Posts filed under ‘Happiness’
Well, hello there! Fancy seeing you here!
As you can see, I had a wonderful time on my trip to Philly. I’m trying to slowly taper off my extended blogging/social media/real life sabbatical and get back to it all — despite needing a break, I do really love blogging. Sometimes, as y’all know, you just need a break.
Life is, as usual, a little cray cray right now. For one, as I briefly touched on previously, a close family member — who happens to be my momma — is having surgery this week. It’s not just any surgery, though — she is having two vertebrae in her spine operated on. She has debilitating back pain and the operation will correct it, but I mean…they’re operating on her spine. It’s a good thing, but it’s scary. I’m really, really looking forward to getting to the hospital after work on Thursday to see her recovering. I’m not going to lie though, I’m very freaked out. Please keep her in your thoughts, if you can!
On top of worrying about my mom’s surgery (which is the number 1 worry in my mind right now), I am MOVING on Saturday. Since I am insane, this will be move #2 within 6 months. As you guys all know, I had some, er…serious issues with my last roommate and decided to suddenly move the hell out. I was much, much happier getting away from her, but I am not really thrilled with living alone in a tiny studio apartment. My friend Kati and I found a 2-bedroom apartment for a super reasonable price that…get this…has a washer and dryer in the unit. Oh yeah, baby! This is unusual for an affordable apartment in Chicago, especially in the neighborhood we’re in. I’m totally jazzed, but not thrilled about packing up my life, again, for the 8459348593485039th time. I’m also not too thrilled about dropping $200 dollars for movers on top of all the other stuff we have to pay for, but I think it will save me a lot of time and frustration, especially while I’m already worrying about my mom.
I’ve also started working another freelance job on the side, which I am really, really excited about. I will be managing web content for a financial website, and working mainly with WordPress, of which I am obviously a big fan :) Also, it will help pay the bills. Can’t lose!!
Last weekend was spent catching up with my beautiful and dearly-missed best friend/roommate from college, Caitlin. It had been over a YEAR since I had last seen her, which was simply not okay. It had also been several years since I had even been on a plane/vacation. It was desperately needed!
Isn’t she gorgeous? We spent most of the weekend catching up and just vegging on the couch with wine and movies (fine with me!), but managed to also get out and enjoy lots of what Philly has to offer. These goofy pictures are from Saturday night, when we went to a Wisconsin Alumni event at a bar to watch the Badger game. It was PACKED, and there was free food and drinks too! Total blast and obviously so much fun to watch the Badgers win!!!!
There was lots of beer being passed around, as well as free stickers. Obviously those two things equal me making really weird faces, right? Man, I’m so weird.
We also got to walk around Philly and check out the pretty buildings, LOVE Park, and of course, taking a tip from you HLS gals, Reading-Terminal Market!!
I wish I had thought to bring my real camera (these are all phone pics, so I’m sorry for the crummy grainy pictures!), and also take more pictures, but I was way too overwhelmed by drooling over all the food. It was AMAZING, holy smokes. We waited in the epic line and got DeNic’s sandwiches. I got roast beef with provolone and broccoli rabe. I thought it was so cool that they put broccoli rabe on sandwiches there! I’ve never heard of that before, but LOVED it. The sandwich was ungodly huge, but I somehow managed to eat about 2/3 of it.
We had a blast walking around and seeing the city. We also managed to go to the free day at the art museum, and walk around the old city. I’ll put up some of those pictures next time — they’re pretty…er…hilarious.
The rest of the time was spent at Caitlin’s apartment snuggling with her adorable pit-mix, Lexi Lou. There were lots of kisses.
…on the mouth. Lex doesn’t mess around.
I’m off to get back to work! Tell me, what fall-inspired foods have y’all been noshing on lately? I’ve been making pumpkin pie oats every morning to accompany my toasted pecan coffee — aka I’ve been in heaven. What about you??
Sorry guys. Things haven’t been all rainbows and sunshine lately, and instead of being honest with myself and my blog, I have just avoided it like the plague. I apologize for that.
A very close family member is going through a serious surgery in a few weeks, I’m moving again, money is tight and I’ve totally fallen off the wagon fitness-wise. I feel like a total loser and it totally wears on my self-esteem every. Single. Day.
On the bright side, though, I’ve been in Philly for the past few days visiting my best friend from college. She’s currently snoring away in her room and I’m over on the couch because I couldn’t sleep. Behold.
I’m such a beauty in the middle of the night.
Anyway, I just wanted to apologize for sucking at the whole blogging thing. I’m still learning and am never really sure how to deal with the inevitable lulls that come being being a part-time blogger with a full-time “real” job. How do you guys do it?
I have some fun pictures to post from my trip, as well as some amazing recipes. For example, we made some killer pasta primavera after hitting up the produce sections at Philly’s (ever popular with the HLS bloggers!) Reading Terminal Market. I just about died and went to heaven.
Hope everyone is happy, healthy and safe. Love you all.
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!
I’m here! Life is insane.
I have essentially started a new position at work, and beyond that, my brain is all mushy. I apologize for being MIA :(
She didn’t tell me, but I’m pretty sure these are Mexican wedding cookies. They’re kind of like lemony, tangy sugar cookies, but…I don’t know, different! I ate the entire bag in like, three days. I shared of course, but it goes without saying that these were my lunch a few days in a row :D Lots of love to my bloggie bake partner!!
I’m a terrible person and haven’t sent hers yet. I tested the recipe for her treats last night to be sure they were good enough for someone besides myself to eat. They were :D
In other news, froyo has been consumed.
The drive to Madison is really pretty at sunset.
The beer in Madison is also pretty great.
I learned that Trader Joe’s stir-fry sauce is really good on baked chicken.
Garlic Gold and olive oil go pretty nicely with quinoa, too :)
And last, but certainly not least — gay Twister is way crazier than I ever could have imagined.
Will return soon, loves — promise!
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?
I couldn’t sleep, so I’m up late working and putzing around on the computer.
Three different people I have dated throughout a very long span of time all contacted me within about five minutes of each other tonight (weird), and it is completely distracting me.
And now…I’m looking back on the butterflies and feeling sad. Sigh. I wish things like this got easier. I know I’ve grown up a lot in the past few years, but every time I get my heart broken, I feel like a 15 year-old girl all over again.
Can I send a message out to the Universe — to that wonderful, kind, patient, hilarious and perfect-for-me man out there who is waiting for me, specifically — to hurry up and find me already? This sucks.