Inaugural CARA Run, Father’s Day, and Old Lady Fun

Justttt when I say I’m leaving for good, I pop back onto IHABL.

First things first: it was my first marathon training run of the season! I’m in an interesting spot right now because even though this week’s run should only be 7 miles (for the Chicago Marathon in October), I’m also attempting to not die during the Rock n Roll Half Marathon in July — so I knew I needed to do more than that to make sure mama’s still got it.

I rolled out of bed bright and early at 5:30am Saturday morning and ran to Foster Beach to meet up with CARA for the second run of marathon training season (my first).


I had no idea what to expect from a CARA run, as it’s my first time with the organization. Luckily it was much less intimidating than I thought. The group was easy to find, there were speakers with music blasting, and pace groups that were easily marked. Who knew so much activity happened in the city before 7am! I found my pace group and even recognized a few girls who had been in the store before, so I was cool as a cucumber. The whole “fake it til you make it” advice really is true.

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It was awesome! There were hundreds (and I mean hundreds) of runners out on the path throughout our run. Everyone yelled hi to each other, we ran 2×2 (Noah’s Ark style), and there was even a gatorade station set up along the way?? The running community is pretty incredible — this is going to be a fun summer.

All in all, (3 miles to the site + 7 miles with the group), and before I knew it I had covered 10 miles!


I hobbled home, had an appointment at Delos where a very European no-nonsense therapist dug his elbows deep into my hip flexors and foot arches (best investment I’ve made in a long time), and soon headed to the Farmer’s Market with Colleen. We had waaaay too much old lady fun exploring.

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Sunday was spent with my #1 fan, although these days I really think those roles are reversed. I love this guy! We ate great food, played (terrible) golf, sat on the deck in the sun, drank sangria, and just spent some quality time together.

IMG_5910 IMG_5911Questions:

  • How did you spend Father’s Day?
  • What’s your favorite part about farmer’s markets?
  • Running groups: love ’em or hate ’em?


Today the #1 man in my life turns the big 6-1.

You have always been my number one fan.

You never missed a basketball game — no matter how far away it was you were always in the stands cheering for me. Even when we traveled to a tiny, middle school gym in Kentucky, you were there.

You always looked for lemonade at my parent-teacher conferences growing up, and I always did everything I could to make sure you got some. And the one time you didn’t, I was crushed. I had let my dad down. I cried in the hallway and you thought I was the goofiest kid around. But letting you down has always been one of my biggest fears in life.

I always wanted to impress you growing up by eating all those weird types of meat that you had at restaurants. I’ve tried duck, veal, bologna and turtle soup because of you. Nothing I’d eat now, but I loved being brave and trying crazy things because my dad was eating them. I loved being just like you.

You share my love of late-night Diners, Drive Ins and Dives and Seinfeld Episodes.

You always make me popcorn when I ask – no questions asked, no matter the day or time.

You passed on your road rage to me. Not the best trait, but hey, they can’t all be good.

You almost had a heart attack moving me into my sorority house in college — but it quickly went away with a glass of chocolate milk. Further proving that you’re a child at heart.

You read this blog. You compliment my writing and tell me how proud you are of me regularly. How lucky can a girl get?

You have a voicemail from me saved on your phone from 2012. Who does that? You collect memories.

You take care of our house. You clean, you repair, you get up early and stay up late, and never, EVER ask for a thank-you.

And most importantly, you have ALWAYS trusted me to make my own decisions. You’ve never once told me what to do, or hovered over me, insinuating what you think I should do. Your trust in my character is unparalleled.

People say they have the “World’s Best Dad.”

I know I do.

Happy Birthday, Dad! I love you so much!


is there anything better than a summer barbeque?

I’m feeling a little under the weather today, so let’s look back to happier times, shall we? This past weekend I was home in the suburbs for a friend’s birthday and some family time, and thanks to some perfect Sunday weather my family put together a fun bbq. Take notes, because this was my perfect meal.

IMG_7929IMG_7931IMG_7933IMG_7937IMG_7940IMG_7941Veggie burger, oven fries, and grilled asparagus. Why can’t it be summer all year? Everything’s better on the grill.

I also used the weekend home in the burbs to get in two runs and a long walk, because I happen to think I live in the cutest, quaintest town in America (I’m not biased at all).

IMG_7944Perfect perfect perfect.

And now it’s cloudy, rainy and cold in Chicago so I’m just sitting here on June 11th confused out of my mind. What is HAPPENING, weather?!

Sorry for the lack of writing this week but between moving, some news (I’ll share tomorrow!), work and Zain’s mom visiting, I’ve been in a total time-warp this week. Don’t think that means I haven’t been checking your blogs out though – it’s what keeps me sane 🙂

Have a great Wednesday!


  • What’s your favorite bbq food?


let the baking begin!

Well there’s no more denying it: Christmas is almost here.


Two weeks from today we’ll all be congregating with family, eating honey ham and Pillsbury rolls and exchanging presents under the Christmas tree.  The funny thing about me is that this is my favorite time of the year.  Christmas day isn’t what does it for me.  It’s these weeks leading up to the day that I love the most. It’s when I crave hot chocolate, sitting by a fireplace, and ice skating (getting me to voluntarily spend time outside during sub-zero temps won’t happen any other time of the year). I love shopping for friends and family, turning on Christmas carols, and most of all, baking! And since I’m in the process of changing jobs (more on that later), I have the next three weeks completely free during the day that will undoubtedly all be taken up with Christmas baking!

I already have my sights set on reindeer cookies, German chocolate cake, saltine cracker toffee, Nutella-filled chocolate cookies, and brownies with peppermint frosting. It’s gonna be a sugar-filled, chocolate-infused few weeks, and I love it.

I’m doing my best during the holidays to keep my meals at home normal, so today’s WIAW is nothing extravagant. I save that for my weekends in the city 🙂 I’ll tell ya, the minute I live in the city I’m going to spend all my money on food. It’s a problem.

I started out the day with some exercise: 30 minutes alternating speeds on the stairmaster followed by an upper body workout.


Pics or it didn’t happen right?

Luckily the only other guy in there was directly behind me so I could do this selfie stealthily (say THAT five times fast!)


ImageToday’s breakfast was plain Greek yogurt with truvia and pomegranate seeds. I ate this directly after having a protein shake so needless to say I got my day started with a heavy dose of protein. I’m usually not a big fan of eating breakfasts without some form of bread or oats, but this meal had so much protein that it kept me full for hours and hours.


Protein shakes excite me. It’s basically chocolate milk with a kick.

I did a little grocery shopping later in the morning for some healthy items.


Kiddinggggg. It’s December 11th. Healthy treats aren’t on my brain. Please forgive the picture quality…the lady obviously didn’t understand that I have a blog to take pictures for.



Lunch was one of my favorite things lately: butternut squash and carrot soup. It sounds kind of funky, but it tastes like cheese. If something can make vegetables taste like cheese, it’s got my vote.  Thank you to my local grocery store for featuring this soup during these cold winter months! Sometimes soup is exactly what you want. I ate two pieces of bread with hummus on the side.



When I got off work at the restaurant I scoured through our leftovers and came up with a chicken fajita.  It’s my Mom’s recipe full of bell peppers, onions, cayenne pepper, and red pepper flakes.  After I snapped a picture this was topped with copious amounts of guacamole to make it even better. Usually I have two fajitas but the protein-heavy day plus a few handfuls of popcorn while I was making it filled me up.

Finally, I can’t end this post without acknowledging a very special person: today is my Dad’s birthday!


Happy birthday to the most important man in my life. My biggest fan, the popcorn guy, my Dad. I love you so much!



  • What is your favorite sweet holiday treat to make this time of year?

Never stop moving

If you ask any of my friends they’ll tell you: I’m a girl who never stops moving.

It can be infuriating how fidgety I get if I’ve been sitting too long, and I’ve been known to turn casual “sitting on the couch” hang outs into small workouts (“hey guys, lets see who can hold our legs up the longest!”)

One of my favorite ways to get moving is to take walks after meals.  Not only is it great to step away from the laptop/cell phone and get outdoors, but it makes me feel so much better, especially if I’ve just eaten a big meal.

I’m not alone in this way of thinking. According to a recent article in the New York Times, a walk as short as 15 minutes post-meal can help aid with digestion and improve blood sugar levels.

Luckily I’m pretty persuasive so I can usually convince someone to take a stroll with me 😉 Sunday night was no different:


You’ll have to forgive the lighting…summer nights are leaving us faster than normal this year.

My dad and I set out for a 20 minute walk yesterday after dinner.  We had just had our first family dinner in awhile (it’s hard to get 4 working adults to sit down at a table together): a BLT bar!




Crusty, toasted Italian bread, cool veggies, and crispy bacon. Now I haven’t had bacon in years (I never eat red meat and rarely eat pork) and while it looked and smelled so delicious that I couldn’t turn it down, my stomach did not agree with it later in the night. Looks like I have to try tempeh again….or maybe turkey bacon?

My dad and I went on our walk and talked about everything from mortgages to lunch breaks at work.  It made me realize that not only is walking after meals good for your physical health, but it was a wonderful emotional break.  We were able to step away from the devices that distract us constantly and simply focus on two things: walking and each other.

When I got home I quickly snagged one of these cookies my mom and I picked up at the grocery store:


Goodness gracious they are soooo good.  So airy and chewy and sugary–three of the best things in a dessert!

My Monday was pretty boring, as Mondays tend to be.

It started out with an early morning weights/stairmaster workout before work.


And included plenty of good food:


Chocolate protein powder mixed with almond milk (gotta find my shaker…protein powder chunks are not my favorite)


Oatmeal with almond milk, flax seeds, banana, and topped with chunky pb for breakfast.


Veggie burger with roasted green beans for lunch (roasting veggies is life-changing)

Snacks on snacks


Dinner is unpictured because it was chili that I ate at work at the end of my shift… I was just too hungry to wait until I came home haha.

But even more exciting than dinner was dessert!  Along with a handful of chocolate covered almonds I tried a new purchase: chocolate covered bananas! I guess you can say I like chocolate a little bit.


Today is another hot day in Chicago! Luckily I’m working from home so I don’t have to worry about melting like the wicked witch of the west on my walk to work.  I hope you all have a fabulous day!


  • Do you ever take walks after meals?
  • Do you know of any good substitutes for bacon?