Sunday, July 31, 2011

Day 212 - Dynamite

In efforts to expand my taste palette, today I tried Dynamite Sushi Rolls. They were okay, but I was expecting much more fire and spice. I am a hot sauce and spice fanatic, so while these had a bit of a "bite", they failed to fire up my taste buds to the proper temperature. These dynamite duds score just two out of five stars for me.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Day 211 - Schoolmarm

I told a client today, who has a dog reactive dog, that he would fail the CGC (Canine Good Citizenship) test based on his dog's behavior. While it is the cold hard truth based on facts, it was probably one of the hardest and scariest things I've had to say to someone in the training world. His dog is not mean, or evil. His dog is a big mush of a sweetheart, but doesn't quite know how to play well with others. I don't know that I've ever told anyone such negative news, but I can only hope it was received in a manner prompting more diligent training and work with his pet. I feel like an evil schoolmarm. Ugh.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Day 210 - Groceries

I finally did it. I went where no Lynn has gone before. I stepped foot in the much feared, Whole Foods. That's right, Whole Foods grocery store. Why was it scary you ask? Because I was afraid I'd spend my entire paycheck shopping there!

An impromptu, after dinner walk lead me right in front of the bright green sign that screamed, COME INSIDE LYNN. Okay, well it really said the store's name, Whole Foods, but no matter. The green neon reeled me in and before I knew it, I was elbow deep in the frozen fish freezer. Add two chipotle salmon burgers to the cart followed by organic strawberries, lavender incense for relaxing, Greek yogurt for snacking, and a magazine for reading. I refused to stop in any given aisle for too long, as I was afraid my shopping cart would grow arms and start picking out it's own items for purchase.

I quickly headed to the check out, limiting myself to the few items mentioned above as I figured "10 items or less" was a good amount for a first time purchase. I can't wait to go back, I think spicy chicken sausage is the next major item up for purchase followed by fruit, Kashi pizza, Pop Chips, wine and...

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Day 209 - Betty

I am a closet Golden Girls fan. Okay, well maybe it's not that much of a secret at this point in my life, but I'm sharing it at risk of being ridiculed for liking a "bunch of old farts". The funny thing is, the Golden Girls really have a young sense of humor, and due to syndication, the show's fan base continues to grow and boasts that the average viewer is in their mid twenties! With that statistic, it stands to say that these old broads, or very talented writers, or both, sure know how to give a timeless performance. You don't have to be old to enjoy the show!

I personally don't watch that much TV as I'm not home often (other then maybe Sundays), but when I am home in the late evening, you can bet my TV is set to the Lifetime channel, watching the much repeated (and memorized) episodes of my favorite gals. In addition, I not only own the complete series on DVD, but I "watch" the DVD's at night in order to unwind and fall asleep. It's hard these days to fall asleep without my girls on the TV/DVD player timer.

I can't say I have one favorite Golden Girl, because I feel like I identify with all of the characters at one time or another, but if I had to pick an individual actress that I admire most from the show, it'd be Betty White. Her zest for life, and convictions and passion to stand by what she believes in is awe-inspiring. Even more so, I hope I'm as active and effective at the age of 83 as she is!

I am currently reading Betty's most recent book, "If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won't)" and it's awesome! The quick reading book allows you a glimpse into the authentic Betty White (with tons of great photos!), and offers some great life advice. It's an enjoyable read and comes highly recommended, by me of course!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Day 208 - Pier

Yep, I've signed up for yet another event. Can't wait!
Check it out at
Run The Pier.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Day 207 - Stretch

See the little boy's evil smile above? Yeah, that represents my boss. See the Stretch Armstrong doll? That's pretty much me during the Monday through Friday business hours.

PS) I just realized I was really on post 207, but dated this post #206. I see that on day 186 and 187, that I labeled both posts "Day 186". That was a fun little blog clean up project!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Day 206 - MMOM

1. What do you put on your hot dog?

Being a self-claimed hotdog fanatic, I am all about the traditional Chicago dog! (And, I do own the book below!)

2. What is your favorite vegetable?
Hmm, just one? Squash (with green beans and potatoes coming in 2nd and 3rd)

3. Do you color your hair?
Not at the moment, but am contemplating red.

4. Do you snore?
At timezzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

5. Waffles or pancakes?
PANCAKES!!! I love sourdough blueberry pancakes, and banana ones, too!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Day 205 - 10K

Want to know how to drive your downstairs neighbor nuts? Sign up in a step program at work where your challenge is to walk at least 10,000 steps, or 5 miles per day. Of course, it's not the challenge that will drive your neighbor nuts, rather your execution of it. What do I mean? Well, for the past 3 years I've been afraid to do any heavy/active workout video or game playing (Wii console) because I didn't want to stomp all over my floor, which is someone elses ceiling. I've tried to be considerate of the noise I create as I never know what my neighbor's sleep pattern might be, but give me a challenge that I'm dead set on obtaining, and that sure goes out the window!

Picture it. I arrive home after a long day and look down at my pedometer to read, "9,320" steps. What? I need 10,000!!! Now, let the jogging in place while I brush my teeth begin! This of course opens the doorway to jog in place while I pack my gym bag as well. These two activities only add another few hundred steps, so it's at this point I decide to run circles around my living room. Did I mention that it was after eleven o'clock, at night? Said circular running activity of course leads my two cats to scatter to the dining room and look on from afar, assessing that I've obviously gotten into their catnip. After twenty laps or so, I go back to the bedroom and jog in place while unmaking the bed (yes, I actually make mine, most days!) and upon finally looking down see the magic number, "10, 020". YES! Mission accomplished! Hopefully there's no permanent damage to the neighbor or my cats!

Why 10K a Day?
•Every minute of walking can extend your life by 1.5 to two minutes.
•Helps manage weight
•Decreases risk of heart attack
•Lowers your risk of stroke
•Boosts good cholesterol
•Lowers stress levels
•Improves sleep

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Day 204 - Wii

While Zumba is not new for me, playing the Zumba dance game on the Wii is! I read some poor reviews of the game stating it had little to no instruction, but decided to tackle it anyways. While I know I am not the most graceful (nor skilled) Zumba dancer, I had a blast (once I figured out I had to put the remote in it's holster AFTER starting the game). You definitely need to watch the screen for cues from your instructor as there aren't any voice commands to tell you what to do, but if you're remotely familiar with Zumba, or dare I say use the tutorials to learn the steps, you should be successful. I can't wait to challenge myself and take on some of the harder "classes" in the game. If you're thinking about buying this game, go for it and, "join the party!".

Friday, July 22, 2011

Day 203 - Bionda

Today I was taken captive, and forced to eat at the Italian eatery, Cafe Bionda. OK, so I wasn't really taken captive, nor was I force fed. Rather, I was picked up by my main squeeze for a late night dinner date. But didn't my opening line sounded so much more captivating?

Sadly, I was having a very bad "neck and shoulders" day, meaning my shoulder muscles were painfully tight, causing my neck to mis-align, resulting in a lovely tension headache so upon arriving at the overly crowded and noisy restaurant, I was a bit overwhelmed. Anticipating that our table would be ready in 25 minutes, we sat at the very loud bar and I thought, "doesn't anyone use their inside voice anymore?". In less then 5 minutes, we were thankfully rescued and seated at a semi-quiet and private table. I couldn't decide what to order, and took more time to choose my dinner then it did to get seated, or even drive to the restaurant for that matter! I finally settled, with some help from the waiter, on the Gnocchi. The pasta included spicy crumbled sausage, peas and mushrooms in a tomato cream sauce. I wasn't sure if I'd like it, but at this point, I didn't care and just needed to order something.

As I sipped on my Pinot Noir, my shoulders started to relax and I started enjoying the evening, and more so, my company. After half a glass, my Gnocchi arrived. I wasn't quite sure what to think of the mixed concoction but took one bite and was in love. My date had served me well, and well, so did the waiter! If you're in the Chicago area, I'd highly recommend Bionda's - try it out!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Day 202 - Crow

Today, I had to eat some. It wasn't bad, but not a dish I want to repeat.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Day 201 - Goulash

Yep, I'm at posting day number TWO HUNDRED AND ONE and I'm writing about goulash. Not to say it's not pertinent to my blog, but you'd think on such a grand number of a post, I'd have something a little more inspirational to share, other then goulash.

By definition goulash is "a European soup or stew of meat and vegetables (especially onion) seasoned with paprika and other spices". Despite a tame description, it's gross looking. See today's lunch pictured below. See what I mean? Gross, right?

Now, granted a cellphone picture doesn't help make the scary menu item any more appealing, however, the color is not that far off. Despite a most definite lack of visual appeal, I ordered up the goulash as it was one of the healthier items on the lunch menu for today. "Here goes nothing", I thought to myself. Once I sat down and lifted fork to mouth, I must admit I was pleasantly surprised. The turkey and basil marina complemented the noodles quite well. I could have done without the over cooked green peppers, but ehh, not bad for a first goulash! So, lesson for today..."Try it, you might like it!"

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Day 200 - Spin

I was afraid, very afraid, of taking the resident spin class here at work. And now, after the fact, I know why. I am not sure what shade of purpley-red described my face upon completing the class, but I'm sure I could make millions if I sold it to Crayola. Upon arrival, the petite and innocent instructor showed me all the "ins and outs" of bike adjustments and seemed helpful. That was, until she turned into Spin Demon and yelled as she mounted her bike, "Today's going to be a lot of climbs!". Umm, "Okay", I thought to myself, "I can do a few of those". In retrospect, the entire class was "climbing".

To those of you that have not had the privilege of taking a spin class, climbing is made up of 3 basic positions, all while adding increased resistance to your bike. Position 1) jogging. This is you standing up on the pedals, and pedaling. Position 2) is much like position one, but you are now huddled over your handle bars, leaning over the front of the bike. And position 3 is hovering over the seat, but remaining off of it, while leaning over the handlebars. Sounds like fun, doesn't it? And did I mention, increased resistance? Don't forget to, "Give me 2 full turns!" of resistance, too. Ouch! And I thought my butt would be sore from sitting on the tiny, non-existent seat? Boy was I wrong! I don't think my butt ever saw the seat except on warm up and cool down.

I thought it was a bit unnecessary at the beginning of class to have every bike draped with a towel. As if I'd get THAT sweaty? Half way through class, I got off my bike to get the towel that had fallen off my handlebars in efforts to wipe down my soaked face and neck, I didn't care the towel had been on the floor, I needed it! It was at that moment I thought, I really could have used one of those fat, sport headbands that were so popular in the 80's.

As class drew towards a close, I dismounted the evil torture device and stretched. And then stretched some more, hoping that my face would return to some normal shade of pale before leaving the classroom. No such luck. Me and the sweat soaked workout clothes walked out of the spin room with legs of jello, but a cleared mind and a happy heart. I can't wait to go back again!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Day 199 - MMOM

1. What are you wearing right now?
A camouflage t-shirt from a boot camp program I (kinda) participated in, and my favorite black, 13 year old, raggedy "Sharka" shorts from Hawaii that I can't bring myself to part with. They're still holding up!

2. Do you have any freckles?

3. What is your favorite Lifesaver flavor?
Whatever the red ones are, is it cherry?

4. What is the last movie you saw in the theater?
Larry Crowne, I loved it! Tom Hanks was so cute!

5. Would you rather live without TV or without music?
Without music! I admit it'd be a long car ride, and quiet exercise sessions, but even though I don't watch it that often, I need TV. Yes, I medically need it to unwind and forget about all the serious stuff going on in the world. I should have a prescription for it.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Day 198 - Mia and Buddha

Today two quotes popped up and I had to put them in my blog. The first one is from the movie, "The Princess Diaries". Ann Hathaway's character, Princess Mia, reads a letter written by her father. In hopes of encouraging her rise to royalty, he writes:

"Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever, but the cautious do not live at all."

Isn't this what my blog is all about? Over come fear, and live your life to the fullest? And in case you ever feel that, at the end of the day, you haven't quite accomplished what it is you thought you should have, Buddha stated:

“Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.”

So forget the past, and keep the focus on the new, freshly born day. Live in the moment, and enjoy. I must thank God and the universe for reminding me of these great messages today! Got any great quotes you want to share, please comment.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Day 197 - Input

Wanting to keep on track with my goal of participating in one active event per month, I've been researching ideas all year. While choices seemed quite lean for August, I seem to have no problem finding an event to participate in for September. Rather, September seems to offer too many events to choose from that conflict with each other. What to do? Hopefully by the time I finish this post and get all my thoughts out on cyber-paper, I can come to a decision. I'm not against comments with input and votes, please help! The events I have in mind for September are:

Sunday September 18th - Century Bike Ride (50 miles)
This is a ride close to home, that would stretch my biking skills and let me see parts of the state of IL that I probably haven't seen before, or at least not by bike!

Sunday September 18th - Run the Pier - (1 mile run/walk)
This is a short event, but takes place at one of my favorite Chicago attractions, Navy Pier. Who gets to do this? I love Navy Pier, and getting to do something totally new there would be very cool.

Sunday September 25th - Apple Cider Century Ride (50 miles)
This would be a girls weekend road trip to Michigan, and would be pretty cool. The ride would be the same length that I could do in IL the weekend prior, but this trip could include winery tours, and definitely experiencing something new, somewhere new.

Sunday September 25th - Run For Their Lives 4K
This event benefits the animal rescue group, PAWS, or Pets Are Worth Saving. Working with pets endears this event to my heart.

Sunday September 25th - Brookfield Zoo Run Run 5K

This would be my second zoo event, as I annually participate in the Lincoln Park Zoo run. The proceeds benefit the Chicago Zoological Society and of course, helps animals!

After reviewing my options above, I've highlighted what are my leading choices in purple. While I seem to have the weekend of the 18th decided upon, I'm still up in the air for the 25th. I am sure time will reveal if I stay home and benefit pets, or road trip it to Michigan. Your thoughts and input are welcome!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Day 196 - Mud

- Dirty Girl Mud Run -

Okay, this should count for two scary things, because I am freaked out that I signed up for this, but so excited! The August non-competitive 5K course includes 11 military obstacles that include, but are not limited to, a water pit, wall climb, cargo net climb, and of course, a mud pit! I am grateful I was able to register for this event as the Wisconsin event was initially full, but had additional last minute openings today. As usual, wish me luck and... I see a lot of upper-body weight training in my future!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Day 195 - 1/4 LB

My fear today? That eating a much desired McDonald's Quarter Pounder with Cheese, fries and a Coke would make my pants fit a little more snug. If anything came of yesterday's post, it's that life's too short. So I ate that greasy, cheesy burger and enjoyed and savored every moment!


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Day 194 - Here

It's taken me days of over thinking and editing of this post before I finally thought it was worthy of the person who inspired it. I can't say it's perfected yet, but I am truly at a loss for words. My biggest concern? How will this post inspire me, or any reader, in the way I want it to?

I received grave news about a co-worker and friend today. When the news of failing health (hopefully this is temporary) for someone so young, vibrant and just plain good finally sunk in (about 10 hours later), I cried. Of course I was immediately upset when I first heard "Flight for Life" and "ICU", but had to carry on with the work day. You know the drill, the "show must go on". Despite initial shock and sadness, my immediate thought was, "What the hell am I doing here?". I think this was the most honest, unfiltered thought I've ever had, and more so, a moment of clarity.

What the hell am I doing here? Here at this place of work that does not inspire me, here on this Earth in general, and here in my own body - what am I doing? I can list the things I do in hopes to justify my time on this planet, and I can spout off work accomplishments, but if my heart isn't happy, what does any of that matter? How do I live my best life? I found the following advice on line and thought I'd share.

Accept your mistakes
Accept your friends mistakes
Create a new habit
Build self discipline
Make new friends
Get a new job
Start a new diet
Keep a journal
Create and keep a morning phrase
Travel far away from your home
Learn to take risks
Start your own business
Change your work space
Learn a new language
Find reasons to agree
Pay yourself first
Wake up early
Train your focus
Write an e-book
Be better, not perfect
Stop self sabotage
Find reasons to love your life
Try something new
Avoid fighting
Stop wasting your power
Learn to ignore
Offer gratitude
Recycle your aggression (into something better, like a workout!)
Release your guardians (or shut up that voice in your head that says you can't do something!)
Clean up your house
Write a personal mission statement
Dissolve negative opinions about yourself
Build different skills
Manage your time as you manage your money
Be a parent (do pets count?)
Throw away one object a day from home
Read a book per week
Start a monthly challenge
Call an old friend
Follow a coincidence
Play a game
Forgive somebody out of the blue
Stop solving the wrong problems
Make peace with an old enemy
Make a promise to a close person and keep it
Break up with a person you don't really like
Get a thing you wanted for a long time
Stop being judgmental
Change your wardrobe
Smile at least 10 times a day
Burn some old memories
Plant a tree
Move to another town or country
Join a new group
Stop watching TV (I failed at this!)
Start a totally unexpected hobby
Randomly hug a stranger on the street
Set up a surprise party
Go hiking
Get a pet
Write a thank you letter
Meditate daily
Say something nice to someone
Say something nice to you
When in doubt, improvise
Stop faking your life
Define goals
Help others
Be social
Spend time alone
Fix something by yourself
Create value
Do a random act of kindness
Slow down
Understand what people want from you
Break an old habit
Stop complaining
Reject what you don't want
Being is better than having
Listen to your critics
Don't take it personally
Go with passion
Trust your emotions
Live like it's a holiday
Make your life a story
Stop being a follower
Watch your beliefs
Stop lying
Stop reacting to stuff (and act on it instead!)
Live today
Expect the unexpected
Make your own rules
Get rid of labels
No regrets

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Day 193 - Class

Tonight was my first night of ASL (American Sign Language) class. Needless to say I went, as I wouldn't have anything to write about in this post if I didn't, but I was truly afraid to go! And to make matters worse, as registration for class was the "night of", this meant I wasn't committed to going as I hadn't prepaid. Of course, this only helped me feel more comfortable about potentially backing out but after much debate about cost, and thinking "there's always next semester", I forced myself to go.

I didn't think much of the dilapidated building that looked like an ignored relic from the 60's, and I was even more unimpressed when the teacher advised us that if we had to go to the bathroom, it'd be better to use the gas station down the street. What had I gotten myself in to for the next ten weeks? But as the saying goes, it's "what's on the inside that counts", right?

Thankfully on the inside, was one of the most amazing teachers I've ever met. Sarcastic and very opinionated, but so fun, energetic and passionate about what she does, Jennifer made the night fly by. And to top it off, she can teach. I've met quite a number of people that love what they do, but can't share it, so to meet a teacher that can actually teach and convey what it is they are passionate about is beyond refreshing to me (especially after my last drawing class/teacher fiasco - ugh)!

Across from me sat another student named Lynn, and when I hogged the purple marker to make my name plate, she complained that it was her favorite color, too! After name tags, introductions were given and the background of people and the reasons they were attending only made class all the more interesting. My classmates included, but are not limited to, deaf education teachers, people with family members with hearing/medical issues, hobbies, school credit, and even a non-hearing student who can speak fluent English but doesn't feel a part of the hearing or deaf world. It will be interesting to see how each of us learn, and how many of us survive the ten week course, packed with 50-60 new vocabulary words a night, and quizzes every week.

The highlights of the night were hearing our teacher's background, meeting new people, and of course diving right in to the sign alphabet and basic vocabulary. So far, I know my letters (mostly) and can count to ten (it's not as easy as it sounds!) and I can even call you dumb AND stupid in ASL (money well spent!). On the drive home, I practiced signing street names, license plates, road signs, and restaurant names. I can only imagine what the people driving next to me thought as I drove with one hand on the wheel while the other hand was just signing away. Hopefully there are no laws against signing and driving!

Of course, who knows where this class will lead me, but as I mentioned during introductions that one of my reasons for attending is so I can better communicate with a doggie client, the teacher mentioned that just as there are seeing eye dogs for the blind, there are trained hearing dogs too. Could I have found my calling that was just waiting for more education? Only time will tell. In the mean time, I've got insults and alphabet letters to study!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Day 192 - MMOM

1. If you had to eat only one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I think I'd either eat breakfast or Taco Bell forever. First, I LOVE breakfast, or at least my home made breakfast wraps which are made up of multi grain wraps, Sriracchi sauce, cheese, eggbeaters, avocado and on occasion, re-fried beans. Secondly, why Taco Bell? Because they are marketing geniuses! They have taken a basic taco and burrito, and continually morph them into new products like gorditas, tortas, Mexican pizzas, etc. I don't think I could ever get bored with Taco Bell! (Darn, now I want a Mexican pizza and a breakfast wrap!!!)

2. Do you write your blog posts in advance or the day you post them?
A mixture of both..

3. Have you ever ridden in an ambulance?
Sadly, yes. The day my father was rushed to the hospital and never came home.

4. What is your favorite candle scent?
Hands down, Macintosh Apple by Yankee Candle. A close second is their Sweet Strawberry, both smell so crisp and fresh!

5. Coffee or tea?
Both, but more often coffee. I love Kona coffee with a hint of French Vanilla creamer. I love sweet tea, but tend to be too heavy handed on the "sweet".

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Day 191 - L.A.T.E.

I participated in the McDonald's L.A.T.E. ride today, well, I guess technically it was yesterday, or actually, both days. The 25 mile ride started late Saturday, but I don't think my wave got released until 2, or 2:30ish Sunday morning. I am typically afraid of the crowds, or more so their lack of following the rider's rules of the road, and their potential to cut me off or cause me to crash. And of course, the 2 miles of unlit lake front trail is pretty scary too, even with a blinding head light.

Amazingly enough, once my group got through the initial launch, we hit quite a few open spots of riding where we could just, all out pedal and ride, it was pretty amazing. We all took turns leading the group through various city neighborhoods and completed the ride in record time. I think we finished the course in about 2 hours, which is great considering all the stop lights, maneuvering through the crowds, and fighting the occasional lost cab that had worked it's way into the biking crowd.

After the ride,we grabbed our breakfast of tea, waffle snacks and yogurt and sat in front of Buckingham Fountain for a well deserved break. Shortly after, we walked our bikes to the car and loaded them up for the ride, let me clarify, the drive home.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Day 190 - 1 to 100

I was amazed and thrilled to see this sign as I exited a parking garage for an impromptu lunch date with a girlfriend. Not only did I do a "scary" thing by accepting an invite to hang out in a city I had (sadly) never been to, but this just seemed like a reminder to try to put more effort into my "scary" events, and get back to the original intention of my blog. While I can't guarantee that my blog will be "personal post" free, I definitely want to put more effort into tackling my fears. I still have quite a list to complete, and the year is half over! With that said, I've made the photo above the wallpaper/background on my phone as a daily reminder to go forth and conquer that ONE thing every day.

So, because I couldn't have been sent a more clear sign to keep doing what it is I'm doing, the next event I'm signing up for is a Century Ride. That's a 100 mile bike ride people. I'm pretty sure my butt will give out before my legs will! I have a lot of training ahead of me for this event, and trust me, attempting a 100 mile ride is SCARY for me! I don't know if I can do it, but I'm sure going to act like I can as I'm a firm believer in "fake it until you make it"! Bravado and a new seat cushion for my bike should take me far! Wish me luck.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Day 189 - Speed

As part of my birthday outing, the boyfriend and I went out on Lake Michigan on a speedboat. While I've been out on the water before, the Sea Dog was quite intimidating as it boasted of it's high speed ride. As I took my seat, I was amazed by the Chicago skyline as usual. I never take the beauty of my city for granted. Never. I love it.

While we waited for the other passengers to board, we insisted on taking the usual self portraits. This was one of my favorites. I love the lights of Navy Pier in the background.

I was more than excited for the ride, until the Captain insisted on everyone buckling their seat belts. Tightly. The adrenaline started to rush and at that moment, I wondered, just how fast were we going to go? And how wet would I get? I documented my safety below.

The ride started, the music started, and I made the boyfriend hold on to me just in case the seat belt failed. I loved feeling absolutely free out on the water, I think the faster we went, the bigger my smile got. I couldn't snag a good picture of the city once we were out on the water, we were going way to fast to take a good photo! That, and the fact that the ride was way too short (I could have stayed out there forever!) is my only complaint about this experience. Talk about doing one thing every day that scares you! Speed boat ride is right up there, and I suggest if you ever get the chance, that you should do the same!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Day 188 - Berfday

So, today I'm officially one year older. I celebrated by getting my bicycle tuned up, a long walk, a short ride, a manicure, flowers, dinner and drinks, and speed boat ride on the lake - not too shabby. As my night unfolded, I kept thinking, what should my "new years resolution" be? I think I kept hoping for some type of epiphany, or a bolt of wisdom that would somehow guide me to live the next year of my life even better, but it never came. So what does one do when they turn a year older?

Sure you can party the night away, but that's not my style. I really want to live the best life I can, and have no regrets at the end of the journey, but how do you achieve that? I took the entire week of my birthday off to pamper myself and indulge, and I've done just that, quite successfully I might add. I've allowed myself to sleep in and enjoy
late breakfasts. Formal, 5:30am workouts have have been replaced with leisurely bike rides and a lot of walking (5 miles per day). I think a staycation to celebrate my birthday week has been one of the best things I've ever done to allow for a soul replenishment, but even with all the pampering, spa treatments, and fun, I'm still left questioning, what, if anything, can I change in my life to live better?

I think, if anything, this week has taught me that I do need to indulge once in awhile and take care of myself so I can bring the best "me" to the table. Of course, this isn't really a new revelation, but this is probably one of the first times I've put it to practice and have seen the benefits in action. So what's my plan going forward? Continue my blog, which seems to provide me with goals and new ideas, continue working on improving my health, body and mind, and most of all, just when I think I shouldn't, go ahead and just do it! Whatever it is, go ahead and spend the extra money, get the spa treatment, take the class, buy the shoes, or whatever it is! My parting words and birthday gift to myself... Enjoy life, so others can enjoy you!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Day 187 - Spa Date

Day 4 of my birthday week pampering involved a lunch date with a girlfriend, and a spa date. I got a much needed facial, and she got a much deserved massage. The facial was pure bliss, I could have stayed in the relaxation room all day, and then I wondered, why did I wait so long to do this? I think everyone, male or female, needs to take some type of spa day for themselves!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Day 186 - Hairscut

Why do they call it a hair cut, when you actually get them all cut? Shouldn't it be hairscut? Anyway, I got one today. It will take some learning on how to work with the cut (lots of new layers) and style it, but Amber at Floyd's rocks! After day 3 of pampering myself for my birthday week, I met up with a good friend and we headed to the U2 concert at Soldier Field. Not bad for a Tuesday!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Day 185 - Kicks

Today's birthday pampering included buying new shoes! They're not sexy sandals, but even better! They're my magic running shoes that will take me anywhere I want to go (insert Forest Gump movie clip here). With all the walking and activities I've done this year, and continue to plan on doing, I've really worn down my already over used Asics, and decided it was time to replace them.

Not only have I vowed to participate in some type of event each month such as a 5K run/walk, but I am participating in a 10K a day program at work, where the challenge is to walk at least 10,000 steps, or 5 miles per day. I figured I might as well walk in style! I love the sunburst colors of these shoes, but also, I immediately fell in love with the Ryka brand fit as it is designed specifically for women, and has an angled instep to compensate for the Q angle of the woman's femur and stride.

On a side note, my Asics took their last 11,250+ step walking trip today. I was so thankful to spend the 4th with my boyfriend today, as it was totally unexpected due to his crazy work schedule. We spent the morning catching up with each other's news, and eventually started a trek throughout the city for food, shopping and fun. Even though the Asics have seen me through some awesome miles and will be retired, they will surely stick around until next June, wherein I plan to participate in the Dirty Girl Mud Run and will need an old "friend" to help me get dirty!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Day 184 - Pedi

I have pretty toes again! I faced fear of embarrassment and headed to my favorite local nail shop, Hollywood Nails for some feet TLC. I've neglected my toes (and feet) since February (at least) and thought that since it's July and my feet still haven't seen a sandal or open toe shoe, it was about time to get them peep-toe-pretty! I love Mike, and his mom Nancy, they are the most awesome host/hostesses! Yes, I say host, because this family run shop makes you feel like you're at home.

Mike gave me the scoop on the "going-ons" of the neighborhood, and even helped me choose the right color for my tootsies, which was "You're a Pisa Work" by OPI - I think he was trying to tell me something. Later, during my awesome foot massage, Nancy and other customers served up wine, and spicy guacamole and chips. It was just the right amount of snackage and alcohol to fill the tummy, and lighten my spirits while watching the Cubs actually win a game.

I left the shop a very happy customer, and can't say enough about the royal treatment I received. This is day one of my birthday pampering week, so as the week goes on, you'll read more about the little things I choose to do each day to help me relax, and/or take care of myself. Bring on the birthday fun!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Day 183 - Invite

I went to work, rocked my classes and graduation, and expected to head home for a quiet night in. Instead, I got an impromptu invite for a girls night hang out. Despite feeling blah due to a lingering cough, I said yes, and am so happy I accepted. It wasn't a night out of partying, but rather a great, quiet and relaxing night in with good food and conversation. I really needed that! Sometimes people don't realize how much something so little can mean to another person. Here's to good friends, getting to know them better, and healing the soul.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Day 182 - July!

Where did the year go? It's half over already, and again the end of another month makes me question what have I accomplished, what will I be doing going forward, and fearing the oncoming of winter. To remind myself...

June accomplishments (at least major ones that stand out in my mind):
Continuing to participate in monthly events - Race to the Taste was awesome!!!
Losing 19 pounds and counting
Keeping my orchid, Aretha alive
Traveling to California
Maintaining my blog for 182 days - only 183 to go!

July goals involve, God willing:
Celebrating my birthday
Participating in my first Sign Language class at the Center on Deafness
Enjoying the LATE ride (a 25 mile bike ride through Chicago overnight)
Bastille Day 5K
Spending lots of time with friends and making new ones!

What are you doing this month?