Monthly Archives: September 2012

Sunday Seriously Fun Day!

Whew! What a weekend! Mike and I just finished unpacking from an action filled, awesomely adventurous weekend in Chicago. We did a little bit more of celebrating my birthday and a lot more of exploring Illinois. I can officially say that, as an architecture nerd (aka Archie), foodie, and culture lover, I LOVE Chicago. It’s like a perfect cross between Boston (my most favorite city) and NYC (my least favorite). So many gorgeous parks and mindblowing architecture. I just love it.

Because of the fact that I workout and eat right pretty much every day of the week, when I go on vacation, I’m on vacation. I learned this from my Momma and it works out pretty well. You get to enjoy the leisure of sleeping in and eating whatever strikes your fancy for a few days AND it’s a fantastic reminder of why I live the way I do. I now feel like a donkey’s rear end. An ass’s ass you might say. I am incredibly lethargic, having stomach cramps and bloating, and sore everywhere from a lack of stretching and muscle strengthening.

On that note, here is a photo montage of our weekend in the Windy City.

Question: For those of you following via email, can you see these photos in your message?

^ View of the skyline from the ferris wheel on Navy Pier.

^ Had to hit up Trader Joe’s to stock up on the cheap almond butter and other treats.

^ Mike and I at the Bean (aka Cloud Gate) in Millenium Park. Definitely my favorite area of the city.

^ We went to the Grand Lux Cafe for my birthday lunch. SO GOOD. Thanks Mom and Dad!

^Let’s start with a pineapple basil mojito and fresh calamari with zucchini and onion.

^ Kobe Meatballs with Cheesy Polenta.

^ Happy Belated Birthday to me!

^ Lava cake. When I broke it open the chocolate sauce poured out. I almost hyperventilated with glee.

^ Aw. He’s my best friend and my love. 🙂

^ Gorgeous drive home. Go sustainable energy!!

It was a fantastic weekend with my wonderful boyfriend. Thanks to my Mom and Dad for giving us a chance to live like we have money. I’m such a happy camper.

Maybe my smiles tonight will radiate all over the world and rub off on you guys 🙂

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I’m in Chicago!

Mike and I are away for the weekend in Chicago. It’s my first time here and, for an architecture graduate like me, it’s really exciting. Right now we’re at a Cubs v Cardinals game at Wrigley.

I’m breaking all the rules today and drinking beer AND ball park pretzels AND even a bite of hot dog! Sometimes you just need these “vacation” days to enjoy all that a city has to offer.

Anyway, I hope everyone is having a wonderful day. Longer blog later tomorrow!

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^ He is SO unphotogenic! Haha. I love him for it.

Don’t forget to smile!

Friday Advice: Do Not Be Intimidated, Get Informed

I just got back from a spectacular bike ride with a new friend! Yes, I made a new friend. Her name is Sara and she rides bikes, moved here from Northern California, and is in nursing school. This is the third time I’ve met up with her and we never fail to have something to talk about. Aside from my excitement at meeting someone that I actually connect with, I’m pretty stoked on the routes she’s been showing me. Yay!!

Anyway, today was s short ride but we spent most of the time talking about the flu shot. Haha. I know it seems odd but we’re both at different ends of the medical/health spectrum. While both of us are healthy, we have differing opinions on how to prevent and treat different ailments. I won’t go into my opinion right now (save that for a later date) but we managed to have a fantastic debate over the effectiveness and worthiness of the flu shot.

This has started happening more and more in my adult life where I am being challenged by  other people’s opinions and, instead of backing out and say “I don’t want to argue about it, I don’t have enough information to defend my opinion,” I’ve started learning from what other people have to say. I started reading and listening to people I greatly respect and then finding the science to back myself up. Instead of being intimidated by other people, I’m coming to realize that it only takes a little bit of information to get on their same level. AND when you start talking to them, debating them, you learn more about how to defend your side of the argument. I am getting smarter just by talking to people that think I’m wrong! Sweet!

So this is kind of a rambling post but the meat of it is: Don’t be intimidated by people with strong opinions, just make sure you know why you believe in something and start the debate! You may learn something.

There will be more on this later but I don’t want to bore you all right now. On a happier note, last weekend, I FINALLY learned to ride my bike with no hands! After trying repeatedly for 3 years, I realized that you just have to take both hands off at the same time and lean back. I was so excited that I asked Mike to take a picture.

 

Do any of you readers have an opinion that you’d like to be able to defend better? Maybe it’s time to dedicate an hour to researching it. 

Thursday Recipe: Build-a-Salad

 

*to those interested, birthday update at the bottom of the page

Whenever I mention healthy eating, people’s automatic reaction is, “I hate salad.” Let me share something, me too. The typical restaurant salad is cold, unsavory, and wholly unsatisfying. But I’ve recently determined that they’re doing it wrong. As I’ve mentioned before, my current lifestyle goal is only eating grain for lunch and restricting carbs at dinner. This is not to lose weight but to prevent a haphazard insulin spike right before bed. So “salads” have become my go to dinner options and I’ve realized, they’re not all that bad!

To build a great salad just replace whatever carb you were going to use (pasta, rice, potatoes, etc) with dark leafy greens (I prefer spinach). This means that you get the healthy without sacrificing the hot and savory.

Recently, in the vain of cooking a big portion of one thing, I made cooked a big batch of lentils and steamed some extra veggies I had lying in my fridge. Here is the result:

^ Start with the leafy green base. Don’t worry, it will be covered up soon.

^ Add whatever warm veggies you decided to cook. I have zucchini, red bell peppers, and eggplant.

^ Pile on whatever protein you want. I made lentils but you could do any kind of meat or legume.

^ Top it off with a healthy fat like goat or sheep cheese (pretty much lactose free) and some oil based dressing like balsamic or italian. And enjoy!

* Final note: My birthday ended up being quite wonderful. My coworkers remembered and even gave me gifts. I got so much love through this blog and facebook and texting and phone calls. AND Mike came home from his business trip early! He surprised me at work with flowers, a bottle of wine, and a Gap coat that I’ve been eyeing for months. What wonderful people I have in my life. Thanks everyone 🙂

Today, just smile.

 

Thankful Wednesday: Who Loves You?

Well, today is my 24th birthday. Growing up, birthdays were such a huge deal. My parents and siblings would wake me up with a cake, singing the birthday song. For lunch, my mom would buy all four of us a Lunchable (the only 4 days a year that we each got to eat unhealthy lunches), and for dinner we would have whatever my favorite meal was. Then would come the presents and cards. Everything in that day was my choice and it was pure bliss.

The first month of college was kind of a shock. Everyone eats junk food all the time and no one celebrates birthdays?!?! What the heck is going on?? It was a kind of depressing birthday for me but my friends soon got the picture and have managed to make each once since then very very special (Thanks Tish). But this is my first post-college birthday and I’m not sure what to do with myself. Mike had to leave town for work so my closest friend isn’t here. And I’ve only just started making friends in Peoria; I don’t want to call them up and say “Hey it’s my birthday and I’m lonely, wanna get a Wednesday night drink?” Hah.

So I’ve decided to bury myself in work for most of the day and stop every couple hours to remember the people that love me. Thankfully social media has me covered on that one. It’s only 7:45am and I already have 13 “happy birthdays!”

People love me. Lots of them. I am not being boastful but reminding myself and everyone reading that people love you too! There are too many times in life that loneliness can overwhelm a person. To dig yourself out just think of how many people love you. I could try to list them all but that would take forever and no one wants to read that. So just trust me.

Today may be a little less celebratory than I hoped for but I’m going to drag the celebrations into this weekend. Friday I will finish work early to get a massage and then Mike and I head to Chicago for a few days to celebrate some more. So for now, I will keep my chin up and remember…

And now, a photo montage of my 23rd year. Finding these photos made me cry.

*Scroll left and check out my comments.

I love every single person in these photos and they love me back. I can only dream that my 24th year will be as good as my 23rd. Hope you all have an equally happy day!
🙂

Workout Tuesday: Dance Like No One’s Watching

Yes, you should dance like no one’s watching. To encourage you, I’ve decided to make a complete fool of myself and dance while everyone’s watching.

For the last several years there has been a long and arduous debate about warming up before a workout. Some studies show it’s good, some show you’re fine without it. Whatever the case, I know that my body needs to warm up to a workout otherwise I will twist or strain something. But traditional warm ups suck! So I dance!

Dancing at 7am is not only incredibly energizing but it puts you in a great mood for the rest of the day. So just put on a great song (see below) and loosen up. Dancing alone means you can do whatever weirdo moves you want.

I find that this is great dancing AND workout music:

And this was the workout I did with Zuzka today:

And finally, the piece de resistance, my ridiculous dance moves, published and open for laughs. Now you have NO EXCUSE not to dance!

You also now have no excuse not to smile. Have a happy day!

You Are In Control

I keep this written on a couple of post it notes next to my makeup so I see it whenever I get ready for a long day.

We tell ourselves that life will be great when we can buy a more luxurious car, get a better job, buy nicer clothes, or whatever.

The truth is that there’s no better time to be happy than right now.

Your life will always be full of challenges. It is better to admit as much and decide to be happy in spite of it all.

I talk to SO many people who make the excuse of, “life will be great when…” Including myself! Until I started writing this blog, I didn’t realize that every single one of my days holds something awesome just waiting to be recognized. So you better recognize!

Please, everyone that read this post, comment what your happiness is/will be today!

And have a happy Monday 🙂