Happy and Healthy 4th of July

Happy 4th of July everyone! Hope you’re outside enjoying a BBQ instead of inside reading this post 🙂 I’ve had a packed weekend so far. It started on Friday with another trip to Arlington Park for the horse races. This time we were in box seats in the grand stand courtesy of Scott’s uncles. The box seats were so comfortable and super relaxing – a much different feel than being on the main level.

Then, after a ton cleaning, my sister arrived with her family on Saturday. So far we’ve spent hours in the pool, made a trip to the mall, and enjoyed some awesome food! Last night, it was Italian chicken, grilled veggies, and parmesan orzo. This morning, I made Ina Garten’s yogurt lemon cake -soooo good! I paired the bread with some super fresh watermelon and blackberries – perfect.

Tonight, it’s bbq pork, roasted corn, and grilled potatoes = oh my! Also hoping to see Letters to Juliet tonight – we’ll see 🙂

Vacation is Here!!

(Photo Source)

Happy July 1 Everyone!

As of 5 PM today, I am officially on vacation for 10 days! Woo hoo! I can just feel the stress starting to melt away. I take vacation around this time every year because after the week of July 4, my world becomes even crazier due to work projects. Seriously, I am not a very friendly person from about July 15-November 1 – stay away! I do promise to be happy at the Healthy Living Summit!

The first part of my vacation I will be entertaining out-of-town guests (Yay, my sis is coming to visit!). We have plans to make at purse at 1154 Lill or at least take in the Chicago sites. But beyond that, I don’t have any hard-core commitments for my “staycation”. I have to admit, I’m a little apprehensive of staycations. For me, they end up being days to run errands, clean, make appointments, etc. Not very fun or vacation-like.

But this year, I’m going to try to make my July vacation different. Due to my out-of-town guests, all of my in-house cleaning and yard work will be done before my guests even arrive – fingers crossed 🙂 . So with all of my “house work” complete (although I’m sure I’ll find something to clean!), I’m left with just fun things to do, including:

  1. Spending time in our pool – Give me a frozen drink and plenty of sun and I will be just fine!
  2. Browsing at some of Chicagoland’s boutique shops – at my own leisurely pace of course
  3. Trying a new restaurant sans kids
  4. Attending my first Hot Yoga class – finally!!
  5. Going to Great America with the kids
  6. Eating tart frozen yogurt – just because it’s awesome!
  7. Going to the movies – I want to see Letters to Juliet before it leaves the theatre!

Many of these things may seem like everyday things to some of you, but for a person who has 2 young children, a husband, two blogs, and full-time job, actually doing any of these things will be a major accomplishment!

First Post From My New iPhone4

Hey all! I’m writing this post from my new, way cool iPhone 4! Because I haven’t used the old iPhone very much, it’s hard to compare. There are so many things I like about the new iPhone – way too much to type right now. Guess I’ll save that for later!

I will say that the camera feature is very cool! The pic above of Ms M was taken over the weekend with the new phone. However, when I tried posting the photo in the WordPress application, the photo automatically goes to the bottom of the post and there is no way to change this default (that I know of). I had to save my draft then go back in through my Mac and make the photo appear at the top. If anyone knows how to fix this WordPress app bug, please let me know!

So now I’m winding down from our long weekend in Michigan and anticipating a very rough week at work. It’s always a little more hectic than usual when befoe I head off for vacation. Why is it that before we leave for vacation, we try to cram everything in – extra work at the office, house work,  yard work, etc and then wind up just wanting to sleep through our whole vacation!

Have a great night everyone!

You're Never Too Old For Toys

(Photo Source)

I will officially say that I will never be too old for Buzz and Woody. Scott and I took Miss M and Mr. C to see Toy Story 3 tonight – unbelievable! How does Pixar manage to make a third sequel even better than the first two? I laughed, I cried, and I cheered for all of the toys. It made me realize just how special my son’s toys are to him. He really thinks they have feelings and care about being played with. It also makes me wonder about all of the toys I had as a child that just magically disappeared as I grew older.

I won’t give away all of the details, but my favorite part was toward the end when all of the toys were holding hands, ready to face anything together. It was very heartwarming-a picture of true friendship, even if they are just toys. Also – the Toy Story movies always have great music with Randy Newman at the helm, and this movie was no exception. They even managed to score a Spanish rendition of You’ve Got a Friend in Me, by the Gipsy Kings – one of my favorite groups!

I really don’t know how Pixar could top this movie and I somewhat hope they don’t even try. If you are even remotely a Disney or Pixar fan, I give this movie a thumbs up and recommended that you go see it ASAP. Remember to stay through 1/2 the credits – you’ll be treated to a very funny scene – Viva La Toy Story!

It's Post Time! A Day at the Races

For the last 3-4 years, Scott and I head to the horse track with his family the day before father’s day. I used to think horse tracks were seedy places, where only bookies, gambling addicts, and the mafia hung out. And, I’m sure it was that way back in the day. But in Chicago, Arlington Park is a beautiful horse track filled with people of all kinds. Really, you can find fancy ladies (and not just in the box seats) with even fancier hats, families with kids in tow, and couples just wanting an afternoon of sun and fun.

So, after my regular Saturday yoga class – which just kicked my rear end – we headed off to the races. It was a nearly perfect day for horse racing. Although a tad windy – nearly lost my brand new hat several times – it was about 80-85 degrees and sunny. Because we go the day before father’s day, it’s never too crowded, which makes it much easier to find a seat, place a bet, and get a little food. Personally, I don’t go there for the betting – I’ve never made a bet yet. But I love seeing how happy the kids are when they see the horses. As you can see from the photo above, Miss. M was having a great time with her daddy!

I was having an incredibly good time taking all sorts of photos in my snazzy new Ascot-esque hat! And yes, that is a new Lucy tank. Lucy has such awesome running and yoga wear, and many of their pieces can be worn as everyday wear which I totally love!

Now, I have to get to bed. After a day of running, cleaning, and gardening, I’m beat!

Me and the Chicago Bean

I just booked my room at the Congress Plaza Hotel for the Healthy Living Summit! I’m so psyched about going to HLS. I wasn’t able to go to the event last year for the simple fact that I could not afford the trip to Boston. Luckily, I was able to attend Fitbloggin, which was totally fun – the sessions and meeting all of the fabulous blogger girls. When I heard that HLS was going to be in my city, I just couldn’t miss it.

That’s right, I live in the Chicago area and have for the last 10 years. I love Chi-town and can’t wait for all the girls (or guys) at the HLS to experience this great city. The restaurants are fantastic – which is great for all of the HLS food bloggers who are coming. Anyone for tapas? I know Pickley Pear is in, who else?

Plus, the hotel is literally right across the the Art Institute of Chicago which is amazing! Too bad the Matisse exhibit will be over by then. The Congress is also very close to Millenium Park – home of the Chicago “Bean”, a reflective thing (for lack of a better word) in the shape of a bean (reminds me of a funhouse mirror). See the pic of me and the bean above. Not the best photo of me – but the bean looks great!

I could go on and on about Chicago, but I’ll save that for another time!

Birthday – Take Two

Just when I thought my birthday was over, my husband surprised me with a present! He kept asking me what I wanted but I never gave him a definitive answer. When I arrived home from work today, there was a big gift bag waiting for me on the table with wrapped presents inside. So what did I get?

Present #1 – A Gaiam travel yoga mat! I’ve been wanting one of these so bad!! I’m really trying to get back into the practice of yoga. However, since I’ve been traveling so much for work, I’ve been really inconsistent. Solution – take yoga with me on the road! I’m definitely taking this to Austin next week – yeah! I’ve already downloaded a bunch of Yoga Today sequences from iTunes (free video podcasts), including sequences for travelers, morning/evening, and for runners. Can’t wait!

(Photo courtesy of Flickr)

And now onto present #2 – A Spa Day all to myself! This is a double delight – not only do I get the spa treatment for a few hours but I also get peace and quiet – and what mother doesn’t want that 🙂 I’m hoping I can find a day spa that does it all – facials, massage, nails, and yoga – wouldn’t that be fantastic!

Gotta run, I’m off to research day spas!

Back in the World

Hey all! Well I’m here in sunny Florida again on a business trip. It’s so hard being at Disney World without Scott and the kids – it’s like  a part of me is missing. I tried to overcome my sadness by indulging in a flaky French pastry from Epcot…

Note to self – do not drown sorrows in high-calorie French pastries. The pastry didn’t really improve my mood, but it sure tasted good! After my treat, I walked around the world for over 2 hours! I really needed that too since I did not have time to run this morning. Too bad I forgot my Gruve 🙁

That’s all I have time for tonight. My meeting starts bright and early tomorrow morning (7:30 AM!) and I’m hoping to get up and run around the world (Disney World of course) before the day starts.

Speaking of running, check out my very first blog post on Bookieboo, where you can learn about the ongoing debate of running vs. walking.

Have a great night!

The Best Monday

Hola All! Hope you all had a great Monday! I sure did. Instead of being stressed out about life, today I was actually off enjoying it. My day was spent like this…

  1. A great 30-minute run to Hawaii and back
  2. A ride on a carousel horse
  3. Lunch with friends courtesy of the Duke of Sandwich
  4. Pontoon ride on a lake
  5. Soaking up the sun at the local watering hole
  6. And ending with dinner with the big cheese himself

Oh, forgot to mention, I’ve also been enjoying a few of these….

I think this may be the best Monday I’ve had in a long time. Ahh…there’s nothing like taking it slow for a few days and really enjoying life. If you haven’t done it in a while – you should really give it a try!

So, how was your Monday?


Hey All!

I had such an awesome day downtown with Anne! We met about 9:45 AM at the train station downtown and cabbed it to 1154 Lill in Lincoln Park. If you’re not familiar with 1154 Lill, it is a boutique store where you can design your own purse, handbag, or a bunch of other accessories.

As you can see from the wall of purses, they have ready-made bags to buy on the spot, but you can also design your own – which I think is so much more fun. Anne and I arrived at the store just a few minutes after it opened (how’s that for being punctual!) and then we were heads down for the next hour designing our purses. I originally went into the store wanting to design a laptop bag, but I had a difficult time figuring out what bag would actually fit my laptop. I decided on a bag called ERIKA…

1154 Lill Custom Handbags - The ERIKA Bag

I am still not quite sure that this will fit my 15″ laptop, but it was my favorite out of the choices. Now that I knew the bag I wanted, it was time to start designing! This meant throwing ourselves into the large and very colorful selection of fabrics on hand…

For the ERIKA bag, you have five areas on the bag to choose fabric – the main bag, the horizontal stripe, the straps, the inside bag, and the inside pocket. Oh, decisions, decisions! Because I want this bag to be a more professional work bag, I decided against doing pink or anything too frilly for the main fabric. I also wanted a darker color because I’d be using it quite a bit for travel.

I decided on a deep shiraz color for the base. Now, it was time to decide on the horizontal stripe. This I had a little more trouble with. I am very much going through a leopard print phase right now, but was not sure if I wanted to show it on the outside of the bag. I opted for a velvet/satin blend of pink, tan, and brown Queen Anne’s Lace fabric. The straps and inside pocket were easy – I knew I wanted a dark color to hide the wear, so I went with a dark brown. And finally, I went with the leopard print for the inside of the purse. This is really going to be a one-of-a-kind bag! Who knew that picking out a purse could be so fun and so overwhelming all at the same time!

After making my laptop bag, I was extremely tempted to make another purse. But then frugality got the better of me – I was not so sure spending another $150 was wise right before vacation. So, only one bag for me today.

After our purse-making adventure, Anne and I walked about 15 minutes to her favorite little crepe place – Icosium Kafe in Lincoln Park. The cafe specializes in Algerian-style crepes, so there were a ton of influences from Greece, Moracco, Turkey, and Africa. It’s amazing what you can put in a crepe these days!

I had the Carthage crepe that was filled with mixed greens, peppers, mushrooms, walnuts, and feta cheese – soo good! I am a little embarrassed to say that I ate almost ALL of this huge crepe – but I justified it because I had a very light breakfast 🙂

After lunch, it was back on the train for both of us. But, we are already talking about heading back to 1154 Lill in the spring or summer to make another purse! By the way, if you’re wondering what my final laptop bag looks like, check back after March 6 to find out! 

Now it’s time to study – have a great night!