friends

balancing the weekend: jumping jacks and jello shots

I don’t even know where to begin describing the shenanigans that went down this weekend.

Friday night we celebrated my Dad’s birthday with our annual trip to a German restaurant. We eat German food once a year because it’s my Dad’s favorite — that shows how much we love him because I don’t think anyone in the world besides Germans love German food. I was lucky because my mom brought me a piece of his German chocolate cake that they had the night before — sensing a theme here?

1476089_1007196122640516_3360148816688752952_nWe went to Mirabell and it ended up being FANTASTIC. I never love German food but this was actually delicious! They took their time with the dishes but it was worth it — everything came out piping hot and flavorful.

unnamedI had salmon with garlic-cream sauce and fried potatoes with a salad to start. My brother got the famous Wiener Schnitzel and we all sampled some potato pancakes — everything was great. Plus I got to eat cake in bed later that night and I’m not sure what’s better than eating cake in bed…

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Saturday was when most of the shenanigans ensued. It was Chicago’s annual “12 Bars of Christmas” Event, otherwise known as TBOX. We started the day at 7am with coffee/Bailey’s, mimosas, egg sandwiches and cinnamon rolls.

IMG_2043 IMG_2040 IMG_2046IMG_2049 IMG_2051Oh and did I mention the jello shot tower? Yeah, there was a jello shot tower.

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Needless to say it was a fun morning.

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Now, in the name of balance let’s talk weekly workouts.

  • Monday: Rest
  • Tuesday: 4 mile run
  • Wednesday: Sweat on State (400m warmup run + main workout shared below)
  • Thursday: Kick-ass spin class at Flywheel
  • Friday: 60 minute Sculpt class at CorePower Yoga
  • Saturday: Jello shots burn calories right?
  • Sunday: Rest

Even though I only worked out four days last week, I feel like I pushed myself 100% for those four workouts so I don’t feel like I skimped on the sweat at all. Plus I’m finally starting to notice a significant difference in my upper body strength which is so exciting! I love that I now measure my success on what I can accomplish with my body, not on how it looks or how “skinny” I can get.

A workout that centers on running - my kinda day!

A workout that centers on running – my kinda day!

The blue pants always make an appearance at sculpt

The blue pants always make an appearance at sculpt

unnamed (7)Moral of the story? With great food/drinks comes great responsibility…to sweat! And when you make working out as much fun as I do, it all balances out. The jumping jacks AND the jello shots 😀

Questions:

  • Any fun holiday parties this past weekend?
  • Is there a type of food you aren’t fond of, like I am with German food?
  • How do you keep a balance between food/drinks and fitness?
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NASM update, metta success, and college-town cavorting

It’s been awhile since we’ve talked, hasn’t it?

I was on a serious roll the past few months, but I have to be honest: the next two months I’m going to be just a bit less consistent. I’m in the home stretch of NASM studying and really need to focus on that. It’s tough to work, blog, and study, not to mention be committed to fitness and having a semblance of a social life while doing those three things. Writing is my outlet, though, so I’ll still be around. But that NASM textbook is my new #1 priority until the second week of January.

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The metta movement on Friday was a HUGE success! Dave DID run the full 100 miles and raised more than his $25,000 goal – last time I checked he was at $28,950! That means even MORE kids are going to have that life-altering surgery. I’m not going to lie–the whole experience moved me. We surprised Dave by holding up photos of the kids he was running for and he broke down in tears every time. Needless to say we all broke down as well. I had a moment later in the weekend where I realized just how crazy it is that $250, something I would spend on clothes, shoes or food in a few weeks, can completely transform a child’s life. It is the difference between living as a leper and living in a world of possibility. I thought about those 100 kids that Dave’s feat is going to help. That’s 100 people who will now be able to thrive in society – they may go to college and discover the cure for cancer or become a global diplomat and solve world hunger. It’s just a mind-blowing thought and extremely, extremely humbling.

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I spent the remainder of my weekend in Ann Arbor on a road trip with my girlfriends from college. Martina (think hipster-architect and probably the actual inventor of Pinterest) is going to the University of Michigan for grad school (Go Blue!) so we drove up to spend the weekend with her. We ate bagels and pizza like it was going out of style, laughed constantly, and danced until the early hours of the morning, losing complete track of time.

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See this is what I hate about not blogging for a few days – I start to remember a million random things I want to share with you all and there’s just no ebb and flow to the post anymore. Maybe I should rename my blog to “I Had A Big Lunch – Now Read My Word Vomit.” But anyway, did I tell you that I tried barre finally? I’ll share my review of the studio another day but it totally kicked my butt in a way that my butt has never been kicked. It wasn’t a “holy crap look how much I’m sweating” -type workout. More of a “holy crap how long can I hold my leg up like this before getting a debilitating charlie horse” and “holy crap there are a lot of mirrors in this room so I should probably actually hold a firm core for the first time in the history of a group fitness class.” Stellar.

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Just another new fitness routine to add to the mix. Can we add another day to the week so I can fit in all the workouts I want to do every week? That would be perfect.

So tell me…

Questions:

  • When was the last time you stayed in a college town? Did you have a blast or feel like an old prune in a sea of young, prime grapes?
  • What’s your opinion on barre workouts?
  • What was something funny, embarrassing or crazy about your weekend? Did you finally go for it and spend $15 on that jar of nut butter or spend six consecutive hours watching cat videos on YouTube?

Memorial Day 2014: Girls Weekend in Lake Geneva

Good morning guys! Anyone else crazy confused about what day it is? I’m sure most people have gotten over the novelty of the holiday weekend but man it was so good that I just can’t move past it! How could I complain, though, about a fast-moving week? I’m basically in the express lane to the weekend!

It’s rainy and humid here in Chicago on this foggy morning but it seems like summer is finally here to stay. I’m going to take what I can get and not mention how sad I am that we skipped spring, one of my favorite seasons growing up. Considering it was snowing in the suburbs just weeks ago, however, I should really count my blessings that June seems to be right on schedule.

Okay enough with the chit-chat. I have to tell you about my trip!

First things first, if you’re in the Midwest and need an escape, look no further than the beautiful Lake Geneva. I’m not sure if it was the weather, the quaint little shops, our animated hotel Concierge named Chad, or the excitement of all being together, but my friends and I had an absolutely incredible trip.

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I woke up early Saturday morning to get a quick run in before my friend Jordan picked me up for the trip. Sidenote: I love the suburb where I’m from. I always make fun of the suburbs of Chicago and how happy I am that I now live in the city, but there’s something so comforting about being able to go home. It’s safe, slow, and has beautiful running routes.

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I could just keep running for days…

Anyway, after a quick run to Trader Joe’s to pick up beach snacks we were on our way! I was particularly excited because it was the perfect excuse to use my new picnic basket. There’s a smidgen of 50s housewife in my blood so this made me way too happy.

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Snacks included Trader Joe’s greek yogurt kale and spinach dip (it really is as amazing as it sounds) alongside carrots, chopped celery, and whole wheat pita crackers. Oh and homemade “sangria” – white wine, Fresca, and frozen berries. Don’t knock it til you try it!

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Best news of the weekend: I didn’t burn! Besides a little redness on my chest I didn’t leave Lake Geneva a hobbling lobster like I usually do. Point, Lauren.

Because I know you’re curious, we definitely ate our way through the city. Between the best ice cream in the country from Kilwin’s (toasted coconut with chocolate shavings) to the slow roasted, pulled chicken sandwich from a lakeside joint called Popeye’s, it’s safe to say I left Lake Geneva stuffed and satisfied. Oh and did I mention they have the cutest Starbucks I’ve ever seen? It was adorable!

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I was almost too embarrassed to put the following picture up, but, CRAB CAKES and garlic dressing. Does it get any better than that?

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Oh and just so you don’t think I went to Lake Geneva alone… 🙂

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I can’t tell you how great it was to have a girls weekend with my friends. It’s been a year since we graduated and even though it seems like our lives are going in all different directions, we’ve done a pretty good job of staying friends. These girls mean the world to me and I’m so lucky that we all lived on the same dorm floor freshman year. I remember leaving for my first year of school and my mom telling me how important it would be to make girlfriends in college. I always had a few girlfriends but mostly guy friends in high school thanks to having a serious boyfriend at the time. I didn’t know if I would make new friends, let alone a group like this. But it happened and now I have friends for life thanks to these lovely women. I really can’t express enough how great it is to have a loving, supportive group of friends like this and it was wonderful to take a three day vacation with them. Oh and did I mention we got friendship bracelets? 23 going on 12 🙂

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Questions:

  • I know I’m late to the party but tell me about your weekend!
  • Are you still close with your friends from college?

girls night in

I spent yesterday applying for some more full-time jobs in the city, so by the time late afternoon rolled around I was definitely in need of a sweat session.  Luckily my bootcamp has a night class, so  I headed there to get a good workout in.

ImageNot fun.  (But such a blast). yaknowwhatimean?

This workout kicked my but.  Knee raises (reverse crunches hanging from a pull up bar) AND burpees?  Cray cray.

((Sidenote, since I started doing Crossfit-like workouts I’ve noticed that my core is becoming incredibly strong. I love it!))

I ran home and showered really quickly because I had a girls night to get to.

Since we all graduated from college four months ago, my group of girlfriends has worked really hard to still stay close. One of my friends Monica put together a video montage of pictures from freshman-senior year and invited us all over to have dinner and watch it! How sweet!

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We all brought over some food (my contribution was the cake batter rice krispie treats in the right corner) and snacked until everyone arrived.

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My plate (plus more chips and carrots)

After we all got to Monica’s we settled in and watched the video. It was so sweet and well put-together. Seeing all those pictures was crazy because I can’t believe I was ever that young (but at the same time it feels like I was JUST that young–definitely one of the most bizarre parts about growing up.

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After the movie we sat around a reminisced for awhile. It was so nice just to spend a night with my best girlfriends!

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The gang minus a few!

This morning I hit the snooze button and missed BOTH workout classes that I was considering going to. Oh well 🙂 I need sleep!  The best part about this morning was that my family was unanimous in wanting bagels for breakfast, so another pumpkin season craving has been satisfied!

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Pumpkin bagel with pumpkin cream cheese and coffee with pumpkin coffeemate (not pictured). A little overboard? Not possible.

Now I’m planning on watching college football all day, maybe doing some yoga, and going to work at the restaurant tonight. It’s a beautiful September weekend–fall is finally here!

Question: what’s your favorite kind of bagel? Do you have an Einstein’s Bagel near you or is another place your favorite?