Posts tagged ‘health’

Fire + ice

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!

When I got to work, I had not one, but two Amazon packages waiting for me. I seriously have a problem! I worry someone is going to nominate me for Hoarders soon…

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.

cutie-pie Amy

Amy's face describes exactly how we felt at the end


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!

July 21, 2011 at 1:54 pm 7 comments


Well, hello there. *Wink*

After my rough evening last night, I felt like I really treated myself well today.

My lunch went undocumented because I scarfed it up so quickly. Seriously — you gotta make this Greek quinoa salad. It’s easy as pie, keeps well, and tastes incredible!

And for the record, Trader Joe’s organic pea shoots are SO TASTY. They’re like a cross between sprouts and sugar snap peas.

I left work a little early because I needed to get to a doctor’s appointment by 5:15. As I mentioned before, I was dealing with some health issues that were really stressing me out. Well, after today’s appointment, I finally feel like I can rest a little easier.


the view from the beach in Bonita Springs, FL -- my happy place

I’ve always had a lot of moles all over my body, but never really thought much of it. Recently, though, I have noticed that several were oddly colored, oddly shaped, or would get raised or itchy when I would get a sunburn. After silently stressing about it for far too long, I finally went to my doctor and asked her about it, thinking she would shrug it off as nothing.

Unfortunately, she didn’t do that — she told me to make an appointment with a dermatologist right away to have them looked at. I was super freaked out, but didn’t let my fears get too out of control before seeing the derm. Two weeks ago today, I headed to the doctor, unsure of what she would say. After looking at the three or four that I pointed out, she told me that two were unusual looking, but not overtly cancerous-looking. She wanted to remove them anyway and have them biopsied and sent off to a lab to check for cancerous cells.

I don’t know if I’ve told you guys, but I am completely, utterly, absolutely terrified of needles. It’s a legitimate phobia — one that I know is totally irrational, but one that I can’t seem to shake. I’ve gotten much better about it in recent years, but it’s like no matter what my mind says, my body just totally freaks out. What that means? I faint.

Yep, I faint every time I get a shot. So after they injected the lidocaine into the two spots to be biopsied, I laid there patiently in my paper gown, waiting for the procedure to be over, breathing deeply — in and out, in and out. That is, until I started to feel lightheaded…I’ve fainted enough times to know what it feels like before it happens, but let me tell ya — you don’t have much time to get that message across.

Before I could finish my, “I think I feel lightheaded..” sentence, I was out cold.

Oh, and I pissed all over the place.


Yes, let’s just sit here for a second and let that sink in. I peed all over myself and the exam table at the dermatologist’s office.  For the record, I was unconscious, so it wasn’t inentional. I feel lik this is obvious, but just wanted to, ya know, throw it out there. I debated for quite awhile whether I wanted to post about it, since it was pretty embarrassing, but ultimately it was more hilarious than anything. I think the most humiliating best part was having to throw out my underwear, and then being sent home with a pair of bright blue paper underwear, reserved for liposuction patients. In white jeans. My life really should be a sitcom sometimes.

Well, I went back today, two weeks after the pee incident, and received the incredible news that the lab results came back negative, meaning nothing showed up cancerous. One of the moles had “abnormal architecture,” which basically meant it could potentially have turned into something down the road, but it was removed completely so it won’t be an issue. Needless to say, I am so incredibly relieved.



After leaving the doctor’s office feeling like a million pounds had been lifted off my shoulders, I had planned on meeting up with a few friends for drinks and dinner. Sadly, our plans fell through, but I had a serious hankering for pizza since our plan was to hit up Piece in Wicker Park. So… I decided to improvise.


I toasted a FlatOut Wrap in a cookie sheet in the oven for 5-7 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Then I added all the goodies.


And cooked it for 7 minutes or so in the oven at 375 degrees. This bad boy started with some Whole Foods marinara, then I added a hefty layer of baby spinach, some sliced red pepper, halved cherry tomatoes, crumbled goat cheese, garlic gold and red pepper flakes.



It was SOOOOOOOOO good. Just what I wanted, and healthy to boot. I didn’t calculate the calories, but now I’m sort of curious. Certainly it’s gotta be better than restaurant pizza, anyway ;)

After taking some time to clean up (but I’m still not even close to being finished) and letting my food settle, I got myself ready for the gym and headed out the door. Unfortunately, the sky was green and I felt a few rogue sprinkles coming down, so I dashed back inside and grabbed my umbrella. The last time we had a big storm, I was unprepared…


hey, baby

I thought I looked too hilarious and SOAKED not to take a picture. Check out those sexy raccoon eyes! ;) Hubba hubba.

Anyway, I got about ten feet down the street toward the gym when it started to pour. The sky turned black and the wind picked up out of nowhere, it was so neat. I love storms, so instead of giving up and going back home, I decided to wait under an awning for the storm to pass, or at least for the rain to slow down. It took a good ten minutes before my umbrella would have even made a difference, so I was really proud of sticking it out and keeping up wtih my commitment to hit the gym.

Because my legs are still having issues (shin splints, IT band and knee pain, blegh), I decided to take it easy and read my new issue of Women’s Health on the recumbent bike for a good 40 minutes, then I hit the elliptical for another ten. By that point, it was actually hailing, so everybody at the gym was just glued to the windows, mouths agape. Let me tell you — this was good motivation to stay at the gym and keep working out! Haha.

I did some wall squats, which I’ve read are easier on your knees and also strengthen your gluteus medius, which is supposed to help with knee pain. I also did some hip raises (I’m pretty sure my hips are super weak because my running gait is all sorts of wrong) and shoulder + chest exercises. Finally, I finished off with a good ten minutes with the foam roller of death. It hurt, but I could tell I needed it badly. I really need to get one of my own for home.

When I got back, I needed a snack and couldn’t figure out what I was craving at first. After looking through the fridge for a minute, I decided to top a toasted Kashi waffle with some whipped cream cheese and a little fig spread, then topped it with a sprinkle of chia seeds. This was beyond delicious — I think I could eat this every day of my life and not get sick of it.


eattttt meeeee

Sorry my pictures are kind of blurry — I’m not quite sure why I’m still so sucky at snapping my food!

Speaking of which, I realized I never posted pictures from my dinner with Allie and Mel at Karyn’s the other night. I had two undocumented (aka too delicious to remember to take their picture) drinks — a caipirinha and a Sazerac, and we shared an arugula, potato and Daiya pizza to start.


I had two slices, and while I’m not a huge fan of Daiya, this was pretty tasty. The heaping mass of fresh arugula really made it fresh and delicious.

For my main meal, I had their “chicken” drumsticks. They were served with barbecue sauce, which was sweet and delicious, and reminded me of Sweet Baby Ray’s, and some spinach and sweet potato hash. I ate the whole thing! The chicken was made out of seitan and was perfectly crispy on the outside, and very “meaty” on the inside. I was surprised by how good they were.


cute little "drumsticks!"

Again, sorry for the blurriness. But how lovely is that presentation?? I think I moved it around a little bit before taking this, so it didn’t look quite as asymmetrical when they first brought it over ;)

Anywho, I’m going to get a little work done, then hop in bed with my book. I’m currently splitting my time between The Hunger Games and More Than It Hurts You. They’re both excellent and I can’t wait to finish them.

Thanks for all your kind words and comments lately — you guys are so great :)

June 30, 2011 at 11:39 pm 8 comments

I’m Still Here

No, I’m not referencing Joaquin Phoenix’s highly publicized and ultimately fake meltdown.

so sexy

Just letting y’all know that I haven’t fallen into a ditch somewhere, or possibly lost my mind. (Okay, the latter may be true, but only a little bit)

Life is a little cray-cray right now, and despite the fact that I feel like my life is always a little nutso, it has been more difficult than usual lately.

  • I’m having some health issues that will (hopefully) be resolved by the middle of next week – in the meantime, waiting is really tough
  • A close family friend just started chemo for her second cancer diagnosis, and it’s horrifically scary :(
  • I’m at a turning point in work where my initial training period is coming to an end and my performance is expected to increase significantly
  • My 5k (and very first race) is Saturday morning
  • I’m attempting to wade my way out of moderate (but substantial for me, who has never had any) credit card debt
  • I’m still working to get over a break-up
  • Horrible allergies and a messy apartment are making all of the above significantly more difficult

I have also been feeling significantly fatigued recently — moreso than my usual lazy self — and I’m thinking that my diet is lacking, so therefore my iron is lacking. I have all the necessary supplements at home, but my messy apartment and lack or organization makes it tough to get my act together.

On the to-do list tonight: get in a 2 mile run with Amy, pick up my race packet, hit up Trader Joe’s or WF for groceries (I have been eating random canned items for dinner…times are getting desperate), update the blog with a few funny stories, a few sad stories, and a few really great recipes (this may have to wait a bit longer :( sorry guys!), do the painfully huge mound of dishes in my sink, fold and put away the OTHER painfully huge mound of clothes atop my bed, and last but not least — get to bed at a decent hour.

I’m surprisingly cheerful for this level of craziness, but I may just be hiding from reality…who knows. Anyway, just wanted to pop in and say hello — I promise I’m here and will be back soon. Missing my bloggies!

June 23, 2011 at 6:14 pm 9 comments

I hate the dentist

Okay, not really, but I’m not the biggest fan of the dentist at the moment.

But first things first….Hi!

I hope you’re having a great Friday and are getting excited about the upcoming holiday weekend. I’m currently “working” from a coffee shop near my house (okay, so I took a teeensy little  break to pop in and say hello to y’all…sue me) for the first part of the day because I had to have an unexpected dentist appointment this morning.


hangin' out in Caribou

I had some major dental work done last week (several cavities and something called an “onlay” that involved removing half of my tooth and replacing it with some neato computer-ized replacement) and my dentist told me to pay attention to how that onlay tooth felt after a few days, because any pain meant that something was wrong and I would need to come back in. In case you were wondering what it looks like when they remove a huge chunk of your tooth, here’s a good visual…

DISCLAIMER: this is gross. Really, it’s nasty. Look away if you don’t like gross shit.

cavity being filled during a previous dental torture session/"appointment"

Yep, that’s a huge hole in my tooth. Fun, no?

Well, after the numbness and zombie drooling wore off last week (I literally could not move an entire half of my face — I looked like a stroke patient, and my eyelid was drooping. sexy.), I noticed some soreness but chalked it up to the 2-hour long procedure. Over the next few days, I noticed a slight throbbing starting to creep up, but I wondered if it was all in my mind since I tend to be a bit of a (okay, a TOTAL) hypochondriac.

After it was keeping me from falling asleep the other night, I decided to call and come in. She took one look and surely enough said, yep, I’d need a root canal.


Have I mentioned that I HATE needles? I carry a completely irrational phobia and pass out, or come close to passing out every time I get even the littlest, painless shot. Yes, I’m 24 years old and I’m a total baby about needles. Deal with it.

Anyway, she prescribed some vicodin for the pain (as needed…heh…right) and antibiotics to calm down the “angry” nerve. It’s not really hurting right now, but it was pretty wonky earlier, so I’m not sure how I’ll feel over the weekend while I’m waiting for the root canal specialist to come back from his vacation. Wish me luck?

May 27, 2011 at 12:48 pm 2 comments

Near and dear to my heart

When I was growing up, my mom spent a lot of time holed up in her bedroom, lying in her bed with the lights off and a cold towel draped over her face. I always thought she was stressed out or not feeling well, but never really understood what was going on.

The word migraine floated around a lot, but I had no idea what it meant.

She spent years — the majority of her life, actually, starting at age 13 — dealing with frequent and often debilitating migraines. Since I was too young to understand the severity of the situation (not to mention that migraines are difficult to describe and explain anyway), I shrugged it off. It’s only now that I’ve begun to understand how truly devastating this disease was for her.

Thankfully she was able to work out a combination of medication that works to hold off her migraines almost entirely. As far as I have heard from others, this is a rare thing, so I am truly thankful that she is able to function normally now, nearly pain-free. She is also incredibly grateful, as I’m sure you can imagine.

Unfortunately, my good friend Allison is still dealing with the ongoing battle of her disease. She’s incredible, hilarious and a great friend to have around (not to mention a fellow cat lady herself — hi Bosco!), so it breaks my heart to hear about the constant pain she deals with every day, as well as the huge impact it has had on her life.

As an outlet for her frustration, as well as as way to help others dealing with migraines, she has started a blog called Allison in Migraineland. At this point, I’m not too sure how many people are reading my little bloggie here, but I’m hoping that if any of you are coping with this disease, her blog may be another resource for you! She recently reviewed a few smartphone apps for tracking migraines, and also regularly discusses new treatments she tries, like biofeedback. Even if you don’t suffer from migraines, I highly recommend checking out her blog and learning about this debilitating disease that affects an estimated 30 million Americans and 18% of American women. And tell her Laura says hi!

May 13, 2011 at 3:45 pm Leave a comment

It’s been a few days…

…since I’ve been to the gym (due to a cold and plain old indifference) and I am in a slump. Big time.

While I know I will feel 1000x better after a workout, the mere thought of tying on my sneaks and hitting the treadmill is torture. I’ve hit a wall.

What to do, blog friends?

April 6, 2011 at 4:53 pm Leave a comment


As much as I love how I feel after a workout (really, what can beat that sweaty, total bad-ass feeling you get walking out of the locker room, like you can take on anything?), I’m finding it harder and harder to get to the gym on a regular basis these days. It’s mostly the dark evenings — when I walk out of the office and it’s already pitch black, I just want to go home and curl up with my two fuzzy kitties.

how could you resist this furry little sleeping beauty?

Sadly, I know better…and I know I have to drag my pokey butt to the gym at least a few times a week. I eat mostly healthy, and I really do like to cook very healthy meals, but by nature, I am an indulger. I love cheese. I love wine. I love carbs. I love pizza. I love tacos. I could go on and on, but you get the idea…. You know how you sort of lull yourself into this delusion that if it’s from Whole Foods — you know, free of GMO-ingredients and whatnot — it’s healthy? Obviously I know better, but I tend to like the really good, quality stuff. The problem is that I have to learn to enjoy it in moderation.

And so, until I can get a little better handle on my portion sizes, I will have to hit the gym regularly to offset that deliciously creamy brie, or that painfully decadent Serrano. Maybe — one day — I can even figure out how to enjoy this stuff and slim down. But in the meantime….it’s gotta be damage control. And for a healthy lifestyle of course :)

Back to my original point, I needed some motivation to get myself to the torture chamber on a particularly sleepy Monday. It’s 6 days until Christmas — I should be sipping egg nog at home, damn it!

Instead, I bribed myself with this after my trip to the store:

this is a little less trashy than US Weekly, right?

Call me crazy, but until I started packing up my desk to head out, I didn’t even realize that it was Jillian Michaels on the cover. Am I the only one who thinks she looks totally different here??

December 20, 2010 at 5:12 pm 2 comments

Hello world!

shhh...don't tell anyone I'm blogging at work :)

I thought the WordPress-provided title for this post was an appropriate one, so stay it shall! Hello world!

I’ve been wanting to blog for some time now, but haven’t really been able to get the momentum going. I often wonder how bloggers get started….what motivated them to begin writing in the first place, and what words are swirling around in those heads of theirs. I’ve also thought about what I would write if I had one (now I do!)….and what sort of tone it would take. It’s no secret to anyone who knows me that I’m a potty mouth. Seriously, I’m heavy competition for any sailor-mouth around. But on the other side, I seriously enjoy pretty things: pretty words (hah!), pretty pictures….and overall positivity.

So you know what, we’ll see if I can take on this challenge of combining both — the pretty and the nasty. Maybe my words won’t always be pretty, but at least they’ll be honest.

To answer the question above myself, I was motivated to start writing this because I needed a serious reminder of all the reasons I have to be happy. Lately I’ve been surrounded by some very negative energy, and, as I always seem to do, I began to let myself get bogged down with it. It’s important to remind yourself every day that things will never work out exactly as you hope or plan. You can’t hide out waiting for something bad to pass, or shrink away, hoping you can wait it out.

So on a lighter note, today I wanted to share a few sites I can always turn to when I need a bright spot in my day, or simply a really good laugh. More to come!

bitches gotta eat: Sam is seriously one of my favorite bloggers of all time. Be warned now, she is not for the faint of heart; there are lots of dirty words, raunchy stories, and…er…just a lot of non-pc stuff. But if you can let the raunch slide, or — as I do — revel in it, this is for you. If you look back through her archives there are a few recipes, but this blog focuses more on Sam’s hilarious outlook on life, and can help you take yours a little less seriously.

Peanut Butter Fingers: I just started reading this recently after seeing a link to it somewhere (can’t remember where!) and have gotten hooked. Julie is an adorable 25 year-old newlywed that posts a fun mix of posts detailing her daily (uberhealthy) diet and recipes, pictures of her cute hubby and dog, workout and healthy eating advice, and recaps of her daily life. I think my favorite part about reading PB Fingers is the overwhelmingly positive attitude — sometimes it’s just what I need!

fitsugar: This is a great one to keep open in a tab throughout the day if you need a little pick-me-up while at work. The “Sugar” blogs have lots of categories: Money, babies, food, fashion and more, but this is probably the one I visit most frequently. They update the site pretty regularly, and you can always find fun, easy to digest content about health and fitness. This is a must-check every day for me.

The Frisky: The Frisky is another must-check for me every day. They have nailed the perfect mix between celebrity gossip, feminist rants, sex & relationship advice and mindless, fun links. It’s updated very frequently and has a really cool community of readers. It’s hard not to get sucked into this one, and I guarantee it will have you laughing all day. If you’re sick of Perez Hilton, this is the perfect antidote for you.

That’s all for now! It remains to be seen how often I’ll post here, but I’m hoping it becomes a regular staple. Thanks for reading my first post! :)

December 19, 2010 at 11:31 pm 2 comments

Hi, I’m Laura!

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