Friday, April 25, 2014

Thursday afternoon sibs bits

We are the meanest, dirtiest, lowest blowest of fighters, but true life:

I love my siblings.

All circuses.

I thought when I left the circus, I was done with circuses.

Obviously, this is turning out to not be the case as I find myself planning two bigger, more spectacle-y circuses a year now. 

Except now I feel like I am the only one juggling, the only one balancing, the only one constantly upside-down (metaphorically). 

I love my job. I love the work I do. I love being a part of the change I wish to see in the world. 

It's just very much the same as all the other jobs. 

Anyway, we are in the home stretch, and this little guy is cheering me on from the sidelines.

Thanks Tiny Cactus!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Truism- about 7

Lake Shore Drive is the perfect drive for a late night cab ride.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Hockey Stress

I don't often believe in myself, but I rarely say I can't do something. I can almost always find a way to makeitwork. It comes from a lifetime of being the oldest sibling and years and years of working in hectic situations with not nearly enough support and a crowd people always saying, "It must be done."

So I do.

But I have uncovered something I cannot do.

In these weeks of stress that I am just completely drowning in - I cannot watch playoff hockey.

Playoff hockey gives me an anxiety like nothing else. I get physically ill - I can feel the stress balls clogging up my heart until I'm pretty sure they just cut off all oxygenated blood cells and I fall down.

Do the Blackhawks know that it does not have to go to overtime. That we could just end this madness in three periods and everyone can get to bed at a normal hour? Do they know they can just score all the points right away so we can all go home?

I need the Blackhawks to make it through the rest of this week of playoffs before I can reclaim my spot on the playoff bandwagon. Just a few more days guys. You can do it.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Monday Meals. Gimme all your breads.

We made it through Lent. I feel like ALL I have talked about for the past 40 days is what I have been eating. It has been tedious and I am very excited to not have it be examined quite so closely going forward.

I celebrated Easter with a bundle of good people and some amazing bites from the bread family including:

-ginger ale waffles with walnuts and dried cranberries
-lemon curd bread (this did not go so well, but even with the wrong yeast it was so crazy delicious)
-grapefruit poppy seed bread (get in this. yum.)

I am so happy to be eating bread again, but my stomach is a hot mess. HOT MESS. Ergh.

I feel like at the end of the day, bread (and all its friends) are important and wonderful, but my body has had an amazing reaction to not eating them by shedding about 20 pounds in 40 days. So while I refuse to stop eating them for forever, it is intoxicating to know this about the power of food.

And while Boyfriend will tell you, vehemently, that this is not a lifestyle he has any interest in continuing for forever, it is worth a shot to give up the unnecessary carbs - the ones that aren't delicious super special cupcakes or homemade bread or pasta with Nonna sauce. Its worth it to feel so good about my body, I think.  We'll see.

But for now - no more talking about food. He has risen (indeed), lets talk about other things.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Passing the Bar

This weekend I went to this amazing politics and television festival that was basically six or so hours spent ogling my favorite on-screen people and listening to them talk about how amazing they and their work are - not lying it was a 2014 highlight for sure.

On my way to the festival I panicked about having enough food to eat- 12 pm-6 pm is a tricky time, especially on a Saturday when I don't even think about breakfast until well past 9:45 am.

I ducked into one of Hyde Park's fancy coffee shop market places and hemmed and hawed about what would be the best choice for a carb-ish/gluten-ish free snack.

I stumbled upon a whole shelf of bars and scooped up all three of these in the name of science and the small hope that some sort of natural disaster would hit and Bradley Whitford would need to share my Kind bar.

What ended up happening was one crazy Saturday and the a crazy Monday and Tuesday. This experiment could not have come at a better time as I haven't managed to be doing anything except working or sleeping for more than 30 minutes the past few days.

I was delighted to find that all three of these bars taste pretty fantastic. I purposefully got peanut butter and coconut flavored ones as those are always dominate flavors that do a good job of masking all the healthy business.

The Jimmy Bar was the only one I had never heard of, and talk about an unsung hero - I snarfed this at 11:00 am on Monday with a clementine and a cup of coffee and it kept me full until well past 6:00 pm. I only ate my hummus and veggies because I started to feel bad for them.

The Kind bar was the most delicious, probably due to its generous lack of dates, but it also kept me full the longest. It needed to be crumbled up and put in yogurt (apparently you can buy Kind granola which I will be doing) to be an actual full snack.

Larabar wins for having the most appetizing flavor variety. I was torn in the hipster bodega for which sounded the best. I regret not going chocolate. I think that even with the overwhelming after-taste of dates, it would have been worth it.

Normally, I would never spend $2 on anything that isn't slathered in icing and delayed regretful sugar high, but in a pinch it is nice to know that all three of these options could keep me going for most of a day without tasting too healthy to be satisfying.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

TBIF - staying grounded and flying away

I am a horrendous self-promoter. My blog link can be found in various places on the internet, but with the exception of some weak tweets (also called tweaks? weets? we're working on it) it kind of just exists.

But then occasionally people call me out on it and so I talk about it in the most self-depricating way possible while trying desperately to change the subject. Sometimes I ask if the other person has a blog, and then they say no and I feel doubly stupid.

Sometimes though, they say Yes! And I get to experience things like Roots and [then] Wings, the lovely and thoughtful blog by my sweet and lovely coworker. I knew she was an amazing writer because duh, but her personal writing is just so honest and refreshing. She is a real writer while I often feel that I am not actually a writer, I just play one on the internet. 

This Thursday, enjoy someone who inspires me to try to tap into that place of writing that is in my deep inside soul bits and who makes me want to do yoga again.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Truism five-or-six

If you're going to work too hard, and demand too much of yourself, and push yourself to your limit - the least you can do is schedule yourself one night to get boozy on fancy cocktails and pork belly with two of your favorite people.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Monday Meals, victory-ish lap

I had big dreams and high hopes about this final Monday Meal post. I have been rocking this past week like carb-less whoa and have been doing research and development like a real live blogger.

But my day started at 8, and ended at 9:30 and I am just so gd don knowing full well that I'm not done until the powers that be say I am done. 

So without any energy (I will find some tomorrow, I hope) I present you with this week's Monday Meal.

That's right. Champagne. Not just any champagne. Two-day-old champagne. In my favorite monogrammed mason jar. 

I will stab you in the throat if you even think about the fact that champagne might have, like, A carb in it. Shut your life and let me have this.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Friday five: great things about this week.

This week has been terrible. Icky bad nasty sad terrible. I wanted to spend most of it crying, but it was not the kind of week that could be spent hiding, it was the kind where I had to keepittogether, keep my head down and just get through it.

That being said. Here are five things that were wonderful and amazing this week:

1- My coworker friends introduced me to Protein Bar, if I had the audacity to call myself a lifestyle blogger, I would eat here at least twice a week and just cover my instagram in pictures of it happening. Oh my buffalo quinoa bowl. It is so good.

2- It was flip flop day! Thursday was my favorite day of the year. The day I finally wear flip flops. Oh Chicago warm weather, I missed you so much. Don't ever, ever, ever leave.

3- I got to celebrate the last friday-before-good-friday by eating fish fry al fresco with some of the nicest people in Chicago, with special guest appearance by my favorite Chi-town baby who charmed us all with her blowing raspberries and bouncing and giggling and snuggling until my heart almost burst. That little bundle of love is the cure for nearly all my sadness.

4- Boyfriend liked it so he put a down payment on it. He officially owns our apartment. Its his celebration, but I am excited for him. He is part of the landed gentry! So classy and fancy. Let's hope nothing ever breaks.

5- Tomorrow I am going to forego spending my entire day in the beautiful 75 degree weather for an amazing IOP Political TV Festival at the University of Chicago. Six hours with some of my besties including Josh Lyman, Toby Ziegler and Cyrus Beene. Its tots sold out, so just hang out in the sun and be jealous of this crazy line-up.

That was not that hard, although it was heavy on the end of the week. I am thankful I got through the first three days because the rest of the week was pretty nice. And after a great Saturday, Sunday is going to be pretty amazing too.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Tommy Crommy and feeling dumb - a book review

I finally (finally) slugged my way all the way through Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall.

Ugh, that was an ugly journey through some years of Thomas Cromwell's life. I alittlebit feel like they happened in real time. 

My book report on this would go:
First Thomas Cromwell was poor and a little kid. Then he was friends foreign people. Then he was friends with the Cardinal. Then the cardinal died and he was friends with King Henry. He had a lot of friends but also a lot people hated him. Most people in this book died. The end.

The writing was relaxed and super oldey-timey delightful to read in my head that whole pages would go by before I realized I had no what was actually going on. At any rate, apparently our boy, TC had quite the life, from what I gleaned from the 55% of the book that I comprehended.

I know this is the beginning of a trilogy, but for me - it might also be the end. I shy away from culture that makes me feel like a stupid dummy. Even though, like my maternal line before me, I have a strange obsession with Henry8. I want to get through some books that don't make me feel mildly illiterate before I consider hopping back on this bandwagon. 

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Say cheese.

My office has been full of free cheese this week.

Its like universe knew this was going to be a really crappy week and decided that it would do what it could to make it better by providing a bounty of cheese platters (with bonus dried fruit and walnuts) that I shamelessly scooped into my salad and then took some extra for later.

I think if I were to start a revolution, it might have to be making cheese the office-party food of choice. Keep your donuts and your stale grocery store cookies and just give me all your cheese.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Summer of Strawberry. The beginning.

Last summer was an epic gardening experience but at, like, a third grade level. When it arrived, everything was already actually a plant. Mom did most of the repotting for me.  All I had to do was not kill them for a summer.  Something I just barely managed to do.

This year, Cougar thought it was time to take it up a notch and sent me basically a pile of stringy dirt (which are apparently roots) -

And a fancy jar.

And I was like, "erm."

Luckily, the internet has its uses, which are to tell you how to do things your mom thinks you are capable of (but you are not even close to being able to do).

Here's a solid video, although this woman gets zero dirt on her pretty blue shirt. Zero.  How is that even possible?

I found a new use for the green wellies I can't bear to part with. They're mah gardenen' boots! I cannot manage to go 30 seconds without completely covering myself in organic potting soil.

This whole process of planting teeny tiny strings of nothing was incredibly stressful. And what will make it even worse is I have ages and ages before I know if I did it right or wrong.  Despite my mother's insistence that strawberries are hearty plants and basically weeds - I cannot help but feel an enormous amount of pressure for them to survive.

If you are planting your own strawberry pot, and are wondering what they're supposed to look like when they're all planted - I have no idea.  But Mom said this was "good enough" -

At any rate, it was a gorgeous Spring Sunday, and I am happy I got to spend it in the sunshine. Its the summer of the strawberry!

Monday Meals: On Shame.

This past weekend was rough in the keeping our promises department.

After the victorious weigh in at work last week, and being sick (and therefore pathetic) all weekend I made some slip ups.  In the form of a very small chocolate covered strawberry, two bites of chocolate cake, several bites of blueberry donut, and exactly 5 french fries.

Yikes, dudes.

While all of these things were delicious in their own right, the minute after I ate all of them I was like, "meh, I could have done without that."

Which made it doubly frustrating. Because I had eaten it and immediately was bummed for cheating.

I am just legit missing sweet stuff (the french fries were because my friends were worried I had not eaten enough before drinking on Saturday night and they thought I was going to get sick. So thoughtful, they are).

This is HARD. Its rough. I miss sweet things after lunch and dinner. I miss sweet breakfast. I'm shoveling fruit and gluten-free granola in my gapping maw as a replacement and its super lame.

So we know that this won't be for forever. Which is great. There is no reason it needs to be. But today I come at you on the interwebs from a place of honesty. I do not know how people for-real for-real give up these things and make it seem so easy. It has not been easy. It's been the worst.

Also, real quick, this could not be more #firstworldproblems if it tried. I get that. I need to find real things to complain about eventually. But! For now...

This is super sucky. And today, we're just going to be aware of how hard it is to give up something you love. And then hit the ground running for the next two weeks.

Let's go.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Be Happy 2014. Ears Open. Eyes Up.

So last month was about making my body look good.  This month is about making my mind look good and fixing my jacked-up social skills.

I read this (fairly old) New York Times Op-Ed and it rings so true.

I have diagnosed myself with a terrible case of FOMO (Fear of Missing out, FYI) and Facebook only exacerbates it. Add that to my ADD and my general low self-esteem, I find myself constantly checking facebook to find out what else is happening. Just in case there is something else happening, and because I am not part of this one part of the conversation happening in front of me and because is there something I am going to be sad I am not involved in.

Enough, Grandipants. Get your shit together and enjoy the lovely people who are willing to hang out with you face-to-face. April is all about putting the phone away and enjoying the precious few moments I get to spend with real human people.

So. I deleted facebook from my phone, because it is like a bad crack habit. The goal is to keep the phone away.  We are starting here with this. I cannot wait to enjoy my friends and all the wonderful things they say in actual talking.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Be Happy 2014. Be fit and that girl

So I spent all of March working out like a little work horse who is entered into a contest to lose weight.

I have talked about how much I enjoyed Air Aerial Fitness, and Tuesday night really sealed the deal for me.  After taking about 20 classes in 30 days, I found myself one of the people following the "advanced modification" directions.  I caught new girls giving me the side-eye.

No one in the history of ever has given me a side-eye in an athletic capacity. I am always the girl looking at other girls with a mix of jealousy and grouchiness. But I caught that look pointed in my direction and I was full of glee. Hurrah for the smallest and shallowest of victories.

Then today was my weigh-in for the fitness competition at work.  And I am mad at myself for slipping and chowing down on spinach dip last weekend, but even with that - I lost 13 pounds and 7% of my body fat plus a solid 6 inches off my waist in two months.

As the trainer who took all my measurements said, "Ya crushed it."

I know that this is will take an insane amount of maintenance. There are still three weeks without carbs and I am trying to figure out a workout plan that is fun and engaging and will allow me to maintain this body that I am almost-satisfied with - but for tonight I celebrate with maybe doing some planks during the commercials. Orrr, just eat dinner (butternut squash soup and cauliflower salad) and rub my belly in satisfaction.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Him and Her.

It embarasses me to admit that I do not see enough live theater.  I live in a city chock-full of theater opportunities and yet, when I am not a person on stage, I am rarely get myself together to sit in the audience.

Which is mega frustrating because when I do go to the theater, it is always So. So. (So!) worth it.

One of my new, lovely Improvised Jane Austen companions, Kate, told us all about 2 for $20 tickets for the traveling party called Tristan and Yseult going down at Chicago Shakes.

(Brief digression, this deal might still be good if you get tickets for tomorrow - Thursday.  Get thee to the Chicago Shakes website and buy tickets for Thursday, April 3 and use the promo code "CST20" during checkout.  I cant make any promises, but it is worth it if you do not have Thursday night plans.)

Guys. This show was the tits. It was so good.  Which I feel dumb saying because everything I see there is good.  Just like how nearly everything I see everywhere in the city is good. Why don't I do it more?! (PS. It's not this month, but some month of Be Happy will be dedicated to theater, this is just a teaser).

Seriously, even if you cannot get $10 tickets to this show, get some rich sugar momma to buy you the $60 version. It is worth it even that price.

Apparently Kneehigh Theater's jam is they take things that already exist and make them super awesome. And then sometimes they hop the pond and all of us dumb Americans get to oogle them.

Here are some things this show reminded me of.

1- I like British Accents.
2- I love trampoline bits.
3- Balloons are more fun when you don't knot them.

All of the actors in this show played at least two parts, played a musical instrument, sing, dance, use multiple accents, light fires, stage fight, and could probably solve crimes or perform open heart surgery if it was in the script.  British theater-trained actors are amazing.

Seriously, go see this or go see something else. But you should probably go see this.  You're welcome, Chicago.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

musings on motherhood

Last night I watched my friend be a mom.

I love having the opportunity to watch amazing women enjoy this new role in the simple matters of tutus and giggles and very first butt scoots. 

But last night it was sickness and messy and fear and doubt and the less fun, but so much more real, side of parenthood. 

And she owned it. Not to say that she didn't question panicked first thoughts, or ask her partner his opinions, or rely on others to help her but she took ownership of a very scary situation and didn't let the anxiety keep her from getting things done. 

I am amazed at this level-headedness. When I think about parenting and especially with the first go-round of just not knowing anything, it is completely terrifying.

It was fascinating to see it up close and in the moment. I never doubted this particular friend's capacity for getting things done but to see it, actually see it, was eye opening in a very good way.

I am very grateful for these friends who outpace me in life's obstacle course.  The ones who show me what it actually is, instead of just what it looks like. And now I get to take a moment to wonder if I have the trust in my own abilities and the same pragmatism during crisis.

Being a grown-up is weird, y'all.

She's pint-sized and amazing.