Kicked to the Couch

I’m beginning to think maybe that I’m just not supposed to get more than four or five hours of sleep on the weekend.

Even when I go to bed at an acceptable time.

Fact: I do not allow the cell phone into the room during the week. I also don’t have a television in my room. Or a radio. Yes- that makes me one of those weirdos that believes in keeping minimal electronics in the bedroom. It’s my “rest” area and that’s all it’s used for. 

Only on the weekends is the cell phone allowed on the night stand. Yes, I get texts at all hours of the night on any typical Friday or Saturday. You’d think it would bother me. But it doesn’t. I’m glad my friends are cooler than I am- staying out way later and wondering where I am (thanks for making me feel special). Texts of the funniest thing of the night.  Sending me pics of their 3:00 AM fast food purchases (I play the “guess which drive-thru he’s going to” game with one of my guy friends).

Over the last few weeks, these texts haven’t woken me up. They’ve just been a reminder that I am yet to fall asleep once and it’s 3:00 in the morning.

At about 3:30, I said screw it and moved to my couch.

Slept like a baby. The couch didn’t judge me for my low key weekend. The couch understands me and my needs. Screw you, bed!

It was only four hours of uninterrupted sleep. But still. 7:30 is considered sleeping in around these parts.

The couch may quite possibly become my weekend bed.  Nothing wrong with that.

That has been the only unpleasant part of my weekend. Yesterday afternoon, Mon and I went to meet up with some of her fam to check out a winery in the western Chicago suburbs.

Yes, the weather was less than desirable. But I don’t require sunshine to drink wine.

Acquaviva Winery is located in Maple Park, Illinois, and according to the bartender who took care of our tasting, yesterday was the official one-year anniversary of their doors being open to the public.

When we started, she said the tasting would be of 6 wines (3 white, 3 red) and equal to about the same as one glass.

I promise you, it was more.The reds were very bold, but I ended up sticking with the more mellow whites to go with my meal. I will always be a chard girl at heart. Plus- when eating out, I tend to go towards seafood/fish/chicken. They just pair up much better.Whitefish with sautéed spinach and roasted potatoes. Mon and I both ordered this. It made us happy.Happy tummies. Even if we’re wearing long sleeves and sweaters. In the middle of May.

I’m still not over it. Stupid weather.

Steve and Angie, our partners in crime for the evening, also gave their food the “thumbs up”.After sufficiently stuffing ourselves, we made our way back to Angie and Steve’s for dessert (I’ll tell you about it later) and a little coffee to keep the food coma from taking over.

Their 5-year-old son had left his bucket of crayons out on the table. Angie tried to put it away, but I quickly stopped her.Their son came back downstairs and surveyed my work. The flower was nice, but I could still use a little work.

Five-year-olds don’t settle for anything but the best. Noted.

Now that I’ve gotten my four(ish) hours of sleep, I’m off to get a few things done. Starting with the gym. As soon as my iPod is finished charging. 

Gotta have my Florence and the Machine to get my run on.

Happy Sunday!

Turkey for you… Turkey for me!

Good morning! 

Did you make it through Tuesday?

I barely did… as always. I like to blame the weather on anything. Along with other things. Busy days at work. Exhaustion… you know… the usual.

But it’s cool. We survived and we’re here. And I have a Cubs game ahead of me. Weather permitting, of course.

Typical.  ;)

After a blur of a day, I came home with the promise of a wine night with my good friend Mon.

Of course, business had to be taken care of first. This included another night of The Shred. It wasn’t originally in my plan, but neither was having to charge a dead ipod.

Even though it’s possible, cardio without my ipod is rough. Some people don’t mind, but it’s the backup behind my thoughts. I specifically remember a time in college where I drove to the gym, then turned around to go all the way back to the house to get my music. Priorities.

So after another session of Level 2 of The Shred (my clear favorite of all workout dvds), I ran to the workout room for a quick 8:29 mile and cooldown mile with some ab work.

No, I still haven’t done more than just 1 or 2 miles at a time since the half marathon. If I keep it under 2 miles or stay on the elliptical, my leg doesn’t really hurt. Anything else? It aches a little. So I’m making an appointment with my trusty ol’ orthopedist.

I hate doctors, so you know this is a big step for me.

Until then? Keeping the mileage low. Almost nonexistent, really. But we’re going with the mentality that every little bit counts.

No worries, I’ve got my comfort food to make me feel better:I know. Holy avocado!

The avocado may or may not have been as ripe as it should have been. But still acceptable according to my patience level. And was a good addition to some of the turkey my mom sent back (let’s hear it for holiday leftovers! woot!), pepperjack cheese and salsa.

Before my drive back on Monday, my mom asked how much turkey I wanted. I said as much as she wanted to give me.

I think I got the whole bird. 

No complaints. Just the sudden urge to sing Adam Sandler’s Thanksgiving Song.

I also didn’t complain when Mon attempted to pour an entire bottle of wine into 2 wine glasses.What do you know? It fit! Although the glass required lifting with two hands for the first few sips.

REALLY big wine glasses are important for wine connoisseurs such as ourselves to have.

And my table needs to be cleaned. Noted.

But that will have to wait with the laundry. After the Cubs game.

Or after I get better from the pneumonia I will get while sitting in the rain at the Cubs game this afternoon.

Either/or.

Girl’s Night In: A Step-by-Step Guide

Sounds like we’re all down for a 5k in Hawaii! Now if only I could get the extra paid time off and possibly a free round trip?  Hmmm…

After a few days of cursing the stairs and wearing flip flops to work, I’m feeling much better. Enough so to play around on the elliptical a few days this week. Nothing crazy- baby steps…

Again, I cannot stress enough the importance of fitting some hill running into training.  Geeeez…

Or at least taking a friend up on their offer to give you an ice massage. That could have helped, too. Shoulda, woulda, coulda.

Because I’ve been out of town and busy over the last couple of weeks, it had been quite some time since I’ve been able to catch up with some of my favorite suburban girls. Enter last night:As much as I’m going to horribly miss my mirrored wall when I move, it sure will be nice to not deal with the lighting issues. Or the weirdness of watching yourself eat everyday…

Anyway, it had been forever since Danielle had been able to grace Mon, Annie, and I with her presence, so we had made plans earlier this month for a solid girl’s night. The dress code was sweats. No exceptions.

We ordered Thai food from AltThai- a cute spot in the Arlington Heights downtown area. Sure- I’m more of a person to eat AT the restaurant and also enjoy the atmosphere. But after spending an extra 50 minutes in traffic in the pouring rain? You couldn’t have pried the wine glass out of my hand and dragged me out of the apartment if you had tried. Word.Pad Woon Sen. It’s my newest obsession.

Well- Thai in general is my newest obsession. The glass noodles in this stuff? I could see myself easily going on a weekend bender with them. That good.

Mon would also like to let all the locals know, your first order online is 10% off. Yes- my recessionista ways have rubbed off on her. I couldn’t be prouder. *tear

Oh and I’m giving a shout out to Kelly right now- we chatted yesterday and she decided to virtually join in on the girl’s night in with us by having a nice adult beverage and Thai food up in DC!

After dinner, what girl’s night in isn’t complete without fun and games?

Some of you have probably seen the show Extreme Couponing, but have you ever seen it in practice?Danielle has her stuff together and we were all curious as to how she makes it work. She was happy to share.

We also did crafts- Amy style.You have no idea how long I’ve been waiting to make Oreo-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies. No idea. This was the perfect night because I also recruited some help when it came to “stuffing” the cookies:I would highly recommend these ladies. They work for wine.Sometimes we’re not as mature as we should be.

I’m looking at you, Mon.

If you’re like me, most of the time the “projected yield” of the amount of cookies is way lower than what you actually end up with. I like big cookies. A cookie the size of a quarter just annoys me. So imagine how excited I was when these turn out so big that you can’t even get a reasonable amount of them on the pan:Seriously. I made a recipe and a half. Totally unneccessary. I realized this when I could barely stir all the dough together.

Which reminds me- I added an extra egg (after making an extra 1/2 of the recipe) to make it more manageable. The dough was way too floury, and I wanted to make sure the cookies turned out soft.

And I also took a hint from the lovely Andrea- ever since she recommended refrigerating dough for an hour for the best results, I’ve been a faithful follower of the rule. It hasn’t disappointed me yet!Heaven. The original recipe calls for double-stuffed oreos, but I found the regular oreos worked just fine. I mean… we’re already being a little excessive, don’t ya think? ;)I’m not one to pretend that 1/2 a cookie satisfies me. Or even usually just one.

But one of these will leave you spinning. Truth.

And that, my friends, is how you do girl’s night.

The end.

Adjustments

Hey kids!

I think I found the secret to making a gross and gloomy day not so bad…

See a movie!

Ok, so it’s not like it’s a really mind-blowing concept. And considering I just went last week, it’s not anything new in my little corner of the blog world. Acting out last week got a pattern started. Movie Wednesday anyone?  It works so well. Because Tuesdays are lame and it’s better to just keep your head down and hope they don’t get the best of you. Thursdays are close enough to the weekend to not seem so bad, plus you’ve got quite a tv lineup to keep entertained with.

But Wednesday’s sort of stuck in the middle. I love my Modern Family, but it has been nice to actually be out and about. Feelin’ semi-social (in a dark theater, but hey- I got outside!).

Plus, drinking too much wine on a work night is killer.

So Mon and I made plans to go see The Adjustment Bureau. Matt Damon can rarely do any wrong, so we were both excited.

And then some sort of rain/snow started. Texts were fired off right away. Adjustments to the schedule were made. We ended up staying in. And drinking wine. (roll eyes here) And watching How Do You Know?(Source)

My friend gave me the movie to watch and warned of how awful it was. So our expectations were low. Which worked out well because we both thought it was ok. Not good. Not bad. Just ok. My takeaways were a few quotable lines and the desire to hug Paul Rudd.

And because of the wine, we played a rousing version of marry/hump/kill with the lineup of Paul Rudd, Justin Timberlake and Jake Gyllenhaal. After a glass or two of merlot, I revert to the thought process of a 12-year-old girl. It’s a flaw and a talent all at the same time.

Feel free to leave your choices in the comments section. I ended up marrying JT. Out of the three, he seems like he’d be the most fun. Active and passionate without being too needy. Perfect.

Yes, we had an entire conversation about it. That’s just how we play.

And just to confirm- wine on a work night really does make the next morning a killer.

Earlier in the day, before the movie night festivities, I got another early morning run in. Another girl was already trucking along by the time I got to the workout room, so I just hopped on the ‘mill next to her and we ran in all of our crazy 4:45 AM glory together. 

Final stats? 4 miles at 8:35. Then I did a 10-minute cool down on the elliptical with tons of stretching. How did I feel? The left leg could be better.

It’s been a nag the last few mornings I’ve gotten up. Oh- is that maybe part of the reason I slept in yesterday? Yeah, it would be one of the reasons. You caught me. We’re not going to freak out at this point or anything because that would be just silly. But adjustments are being made. Scaling back a little until I’m feeling more comfortable again. There’s no way I’m going to blow it with approximately 2 weeks until the race.

Along with the knee problems Mon has, she may be right. We should really have a down payment ready for some scooters.  Matching of course.

Or at least color-coordinated. That would be better. No need to look nerdy.

Climbing Over The Wall

Thanks again for letting me know that I’m never alone in the occasional workout burnout

I’m happy to report I was successful in getting to the gym this morning.  Friday is normally a cross training day, but a *little* running just had to happen. Because I felt like it. The run was fine- no exhaustion, no ache, no problems. 2 solid miles at an 8:15 pace. Thank goodness.

Add 25 minutes on the elliptical to that and call it a day.

This made me feel so much better on my walk back home from the gym this morning.  Even if I had to trudge through snow to get to and from. But what’s new?

I’m glad the workout happened for various reasons. A little something was needed to get me up and moving after going to happy hour last night…

Happy hour very rarely occurs.  Mostly because, as you can see from my annoyance the last few days, I’m a routine girl.  But every once in a while, when scheduled beforehand of course, I enjoy a night out mid-week.  Sometimes this cures the Tuesday blues and sometimes this cures my itch to dance.  Whatever the reason, it’s a nice mental break to the week.

So Mon and I went out to eat and have a few drinks at a local irish pub. Due to the looming storm, we decided to cut it a little short and stop by a wine bar to pick up a bottle and enjoy the rest of our “Thirsty Thursday” in the safety of our own homes.We had merlot. It was good. Obviously.

Oh and one of Mon’s cats is a real ham for the camera… say hi to Phailin in the background.

For the record, Mon would like to point out that her cat is older than the fame that crazy lady in Alaska has.

And possibly smarter.

Because it’s FRIDAY, why not enjoy a good google search term? I thought I’d help the person out who searched “rock duet with words “waking up ” or (waking me up )”.

I think you’re looking for these kids:

You are SO welcome. And if you watch the video to the end, you get to enjoy the super high tech black light usage.  Oh buddy…

Happy Friday everyone! I’m going to be spending the weekend finishing up everything I need to do before my VACATION and climb some serious stairs on Sunday.  Hopefully at some point another 9 hours of sleep will happen. fingers crossed…

100 Words Saturday- Impulsive Edition

Stayed in last night and had a girl’s wine night with my friend Mon.Mommy bottle and baby bottle?

Also had the brilliant idea of making pizza at 9:30 when we were a couple of glasses in.

From scratch. Oh yes. Does this make me impulsive? No? Let’s pretend it does.

This morning I got my 7 miles in as according to the training plan. 8:49 pace for the whole thing. I didn’t want to push. I just wanted to run…

I guess now it’s time to clean up the huge mess I made in the kitchen in all my impulsive glory.

Happy Saturday!

Lifestyles of the Fabulous

Probably not what this is.

But I like to think the nice wine glass classes it up a bit. Although, to be truthful, I threw out that glass of wine after the first sip.  I love Trader Joe’s for their good wine (that is SUPER cheap), but sometimes you run across a dud. This glass was replaced with a glass of Zafrica Pinotage. We’re much more satisfied with this.

My tupperware is full of pasta I made yesterday. It was way prettier then…

It’s a little weird for me to be blogging on a Friday night, but I really had nothing to say this morning. Not sure if it was writer’s block or if I was really that boring yesterday? I tried to write a post. But it was soooo “blah”.  No matter how hard I tried- it wasn’t getting better. And yes, I’m aware I write nonsense on a daily basis. But hey- to publish boring nonsense?  No thanks, not my thing.

Either way, I still felt like you needed a little update.

I’ve been laying low since after work. 

A quick trip to the gym including a 3-miler at 8:25 pace.  Holla’.

A trip to the grocery store to pick up some baking stuff for right after I publish this. I’m making a trip tomorrow and said I’d bring a little treat. If you know me at all, you know this wasn’t too hard of a decision.  :)

Although I had already bought the stuff I needed over lunch. Just left if in the breakroom at the office.  Fail…

And yes- I’m keeping the trip under wraps… but it just may include two peeps you already know…

Enjoy your Friday night, kids!  The weekend is finally here!

Pizza and Pancakes- But Not All At Once

Aaaaahhhh… vacation.

Yes, I did get to leave a little early from work yesterday.  But no, it was not a good day.

Which would explain why I’m sitting on my couch right now, staring at empty wine bottles.

Don’t worry- my friend Mon came over to help with that.  I bribed her to come hang out.  With food.  Pizza, actually. I did the beer pizza dough again.Fun fact- I cannot, for the life of me, pronounce the name of this beer. So I just call it “Liney’s”. 

Toppings for the pizza was a matter of what I had on hand.This time, it was mushrooms, red onion, chicken sausage, spinach, cheddar, mozzarella and chili pepper flakes.  A mess of goodness.  Fo’ sho.

Good thing we carb loaded with the pizza.  Because otherwise, after watching The Kids Are All Right(Fantastic movie, by the way), we would have never had the energy to go out to a local bar to meet up with some of our guy friends.

Geared up in our hoodies and sweat pants.  Because we’re classy like that.

Thank goodness they love us.  And don’t judge.

I’m not a big believer in taking advil/tylenol.  I try to avoid it at all costs.  This started last year when I was recovering from the stress reaction in my femur.  I was VERY careful to not overdo it, and questioned every little ache or pain.  So I wouldn’t take any pain meds for it, because I didn’t want to make it feel better, think it could handle running on it, and actually make it worse.  Is that weird logic?  Maybe.

Point of the story- no advil to be found in the house this morning.  When I really really wanted it.

There’s some around here somewhere. Surely.  But it was giving me a bigger headache out of frustration, so I gave up and just started coffee instead. 

Surprisingly, I didn’t wake up starving (which is normal).  But knowing myself, it was only a matter of time.  So the breakfast process was put into motion anyway.In the mix was approximately 1 cup of pancake mix made as directed (I say approximately because I ran out), 1/3 cup of oatmeal, and a handful of walnuts.  Add some brown sugar because you’re feeling “kicky”. Pour into a ramekin. Then throw it in the oven to bake for about 25-30 minutes. Perfect- by the time the pancake came out of the oven, it was time to chow down.

Top with peanut butter and chocolate chips- because what else would you put on it?It’s like a walnut oatmeal cookie pancake?

Normally, I think this would serve two people just fine.

Normally.  Told you that “wake up starving” thing would hit eventually.

I should probably get off my bum now. There are errands to attend to and I don’t want to run into the “closing early for the holidays” issue.  So I’m up and at them… riiiiiigggghhhtttt….. now.

Or I’ll finish this cup of coffee first.  Either/or.

Eatin’ Pants

Merry Christmas everyone!

I’m up early today. Probably even up earlier than most kids. For two reasons.  One is because the Christmas lights on our house shine through my window, whereas I’m used to total darkness (black suede curtains make my apartment bedroom a cave even in the middle of the afternoon).  And the other reason would be is I’m trying to secure the downstairs television for a workout before others are up and moving.

I live by myself and I’m not used to sharing.

Oh and I was totally right about my mom making a whole new batch of sugar cookies for the family to ice once we were all there:She had barely set the cookies and was off and running trying to make sure she could ice as many green trees as possible.

The family tradition (on my dad’s side) is to always to go mass and have dinner afterwards.

So here we are looking nice:These pictures are taken after church and you’ve gotta be quick.  Because there are about 5 minutes before people change into more comfortable clothes.

Otherwise known as puttin’ on your eatin’ pants. We keep Christmas dinner pretty casual around here.My obsession with “overnight salad” is very real.  I think people also call it 7-layer salad?  Either way.  I’ve had it twice already since I’ve been home and will most likely have it two more times before I leave tomorrow.

My aunt always goes for a turkey leg:I have no idea how she does it.  When eating, I don’t have the time or patience for such things.  :p

This is also the reason I don’t do boneless wing, buy nuts still in the shell, or seldomly bother with lobster.

My contribution to the table this year:Because someone had to.

Anyways, like I said, I need to actually go claim the tv for myself so I can secure a proper workout before we do the present thing and the brunch thing and the family thing and the more food thing and the friends thing…  whew.

Plus the little piece of pecan pie I may or may not have had with breakfast needs to be burned off.

Not that I’m concerned about it.  But I’d like to try and make room for more if at all possible.

Enjoy your family time!

The Day After

Hola everyone!

I am pooped.

Yesterday started with some innocent baking, and quickly turned into Holiday Baking Extravaganza 2010.

Ok fine, I saw it coming, but still- standing in the kitchen for 6 or 7 hours is NO joke. 

If you choose to participate in something similar, may I give you some helpful hints?

Deal with it, I’m giving them to you anyways…

1. Hit the gym beforehand.  Yesterday I was determined to get a long session in beforehand.  Because I know myself too well to not think I’ll be dipping my finger into the dough/chocolate/icing.  In total, I ran about 6.5 miles.  There really wasn’t a plan when I started.  But when there was an issue with the circuit breaker, I was forced into intervals (and walked 1/10 a mile between each one).  It didn’t really bother me.  My run looked like this:  3 miles (papa run), 2 miles (mama run), 1 mile (baby run), .5 mile (uuuhhhh… itty bitty baby run?).

2. Fuel up.The one healthy decision I made all day.  It cancels out some of the sugar, right???

3. Enlist the help of a friend.  Preferably one who is a little obsessive compulsive. Enter Monica:She likes to clean.  I do not.  And she pretty much followed me around the entire time, cleaning up the messy trail I’d leave behind.  She even scrubbed the drip pans from my stove top.  And I didn’t once use the stove top.  Back in the day, I’d yell at  her for cleaning the entire time because I felt bad.  But now, I’ve accepted her sick obsession.

Plus, she’s not scared of big knives (clearly).  And I sort of am. 

Either way, I loved that she was willing to help.  Cause she knows my baking adventures are straight-up crazy.  As shown by her comment she left me after posting the picture from yesterday:I told her a test strip would just be silly. If I don’t get diabetes by the end of this weekend, we’re chalking it up to a Christmas miracle.

4. Make a list of steps for EVERYTHING.  I like lists.  They’re fun.  Because there is no greater sense of accomplishment when things are crossed off.  (And I may even write something down that I’ve already done JUST to check it off.  Gotta start somewhere, right?)  Either way, it keeps you from being frazzled about making four or five different things all at the same time.

5. Refuel again.Now that seems more like it.  It had been AGES since either one of us had gotten pizza delivered, so you can imagine how happy we were.  Bacon, mushroom, black olives and spinach.  Delightful.

Deliver is a must, by the way.  Because really- do you want to take the time to make even MORE food?  I don’t think so.

5. Drink more wine.  Make balls jokes as you dip cake balls for what seems like FOREVER.They never get old.

And I like to think my middle school sense of humor keeps me youthful. :)

6. Cap it off at 7 hours.  Seriously.  You’re risking sanity if you push it over that.

Which means I still have sugar cookies to ice.  Because the thought of whipping up another batch of frosting was making me laugh nervously…

Anyhoo, I’ll be posting the recipes starting tomorrow.  Because there’s a lot and I’ve got to get going.  Sure the baking is almost done- but now I have to figure out how I’m going to get to the mall in this fierce snowfall… meh.

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