Tag Archives: Vacation

Marvelous Monday: Hot Dogs, Museum, and a Luxury Hotel

Living in a relatively small city immediately after graduation was (and still is) a big shock to me. It’s not because of the different types of people and it’s not even because I’m far from home, it’s the lack of variation! I realized it when I was walking around Chicago this weekend. No one stares at me because I have short hair and am wearing a gorgeous red coat. I know this sounds hyperbolic but I’m totally serious. I’ve found myself toning down my level of “urban” and it wasn’t until this weekend that I fully realized it.

Needless to say, it was wonderfully liberating to be in Chicago again this weekend. I met my best friend in the entire world, Sarah. She flew from North Carolina to meet me and, of course, it was epic. Somehow, when we get together, we manage to find the most incredible deals on some really swanky experiences. So instead of writing it all down, I’ll show you some photos!

*Credit to Sarah for most of the photos. Pick them out by spotting the good ones.*

Day One:

858717_10100863993292329_723608124_o^ This restaurant is called the Pump Room (in the Public Hotel). Before we got here, Sarah found a voucher for a gourmet meal on GiltCity.com. Mixology cocktails, tuna tartare, apple and brie toast,  lobster ravioli, and a caramel corn salted sundae. We ate until midnight and then collapsed in our hotel room.

Day Two:

We obviously had to see The Bean (cloudgate). This is by far my favorite monument in any city that I’ve seen. It is really a gorgeous shape and it brings together every view of the inside of the city. Also, it’s REALLY fun to take pictures with it.

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We both felt like absorbing a little culture (and keeping out of the freezing weather outside) so we checked out the Art Institute. The building was very beautiful and the exhibits were right up our alley (they even had one of Studio Gang Architects).

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Then we ditched the cultural stuff and headed about 15 minutes outside the city to Hot Dougs. This place serves the most unbelievable hot dog I’ve ever seen. We checked out the reviews online and decided on the following: Duck dog with foie gras and truffle aoili, rabbit dog with ricotta cheese and raspberry preserves, 2 normal dogs with all the toppings, and cheese fries.

We had to wait outside in 20°F for ONE HOUR to even get inside this place. It was packed. But once we did order, it was pretty affordable and the dogs were to die for. The only time Sarah and I are ever quiet is when we are hungry and when we are mowing down food like this.

IMG_1022 ^ We even got to meat (haha) Doug himself!

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That night we stayed in and enjoyed our most luxurious hotel room and some deep dish pizza.

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This hotel room needs some further explanation. As I mentioned, Sarah and I find the most amazing bargains. I found this hotel room at Swisshotel (they are usually upwards of $200) for $110 a night on Bookit.com. It was SO worth the effort. This place was so nice that we WANTED to stay in and enjoy it. I took photos of the tiny details so you would understand.

IMG_1030 ^ Bedside table: light switches for the whole room, an alarm clock AND ipod player, and outlets on the lamp. Perfection.

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^ A CLEAN tub and a shower. Also, please note the phone next to the toilet. If you’re wondering, of course I used it.

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^ When the maids came in, they straightened up our shoes and toiletries and the room was sparkling.

IMG_1031^ There was a Keurig coffee maker with free K-cups. And wine glasses and bottle openers. These people knew we were coming.

We spent Sunday chatting and doing some shopping (aka bargain hunting) before Sarah had to fly out. It was MUCH too short of a stay but absolutely wonderful all the same. There’s nothing like the company of your best girlfriend 🙂

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Faulty Friday: Fallen Off the Wagon?

Nows the time. January is over, you’re vacationing for entire weekends. You’re eating whatever the heck you want and not exercising. It doesn’t matter if you had a New Years Resolution or not, you’re starting to pack on the pounds. I’ve heard this from several patients over the last few days so let me ask you a few questions…maybe they will help you jump back on the wagon.

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1. Weekly Vacation Days: When do you allow yourself the freedom to entertain all those cravings? Is it whenever you crumble under the pressure (which is getting more and more often)? Or is it a designated day of the week in which you except that you will be bloated and feel crappy?

It should be the second option. Pick a day each week that you feed on your cravings. On that day, eat whatever the heck you want. Personally, I have half a large Dominos pizza and half a box of cinnasticks. I love those foods but man they’re bad for me. So I eat them once a week and pay the price for 24 hours afterward.

The awesome thing is that, if you eat healthy the rest of the week, your body recognizes a problem with the pizza and voids it pretty quick. As in, you’ll be on the toilet a lot the next day. But isn’t that cool? You’re body will learn how to purge a bad thing?

2. Write It Down: When are you binge eating? When are you ditching your workout? Pinpoint your problem areas and write down your plan for them. For instance, I have terrible trouble limiting my evening eating when I’m at home. I just pile snacks into my mouth like the world is ending.

However! When I go through periods when this is especially bad, I write it all down. Before I start eating, I write down (on a list in my phone) all the food and amounts I’m allowed that night. I give myself some leeway and add in small desserts like 2 gluten-free cookies and some dried apricots, or several squares of dark chocolate. I’m just limited enough that I can pace myself throughout the night and still feel satisfied when I go to bed.

So plan through your worst habits and pull yourself out of them.

3. When on Holiday, Be on Holiday: When you’re away from home and eating out for most meals, do you feel guilty? Do you look at the meal in the beginning and giggle with joy, then look at the empty plate you devoured and feel like a beached whale? Stop it! Take your holiday as an extended Vacation Day (see #1) and enjoy your food! If you do this though, you just have to accept the reality that there might be a few extra pounds on your belly. You’ll have to be VERY good when you’re back home.

A good way to make less of an impact on your waistline is to bring with you a standard meal. I bring along a sandwich bag of my Grainless Granola and grab some milk at a convenience store wherever I’m going. Try to make sure you eat healthy for at least one meal a day.

Also, when you are eating out, eat the veggies instead of the fries. Try to incorporate veggies into every plate of food. It will fill you up with the good stuff and will provide some much-needed support for your digestion and  immune system.

Confession: I will admit that I’ve fallen off the wagon a bit in the last 2 or 3 weeks. But this happens to healthy people! We can’t have rockin’ bods every day of the year. So I will be living by these rules and trimming back that waistline until I’m happy looking in the mirror again.

I hope you’re all having wonderful Fridays. The weekend is here! And today I will be traveling up to Chicago to meet my best friend for a weekend of shenanigans. 😀

 

Thankful Tuesday: Back to Real Life

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I had an incredible weekend. It was full of family and friends that I haven’t seen in a long time. But also lots of rugby, gambling, no exercise, and eating and drinking whatever my heart desires. Mike and I went to Las Vegas for 3 days to meet my family and watch the Rugby Sevens tournament. I went last year too and plan on continuing the tradition for as long as possible.

When I go on vacation, I go all out (yep, wine for dinner was a reality this weekend). It gets all the bad habits out of my system and lets me return to real life thoroughly exhausted and ready to be 100% healthy again.

So obviously I don’t have a new recipe for today since every meal I ate for the last 4 days was from a restaurant but I would like to bring back Thankful Tuesdays.

So on this lovely day in February, I am thankful for:

  1. A job that earns me enough money to travel to places like Vegas for the weekend but also gives me the flexible schedule to do it.

Vegas22. The family that makes a priority out of traveling to meet each other and party.

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3. The boyfriend that comes with me and makes it all even more fun.

Instead of having holiday blues, maybe I’ll try to remember how amazing it is that I have these experiences in the first place. You think?

What are you thankful for today?

Friday Design: Christmas Cards and Snow!

I haven’t mentioned Christmas much in this here blog. That’s because everyone celebrates different holidays in different ways and I want to continue to deliver information for health no matter what the season. However, today I am just TOO excited! In fact, it’s 6 am. I’ve been awake for an hour. After 5 hours of sleep, I woke up and can’t force myself back to bed. Thank goodness for blogs! A few reasons I can’t sleep:

  1. The world didn’t end, so that’s cool.
  2. Mike and I leave for San Diego today.
  3. I get to see my family for the first time in 6 months!
  4. This will be Mike’s first time meeting my very rambunctious siblings and my wonderful Gran and Grandpa. Should be interesting.
  5. I haven’t packed yet and still have a full work day ahead of me.
  6. We had a blizzard in Peoria yesterday and the city is so beautifully coated with snow (see below). I am SO thankful, though, for the dedicated people that wake 5 hours before me to plow and shovel it all out of our way.

FirstSnow^ check out our back porch.

Ok so! This year I decided that I wanted to do some Christmas cards. Somehow I have managed to live my life in a such a way that a lot of my very closest friends and family are scattered all over the world. China, Britain, and every corner of the US. How do I tell them I love them without spending a fortune? Handmade Christmas cards!

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These babies took me about an hour each. I made 13 of them. [I’m not sure these have reached everyone yet so if I love you and you haven’t gotten one yet, hold tight] Aside from the card, I also wanted to give them a gift. Something that everyone could use, something healthy, and something easy. Mulling spices! I made my own mulling spices, packaged them up, and put a satchel in every card.

I love these cards. I put a lot of heart and effort into making them. But JEEZ they took a long time. Also, they ended up being rather expensive to mail because they count as a “package” rather than a “letter.” Obviously my loved ones are worth it but they may be getting something a little less bulky next year.

Anyway, that’s my story for today. I’m completely exhausted but totally giddy. I get to see my family today!! I hope you all have wonderful weekends planned. Keep on smiling, they’re even more contagious this time of year 🙂

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 🙂

Vacation Exercising

At this very moment I’m staying with cousins of my mom’s in Santa Cruz, CA. Mom, Dad, and I have been up here for several days while my dad trains for the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) Million Dollar Challenge (MDC). I am absolutely not in the right shape to join him and his friends for the 60+ miles, 5,000+ feet of climbing they did for the last three days so I’ve had to find other way to exercise.

If you exercise regularly at home and don’t go on vacation very often, it’s usually a good idea to just relax while on vacation. Take a break! Letting your muscles recover can often do more good than training every day. I’ve heard a lot of different recommendations but I stick to the breaking for one week out of every six or seven. By breaking I mean no exercising but continuing to eat a healthy diet with perhaps fewer calories so that it’s not too hard to get back into a routine the next week.

However, this summer has been completely varied in opportunities for exercise so I’ve been trying to get it whenever I can. The workouts I do, like my ones at home, pretty much stay under the 30 minute mark. I do a workout with Zuzka (see below), go on a 3 mile run, a brisk 3 mile walk (which takes a little longer), or practice some relaxing yoga, which is not just exercise but relaxation.

If you have determined that you want to workout while on vacation, decide on how frequently you will do it before you even fall asleep the first night and then stick to it. I decided that I would workout every other day but left the type and length of workout for the morning of. It’s good to still feel like you’re on vacation from exercise by giving yourself options. For the most part, while were still in San Diego, I went on a run or worked out with Zuzka but if I was having an especially rough morning, the yoga was enough. Now that we’re in Santa Cruz, however, I’ve been doing long walks on the beach. It doesn’t feel like exercise at all!

^ who wouldn’t want to take a long walk here?

And if your spending your day in transit, always take the stairs! You’d be amazed how much you can actually burn by skipping the escalator or elevator. < this is a personal rule of mine for everyday living.

Here is a list of the workout sites I frequent:

1. Zwows with Zuzka Light – some amazing, quick, body weight workouts that mean you NEVER have an excuse not to workout: http://www.youtube.com/user/ZuzkaLight/videos

2. My Yoga Online – cheaper and more comprehensive than any other yoga option I’ve seen. If you aren’t comfortable posing without an instructor, it’s a good idea to take a few classes first: http://www.myyogaonline.com/

3. Map My Run – a great way to track your running and walking from anywhere in the world: http://www.mapmyrun.com/

4. Map My Ride – same interface as #3 but for bikes! http://www.mapmyride.com/

And don’t forget to keep a smile on your face! They’re contagious.