Posts tagged ‘Chicago’
Hey loves. I am having a hard time of things lately.
I’m sure it may be noticeable since I sound grumpy in a lot of my recent posts. Part of it is genetic…I haven’t really discussed this on the blog, but…*deep breath*…
I have generalized anxiety disorder.
I won’t go too much into it (for now at least) as far as when it started, how I’m managing it, etc. etc., but ….. It sucks. Sometimes I feel like I’m a crazy person. I freak out over stupid an insignificant things, and can get trapped in a sort of “downward spiral” of negative thoughts. It also means I worry, over-analyze and over-think things. When life’s normal (but shitty) setbacks happen, most people understand that while they suck and can be difficult to deal with, they are just that — part of life. Life goes on. When I’m feeling “normal,” I understand this too and can deal accordingly. Sometimes, though, I just fall apart. It can also cause depression.
One upside (??) of this issue, however, is that whenever I feel like I’m getting into a bad place, I know that it is part of my wiring — the way I was built — and that it’s not just me being crazy (even though I can still be a total nut sometimes). I can look at the situation with a little clarity and know that the stormcloud will pass. I’m trying not to let the negative thoughts that are constantly swirling in my head right now override everything and mask all the great things I have in my life; I’m healthy, I have amazing friends and family, I live in a city I love and I have a cool job. Battling depression and anxiety can make it very difficult to remember these things and cherish them, so sometimes I have to remind myself of them constantly. I don’t want to get bogged down in all the little stuff.
So on that note, I apologize if sometimes it seems like I’m overly crabby, negative or bogged down in unhappy stuff. It’s always a struggle, but is especially difficult when crappy things happen, because I’m still learning how to deal with them. Right now, crappy things are indeed happening and I am just not 100% on my game, or at least not enough to handle them as well as I’d like to be.
*another deep breath*
WELL. Now that I’ve gotten that “out of the way,” I can tell you about some of the good stuff that has been happening. These are all camera phone pictures since my DSLR is experiencing some uploading issues, so please don’t abandon me (if you haven’t already) for poor photo quality!! I promise to bring back the good stuff :)
Last week I got my first (very hyped up) pumpkin spice latte. This one was a tall iced soy version.
It was actually a little too sweet for me — perhaps it was the combination of the already sweetened soy milk plus the flavoring? It was also a bit too heavy on the cinnamon or nutmeg or whatever powdered spice they put in there. It wasn’t bad, but I’m not sure I’d order one again — at least not like that. I’m just not into overly sugary stuff. Bleh.
On the walk back from my Starbucks lunch break Friday, I snapped a few fun pictures of the neat view I get to pass every day. Not so bad, eh?
The weather was kind of crappy, but I still enjoyed being able to stop and smile for a minute to appreciate what a great city Chicago is :)
Friday night, my friend Kati and I stayed in and played drunken Sonic the hedgehog on the Wii. I totally broke two glasses and hit Molly in the face while playing. Clearly I am not meant to play video games.
We were up until four in the morning!! Who DOES that??? (Besides adolescent boys)
Saturday (after sleeping in), I got up and went to pick up my race packet for the Chicago Half Marathon 5k with Amy. We got there about half an hour before it closed, so we had to rush around a bit to see everything and pick up the required swag :D
It was held at one of the Navy Pier convention halls. It was funny going to Navy Pier because it’s SUCH a tourist destination that no one who is from Chicago ever really goes there. Too many people, too expensive, too much going on. But it was nice to walk along the lake (as always) and take in some of the fun views. I wish I had thought to take a picture outside, but I didn’t. Oh well!
I found a booth for a Madison 5k that I am super excited about!!!! I will definitely be attending this next year :)
Amy was wearing a dress and looked super cute, and I showed up in my workout clothes and no makeup. I looked like absolute crap, but you can’t win em all I guess….haha. I found this AMAZING tech shirt that I totally want. Sorry if you can’t see what it says…
But the back says, “I am slow. I know. Get over it.” I loved this, hahaha. I am such a slow runner because a) I am still new to it b) my knee injury and c) I’m just not very good at running!!! (Not that I should need to justify this, but sometimes I read other blogs and see ladies straight up flying at 8-min/mile paces (or even faster, as is the case with my friend Kara!) and I feel like a total loser because keeping up a 10-min/mi pace for longer than a mile is a huge accomplishment for me sometimes. BUT. I am proud that I am running at all, and working to get better at it — in a way that works for me. So yes, I am slow — I KNOW. Get over it :)
It’s so true — sometimes you just have to do what works best for you, and just focus on that. Love you Mel!!!!!
After picking up our stuff, I hung out with Amy for a bit then headed back home to shower and get ready to meet my friend Megan for her birthday. Unfortunately, she forgot her ID at home (!!! d’oh !!!) so she had to cancel. This actually worked out better anyway, because I wouldn’t have been able to stay out for more than an hour anyway. So instead, Laura came over and we hung out and watched TV and made dinner. I love when you are such good friends with someone that just hanging around and doing nothing makes you happy. :)
I went to bed super early because…dum dum dum…I had to get up at 5am for the 5k in the morning! The race was in Jackson park, which is way way way far south in Chicago. It took a little over an hour for Amy and I to get there, so we had to leave around 6. We were sleepy gals, and very nervous!
Such a fake smile, haha! I sent this to my dad because he had been checking in with me a lot before the race. Friday he left me the sweetest voicemail telling me that he was very proud of me for “doing these things” (hah) and how cool he thought it was that I am challenging myself like this. It meant a lot — I am so, so lucky to have such great parents.
Anyway, Amy and I got to the race just before it started and had to hustle to check our gear and get to the starting line. After standing around for just a few minutes, we were off!! Even though the first mile felt longer than usual, we still got through it easy peasy. Before we have usually run the first mile then briefly stopped for a walk break, then started up again. This time we got to 1.25 miles (thanks Garmin!) and I suggested that we keep going til we hit 2 miles. Since we both have been off the running wagon somewhat since our last race, it was not easy, but we pushed ourselves through and did it!
I really started to feel the burn after 1.5 miles, and was starting to think that I couldn’t run without stopping for those first 2. But I started talking out loud (to myself, but also to Amy) to keep myself going and let me tell you…I was absolutely shocked that it worked. Some of the thoughts went like:
- Running is all in your head. You already know that your body is able to do this. The only thing you need to focus on is putting one foot in front of the other. That’s it. Just do it.
- Focus on the sound of your breath — in and out — and the sound of your feet tapping the pavement. Nothing else. Breathe in, breathe out. Right foot, left foot.
- Come on brain, don’t crap out of me now. Keep my legs moving. Please.
The last one makes me giggle :) But seriously! I couldn’t believe how much stronger I felt when I started getting into my head and pushing myself. When I was focusing on the second “mantra” about focusing on my breath and my feet, I swear it felt like I was meditating. I’ve never felt anything like it, but it was a totally “zen” like experience. I loved it.
The last half mile of the 5k was the hardest. I kept focusing on breathing, but I could tell I was really slowing down. At this point, Amy took over the cheerleading duties, which helped IMMENSELY. Hearing her telling both of us that we were kicking ass and “DOING IT!!!” I felt like I could finish this thing strong. And crossing the finish line with thousands of people waiting and cheering didn’t hurt either :) This was the biggest race we’ve done so far (estimates were at 22,000 people!!), so it was a really neat feeling. The announcer was also talking about how Apollo Ohno was about to finish, so that put some fire under my butt too — who wants to finish a 5k AFTER Apollo finishes a HALF MARATHON??? Haha.
We thought we were going to collapse and die (per usual) after crossing the finish line, so we sat for a minute, then got up and picked up some bananas and our medals!!!
Oddly enough, our times — while better than the last 5k, when it was a thousand degrees outside — were still not better than the very first 5k we ran. There were only a few seconds difference, but I can’t believe that my fastest time was still my first race — so weird! Perhaps it was because I had been training much more for the first one? Hmm. It’s great to have a running buddy though! :)
Anyway, after walking around and picking up some freebie bars and energy drink things, we hopped on a bus then a train to get back home. I only had a few minutes to shower and get dressed once I got home, because my wonderful brother picked me up to let my do my laundry at his house :) haha. I feel like I’m still in college, but hey! Laundry is expensive!
My parents picked me up from my brother’s to take me out for a short victory dinner at Twist! — a sweet tapas place. I picked at a few things but wasn’t super hungry. I did have a victory mojito though:) After they dropped me off at home, I was totally pooped and passed out on the couch watching True Blood and Breaking Bad. Unfortunately, I still overslept this morning…whoops!
I hope you had a great weekend. I’m exhausted after mine, even though it wasn’t too crazy. There wasn’t any gay Twister involved.
The weather in Chicago has been breathtakingly beautiful lately…it’s almost comical. You wake up every day and it’s sunny, 78 and breezy. What is going on?? I don’t want this to end!
On that note, I can’t believe it’s almost September. Holy crap. Where did the summer go?!?
I spent the weekend with my friend in distress, hoping to cheer her up even the tiniest bit. I think it helped, but it still feels horrible to see a close friend hurting so badly. We spent Friday night out in the suburbs where she was playing guitar and singing in a benefit concert. A bunch of our friends came out to watch and I saw some old friends/teachers/acquaintances, which was mostly fun. I saw a few people that I had no interest in ever seeing again after high school as well, but eh — what are you going to do?
We picked up some beer after the concert and headed back to my friend’s mom’s house, where we used to hang out all the time in high school. We even drank in the same spot we used to sneak booze into way back in the day when we were rebellious teenagers, hahaha — it was such a goofy flashback! Talk about memory lane.
Saturday I spent the day with her for her birthday. I was invited to her grandparents’ house for an old school Italian home-cooked meal, which was amazing. I didn’t want to be rude and snap pictures, but her grandmother made roasted peppers, tomato + cuke salad, roasted lamb, and fried green tomatoes. The best part was that it was all fresh from their garden!!! What a treat! The meal ended on a perfect note with coffee, presents and cake. I hope it made her rough week a little better.
After our wonderful meal, I had to leave to go to my company’s summer picnic. I had high hopes for it, but it turned out to be somewhat of a bust. I know you’re probably like “Duhhh — all company picnics are lame!” But I work for a pretty neat company, so I expected more! Oh well…it was a nice excuse to be outside and sip a free beer! I was pretty stuffed from the birthday lunch, but I managed to nibble on a few bites of a veggie burger (not very good, so I tossed it) and a hot dog (same), plus some pasta salad (mediocre, but over oily. I ate it anyway, which I wish I hadn’t). I felt pretty overly full afterward, and wanted to get in some walking, so I decided to head to the Sprint store to get my sporadically functioning phone fixed. I got off the bus about a mile from where it was and walked the rest of the way, which felt pretty good after so much food.
Too bad I had to sit in the freaking Sprint store for two and a half hours. Argh. I could feel myself getting worked up and frustrated, so I had to keep reminding myself to adjust my attitude…
There is this crazily cheerful bus driver I encounter on my way to work about once per week, and he is always shouting cheerful “mantras” at passengers on the ride (silly, I know) — but often they actually can make a difference. One of his favorites is, “Don’t expect good things to happen if you’re walking around with negative thoughts. Adjust your attitude and keep things positive, and the good stuff will come.”
I find this such a refreshing and inspiring thought. Isn’t it crazy how just saying things like that can make them come true? Walking around with a scowl on my face is not going to bring any positive energy my way, no matter how bad of a day I’m having. When I normally get off the bus for work, I’m already irritated because my stop is one of the most tourist-heavy spots in Chicago. There are out of towners everywhere, which can make it frustrating when you’re trying to hurry and people aren’t paying attention because they’re walking while looking up at the buildings (this is how us “natives” spot you!) or asking me to take pictures of them. But instead of being irritated, I should be thankful that I get to walk past such a beautiful and picturesque spot every day. BAM! Attitude adjusted!
Anywho, I had to keep that kind of thinking going to get myself through 2.5 hours of phone-service hell. I think the issue was finally resolved, but considering how my phone has worked so far, I wouldn’t be surprised if it acted up again. Only time will tell I suppose!
After the phone store marathon, I headed back up to my friend’s for BFF duties, armed with red wine and pizza. We stayed up late talking, goofing around and watching a movie, and I ended up staying over.
We had brunch Sunday, and I rolled with the classic eggs, hash browns, toast bacon. It was greasy as all hell, but pretty tasty. The “toast” they gave us was actually brioche bread, which was super sweet. It’s definitely not something I would order on my own (I don’t like sweets too much), but it was a nice change of pace.
By the time I got home, I actually felt ill from being so exhausted and having not been home since Friday morning for more than an hour. I canceled the rest of my plans for the day in favor of resting and going for a loooonnnnnng walk. My knee has still been feeling very finicky, so I nixed the idea for a run in favor of a longer walk, and turned on an audiobook to entertain me. My route went over to the lake and all the way down past Belmont harbor and back around, which ended up being a little over 3 miles. The best part of the walk by far, though, was the fact that I saw a rap video being filmed in front of the lake. Like, this kind of rap video:
I wish I had brought my phone along with me to snap a picture. Needless to say, it was hilarious and incredibly ridiculous.
The rest of the night was spent grocery shopping, cleaning and watching True Blood. I stayed up way later than I should have because my sleep schedule is all wonky, and now I’m exhausted. Need to get back on track!
Catch ya later!
- If you don’t have a dishwasher, wash your dishes immediately after you use them. Don’t ask, just do it.
- The smell of curry will linger in a studio apartment for longer than 24 hours.
- No really — NOTHING MAKES IT GO AWAY.
- Organic canned pumpkin does not stay in the fridge for as long as you’d think it would.
- When kiwis go bad and get gooey on the counter, they leave behind a strange, pinkish color.
Ahhhh, I love this. I love this!
Can I marry this quote? Okay, sorry — I’m being a creep (my creepiness is something my dear love Ali loves to point out when I suggest sleeping in her walk-in closet).
Guess what? It’s Friday. You know what that means? It means that in approximately 6 hours, I am going to have a beer in my hand. And then after that, I’ll have another. Maybe I’ll sneak a Captain and diet in there, but it’s mostly gonna be beer. Ooooh, I am so excited.
I love beer. Oh god, I am such a creep.
I have some seriously crazy plans this weekend, and I am totally thrilled. If you haven’t noticed, I am a totally social person. I love being around people all. the. time. I tend to get lonely really easily, so when I have plans lined up for the entire weekend before it’s even Friday, I’m a pretty happy girl.
I’m planning on grabbing drinks with coworkers today after work (or rather, begging on the sidewalk for change so I can drink despite the sorry pre-payday state of my bank account), which is one of those things that always makes me feel like some sort of fabulous city dweller. What are you doing tonight? Oh, I’m just hitting up some fabulous happy hour on some fabulous rooftop with fabulous views of the fabulous skyline drinking fabulous cocktails. What about you?
So I’ve somehow miraculously stayed in touch with a dude that I dated briefly while living in Madison. My general rule is no friends with exes, but enough time (and distance) is between us and I rarely see him anyway, so I have no problem keeping in touch. Plus, he’s pretty cute, so he’s not bad to keep around ;) Anywho, he is in Chicago this weekend for a work trip (I have no idea what this guy does but they are always flying him all over the country and he texts me from random hotels in random cities from time to time) and asked if I wanted to meet up.
He invited me to to go to the Arlington Race Track with some of his buddies on Saturday, but uh, yeah I turned down that invitation. When he asked me why, this is how the conversation went…
Don’t you love my honesty? Hah … What! I didn’t want to go! :X
So I’ll be meeting up with him at some point this evening and it should be fun to catch up. I won’t be joining for the “sport of kings,” however. Oh, boys.
Saturday I’ll be wandering around the Northalsted Market Days festival…it’s basically a street fest with a whole lotta gay. Like…a lot of gay. I live in a neighborhood in Chicago aptly named Boystown, which is the largest and I believe oldest official gay community in the country. AndIloveit. Pride Fest passes my front door. Love me some rainbows and glitter! Market days is a little more toned down than Pride, but it’s a street festival in Boytstown, so there is a lot of booze and half-naked insanely attractive men going on. And that means I’ll be there.
I love my neighborhood. It ain’t no secret, but in case you were wondering now, I am a big advocate of gay pride, marriage equality, and I am an ally. None of these images are meant to be in mockery, so please, no disrespectful comments.
I was also just thinking — it will be interesting to see what sort of new traffic these photos bring to the blog, no? haha.
Later in the day/earlier in the evening on Saturday, I’ll be going out on a second date with a guy I met recently. We had a great time on the first date and had so much to talk about and lots of things in common. I also got to drink one of my favorite types of beer — a Flemish Sour — when he suggested we get some drinks at the Map Room, a super neat watering hole in Bucktown. It also happened to be $5 draft night, which..yeah. Awesome.
I think we’re grabbing dinner then either seeing a movie or hitting up a bar — whichever one seems to fit best at the time, I suppose! I told him how much I love documentaries, and he was like well we could go see a documentary…Planet of the Apes is a documentary, right? Hahah. Zing!
LATER Saturday night, I’m meeting up with my loverbutt Laura, who is hosting some sort of hipster-chic poetry reading at her apartment (Hi Laura!!). I’m sure I will be out of place and awkward, but hey — what else is new in my life?
Sunday morning, I’m meeting up some fabulous (there’s that word again!) blogger ladies for brunch after Paige @ Running Around Normal does the Chicago Rock n Roll Half Marathon!!! Holy smokes, will I ever feel inadequate, haha. Amy and Nikki will also be there — so if any other Chicago ladies want to join, by all means, Tweet me!
Oh, and I have no idea where exercise is going to fit into this whole schedule thing. Yeah, I gotta work on that part…
Happy Friday, loves! What fun things do you have planned?
Oh, hello there.
Have you forgotten about me?
So this time, I have a legitimate excuse for my prolonged absence. As I was walking home from work Thursday, I was hit by a car. Some of you may have seen me mention it on Twitter, but after that, I took a short break from the world for a few days.
Let’s backpedal a bit — to answer the question that everyone is asking, yes, I’m okay. Everyone has been so nice and I really appreciate everyone asking if I’m okay – it means a lot! :) Now, as to how it happened?
Well, it was about 6:30 and I was rushing to catch a bus to my friend’s house to make cake balls for her boyfriend’s birthday. I was crossing the intersection right outside my building, and I had the green light and cross signal. As I was approaching the other side of the intersection, I still had about 23 seconds left on the crosswalk timer. A car had turned left from the cross street, and was waiting for me to finish crossing. Unfortunately, a cab driver behind the car decided he couldn’t wait an additional five seconds, so he cut around the side of the stopped car and, without seeing me, was going to drive through. He saw me in time not to kill me, thank God, but I didn’t see him coming and he hit me hard enough to knock me off my feet.
I was pretty stunned and it took a second to realize what had happened, and a few nice people rushed over to help me up and make sure I was okay. Long story short, I called 911 (but declined an ambulance) and made sure the cop wrote him a severe ticket. She was incredibly nice and didn’t make me feel like an idiot for crying in the middle of the street. She also let me know that she wrote him a ticket for a municipal code violation, instead of a traffic ticket, so he couldn’t get out of it with just a fine. The cab driver was nice enough and completely agreed with me in that the accident was entirely his fault, but he broke the law — plain and simple — so despite how nice of a guy he may be, I was still furious.
AND…he ruined my favorite pair of shoes. Not pleased.
More than anything, I’m incredibly thankful that I wasn’t hurt worse, or killed. It could have been so, so much worse. It takes things like this sometimes for you to see how your life could truly change forever in an instant, and to be thankful for every second you have with the people you love.
Thankfully, the friend who I was on my way to see (and the aforementioned boyfriend) are both lawyers, so they came and picked me up to make sure I was okay . It was funny, because the boyfriend even happens to be a personal injury lawyer — or as my friend says it, “Psh – he’s the ambulance chaser.” Hah.
We went back to her apartment, but not before stopping for beer, some random fruit from the grocery store, and ordering Thai and tacos (random!) for delivery. She’s a good friend.
I helped her make some decorations and goodies for her boyfriend’s surprise party that was going to be on Saturday while sipping my beer and munching on our random dinner spread. We also watched trashy tv. It was the absolute best remedy for such a crappy day.
Thursday night, I emailed my boss and let her know that I was going to get into work late so I could sleep in and see how I would feel the next morning. I was right, and I felt pretty sore and kind of shaken up, so I was glad that I had built in some time to take it easy. I made some coffee when I woke up and nibbled a small breakfast, got a little work done, then got started on making some homemade pesto!
Into the Magic Bullet went:
- 1 oz fresh basil
- 2 chopped cloves of garlic
- 1/3-1/2 cup grated parmesan
- 1.3 cup walnuts
- 1/3 cup (plus more as necessary for ease of blending) good quality olive oil
- a few grinds of sea salt
Oh, hey. Did ya see that I made some doughnuts the other night?
Sidenote: which spelling do you prefer — donuts or doughnuts? I switch back and forth…can’t make up my mind!
My friend Laura and I decided to stay in Friday night and watch movies/make doughnuts with the new mini doughnut pan I got last week! Don’t they look super neat??
I modified an EatingWell recipe for healthier chocolate donuts, and it went down like this:
Laura’s Inappropriate-but-Healthy Mini-Chocolate Doughnuts
Modified from EatingWell Sept/Oct 1996
If you’re wondering why they’re named as such, see my prep video.
- 2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided
- 1 1/2 cups flour: half oat, half whole wheat, or whatever mixture of whole grain flour of your choosing
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-process
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg white
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt + squeeze of fresh lemon juice (this makes a buttermilk-like taste!)
- 1/4 cup canola or grapeseed oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch or two of coffee grounds — this will bring out the chocolate flavor
- 1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2-3 teaspoons milk of choice — I used vanilla soy, but will use almond next time
- Preheat oven to 375°F. If you are using regular size and not mini doughnut pans, bump this up to 400. Thoroughly coat the molds of mini-doughnut pans (I only used one, but this made ~3 batches) with cooking spray. Sprinkle molds evenly with 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, shaking out excess.
- Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl. Whisk egg and egg white in another bowl until frothy. Add brown sugar and the remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar; whisk until smooth. Add yogurt, oil and vanilla and whisk until blended. Add the dry ingredients and stir with a rubber spatula just until moistened.
- Scoop batter into each prepared mold, smoothing the surfaces with a small spoon — you will want it to be about 1/3 of the way filled. Bake until the tops spring back when touched lightly, about 8 minutes. If you are using regular doughnut pans, you may need to cook slightly longer. Loosen edges and turn the doughnuts out onto a wire rack to cool.
- To make glaze: Whisk confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and enough of the milk to make a smooth, thick glaze. When the doughnuts are completely cool, pick them up with your lovely fingers and dip them into the glaze and let stand until glaze has set. For a thicker glaze, repeat .
These guys turn out pretty little, so I had more than my fair share of them. I ended up staying over at Laura’s that night so as not to get lost in the mega-storm of the century, and had a few alongside some coffee for breakfast in the morning. Delicious! :)
Yesterday I had a pretty decent day. I slept in, spent some time lounging around and reading in bed, went for a long and schwetty run (it’s sooo humid in Chicago!), then showered and met my friend Dan at Wicker Park Fest. I showed up kind of late because I didn’t want to deal with the crowds and the heat, but I did manage to see two great performances: Joe Pug (I love his name, hehe) and Blizten Trapper. Both bands were awesome — we had such a great time singing and dancing along. (I was standing directly to the right and behind the girl at the very front in the picture on Blitzen Trapper’s website…so bummed I didn’t make it into the shot!)
It was a neat evening.
Hope you’re all having a great Monday! I’m off to get some more work done. On the agenda tonight: finishing up my laundry (blegh), cleaning, making some Greek quinoa salad for lunches this week, and stopping by my friend’s open mic night to say hello. Catch ya later!
Good lord, has it been hot in Chicago lately. I have taken to wearing either next to nothing (while at home only, of course), or workout/wicking clothes most of the time because it’s literally like an oven outside this week. Yesterday’s heat-inspired outfit at least looked somewhat put-together:
I feel like my head looks awkwardly huge here…but yeah, that’s my new Lululemon CRB (cool racerback), a hat to cover up the major sweaties/greasies and some cool, comfy LOFT shorts. Flip flops were obviously worn as well.
This was worn as a work from home outfit, but my working was intended to be at the Caribou nearby. Unfortunately, I got there and paid for a drink before finding out that their WiFi wasn’t working! I feel like that is kind of a big deal for a coffee shop where people sit around and work, so I was pretty annoyed that they didn’t have some sort of sign up or something. Small potatoes, but still. Hmph.
I decided to just go back home and finish my work there. I had rented a Zipcar at 6 o’clock to run some errands, so I didn’t want to waste time walking around to another coffee shop when my apartment was much closer. Still though, I hate being cooped up inside all day. At least it was a good day to hide out in the AC.
It was also a beautiful night for colors in the sky.
Isn’t that incredible? I couldn’t believe how gorgeous it looked at dusk.
Even though I have AC in my apartment and it stays pretty cool because it’s so small, I haven’t wanted to use the oven at all — something about hot food or standing over a steamy pot just makes me want to gag. Tuesday night, I made an Amy’s frozen veggie lasagna that was actually really good. I can’t remember what I ate on the side, but it was some sort of vegetable….
The portion size seemed just right (enough to feel slightly indulgent and filling, but not too huge where it was overly filling or had too many calories). The veggie filling was also nicely bulked up, and while I would have preferred whole wheat pasta, the organic ingredient list was nice. I highly recommend it!
Last night, I went all cold and picked up some sesame tofu (marinated but I don’t think they were fried) from the Whole Foods prepared foods case. For some reason I don’t really like the way sesame oil smells, even though I like how it tastes, so the smell kind of put me off and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’m so glad I tried it though — it was AMAZING!
(Sorry for all the crappy camera phone pics). I know this doesn’t look like much, but I promise it was delicious. If you see these, definitely give them a try! I also picked up a lemon-lime Zevia because I was craving soda. To continue with the no-cook theme, I made another massaged raw kale salad. This time, it was just kale, olive oil, sea salt, white balsamic vinegar and garlic powder. I topped it with grape tomatoes.
I love how easy this is to make, plus I feel like I’m eating superfood when I make it (I guess I am!). It’s perfect for hot nights.
So this morning, I finally got to see my doctor regarding the knee pain I’ve been experiencing. I’ve had knee problems for a long time, but they’ve never really interfered with my life like they have been doing lately. I know it’s in part due to my increased running, but I know that that’s just what intensified the problem, not what caused it.
I got up early to work from home for an hour or so, then headed out to see the doc before going into work. My doctor confirmed my suspicions in that it’s not my IT band and likely not my actual knee that’s causing the problem, but it’s actually “further upstream” in my hip. My right hip is tighter and slightly higher up than my left, causing a misalignment and subsequent knee pain. Some physical therapy focusing on hip stabilizing and strengthening, as well as strengthening my gluteus med muscles, should really help, so she wrote me a scrip. I can’t wait!
Doesn’t she have such nice handwriting for a doctor? I seriously love my doc — she is a D.O. as well as a licensed clinical social worker, and puts a lot of focus on holistic health, and always recommends natural and healthy alternatives like yoga, whole foods and natural supplements. Please let me know if you live in Chicago and would like a recommendation! I can’t speak highly enough about her!
One item was super-relevant to the doctor’s orders today.
She told me I need to be icing both sides of my knee for 15 minutes every day, twice a day (wow!) so I’m glad this came in the mail. I know I can use frozen peas, but it will be nice to have at least one “real” ice pack since I don’t have any. I still got a bunch of other stuff too though.
I know, I’m insane. Look at all those boxes! But I got some fun goodies, including:
- The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, a book I’ve been wanting to read forever
- A kitchen scale which will not only be useful for cooking/baking (weight is much more reliable than volume), but also occasional portion checking
- A 4-pack of dark chocolate roasted almonds that were WAY cheaper than at the store. Can keep some at work for afternoon snacks, some in gym bag, some at home!
- A (not pictured) locking glass shaker bottle that I will use for transporting smoothies!
- Another fun surprise that will be revealed soon!
Love. Love love love love love. This is a clear case of the wild hair syndrome, but whatever – I know I will use all this stuff, and I am really jazzed about the new book. I’m also super excited that Mel offered to lend me her Hunger Games books! Thanks, Mel!! :)
Just for fun, here are a few more 5k pictures.
This was my post-race brunch:
Not sure if I remembered to mention the bacon in that brunch or not, haha.
I am going to get back to work, but I hope you are all having a wonderful day and aren’t melting in this heat. I’m going to try to make it to the gym tonight as my knee is finally feeling a little better, but I’m still wary of busting it up even more. See ya!
I wanted some candy the other day, so I busted out my candy bowl.
My kind of candy doesn’t look like most candy, though.
There is just something about a big bowl of fruit that makes me smile :D
Oh, hey — you know what else makes me happy? Did I mention I ran my second 5k on Saturday?
It was H-O-T outside that morning, oh my. The race started at 7:30 and it was already at least a good 80 degrees out. I ran with Amy again this time around, which again was such a wonderful part of the experience. We seem to be able to push each other at just the right times and in the right ways — she likes to go faster than I do, and I tend to take fewer breaks, so with that push and pull, we do better together than I think we would apart.
We pushed through the first mile without stopping, but needed a break soon after that because it was so hot out and we were both needing a break. There was an air quality alert over the whole weekend, so the air felt very thick and smoggy — blegh, not the best weather for running.
Thankfully this time around, I had a new tool in my arsenal…
That’s right — I got a Garmin!!! I feel like a total poseur wearing this behemoth around, but it really motivates me to see my pace while I’m running, and pushes me to kick it up a notch when I slow down. It also really surprised me to see how fast I run when I’m on the road and not on the treadmill!
After working my way up to faster and longer runs for months and months at the gym, I can actually keep a pretty decent pace — for me, that is (I am in no way fast, and probably never will be). I had always thought I was much, much slower out on the road though, so it really surprised me to see that my pace wasn’t that far off when I took the Garmin out on its first run the other night. It’s still not as fast as I am on the treadmill, of course, and I need to take more frequent jogging or walking intervals, but I don’t suck as much as I thought I did! Who knew!
So back to the 5k — the Garmin helped keep us from taking off too quickly after our walking intervals, which was important because again — IT WAS HOT AS HELL OUTSIDE. There was a decent breeze, but the sun was really just beating down. The distance indicator was what really helped, because for whatever reason, there didn’t seem to be a 2 mile marker! When you’re new to doing races, that 2nd mile mark is a really important motivator.
Even though we stopped at the water station almost at the start of the second mile, Amy and I started to feel a little lightheaded and she even said she started to shiver by the end of the second mile, so we really had to step it down a notch which was somewhat disappointing to both of us. Before the race started we had both said we wanted to beat our last time, but would still be thrilled just to finish. At this point, we were both saying how glad we were that we hadn’t committed ourselves to beating the first time, haha.
A few walking breaks and lots of back-and-forth inspirational yelling, we got about halfway through the second mile and really started to slow down.
On a side note: Amy kept thinking I was saying, “You’re doing great” when I was actually saying “We’re doing great!” which cracked me up because had I said “you’re,” I think it would have sounded so condescending! If anything, she is a better runner than I am!
This was where the people started lining up along the course and were cheering us on, which as I explained after my last/first 5k, meant the world to me. I wanted to hop over and kiss them, I was so grateful!!
Unfortunately, there was also a huge soccer game or some sort of event going on, so at certain points around the course, we would pass a big tent of people grilling hot dogs and burgers. Seriously, guys — when you’re hauling your semi-out-of-shape ass through the last leg of your second ever race at 7:45 in the morning in 90 degree heat, the absolute last thing you want to smell is a friggin’ smoking piece of meat. I kind of wanted to vom.
When we finally got to 2.75 mi, we started to perk up again, and then — like magic, we passed a setup where a group of people were playing Johnny B. Goode by Chuck Berry, and as we were passing them, we heard, “Go, go go go Johnny, go!” Amy and I both got huge grins on our faces and got ready to finish strong. Even though we were huffing and puffing and feeling like we were going to absolutely die, we ran our fastest to the finish line.
And then, we immediately collapsed onto the ground.
They had medical personnel ready at the finish because it was so hot, and they also had fan/misting stations and tons of water and ice waiting. Amy and I both said we felt like we might puke or pass out (not really, but kinda….), so we grabbed some water and just sat immediately to catch our breath. We must have really looked like we were in bad shape, because some guy ran over and asked if we were okay. We half panted, half answered him yes, but apparently didn’t sound very convincing, because he asked us again! Haha. Had I had the energy, I would have laughed, but all I could do was chug water and, you know..not die.
He offered to grab us popsicles, which we gladly accepted, so after he bolted in the other direction and returned shortly after with the 911-popsicles, we hoisted ourselves up and found some shade to cool off. Amy’s temporary roommate (who is from Paris!!! How neat!) was nice enough to come out and cheer us on, so she joined us for a popsicle and some post-race treats as well. The poor girl had to sit there and watch us pant like overheated dogs though! Hah.
Aren’t our pink race shirts fun?
I still can’t believe how sweaty we were! Holy unflattering picture.
I am so, so glad I bought that visor last week; it really helped to keep both the sun and sweat out of my eyes, and it’s from my favorite brand — Mizuno!
We walked around for a bit and took in the post-race sights and goodies. I stopped at the New Balance tent where the guy on staff told me I desperately need physical therapy because my glute meds are insanely weak. He was super attractive and was sitting there telling me that my butt muscles were inadequate. This was sooo awkward.
When I finally got home around 10, I immediately hopped into an ice cold shower and rinsed off, then climbed into my bed and positioned myself directly next to the air conditioner. After sleeping for a good hour and 45 minutes, I climbed out of bed and made myself the perfect post-race treat: a Fitnessista Green-a-colada!
Into the blender went Fage 0%, unsweetened original PureAlmond, a stevia packet, unsweetened organic shredded coconut, frozen pineapple chunks, frozen mango chunks, vanilla SunWarrior and a big ol’ handful of spinach. It was so insanely tasty I could barely contain my delight. I totally slurped this bad boy down. What do you think of that color? Gross or delectable?
After some putzing around the apartment, I cleaned up a bit then met up with my sister-in-law Lisa and my friend Allison for brunch around noon. We hit up Jack’s on Halsted and I feasted on 2 poached eggs, a piece of whole wheat toast, some fruit and some breakfast potatoes. I also snuck a few of Allison’s fries, and treated myself with a victory mimosa :) I earned it!
Allison and I wandered around DSW for a bit after to escape the intense midday heat, and I walked outta there with two pairs of shoes! One was a pair of sandals that were on clearance that I have already worn three times. The other was a pair of Saucony running shoes that I thought were great in the store, but I realized after testing them on the treadmill that they don’t provide the cushioning/shock absorption I need on my forefoot, so they will have to be returned. I’m not at the point in my running yet where I can run in a minimalist shoe, so the bouncier, the better!
Because I am out of my mind, I went home, changed, and went to the gym! I had so much energy after the 5k and nap that I really wanted to hit the treadmill and do some body resistance exercises. Probably not the smartest choice, but oh well. I only did about two miles and kept it really leisurely on the recumbent bike while reading Redbook. The real magic happened when I did some glute med-isolating exercises, per Mr. Sexy New Balance Man’s instructions, and then some serious foam roller
torture therapy. My IT band was obscenely tight, as were my hips, so I could tell it was desperately needed. I took my time and stretched after, and felt immensely better. I think that’s why I’m not really sore today.
Thankfully, this guy arrived in the mail while I was at work today:
That’s a Tiger Tail! I got one per Tina’s recommendation so I can foam roll in-between gym visits, and I’m so glad I did. It can’t quite match up to the giant foam rollers they have at the gym, but I just don’t have the space for one of those right now, so this works great. As a bonus, it works on my neck and shoulders, which feels like a great, deep-tissue massage!!
After the gym yesterday, I made a nourishing meal that my body was really craving.
Salmon! I defrosted a wild Alaskan salmon filet from Whole Foods while I was at the gym, then when I got back, I preheated the oven to 375 and heated up a skillet. After warming up some Pam spray, I seared both sides of the filet for about 30 seconds, then popped it into the oven on a foil-lined baking sheet.
Before putting it into the oven, though, I crushed some black pepper and sea salt on both sides, then topped it with a simple lemon butter sauce:
- 1T butter, melted
- juice of half a lemon
- salt + pepper
- 1T honey
Well, this was a looong post and I need to get to bed and snuggle with a very impatient kitty. Keep your eyes peeled for a seriously sweet recipe on my next post…
Have a great night, and if you’re from Chicago, make sure to look at my Chicago Blogger Meetup post!
You may have heard me rambling about this on Twitter, but not everyone is on Twitter all the time like I am (hanging my head in shame here), so I figured this would be easier.
The idea for a Chicago blogger meetup has been bouncing around (well, another meetup if you count our party of four!) and I wanted to gauge interest! I know a few who are already in, but please leave a comment (anyway) if you’d be game, and let me know if that date/time would work. The loose consensus was that Thursday, August 11 would be good, and I was thinking around 7pm. I know that’s sort of far away, but if your summer schedule is anything like mine, time slots fill up fast!
No wonder I woke up feeling like death today.
Or, more specifically,
I have a teeny apartment, and two kitties. Indoor dust and dander is bad enough as it is…yeesh. I need to vacuum more frequently, but sometimes I honestly think vacuuming makes it worse!
Dinner last night with my family (for Dad’s birthday) was great! We went to this old school Italian place in Little Italy called Salatino’s — note the checkered red tablecloth! The weather was perfect so we sat outside and enjoyed each other’s company as well as the nice breeze and the great view of the city. I ordered their homemade rigatoni dish, with San Marzano tomato sauce (the best kind!) and homemade sausage. I initially ordered it with whole wheat pasta, but at the last minute switched it back, thinking the boxed whole wheat wouldn’t be anywhere near as good as the homemade. I was right!
The portion was huge! I think I ate between 1/3 and 1/2, but I wasn’t paying super close attention because we were having such a good time. I also had some rapini that I ordered on the side for some green. It wasn’t that great — too much olive oil, no salt and red pepper flakes — whaa?? Weird preparation.
I also sipped on a glass of prosecco throughout the night, and nibbled on 3 small pieces of tomato sauce-dipped bread. YUMMM.
Going to pick up my race packet (!!!) after work today, then hitting up the grocery store because I ran out of veggies — even my frozen backup stash!! Heavens no. Instead of writing down a second list to copy what I had on my dry erase board, I just took a picture on my phone. Because I’m cool like that. And lazy.
Technology: 1, Laura’s handwriting: 0. (Do you like how it says email grandma? Haha)