11/07/2014

Baked Eggs with Asparagus & Leeks

I wanted to put this on my blog - mostly so I would remember how good it was. But also so if you're looking for a quick, easy breakfast....you can make it.

It is exactly as it sounds. Eggs, asparagus, leeks. This recipe calls for bacon but I left it out because I didn't have any.  I did add some cheese because I had some and wanted to use it up before it went bad. I was tempted to eat this entire thing in one sitting.

Baked Eggs with Asparagus & Leeks

10/25/2014

Stitch Fix #5

It's that time again!! I got my Stitch Fix yesterday.  Check it out:


Bay to Baubles Doreen Triangle & Tassel earrings ($28) 

I liked the tassel part of the earrings but hated the fake cheap looking gold/diamond part. 

Verdict: return

Pixley Layna textured Fit & Flare Dress ($78)

I loved the colors and pattern of this dress. it was a good thick material which would make it perfect for winter.  It flared out a touch more than I would have preferred but still thought it was a flattering cut. However...when I tried to winterize the dress....eh. i didn't love it. i would have to go out and buy navy tights (or black?) plus shoes.  $78 is already on the high end for a dress...add in the shoes and no thanks. 


Verdict: return....but sadly. 

Elissa French terry Moto jacket ($74)

This was something I had requested on my pinterest so i was pretty excited to find it in the box. however, once i got it on, it hit in a really weird spot. it looked a little better unzipped but i didn't see myself wearing it all that often. plus the material wasn't as soft as i had envisioned. it reminded me of the fake astroturf. 


Verdict: return

dean ankle skinny zip jeans ($78)

These fit like a glove. i liked the length, the waist didn't leave my butt crack hanging out...all things that one looks for in jeans. while i don't technically need another pair of jeans, these are darker than any that i own so that makes them different, right? 

verdict: keep

Lucca Colorblock crew neck sweater ($58)

I wasn't crazy about this when i first pulled it out but once on, i thought the lines hit in good places. Plus i had got rid of a lot of my sweaters last time i cleaned out my closet.  i think i'll get a lot of wear out of the sweater...plus it looks pretty good with the jeans!

verdict: keep



What do you think? Did i make good choices?  i might take a little break between now and my next box...but we'll see! 

10/23/2014

Differences

I knew my roommates and I are different. This is one instance:

Me: (enter house)
E: (putting away dishes)
Me: Oh man, I don't know what's happening today. Do I look different? Something must be different.
E: (looks me over) Nope, you look the same.
Me: I was walking down Randolph and a bus pulled over and called me to the window. He asked if he could be my friend and he wanted to take me to the movies.
E: A CTA bus? Were there people on it?
Me: No, it was empty but the bus was in service. It was so weird! (Obviously flattered...I mean, hello? I stopped a bus, I'm so awesome!)
E: You should report him. (Entirely serious.)

Then...
Me: Oh I'm having a couple girls over tomorrow night. I have a Stitch Fix coming tomorrow and need some opinions. You are welcome to hang out with us.
E: Oh, thanks but I have dinner plans.
Me: Ooooh! A date? (The other roommate and I have reason to believe she may have a secret boyfriend...)
E: No, just friends. So, better than a date because I know I'll have a good time.
Me: True. Except you have to pay with friends....oh wait, you offer to split the check anyways, guess it works out the same either way.
E: Yeah, I always pay. Unless the guy is really old-fashioned and insists, but I'm uncomfortable with it.
Me: Yeah, not me.
E: I mean, I've had conversations with my guy friends and they don't like it if the girl doesn't offer.
Me: Funny, I've had the same conversation with my friends - up here, all the guys expect the girl to offer. Even my southern guy friends. But in the south, I feel like it's completely normal for a girl not to offer...
E: That's why I don't live in the South. No offense.
Me: None taken (thinking she would probably not be very well received in the South. Very curt mannerisms.)
E: (starts baby talking cats about going to bed....)

You get to pick out all the differences between us in that short scenario! There are at least 3. Dishes are not one of them, har har har.

9/22/2014

Well At Least There's That....

My day started out so well. I was on a high from an awesome wedding date. Football with friends. All in all a good weekend. An unproductive one. But good. Fun. Happy. I was having a good day at work, easy day, friendly patients.  I was prepared to eat well this week...minus the having no food thing. So I used Instacart (a grocery delivery service). They were unable to deliver my food Sunday night so I opted for a Monday delivery. My roommate assured me she would be home and accept the delivery. Everything was paid for, food, tip, delivery...done! Well, the delivery fee was waived since it was my first order with them. But food & tip? Done! Just needed someone here from 4-5pm....and she left. She said she got busy and forgot. So she left. Which meant no one was here. No neighbors. No roommate. No nothing. And I can't control the buzzer from my phone. Then I tried to go pick up the delivery...and got stuck in traffic that moved 1 mile in 25 minutes. I had an appointment an hour later with a hefty cancellation fee so I headed in that direction instead. Then I headed home and tried to contact the delivery person. I was willing to go meet them wherever. But I made it all the way home before she told me she was on the opposite side of town and apologized for the confusion and was going to return the order....which meant no groceries. I told her I understood and apologized for the inconvenience of coming to my house when no one was here. And all that jazz. I was beyond frustrated because I had everything for the entire week planned around my food being here when I got home from work. Then again with being able to come home from my appointment and start cooking. True, dinner would be at 9:00. But at least I'd have food prepared. Then...no food. You can understand my frustration right? At this point it would have been faster for me to just go to the grocery store myself after my appointment...which I would have done if I'd known I needed to do so.
Flash forward to 2 arguments because apparently all I do is complain and am not understanding of anyone else's feelings...and I really didn't like anyone. Didn't want to talk to anyone. Didn't want anything to do with anyone.
So here I was, in bed, ready to go to bed without dinner or breakfast or lunch (I don't know what that solves but it sure made me feel better at the moment) - and the doorbell buzzes. My Instacart lady was nice enough to drive all the way back over here and finally deliver my groceries. I appreciate that she went above & beyond. Granted, I probably won't use the service again because it really would have been faster for me to just do it myself....but I appreciate her willingness to be a good, kind human being. Apparently I need to take a hint from her....

9/11/2014

Stitch fix #4

I got Stitch Fix #4 in the mail a few days ago!! I think I have my mind made up. I think I loved the whole box. Or at least loved most of the box and it only makes sense to keep the other 2 items since they are so inexpensive.  If you aren't sure what Stitch Fix is, it is a clothing delivery service.  You pay a $20 styling fee and fill out a profile....and a personal stylist picks out 5 items and sends them to you! I like it because they send me things I might not pick up on my own....and I find myself picking up things that are similar to things they send me at the store. So I feel like I'm branching out a little bit. If you decide to keep anything, the $20 styling fee is put towards those items. If you decide to keep all 5 (like I think I am doing this month!!) you get a 20% discount. On to the clothes!!

Papermoon Cecil 3/4 Sleeve Aline Dress ($68)

I super liked this dress but was a little worried about it being a size small. I don't think it fits quite a-line on me but I do really like it and it pairs perfectly with leggings & boots - a look I've been trying to figure out for a few years now and it has always evaded me.... definitely a keep. 


41 Hawthorn Moni Stud Detailed 3/4 Sleeve Blouse ($58)

I had pinned this to my pinterest board so I was happy to see it in my box.  I think it's a cute, simple top with a nice detail to keep it from being boring. I wore it out last night and felt really confident in it.  Definitely a keep. 

Sweet Rain Fey Textured Knit Crew Neck Sweatshirt ($44)

I wasn't so sure about this as the "fancy sweatshirt" trend confuses me....except it was so comfortable on! It looks nice too, I think. Probably a keep...(I already hung it up so there's that....)

Loveappella Kaci Geo Print Swing Skirt ($58)

This was the one item I was not so sure about.  In all honesty, I'm still not quite sure about it. It's essentially free if I keep everything else though....so I think I'm keeping it. Do you hate it? Do you love it? It got good feedback from my friends...but not my mom. I'm not sure I love it with either shirt pictured...but maybe with some playing I can get the right look.   (Probably keeping but not sure I'm loving...)

Bay to Baubles Violet Arrow Cut Out Bangle ($28)

I think the price on this is a little bit high....but I do think it's really cute. Simple. I love the closure (which is not pictured here...) Will probably keep it...but what do you think? I hate spending a lot on jewelry....but it really can complete an outfit! 

So this was fix #4 and probably my favorite one so far.  It also came at the perfect time - just as the fall weather was kicking in here in Chicago. While I hated for it to be cold, I am excited to have fun new fall clothes to wear. 

If you decide to do Stitch Fix, I'd appreciate you going thru this link.  I get a $25 referral fee so I can keep on building a cute, big city wardrobe! 

8/28/2014

30 Days of WHA?!?!

Well it's almost here. The end of my 30 day challenge to myself. To fill you in, I was completing what is known as the Whole 30. Basically I spent the last 30 (well, 28 so far) days avoiding grains, legumes, dairy, sugar and alcohol. What in the world did I eat? A lot of nutritious, delicious, non-modified, non-preserved food. Think meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables galore, fruit. It's pretty similar to the diet I followed in previous nutrition challenges.  The thing I liked most about these 30 days and what made it easiest to maintain was that I wasn't focused on dropping body fat. I just wanted to see how 30 days of clean eating would make me feel. Which means I was able to eat fruit (in moderation....meaning I had 1-2 servings a day most days out of the week) and starches like sweet potato!!

I should have blogged throughout the month but here's what I remember:

Days 1-7: Easy! I made a delicious mocha crusted steak the first weekend. I prepped food for the week. I felt good. I woke up fairly easily. I was starting to sleep more soundly. My workouts were terrible but that is typical.

Days 8-15: WHERE IS MY CHEAT MEAL!?!? I turned into a monster. I might have kicked a puppy or two. Any time I've done a nutrition challenge in the past I've always allowed myself at least a cheat meal per week and my body was looking forward to it. It got quite upset when I didn't reward it for a week of hard work. My tummy was revolting. I was constantly tired. And I just wanted to eat a cupcake. Instead I laid in my bed as much as I could. I stayed away from the gym (which only made any workout I did make it to that much harder). I did not want to eat anything that I was able to eat. I probably skipped a meal or two during this time frame because I just couldn't make myself eat something that wasn't fried. Eventually I ordered a burger (no bun, no cheese) with bacon, an egg and avocado and sweet potato fries from the bar next door. I thought sweet potato fries were ok because it's a sweet potato but it turns out fried form of any vegetable is out. So I guess technically it was a cheat. But I didn't know that until later. So I'm not counting it.

Days 16-23: Still being a monster. But I'm blaming that equally between diet, a gnat infestation, the supermoon and my period. Bad combo. But I was sleeping better and definitely having more energy.  I had a cup of tea (no sugar, no dairy) each morning but I typically felt like I didn't need it. I started getting comments from people that I looked a lot thinner and that I lost a ton of weight. (One of the rules on the Whole30 is that you aren't supposed to weigh yourself during it or take measurements....curious how much I did actually drop. I'm guessing about 5 pounds.) Overall I felt much better...minus the interacting with people.

Days 23-28: I ran a mile...fast. Fast for me. While I was doing it, I wanted to stop. But I reminded myself that the food I was eating fueled me to be able to do it. And I kept going. And it sucked. But I didn't die. My energy is good. I get tired between 9-10pm and I've actually been waking up without an alarm around 6am. Let's not get any crazy ideas...I make myself go back to sleep until my alarm goes off. But I think about getting up. My skin is smooth. My stomach stopped acting a fool. Today, at work, the doctor brought in caramel-sugar donut holes. They looked pretty darn good. But I wasn't even sad I wasn't partaking in them. I felt good with my breakfast of ground pork, mushrooms, dried cranberries, apples and almonds. It sounds like an odd breakfast (or maybe just an odd combo) but it was really really good. Just enough sweetness to make me not crave the donuts but lots of protein and healthy fat.

I have 2 more days and I feel confident I'll get thru them with ease. I've gone out in a few social situations and not drinking was pretty easy. If I were to do it again, I would make smaller portions of food so I didn't have to eat as many leftovers. I made an asian chicken that tasted good...the first 3 meals. I think I got 6 out of the recipe that I cut down.  By the end of it, I was pretty sure the chicken was my nemesis and trying to kill me.

I would recommend that everyone try this. It's 30 days. What's the worst that can happen? You find out that your body doesn't actually like gluten/dairy/legumes/sugar/alcohol? (Eesh! That would make me sad....I think that's not supposed to be the case but it's the truth) You find out that cutting those things out make you feel better? For me it was a huge test in willpower but I'm really happy I stuck with it. I'm a little worried about reintroducing the foods back in...but mostly because I really will be sad if anything makes me feel bad.

I'll try to remember to report back in a couple days with the end results.  And how I felt afterwards.

8/22/2014

Twist Me Pretty

I"ve been on a braiding kick lately. I'm not particularly great at braiding but practice makes perfect right? I can manage a french braid. I can clumsily get thru a (I think) Dutch braid - think inverted french braid. Braiding under is WEIRD! But the waterfall? The fishtail? Anything else??? So confusing looking! But so pretty!
I came across this website and she's great at simplifying things. I used her instructions to waterfall braid tonight - it was actually pretty easy. Tomorrow I'll tackle the fishtail. And I'm thinking I might give this a try tomorrow night:
5

7/06/2014

Well.

Well that didn't last long. I knew it wouldn't. I was trying to be optimistic about this dude. But he's out. Which stinks. But it is what it is. At least I didn't waste an invite to my birthday party on him. And I have another stitch fix on the way. Oh and vacation. I love my family vacation. 5 days to go!

Oh and I got a job. It's exactly the hours I want, a good location, good days. I start the day after I get back from vacation. Hopefully I'll have good things to say about it!

6/23/2014

Cracking Up!

Ok guys, I'm cracking up over here. I'm sitting in my living area, reading a blog. One roommate has headphones on, the other is sitting behind me working...and I'm dying laughing. I'm trying so hard to hold it in but it's not going well. I may have snorted at one point.

This is what I'm reading. Some posts are meh. Some are hilarious. Click on the links. I'm definitely going to read this more often. I feel like I'm 10 years younger from the amount I just laughed. I think this was what had me laughing the most. The Jesus Kitten. Oh man, so cute, so funny. I'll add the link to this blog to my sidebar so you can enjoy it all the time.

6/20/2014

Stitch Fix

I got my second Stitch Fix today! I've been stalking the Stitch Fix website for weeks, reading customer reviews, wondering when they'd start working on mine and mostly just fantasizing about what cute clothes they'd send! Tuesday I noticed that my box had FINALLY shipped. It feels like it took forever! I got the box today and greeted the Fed-ex guy with the biggest smile he's probably seen on a grown woman!

I opened the box and....LOVED THE COLORS!


I think I had a different stylist this time, which was slightly disappointing but I was willing to keep an open mind. She mentioned she put a pair of pants that would be "perfect for work"....which would be great...if I wore pants to work. (Real pants, not scrub pants. I do wear scrub pants to work.)

I tried the Elizabet Striped Maxi Dress ($68) on first. It was another maxi dress...and horizontally striped at that. Eesh. This wasn't going to go well. Horizontal stripes on my hips are a disaster waiting to happen. But I tried it on....and I actually really liked it. From the side view I think it is pretty flattering. The front view definitely shows I've got thighs...but who doesn't? At least mine are (mostly) muscular. Besides, I could walk around sideways all the time, right?


 Ignore my face. I don't know why I make that face when someone is taking a picture of me. 

The Sadie Embroidered Neckline Tab-Sleeve Blouse ($48) was next. It's like my dream shirt - flowy, slightly sheer, dreamy shirt. I really like this one. A lot. I'm a little worried it looks like all of my other clothes though.

  Oh I'm just petting my lion. What are you doing? 


Followed by the Norris Henley Sleeveless Hi-Lo Blouse ($48). I put this on and didn't love it. I looked in the mirror and didn't love it. I showed it to Rachel the Roommate who loved it. She wants me to keep it so she can borrow it. After she took the pictures though....I really really like it in pictures. I think it's flattering and slightly different than what I already have. I'm a little unsure about the tail though.


 Do I have a tail?? 


I LOVED the Delfina Pintuck Flutter Sleeve Blouse ($68) on the hanger. It was such a vibrant color! It looked soft and pretty and romantic. I tried it on and wasn't quite as sure. It's definitely my least favorite of the shirts. And then I saw the price. I definitely wasn't looking to spend $68 on that shirt. If it had been $35? Sold in a heartbeat! $45? I'd strongly consider it. But $68? No.... as I was sadly folding it up to put it back in the box, I noticed a few threads unraveling from the front seam. What do you think of it? Worth $68? If I tell them about the seam, I'm sure they'll send me a new one if they have it. The customer service is supposed to be great.

 I liked it like this. 

 Rachel the roommate preferred it belted. 



Finally, the Emer Diamond Print High Waisted Cropped Pant ($98). WHOA! I pulled these out of the box and was terrified. Printed pants! So out of my comfort zone! I vowed to try everything on though and so on they went. Cropped pants on a short person are....normal pants. They definitely hit the top of my foot. They were not cropped at all. The high waisted part scared me as well but I thought I could get used to them. The pants were insanely comfortable. I would have been content staying in them for 3 days. Sleeping, working out, you name it, I'd do it in these pants. Once I saw them in pictures, I wasn't as sure. They looked a little snug in the hips/thighs (as everything is). The high waisted part made me look like I had a FAPA. Which I don't. Then I saw the price. And they came off just that fast.

 Cropped

 And this is their version of "cropped" 


I have until Sunday night to decide. What do you think? Right now I'm leaning towards the Sadie shirt, the Hi-Lo Blouse and maaaaayyyyybee the maxi dress.

Read about my first stitch fix here.

Smitten Kitten

So much to tell you guys about! It's been so long since I blogged. Where to start....I'll have to break this into 2 different blog posts.

1. I'm smitten. I tried my hand at online dating - in the past, blargh! It's been terrible. But Rachel the roommate suggested I try it out again and so I did. I actually had decent results this time around.  I went on a couple of mediocre dates.  They weren't bad. They just didn't hold my interest at all. I didn't care one way or another if I saw them again or not. Then I went on a good date! He does crossfit, the conversation flowed nicely, he was cute. The following weekend we went out again...but I had 3 dates scheduled in 24 hours and was exhausted by the end of it! The date with xfit dude went well, I enjoyed hanging out with him and I definitely found him attractive. The second date was mini golf which was fun and different in the city...but the guy? Meh. Didn't care. The third date I dragged myself to because I was so tired at this point. I didn't care what I looked like and honestly, just wanted to get it over with. We were meeting up for afternoon tea and since I got there ahead of him, I went ahead and bought my drink so I could drink it and be gone. Except then we started talking....what I thought would be a 30 minute thing ended up being nearly 3 hours!

For the past month, I've been juggling both guys. I've enjoyed both and had no idea who to choose or how to pick. Xfit Dude was "comfortable" - I could see us doing fun, low key stuff - going for runs, grabbing a drink at the bar, watching a movie. The Tea Dude seemed unreal - he's cute (blond hair, blue eyes, strong jaw), has a GREAT job, HAS A BOAT!!!, and seems 100% out of my league. But he's really funny and in a way reminds me of my brother. Don't tell my brother that.

This past weekend was an eyeopener though.  Friday night, I took some brisket that I cooked all day long over to Xfit Dude's. He was iffy at first, saying he didn't like cauliflower (bacon & mushroom risotto - made with cauliflower instead of rice). But he tried it and said it was actually good. Then he said the brisket was dry. And my rollerblading session was good that day but I'd have been better off running. And he preferred pink nail polish instead of the seafoam green that was adorning my toes. Then he called me a fag. In a joking manner. But I was already not feeling it and then I was super not feeling it. First of all, if you want to flirt with a girl, don't insinuate she is gay. Second, don't use offensive words. Third, don't try to offend me by calling me gay. Gay, retard, etc....I hate when people use those words! I left his house with a bad taste in my mouth.

Then I had a dinner date with Tea Dude. He texted me earlier in the day and asked if I wanted to go out on the boat to watch the fireworks show after dinner. He asked if I minded if he invited a couple friends. It was so much fun and so relaxing. Dinner was good, the boat ride was nice. He even brought champagne (though wine glasses to drink out of?!?). His friends were nice. We stayed out just floating in the lake for about 3 hours. Just chatting. It was so fun. He definitely brought his A-game. When he looks at me, I feel like I'm the prettiest girl in the room. Which is cheesy. But true. He's texted me every night this week but so far, we don't have any additional dates lined up. I am 100% smitten with him, cheesy goofy grin and all. By default I'm trying to back peddle and avoid that feeling....but sometimes I just relax and enjoy it :)

5/13/2014

Nothing to Say

I was going to blog. But then I realized I have nothing to say. Oh...except thus far I'm really enjoying living with roommates. And the cats aren't so terrible.

4/27/2014

Stitch Fix Review #1

It finally arrived! That Stitch Fix box I'd been anxiously awaiting! Quick recap on what Stitch Fix is:

1. You pay a $20 styling fee which can later be used towards merchandise credit if you decide to purchase anything.
2. A stylist picks out 5 items based upon a style profile you fill out.
3. They mail you the box with a style suggestions card. You try things on in your home and can mix/match with your own clothing.
4. You keep what you like (prices vary based upon your preferences) and send back what you don't.

I pretty much pounced on my mail lady when I saw her coming up the walk. I'm sure that was a good first impression as this is the first time I've met her. I did tell her she was my favorite person of the day for delivering my fix. (Sometimes I feel like a drug addict when I talk about this service. I just need a quick Fix! Just one! I swear, just a little...that's probably how addicts feel, right?)

Here's my walk thru:


I was pretty excited to open up the box!! I did sneak a peek at the style card just to see what was in store for me:



On to the items: 
1. Zad Veronica Layered Metal Cuff - $32

I liked this well enough but not enough to spend $32 on it. It seemed like a good quality but I really couldn't see myself wearing it very often. I have a couple cuff bracelets already and think I've worn this maybe once each. So spending that much on a bracelet I'd probably wear once or twice seemed silly. 
VERDICT: RETURN


2. Mystree Charlie Mixed Stripe Maxi Skirt - $68

I LOVED this skirt when I pulled it out of the box. I have not had much luck with maxi skirts in the past but a friend advised me to try Spanx underneath it to smooth out all those unsightly spots. The spanx definitely helped!! I really liked it on...except it was so long. In the picture below, the skirt is pulled up basically to the bottom of my bra. If it had been a little cheaper or fit a little better, I would have kept it. But for $68 plus the cost of alterations - I didn't see myself getting $68+ wear out of it. 
VERDICT: RETURN



3. Papermoon Waters Diamond Print Maxi Dress - $78

I really liked this when I took it out of the box. Again, it was another maxi item - but I was hopeful! I tried it on and it was so soft and so comfortable. But upon seeing a picture of it, I was told by multiple people that I looked matronly. I figured if I tried on a cardigan it might help. But no. It only made it worse. 
VERDICT: RETURN




4. Ezra Tara Mixed Material Aztec Print Blouse - $48

This item was on the top of my box. The color excited me and the pattern scared me. But I had agreed to try everything on. The first time I put it on - I did not like it. The pattern was overwhelming. It was soft and comfortable. But just wasn't me. I tried everything else on and came back to it. I tried it on with a darker pair of jeans and liked it better. Since I didn't want to lose my $20, I decided I should keep this shirt. It was different than anything I had in my closet. The more I had it on, the more I liked it. I wore it out to the bar that night and got compliments. By the end of the night, I was really glad I had decided to keep this shirt. 
VERDICT: KEEP


5. Ellison Baldwin Stripe & Colorblock Henley Blouse - $38

This was the one item I didn't love upon first sight. I liked it. But it looked scary. It was sheer. It was almost a button down. A collar? Yikes! However, if you look back on the style card, it looks really really cute from far off. So I tried it on with the "dressy" style - dark jeans & a pair of heels. (I'm in the process of moving and hadn't unpacked any jewelry yet. They suggest jewelry options too...but I wasn't entirely prepared.) I actually don't hate it. I think it would have grown on me. However, my hips (per usual) are just a teensy bit too big and the shirt was pretty snug over them. My biceps & back/shoulders may also be growing (Thanks Westside barbell program & Kurt!!) because it was pretty snug in those areas as well.  Based upon the fit, I didn't want to keep it. I think a size up would have swallowed me whole though.
VERDICT: RETURN


Things I learned from this fix: 
 - have my friend take pictures from a better angle.
- clean my house (or at least finish unpacking) before having pictures taken
- it's not so scary to try on "different" items

I'd totally do this again. In fact, I already scheduled another fix for late June.  If you decide you want to try Stitch Fix, I'd love if you used my referral link - it gives me a small credit and allows you to use a super cool & fun service.



3/27/2014

Stitch Fix

A friend of mine recently sent me an email. It simply said "have you heard of this? Stitchfix.com

I clicked on the link and thought it seemed a neat idea but put it out of my mind. I told her I thought it was a cool idea and asked if she had done it. She said she had not but she had perused the reviews and most of the clothes were really cute. I gave it another look...and the more I think about it, the more I'm liking the idea of this. 

Perhaps I should back up a bit. What is Stitchfix? Stitchfix is a personal styling service. You tell us your style, size, and budget preferences, and we send you a package of stylish goodies to try on at home. Each Fix is unique and hand-picked just for you.  It costs $20 per month and if you decide to keep any of the 5 items they send you, that $20 goes towards purchasing that item. If you decide to keep all 5 items, you get 25% off. Plus you already paid $20. 

I know, I know. I don't need more clothes! And I don't need to spend the money! But...all of my clothes look the same. And while my current clothes are comfortable - they are certainly not trendy or big-city worthy. I filled out my personal style profile. But you don't pay anything until you schedule your first "fix". 

If anyone reading this decides to look into it, I get a $25 credit for each person who signs up. Soooo....if you click on any of the links in this post and schedule a fix, I'd greatly appreciate it! As would my clothes :)   

https://www.stitchfix.com/referral/3629560

3/19/2014

3/18/2014

Kindness Quotes

I came across these inspirational quotes and I liked them. I would like to figure out a way to make them into artwork and to hang in my room or around my new apartment - details on that in another post. I think reading these words every day would remind me who I want to be each day.

Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it. – Maya Angelou

 In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure. – Bill Cosby

Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes. ― William Gibson

 I want to think again of dangerous and noble things. I want to be light and frolicsome. I want to be improbable and beautiful and afraid of nothing as though I had wings. — Mary Oliver

Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together. ― Marilyn Monroe

Be humble, for you are made of earth, be noble, for you are made of stars ― Serbian proverb <---- span="">really like this one!!

Life is short. Break the rules, forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that made you smile. ― Unknown

Don't be perfect. Be you. Don't be what you think they want you to be. Be what you know you are. Don't look outside yourself for anything. It's all within. ― Jackson Kiddard

Kind Over Matter - by Josh Radner

I heard about this while watching The Ellen Show (is it The Ellen Show or The Ellen Degeneres Show?) at the car dealership today. I liked the excerpt that she read and decided to find the whole thing.  Basically, Josh Radner thinks we should be kind. And if I think about the type of person I want to be, or the type of person I like to encounter - he describes it. I've been having trouble with this lately but I hope that by posting this for other people to read it will help remind me what type of person I want to be. 
Here's the link if you want to read further but I copy/pasted the whole article so that's that

There's only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you've got to be kind.
—Kurt Vonnegut, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater
Here's a theory I've been kicking around for a few years: Success in Hollywood—being incredibly well paid to do something very few people get the chance to do—won't make you happier, but it should make you kinder. It never made sense to me that someone would achieve any kind of success in show business, only to become a jerk.
It certainly seems like the unkind—craven, wildly ambitious, stab-you-in-the-back types—are rewarded time and again. But bad behavior generally ensures a short shelf life. The question is really, What kind of person do you want to be once you've "gotten" somewhere?
When I left NYU in 1999, the year I turned "pro," I was on the lookout for examples of what kind of professional actor I wanted to be. Before long, I had the great fortune to work with Judith Light, who, in addition to being wildly talented, seemed to place a premium on kindness. I remember how she greeted everyone with a smile—no matter who they were. She listened as if the fate of the planet depended on hearing someone's every word.
Maybe it has something to do with my being from the Midwest, but witnessing actors like Judith—and the decidedly less enlightened behavior of others—confirmed my suspicion that it was possible to be both a good person and successful in show business. I realized Vonnegut's dictum was basically the only Hollywood rule worth following: You've got to be kind.
Kind to your fellow actors, to the producers and their spouses, to their assistants and their interns. You've got to be kind to the agents and managers (even if you often can't tell the difference between the two), to the director and the people in wardrobe and props, to the photographer and the valet and the guy working checkout at Whole Foods, to the reporter at the press tour who thrusts a tape recorder in your face and says, "What song makes you want to get up out of your chair and dance?" And you must—and this is much tougher than it sounds in an industry that almost dares you to go insane—extend that kindness to yourself.
It really shocks me when I encounter people who think kindness doesn't matter. Because I think it's pretty much the only thing that matters. This should not be mistaken as a call for humorlessness or some naive, fussy moralizing on my part. It's not about being "good" (a loaded concept, to say the least) or "nice," which is really just a social convention that often has to do with worrying about being liked (occasionally masking real deviousness). It's ultimately about compassion, recognizing that all of us are going through it all in our own particular way, no matter our social status.
It's not our job to play judge and jury, to determine who is worthy of our kindness and who is not. We just need to be kind, unconditionally and without ulterior motive, even—or rather, especially—when we'd prefer not to be. For me, it's simple and not entirely unselfish: When I'm kind, I feel good; when I'm not, I feel horrible. (Of course, the publication of this piece now ensures I will be caught on tape being a total schmuck.)
When my show How I Met Your Mother first went on the air, some people were quietly concerned the job would "change" me, as Hollywood lore is littered with tales of the monsters fame has created. Being a jerk was never all that interesting to me before I was on a television show. Now four years later, I'm happy to report no one has told me I've become one (to my face, at least).
Where will any of this get you in Hollywood? Maybe nowhere. That's not really the point. Kindness is not about instant gratification. More often, it's akin to a low-risk investment that appreciates steadily over time. One thing I've found to be true in show business, as well as everywhere else: Whatever you put out there comes back to you in some form eventually. Hopefully, one day you look around and say, "Hey, I've got a pretty nice life full of fantastic people." If you have a better definition of success, I'd like to hear it.
This is bigger than Hollywood anyway. (Warning: If you think this is all a bunch of touchy-feely nonsense from someone who has clearly spent too much time in California, you might want to stop reading now and flip to the crossword.) I believe our thoughts and words are powerful far beyond what we suspect, that they carry some sort of mysterious heft that ripples outward, like the tiny flap of the butterfly wings causing a hurricane. Our planet is being despoiled in a myriad of provable ways, but might our unkind words be contributing on some level?
Consider it: What if we began to view unkindness as air pollution of the most toxic variety? Would we think twice before sending ozone-depleting nastiness from our lips into the atmosphere?
If you believe, as I do, that the state of the world is inextricably linked to our minds, that the external is a reflection of the internal, our minds are not in great shape. Every act of kindness, then, is not merely a sign of personal virtue. It's saving the planet—the ultimate fusion of environmentalism, spirituality, compassion and common sense.
Of course, this is just a theory. In a more practical, less metaphysical sense, if you're kind in Hollywood, people will want to work with you again. And if some unkindness is unavoidable, well, that's why we have agents (or managers).

3/08/2014

14.2

I completed 14.2 today. I know, I know. You are dying to know! What was 14.2?? Let's see if I can explain it where it makes sense:

0:00-3:00 (the first 3 minutes)
2 rounds of:
10 overhead squats (65#)
10 chest to bar pullups (the bar must make contact below the collarbone)
3:00 - 6:00 (second 3 minutes - only completed if you finish the first 3 min in time)
2 rounds of:
12 squats
12 chest to bar pullups.

And you continue on, adding 2 reps for every 3 minutes you successfully complete. I don't feel the need to type further because I didn't make it further. I didn't make it that far, but to give you an idea of how the workout went.

I got my very first chest to bar pullup approximately 24 hours before the workout. I went in with a goal of 13 reps. The 10 squats would be easy. The pullups would be tough. I warmed up in the back room and they were going pretty smoothly. Then it was time for the workout.

Mistake #1  - complete before I even left my house. I put lotion on. My legs were ashy. My lotion has sparkles in it and it makes me happy. It also made my hands very slippery.

Mistake #2 - I was sweating. Out of my control but it made my hands very moist. Hard to hold on to the bar with moist hands.

Mistake #3 - the bar I was using was SO slippery. It probably wasn't as bad as I'm remembering. But I could not hold on to the bar for the life of me!

Mistake #4 - I should have made tape grips. I considered it but decided it was unnecessary due to the low number of pullups I'd be doing. The tape grips would have meant I could hold on to the bar.

I ended with a total of 14 reps. 1 more than what my goal was - but I think if I could have held the bar, I could've gotten at least 20 reps. What does this mean? I'm trying this one again too!

Picture from this workout to follow - there are 2 girls at my gym, Ali G & Lauren A who take awesome pictures and are so great to volunteer their services to capture the day - can't wait to see what they got!

3/07/2014

Promises

I promised you a picture from the 14.1 workout for the Crossfit Open. If I look terrified and/or ready to cry? I was. I absolutely hate double unders and was dreading them. This picture captures that.






3/05/2014

And...Action!

Well, I made a decision. I'm not sure if it was the right decision or not but I don't know if either side of the coin was going to sit perfectly. I'm staying in Chicago. I've been back and forth for well over a month now...and just had to pick a place. I decided I should stay here for another year. If I hate it, I can leave next May. But right now, I'm not unhappy.

Things I have lined up:
1 - a trip to NC for the month of April
2 - 2 new roommates. That's right, I'll be living with people. Fingers crossed that's a good experiment!
3 - a new job. It's only 1 day a week but they may need me to pick up some extra shifts here and there. It's a start at least. And I'm very excited about it. It seems like a complete different place than my previous employer. I'll write more on that next week after an official work day.
4 - happiness. I have a sense of happiness right now that I haven't felt in a long time. Things aren't perfect but they are way better than they were 6 months ago.

3/02/2014

Decision Time

How do I decide? I thought I'd made a decision. I thought I was going to stay in Chicago. Then I went up to Madison for my road trip. It was so nice being outside of the city. It put me in a weird head place for a few days and I'm not completely out of that head place. I talked to a friend of mine who is in a similar position - stay or go - and honestly, she confused my head even further.
What if I am choosing to stay for the wrong reasons? What if I'm wanting to go home for the wrong reasons? This weather is not helping matters. Why would I want to stay in this miserable cold? Will it even be gone by the time I get back in Chicago in May? But I want to stay with my friends. But I want to go home to my friends.
I've got a couple job interviews this week. What if the jobs seemingly are great (which my previous job was at first) and then it all goes downhill?
What if I stay and I love it? What if I go and I regret leaving? What if  I stay and am unhappy again in a month? What if I hate living with roommates? So many what ifs.
I tried saying out loud this whole week that I'm staying. Trying it on for size. See how it feels coming out of my mouth. Initially, it felt good. It felt right. But towards the end of the week? I started to question it. Is it the right thing? Then I went to lunch in Chinatown with some friends today (I should write a blog post on that. I was so lost!) and I didn't want to leave. It's all so confusing.

Do Over!

The nice thing about the crossfit open is you can re-do the workout as many times as you'd like between the announcement of the workout and the following Monday. I decided to try this one again because I know I can move faster. My double unders went much better today. I was able to do sets of 5 pretty consistently throughout the workout. Yesterday, I got 78 reps. Today I got 101.

Things I did differently:
- wore running flats. The shoes are smooth on the bottom so if the rope catches on the tread on the bottom of the shoes...well, there is no tread.
- tried to breathe during the double unders. If I got flustered (which I often do), I stopped, took a breath and did 1 double under. If I had to do them 1 at a time, that's how I'd get through the workout.
- Moved faster during the snatch. Technically, the weight just had to go from ground to overhead - arm positioning/stopping points didn't matter. So most of the reps I did in a snatch position but when it was hard to convince myself to pick the bar up, I moved to a jerk movement. (go halfway up, quick rest/turning of wrists at shoulders, weight overhead)
- had a different judge. My friend Chrystal judged me today. She was much more liberal with the double unders than yesterdays judge. I'm tricky to judge double unders on because I do a single turn of the rope, followed by a double turn, followed by another single. I often get tripped up on the second single - yesterdays judge thought it was during the double under.

I'm happy with today's results. Until I can figure out double unders (i.e. work on them and not expect to magically have them one day), I'm going to struggle on any workout that involves them.

3/01/2014

Crossfit Open 14.1

I completed my first crossfit competition today. Or I started it at least. The Crossfit Open is a 5 week competition with weekly events that each athlete has 4 days to complete. I chickened out last year. It seemed so intimidating. How would I ever lift that much weight? I can't do a pull-up! Double unders? Psssh! Let's not be silly.
This year was going to be a different story. Even if I couldn't do everything, perfectly or at all, I was determined to participate. I was beyond nervous today and almost didn't want to participate. So many people, so much pressure. But then someone reminded me, it's just a workout. Who cares what your score is? You did it!
Today's workout?
30 double unders (jump roping with the rope passing under your feet twice per jump)
15 snatches (weight had to go from ground to overhead, women's weight 55 pounds)

I knew the snatches would be fine. It's a fairly light weight and I'm pretty comfortable throwing the weight overhead. The double unders have been a constant struggle for me. I just got a new rope so I don't whip myself nearly as often as with my previous rope. Did I mention you just repeat those 2 movements over and over for 10 minutes? Initially when I thought about this workout, I was like - 5 rounds. 1 minutes for double unders, 1 minute for 15 snatches. That builds in such a buffer. Then I heard another girl saying it took her 3 minutes to do the double unders. I started rethinking my goals....down to 1 round. I met my goal. I made 1 round plus 3 snatches. I definitely need to work on double unders. I used to think I was a coordinated person...until I tried these things. I'll have a picture to add to this post at some point. (If I don't look atrocious in all of them!!!)

2/28/2014

Road Trip!

I went on my first road trip yesterday. Well, that isn't exactly true. I went on my first group road trip. Maybe that's weird that I'm 31 and have never been on a road trip with friends. But I haven't. I don't like to be stuck in a situation I can't escape. I've driven to NC by myself. I've ridden to NC with my brother & Heather. They don't count though because they are family and road trips with family are normal.

There was a band playing in Madison, WI that I saw over New Years and loved. Naturally, I wanted to see them again but Madison is 2.5 hours away and that's a long drive to go up and right back down. I reached out to a couple friends and two of them said they really wanted to go. We drove up Wednesday night, saw the concert, shared a hotel room and drove back the next day. Guess what? I survived. I had fun. I didn't die. I didn't feel the need to escape. Well, except at 7 am when one of the guys woke up and was wide awake. When the other guy ignored him and I threatened to murder him, he went back to bed.

Plus I got to meet the singer of the band - Black Joe Lewis. He was hanging out in the bar after the show and I asked if he would take a picture with me.

2/25/2014

Addicted

I am addicted to MyVegasSlots on the iphone. It is ridiculous. But it is free. I can earn points to get comps in Las Vegas. Except I'm not going to Las Vegas. However...I can't stop playing. I wake up - get my daily bonus spin and then play a little slots. Then I do some stuff around the house...and take a break to play some slots. Then I eat lunch, play some slots, take a nap, play some slots and go to the gym. Obviously I play some slots before I go to bed. I've got my phone beside me, doing the autospin right now.

At least I'm not at the real casino spending real money...but if I were at the real casino, I'd have $285 right now.

2/24/2014

Dating Disaster

As I try to figure out where things might go with this new guy, I've realized I have no idea how to date. If things are this bad for me, I can only imagine how hard it is for someone who's been married for years and years and is trying to reenter the dating scene. I'm sure you are thinking it can't be that difficult. Just take your time and get to know the guy. Well, yes, that much is simple. But you can't be over eager and talk to them too much. But if you are too distant then it seems like you aren't interested! So you need the perfect balance between interest and aloof. Then, with social media and all the different modes of communication today - do I text? Do I call? At least this current guy isn't on facebook so I can't toss that option into the mix. Can I text him just to chat? I have no idea how to go about getting to know someone.

What is appropriate dating etiquette? How often should we be hanging out? Are we supposed to be talking daily? What if I don't have anything important to say each day? Sometimes my life can be very mundane. I highly doubt he wants to hear about the minor details of my day.

The last time I seriously dated someone was Voldemort. That was about 6 years ago. Sure, I've thought there were serious ones since then but they were typically very short lived. Is it because I don't know how to date? Is it because they were idiots? Just not the right one for me? I like structure. I just want rules to follow.

2/15/2014

Struggling

I've really been struggling with a decision lately. I've talked to a lot of close friends and a lot of random people and gotten a lot of advice. I still have been unable to come to a decision. But it's nice to hear different view points.

As I've mentioned before, I'm moving to North Carolina. Or at least that was the plan. About 3 weeks ago, my job made the decision to let me go early. This sounds horrible (and I think it is on their part) but it was actually a blessing in disguise. As soon as I realized I'd no longer be employed there, it was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I realized how unhappy I was in that job and how horrible I'd feel about myself - both as a person and an employee - just having to walk in the building. Seriously. I'd start out the morning in a good mood (unheard of with this kid!!) but as soon as I pulled in the parking lot...ugh. I'd get this feeling of dread. But enough of that. Them letting me go created an instant realization that it wasn't Chicago I was unhappy with, it was the job where I spent about 80% of my waking time.

What? That's crazy! You hated Chicago and were beyond ready to go! Yes. This was true. But somewhere between my making the decision to leave and now - I made friends. I met a boy. I started making advances in the gym, both athletically and socially. It was what I came to the city to do. I'm sure you have questions. Let me try to explain.

1. Friends. There's a girl at my gym that decided we would be best friends. She pursued me. It wasn't hard. We get along really well. We are very alike. Her name's Chrystal. I'm glad I met her. She's helped me to really enjoy the past couple months. We even have a pair of BFF shoes. She bought them - they are a half size small for her and a half size big for me. Obviously the solution is we'll both wear them! She's really nice and generous and friendly and I feel lucky to have her as a friend. She's actually the majority of my friend base here. I have a couple other friends but it's hard to coordinate time to hang out. There are some people at my gym that I go out with from time to time, brunch or drinks or lunch. But it's like...if I want to go do something - I have people I can invite out.

2. The boy. I wasn't supposed to meet him. I was supposed to be ready to go. But along he came.  He goes to my gym. He's funny, sarcastic, generous, chivalrous and doesn't take my crap. Well, I haven't really given him any crap. He's very straight forward. There are no games. I did make a comment dripping with sarcasm once and he was like "hi drama. I didn't mean it like that." I knew he didn't mean the comment in that manner but I was annoyed so sarcasm showed it's pretty little face. I like that there is no second guessing anything with him. I broke the news to him that I was moving a few weeks ago. He sounded disappointed but I wasn't sure if that was wishful thinking or not. I finally told him last night that I was considering staying and asked if he had an opinion. He said I should do what I wanted. Not exactly the answer I was looking for. I asked him directly "Do you want me to stay?" He said yes, he would like it if I stayed. I was happy to hear that but either way it wouldn't have a definitive effect on my staying or going. Then things didn't go quite as I planned. Or was hoping for. We got into the "where is this going" convo. I didn't really want to have this conversation. I hate this conversation. I'd much rather just go with the flow and see what happens. Here is my takeaway with the conversation. Granted, this is my rather emotional interpretation right at this moment, but here it is:  Yes, he wants me to stay. But what we have is purely physical and he's not sure if there is even anything else there.
So that's a bit of a bummer. But it does mean taking 1 thing out of the decision making equation. And maybe I'll reinterpret that when I'm a bit less bummed out over it. Maybe he said that because he's trying not to color my decision to stay or go. Maybe he's mentally checked out of things right now. Maybe it was because it was 10:30 and he just wanted to go to sleep. Maybe he meant it exactly how I interpreted it.

3. The gym. I know, it's a gym. There are gyms, even crossfit ones, everywhere. But crossfit gyms tend to become not only a gym, but a social center - there is encouragement, playfulness, pushing. It's like a group of 400 people telling me I can do something. Or giving me crap when I say I can't. And making fun of each other throughout the whole process. I know that if I move I will find another gym. As I said, most crossfit gyms have this atmosphere. These are people that I'll spend 1-2 hours a day with. You become a sort of friends. You go through the same miserable things. You make gains together. But my gym is where I started everything at. They've made all the gains I've made alongside me. The coaches are so nice and encouraging and knowledgeable. Not all gyms have such good coaching. I'd really miss my 7pm crew. If my schedule is off and I work out at different times -it feels like forever until I see them again!

So here's my confusion: am I actually happy here or scared to start anew again? Do I want to stay? Deal with another winter? I've been waiting for a sign from the universe to tell me what to do. I honestly feel like I want to be in both places. I like things about both places. I like people in both places. I definitely like the weather in NC better. I don't know how to make this decision. I'm tired of stewing over it. I think I'm just going to pack up my apartment (which I'd do whether staying or going), move it into a POD (which I'd do whether staying or going) on March 28, drive to NC (which I'd do whether staying or going - would be moving into an apartment with another girl in beginning of May if staying so have 1 month of being homeless, might as well spend it somewhere warm!!) and make my decision from there. Maybe a month of being home would be enough. Maybe being home for a month would make me realize that's where I really want to be. Or maybe I'd realize I miss Chicago. Maybe I'd get a job offer in one place or another I couldn't refuse. Since my belongings will be in a POD, I can get it shipped anywhere upon my command. I need to make a choice but I'm really struggling.

1/10/2014

Chicken Dip!

I stole this blog post from my friend Amy's blog. She calls it Kim's Chicken Dip. I call it Amy's Chicken Dip. Regardless of who the chicken dip belongs to...it is delicious! I'm making it for my gym holiday party and know it'll be a big hit! 


Kim's Chicken Dip

If you aren't on a budget....
1 rotisserie chicken
Hooters wing sauce
Marie's Blue Cheese (cold section near bagged lettuce)
cream cheese
shredded cheese
Jalapeno Tortilla chips
=$25.00---no sh*t

If you are on a budget...go Rod style and forget the name brands :-)

I know it's not originally Kim's recipe, but close enough.

Will would call this "Rachael Rayin' it." This means no measurements.

Shred whole cooked chicken and mix with Hooters wing sauce let stand, so the chicken absorbs the wing sauce. Preheat oven to 350. Put cream cheese in microwave for 1 min. Spread cream cheese on the bottom of dish. Spread chicken mixture next. Spread a light layer of blue cheese and top with Colby and Monterrey jack cheese. Put in the oven for 15 minutes or until bubbly.