Early Morning College Pride

Oh hey there, Thursday.

You sure got here fast.

Not that I’m complaining. Quite the opposite, really. It’s been a pretty fabulous week so far and I’d like to see the trend continue until the weekend gets here.

I mean- who’s really going to complain about a 4-day work week?

Not this chick.

However, the week flying by also means I’ve had my fair share of being busy.With good things, obviously. My company’s mini staff outing to Wrigley Field was yesterday! And I’ll be darned- they won!

Even a Cardinals fan can appreciate the beauty that is Wrigley Field. Along with the endearing effort the Cubs put into the game. It’s super cute.

And any baseball or sports fan can appreciate a cold brew while watching a game on a breezy spring afternoon in the company of good people.

Did anyone else realize this may be the smartest idea ever for transporting your beer from stand to seat? Spill guard. Not just for kids.

Is it weird that my boss and I hit a Whole Foods Salad Bar beforehand for lunch? It’s like we understand each other.

However, don’t think I was all fun and games yesterday. Just because it was a short day in the office, that doesn’t mean I was slacking off. The day started with a 5-mile early morning run.

How it became 5 miles? No clue. Because it started off with the mindset of 4. Usually the opposite happens where I have high hopes for 5 but end up at 4. Weird.

Guess I was in good spirits all around?

The only weirdness in my workout was something that has happened a number of times, but I’ll never get used to. As a former University of Missouri graduate, I have about a million old college tees that have been phased into my workout wardrobe. Which reminds me, I’m running low- so if you’re thinking of an early birthday present for me, I’m a size small. Please and thank you.

Anyhoo… where was I?

Oh yes. So I was running. And minding my own business. Very much zoned out. Jamming to the tunes. Enjoying the weather.

la la la…

“M-I-Z”

Loud. And in my face.

Gah! What? Did my heart just stop? Gah! How does he know? Omg- that scared me!Gah!

Oh yeah. The shirt I have on.

Like I said- nothing new. But when this happens at 5:30 in the morning? When I’m in the zone? When I’m sans coffee?

Go Mizzou. Obviously. But take it down a notch, dude. It’s still early. And you just woke up everyone on the block.Ah. Now there’s my coffee.

Much MUCH better.

“Z-O-U!, buddy. Z-O-U!”

Sigh. Sometimes I really miss college.

And because I’m feeling social, what’s your current/former school’s favorite battle cry?

Holiday Weekend Distractions

Labor Day Weekend.

It’s a weekend when friends come together and celebrate with one another.With guacamole. At Piece Brewery and Pizzeria. Even if we had to wait 45 minutes to an hour for a table…

It’s worth it. Maybe not so much for the guac. Pretty sure it came from a bucket. But it totally worth it for the pizza.Oh the pizza…

We went with mushrooms, bacon and goat cheese. It was the perfect combination.

So perfect, that we may have gone a little overboard…It was just so good- we couldn’t stop!

But that’s ok. I needed to be well fed for the next day I had planned with Megan!What’s a better way to celebrate an American holiday than to spend part of it in one of the oldest stadiums in the country to watch America’s favorite pastime?

Megan may be a Cubs fan. And I may be a Cards fan. She may be a Miller Lite girl. And I may be a Bud Light gal.But we can still live in peace and harmony.And break it down on the non-dance floor at a non-dance club bar. It’s the American way.

Especially when it’s a German-themed bar.

But it’s cool. We got some serious beer mugs.They were multi-purpose. We got frosty beverages AND were able to fit in a few curls for fitness.

But, as our parents always taught us, we made sure to clean our plates mugs.It may have also seemed a little strange to celebrate an American holiday in a German bar with tequila shots.

But hey. We do what we want.

Besides, we had buffalo chicken nachos before that.So really, it all ties together. Sorta. Right?

Yes. You’re supposed to say yes.

Either way, that’s all that the stuff that kept me out and about over the weekend and away from my lap top.

And oh yeah, that boy who came to visit me. He distracted me, too.

So we can really just put most of the blame on him. It’s the easier thing to do. And he takes it pretty well.

Anyway, enjoy your Tuesday, friends. Usually, as you know, I hate Tuesdays. But I’ll give this one a break because it’s the beginning of a 4-day work week and I’m in a good mood. Just this once…

Vacation From Vacation

There’s something to be said about taking a vacation day after vacation is over.

That lil’ extra 24 hours off does wonders. I’m much more rested than I would have been if I came in to work yesterday. Ideal considering the mess that will be my inbox when finally opened up. Not looking forward to that one.

Seriously- is there a way email can be avoided for the rest of the day? That would be fantastic…

Anyway. After crashing and spacing out on the couch for a few hours after getting Sunday night, I slept in all the way to 6:30 yesterday morning.

That’s right- it was my day off and I was up before the roommate even left for work. It’s how I do.

The plan was to get an early run in and relax before the Cubs game.

Instead, it rained. And rained. And I started to wonder if either one of the previously mentioned activities would happen.

But a clearing in the sky happened and Megan gave me crap about being a wus, so off I went.

It was still decently early, so I ran through the remains of the celebration of the Chicago Pride Parade.

It smelled like booze and good times. A little crazier than my Sunday in the car. Which smelled like my friend’s gym bag (his fault), dirty hair (both guilty), and Arby’s (both guilty again) for most of the ride. A disturbing combination indeed.

Anyway, because I’m slightly ADD and still checking out all the streets in my running “area”, I was able to make a 4.65 loop before realizing the time crunch I was working with.

Neighborhood running may soon trump the trails I used to run on. Mostly because I keep entertained with sights and not trying to run people over. My speed may suffer. But it’s all about give and take in such non-gym member circumstances.

But back to the time crunch. I started to rush. Because some things are important to be on time for.This is one of them. Thank goodness the sun decided to stick around for the rest of the day. Imagine my annoyance and frustration had it been rained out when I took an extra vacation day from work.

Oh Wrigley Field… I’m a Cardinals fan, but I will always enjoy the Friendly Confines. This I know.Megan and I didn’t indulge in baseball favorites like last time, but there was still a brew or two to be had.

Monday Funday. It doesn’t happen often, so you’ve got to make sure to celebrate properly. Ya dig?

Ok fine… it’s time to throw myself into work now and hopefully be so busy that I won’t even notice the awfulness that is Tuesday.

Weeeee!

An Alternative Holiday Weekend

Memorial Day weekend.

It’s usually one for sun, summer weather and grilling season.

Usually.

Sometimes things get in the way. In this case, mostly the weather:This is definitely not one of those things.

The whole weekend was actually not quite any of those things.

But you know what? We still had fun.

And who really wants to spend their whole life going along with the crowd?

As I mentioned before, I spent part of this weekend celebrating the holiday with Megan.

Originally, we planned on going to a BBQ/house party.

Well. as I got in on the metra, the rain started coming down. Decently hard. The grilling ended up not happening. But Megan and I luckily were visiting her friend who bartends and were hooked up with some preparty munchies:Close enough.

The party was a lot of fun (what party that hires their own bartender wouldn’t be?).

I personally enjoyed the decor:However, the napkins were a little old school being as how the Bieber bangs no longer exist. Hmmm… does that mean these are a collector’s item? Maybe I should have stashed one…

I would also like to thank Subway for making this night happen… being open for 24 hours a day and dealing with Megan’s 10-minutes of indecisive ordering really saved us in the weee hours of the morning.

The next day, we ended up going to Flat Top Grill for brunch.This was my first time trying out Flat Top- and got extreme excitement out of a restaurant where I was able to build my own omelet and pancake…How did that ham get in there? Wasn’t me…

As we were finishing our breakfast, the rain started coming down. So we decided to try and wait it out.And wait… and wait… Funny thing is, the longer we waited, the worse the weather got.

Did I mention we were waiting to leave for the Cubs game?

So we got ready. It kept raining. We weighed our options. The lightning struck. We decided to go up to Wrigleyville anyway to see what would happen. The thunder rolled. We gave up on our hopes of seeing a good ol’ fashioned baseball game and chalked it up to a regular ol’ Sunday Funday (not a bad thing by any means!).

Then, as we were hanging out at one of the bars across from the field, the sun peeked out. And started shining.After a 2.5-hour rain delay, we got this show on the road! Everyone was excited to see the sun shine for one of the first times of the weekend. Even the birds came out to play:Even the birds came out for the party. The poor dude in right field- you could tell he was just standing there awkwardly because he didn’t really know what to do. They were big birds.

We celebrated with a well-balanced meal at the game:Look at all those veggies! As Megan pointed out, nachos are really like a salad. Just with tortilla chips instead of lettuce. So yeah.

The Cubs ended up winning. This was good/bad for me. Good because I love watching a game and the whole crowd being excited and happy. But as a Cardinals fan at heart, I couldn’t cheer to the greatest extent. Gotta keep that Missouri loyalty somehow…

So yes. The BBQ didn’t happen. The weather was less than desirable. Our baseball game had a rain delay.

But you know what? We had a fantastic time. And if that doesn’t make a holiday weekend great, what else would?

Enjoy the rest of your Memorial Day, everyone! I’m off to be productive. For at least an hour or two… :)

First Baseball Weekend In Wrigleyville

Good afternoon.It was an extra-large-cup-o-coffee kind of morning.

I would imagine most people who participate in Opening weekend would agree.

Oh and do you see that awesome spot on my table? That happened last summer- don’t leave a bottle of sun tan lotion sit on your table for a day. Especially if you don’t realize the cap was open and it leaked… because it will eat the finish on the new table you just bought a few months earlier.

Anyway, on to more pressing issues.

Like who’s the smart one that schedules a Saturday baseball game at noon?

Really?If you were out in Wrigleyville, you may have seen me and some of my cohorts in action (even Megan joined in on the fun!). We were the group of delinquents eating nachos at The Stretch, hiding out at Murphy’s Bleachers, eating more nachos and dancing at Casey Moran’s or starting the dance party back at The Stretch.

We like nachos. And we like to dance.

Obviously.

So I’m quite tired today. May have been less tired had we not ran to catch a train and watched it pull away as we got through the doors. And then had to wait an hour for the next one…

We’re really good at that.

As you can see, I elected to spend the day in Wrigleyville and pass up my long run. Still feeling good after my little workout on Thursday night, so we’re going to do a little more running/cross-training today and tomorrow. Just not push it. And still take an extra day or two of rest. Annoying but necessary.

Luckily, as last week passed, I started to get much better at enjoying my sudden free time.

Which is easy to do in good company. On Friday, my good friend Annie and I decided to get together for a lazy night in with wine and a red box.And pizza… don’t forget the pizza…

She requested homemade pizza made by yours truly, and she took care of the salad.

Team work.

Anyway, it’s about time to get moving and try to enjoy the end of my weekend. Laters!

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.

A Day of Baseball

After my late night shenanigans on Friday, Saturday morning’s early wakeup call to go down to Wrigley was not a pleasant one. 

But I persevered.  Because I was meeting up with another gal from my hometown (who lives in the area) and a few of her coworkers to go cheer on the Cardinals during the Cards/Cubs series!I may not be a Cubs fan.  But I’m a HUGE fan of Wrigley Field.  How can you not be?  It’s iconic!

I’m also a huge fan of Murphy’s Bleachers.  It’s a bar just outside of Wrigley behind the outfield.I also like to drink Old Style at Murphy’s.  I was told during my first trip to Wrigley that it’s sort of a rite of passage. 

Drinking before noon is totally acceptable when done so in a ceremonious fashion.  Right?

I believe this is also the only time that drinking crap beer would be considered “ceremonious”.

One of the guys was able to pick up some bleachers seats for us.This was my first time in the bleacher seats.  Supposedly they get pretty crazy.  I would assume this happens when it’s a little warmer than 55 degrees and when one of the teams playing still has a shot at the playoffs.  The whole atmosphere was a little subdued.

I did spy some good looking eats in front of me.Who doesn’t love a huge helmet full of nachos?  And they were LOADED.  Unfortunately, I never found where these were being sold.  And had to stick with a dinky overpriced italian sausage.  Booo…

What’s your favorite kind of stadium food?  I used to seek out the Dippin’ Dots if wherever I was had them- I was obsessed!

Sadly, I had to endure a Cardinals loss.  I’m sure Paige, who was also there, may have more enthusiastic feelings towards the outcome of the game.  ;)

Oh and did anyone see Hawksworth get a line drive right to the face?This could be one time that I’m glad Wrigley doesn’t have a big screen for replays. It looked horrific- and that’s coming from the girl who saw it all the way from the outfield…

Afterwards, we made a trip to Cubby Bear (also right across from the stadium) and hung out there until I was ready to sneak out and get home.  I was exhausted. And kinda hungry.Trader Joe’s spinach and ricotta stuffed ravioli.  Topped off with my “fancy” Prego and sautéed mushrooms.  Way better than another round of pricey stadium food, right?

And right now I’m up and at ‘em early again to drive down with my lovely friend Annie to totally OWN this 8k we’re doing.  Well- hopefully.  :)  I’ve been a little shaky on the left leg as of late (notice all the elliptical vs. running days).  But I’ve taken some time off of it and I think I’m ready to go!

Time to get my run on!

Have a great Sunday!

Pushing It

We made it to Wednesday!  (Insert sigh of relief)

Why does this excite me so much?  Because we have a staff outting to the Cubs game today!  Sure… the Cubs are sort of um… having difficulties this season.  And sure, they’re not playing the best team (I think Pittsburgh may be in last place if we’re getting technical about it).  But you know what?  I don’t care.  I love baseball.  And I may not be a fan of the Cubs (Go Cards!  Holla’!).  But you can’t be a fan of baseball without being a fan of Wrigley Field.  It’s iconic.  It’s the epitome of watching a summer baseball game.  It’s freaking Wrigley Field, people!

If you love it so much, why don’t you just marry it?

Fine, I’ll hush…

Either way, I’m going.  And am pretty stoked.  If you didn’t pick up on that.

If you’re a sports fan, who’s your team?  Don’t be shy… it’s all love here.  :)

As you can imagine, this would include a day of travel and an adult beverage or two.  So I will again be switching up my days so that today is a rest day (instead of my usual Thursday).  That’s right- mixing it up again.  Oooohhhh this girl is crazy!

Oh and let’s talk a little more about the “fake chicken” I tried out the other night.  I also had it for my salad over lunch yesterday.Yep… still not enjoying it.  I tried.  I did.  I’m sorry- we can’t be friends.  I may try an alternative brand, but will shy away from this one for good.  Thanks for all the suggestions yesterday- I feel if I do try another “meatless meat”, I’ll be going to a different brand.  But it won’t be for a while- I’m just not sure if I’m cut out for it or not.

The rest day is well deserved, by the way.  Last night was intense!  Like I mentioned last time, I met up with Phampants for a run.  We couldn’t have asked for better weather- we’ve experienced a cooldown and I’m sure it wasn’t much above 70 degrees by the time we got out there.  We got down to business right away.  And started out with a decent pace.  Considering I hate the first mile of any run, it was definitely a good kickstart that I usually don’t have.

I checked my Nike+ a few times and was surprised at how fast we were going.  Pham didn’t quite believe me but when we stopped for a quick drink of water after the first loop on the trail, we did the math to double check.  The time doesn’t lie.  And we definitely did about 2.7 miles with just under an 8-minute pace.  Yeah- we were pushing a serious pace. 

The second loop was a little slower.  Just a little… our final stats were just under 5.5 miles with an 8:07 pace.  We both agree my Nike+ is probably a little off, but still.  Damn.  That’s faster than any of the runs I’ve done as of late.  Pham brought up the thought of going maybe another mile.  I did have to decline on that one.  I won’t lie- another mile or so at that speed may have also welcomed the return of that god awful fake chicken I had for lunch (I’m serious about that stuff- it did not sit well!).

This is how awesome we felt about the run:Yeah, I hit the ground.  Ahhhh…Thanks Pham.  I think this was a good run for both of us.  It was an extra mile I didn’t have on my training plan and it was an improved time for both of us.  I think we both walked away wondering what time we might actually be crossing the finish line for the Rock n’ Roll Half at… Eyebrows are raised at the possibilities…

We’re planning to do 8 miles together in a couple weeks. 

Oh dear…

Oh and today is Day #3 of new breakfasts!  I seem to have made this a little event, haven’t I?  It wasn’t my intention on Monday morning, but we’re just gonna roll with it…I did a combo of both Monday and Tuesday- An oatmeal pancake and a mushroom scramble.  I had a leftover pancake from yesterday, so I thought why not?  This may be the winning combo.  The eggs on Monday left me hungry before lunch.  The pancakes on Tuesday left me feeling a little stuffed after all was said and done and was a little too much.  I’m like freakin’ Goldilocks- this one was juuuuusssstttt right.  ;)

And that’s how I’m going to leave you- happy tummy and ready for the few hours of work before the game.  It’s a good day.

Going for it!

Well it was yet another crazy productive Sunday.  I’m hoping maybe next week I’ll get a lazy one.  ;)  Because, quite frankly, I prefer them!

I got a dog walk in before all the rain hit, but I did not get out on the road before hand… so sitting in traffic was quite reminiscent of my commute to work- blah!  I got to my apartment shortly before noon and peeked in to say hello and that I missed it!  Even though I’m still staying somewhat close with my dogsitting duties- it seems like I’ve been gone from home for so long!

Last week they came in and painted my bathroom finally- after having to wait and then having it rescheduled (seriously- does everything having to do with decorating have to take FOREVER?).  The paint job was part of my negotiating a new lease for next year, and I’m pretty satisfied.  Very much so, actually- who knew how giddy I’d get over painting a bathroom?The color is just beige, but it really softened it up.  I’m not a huge fan of stark white walls and try to stay away from them if at all possible.  Yea!  :)

Then I hit the furniture store.  Again.  And looked at the sectional.  Again.  And looked at another one we had discussed.  Again.  And then got a little anxious.  Mon ended up not being able to make it to give a second opinion, but my lovely friend Annie stepped in and I’m so happy she did!  I ended up getting the couch I figured I’d end up with, but it’s nice to have reassurance.

And I was able to negotiate a little without too  much of a problem.  After the delivery disaster, we worked it out to I wouldn’t have to pay any delivery charges of any sort for when they brought my table or for when this couch comes (on Saturday!).  Since this one comes in pieces, there shouldn’t be too much of a problem… relief!  Also, we worked out a deal on the fabric care as well.  So I saved about $150 all together.  That’s a solid win in my book.

After the furniture shenanigans, Annie mentioned seeing a movie.  I hadn’t planned on it, but it sounded like a GREAT idea.  We went and saw Date Night.  It was good.  Not as fantastic as I had hoped- but I have somewhat high standards for anything with Steve Carrell and Tina Fey.

The eats were a little out of the ordinary for me today.  I had planned to hit the grocery store and return the Red Box movies from last night, but by the time I got back to the dogs, I really had no desire to leave them or the apartment.  Even with an empty refrigerator (I didn’t plan well enough for a two-week stay away from home obviously).  I love Pockets, and started to customize a salad online, but then the estimated delivery time was an hour.  It was already getting pretty late, and the stomach was not having it.  So what did I do?  I repeated my breakfast.  I think that makes me a bad food blogger…  oops!See all those carry out menus to choose from?  The cornucopia of food options?  And yeah, that’s an oatmeal/peanut butter/Kashi mess in a bowl.  Which is what I eat most days of the week.  I’m a creature of habit…  Did I have the most balanced eats today?  Hell no.  Carbs all the way.  But was it good?  Very much so.  Sometimes that just has to happen.  I miss my veggies, but you gotta just roll with the punches.  Even if it means paying an extra $2 for unreturned Red Box movies.

Anyone ever have those days where you just eat the same thing all day?  I think I sort of got a little guilty pleasure out of it… ;)

Have a good Monday everyone!  I’m a little sleep deprived again.  I think Hazel is missing her mom and dad and taking out her passive aggressive behavior on me.  It was another night of her trying to sit right on top of my head and almost smothering me.  No worries Haze- they’ll be back this weekend and you’ll be rid of me as your temporary legal guardian.  :p 

Wish me luck- today is the first day I’ll be driving back to Wrigleyville with a Cubs game going on.  A test of patience for sure…  If you’ve never been to Wrigleyville to see where the baseball field is located, just imagine a professional baseball team’s field being randomly placed a few streets down in your neighborhood.  And then imagine all the inconveniences of what kind of a mess that would cause… and that’s what I’m dealing with today.  :)  I love the area, but this is gonna suck.

Race to Wrigley 5k

My Friday night consisted of cuddling with the pups and this:Even making this was a stretch.  I was tired.  And the dogs had to actually wake me at some point during The Soup to tell me it was time to go to bed.  Ok kids, I’m fine with that.  Why?  Because I was up early to head down the street and watch the Race to Wrigley!John and I met up a little before the race to check out the action.  When we emailed each other back and forth before meeting up, he said he was bringing the cowbells.  I thought that was funny and said “ok sure, see you there.” Alright, hand one over.  I’m down.  Soon enough, the first runner came through.  Followed by the rest of the pack.  Not sure  how many times I actually heard shouts from the runners for “more cowbell!!!!” and then cheering.  It was great!  Nikki thought John was kidding as well.  Nope.  After people started finishing, she walked up and said “I don’t even have to text you- I just followed the cowbell!”

This was my first mini blogger meetup, so it was weird to actually just start talking to someone I’ve never met.  But at the same time, we know what each one has been up to.  So that was kind of crazy…

We ended up going to Julius Meinl after the race for post-race breakfast.  Even though I wasn’t running the race, I still felt the need to partake in one of my favorite traditions after a race…  Give me an excuse to get baked eggs and I’ll take it.  You weren’t kidding Nikki- this place was goooood!Chicago bloggers unite!  Don’t be jealous, Michelle- I know you wish you could be here… :p  Anyways, that is me, Phampants, and Tales of My Second City.  Enjoy the eye candy…

Now the dogs are looking at me like it’s their turn to go play, so we’re going to go for a walk before more rain comes.  And at some point, I plan to get my lazy ass up and do some more Shredding with Jillian.

Enjoy the weekend, kids!

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