Weekend Happenings: #diningin update, Swift-level 10, and Sweat Chicago

Well I officially went a full week without going out to eat! I technically did pay for a slice of pizza in the wee hours of the morning after last night, but that doesn’t really count, right? Because of this challenge I was able to force myself to be more creative in the kitchen and be better about prepping food the night before. When your veggies are chopped and your snacks are all in Ziploc bags in your purse, it makes #diningin so much easier. It didn’t even feel like a challenge, to be honest. That being said, OF COURSE I decided to do this challenge during RESTAURANT WEEK in Chicago haha. OF COURSE I did.

Facepalm (1)

The best thing I ate all week (3 times, actually)?

Sweet Potato Nachos. Susie, I will forever be indebted to you for this inspiration.

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I’m also back on a Vitatop craze. Have you ever had them? They’re 100 calories (chocolate chips not included haha) and they taste like a piece of chocolate cake. They aren’t the cheapest things in the world but they were on sale at Jewel so I stocked up on a few boxes to satisfy my ever-present chocolate cravings.

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And instead of going out to brunch on Sunday, Megan and I had  the brilliant idea of inviting friends over and making our own. It was the best idea we’ve had in awhile and for approximately $0 we had an incredible two hour meal full of eggs, potatoes, banana muffins, mimosas, and country music.

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Don’t look at me like that. I worked up quite the appetite the night before dancing until dawn. My friend Kelsey was housesitting for a verrrrry wealthy family in Lincoln Park so we had a few drinks there before going out. We spent a few hours drinking nice wine, eating nice cheese, and taking “fancy lady” photos in their living room. And next to their elevator (that was IN the house). I honestly didn’t know places like this existed in Chicago.

unnamed (15)Afterwards we met up with some friends for a girls night out in the River North neighborhood. We danced until the wee hours of the morning. Those are the best kind of nights — you start off at a Swift-level 2, just bopping around in a general fashion.


By midnight you start throwing some random arm motions in there, taking it to a Swift-level 5…


And then by 2am it’s a full-blown Swift-level 10, and you think you’re the hottest thing in the fifteen-mile radius.


So true.


On the workout front it was a pretty successful week. I’ve stuck to my goal of working out 5x/week in 2015, but haven’t been able to make it 6x, like I said I was trying to do lately. Oh well — 5 feels like a great balance, where I can still manage to work, write, have a social life, and workout consistently. I’m just going to go with it.

Weekly Workouts

  • Monday: Sweat Chicago (bootcamp #1)
  • Tuesday: 25 min HIIT
  • Wednesday: 5 mile run
  • Thursday: Yoga Sculpt (60 min)
  • Friday: Sweat Chicago (bootcamp #2)
  • Saturday: REST
  • Sunday: REST

Bootcamp #1

6 Rounds of :45 Work/:15 Rest at Each Station of:

  • Rowing
  • Box Jumps
  • 5% Incline Walk (4.5 Speed) w/ DB Presses
  • Double Crunches
  • KB Goblet Squats
  • Plank Row to T Rotation w/ DB

Bootcamp #2

3 Rounds w/ 1min Rest Between of:

  • 4min Incline Run (Increase Incline 1% EMOTM)
  • 1min Rest
  • 4min AMRAP of:
  • 8 Push Ups
  • 8 Tricep Box Dips
  • 8 DB Bent Over Tricep Ext (Together)
  • 8 DB Curl & Presses
  • 1min Rest
  • 4min AMRAP of:
  • 8 Russian Twists (Per Side)
  • 8 Sit Ups
  • 8 DB Toe Touches

I’ve been attending Sweat a lot more lately, as I’ve grown close to the owner and a lot of the people who workout there. I love that it’s always a variety of high intensity exercises that last approximately an hour, but it doesn’t include Olympic-size weights. Now that I’ve officially lived in the city for just over two months, I’m going to calm down on the “try all the workouts in Chicago” approach and start being more consistent at Sweat. I’ve settled on what I love and what I don’t care for, and I know that at the end of the day, consistency is key to me being in the best shape. So Sweat it is!

Phew. Is it Friday yet? I want to do it all over again.


  • What was the best thing you ate all weekend?
  • Vitatops: yay or nay?
  • Dancing: do you follow my Swift-levels theory or are you just an all-out amazing/terrible dancer?


  1. Australia doesn’t even know what chocolate is so of course we are unaware of vitatops. I LOVE chucking brunches for friends- Such a great idea. And Taylor Swift….I didn’t even know she danced. Also- I need an elevator. To Chicago.

  2. I think every night out should be judged on the Swift dancing level scale – saying that even when I’m doing my weekly cook up in the kitchen listening to tunes I am so level 10 – love it!

  3. I have not had a Vitatop in forever, but I used to love them. I am similar in my workout frequency – I try to get to 6, but settle on 5. It’s a good goal, but you have to balance in the other stuff too. Love the fancy lady pics and the elevator. 🙂

    1. It’s nice to have lofty goals 😉 haha but I’m not angry when I only make it five. Those five workouts are almost always HIIT, never just chilling on the elliptical like I used to do, so five sounds about right. You work your butt off too so five sounds perfect for you as well!

    1. That was one thing about studying abroad in Paris I didn’t like haha I was like “where’s my variety of crazy sweets and snacks to buy??” They really limit stuff over there I feel like! Which is probably better 😉

    1. You will! I tried to drag myself out of bed for 7am this morning but it didn’t happen — heading over for Paul’s 4:30 class soon! Mug cookies/cakes are dangerous!! I feel like that’s exactly what Vitatops are, only cheaper haha gotta try that soon!

    1. They. Are. Killer. I think I’m making them for dinner AGAIN tonight. I always do this though…I get obsessed with one meal/snack and then eat it all the time until I get sick of it and can never have it again haha. I hope that doesn’t happen here!

  4. Ha, I totally forgot Vitatops were a thing. They used to be SO COOL in Blogland, but I haven’t heard about them for awhile. Should’ve kept a better eye out when I was at Jewel yesterday. I also have to say that I appreciate your photo arrangement for the Vitatop picture — having a headline of “Causes of Obesity” right above your Vitatop. Haha!

  5. Haha I love all your levels of T-Swift. Too funny!
    And I’d heard about VitaTops but have never tried them. I feel like I can trust your opinion on good food 😉 so I may have to give them a try at some point…

  6. So true about the Swift random dances and jives! I swear she always cracks me up on the awards shows because she gets SO into the musical performances. Your “fancy lady” photos crack me up. Sounds like something I’d do. And aren’t the sweet potato nachos the best?! I’ve been doing them for a few months now and they’ve become a regular in my household. Sweet potato>regular potato any day. 🙂

    1. I go back and forth between loving sweet potatoes and regular ones. Nothing will be a big plate of fries from a diner or something, but if I’m preparing them, sweet potatoes are the bomb. They can be sweet or savory, which I love! And they can be a very substantial base of a well-balanced meal.

  7. I love your Swift gifs! My coworker loves Taylor so much she calls herself a “Swifty” =P I have never had a vitatop but my friend is making me lemon poppyseed muffins this week so I’m excited! The best thing I ate this past weekend was buffalo chickpeas 🙂 🙂

  8. Yum I have had vitatops before! They are sooooo delicious. I’ve also had their vitapizzas before which are pretty decent!

    I’m totally a taylor swift-type dancer. Do I care? Not a chance. I dance my heart out no matter what. I’m always the first one to get on the dance floor….zero shame over here haha

    1. You km now I love to change people’s lives 😀 I love vita tops but they are expensive. They used to make a vitamuffin baking mix that I lllllooovvveeeddd. Wish they still did. Good for you for getting your dining in on so well! T swift level 10 dance for that for certain!

  9. I haven’t tried vitatops yet but have pondered it. The idea of adding the chocolate chips just may have tipped me over the edge. That’s awesome that you didn’t dine out for a week! It can be tough to stay prepared when you are busy! I love the T. Swift dance references…too funny!

    1. Yeah it definitely was tough turning down a few quick lunch/dinner invites but the money I saved was so worth it! It was getting a little out of hand 🙂 chocolate chips on something that’s already super chocolatey is never a bad idea.

  10. Whoa sweet potato nachos!!! Thats now a must try on my list. The best thing I ate all weekend was…hmm I had this pretty great turkey sandwich on sourdough with sprouts, avocado, tomato, balsamic and goat cheese. Other than that, my eats were pretty boring! (Well, boring but good 🙂 )

  11. I think it’s safe to say you have a girl crush on t-swift? Haha!

    Best thing i ate all weekend.. hmm.. I had a pretty good fajita type salad from Applebees & a great brunch @ this french restaurant called Paul’s.

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