Wednesday, August 22, 2012

No Cords, No Internet

Sorry for anyone who has been checking the website!  I will not be posting until Monday.  As of now, the cords for my computer are packed and I have no Internet (bootlegging the computers at the business center now).  Packing/moving has been crazy and I'm so happy that my mom is here to help! Full update once I arrive in Houston next week!

Hope everyone has a great week and weekend.  I know that I will have an amazing last couple days here in Chicago!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Stupid Air and Water Show

The Air and Water Show was in Chicago this weekend.  Being my last full weekend in Chicago, I was very angry at the Air and Water Show for two reasons:

1. Green City Farmer's Market was canceled.  The market takes place in a large grassy field where a lot of people would be sitting to watch the show, so they canceled the market this weekend.

2. I didn't get to run along the lakefront.  Even though the show doesn't start until 10 am, I remember form last year that the lakefront gets crowded and hard to run through even early in the morning as people and stands set up.  I opted to avoid it and skipped a lakefront run.

Despite this (and the ridiculously loud, terrifying noises from the planes), I saw part of the show on Saturday and I'll admit part of it was pretty cool.  My first few years in Chicago, I watched the show but this year I just caught parts of it as I walked around the city.

And, to be honest, it is probably better that I didn't run on the lakefront this weekend.  My knee has been starting to hurt and act up again.  This past week, I took a running hiatus and plan to not run this next week too.  Good thing I'm not running the Chicago Half Marathon anymore so that I can give my knee some time to heal and come back stronger than ever!  I have been sticking to the elliptical at the gym.  I'll admit that doing the elliptical at the gym has been a little boring. However being overwhelmed and upset about leaving Chicago, exercise is important for me for my mental sanity.

After talking to the people at Fleet Feet and reading some articles online, I have realized the importance of using the foam roller and stretching in order to prevent and lessen injury.  

A foam roller is literally what is sounds like.  It is a long circular piece of foam used to loosen your muscles.  They are usually in the stretching area of the gym.  I had the people show me the correct way to use the foam roller.  I definitely felt a difference once they showed me how to do it properly to best help my knee pain.  It is amazing what just a few minutes of rolling out my muscles can do.  

In regards to stretching, it is not something Im usually very good about.  I am the first to admit that I regularly skip out on stretching after running.  I have recently made a better effort to stretch after the gym because I know how important it is for my recovery.

For a lesson on foam rolling click here (videos included).

For good post run stretching click here.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Friday Funday After Being MIA

It has definitely been a hectic week.  It was my last week at my current job and I have been going out and eating at night with my friends.  Tuesday, I had a Whole Foods date night Nikki.  We have regular Whole Foods dates and I'm going to miss them lots!  We both hunt around for samples and then load up our bowls to the top at the salad bar.  We usually go to the candy aisle afterwards, but this week we opted for chocolate cake.  It was obviously delicious (let's be honest...there are few things at Whole Foods that are not).

A picture of Nikki and I after a bike ride from the other week.

Wednesday night, I met my friend Nicole (haha guess it was the week of Nicoles) for dinner at Slurping Turtle.  The chef behind Slurping Turtle is Takashi, a current competitor on Top Chef Masters.  Slurping Turtle is essentially Japanese comfort food.  

Our waiter was great!  He was extremely helpful in telling us what was good and telling us about the different dishes (not to mention he also gave us hints about other good restaurants nearby).  We shared two appetizers which were sesame soy marinated salmon and sweet corn croquettes.  Both were amazing and I especially liked the salmon.  For our main meals, we both opted for noodle based bowls instead of soup bowls since it was hot outside (I got the soup based bowl last time and it was awesome).  Nicole got Yaki Udon and I got the Chiyan Pon.  Both were really good and so different! The servings were huge and I definitely had some leftover for the next day.

Nicole and I at St Patrick's Day last year.

This week was only the beginning of so many more incredible meals to come!  Next week my mom is coming to Chicago to help me pack.  I will try to fill y'all in on the move and all the incredible meals.  Sorry for the lack of recipes lately, but I have taken a cooking hiatus these past few weeks.  Once I'm in Houston expect lots of cooking and baking!

And now.....Friday Funday!

Eggplant Stacks: This is a yummy looking summer dish with farmer's market ingredients.

Triple Threat Cupcake: It's every dessert you could want in one.  All you need to do is eat it with some ice cream on the side.

Me In the Winter: This pretty much sums up my winter wardrobe.  I guess this will probably change when I move to Houston.

Palazzo Margherita: I love this doorway.  It looks so interesting having a door within the door.

Foldover Clutch: I love the colors on this! 

Chobani Soho Cafe: What?! I read about this but didn't believe it!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Fat Talk

Cher: I feel like such a heifer.  I had two bowls of Special K, 3 pieces of turkey bacon, a handful of popcorn, 5 peanut butter M & M's and like 3 pieces of licorice.

Fat talk.  The constant comparison of what you have or haven't eaten, the fact you haven't gone to the gym in weeks, or how much weight you need to lose.  It's the negative talk surrounding weight, food, and body image.  So many girls are guilty of this.  I know that I am guilty of it at times.  I can bet in the past week either you or one your friends has engaged in fat talk.

For some reason, we think this type of talk is normal and respond to it the wrong way.  We say things like "You should have seen how much I ate the other day." or "I know! I am having such a fat day too".  We think the by sympathizing with the person we are going to make them feel better.  However when we do this, not only do we encourage the fat talk, but we often bring ourselves down at the same time.

While I admit that I am still guilty of fat talk at times, I have been trying to stop myself from doing it and changing the way I react to friends when they do it.  Here are a couple of things that I have been trying to do to stop the fat talk:

1. Think about why I'm saying it:  I often find myself starting the fat talk when I am feeling guilty about something I have eaten or skipping a workout.  Its important to remind yourself that in the end it doesn't matter!  You can eat that piece of cake or skip that workout you just weren't feeling.  You don't need to "fess up" or feel guilty about it later.

2. Replace the negative with something positive: Too often people focus more on the 1 or 2 negative things they do as oppose to the abundant number of positive things.  If a negative thought or fat talk comes up turn it around.  Think of something positive you have done instead.

3. Don't validate or sympathize with your friend: You aren't making them feel any better when you put yourself down too.  In fact, instead of one person saying negative things about their body, now there are two.  Support your friend and give them a boost of confidence.

Fat talk doesn't help anyone and sympathizing with it only brings yourself down too.  Make en effort to change the way you think and respond to others when fat talk comes up.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Making Moves...Literally

I have been living in Chicago for the past 4 years, since I graduated from the Michigan.  I love this city.  Tons of my Michigan friends live here and as well as many other friends I have made over the years.  Everything is so accessible.  Hope on the el, grab a bus, or take a walk to where you want to go.  Chicago is an active, exciting city and I have loved taking advantage of that.  I walk everywhere, run along the lakefront, and am constantly trying and finding new places to go and new things to do.

After 4 years of living in the incredible city, it's time for me to move on and head back to Houston.  This past week, I was offered a new job in Houston and took advantage of this awesome opportunity.  In 2 short weeks, I will be leaving Chicago and starting my new job in Houston.  It all happened (is happening) fairly quickly.  As sad as I am to leave my life here in Chicago, I am so excited for this new work experience and to be close to my family who I love so much.

I'm not going to sit here and make a list of all the things that I am excited for in Houston or sad to leave in Chicago.  For the next 2 weeks, I'm taking advantage of my time in Chicago and with my friends.  This weekend definitely kick started that!  Saturday morning I went for an 8 mile run along the lakefront.  Since I am leaving Chicago, I will not be running the Chicago Half Marathon but I still wanted to take advantage of lakefront running (and hopefully will find a run in Houston to do soon).  I couldn't have asked for better weather! It was in the 60s and not a cloud in the sky.  Instead of timing myself, I just wanted to enjoy the run and stopped to take pictures along the way.

Start of the run with sun just starting to rise.

End of the run and ready to start the day!

After my run, I met a couple friends at the Green City Farmers Market.  Great minds must think alike, because my friend Lindsey and I showed up in pretty much the exact same outfit.

Everyone got great stuff at the market.  Since I'm going to be eating out a lot over the next 2 weeks, I had to restrain myself from buying stuff.  One stand at the market sells mushrooms and mushroom products, including a canned mushroom chili.  It has portabella mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, jalapenos, onions, celery, and kidney beans in it.  I bought a can of it to take back to Houston with me (and will probably buy another next weekend too).

The rest of my weekend was jam packed with eating and going out/seeing my friends including BYOB sushi (where I brought Red Truck Wine in honor of my move back to houston), a bagel date, and a delicious Italian dinner.  

I do not recommend putting this on your must try wine list.  I got it purely for the name.

Heads the next few weeks, I will probably not be posting every day especially as my move gets closer and things become more hectic.  I'll try to post a few times a week so be sure to keep checking back!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Starting the Weekend Off Right

It's been a crazy, busy, and overwhelming week.  I am VERY ready to enjoy the weekend!  I have lots of fun plans ahead including a lakefront run and then brunch Saturday and a celebration dinner Sunday to celebrate my friend finishing part 1 (the ethics portion) of The Bar.

Since I have summer hours (for those who don't know...summer hours in Chicago means you have half day Fridays from Memorial Day to Labor Day), I'm going to start off my weekend with a couple errands and then hopefully meeting some friends at the pool or shopping (depending on the weather).  The perfect beginning to a great weekend!

And now...what I know you have been waiting for: Friday Funday!

Spinach and Artichoke Grilled Cheese: Spinach artichoke dip and grilled cheese got married and had a baby.  And he is awesome!

Cucumber Chili Mexican Paletas: Looks so refreshing and perfect for a hot summer day.

Talk About Cooling Off: This elephant really knows how to do it.

The Funnel Wall: They say this wall plays music when it rains.  This, I need to see!

Food Tips: The Dorito one grosses me out.  The grapes and wine one is genius!

18 Running Facts: I love these fun facts.  They are both funny and sadly true. (there wasn't really a picture so I thought you would enjoy a sweaty picture of me post run)

Chocolate Chip Cookie: Sometimes a basic, classic cookie is just what you need!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

New Lara-ball Flavor

Nuts and dried fruit are a great snack, especially pre-workout.  Nuts contain protein which provides energy.  Specifically, protein is best for "long haul" energy as oppose to carbohydrates which are more immediate.  Dried fruit, such as raisins, provide similar performance benefits when compared to sport gels.  Nuts and dried fruit are also extremely portable, cheap, and easy to find.  This is a huge reason why they are my go to pre-work out snack.

As much as I love the Lara-ball flavors that I posted here, I needed a change.  I checked out the different Larabars and decided to try Peanut Butter and Jelly.

I checked out the back of the label to see what ingredients were included.  Just 3 simple ingredients: peanuts, dates, and cherries.  While I love cherries an cherry flavor, I'm not a huge fan of the cherry and peanut butter combo.  I opted for strawberry flavor instead.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Lara-balls
3/4 cup dates
3/4 cup peanuts
1 tbl sugar free strawberry jelly
-you could also use any other sugar free jelly or a small handful (ex: 5 cherries, 2 strawberries, a couple of blueberries)

1. Blend all ingredients in blender
2. Form into 6 balls.

Since this recipe uses jelly or fresh fruit, store it in the fridge.