An Award…For Me?

A huge THANK YOU to my fellow Chicago blogger Sara at Lake Shore Runner for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger award. I feel like my blogging has been a little bit more blah lately and was pleasantly surprised to see my name on her list of nominees.  I even double checked it to make sure that I hadn’t misread it.  I love a survey and awards…they always bring a little zeal to the blog!

IMG_6288

So what is this wonderful award?

The Versatile Blogger Award is for those blogs that bring something special to your life.  In picking your nominees, you are to consider the quality of the writing, the uniqueness of the subjects covered, the level of love displayed in the words on the virtual page. Or, of course, the quality of the photographs and the level of love displayed in the taking of them.

Who me?

Why, Thank You!  The rules are that I answer Sara’s 10 questions and then nominate 10 other bloggers with a new set of questions.  Easy enough…right?  And something to start thinking about in between Blackhawks periods Monday night, when I probably should have been getting ready for bed, and finish tonight when I should have been doing paperwork but instead decided to drink some wine.

IMG_20150527_192457643_HDR

And here we go…

1. What is something people might be surprised to learn about you?

Hmm…this one was really tough because I feel I’m pretty real and upfront about me.  But, most people who know me are surprised to learn that I was super shy as a kid.  Like seriously afraid to arrive to a group party, clung to my mom, kind of shy (Mom, feel free to add something).  How I got over it…no idea!  I went to kindergarten and haven’t stopped talking since.

IMG_0527

2. Have you ever met someone famous?

I don’t think so…I did see Joakim Noah from the Bulls at LaGuardia last year, but I don’t think I’ve ever actually met someone famous.

3. What’s something you hope will never come back in style?

Perms and feathered bangs…need I saw more?!

IMG_20140626_084045

4. What is one place on your travel must-see bucket list?

There are so many to choose from!  I’d love to sun bathe in the Polynesian Islands and eat my way through Europe (I’m thinking Greece and Italy).  Plus, I dream of following the Tour De France through France one year and doing yoga in Bali.  So the answer is…all of the above!  I have been to a few bucket list places.  I was so lucky to visit Israel a few years back and travel Australia with my brother.

IMG_0256

Bondi Beach

5. Who would you want to play you in a movie of your life?

Emma Stone…plus I think we’d totally be friends IRL.  (No I don’t think we look alike, but we are both super awesome and cool!)

6. Who is your favorite Disney Princess?

Funny because I actually answer this question more often then most professionals my age.  The joys of working with kids, singing Frozen songs at work, and having to be totally up to date on EVERYTHING Disney.  My number one favorite is Cinderella.  My aunt had cable and used to record movies and mail them to us from New York.  I remember that Cinderella was on a tape with a few other movies and it was by far my favorite.

7. What would you sing at karaoke night?

You would be very unlucky to find yourself at a bar where I was singing karaoke.  It would most likely mean that I had been over-served and need to go home. Because…I am tone deaf and a terrible singer!  I was in choir in junior high and they told me I could stay in choir but I just couldn’t sing.  That being said, I ironically sing almost daily at my job.  I do a mean rendition of ‘5 Little Speckled Frogs’ and always love ‘Old MacDonald’ with the animal sounds. 

IMG_1000 IMG_0999

So if you made me sing karaoke and I couldn’t go to my favorite childhood work songs, it would most likely be ‘I will Survive’ or Paramore’s ‘Misery Business’.  And when I’m done, please call me a cab!

8. Who would you want to be stranded with on a deserted island?

As cheesy as it sounds, it’s totally my fiancé.  The two of us always have a BLAST together, whether we are exploring San Francisco or playing games during a Wisconsin Staycation.  I know that he will always make me laugh and that we’d be able to make coconut water out of coconuts.  It’d be okay if Cooper came too!

IMG_20140807_142757863

9. What is your biggest pet peeve?

Bad drivers!!!  Ugh, I hate getting stuck behind a slow person in the left lane.  My heart starts racing just thinking about it!

10. What clothing item/accessory/shoes do you have way too many of in your closet?

Scarves! 

 

Your Turn!

Just Fuffy

Babeta Runs

Well Plated by Erin

I had a Big Lunch

Triathlete Treats

Sweet Sweat Life

Running with the Sunrise

Bendiful Blog

Blissful Britt

The Healthy Maven

 

To answer these questions…

1. What is your favorite characteristic about yourself?

2. What are you most excited to do this summer?

3. What advise would you give your 10 year old self?

4. Favorite ice cream flavor?

5. What sports team do you cheer for?

6. What movie/book do you wish had a sequel?

7. What non-typical house pet would you own?

8. Desktop, tablet, phone, or laptop?

9. Do you have any superstitions?

10. What was your first blog post about?

 

Answer any question on this page!

Car-Free and Carefree

WARNING: this is a LONG post for a LONG weekend!

The BOY and I have had two fantastic weekends!

Last weekend, we did our weekend getaway to Wisconsin and this weekend, we went down to Chicago.  But first, we decided to sleep in and play Saturday morning by ear.  Since I wasn’t running the race, we had tons of possibilities.  I didn’t set an alarm and took my time drinking my morning tea and enjoying a breakfast stirfry.

IMG_20150523_091949519

Then, the BOY and I went out to play tennis in the sunshine.  Our usual outdoor court was full, but we were able to find another available court near by.

IMG_20150523_104215250

It took us a little bit of time to get into our groove, but once we did, it was really fun.  That might be because I won almost half the games!

IMG_20150523_104249137_HDR

After tennis, we picked up a light lunch at Panera and then swung by DSW for new shoes to support my foot during tennis.  We went back home to pack up our stuff for the city and then hit the road.  We got downtown around 4pm and decided to walk up and down Southport doing a bit of shopping.  Then we ordered Thai food for dinner, planning to bring it in to watch the Hawks game (just like last year).

IMG_20150523_182944

While we waited for dinner, we grabbed a beer at The Green Lady, which has tons of local Chicago and Illinois beers on tap.  We both tried something new that we really liked!

IMG_20150523_182744542

We picked up our dinner and walked back to my brother’s where we were staying.  One of my favorite things about staying in Lakeview is all of the walking that we do.  And what little time I spend in my car!  We cracked open a bottle of Napa wine and sucked down our amazing Thai dinner during the exciting game.

IMG_20150523_191205016

Unfortunately, I was not able to stay awake for the two over times, but was happy to see that the Hawks pulled off the win.  My alarm went off at 6am Sunday morning and it took me some time to get organized.  By 6:30, I had some (but not enough) air in my tires and was heading east to Lake Shore Drive.

IMG_20150524_065034647

My goal was to get down to Grant Park where I knew there were a few different bike shops offering free support to the riders.  The weather was a bit unpredictable and a few miles in, it was clear that I would need my jacket to keep me warm and dry.

IMG_20150524_065842996

I made it down to the park, and was lucky to find some friendly guys to put air in my tires.  Then, I was back on the drive heading south towards the museum.  There were bouts of rain throughout, but the roads were still packed with riders.

IMG_20150524_075026478

At the south end, I stopped for a quick snack, chatting with some other riders before hopping back on the drive north towards Soldier Field.

IMG_20150524_075636818

I rode 15 miles up north to the Bryn Mar turnaround, stopping to take a few photos along the way. 

IMG_20150524_083017475

At the north end, I stopped again to stretch my legs.  It seemed that maybe the rain was going to stop, but as I headed back to where I began, it picked back up.  It was clear that after a chilly (but totally awesome) 30+ mile morning on my bike, a latte was needed : )

IMG_20150524_092905017_HDR IMG_20150524_093940911

When I arrived back home, the BOY was awake and ready for breakfast.  We walked over to Wishbone, where I had the most delicious breakfast sandwich and potatoes!  I didn’t realize how hungry I was until the food came out and I scarfed it down.

IMG_20150524_104933268

We walked back and packed up our car to head back to the suburbs.  It continued to rain on and off, which was perfect to crash on the couch and watch a Lifetime movie.  Around 2pm, it looked like the sun was starting to creep out, so the BOY suggested tennis.  I was excited to try out my new shoes, so I agreed.  I was also excited that after my longest bike ride of the year, my legs felt good enough to play tennis.

IMG_20150524_142632987

40 minutes in, the rain returned and sent us back to our car.  We had a fun birthday party for the BOY’s aunt Sunday night.  We decided to have a little more fun when we got home, so we opened up a bottle of wine and played Yahtzee (a new game we picked up in Wisconsin). 

IMG_20150524_222956066_HDR

It was funny to watch Cooper chase after the dice!  We slept in again this morning and then I ran off to the store to pick up mimosas and fruit for Memorial Day brunch with my friends and their kids.

IMG_20150525_092934501_HDR

We had so much fun and then the rest of Monday just flew by…next thing I knew it was dinner time and the BOY was marinating ribs.  YUM!

IMG_20150525_162247

It was definitely a carefree weekend, and I was happy to pack so much in.  But now I am exhausted and ready to crash on my couch.  I wish I had just one more day of weekend…then I would be able to stay up late enough to watch tonight’s Hawks game!

 

What did you do this weekend?

The Verdict

THE FOOT:

It appears that it is my plantar fascia that has flared up in my right foot. Thankfully, I work with the most amazing people, one of whom took the time to work through my foot, ankle, and calf with the ‘fascia scrapper’ this week.  Although it was a bit brutal, it was totally worth it when I woke up the next morning feeling so much better!

On my own, I have been doing some soft tissue work and using the frozen golf ball.  Tonight while rolling out my foot, I felt a tickle on my toes…

IMG_20150522_195756617

And then my golf ball was gone!

IMG_20150522_200813246

 

FRIDAY NIGHT:

We brought in dinner from a new BBQ place that just opened along my ride home from work.  It was fantastic!  Especially with one of the Wisconsin beers we brought back from last weekend.  I was wiped out after the work week, and spent the rest of my evening looking for cute tops to wear for our engagement photos at the end of the month.

 

THE WEEKEND:

Slightly undecided…we are going into the city tomorrow but not sure what time.  There is some thought to sleep in and play tennis and another thought to head into the city early to check out the Green City Market.  I guess future Jen and BOY will have to decide : )

IMG_5040 IMG_5047

What is decided is that I will not be running the Soldier Field 10 Miler tomorrow, and I am planning (weather permitting) to Bike the Drive on Sunday.

IMG_20150521_210644

#tbt Bike the Drive 2010

Hope everyone has a fun and exciting LONG weekend!

Monday Matters and Tuesday Troubles

So…with my 2 week long sickness and our weekend getaway in Wisconsin, I’ve had a lot of time to think!

IMG_20150516_151744991_HDR

While I was sick, I was mostly thinking about all of the things I would rather be doing than laying on my couch watching reality TV.  I found myself desperately missing my biweekly yoga classes.  In Wisconsin, I was thinking about how much fun it is to spend time with the BOY, reading, fishing and playing games.  And I appreciated not feeling the stress of having to fit in a 90 minute BRICK during out weekend away.

By Monday, I had a few decisions to make…

Monday Matters

Number 1- I have decided that I am not going to participate in a triathlon this summer.  Last summer, I wasn’t able to fit in a tri and knew that but promised myself I’d make up for it this summer.  Between my big test and wedding planning, spring has flown by.  And after 2+ weeks of sickness, May has kind of been a workout wash : (  It is clear that I would be pushing and stressing to fit in a big race.  I have always made the decision to only train for a race if I know that I have the time to train safely and have fun while doing it.  Throughout the past few years, I have made numerous decisions about this, choosing to pursue professional goals over running a marathon and then choosing to do a race when life is less busy (or when the BOY moved into the library at the start of law school).  I’m not sure if this is the right way to do things…I know plenty of people who seem to be able to do it all, but so far it has worked for me.  I have run a few marathons, tri’s, and half marathons remaining relatively injury free and always finishing with a smile across my face.  I hate to take two summers off in a row (I’ll feel like a newbie at my next race), but all of this just confirms that not doing a tri is the right decision for me…for right now. 

 IMG_4236

Which leads me to Number 2– I need to quit the gym again!  It’s true that I just joined this gym a year ago and I really like it.  It has an indoor pool, awesome track, friendly staff, good classes, and a rock climbing wall that I still haven’t climbed.  But it is not cheap and to be honest, I’m not going consistently.  I am exercising most days a week, but it’s with my trainer, at the yoga studio, or outside on my bike or on the tennis courts.  And I would much rather do that than run around the indoor track or sit on a spin bike.  So it’s just not worth the money.  Gym…I leave you with fond memories but may be back for your indoor tennis courts next winter : )

IMG_20150425_170940

Speaking of tennis…Number 3 involves the fact that I blew off my trainer yesterday to go play tennis with the BOY.  I had my yearly physical in the morning (my cholesterol rocks!) and then did a grocery store run. I was supposed to meet my trainer later in the day, but the BOY and I had a lot of returns to do so after our trip to the mall, we decided to play tennis.  We showed up to find busy courts (apparently it was a meet up group).  We were able to nab a court and attempted to play in the strong winds.  We aren’t great players, so the wind just adds another element of fun and frustration.  By our second game, I found my groove and ran my butt all over that court.  We are a funny duo to watch attempt the sport because the BOY is an ex-volleyball middle hitter (who loves to charge the net and smash the ball down) and I am an endurance queen who runs all over the court (and can get to the ball most of the time surprising the BOY).  Even with that, we had a blast playing for 90 minutes last night enjoying some sunshine and exercise before picking up PotBelly for dinner.

Tuesday Troubles

I planned to go for a run this morning, my first one since being sick, in order to test the running waters and make sure these new running shoes were a go.  When my alarm went off, all I wanted to do was go back to bed and so I did…until Cooper stuck his nose in my ear and crawled into my arms for love.  When I finally dragged myself out of bed, I reminded myself how happy I would be that I got out this morning while I spent the rest of the day indoors at work.  My first step revealed an achy right foot, but I didn’t think about it, got dressed and headed for the path.  I had time to do about 4 miles.  I immediately felt my lack of recent activity. I was slow (averaging around 9:30 miles) and struggled a bit, still congested and coughing with an overall feeling of fatigue.  But my shoes seemed to be working and I LOVED being outside in the cool morning, and was even more excited to see a baby deer.

IMG_20150506_184709966

I returned home, pet Cooper (again), and got myself ready to go to work.  Where my right foot continued to hurt and ache, getting worse throughout the day.  Often, I take my shoes off at work padding around the mats and equipment in socks, but I was not able to tolerate it today.  By the time, I returned home my foot was hurting REAL bad and continues to bother me.  I am not sure if this is from playing a lateral sport like tennis in the wind in my running shoes, or running this morning, or because I don’t have the best feet.  But no matter what the reason, it sucks.

IMG_20150508_145028111

So finishing up with my Number 4 thought is that I might not be able to run the Soldier Field 10 Miler this weekend.  Even though I am back to work and getting back to exercise, I am somehow still not over this illness and this morning’s 4 mile run confirmed that I am not ready to rock out 10 miles.  Very few times have I not participated in a race that I signed up for and I’ve done this race the past, like 5 years, and love it, but is it really worth it to push myself?  What do I have to gain?  And although my thought is that I will wake up pain free tomorrow and this sore foot thing will be a distant memory by Saturday…that just might not be the case.  I think that the BOY and I will still spend some time downtown (maybe hit up the Green City Market?!), and I am still planning to ride Lake Shore Drive for Bike the Drive on Sunday, but I have warned my running buddy that I may not make our 10 Mile Coffee date on Saturday.

IMG_20140525_064431409_HDR

For now the only thing to do is to head to bed and see where tomorrow finds me, putting off decisions about this weekend until Thursday and crossing my fingers that my foot feels better (or that one of my coworkers can fix it)!  And of course cheer for the hawks…go Blackhawks!

 

Anyone else got Tuesday Troubles?

How do you decide what races to do?  Do you struggle to say no to races?

#WisconsinWeekend

IMG_20150516_193053

If you’ve read my blog for a bit (or if you live nearby), then you fully understand the draw of Wisconsin on the weekends.  I know I’ve said it before but all my weekday stress melts away, the moment I cross the state line.  Some summers, the BOY and I have had more time to explore the state than others.  This year, we started early with a quick overnight up in Green Lake.  Saturday morning, we woke up early and then went back to sleep for an hour, hitting the road way later than expected.

IMG_20150516_104922243

Our first stop was Madison to check out their world famous farmer’s market.  Without planning, we arrived at the spicy cheese bread corner.  YUM!  It was amazing and made the perfect mid morning snack. 

IMG_20150516_101923

We walked all along the market loop (in the wrong direction) admiring the plants and produce and eying the cheese and cookies.

IMG_20150516_103932 IMG_20150516_102314374 IMG_20150516_104020

We decided that we would definitely make a trip back up to Madison and spend more time at the market and check out the shops and restaurants.  But for now, we continued on our journey up north to the lake.

IMG_20150516_131338

We are lucky that we have amazing friends who let us stay at their place this weekend.  We arrived in time for lunch (sausages on the grill), and then we dove right into the ‘lake life’ with beer and fishing on the pier!

IMG_20150516_141338436_HDR IMG_20150516_141431830_HDR

After our unsuccessful fishing mission, the BOY took a nap while I read my book.  Then, we went back down to the pier to watch the sunset.

IMG_20150516_193159551_HDR

We had a late dinner and played games until we crashed in bed!

IMG_20150516_223850

Sunday morning, it was back on the pier for breakfast and fishing.  This time, we actually caught a fish!

IMG_20150517_083635768_HDR

I took a nice long walk and then the BOY and I spent the day laughing, talking, and playing games until it 4pm, when it was time to drive back home.  It was sad to leave, but exciting because the BOY and I had a wonderful weekend together unplugging and bonding.  And, we are heading back up to Wisconsin with my family and our friends in a month.  I feel super recharged!  Woo hoo!

IMG_20150516_155034409_HDR

 

Where do you like to go for weekend Getaways?

Five for Friday XXXIII

1.  Yesterday morning, the BOY and I went for a walk before work.  It all began after the BOY talked to a friend of his who basically told him if he wants to eat and drink like he does, he has to get up and run before work every morning.  Which got the BOY wondering if a morning walk could help ‘boost’ his metabolism.  After being sick and on the couch for over a week, I was eager to get back to exercise but knew a run wouldn’t be in the cards.  I am still pretty run down.  So I volunteered to keep the BOY company on his first walk, which was a fun way to start our day together.

IMG_20150506_182457544

 

2.  We talked about going for our second walk this morning, but we slept in instead.  I am EXHAUSTED!

 

3.  I have been doing a lot of online looking/shopping for dresses for all of the upcoming wedding fun.  Don’t you think I’d look adorable in this one from Anthro?

 

4.  OMG!  I am running a 10 miler in 1 week and so not prepared.  I did make it to work a few days this week, but I have been wiped out!

 

5. We are off to Wisconsin this weekend for a quiet overnight get away.  I am hoping that we can swing by Madison on our way up to check out their incredible farmer’s market.  Hooray for Wisconsin beer!!!

IMG_5237

 

What are your weekend plans?

Views From the Couch

IMG_20150509_171824026

I had a sinus infection, took some meds, and started feeing better. And then, a day later, I got derailed by a cold!  A REALLY BAD cold!  Each day, I’ve felt worse than the day before.  I have spent most of the weekend glued to my couch with nurse Cooper, making my way through some reality TV, Lifetime movies, and DVR. 

IMG_20150509_164352

I pulled it together to plan and run the last yoga class of the spring session.  It was super fun because my youngest kids have so much enthusiasm no matter what I look and sound like. I gave my middle class some freedom to create their own yoga poses and stories, which they welcomed and rocked.  And with the older girls, we attempted some challenging acro poses.

 IMG_20150509_164043

I was so happy to not let them down, but by Saturday night it was clear that I was REALLY sick.  Thankfully, the BOY brought in Ramen for dinner, which was exactly what I was craving!

IMG_20150509_174013846

I actually had a fever and was convinced at 2am that I had the flu and had given it to everyone I know.  When I woke up Sunday, I called my mom to tell her I probably shouldn’t be hanging out for Mother’s Day.  She understood completely but decided to collect up some chicken soup, fresh fruit and veggies and came over to care for me and play with Cooper.  He soaked up the attention and it was nice to hang out.  I felt well enough to get out for a bit so we grabbed lunch and did a quick Target run.

IMG_20150511_120127215

Then I came back home and crashed back on my couch with Coop.  Yesterday was more of the same.  The BOY and I did leave to do our weekly grocery store run, but then it was right back to my new post.

IMG_20150511_095520

I have been eating Thai soup, Ramen, and chicken soup for the past week, along with drinking gatorade and tea.  Yesterday, I was borderline depressed and wondering if I would ever feel well enough to get off my couch again.  Dramatic…I know, but there’s only so much TV one person can watch.  Plus, I REALLY want to take these new shoes for a trial run.  I decided to call the doctor again to make an appointment for today.

IMG_20150512_101121838

However, I don’t think I need it.  Although I didn’t sleep well last night, it was apparent when I woke up that I was finally on the upswing!  Less coughing, less drugs needed, and a little more energy.  I decided to ‘be done’ with my sick pod and cleaned up the area surrounding the couch, washed blankets and towels, and left the house to get the mail.  I also did a Starbucks run!  I’m still resting up as I know I have a busy 3 days of work left this week.  My nurse is also catching up on his sleep…ha ha!

IMG_20150512_104131

As for life outside the couch…my meal plan this week consists of chicken soup, chicken soup, and some more chicken soup : )

I’m hoping to get my exercise routine going with some easy workouts soon.

With all of the coughing I’ve done in the past 7 days, I should have a 6 pack.

I REALLY do want to start making some new spring recipes to share.  Farmer’s markets…here I come!

And I am really contemplating how I got so sick.  I could understand more if I was feeling run down or burning my candle from both ends, but really I had just hit my stride.  Being this sick, just reminds me how important it is for me to balance my exercise, sleep, and work schedules.  I HATE being out of commission for this long!

Cheers to healthy roads ahead!