Holidaze

As we are all busy, we try to be organized/efficient and do things like use lists.

So here’s a list of things.

They are listed in no particular order.

I just really like lists.

1. I have found this week to be more relaxing than my last weekend. Please don’t get me wrong- the weekend was great. This can sum it up:

Snickerdoodles with a white chocolate center and chubby hubby truffles. Excuse the truffles, they need tweaking. However, I don't even love cinnamon that much and totally went gaga over the snickerdoodles. You should make them. Like yesterday.

Marathon baking on Friday night. With wine. Duh.

Chicago running bloggers meetup. More wine. Don't worry- it was noon. Almost.

Chicago running bloggers meetup. More wine. Don’t worry- it was noon. Almost.

We're a total party.

We’re a total party.

Date night! Just us and thousands of strangers...

Date night! Just us and thousands of strangers…

A bloody mary to kick off Sunday Funday for the Bears/Packers game. I can barely look at this photo... ugh

A bloody mary to kick off Sunday Funday for the Bears/Packers game. I can barely look at this photo… ugh

2. My roommate texted on Saturday night that she was dvring Cinderella for us.  After the Bears/Packers game (please refer to the bloody mary picture above), we fell asleep on the couch watching it. And then she accidentally deleted it. Worst. Thing. Ever.

3. I’m back into the gym routine now that my old woman back is feeling better. At least for this week as I am heading home at the crack of dawn on Saturday (that is, if the world does not end as it originally was supposed to). Run 2 miles and do 20 minutes on the elliptical or stairs seems to be my chillaxed routine at the moment.

4. My work holiday party was Tuesday. Several things to be noted:
- My boss quoted Beevis and Butthead Do America. This seems so wrong, but was sooooo amazing.
- I tried duck pâté for the first time ever and didn’t hate it.
- Snuck out early so I would still have energy for the gym the next morning and wouldn’t smell like liquor at work. More people chose the other option and looked miserable. I may have been a little smug about it.

5. The roommate and I exchanged gifts.bazinga socks
Socks with a cape. This means I am now a super hero. BAM.

The dude and I exchanged gifts, too. But I like to be more discreet about such things. No matter how much I love them. :)

6. In order to not enter this mentality: winter-weight

I’ve been doing this for every time I’ve gone out/drank/celebrated the holidays:

winter salad

We call this “let’s throw all the vegetables in the refrigerator onto some lettuce and see what we end up with”.

It’s a half-win.

7. Convicts escaped the correctional facility in downtown Chicago on Tuesday and only one has been caught. I honestly had no idea my place of employment was so close to a prison, but it has made going out for lunch seem that much more thrilling. I like to live on the edge.

8. So I guess the world is supposed to end at some point today? Isn’t that what all this crazy buzz is about?  Just in case, the roommate and I decided to make a “one last roomie date” by staying in and watching a movie with some drinks last night. She got a sweet bottle of cabernet from a vendor at work and it seemed to be a shame to potentially waste it. So we drank nice wine and watched Home Alone. Naturally.

This list is getting too long. I should end it now. And because this is probably the last day of work before Christmas for a lot of people, I just want to say enjoy your holiday and travel safe! xoxonoooo-aaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh

A New England Romp

Fun fact- Boston was on my top 5 list of cities to visit for YEARS.

Probably even top 3. For some reason, this place intrigued me.

It just seemed like a cool place. And people have neat accents there (always a plus). It was clearly THE place I needed to visit.

Not that it’s any surprise, but I was right.

It was awesome.

Then again, part of that may have been the crowd I was with. Stephanie, Kacy, Jess, and Kelly are just like an extension of my personality.

All smiles while waiting for our names to be called for brunch. By the end of our wait, I was ready to eat my arm off.

We’re a force of crazy. With a little sass on the side.

It’s probably quite scary. We apologize.

Because many of you have already been to Boston, or maybe even live there, let’s keep this brief when it comes to discussing my weekend…

1. Steph hosted us and found a few good spots to keep us entertained. One being Top of the Hub- a restaurant on the top of one of the tallest buildings in Boston.

An open-faced salmon sandwich. By far one of the classiest meals I’ve had in a while. Not really sure how I was allowed in.

It was quite fancy and required our best behavior. Which was like a mean challenge for 5 girls with no filters who haven’t seen each other in 5 months.

Well. It was a classy affair until Kelly took to making sure Kacy didn’t miss a bite of her lobster deliciousness in a bowl. Apparently it was tasty. We almost had to restrain her from licking the bowl.

2. One guilty pleasure of mine in new cities is finding a few super cheesy tourist things to do. This came in the form of visiting Government Center. Which was full of street performers and stands for tourists to waste their money at.

The dudes were just taking turns flipping over lines of people. Blew my mind.

We totally ate it up. The people of Boston were most likely rolling their eyes at us.

3. The weekend was unseasonably warm. Which was disastrous for what I had packed, but perfect for a Saturday of walking around in the park.

The Public Garden in Boston. The beauty was remarkable. The name a bit unoriginal.

Just some cool chicks I met on the interwebz.

It looked like we strolled straight into a romantic comedy. Personally, I was waiting for Ben Affleck to save the day when I misstepped off of a curb or something. He’d say something witty and we’d fall in love at first sight.

Matt Damon would have been fine, too. I’m not picky.

4. Not all inflatable mattresses automatically come with a pump to air them up. We found this out around 12:30 on Friday night.

Kelly and I remedied the situation by asking for extra blankets for padding on the hardwood floor. And a super stiff night cap of the vodka variety. There were a few worrisome cracks when standing up, but we learned we’re still young chickens who can rock out the floor if need be. Success.

5. Toys in bars are fun. This could come in the form of a jukebox where Kacy pumped way too much money into it for some solid jams. Or it could be in the form of actually toys in the corner of the bar.

It’s like they knew I was coming.

6. The only clam chowder I had in Boston, with the exception of a few spoonfuls of Kacy’s one night, was at the airport.

Fine. So it was at the airport. However, it still beat Campbell’s in a can. Win.

Does that count? Probably not. But don’t tell me otherwise.

Don’t also warn me the book I’m reading in the above pic is supposed to be done for book club tonight. I know. And I work somewhat well under pressure. So we’ve got this. ;)

7. As for what happens when I get home from another long weekend away?

Green things. Not seen in my diet for at least 48 hours of the 3-day weekend.

It could go without saying.

Anyway….

It was a wonderful weekend with good friends. Not sure what exactly I was expecting out of the city- but it’s a beautiful town. Smaller than I assumed it would be. But that’s also possibly because I was pretty ignorant of such demographic information.

Now that my travels are over for at least another week and a half or so, it’s time to get back into a normal routine. Whatever that may be. I can’t really remember…

Sweatin’ It (Out)

It’s a really good thing I saved my feet by wearing flip-flops all weekend.

Because after more than my fair share of this…

And also endless lunch leftovers from cooking Bailey’s Birthday Brunch…

Bailey loved it when we made biscuits and gravy for champagne brunch a few months ago. We used her birthday weekend as an excuse to make it again…

I was more than ready to hit the gym. And sore feet would have been a disasterous set back.

Yes, I was definitely ready. I practically ran to the gym last night with open arms. Because that feeling of detoxing your system with a solid sweat session?

It ranks pretty high on the list of feel good moments. Sorry- workout nerd moment.

Because it makes me feel awesome, and there’s a solid chance I’ll be spotted in a bikini this coming weekend, I spent a few extra minutes doing various cardio in an ADD fashion.

18 minutes on the stairmill.
1.2-mile RUN. I say RUN because it was an 8:15 pace when the last few treadmill sessions were closer to 8:30′s.
16 minutes on the elliptical.

And because the weight room was a little too crowded for my liking (aka- people were on the whole two or three machines I use), I retreated back home to do some ab work on a yoga mat. In front of the tv. Multi-tasking at its finest.

Yes, I know longer workouts the week of a trip really don’t make that much of a difference in outward appearance.

My friends most definitely won’t look at me and say “well SOMEONE has been spending an extra 5 minutes a few days this week.” Quite frankly, if they did, I may push them into the pool out of annoyance.

But it’s a confidence boost. And if all it takes is an extra lil’ push here and there? I can handle that.

And like I said, it’s all about sweating it out. No matter how you do it. 

Too bad dancing with drinks in hand probably cancels itself out. Because in that case, this weekend we were workout superstars. If you don’t believe me, just ask these girls:

We taught Wrigleyville a move or two.

Or what not to do. Either/or.

After all the dancing activities, we all woke up in the same boat on Sunday morning. Most would have opted for a day of rest.

Us? Oh no…

When our plans to go see our favorite band, Rod Tuffcurls and the Benchpress, for Bailey’s birthday were cancelled due to NATO issues (assumably, crowd control was a safety issue in Wrigleyville on Saturday night), we decided to not let that get us down. As mentioned, we danced ourselves silly elsewhere. And waited patiently for the chance to check the boys out at Mayfest the next day- our first street festival of the season!

Because who doesn’t love an excuse to get outside and hang out in the streets while watching men with naked legs strum the guitar?

So yeah. Another long weekend down. Which means another full week of watching myself a lil’ better.

The vicious cycle continues.

No worries, though. I’m not sweatin’ it. Because the weekend was fun and there should never be regrets about that.

And I’m a weirdo that actually enjoys eating salad just as much as the cake and big brunch.

I don’t get it, either.

No more nights out for me until the weekend. Until then, it’s spending as much time running around outside enjoying the weather and chillin’ at home with the whole gang:

One of Bailey’s birthday gifts was a Tiger Beat magazine. So we now have someone to keep up company when cooking.

And maybe even give us a look when sneaking into the refrigerator for late night snackage.

Winning on so many levels.

Alright, kids. I gotta go. Time for coffee and a little more work on getting this hand stamp from Mayfest to wash off.

It’s like they tattooed it on.

Help!

Standard Procedure

Good morning!

Now that Monday is over and the exhaustion from the weekend has subsided for us all, how’s it goin’?

Things are well in these parts. As standard procedure, the first few days following a long/busy weekend fall into a routine of sorts.

First off, sleep becomes an important focus. Not super hard to take care of. After staying up late, changing time zones, flight delays (two hours ON the plane ON the runway is quite horrendous), etc, slumber was quite easy. The last two nights have been deep and heavy sleep.

This doesn’t happen often, so please excuse me while I relish in it.

Ahhhhh….

Ok. We’re all good.

Secondly, groceries need to be acquired. As much as I didn’t want to, a stop by Trader Joe’s on the way home from the airport happened. Because a few cans of black beans and a pantry of cereal are never considered components of a balanced day all by their lonesome.

If you’re like me, you’ll be way too lazy to prep your own dinner after traveling all day, so you’ll walk (yay exercise!) to the nearby Whole Foods and zip through their salad/food bar. Sure, you still have to do it yourself. But they have considerably more options than what I would have been willing to prep in my own kitchen.

Don’t question my logic. Instead, look at all the coloooorrrrrsssss…. (or all the colors you would see- the purple cabbage, carrots, corn, and squash are still there, but hiding).

My aunt once told me, when I was a wee lil’ thing, there should always be a rainbow of colors on your plate for lunch and dinner. The rule has not been lost on me.

To me, this also should include peanut butter after dinner. Because brown is still a color to not be left out, yes?

I wonder if my aunt had a saying about having dessert every single day?

She probably did. Probably something like “don’t”. And it probably went in one ear and out the other. Sigh.

Lastly, it’s a matter of easing back into the fitness routine. We covered a lot of ground over the weekend as we walked through shops, ran through the rain, and danced our way out of the bars.

I also trekked through miles of airport terminals. Which is nothing to scoff at- not only was it tiring, but new flats were being broken in. By the time I reached my gate, said flats were filled with my blood.

Total rookie mistake. Running through O’Hare in heels may have been a better option.

Either way, I’m off on a tangent again, so let’s bring this back around, shall we?

 Monday was still too early to pull out a crazy “let’s go to the gym and GO GO GO GO“. Instead, I went with “let’s go to the gym and GO”.

One “GO” instead of four. It translates to 20 minutes on the stairmill at a lower level of intensity and 1.5 miles on the tread at an easy pace.

Baby steps.

Clearly not like this…  ;)

An Itch

After 4 days of visiting and traipsing around the city with my high school friends, it’s down to just me again.

Ho hum…

But maybe that’s a good thing. I probably need the sleep. Blood shot eyes confirm this.

After spending a night out in Wrigleyville, a day of shopping the neighborhood, block parties, a trip to the zoo, cheering friends on in races, eating out at a few local spots, movies, etc, we still weren’t done.

Clearly, this means we need to fuel up with breakfast again.

I still hate the word moist. Gross.

But anyway, I finally had an excuse to make Jessica’s Cake Batter Pancakes. There is no better way to impress your guests than with funfetti. And I had an itch for something sugary. Surprised?No you’re not. Don’t lie.

For the record, the sugar rush from the pancakes and the powdered sugar glaze will energize you for the entire rest of the morning. Promise.Just be mindful of the pancakes as they cook. Otherwise, you’ll end up with one black sheep in the bunch.I always burn at least one. Often more. 

Believe it or not, we fought over who would eat it. I ended up tossing it because I had made a recipe and a half and there were WAY too many pancakes. And no one really wanted it. We were just being polite. A rarity that sometimes happens in these parts.

Afterwards, we rode the train down to Michigan Avenue. Because we all had an itch to shop. However, our most important stop was our first one of the day:We wanted to say hi to Marilyn before the rain in the forecast became a legit concern.

This 26-foot statue of her from The Seven Year Itch was debuted on Friday. My friends arrived on Friday. Coincidence or fate?This is the first, but not the last, of many trips to say hey. That I am sure of.

After sweatin’ it out on the Magnificent Mile for most of the afternoon, the decision was made to stop off for a little happy hour celebration.

Which put the trip back home in the thick of rush hour traffic. Before a Cubs game.

Not the brightest move.

But hey- when you’re thirsty, you’re thirsty…

After coming home and cooling off, the three of us decided to sweat through a second outfit for the day and head to a bar advertising $3 burger and fries and dirty trivia night.

We were there for the food. And only the food. I swear.

Yet held our own up until the 3rd round.

Either way, a good way to end the extended weekend. Leaving me here. Once again.

I’ve still got a couple of days of recovery before another weekend hits me with full force.

Plenty of water will be involved. Along with a few of these:Because if I don’t watch it, my body is going to start figuring out where to stick all the grease and sugar for safe keeping.

Yikes.

Happy Hump Day, kiddos!

Who Am I?

Are things really back to normal now? Please say yes- I thrive on routine during the work week.

Well, everything except that I’m still yet to unpack from my trip last weekend, but we’re calling it a minor detail. Unpacking is the worst. And my theory is that if I ignore it long enough, it’ll do it itself. (TWSS)

Other than that, things are good. My refrigerator is stocked. The sleeping routine is pretty much back to normal. And I even worked out last night for the first time in a week.

Yes, an entire week. Who am I?

I’m getting the shakes just thinking about it. Yikes.

The first day back was supposed to be yesterday- a friend of mine and I were going to start running during lunch. However, all this tornadic weather has given us nothing but dark and stormy lunchtimes. Of course that would happen.

We’re going to try again today. So far, it’s looking clear but chilly. Crossing fingers.

Until then, I found other ways to get my cardio in. Like the workout room that I’ll only have access to for another 2 weeks before moving.

I’m almost going to miss the elliptical.

Shhh… let’s pretend that wasn’t said out loud.  :)

22 minutes on the elliptical, 10 on the stairs and some solid ab work. Even planks. And I never like doing planks. Who am I???

It was shorter than normal, but for a girl who’s being feeling a little lackluster as of late, it was a nice reintroduction of cardio that didn’t include lifting champagne bottles and shaking my rump.

Other than lack of sleep, part of the reason I was feeling so “blah” this week is my body’s reaction to everything I consumed. I wasn’t kidding when I commented that my body was rejecting all the McD’s breakfast choices. And alcohol. And greasy lunches. And large dinners.

How reckless of me. Other than guacamole, not a green thing entered my body that entire weekend. Who am I? At the airport before I left Vegas, I walked up and down the terminal until I finally decided to kick it CPK style. Mostly because I could sit and be left alone for an hour. Secondly, because it was one of the few places offering salad that hadn’t been wilting in a cooler for hours, being picked up and put back down by a million people.Yeah- not the healthiest option, but really- show me more than 2 things on the California Pizza Kitchen that are remotely healthy and you win a prize.

I’m waiting…

Anyhoo, there were four salad options. This was the most appealing. Blame the BBQ.  ;)

I’ve since been pretty much on a salad detox. And not so much CPK style, but more “every other random vegetable Amy has in the refrigerator”. Nothing else really sounds good at the moment.

It’ll probably only last another day or so (oh hey Memorial Day weekend/kick-off of grilling season). But we’ll just take advantage of it while we can.

I hope everyone has a great holiday weekend! Tonight is one of rest and red box- I have many many plans. That include hanging out with Megan, house parties and Cubs games.

Now if only this Chicago weather would get in line and stop being so ridiculous. I’d like a tan at some point this summer. Please?

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