No French Fry Bars

The bad news is when you play all weekend, there is a lot of work to do on Monday.  And I don’t mean work, work because it is still the weekend (for me), but house work!  I would have loved to have spent Monday on my couch, cuddled with Cooper, and catching up on Scandal.  Instead, I woke up and immediately started creating laundry piles. 

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Saturday morning, the BOY and I woke up to snow.  Not a lot of it, but more than anyone wants to see in April!

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The BOY and I went to the gym for our training sessions and then quickly packed up before driving downtown.  My sister in law has been wanting to try Soul Cycle and I was more than  happy to accompany here to the Old Rihanna vs. New Rihanna class.

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We had a lot of fun working up a sweat.  Then the guys met us for lunch and beer at Corridor.  The weather was odd, alternating between hail and sunshine, but we managed to walk around and shop before making our way back to their house.  We had a little bit of down time before getting ready for our family friend’s wedding.  My mom, SIL, and I drank bubbles while we got our hair done at the dry bar, and then everyone got all dressed up for the wedding.

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We danced the night away and had a great time together!  Sunday was another fun family day, but this time the weather was gorgeous!

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We walked all over the city, racking up close to 7 miles.  Along the way, we discovered an amazing little bakery and fueled up with cupcakes (and a not pictured cookie sandwich that was consumed during the walk)!

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The BOY and I didn’t get home until late Sunday night, and we stopped and picked up Thai for dinner on our way home.  I was feeling exhilarated with the excitement of the weekend and crashed for a good 10 hours Sunday night.  Which brings me back to this morning.  After getting a few loads of laundry going, I grabbed leftovers for breakfast and debated if I wanted to go to the 9:30am yoga class.  A run would have been ideal, but after yesterday’s 60 degree weather, this morning was chilly.

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So off to yoga I went!  And then came back home to get myself organized for the day while sipping on a Peanut Butter and Banana Protein Smoothie.  I made my grocery list and our meal plan. 

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With the cold weather, chili was top on my list…Mmm!

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So I had the opportunity to bump into an old coworker of the BOY’s last week.  She mentioned that she saw him eating one of the protein balls I had made.  When she asked him what was with the healthy fare, he said that I made them so that he doesn’t eat French Fries (LOL!).  I actually make them so that we have healthy snack options throughout the day, but the French Fry comment had me cracking up.

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On that note, I made another batch of bars this week and we can just call them ‘No French Fry’ bars!

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These are actually a Luna bar knock off and absolutely delicious!

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You’ll have to make a batch and let me know if they keep you away from the drive through : )

 

What is your favorite mid afternoon snack?

 

Meal Planning 4/04/16

Monday: Chili

Tuesday: Sesame Honey Chicken

Wednesday: Burgers and Veggies

Thursday: TBD

 

(Homemade) Peanut Butter

Chocolate Chip Luna Bars

From Lauren’s Latest

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup dry roasted unsalted peanuts
  • 24 oz. pitted dates
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • pinch sea salt

Directions

  1. Place peanuts into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to chop into fine pieces without turning into a paste. Add in dates, chocolate chips and salt. Continue pulsing until one large mass comes together in the bowl. Line a 9×9 baking dish with parchment paper or plastic wrap and press date mixture evenly into the dish. Dip your fingers into water to prevent sticking. Place into freezer or fridge for 30 minutes.
  2. Remove completely from pan using excess plastic wrap as help and cut into 10 even pieces. Wrap each bar individually in plastic wrap and store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

I Don’t Remember the Last Time I Slept In

The problem with being a go getter is that I’m always going and getting : )  And this was definitely a month year of on the go!

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This morning was no exception.  Since the BOY declared last night that his car was stuck in the drive way and that we would both be working from home today, I set my alarm extra early.  Note: I don’t have the type of job where one can ‘work from home’.   I awoke not knowing what to expect and when I peaked out the window, I saw my neighbors car stuck half in the road and the other half in the driveway.  I really wanted to get in a run this morning because A) I have not been doing much running and B) We honeymoon next month.

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Sure enough…I got the BOY’s car stuck in the slush when it was WAY darker than the picture above and thankfully our neighbor came by to assist in getting me unstuck.  We then got my car out in 1 1/2 tries and I was free to zoom off to the gym.  I did a 35 minute interval workout on the treadmill followed by abs.

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It was totally worth the extra work (see sweaty tomato faced smile above for proof!).  With just a few days left in 2015, there will definitely be time dedicated to wrapping up the year, but for now, let’s focus on the month behind and the month ahead…

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December Goals

Keep running (and sign up for a spring race)- I didn’t run as much as I wanted this month due to a sinus infection and colder, darker weather.  I did have a beautiful Christmas morning run though.  I am all signed up for a 10k in April and a possible half marathon in early May.

Stay healthy– Major Fail!  I came home from Thanksgiving with a cough and spent about 2 weeks with a sinus infection. Boo!

Get bikini ready…honeymoon here we come!- Strength and yoga have been on pointe, but my nutrition was on more of a holiday schedule.

Slow down, stay grounded, and appreciate the last month of 2015- Ahh! Although work was crazy busy, I can say that I made sure to have me time and family time…and Ahhh time!

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January Goals – Honeymoon Here We Come…

Exercise Often

Keep my Eating On Pointe

Get Organized (for our trip and 2016)

Create and Appreciate Expected and Unexpected Adventures

 

How are you wrapping up the year?

Fall Into Winter

Yea…it happened!  The storm that everyone was talking about has arrived and I have only one word to describe our street…

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WHITE!  When I woke up this morning both of our cars were covered.  Surprisingly, the BOY didn’t give me too much hassle to wake up early for our training sessions.  Dare, I say, he actually likes working out ; )

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He cleaned off the car, while I warmed up inside…

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Our workouts were tough, but good (I hate jumping lunges more than anything else…well, except maybe burpees) and the snow continued to fall while we worked up a sweat.

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Our big plan was to go straight to the Target to pick up necessities for the day.  As is our snow day tradition, ingredients for chili, snacks, and wine found their way into our cart along with a few other household things.  After Target, we swung by the dry cleaner and then Starbucks for a post workout ‘recovery’ latte.

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We were happy to get back inside and warm up.  Our original plan for the day was to get a bunch done and go out for dinner.  Since I wasn’t working this morning, I took advantage of some down time and a few old bananas.

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I turned them into the amazing Flour’s Famous Banana Bread (using the recipe from Averie’s blog) while watching college football.

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Cooper has anyone ever told you how helpful you are in the kitchen?

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No I didn’t think so!

Our fail for the day was that we only planned for one meal, chili, and because of timing it needed to be dinner. We thought about ordering our favorite delivery food, Thai, but the BOY  has been eager to try the new Mexican restaurant that opened up near our house.  A plan soon developed as we decided it would be quicker to walk the .4 miles there than clean off one of our cars (for the second time). 

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We bundled up and braved the first big snow storm of the season.

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Then, came home and devoured or lunch before taking an afternoon nap.

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I woke up first and decided I wanted to bake again.  What can I say, the snow has me in a nesting mode!  The BOY said that after last week, he wasn’t in the mood for cookies but that if I made oatmeal cookies, he might have a few.

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Rough life…right?  I found a fun pumpkin oatmeal recipe and instead of chocolate chips, subbed in white chocolate and cranberries.

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In an attempt to make them look blog worthy, I even added a few extra chips on the top.

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The addition of pumpkin to the oatmeal cookies makes them a little cake like and totally delicious!  I think if I make them again, I would add a little more spice. I can see where if you were doing chocolate chips, you wouldn’t want too much nutmeg, but with the white chocolate, I think more spice would work well.

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Around 3:30pm, the snow seemed to be stopping, leaving us immersed in a winter wonderland…just in time for tonight’s big freeze!  If I’m reading the preliminary reports correctly, it looks like we got at least 10 inches of snow in the last 18 hours.  WOW!

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When the BOY (and Cooper) woke up, we regrouped in the family room for more Big Ten College Football.

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Meanwhile, I did a million loads of laundry (including rugs and blankets), treated the BOY’s back pain, and managed to feel really relaxed and pulled together at the same time.

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I was telling the BOY that I love our newish snow day tradition of staying in and laying low.  We always have a lot of fun together, and I’m looking forward to staying in tonight with wine and games…and probably some more football!

Enjoy your Saturday Snow Day!

 

Pumpkin Oat White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

Slightly Adapted from Cooking Classy

 

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups quick oats
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/3 cups packed light-brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips + more for the top of the cookies
  • 1 cup dried cranberries

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, oats, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger for 30 seconds, set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip together butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until creamy (occasionally stop and scrape down sides and bottom of bowl throughout entire mixing process). Blend in egg then blend in vanilla extract and pumpkin puree. With mixer set on low speed, slowly add in dry ingredients and mix until combined. Mix in chips and cranberries (if you want some chips to show through, set some aside to press into tops before baking). Let batter rest 10 minutes (this just gives the oats some time to absorb the liquids so batter isn’t so sticky and cookies don’t spread so much).
  3. Scoop dough out 2 Tbsp at a time (I used a 1 1/2-inch cookie scoop, which I recommend using for evenly shaped cookies and fill it heaping), and drop onto Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheets, spacing cookies 2-inches apart. Bake in preheated oven 12 – 14 minutes. Allow to cool on baking sheet several minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Mornings Called…They Want Their Workouts Back

I go through phases with my AM wake up call.  Sometimes, I am a snooze monster staying in bed until the last possible minute.  And then other times, I get myself into the groove of early bed times and early morning workouts.  I struggle to get into the routine but once I am there, I feel good and I like it!  Last week was transition week, and this week was GO week.  Since I spent Sunday morning at the salt cave, I didn’t get in a workout.  I was eager to get in some exercise Monday morning before my doctor’s appointment, and I’ve been craving a yoga class.  Especially since kids yoga begins this upcoming weekend!

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I was already dressed and ready to go when I realized that the weather people were actually right, and we got some serious snow.  It was still snowing on my sloppy drive to the yoga studio, but I was rewarded with a fabulous wall yoga class.   The most exciting part was attempting this variation of side plank with our bottom foot on the wall.  I am not sure what I looked like (although I am confident it was not as graceful as this), but I LOVED the unique and awesome challenge!

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Source

Wall yoga is always a special treat, and my muscles were shaking by the time I relaxed into ‘feet up the wall’ pose.  Post yoga, I sipped on bubbly coconut water.  They were sampling it at Costco this past weekend, and I am a sucker for samples.

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The rest of the morning was a snow filled mess!  But the highlight was a lunch date with my BFF.

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Tuesday morning, I was reunited with the gym…specifically the indoor track.  I have been holding onto my gym membership because it has an indoor pool and track, both of which are necessary for tri training, but really spending more time (and money) at the yoga studio.  I told myself if I don’t go to the gym, I will have to give up my membership.  So off I went for a short run (see below) and a few minutes of ab work.

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30 Minute Speed Workout

5 minute warm up

30 second sprint/ 90 second recovery

Repeat 10 times

5 minute cool down

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Wednesday it was back to the yoga studio.  My schedule has changed a bit for the next two months.  Because I am working Saturdays (aka teaching kids yoga), I get to go in later a few mornings (this means 9am instead of 7am).  Which really means…Wednesday pre work hot yoga!  Then Thursday…it was back to the gym to try out one of their 6am strength classes.  

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The truth is that I love the Tues/Thurs am strength class (and the people) at the yoga studio but if I am going to keep my gym membership, then I have to use it.  I am always skeptical of park district classes, but was pleasantly surprised with the efficient and challenging class and the friendly instructor.  With all of these super early workouts, you know I’ve been crashing in bed early…often with this guy!

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After this week, Friday morning is all about sleeping in. I tried to convince the BOY to go swim sit in the hot tub with me after work, but he wasn’t so interested.  We both ended up working late tonight, so dinner was Portillo’s, wine, and basketball.  We had a surprise guest.  My future SIL stopped by and had a glass of wine with us which was fun!  Yes…that is the mint chocolate cake shake in the picture below.  If you haven’t tried it, I HIGHLY recommend it!

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We stayed up WAY to late watching basketball and although my abs are a bit sore when I move, laugh, or breathe, overall it was a GREAT week.  I am not planning to maintain this schedule, but was happy to 1) get back into the routine of early morning wake ups and workouts. and 2) try out a few new classes.  Both of which will help with tri training in the weeks to come!

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Are you a morning or afternoon exerciser?

Tell me your thoughts on the chocolate cake shake!

After the Storm, The Sun Shines

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And we all go back to our usual routine…

Monday Morning: Sleep in, cuddle with kitten, sip lemon water, and meal plan for the week.

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Make breakfast and throw in last load of laundry.

Clean off car and drive to the gym.

Sweat through 45 minutes of strength work, eat a snack, and head back to the barre for a 60 minute workout.

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Eat snack number 2 on the way to Whole Foods for first of two grocery store trips.

Monday Afternoon: Lunch is leftover chili, followed by a luke warm shower (damn you pilot light), and trip number 2 to the grocery store…this time with the BOY.

Return home and throw dinner in the crockpot, debate on whether to study at home or at library.

BOY calls to have hot water heater fixed and we decide to study at home.

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Brew up some iced tea and get comfortable at the kitchen table to study.

Get repeated kisses from Cooper followed by reminders that it is getting close to his dinner time.

Monday Evening: Still sitting at the table working through outlines with intermittent love from Cooper (who often likes to stop and sit on my book).

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Checking on dinner and waiting for fix it man.  Bad news regarding the water heater leads to much sadness!

Dinner is ready and delicious, devoured while watching the newest Big Bang.

Before finally wrapping up my final outline of the night and settling in to unwind with my favorite evening Castle reruns…packing up lunches and gym bags (I hear they have warm water there) during commercials.

Eyes get heavy…time for bed.

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Let the work week begin!

 

 

Meal Planning 2/02/15

Monday: Slow Cooker Chicken Parm Sandwiches

Tuesday: Steak and Salmon Night

Wednesday: Potato Bar Night

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: TBD

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?

A Bit of Blah, Yoga, & Snow

It’s been a challenging week.  I started the week off with a bad night’s sleep and never got caught up.  This led to a few extra work day caffeine runs and that overall feeling of exhaustion.  Oh and did I mention, a finicky pilot light means I haven’t taken a hot shower in a few days…ugh!  After the high of Friday afternoon’s tasting, I crashed!  Physically and emotionally!

Friday Night…

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Saturday Night…

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And in between???

Studying? Actually no!  Saturday’s schedule just didn’t allow for it which is why I was somewhat hoping for a crazy weekend snowmagedan to catch up.   Saturday was my last day teaching winter yoga.  All three classes brought their energy and enthusiasm, and I wanted this last class to be special.  The youngsters started by blasting off to space, then my elementary school kiddos learned sandcript, mastered the trust sit, and rocked the steam roller. 

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My last group of middle school kids was small and they attacked wall yoga with strength and determination before settling into legs up the wall savasana. 

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I couldn’t ask for a better crew of ‘students’!  When the last class wrapped, I had about 15 minutes to snack and prep before the families arrived for our community class.  The laughter began from the start and everyone dove head first into the unique style class.

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After class, I was exhausted and starving. I decided that I really wanted a Which Wich? sandwich!  Although I had planned for some study time, there just weren’t enough hours before we were heading to friends for dinner.  After my late lunch, I followed the masses to Target to pick up a few things for dinner.  And since the threat of snow was sounding REAL (and my phone kept warning me about blizzards), I decided to stock up on snow day essentials.  Yep, I was that girl!  Cart filled with random crap in an attempt to throw together some home-all-day meals.   I arrived back home to find the BOY cheering Indiana on to a victory.  We were both exhausted…lack of sleep seems to be affecting everyone except Cooper.  We considered cancelling our dinner plans since we were both a bit blah, but I knew a night out having dinner with our friends was exactly what we needed.  And I was right!

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We returned home in much better moods than we began the day.  We made some warm beverages (tea and hot cocoa) and decided to go to bed early with hopes of getting a good night’s sleep.  I set my alarm with the intention of going to 8am yoga (wondering if we’d really get snow at all), but my car was covered, the snow blowing, and the streets barely plowed.   I considered taking the chance, especially once I heard that we were in for a longer blizzard than originally planned, but in the end sadly decided to skip…holding out hope that things would be cleared out for the mid morning class.  I took my hot lemon water to the table and set about finishing my current outline while the BOY snored upstairs and Cooper hunted snowflakes.  And then decided that I’d rather play on Pinterest and pick out things to bake today, but then really did start outlining.

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Around 9am, I peaked outside and decided that being a Chicagoan, I felt comfortable enough to head out on an adventure.  With the BOY trying to convince me to stay home and eat cinnamon rolls with him (a staple I picked up yesterday at Target), I cleaned off my car and gingerly made my way to the yoga studio, which I knew would open!

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#yogaeverydamnday

I enthusiastically thanked the receptionists for being there on this snowy day.  Then, made my way into the hot studio for 75 minutes of ME time.  I took a moment in child’s pose to set my intention…thinking about what really got me out of my house on a day like today and onto my mat.  I decided that my main goal was to fully beat the blahs by letting go of perfection and judgment.  Letting go of perfection is easy in a challenging class that has you sweating from head to toe while you attempt to keep your arms/legs/body in a posture and then gracefully move to the next without a minute to think otherwise.  It was at the end as we made our way through a balance sequence (1 legged standing twist, pigeon, warrior III…for my yogi’s out there) that I realized despite feeling discombobulated and blah this week, I truly am grounded in my feet with roots connecting me to the earth.  It brought me out of the tailspin of a chaotic week and into the opportunities waiting in the week ahead.

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I left the studio feeling enlightened and happy, which I explained to the BOY as I called to say I was coming back home before almost getting my car stuck in the parking lot. 

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On the way back, I swung into Target for a few forgotten necessities from yesterday and a sweet reward for braving the storm.

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I arrived home without even a memory of the blah that was as the BOY whipped up Crockpot Turkey Chili for tonight’s dinner.  ‘We have an exciting day of being snowed in ahead of us’, I told the BOY.  To which he replied, ‘we always have fun day when we’re together!’  He’s sooo right!

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Although most of the people I know cancelled their Superbowl plans, I was really hoping that the weather wouldn’t be so bad. We had a fun get together with a close friend from out of town planned with tons of kids and Walking Tacos.  Of course, safety won out (as it should) but we were all still disappointed.

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I decided to take an hour or two to get some reading done in order to completely enjoy the rest of my afternoon at home with the guys, but then discovered a Law&Order marathon on TNT…so much better than studying!  Next up…a HOT shower (I hope)!

 

How do you beat the blahs?

Are you snowed in?  Whatcha up to?