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Confessions of a Runner

Confessions of a Runner

As a runner, someone who attempts to maintain a fit and healthy lifestyle, sometimes you fall off of that wagon. Don’t lie, it happens to the best of us right? So I feel the need to post some confessions, especially since it’s been so long since I’ve updated!

I confess I ate cold pizza for breakfast and then ran 7 miles. See? Balance. Rock it, own it. We’re all human and living means pizza for breakfast sometimes. It’s also called shark week.

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I confess I’ve been so consumed and stressed with this huge project for work, I thank my lucky stars that I don’t stress eat. My stress has now turned against my fat stores and I’ve randomly lost 5lbs. I’m now one bad stomach flu away from my goal weight. #silverlining

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I confess it looks like a bomb went off in my closet. Sports bras and moisture wicking clothing are everywhere. #runnerproblems. Since I HAVE been way too stressed out, I’ve been forcing myself to find the time to workout and get a run in. Sometimes there just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day, but after just one hour of sweating it out, I feel a million times better. Now if only my laundry could just….do itself.

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I confess that I didn’t really freak out when I turned 29 on the 8th. I feel like I’m really satisfied with where I am in my life right now. I feel like just within this past year, I’ve accomplished so much – especially with my career. There’s no question I know the perfect balance of living my adult life and staying in touch with my childhood. See Exhibit A.

I confess that with said birthday gift cards, I only added to my ridiculous collection of running/workout clothes. It’s the best when you can super coupon your birthday promo codes with President’s Day promos. Hollllaaa.

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I confess I use the “oh it’s okay I’ll just run it off” excuse so many times. I got a box of gamble chocolates, a Starbucks giftcard and beautiful roses from the hubs. Can anyone guess which of the three lasted the longest?

I confess I doubled up on cardio each day this weekend because of how nice it was outside. I was running around in a tank on my runs in FEBRUARY. WHAT?! Unheard of in Chicagoland. My bod is just soaking up ALL of that sunshine. Everyone was out walking around, riding their bikes, it was great. Winter, sorry but you can just stay away.

This weekend really was the best. I went out every chance I got and spent time with family. Life is good when you make it a point to stop the chaos and take care of yourself physically and mentally.

Cheers!

Hello 2017

Hello 2017

It’s  a new year. Finally. There’s something so refreshing about feeling like you get a do-over. Like, 2016 while it had a lot of rough moments, a lot of pivotal things happened that were life-changing. I landed a new job that I absolutely love. That in itself is so rewarding. I remember that while we rung in 2016, I told myself that I need to focus on getting a new job. The old gig was getting to be so toxic in every aspect of my life and that is no bueno. If you think about it, you spend most of your time wherever you work. Accepting that new job in March was the best thing I did for not only my mental health, but for my relationship and well-being. But really, did anyone else feel like Ronda Rousey at the end of this match by the end of 2016?

RIP Ronda Rousey

What a great lead-in to recapping my NYE. I started off the day with an amazing boxing class. It’s one of the many reasons why I look forward to my Saturday mornings. While I didn’t pull a Rousey and actually kept my fists up, I went to pivot and as I did, I rolled the shit out of my ankle. I didn’t think it was that bad at first since the pain eventually subsided, but as the day went on and we were out to dinner and listening to some great live music…my foot was THROBBING. I was near tears. So the the night went from this…

to this…

I felt like my whole foot was being squeezed in a vice. It sucked. Way to get one last “fuck you” in 2016. Well-played. Now I can’t even run in this unseasonably warm weather to top it all off. Luckily I did take advantage of it while I could. I just can’t wait until the bruising wears off. Hopefully faster than Mariah Carey’s career after her NYE performance.

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But SO 2017, how about it? Does anyone make New Year resolutions anymore? I read a great article about why this columnist didn’t like resolutions and I can’t help but totally agree. Sure, starting a new year marks a new beginning, and maybe a new you…but does it really have to be the only time when change can happen? If you want to lose weight, be more financially responsible, purge all of this clothes that you’re not wearing in your closet, or improve your life in any way, why wait until December 31st to make that happen? So while we’re all inundated with the Weight Watchers and Match.com commercials, just know that if you recognize that a change needs to be made in your life, there’s no other time than the present to make that happen! Think of it as giving yourself a headstart on everyone else. 😉

Others are against resolutions because they think it’s just setting themselves up to fail. Well that just sounds a little too negative. Make realistic goals for yourself that you know you can achieve if you put some effort in. I.e. cut out eating pizza for breakfast to cut out some cals, save some more money by cutting out some Starbucks visits and making your own coffee at home, donate one bag of clothes each week to Good Will. See? Small changes. They’re easier to digest and less overwhelming. The key is to stay focused. Here is a list of things/goals I have for myself in 2017:

  • Tone up and add more muscle to the bod.
  • Prioritize what I need versus what I want. (I tend to confuse the two a lot.) Do I NEED that $100 sweater? Probably not.
  • Chop my credit card debt in half. This is totally doable as long as I keep myself in check with list item #2.
  • Remove toxic people from my life. (This is always on my list and will remain that way.) I mean, why continue to have them in your life if they’re doing nothing but causing you or others pain/stress? No thank you. Bye, Felicia.
  • Care less about what others think, and focus on YOU.
  • Stress less. Last year was very stressful due to family health concerns. I need to make it a priority to stress less and find ways to lower it. Stress can do some awful things to you and impact your relationships if you allow it. Identifying those things that make you de-stress is key.
  • Renovate. I’d love to make some renovations to the house this year and make this place a little more “us.” Since there was so much we HAD to do before we moved in, it didn’t leave a lot of room for us to make any cosmetic changes.
  • Travel somewhere new. Usually we go on vacation with the hubs’ family to the same place every summer. I would love to go somewhere new in addition to that. There’s plenty of the world I still need to see!!
  • Always keep in mind how blessed I am. This is important. I think a lot of us take what we have for granted. Whenever I’m having a bad day, I remind myself that someone is always there for me, I have a wonderful roof on my head, I have food in the fridge, I love my job, and my family and friends are a great support system when I need them.
  • Reach my reading challenge goal on GoodReads. I unfortunately didn’t even come close to my goal last year, when I usually do. I feel like reading allows me to be a better writer and gets the creative juices flowing. All good things!
  • And finally, START my first book. This is huge. This is the one big thing that is really intimidating to me, but I’ve pushed it aside for so long…I need to start.

Sure I can go on forever about the goals I have set for myself, but this is a good list that will sum up my 2017. Do you have a list you’ve set for yourself? Whatever it may be, go for it. It’s never too late!

Cheers!

Christmas Party Marathoning!

Christmas Party Marathoning!

Christmas went as fast as it arrived! It’s my favorite time of year by far, even with all of the stress that it brings. Every single year I realize how truly blessed I am for the family and friends that are in my life. The hubs’ family celebrates Christmas on Christmas Eve and my family celebrates on Christmas Day so it allows us to spend time with both sides. Let the holiday party marathon begin! We were ready.

 

We didn’t have to prepare much on Christmas Eve, but for my family gathering, I was in charge of the mac and cheese this year…for over 20 people. This is obviously a staple for kids so I could NOT mess this up. When food assignments went out this year, I was shocked to find out that we were assigned an actual food dish (a sign you’re moving up) and really I have no idea how this happened but it did. I mean it’s only mac and cheese, but I’ve never prepared anything for that many people in my life. Suddenly I felt like I was preparing a five-course meal for an army and the whole day relied on the success of my mac and cheese. (Ludacris, I know.)

So I found a crock pot mac and cheese recipe so it would stay warm enough until we got to our destination. Let me tell you, I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown with how this homemade mac and cheese recipe was going. It looked like a milky mess, it was overflowing since my dumbass didn’t consider the capacity of my crockpot in relation to how many servings I was making, and the NSYNC Christmas album blaring through the speakers wasn’t even enough to lower my anxiety. Once I mixed all of the ingredients together, all I could do was cross my fingers and wait for the 3 hours it required to cook. Luckily it actually turned into something that looked like a delicious dish of mac and cheese. Yes, that was a long explanation, but it was completely necessary…I couldn’t be held responsible for being the reason why mac and cheese wasn’t on the menu. It turned out to be a big hit (I’m sure the calorie count topped a million per serving, so how could it not?) Holla.

Now that we mention calories, can we NOT talk about how many calories I drank within the past two days? Okay thanks. My cousin has a mean wine cellar in her basement too so how the hell could I not indulge? Wine cals aside, I did minimize the damage done by the countless Christmas cookies strewn about each house we went to for the Christmas festivities. TRAPS EVERYWHERE. I thanked my lucky stars that my boxing gym was open on Christmas Eve to get one kick ass workout in before all of this started.

They’re easier to avoid though while you’re busy talking with your favorite people, like this guy. #daddysgirlforlife.

One of the family traditions is to have a white elephant type gift exchange where the gift could either be awesome or a dud. My inner coffee-a-holic was screaming when I was lucky enough to score some amazing, specialty coffee complete with an insulated travel mug. #winning.

After the gift exchange we had to party hop on over to my mom’s side of the family to not only celebrate Christmas, but to celebrate my cousin’s birthday who was in from LA. Lucky for her, she didn’t have to experience the -12-degree weather!

More laughs were shared, caught up with family, more food was consumed (including my mom’s homemade Swedish meatballs…YUM) gift exchange #2. By this time, I think Josh and I were both going into a food/wine coma. It’s always so hard to leave family, especially since leaving means that Christmas is over! NOOOO!!! Why can’t this holiday just last forever? Everything is sparkly, and I for one could listen to Christmas music all day everyday.

One of my favorite gifts aside from my handy new laptop from the hubs, (it’s so shiny and pretty), are my new rose gold Nike kicks. My sis hit it BIG with this gift. Give me rose gold everything. I was obsessing over these ever since I saw them and now I have them! EEE! I have the best fam ever.

My other fav gift came from my mom. I’ve been eyeing the Marc Jacobs petal to the medal handbag forEVER. And now, thanks to my WAY too generous mom, this baby is in my closet!

The day after Christmas was spent in max recovery mode, meaning getting a normal amount of sleep and running off those wine cals. Did I mention how I couldn’t put on my running shoes fast enough? It was 50 degrees and sunny in Chicago! Whattt?! It was the best ever.

But now, everyone in the house is all “boo Christmas is over” and Luigi is having some serious post-Christmas blues.

Don’t worry Luigi, one of the perks of having a fake Christmas tree is that we can keep it up until March. Baha! I hope everyone got the chance to enjoy the holidays and spent them with loved ones! Let the holiday detox continue!

Cheers!

 

Give Thanks

Give Thanks

Thanksgiving. I can’t believe the holiday season is officially here! Can you believe it?! I have so much to be thankful for..my friends, family, hubby, my health etc…this Thanksgiving I was especially mindful of everything I hold dear in my life. Forget the Black Friday deals and the buy 2 for 1 crap, I’m talking about the stuff that doesn’t come with a price tag. I.e. the calls you get from your parents to see how things are going, sitting down at the dinner table with family you haven’t seen in a little while, making memories with family and friends and holding onto those things for as long as possible. Last week, I lost my baby Apollo. He was pretty much even more popular than I ever was on any kind of social media platform. He was full of attitude as he was fluffy…I still can’t believe he’s gone. It was so sudden. One day he was fine, and then once we got a hint that something might be wrong, the vet told us that his liver was failing and that it was likely cancer. We had the most difficult decision to make…and that was to put him down. He was in pain and with tests, meds, feeding tubes…he might have been able to live another week. I know he would have hated living like that. It was a decision I didn’t even expect to make years upon years from now. He was still so young. Anyone who’s had or has a furbaby knows that they become part of the family pretty fast. They’re there for you through everything and just keep on loving unconditionally. I miss him so much. I don’t know what’s worse, losing him suddenly or having more time with the same outcome.

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So in light of losing one of our beloved furbabies, Thanksgiving was a day where I really had to take some time out and count my blessings. You never know when someone/something really throws a wrench into your life and you lose something or someone so close to your heart. On Thanksgiving, I had the whole morning to think about everything I was thankful for and did just that during my long run. (In anticipation of the meal that was ahead of me, I threw in some extra miles for good measure). Lucky for me, it wasn’t too windy and the weather was quite nice. By the time I got back, full of sweat, and out of breath, it was time to hydrate and relax while watching the Macy’s Day parade (tradition). Luigi has been kicking it into high gear and making sure he’s been extra snuggly since we lost our Apollo. They were best buds, so it’s been hard for him too I’m sure. But really, how can one NOT laugh at how silly he is? He wins. My heart might be feeling heavy, but it sure is full.

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Running and/or a hardcore gym sesh isn’t just about fitness, sometimes it’s about what it does for your head. It clears it up and kicks those negative thoughts to the curb. I’m a huge advocate of how running is cheaper than therapy. Sad? Go for a run. Frustrated about how a day went at work? Go for a run. Can’t figure out how to solve a problem? Go for a run. Ruined your favorite shirt in the wash? Run fast. Some of my best ideas have come from just sweating it out. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and had the chance to spend some time with their loved ones over some delicious turkey, stuffing, one too many dinner rolls and of course some pumpkin pie. I heard somewhere that the average person eats  over 4,200 calories on Thanksgiving…just some food for thought, not the stomach. Spread the love and make memories.

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The Holidays = The Anti-Fitness Blog Post

The Holidays = The Anti-Fitness Blog Post

I’m not about to sugarcoat this post (pun intended) with how I avoided all of Christmas cookies, wine and my aunt’s famous lasagna…because…well I didn’t. Oops. I did however kee up with my workouts and runs so the damage wasn’t as bad as it could have been. Also, I kept up the Christmas spirit despite this crazy, warm weather by jamming out to Nsync’s Christmas album during my runs. Don’t judge. #90schild.

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It’s really hard to find an excuse not to go for a run when it’s been in the 50’s in DECEMBER. Ummm I live in Chicagoland right? I’ve been really lazy about foam rolling so that’s the only reason why my mileage has been suffering for the past couple of weeks. If every mile was a Christmas cookie…I’m definitely coming up short. I’ll own up to it. I ate many of these cookies. And I liked it. I liked it A LOT.

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I also managed to find the highly coveted blonde roast holiday blonde at Starbucks. This blue bag of amazingness is IMPOSSIBLE to find and I just so happened to come across a bag. Merry Christmas to me!!

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This Christmas was both really hard and really special this year. It was hard because Christmas was celebrated for the first time without my cousin and really special because it’s his passing that made everyone really appreciate the holidays and spending them with family. I’m always so bummed when the holiday season is over. I never get enough time with my extended family. I think with 2016 coming around the corner, that needs to change.

I also love watching my fam open up their gifts that I got them too though. We spent Christmas Eve with his side of the family and Christmas Day with my family. My hubs and family definitely get me too. I scored some gift cards to feed my Starbucks and reading addictions, wireless powerbeats and an amazing pair of InkNBurn running tights. Oh and ummm Vegas 2016 hellloooo!

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The wireless powerbeats are also going to be SO amazing on my runs and working out. The sound quality is amazing and I can say goodbye to wires smacking me in the face!

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Oh and let’s not forget about how my hubs got me the single best Christmas sweater EVER.

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These gifts had me BEGGING to go out for another run asap. But not before more Christmas celebrating with my side of the fam. By the time we were done, we were exhausted, full of wine and too much food.

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However before I got to enjoy my new running tights…at approximately 4 a.m. the following morning…my body decided to come down with the stomach flu. I guess my body just decided to get rid of all the extra calories I consumed over the holidays all at once. Thanks? Yeesh. At least it waited until after the holidays. Now this whole fiasco will just give me an excuse to enjoy the Christmas tree for that much longer. 😀

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I hope everyone else had a fabulous holiday!

Cheers!

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Dear Cancer, You Didn’t Win.

Dear Cancer, You Didn’t Win.

As many of you have read before, I ran the Chicago marathon as part of the American Cancer Society’s team, DetermiNation in honor of my cousin Jeff. He was diagnosed with  uveal melanoma, a rare form of ocular cancer in 2013 and has been fighting hard since. Many treatments and fast forward to this summer, things were getting tough, but as always he always had a smile on his face and was full of life. Pretty much giving cancer a big middle finger. It would absolutely not cramp his style. His life. He would always check up on me and ask how my training was doing and when it came to the big race day, he was the first one there to meet up with me after crossing the finish line.

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I always told him that his strength helped me pull through the race and that this was for him. I didn’t run through one mile without thinking how amazing and strong of a person he was for smiling through all of the traveling to get the treatments he needed, how selfless he was despite his condition and how he never for one second let his condition break his spirit and love for life.

Just a few weeks ago I heard that Jeff’s health was severely declining. Since it’s been unseasonably warm out, the family lake house was still open for business. The lake house is THE family meetup place during the whole summer and Jeff has always been the ringleader of everything that was fun there….boating, wakeboarding, skiing, tubing, lighting fireworks off of the dock…we just talked and were just in the moment…trying not to focus on the bad health updates and just sharing some laughs. Before I had to leave, he hugged me a little tighter than usual.

A couple of weeks ago, my mom let me know that Jeff was going to have hospice set up at his home. A million things were running through my head along with many tears and angry yelling…but the one thing I can say over and over again is, “it isn’t fair.” It isn’t fair that the one person who loved life the most and pretty had the status of best human being ever…was now given such a grim outlook. It’s not fair.

The hubs and I visited him on a Saturday armed with his purple Gatorade – one of the few he could have – and we just talked and watched videos of his daughter’s first ballet class she just came back from…that Monday on December 7th…I got a call from my other cousin saying that Jeff had passed away peacefully that morning at home…I didn’t know my heart could splinter into a million little pieces with just a few words. I knew what my cousin had said, but I still find it really hard to register…even now. Jeff was the brother I never had. He was always the one to sit at the kids table, dance and sing along to boy band songs especially back when I was obsessed with NSYNC, he always made everyone feel loved and welcome. Then cancer just fucked everything up.

When the news hit the Internet, FLOODS of photos from his hundreds of friends, family, coworkers and anyone else he crossed paths with posted photos and messages on how amazing of a person he was and it really was a testament to how many lives he touched. He always had a smile on his face. He was always the one to crack a joke and spread the fun.

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My heart breaks for his little girl who is only three years old and his wife. This week was hard to get through, but every time I wanted to just mope and do nothing on any particular day…I would just think how much Jeff wouldn’t want that. Heaven gained its best angel and while he isn’t here physically on earth I can still feel him. I feel him when a new boy band song hits the airwaves, when I run and feel like I can’t run another mile, when I’m feeling sad and need to smile and especially when I need to feel strong and to remember that we need to live each day to its fullest. Just like he did.

Jeff, cancer may have taken your life too soon, but you never let it take your spirit and smile…and with that…cancer didn’t win. May you rest in peace. I will miss you so much.

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With the heaviest of hearts,

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Train. Eat. Shop. Repeat.

Train. Eat. Shop. Repeat.

So yet again I’ve been MIA, but for a HUGE reason. This is big guys.

I’ve decided to open up my own online store for those who want to order the Bondi Band headbands that I will be selling to benefit the American Cancer Society!

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I’m pushing everything to the max right now with training for the marathon AND getting all of the logistics in place to move forward with my fundraising event. I’m hoping to have everything up and running by Monday! I’m so excited! I mean, what’s better than to contribute to an amazing cause AND get a little workout awesomeness for yourself?

This will make it a lot easier keeping track of orders which ALSO means I’m willing to offer more designs. I’ll be offering all of the designs that I mentioned in my previous post! The Facebook page is all set to publish once the store is up and running. It’ll be up until October so keep an eye out for the launch!

Meanwhile, I’ve still been on track with my marathon training and only missed out on one day while my cousins came down from Minnesota to stay for the weekend! I definitely don’t get to see them as often as I’d like to.

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They came down for my other cousin’s grad party where we were ALL reunited and in one place.

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It’s definitely harder to get together when everyone has their own schedule. One of my other cousins (who was also on the Food Network’s Spring Baking Championship show is moving out to LA in September….and I’m going to miss her like cray….


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I couldn’t be more excited for her though as she starts her new adventure! I was pretty proud of myself too by limiting my wine consumption. Last weekend was my first glass of wine in WEEKS. That must be some kind of record.

And can we just take a moment for my feet that got the royal treatment as well? I FINALLY got around to getting a pedicure and after all of my training…I had to remind myself that I was in public. It felt so damn good, I didn’t want it to end.

Once everyone left, I was scheduled for a long run and it was HOT by the time I got out to hit the pavement. Apollo was channeling my mood about it….

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BUT after that nothing else was on the schedule so I pretty much just stayed in workout clothes all day. This Montiel teardrop bra is one of my favs. Not exactly the best for running, but so awesome for lower to medium impact exercises or just lounging about.

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Also, call me crazy, but while I’m glad that after next week, I’ll be on vacation…I’m also bummed that I’ll be missing out on yet another group run and REALLY not getting my miles in. Luckily my miles don’t start to ramp up substantially until August, but I’m bummed and I hope it doesn’t hurt me too much.  I highly doubt anyone will want to join me on a run in the morning and I’m not about to go running around in the middle of nowhere by myself. #bearsnothanks #horrorfilminthemaking.

My kettlebells will definitely be going with me on this trip!

Have a safe and happy 4th everyone!!

Cheers!

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“Have a Great Run”

“Have a Great Run”

Wow is it Friday already? Thursday night I didn’t get the best news. I got a call from my dad saying that my uncle passed away in his sleep. To say I was stunned would be an understatement. I just emailed him a few days prior talking to him about me registering for the Chicago Marathon. This isn’t happening. It can’t. What happened? How did this happen? So many unanswered questions. It happened so suddenly. Although it is a blessing that he passed away peacefully. At least for that…I like to think that he wasn’t in any pain. He’s in the center in the photo below with my other uncle and my Dad who is on the far right. The three amigos.

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He’s had a full and wonderful life seeing his kids grow up and have kids of their own. The sky will shine a little brighter each night. His last words to me were to “have a great run.” Those words have been with me every single time I’ve hit the pavement since and will be going forward. He’s always been so supportive and giving. This is also the father of my cousin who is battling cancer. It’s been rough. HOWEVER…yes…I will have a great run…especially next week when I have my Soldier Field 10 Mile race. I’ll be thinking of my uncle each and every mile and I will make it my greatest run yet.

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So hug your family and friends a little tighter today. Don’t put off telling them how much you love them or how much they mean to you. Don’t let your busy life prevent you from having a simple cup of coffee with your loved ones or have a night out with them just because you couldn’t get away or had other plans that really weren’t as important. You never know when that chance will be taken away from you. Rest in peace Uncle Armand. <3

Cheers,

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