It’s Not Selfish…

Tonight, I went running out of work with barely a goodbye to my coworkers and friends telling my boss I was in need of some ‘Self Care’ in hopes of getting home in time for a 7pm yoga class.  My work schedule has been fairly inconsistent which has made planning in workouts and classes more difficult.  On top of that, the Cubs have me partying like it’s 1999 (the college not the high school portion, mom and dad!).

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So I ran out of work, sped home, changed quickly and felt grateful that the yoga studio was right across the street.  When I walked in, the yoga teacher said to me…I was just thinking about you (we are collaborating on a course) and was just looking at your resume today.  It was like she knew I was coming.  I said how happy I was to be there and found a place for my mat.

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We got started with breath work and stretching and it was clear from the start what a cohesive class we formed. When it came time to set an intention, the teacher suggested that we set one for Self-Care…I mean seriously universe, could your message be more clear???  I set my intention, worked through my practice and VERY happily left the studio 80 minutes later.  And then entered the doorway straight across which happens to belong to this absolutely spectacular wine bar called Ampersand.

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I picked up a kale salad to go (because it is the most amazing thing ever) and paired it with some leftovers and red wine for dinner.  Life has been pretty non-stop lately in only the BEST way!  On top of my regular work and yoga teaching schedules, the Chicago Cubs madness has taken over our lives a bit.  I come from a mixed household when it comes to baseball and am your stereotypical fair weather fan, but this excitement 108 years in the making is hard to escape when you’re living just a few miles away…not that we would want to.

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Last Saturday, the BOY and I met friends for a local brew tour followed by lunch with all our new best friends.  We ended up enjoying some fun local beer and walking all over the neighborhood.

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We had just enough time when we got home to shower and change into our blue and red for the (sad) Saturday night World Series game.  By Sunday night, a bit of the chaos had calmed down and I decided to accompany my mom and our friends for a walk around Wrigley.  It was unlike anything I have ever seen and really incredible.  The energy of the city was electric!

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It even had me staying up way past my bed time for a baseball game.  Rare!!!  By Monday everyone was exhausted, but we kept trucking on making it out for Tuesday nights game and staying up until the wee hours to watch the Cubs win the World Series on Wednesday night.  The win was followed by cheering, singing, and horn honking, even in our quiet neighborhood.  Which of course had Cooper running for cover.  It’s not at all surprising that I was craving a yoga class tonight.  I am working hard to find balance in this new city with a much more active social life and so many fun opportunities.

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And with that in mind, I decided to skip the free continuing ed class I was supposed to go to tomorrow in favor of some sleep and exercise…and perhaps a bath!

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I just keep reminding myself…it’s not selfish, it’s SELF CARE!  And much needed!

 

How do you fit in ‘self care’? 

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MiniMooners

After the absolute excitement and craziness of a wedding, there was only one place we wanted to be…

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Door County, Wisconsin!

We drove up Friday afternoon and after a quick stop at a winery for a tasting, checked into our adorable room complete with a kitchen and fireplace.  We didn’t stay long before heading further up north for Friday night fish fry.  Not surprisingly, there was a wait, so we found a comfortable spot on a bench at the bar across the street, Wisconsin beer in hand.  There is no place more relaxing than DC!

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Even though the weather was raining on and off, we had the most wonderful 4 days.  We caught some gorgeous fall colors and ate ourselves silly with all the delicious food.  We hiked through Peninsula State Park and walked through Cave Point and Newport State Park.

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The waves on the Lake Michigan coast were intense!  And we built our first rock structure along the shore.

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We sampled cheese, bread, wine, and Island Orchard Hard Cider

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We drank coffee, hot chocolate, and tea and ate pie, cookies, donuts, and fudge.  We visited our favorite pizza place (twice)!

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We visited old favorites and discovered some amazing new places (ie farm fresh meats and fresh picked apples).  And when the rain came pouring down, we gathered around the fireplace to play games and drink champagne.

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I shopped the markets and stores and had two peaceful morning runs through the state park.

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It was the perfect long weekend of rest and play…

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For my new husband and I!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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).

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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 : )

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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.

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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.

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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). 

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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.

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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!

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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?

Marching On

So hard to come up with a March title I haven’t used in the past.  No guarantee that this is one but I didn’t have the energy to look through the past few years of blogging.  So it’s March…in like a…what? Lion/Lamb?  Tough to tell from the library where I spent most of my weekend.

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Saturday started at Starbucks.  It took two tries to find one with a big table that was quiet enough for studying, but once I did, I was set for 3 hours of cramming.  Then I grabbed a sandwich and went home for a quick lunch with the guys.  I brewed up some iced tea and headed off to the library for another few hours of caffeinated information overload.

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The BOY and I had a fantastic Saturday night date night with new beers, chicken finger salad, and more binge watching the Blacklist.

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I went to bed early so that I would be bright eyed for Sunday morning yoga.  I have not been doing much exercise lately…instead focused on sleep, work, and studying, so this yoga class was a huge highlight of my week!

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Even more fun because I was there with my mom. We did a unique flow using all sides of our mat in a mandala. It was challenging, my muscles were sore, but I LOVED it.  Afterwards, my mom and I went to Whole Foods to stock up on goodies for the week ahead (and a few study snacks for the day).

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I went back to the library for the majority of Sunday until it closed at 5pm, when I picked up the BOY to meet my parents out for dinner to celebrate my Dad’s birthday (it’s today).

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We had a fantastic dinner with lots of laughter!  It was a wonderful way to start the month and celebrate my dad!

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Needless to say, February was not the month I thought it would be.  Although I kept my goals in mind, they just weren’t top priority.  Spending time with my family and friends…appreciating the little moments and experiences…that is what I focused on!

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Photo on 2-14-15 at 10.06 PM

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February Goals

1. Continue to prioritize studying. CHECK!  It’s going pretty well!

2. Drink less soda. DOUBLE CHECK!  I’ve been brewing lots of iced tea.

3. Eat clean.  No Check!  Well…let’s just say I’ve been indulging in a few (but not all) of my cravings.

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March Goals

After some thought, I’ve decided to take a break from goals this month. There is a lot going on and so I am going to just focus on getting through it all with a smile on my face : )  I’ll be back with spring goals next month!

 

Are you setting March Goals?  What’s up this month?

10 Things to do During a Snow Storm

You would think after last year, I’d have snow days all figured out.  And, actually we kind of do.  The most important part is planning ahead of time so that when you are stuck at home, you have plenty of food (chili is a must) and activities to keep you busy…hence yesterday’s Target trip.

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Here is how we kept ourselves busy during yesterday’s snow day…

1. Clean Off Your Car (and head out to a yoga class)

2. Make Chili (and serve it with Frito’s and beer)

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3. Do Laundry

4. Nap

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5. Bake Brownies

6. Read/Study

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7. Stay in Your PJ’s ALL Day

8. Watch Movies (or Law&Order marathons)

9. Nap Again

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10. Catch Up on Blogging (I did set January goals…right?!)

And an extra for good luck…

11. Take ridiculous selfies (plural) with your cat!

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January Goals

1. Study, Study Study!

GOAL MET…I think they know me at the library now.

2. Continue to exercise 5 days a week

Due to schedule changes, I’ve only been exercising 3-4xweek and that’s just how it will be until mid March.

3. Sign up and get prepped for a triathlon

ALMOST MET…I’ve got it narrowed down to two and a friend to train with me.  I did sign up for the Soldier Field 10 miler.  Woo Hoo!

4. Try new recipes/Revisit my cookbooks

Oh man! I’ve been a bit lazy on the cooking front, passing those duties off to the BOY.  I’m thinking that this may be the norm until my test.

 

February Goals

I’m sure these 28 days will fly by and beyond work and studying, I won’t have much time to focus on anything else, so I thought I would keep it SUPER simple!

1. Continue to prioritize studying

2. Drink less soda (an old/new habit that has crept back up with studying…however, it messes with my tummy and sleep so I need to be better about it)

3. Eat clean

 

How do you spend your snow days?  What are snow day food musts?

Dinner in a Bag

We’ve fallen into a nice dinner routine.  Mondays is something just for me (the BOY has class), Tuesday is crockpot in a bag, Wednesday the BOY grills, and Thursdays he’s back in class and I fend for myself.  It makes meal planning super easy, but of course all of this will change when he finally finishes his law masters in December.

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When I was planning this week, I asked the BOY if he liked Chicken Cacciatore, which made us both realize that we didn’t actually know what that was.  He thought cream sauce and I had no clue.  But this recipe looked easy and tasty and the only substitution I made was taking out the zucchini (the BOY won’t eat it) and adding in the green beans (they work well).

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Yesterday, I combined the ingredients into a bag and today the BOY threw everything into the new crockpot.  Neither of us were sure how long it would take.  The chicken was cooked to perfection, so I asked the BOY.  He said he cooked it on low for 5 1/2 hours.

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We topped our chicken with parm cheese and a side of PumKing (yum!!) and dinner was super easy, healthy, and delicious!

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This website has a few other dinners in a bag and Pinterest is full of them.  Do you ever make dinner ahead of time in a bag?

 

Crockpot Chicken Cacciatore

From Six Sisters Stuff

Ingredients

1 lb chicken breasts

1 (26 oz) jar of chunky vegetable-style spaghetti sauce (I went for a low sodium option)

1/2 bag frozen chopped green beans (peas could work too)

1 green pepper, chopped

1 sweet onion, chopped

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a resealable gallon-sized freezer bag and mix together.  Store in fridge for 24 hours or freezer. 

If in fridge, cook on low for 5.5 hours until chicken is tender but not over cooked.

If frozen, remove from freezer and thaw in fridge for 24 hours. Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours.

Garnish with cheese, olives, or serve over pasta.

10 Mile Coffee Date

It’s never too late to post a race recap…right?

 

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My Memorial Day weekend is definitely unique!  Instead of bouncing from BBQ to BBQ or joining my family at the lake (or my brother in Indy), I spent Saturday and Sunday on Lake Shore Drive.  I think that this was my 5th time running the Soldier Field 10 Miler (but don’t quote me on that).  I have run this race quickly and I have run this race more slowly.  This year, my plan was to run this race with my old coworker and friend.  We have been trying to find a time to get together and catch up, but both of our schedules are busy.  What better time to chat about patients and life than on a beautiful 10 mile morning run.

 

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For the first time, we decided to drive downtown Friday night after work and stay in the city.  That gave us some awesome dinner options.  I had the most untraditional pre race dinner EVER!  I laid off most of the cheese, but BBQ is way different than my typical whole wheat pasta with spinach, protein, and olive oil.  I still went to bed super early, knowing that I had an early AM ahead of me.

 

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The BOY drove me down to Soldier Field, where we met up with my friend and her brother.  He was running his first race, an ambitious and impressive 10 miler!

 

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As the national anthem began, we shed our layers and said our goodbyes to the BOY who went off to find a comfy seat in the stands.  We ended up starting in the second to last corral, which gave us plenty of time to chat before we even got close to the starting line.

 

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It was a gorgeous day for a run and we slowly made our way south down Lake Shore Drive quickly changing topics as we tried to share all of the stories we used to tell daily when our desks were next to each other at work.  We were running about 10 minute miles and stopped for bathrooms and water as a group as needed.  At the half way point, everyone was feeling strong.  The view back to Chicago is my favorite!  Being this far back, the pack never really thinned out so there was some mild confusion when I tried to suggest a ‘groupie’ in front of the skyline.  It ended up being a ‘Where’s Waldo?’ photo of my hands : )  Can you find me in the picture on the right???

 

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Not to worry…we got ourselves pulled together by mile 7!  Along with some video…which gave me an error the 3 times I tried to post it below.  Our newbie runner kept a consistent pace as we made our way back towards soldier field.  There wasn’t a dull or quiet moment throughout the 10 miles and despite our easy pace, I was surprised with how good I felt during my first 10 miler of the year.

 

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We crossed the finish line in style (with another video) and directly behind a wedding proposal.  I missed it but heard all of the congratulations.  Immediately, we began taking photos on the field (even though I was just here 2 weeks ago).  We met the BOY at the post race party for our celebratory free beer.

 

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I mean, even though we talked more than we ran, we earned it!  Ha ha!  The BOY earned his beer by being our gear check and photog.  And because he is overall totally awesome and was my bike valet all weekend!

 

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Our celebration was the perfect ending to our 10 mile coffee date and celebrating a first time runner’s incredible accomplishment!  I have run many races in my day.  As I am not a professional runner, I have always understood that my goal is not to win, but I like to run fast and challenge myself to beat myself.  However, one of the best lessons I have learned over the past few years is that not every race has to be epic, but that it can still be successful and memorable.  I’m also thinking that I need to schedule more 10 mile coffee dates.  Is anyone interested?

 

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Post race, the BOY and I went walking around Southport.  I had a Lulu gift card (it’s totally the way to my heart) burning a hole in my purse and we spent a good hour sniffing tea at the new Teavanna Café.  After shopping, it was time for some carbs…I still had a long bike ride ahead of me this weekend!

 

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And then…a 2 hour nap!  No joke, I slept for a full 2 hours before the BOY woke me up for dinner and the Hawks game.  Despite being in the city, we decided to have a quiet night in with some local Thai food.

 

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We got a recommendation for take out and we were not disappointed with our dinner.  Although the Hawks game was another story…

 

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I was back in bed at 10pm with an early alarm set for Sunday morning’s Bike the Drive.

I had the most wonderful weekend for soo many reasons (and I don’t even know my time for the 10 mile run).  It was great to be outside and active after the long winter we had, and also it was special to spend the weekend with the BOY before he dives head first into studying for the Bar.  Looking forward to being back on Lake Shore Drive again next year!

 

 

Do you race to race or race for fun?