9.18.2014

Thoughts on Thursday: Half Marathon Training Update

Thoughts for Thursday

We are coming into the home stretch with training (the half is on October 26th), and the last few weeks have really thrown me off my game.

I was able to get a strong 6 mile run in while we were in Chicago, and from there, it went downhill. After being sick for close to two weeks, I feel like I've taken 3 large steps backwards. I snuck in a few runs here and there, but my pace is off and I am literally wiped out to the core after they're over.


Yoga and Boot Camp (Burn60 for LA locals) have been far and few between too, and this first week back at them has kicked my ass.
Running Motivation - Your body can stand almost anything. It's your mind that you have to convince.

This is my first full week back to training, and then I've got to attempt 8 miles on Saturday, which I'm not looking forward to. Overall, I really have enjoyed the routine of the training schedule, but as the miles keep building, so does my anxiety.

I know with 100% confidence that I'll be finishing that damn half in October, so I'm trying not to let my pace or finish time creep into my worries. Just finishing is going to be a huge accomplishment for me, so I'm trying to focus on that, and not stress if I have to walk for miles.
"It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop." -Confucius

9.17.2014

It's Fall Somewhere...Chicken Tortilla Soup

Yea, it's 100 degrees here, but my A/C is crankin' and I'm ready to add soups and chili's back into our rotation, so I went for it.

I found this inspiration recipe on Pintrest, but followed it rather loosely, and came up with some bomb results.

Enjoy!
 



The Goods
Olive Oil
1 Yellow Onion
Minced Garlic
1 jalapeƱo, diced
1 (32 oz) carton chicken broth
Strong shakes (1-2 tablespoons?) of chili powder, cumin, paprika, salt & pepper
1lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 cans diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 1/3 cups milk
1/4 cup butter
1/4 Flour
2 can pinto beans Next time I would do 1 pinto and 1 black
1 can corn
1 cup of milk You could do cream as well


Directions

1. Dice onion and jalpeno, then sautee in olive oil and garlic for 3 minutes

2. Add chicken broth, chicken breasts whole, and all of your seasonings. Bring to a boil and then let pot simmer for 15 minutes (or until chicken is cooked).

3. Take the chicken out with tongs, and add in the 2 cans of diced tomatoes.  
 

4.  In a small pot, melt your butter and slowly add flour while continually whisking. You will get a dough-y roux. At that point, slowly add your 1 1/3 cup of milk. You'll get a creamy, thick gravy that will thicken your soup.
   

5. Add the roux into the soup and stir continuously for 5 minutes. Break up all of the roux. Dice/Shred your cooled chicken and add to the soup. Then add your beans, corn, and 1 cup of milk. I also added a heavy splash of Sriacha.

The soup is ready to eat, but the longer you let it sit, the better. We waited about 3 hours and it was divine.


9.16.2014

Work Wear

Being back in the office for three days this week gave me an opportunity to pull out a few of my favorite work pieces, which was a nice change of pace.

And even though I'm just dying to start pulling out my boots, scarves and layers, the weather in LA is insanely hot - with no end in sight. The last few days have reached almost 100 degrees so I'll be rocking my summer clothes for the foreseeable future.

Work It Girl


 Monday
Jcrew blouse, AG jeans, RL sandals

 Tuesday
Anthropologie t-shirt, RL jeans, RL sandals, RayBan shades

 
Wednesday
old Express blouse, Loft skirt, TB wedges

Thursday
H&M button down, Gap jeans, KS earrings, Toms Wedges 

 
Friday
 DVF dress & TB Wedges




9.15.2014

Weekend Report

These last few weeks have pushed me off my comfortable routine and a lot of things fell by the wayside as a result; blogs, workouts, dinners, showers... ;)

After being sick, my new boss came into town last week and it was all hands on deck- which left me all sorts of exhausted by the time I got home each night. 

By the time Friday night finally showed up, I couldn't have been more ecstatic to do absolutely nothing. We cooked dinner at home both Friday and Saturday night, watched football for 10 hours, and never had a legit plan all weekend - it was glorious. 

This week I need to right my sails, and get back to the grind. Three weeks off has me feeling anxious and out of sorts and I'm ready to feel back in control. 

But, lets be real-
For reals 

9.09.2014

5 Things You Should Probably Do...today.

1. Buy Big Little Lies - assuming that you have already read and loved The Husbands Secret (...cough, cough Claire!). I cannot put this book down. Just like The Husbands Secret, I lose hours behind this book before I realized what has happened. With The Husbands Secret I literally woke up in the middle of the night wanting to read it and Big Little Lies hasn't let me down.




2. Just jump for the fall hoopla - I tried to stay tough; at least until the official fall season, but screw it. The Octoberfest tastes too good, I love seeing my fall decor, and I love any excuse to have some candy corn and pumpkin flavored M&Ms.
I've picked MY punkin ♥ 



3. Try Perrier Lime - I am a LaCroix addict - no doubt - but Costco was out of LaCroix, so I had to switch gears and give Perrier Lime a try. Don't tell my old favorite - but I might almost like it better. I like the slim can.... they feel fancy.... and overall they have just a touch more lime flavor than the LaCroix. It's been a refreshing switch.


4. Stop forgetting about FaceTime - it really is so much better than a phone call, so I'm not sure  it always slip my mind to use it? I feel so much closer to home when I can actually see home and the people there, so I'm upping my FaceTime usage stat.

Best friends


5. Start a gratitude journal - In between Big Little Lies, I'm reading The Magic, and it's powerful. If you decide that the entire book is fantastical and silly (and you may), at least it will wake you up to how UNgrateful you've probably been living. I was literally moved to tears during a chapter encouraging you to thank your senses for doing what they do. No joke. If you're reading this, your blessed, and it can't hurt to thank God, Allah, The Universe or whoever else might be listening. #blessed #promiseIwontusethathashtagagain #butweare
Free Gratitude Journal




Anything I should try??

9.08.2014

Weekend Recap

I'm actually happy to see Monday because after a week of this nasty cold, turning the page on dayquil, nyquil, and lots of kleenx, sounds just about wonderful.

Last week laid very low (my fitbit saw a max of 4,000 steps a day) so by Friday I was anxious to put on makeup and go out for a bit. We went out to Mastro's Ocean Club in Malibu to celebrate our friend Kristin's birthday. 

 

I love pretty much every Mastro's that I've been to, but the Ocean Club in Malibu is by far the best I've seen. You walk right into only ocean views, and the decor is the exact opposite of a dark steak house (which I can't stand). 

  

We ended up not making a reservation and got there early enough to put our names in for a high top in the bar which turned out perfect. We had martini's, listened to great live music, shared a seafood tower, and ended the night with their famous and mind-blowing butter cake.


Saturday was like my perfect version of a day. Joel made chili, we watched football all day, and I set out my first round of fall decorations. 



My cousin Erin just moved to LA from Chicago to move in with her boyfriend, and I couldn't be more excited to have her. Danny, her boyfriend, had a few friends and family at their new house to give her a surprise "welcome to LA" party, so we stopped over there for a few hours and a few glasses of champagne.

 

 Having her just 10 minutes away is going to be a game changer. It already feels different knowing she is just a phone call away. We used to be neighbors in Chicago, and now, 3 years later, here we are neighbors again in LA. It's crazy how life turns out. 

On Sunday I went for a 4 mile hike with my girlfriend Shelby. I probably pushed it a little bit too much because the hike was super hot and super dry, and when I got home I felt like I had climbed Mount Everst. 

Most of our weekend was spent on the couch, doing what we do best, and besides not feeling 100%, it was the perfect kick off weekend to what is sure to be an amazing fall season!

 
life doesn't have to be perfect...

9.05.2014

Friday Five

:::1:::
nap.
The price I pay for all of that fun I had in Chicago? A cold.
It was still worth it, but every time I go to Chicago, the only souvenir I bring back is a damn cold. I think my body is very used to my schedule; working out, eating somewhat well, going to sleep early, etc...that 6 days of the opposite sends me into a tailspin.

:::2:::
Hello September. http://momitforward.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/fall-wine-bottles.jpg
I am happy to see the summer months behind us. For some reason, I just wasn't into summer this year. Who knows why, but I for one cannot wait to embrace all things fall! It's still hot here, and will be for most of September, but football is back and it will soon be socially acceptable to start breaking out the fall decorations!

:::3::: 
'The real gift of gratitude is that the more grateful you are, the more present you become.' - Robert Holden #Gratitude
Personally, there is a lot going on in my life behind the scenes. Some good, some bad, and everything in between. Whenever things start to feel way out of my control, I try to find ways to center my thoughts. My anxiety can get the best of me, so I really have to practice positive thinking. Right now I'm in the middle of The Magic, and it's been a really helpful way to focus on all of the good things and keep my energy positive. 


:::4::: 
 ..
Joel and I are going to New York in October, and we will only be there for a few nights so I'm collecting restaurant reccomendations. My girl Mallory has been a huge help (Joel's front runner's are Spice Market and The Spotted Pig) but I thought I'd see if you all had any favorites in the city? One night will be just Joel and I and then other night we are looking for something a little more casual to go to with his brother and sister-in-law. Throw your recs my way!!


:::5:::
basic contour tutorial from our #nyxfaceawards sponsor @lulusdotcom
 I am about the oppisote of a make-up pro, but my sister Nellie did my makeup for me on Saturday night for the wedding, and she preached the wonders of a highlighter brush.  I don't like to wear a lot of product on my face besides a light highlighter, but this bad boy was amazing. I tried to find it at CVS with no such luck, so I'm hunting down Target next week to add it to my collection. 

She also said I'm in need of new brushes, liquid eyeliner pen, and better eyeshadow. 
I figure if my hot soroity-going, 21 year old sister says it's a must, it's probably a must.


Have a great weekend!
...patience.

9.03.2014

Chicago Recap

Disclaimer: You may need about 14 hours to get through this
 
 
 
Tuesday
As soon as I got into the airport, my flight was delayed two hours. I was flying business on Virgin America so I was lucky to get access into their lounge. I had a few mimosa's, free wi-fi, a little breakfast, and then walked to the plane with Mr. Josh Groban. 

We were off to a good start.

Once I landed I took a cab into the city to celebrate Sara and Sean's engagement. I had planned to take them out to dinner, but instead, Sean cooked us a delicious dinner at their house and then Sara and I went out for a drink in Old Town.

We walked back to her place, put on our matching PJs and talked in bed like the good old days. 

Normally when I get time to see my girlfriends in Chicago it's such a production that we don't get a chance to just laugh and relax, so this was a nice treat.


Wednesday
I took the train from the city back home to my parents in Crystal Lake. My mom had to run some errands so we spent most of the morning shopping and running around.

When we got home, we went and took a look at the lot that my parents just bought in our neighborhood. They are closing on it this week, and will start building the new house as soon as they can. It's going to be their dream house, and I'm just so excited to have it built.


We had dinner at the country club, which is my favorite place in CL. We've basically spent our entire lives there growing up with swim lessons, or tennis, or whatever and every time I'm home I have to go back. I love running into all of my parents friends, catching up with the waitresses that I've known for 15 years, and ordering all of my old favs; duckhorn wine and filet mingon!


We went home pretty early, hung out with Haley (my parents pup, who is also a cockapoo like Roscoe) had some more wine, and went to bed pretty early.



Thursday 

My mom and I walked the lake in the morning, and then went to starbucks and the nail place. I got my nails done in LA, but they let me sit in their massage chairs and read a magazine while my mom was busy, so I was more than happy.


Thursday night we had a kick-off wedding party for my cousins Dan and Mikie. The weather held out long enough for us to all hang outside at their new home - and it was really nice to be able to spend some time with the bride and groom since weddings get so crazy, you never really get a chance to visit with them.



Friday
We decided to head up to the city early since my sister Nellie had driven in from Kentucky and stayed downtown with my other sister Hannah., Joel was on flying in that night as well, so it just made more sense for us to be in the city.

The hotel for the wedding was The Thompson, right in the Gold Coast, which turned out to be a great location - and hotel - for us all to hang out in.  

 

Only my parents attended the rehearsal dinner, so after we saw them off, we went to dinner on our own.

We had a phenomenal dinner at Eduardo's Enoteca on Dearborn and met up with my cousin Amanda, and Hannah's boyfriend Garson.

  
 After dinner we crashed the rehearsal dinner and met up with my cousins, parents, and some friends. 

Joel's flight landed about thirty minutes early, so he was able to meet us and party for a few hours on Friday night which was an added bonus.



 Saturday

The day of the wedding, Joel and I woke up slightly hungover but ready to get in six miles along the Lake Shore. 

 
It has probably been three years, at least, since I've had a run on my favorite trail in the world. The miles go by so fast because there are so many people running and biking on the trail, you get so busy people watching that you forget you're running.  The views aren't bad either.

After our run, we all hung out in my parents suite, ordered a bunch of room service, watched the US open, and just hung out as a family as much as we could.

My sister Nellie did my make-up for the wedding, and by the time we were all ready to go, we had a legitimate photoshoot before anyone was even allowed to pop the champagne.

And you should know, taking pictures with myself and sisters is not fun. We have to take like 1,000 pictures, make sure their perfect, change the lighting, change the filter, instagram it, twitter it, snapchat it, the whole shibang....everyone ends up sweating and self-conscious.

It's exhausting, and the poor guys think we are all nuts, but we got a few some pictures out of the mere 600 we took.
 
 
 
 

We popped a few glasses, and got ready to celebrate Mikie and Danny's wedding. 

 

The mass was at Holy Name, and after they were married, everyone boarded buses and went to the reception at the Saddle and Cycle club just a few miles north. 


We had so much fun at the wedding - it's just a blast being with all of my cousins, dancing, drinking, and being together. I've never missed living in Chicago as much as I do right now.

 


 





Sunday

I think we got into our rooms on Saturday night at like quarter to three, so after sleeping in a little and having brunch we said goodbye to Hannah and Garson, and made a quick trip over to my cousin Nick's new home to celebrate his twin's 3rd birthday.

   
They loved all the fun toys my mom got them, and it was nice to see all of my cousins from the other side, even though it was only for a few hours. 


When we finally got back into Crystal Lake, Joel and I only had two requests; deep dish pizza and some damn good wine.

 

Both were accomplished and both were DAMN good. Everyone hung out for as long as we could hang and then pretty much passed out as soon as our heads hit the pillows.


Monday
Monday we spent most of the day with Joel's Parents and his brother Jake, sister Lauren, and two kids Luke and Gracie. I think I was so nearly out of it come Monday that I didn't have the energy to take any more pictures - and they were such sweet moments that I wish I had captured.

Luckily we have a Shields New York City trip planned in October, so I'll have lots of time to make up for it! 

We flew home late Monday night, were home by 9, and are clearly still recovering from the roller coaster trip we were just on.



----

My LA friends should stop reading now.....

....because, holy cow did I leave my heart in Chicago. That city is my home, and there is just no denying it. My family, my life, my soul....it's in Chicago and it was like a knife in my heart to leave yesterday. There is just nothing like home, and I really, really miss it. 

Life just doesn't work out for us right now to move back (read: right now) so in the meantime, I'm thankful for airplanes and skype and long-distance delivery Lou Malnait's.