My (2nd!!!!) Chicago Marathon Recap

Wow… it’s crazy to even write that. Two years ago, while Stephanie and I sat at a bar the weekend after the 2010 Chicago marathon, I mentioned how jealous I was of all the people who had run. She simply said, “So let’s run it next year!” I had never run further than an 8k at that time, but something clicked when she said that. Yes, I WILL run next year. And just like that, my brain was taken over by training, races, and learning everything I could about running a marathon. I ended up doing a marathon 5 months sooner than expected (ya know, cuz I’m crazy), but it was that initial conversation while out drinking that sparked my obsession with marathon running.

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The night we decided to run a marathon… it’s amazing how clearly I remember that moment.

And now, here I am having run my 4th marathon (and 2nd Chicago marathon). Kinda crazy. I hadn’t even planned on signing up this year because 1) I’m poor and 2) I felt like my body needed a break from marathon running after doing two last year and having major runner’s knee issues. But when my mom said she would pay for it (and every marathon I run from here on out), I couldn’t say no. I was really excited, I regretted it sometimes, and in the end I’m so happy I signed up.

The expo was great as always and after looking at some of the cool race booths and their medals, Craig may or may not have told me that a half marathon for him was not out of the question (hint: he did), so that was exciting. And of course I bought some marathon gear, new neon Experia running socks, and a 35th annual Chicago Marathon pint glass. All around a successful expo experience.

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We met Justin and Anna for lunch at Hot Woks Cool Sushi and it was amazing as usual… despite not being the best day-before-race food (although they would both tell you otherwise now). I’m so glad I got to hang out with Anna and meet Justin! Two very awesome and inspiring people. Plus it was fun watching Anna try to use chopsticks ;)

The rest of my night included a delicious pasta dinner with Craig and my family, getting together race stuff for the morning (including pinning my tutu to my capris and making fingerless gloves out of my sock bottoms), and of course jumping on the bed. It was awesome that Craig and my family came and Kelsey even drove in from UofI! Races are so much better when you have people supporting you and jumping on the bed with you.

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Unfortunately, I didn’t sleep a whole lot on Saturday night. I woke up at 2:30am and couldn’t turn my brain off for long enough to fall back asleep, but I still had plenty of energy that morning because it was FREEZING and I was SO EXCITED!!! Craig and I went to the ACS tent where we took a group photo and I got to meet Rindy! My rainbow tutu and neon pink running shirt definitely helped people spot me. I felt a little ridiculous at first, but I got over it pretty fast. Plus, the director for the DetermiNation team took my photo and tweeted it onto their Twitter page!

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I met Anna in the charity corral (thank god she was able to get into it by switching bibs). I wasn’t too nervous before the race, but once we started running and it hit me that we would be running for the next 5 hours, THEN I was super nervous. The next couple hours flew by though. We chatted, we saw my family, Craig, and Mar (so glad I finally got to meet you!!), we read all the amazing inspirational signs, we made a plan for pacing the rest of the race, and just had a great time overall. Running a marathon with someone else is INFINITELY better than running alone.

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It got a little rough around the halfway mark… Anna needed to stop and put a blister bandaid on, I had to stop and go to the bathroom (BAD!) for the first time ever during a race, we both needed Vaseline, my knees hurt, her back hurt, etc etc. I think we both started feeling better when we realized that everyone around us was feeling the exact same way as us, and of course we’re going to hurt- we were in the middle of running a freaking marathon!

I think it was around 13 or 14 miles that we scrapped our goal of running a 4:45 marathon, but the sub-5:00 was still doable. We definitely didn’t talk as much the 2nd half and there was a lot more swearing from both of us, but mostly me. It’s no secret that running a marathon is scary, especially when you have a specific time goal. I calculated our pace at every mile marker though to make sure we were on track to finish in under 5 hours. Once we got to mile 24 it was obvious that we would meet our goal and we both got really excited. By mile 25 I already felt like I had finished. The endorphins and giddiness of finishing another marathon started to kick in early.

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My family, Craig and his family, and my boss and his wife were all there cheering us on and I was feeling great. We powered through that nasty hill at the end and finished feeling awesome. And Anna accomplished a major goal of hers by running her first sub-5 hour marathon!!! I honestly don’t think either one of us would have had such a great finish time had we not been motivating each other. Anna didn’t want to let me down and I sure as hell didn’t want to let her down by not being able to finish in under 5 hours with her! I couldn’t stop smiling after we finished. What an AWESOME race. You never know how a marathon is going to go… there is all sorts of potential for injury, stomach issues, etc etc and we were lucky enough not to have any major issues.

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Here’s the photo of Anna and I from the Chicago Sun Times :)

I wish I could have stayed with her to hang out and meet up with some other Tumblr people, but I wanted to see my family and everyone who came to support me, so I hobbled/slow jogged my way to charity village a few blocks down. I can’t tell you how amazing it was having so many people come to watch me. I say this every time… but I’m so lucky to have such supportive people in my life!!! My mom has gone out of her way every race to book hotel rooms and make dinner reservations (among other things), my dad made at least 3 signs for me in an attempt to get a good one (plus he bought me a sticker than says “Will run for margaritas”- perfect), my sister drove all the way from UofI to come support me and made me a freaking sweet sign, Craig is absolutely the most supportive boyfriend a girl could ask for… despite thinking I’m a crazy person for running marathon (but let’s be honest, I kind of am), PLUS Craig’s mom and sister came to watch AND my boss and his wife made it down to support me!! My boss’ wife even says she was so inspired by everyone running that she wants to run Chicago next year!! It’s amazing being able to inspire other people when the only reason I’m running is because of the many people on Tumblr who inspired me.

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What a great weekend. And I got to be a bum yesterday because my boss was nice enough to tell me I didn’t need to come in to work. Craig and I ate Greek food, took a long nap with the kitty, and watched Game of Thrones. It was a perfect relaxing day.

Congrats again to everyone who ran on Sunday!!!!! You should all be extremely proud of yourselves… and for those of you running the Chicago Marathon again next year, I will be there with a ridiculous sign and maybe a rainbow tutu cheering you all on :)

P.S. Running in a bright rainbow tutu was AWESOME! It didn’t bother me at all while I ran plus I had so many more people cheering for me because of it. I am now known to many strangers in Chicago as “tutu girl.” 

10.9.12

My Impromptu 3rd Marathon

This one definitely deserves a recap, despite being kind of a last minute decision. For the back story, Stephanie’s coworkers bailed on running the Fox Valley Half Marathon with her because of a broken toe, etc etc, so she asked me if I wanted to take one of their bibs and run with her! I was originally planning on doing my 20 mile training run on Saturday, the day before the race, but I decided running with her and then continuing on for 7 extra miles sounded like way more fun.

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There were 3 races going on that day, all starting at the same time - the half marathon, the Fall Final 20, and the full marathon. At first, I debated just running the 20 mile race, but I was nervous to run a different race than I was supposed to, so I decided that I would just start the half marathon over again and finish an extra 7 that way. In the back of my head, I knew I secretly wanted to run the full marathon. A big part of my brain (and my boyfriend) told me it wouldn’t necessarily be smart and I might end up hurting my knees or doing something else to injure myself. That would suck since I have a half marathon this upcoming weekend in Nashville and then the Chicago Marathon 2 weeks after that.

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When I got to the race, I was incredibly nervous, partly because I knew I might run the full, but I still hadn’t decided. I decided not to put any pressure on myself and just run the 20 miles and see how I felt after that. Stephanie was nervous too (she ran the Chicago Marathon 3 years ago, but this was her first half marathon!!) so that was also making me more nervous, but once “Danger Zone” started blasting and we finally started the race my nerves went away completely.

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It was pretty damn cold at the start of the race, but after we ran for a few miles the weather was perfect. It was gorgeous running next to the Fox River and it was nice running on mostly trails. I saw Andrea 3 times throughout the race- she is seriously the best cheerleader EVER!! She even got there early to write a bunch of our names on the trail with chalk. I didn’t see it until about mile 18, but it made me so happy. The race was a lot of fun. It didn’t feel like I was running for 2 and a half hours with Steph… it felt like 30 minutes. Races are definitely more fun when you have someone to run with!!

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I finished the half marathon in 2:26:53 (although Run Keeper says I ran 13.44), which was faster than I originally wanted to run it. I was shooting for around 12 minute miles and ended up at a 10:55 pace at the end, but oh well. I finished strong, grabbed a medal and a banana, said goodbye to Stephanie and continued running. I started back around on the half marathon course, eventually met up with the people running the full marathon, and finished my 20 miles, feeling great, in 3:47:00, an 11:21 pace (hello, run on sentence). I was still unsure about whether I should keep going, but since I ran so much faster than I thought I would I figured I might as well keep walking and see how I feel.

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At 21 or 22 miles, I couldn’t imagine that I would quit walking/jogging. My toes were hurting a little bit, but I made sure to walk A LOT and not push myself too much. I did end up running a decent amount, but really really slow. I was feeling pretty good and was pretty much zoning out looking at the river, the volunteers, the runners… it really wasn’t difficult at all for me to finish. Steph came back to meet me at the finish line (although I ran to the side and didn’t actually go over the finish line again), and it was awesome having someone there to watch me finish my 3rd (although not official) marathon!

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Her and Craig (who was texting me) both thought I was nuts, but they were both really supportive and awesome, too. Stephanie and I went to the bar to get our free beer (they were so tiny- wtf!) and then I met up with Craig for lunch. It seemed like such a normal day and I still can’t believe I ran a marathon that I didn’t have to run. I ssooo wish I had the marathon medal instead of the half marathon medal!!! I mean, I didn’t officially earn it, and I’ll know the truth about the one I have, but still. I want one!

Either way, fantastic run, hanging out with fantastic and supportive people, and an overall great day. Minimal knee pain, Vaseline kept the chafing away, and my only injury is a giant blister on my toe that is already starting to look and feel better. Considering I was thinking the Chicago Marathon would be my last marathon, I’m happy I got to throw another one in there with it. Craig and I spent the rest of the day laying out at the lake, fishing, and eating at Red Lobster. Perfect.

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Next up: Nashville Women’s Half Marathon this Saturday and Chicago Marathon in 3 weeks!! :)

26.26 miles in 5:18:49, 12:08 pace

9.17.12

I get to start house hunting today!!!

Or townhouse hunting. Or apartment hunting. Whatever, I have a budget in mind and I’m just freaking excited. Craig got a full-time position at the company he currently works at and we’re going to move in together within the next couple months- yay!!! Part of me was really hoping he would find a job out of state, but since we’re staying around here I’ll get to keep my job and be close to my friends and family still.

I have a one-track mind all the way, but I’m going to focus on 2 things for the next couple months:

  • Finding a place to live / moving out.
  • Eating healthy and getting back in shape. 

Ready, set, go!

1.15.13

Friday List of the Best Awesomeness EVER!
  • Craig and I are moving in together tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • I got my vacuum, Crock Pot, toaster oven, and shower curtain in the mail yesterday even though I just ordered them on Tuesday! I plan to use my Crock Pot A LOT even though I’ve maybe used the one at my house once. 

  • So if anyone has any good Crock Pot recipes, lemme have ‘em!

  • We have a crazy busy weekend ahead of us, but I couldn’t possibly be more excited. I’m giddy and doing my best not to bounce off the walls at work. I better save some of that energy because we have SO MUCH furniture to build.

  • Tonight we’re going to get the keys to our new place and start moving some stuff in! A little pre-movein moving in.

  • I have been TERRIBLE at working out/eating healthy this week because of how busy I’ve been getting stuff ready for the apartment (not awesome), but as of tomorrow I will have a fitness center with everything I need only 30 seconds away from where I live (awesome)! No excuses after that. 

  • Kelsey is coming home on Tuesday and we’re going to the Ellie Goulding concert downtown Chi-town! I think it’ll be pretty good and I’m EXCITED! She’ll also get to see my new place and sleep over :) 

  • Did I mention that Craig and I are moving in together?

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Happy Friday!!

1.25.13 

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It’s been a crazzzyyy weekend. I took yesterday off, so today is my Monday :) Craig and I went apartment hunting on Saturday and we found a place we love!! Smaller than I would have liked, but it has an awesome fitness center with treadmills, AMTs, spin bikes, and a huge weight section. That means I can cancel my Lifetime membership! It also has tennis courts, 2 outdoor swimming pools, a dog park (we’re taking Craig’s dog with us), AND a 7 mile bike path through a really nice park/lake starts 100 yards from our door. SWEET! Now I just have to find time to buy a bike.

We really liked it… so we filled out an application and we’re moving in on Saturday! Hence why I took yesterday off. We shopped for furniture and everything else ALL weekend. I spent more money than I care to admit, but we got some really great stuff (thank you IKEA!). Finding and loading the furniture in the self-serve area was my workout for the weekend… but 5 and a half hours at IKEA and we have a fully furnished apartment! Words cannot describe how crazy excited I am :)

If there’s a lack of posting it’s probably because I only have 3 week nights to pack up my entire life, so I might be kinda busy.

Photos:

  • Half of my new fitness center! 
  • Our break from apartment hunting- Yu’s Mandarin!
  • Craig and I during our last Saturday at home celebration, which included lots of beer pong and tequila shots with my mom.
  • Fajitas at Anyways with my dad! Craig and I split them so we wouldn’t eat too much :) They were SO good!! 
  • Our first home purchase: A trunk bar from World Market!
  • Swedish meatballs from IKEA are one of my favorite things ever.
  • In line at IKEA… we had 2 carts worth of home goodies plus 2 carts worth of furniture.
  • Craig in our bedroom door :)
  • The view from outside our apartment.

1.22.13

Friday List of Awesomeness
  • I made reservations to go skydiving on the 22nd!!! It’ll be my 3rd time, but I’ll be going with 4 newbies, including Craig :) I can’t wait!

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  • To celebrate National Doughnut Day, I’ll be making cinnamon sugar doughnuts for Craig and I tonight. YUM!! (Plus Parmesan Crusted Salmon for our pre-doughnut dinner)

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  • I finally bought flowers for our balcony AND I’ve been remembering to water them every day.

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  • I added a couple new running tshirt to my Spreadshirt store!

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  • I decided to start getting my nails done on a regular basis and I’m very happy with my decision… I feel more put together every day without having to do anything.

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  • I’m getting really good at making O’s with our hookah.

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  • I made French Dip Crescents and Goat Cheese & Artichoke Dip for the game on Tuesday and it was fan-fucking-tastic.

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  • The Blackhawk are doing awesome!!! 3-1 in their series with LA so far. Probably because Craig and I take a shot every time they score (and a gross shot of gin every time the other team scores).

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  • I just had an AWESOMELY DELICIOUS lunch at my mom’s… her salads are go freaking good.

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  • My bunnies are alive, doing well, and growing! (Proud mama)

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  • Kelsey has an extra ticket to the Ke$ha concert on Sunday so I’m going with her!! Should be lots of fun :)

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Happy Friday, everyone!!

6.7.13

Marathon Training, Day 48: 12 Mile Run

I was lucky enough to have Stephanie run part of my 12 mile run with me this weekend, and Craig joined me for the last 3 miles!! It’s amazing how much easier running is when I have a partner to keep me from getting bored. My weather app said it was going to be 91 on Saturday, but it definitely felt cooler than that and we had a nice breeze going on, too. Overall a successful run and minimal soreness!

12.09 miles in 2:30, 12:24 pace

7.23.12

Friday List of Super Awesomeness
  • Last weekend, Craig and I had a great time going to the city to try Ethiopian food. I didn’t know what to expect, but it was fantastic. Spicy, lots of flavor, and oh my gosh their chicken was to die for. YUM!

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  • We also took a walk on the beach and got a couple cute pics out of it :)

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  • Craig got offered a full time position at the company he interned with!!! And it’s 20 minutes away from where I currently work, which means…

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  • I started apartment and townhouse hunting this weekend!!! I have seriously been waiting months for this… I reached my limit with living at home a long time ago. We’re going to try to move in somewhere by March :)

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  • I’ve made 5 apartment appointments for this weekend! And they all accept puppies so Jack can come with us. He is the most cuddly dog ever and I can’t wait to live with him!!! And Craig too of course ;)

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  • I somehow convinced myself to do the Strictly Strength class at Lifetime last night even though I was SO tired. I’m proud of myself for doing it though.

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  • I worked 7+ hours of overtime this week. Yay for having extra money to put into savings!

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  • I’m going out tonight for a friend’s birthday who I haven’t seen in forever!!! We don’t really have an excuse for not hanging out sooner, besides being busy, but I’m still incredibly excited to see her.

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  • Not so awesome: I missed the season premiere of Archer last night.

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  • I’m super busy this weekend, but I’m actually excited about it! Going to the bar tonight, 4 apartment appointments tomorrow, dinner with my dad, ping pong + beer pong + Call of Duty tomorrow night, another apartment appointment on Sunday, and dinner with Craig’s family. Busy but I’m so excited to start looking at apartments!!! In case I haven’t mentioned that yet.

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Happy Friday!!! And thanks Darcy for the gif :)

1.18.13

Alright, Friday List of Awesome.

This might be another difficult one, but sometimes it makes me feel better about how many awesome things really are happening, so I’ll give it a shot.

  • It’s Friday, duh. I’ve been wishing it was Friday all week and it’s here! 

  • I gave Craig a Jack and Coke cake and Peanut Butter Oreo stuffed chocolate chip cookies for his birthday on Wednesday, which he loved. We plan on “eating” a whole lot of that cake tonight to celebrate. Definitely looking forward to that.

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  • Craig and I had some awesome sushi for dinner on his birthday. Avocado stuffed with crab and fried goodness, shrimp and vegetable tempura, White Dragon roll, Green Turtle roll (with eel, my fave), and a fried California roll. All SO good. Plus the free edamame and miso soup they gave us before the meal. I’m starting to fall in love with edamame.

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  • My dad is coming over tonight and he’s picking up Portillo’s for us. I haven’t had their delicious fries in way too long… yumm.

  • I’m also making a delicious dip tonight. Either Spinach and Artichoke dip or Bacon Cheeseburger dip… yea, I know, not very healthy. I’ve been Pinteresting way too much this week though and I’m in the mood to make some delicious food. Speaking oh which…

  • Tomorrow I’m making baked meatball subs for dinner and some sort of pizza dip on game day.. A whole weekend of healthy eating [so much sarcasm] 

  • All of Craig’s 25 Days of Christmas presents are wrapped and I’m so excited to start giving them to him tomorrow! 

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  • I have Spreadshirt things waiting for me at my house! My mom, sister, and I all got Dakota Joey tees and I’m SO excited to see them. I will definitely be wearing my t-shirt with some drinking pants tonight. I’m a classy lady. Expect a photo later tonight.

  • I also got an Ampersand tee. Awesome. 

  • My kitty cat helped me wrap presents last night. He is so freaking cute. And I’m going to blame him for my progression towards being a crazy cat lady.

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  • Making this list, once again, put me in a better mood. Isn’t it funny how that works? I went from being grumpy and frustrated to happy and excited for this weekend. I should make a List of Awesome for EVERY day of the week! ;)

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11.30.12

Nashville Half Marathon Recap

Oh hey, it’s finally time for my recap from the Nashville Half Marathon last weekend! I have been crazy busy/exhausted/overwhelmed and couldn’t convince myself to write one, but after a good night’s sleep I’m feeling lots better.

On Friday, Craig and I drove 8 hours to Nashville (my parents and Kelsey drove separately). We stopped at the Hard Rock Café in Louisville (my first time in KY!) and made it to the expo in plenty of time. It wasn’t the biggest expo I’ve ever been to, but I got a sweet t-shirt and headband (for free!), so that was awesome.

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Craig had a headband made for Jenna, but we forgot to give it to her!! Boo.

Friday was fairly uneventful since I had to get up at 5am on Saturday morning. When I woke up for the race I was SO nervous!! I don’t know why… maybe a combination of worrying about my blister, getting to the race on time in an unknown city, and meeting new people. But by the time I got to the race and met up with Anna and Stacey, I was feeling much better. I’m so happy I got to meet up with Tumblr people.

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Anna and I ran together for the entire race and we started out FAST. The hills were killer, but I had a great time. I don’t think we took a breath the entire race, so that helped it go by WAY faster than if I was running it alone. Yay for making new [and awesome] Tumblr friends!!! And my family and Craig were awesome and supportive as usual. My dad even made signs for me!

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We finished in 2:19:44. Not a PR, but it sure felt like one!! The rest of the day was spent shopping on Broadway, going out to breakfast, eating bacon and cheddar flavored crickets (for real), going to the Yasso Brewery for a tour and free beer, and then Anna met us out for drinks and food, where I proceeded to order way too many shots and screw myself over for the long car ride the next day (New favorite shot= Fireball, thanks to Anna). I definitely wish I had gotten to stay for another couple days to hang out with everyone more!!

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Overall a fun trip and I’m SO excited for Chicago in 11 days!!!

9.26.12

Friday List of Awesome!
  • I ate completely healthy for the last 2 days! I know it’s not much, but it’s something. And I maybe ate too much healthy food, but maxing out on chicken and broccoli isn’t the worst thing in the world.

  • And on a completely opposite note… I’m going to Sushi Bar tonight with my mom! I think we might make it a semi-weekly Friday occurrence, and Craig will come too when he doesn’t have events at work. Yay!

  • I’m actually going to have time to workout this weekend and I can’t wait. I’m writing it down here so I actually do it. I need to get my blood pumping before I lose my mind.

  • I’ve decided that it’s time to give my Graphic Design portfolio a complete overhaul this month, as well as new resumés and business cards. I guess I’ll start thinking about that when we finally have internet at our place… I think they’re coming tomorrow?!?

  • Which means we’ll finally be able to catch up on Game of Thrones, Archer, Unsupervised, My Big Redneck Vacation, and all the other shows we’ve been missing!! The last 3 are our favorite drinking game shows ;)
  • Kelsey and I went to see Ellie Goulding in concert at the Aragon Ballroom on Tuesday and she was amazing. Beautiful voice and damn is she sexy! New goal body right there. 

  • My mom is coming over to tomorrow to not only have a budget/bills meeting (she’s an accountant so her advice is a necessity), but also make Crock Pot freezer meals!!! We’ll be making Hawaiian chicken, Beef Burritos, Garlic Honey Chicken, Teriyaki Pork Chops, and Chicken Fajitas. I really hope they turn out well; I’m SO excited to start using my Crock Pot so I can work late and still have a delicious meal to come home to.

  • I’m picking up Craig’s dog Jack tonight or tomorrow!!! He is the most cuddliest dog in the world and I’m so excited for him to live with us. Craig’s sister said he barked every time the outside door opened when she brought him over the other day, so I really hope he gets used to apartment life and doesn’t hate it. Our apartment community is extremely pet friendly, so I think he’ll be ok :)

  • I cooked a bunch of things for the first time this week, including Italian chicken in the toaster over, baked teriyaki/brown sugar salmon, brussels sprouts, and broccoli. I know, weird that I’ve never cooked that stuff until now (or at least in that particular way), but it all turned out delicious! Craig isn’t a big fan of brussels sprouts, but I’ll keep trying until I find a way to cook them that he likes.

  • I get to pick up my anxiety meds today! Yea, usually not so exciting, but it’s extremely exciting when I’ve been without them for an entire week :P

  • I get to see all my BFFs on Sunday for the super bowl! I feel like I haven’t seen them at all in the last few weeks (when was the last time I saw them?), so I’m really happy we finally get to spend some time together.

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Happy Friday, y’all!

2.1.13

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