  But they do respect my Shred time.  Once the music on the dvd starts, they take position on the couch and stay put until it’s over.  Good girls!

Vegetables were the star of dinner as well:A spinach mushroom mix with a bit of sauce and feta… and yellow squash on the side!  I really wanted asparagus- but there was none to be found at TJ’s!!!  What was the deal?!?!  Grrr….  Either way- this was fantastic.  But really, it’s just different amounts of the same ingredients that I’ve been using to make the pizza.  Shhhh… don’t tell anyone.

So yeah- my point is: do you lack one day and find yourself craving it the next?

This morning I had oats in a jar!Turns out the kids aren’t as hot on OAIJ as I am.  Totally fine- more for me!

On a side note, my guy friend checked out my apartment today for me (we’re just not going to tell him I stopped by there yesterday).  Apparently he got into my refrigerator (I told you he’d go after my precious Goose Island beer!!!).  He didn’t take the beer, but he did have a few observations about my obnoxious collection of nut butter… Silly boy- you just don’t get it.

That or maybe I am just out of control…

I won’t be your friend. But I appreciate you.

I’m talking about yoga.  Yes I hated you.  But I get it.  I know now that you help me.  You help make my core stronger.  You help my flexibility.  You help me cross-train and become a better runner.  So thank you.  But I still don’t like you.

I went back and forth for a while when trying to decide if I should break out the yoga.  The leg is hanging in there.  I’m feeling pretty good about it.  Not good enough to run- I’ve become way too over-cautious to do that.  But good enough to do yoga.  So I turned on Exercise TV again and hit up the Fitness Fusion.  My only worry was the warrior series, but the leg hung in there and didn’t complain!  Progress…

Although it had been a little longer than I’d like to admit the last time I actually did it.  I’m sorry yoga, I know I started to ignore you when running came back into my life.  But you have to understand- running and I go way back.  And we’re in love.  No hard feelings… k? 

It’s not cardio- but I’ll happily take it!

So I made sure to have a good breakfast for LOTS of energy today.First of all because I’m somewhat short on sleep (I swear the full moon brings weird dreams- what is that about?!?!).  Secondly, because I have a super long road trip to Mid-MO to spend Easter weekend with the fam.  And the discussions of new construction on the news in the background of that picture will most likely screw me over in some way or another… blah. 

Before I continue, can I just say that now every time I have oats in a jar, I think about this cartoon my friend Ashlee sent me?  She seriously did crack up at my nut butter addiction…So basically, I’m stirring it in the jar going “megggggaaaaaa butttteeeeerrrrrr!!!!!!” in an unnatural sounding voice (high or low pitch, whichever works for you).  Yep.  It’s the little things, kids.  Just remember that…

Oh how I enjoy this trip.  Not.  Interstate 55 is the highway to nothingness.  At least last time I had some of my fav boys to keep me amused on the way to Mardi Gras in St. Louis.  I’m doing this one alone- and traveling about two hours longer… Ugh! 

But it’s aight.  I usually do ok on keeping myself entertained- the playlist has been updated.  There are people to call and catch up with.  I should be good!  But am always open for suggestions if you have ways of making long trips seem shorter (that are not drug induced anyways…)?  Originial plans were to leave after work and stop for the night in St. Louis.  But one of my fav girls, Laura, has to work pretty early on Friday.  So I think I’m just going to try to speed through StL, give a shout out to Busch Stadium on my way through (a little over 3 days until opening day, kids!), and be on my merry way into more highway and hills.  And not much else.  Peaceful… Almost too peaceful… ha ha

So there you have it!  Maybe if you’re lucky, I’ll have some sweet stories of random occurences that happened in the middle of Illinois.  Don’t hold your breath, but there’s always hope…  And cross your fingers that there’s no Children of the Corn incident that goes down if my car breaks down.  It’s a reoccurring concern of mine.

Have a good Thursday!  :)  I’m excited because I found an excuse to get a Trader Joe’s trip in today over lunch- figured I’d pick up some wine and a few unique TJ items as a nice thing to bring home tonight since my fam doesn’t really get exposure to a store around them.  Not that they really care so much about that, but I still like bringing home fun things.  :) Can we make nut butter an Easter tradition?  Let’s try it…

Ick.

That’s how I feel about Tuesdays (if you’ve been reading, you probably know that already).  It was a gray day outside.  Work wasn’t really exciting.  Nothing really newsworthy happened.  Yeah… typical Tuesday.

I’m not down or anything, it’s just my “eh” day of the week.  I did do well on my run- which easily the highlight of my day.  Five miles in 43 minutes… slowly but surely getting to where I want to be before the Shuffle…  :)  Also did The Shred again- pretty sure I’m addicted to the dvd. Level 2 again- not ready for my butt to be beaten down in Level 3 just yet.  But I’ll get there!

Now that the Olympics are over, I don’t know what I’m going to do when it comes to downtime in front of the tv.  For two weeks, I had a fall back for whenever I couldn’t find anything else to watch- and now it’s gone!  I guess I’ll be forced to be more productive once again?  ;)  Probably for the best- I was starting to wear down a spot in my futon from the excessive television watching.  Oh Apollo and Shaun… when will I see you again?  I don’t like the growing distance between us!!!

This morning, I realized I had ramsacked through another jar of almond butter.  So what did I do?  Another solid attempt at oats in a jar!  And another little mess to clean up in my microwave.  I really suck at this… but they turned out eventually.Wtf, Vince?!?!  Did you eat some of my oatmeal???  Because I know I didn’t hoover it down THAT fast… because that would just be ridiculous.  And slightly embarrassing.

Concluding from this picture and my lack of almond butter in the pantry, I’ll have to hit up Trader Joe’s again… even if it’s for almond butter alone.  I can’t stay away from that place.  I start to get the shakes otherwise.  The workers there probably think I’m building a bomb shelter with as much nut butter that I’ve shuttled out of that store.  For lack of a better excuse for my overindulgent ways, if anyone asks, that’s what I’m doing.  I’ll soon be posting a sign up sheet for whoever would like to join me in the bomb shelter in case of world disaster.  I’m sure there will be plenty of room.  All I ask is that you provide your own toilet paper… and peanut butter.  Then we’ll kick it like Brendan Frasier and Alicia Silverstone- Blast From the Past style.  (Yeah, I know you remember that movie- as awful as it was.)

Another place I can’t stay away from?  Bridal shops. I’m going tonight to get fitted for my bridesmaid dress for my friend Ashlee’s upcoming wedding.  She found the dress we’re all wearing at a boutique in Missouri, so I tracked it down up here so I could get sized for it and possibly try it on before I order it.  Which is an issue I’ve run into before- bridal shops really aren’t a fan of you doing that.  If the bride’s not registered there, they give you a look of disgust at the thought of helping you (from my experience).  It’s annoying.  I’m totally going to order from them.  Sorry my cash for the one dress isn’t good enough.  Not my fault my friend didn’t get her wedding dress from your overpriced racks.  Just measure me already!  Grr… Fingers crossed that it’ll go smoother than last time!

Ok, done with the oddly random post.  It’s Wednesday, so uh… humpa humpa…. (Sorry Low, I know you hate the name…)  Have a good one!

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