Thursday, June 30, 2016

5 Boating Activities
I Want to Do in Chicago




How is it already July? It feels like the summer is slipping out of my fingertips and I haven't made a significant dent in my bucket list. When I think about perfect ways to spend a summer weekend day in Chicago, being on Lake Michigan is at the top of the list.

Here's my bucket list of boating activities I want to do in Chicago:


  • Watch fireworks from a boat. The Navy Pier fireworks are held every Wednesday and Saturday night. You can either watch from your own boat, rent a boat or join a cruise.
  • Go on a sunset cruise on Lake Michigan (again!). Again, you can do this on your own or on a tour. I did this last summer and it was a highlight of the season. Check out the views!

  • Rent a tiki boat for a celebration. I see people do this during holidays and it looks so fun! The boats have a fun slide, sound system and island decor.
  • Rent a boat and cruise down the Chicago River. I got this idea during the Chicago River dyeing before St. Patrick's Day. After the dye was dropped into the river, people cruised down in their own boats. What better viewing around is there than the water?

  • Sail on Lake Michigan. I've never actually been on a sailboat, but it would be a fun experience. I see them on Lake Michigan often. Sailing charters can be booked during the fireworks and evenings as well!


To help with my boating bucket list items, I am consulting DiscoverBoating.com. All of these activities in Chicago can be arranged through the website, which I wrote about recently as a resource to find boat rentals, charters and sales in my area. Parents can also find youth boating programs for the little ones and classes are also listed.

For those who are ready to do activities such as these regularly, DiscoverBoating.com has a boat selector tool that helps you find a boat that is right for you, your family and your budget. I hope to someday be able to have a boat as well. Don't we all? Both my grandfather and father were fishermen, and my family owned a couple of boats in the past, so my family has strong ties to the water, as I've written about before. Being on a boat is one of my favorite things to do. There's just something about being on the lake or cruising down the Chicago River and admiring the Chicago skyline.

Need some inspiration for your next boating adventure? Check out these fun videos on the possibilities!

What's your favorite boating memory? Tell me in the comments and share your Stories of Discovery on social media with the hashtag #discoverboating!





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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Phoenix Eats: Reyes de la Torta, Flower Child, Stock & Stable

Besides seeing my friends and family, the best part about being back in Phoenix for a few days was eating at places I love. I wasn't able to visit all of my favorites, but I did have some excellent meals last weekend.

Here's what I ate at three great local Phoenix restaurants:

Reyes de la Torta: It's a no-frills mom-and-pop Mexican food location. Most (if not all) the servers speak Spanish and often music or television is playing in Spanish. The food comes in large portions and it's simply delicious. It's not about the decor, it's about the food here.

I ordered the veggie torta, which mainly composed of cheese plus lettuce, beans, jalapeno and tomato. I also had rice on the side. I thought the torta would have more beans than it did, so next time I would add some as a side.

The Del Rey torta.


Flower Child: The Late Riser (cage-free eggs, beans, quinoa, roasted chile,salsa, avocado,corn, Greek yogurt and queso blanco) is delicious and guilt-free. I wished I could order a free refill! Also, if you show up for breakfast, which ends at 11, you can have free refills of the cold brew. This restaurant is adorable and I love the details like yoga mat parking, an infused water station outside and wall art.



Stock & Stable: This new restaurant opened in my old Phoenix neighborhood. Its dishes focus on meat (hence the name) but I found several pescatarian-friendly options. The squid ink cavatelli is tasty, but it kind of looked like bugs. You will see when you order it. Just don't look at it; eat it!
The potted crab (a dip) is amazing. Do yourself a favor and order one (or two) and be sure to get extra bread.

We ordered the Eastern Promises and Black Hatchet drinks from their cocktail menu as well. I liked both, but I preferred the Black Hatchet.

This would be a great place to eat on a patio when the weather is nice.


Eastern Promises and Black Hatchet

If you try any of these places let me know what you think! What are your favorite places to eat?





Tuesday, June 28, 2016

My Little Urban Garden

When I open my eyes each morning, I already have a list in my head of things I need to do that day. I hate to admit this, but I immediately check my phone and waste time on social media before getting out of bed. Often my anxiety wakes me up before my alarm clock. I am always looking for ways to calm myself down, especially in the mornings, when I feel like I immediately have to start going 100 mph to accomplish everything I need or want to do.

Lately, (well, more recently before my Phoenix trip), a much-needed moment of bliss comes from tending to my little container garden. Mornings in Chicago are usually sunny but cool, and if we're lucky there will be a slight breeze. I open my back patio door to hear that familiar chirping. I water my little lovelies and get excited about how they are progressing. It's the best way to start my day.



Last year, my indoor container garden yielded several mini eggplants I didn't know what to do with, about 12 or so peppers, and lots of basil. Sadly, I wasn't able to grow to any cucumbers or tomatoes, and it took quite some time to harvest the few veggies I successfully grew. This year, I am seeing much more success. I stuck with what I was able to grow last year. Graham and I planted jalapeƱos, Anaheim peppers, red and green bell peppers, eggplant, cilantro, basil, mint chocolate and oregano. It's only been a few weeks, and we already have several full-size peppers and many more on the way. We currently have our containers on the back patio, which receives almost a full day of sun and, lately, some rain.


On our front patio we have flowers (mostly petunias) and other plants. We're seeing a lot more success than last year's crop thanks to abundant sunshine. (Our patios face east and west, versus north and south like our last apartment.)

My little experience with container garden has taught me that it's OK to pick easier to grow plants and vegetables, especially if you're just starting out. We bought our two vegetable containers from Lowe's, along with organic fertilizer.





There's something magical about our front patio. Somehow the plants keep multiplying (and they aren't all pictured here). I left for Phoenix and returned to find several new additions. I guess that's why we call it Floradise around here.

Do you grow vegetables? Tell me about your own gardening experience and tips in the comments!



Start your own garden: 



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Monday, June 27, 2016

Chicago Marathon Training, Week 2

I'm back in Chicago! I had a work trip last week in Phoenix and I didn't get home until last night. I love being home in Phoenix, but I didn't want to run outside in the heat. I used to give up running entirely in the summers when I lived in Phoenix. Yes, I'm a fair-weather runner; what of it? I didn't log any miles outside last week. My mileage was not high at all, but I am proud of myself for making it to fitness classes during my busy trip.

Here's how Week 2 of Chicago Marathon training went:

Monday: 3 miles at Orangetheory. It was the first day of peak performance week in which we really challenge ourselves. We don't normally run for as long as we did that night; it seemed like we did endless push paces. I kept my push pace at 9:30, which would be my ideal race pace right now. I stayed at that pace even when we did 3 percent and 4 percent inclines. My all-out pace was 8:31. We also challenged ourselves to finish a 500-meter row as fast as we could. My time was 1:51, which I was impressed with. (I was also super out of breath!)

Floor workout included:

  • Tempo pushups
  • Bridge rows on the TRX straps
  • More rowing
  • Back extensions
  • Squats. (Always squats.)
Tuesday: 30-minutes of yoga at home in honor of International Day of Yoga!

Wednesday: Travel day. I did squats (reps: 14/12/10/8/6), crunches (20) and pushups (20) before I left.

Thursday: 2.3 miles at Orangetheory. I completed the 2,000-meter challenge in 8:46.

Friday: Rest day.

Saturday: 1.8 miles at Orangetheory. We started with a 4-minute progressive push. I went to class to avoid running in the Phoenix heat, but even the class was hot. We also had three all-out rows. On the floor, we did:


  • Reverse lunges with dumbbells.
  • Double crunches.
  • Plank with alternating foot raises.
  • Rollouts on the TRX straps.
  • Knee tucks.
  • Squats with dumbbells.
  • High rows with dumbbells.
  • Tricep extensions.

Sunday: 2.25 miles at Orangetheory. I made it to the 6:30 a.m. class before breakfast with a friend and flying back to Chicago. We did a lot of incline work: One of the all-outs was at a 6 percent climb! We also incorporated several all-out rows.

Floor workout included:


  • Ground to press.
  • Sit-up to stand on Bosu ball.
  • Bicep curls.



Week's mileage: 9.35
Yoga minutes: 45


Reflections:


While I didn't increase my mileage much in Week 2, I stayed active on a work trip, which I consider a win. I was out and about nonstop during my time in Phoenix. I wished I had gone to one more class, but I did the best I could. I'm looking forward to my regular running routine this week with miles logged outdoors.

I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to the recent stress I have been experiencing. One issue I had been anxious about has been addressed and another is about to be as well. I can't wait to get there!

Also, I started tracking my food Saturday after neglecting to do so for months (even a year). I am hoping that by tracking what I eat I can avoid gaining weight during this marathon training program. When I trained for my first marathon I put on a little weight (which is more noticeable on my small frame). This was mainly due to not eating the best foods during training and giving in to too many cravings after my long runs. My goal is to not do that this time.

How are your fitness goals coming along? Do you track your macros? Do you have any tips for doing so?



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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

June Favorites

I know June isn't over, but it feels like the month is zipping away. I have been trying new products lately after becoming hooked on a couple of beauty Youtube channels. How I have found the time to watch videos with everything going on is beyond me, but that's another story.

My favorites right now:
  • Wet n Wild MegaGlo Highlighting Powder in Crown of my Canopy. I saw this mentioned in one of Meg O.'s videos recently, and it looked so pretty. I wanted to try it, but I couldn't find it anywhere! It is a limited edition product, and it seemed to have run out everywhere. I ended up buying it on eBay for almost three times the price including shipping, but it was still worth it because I love the look. (It was originally about $4.) I have been wearing it regularly and I love the glow.

  • Colourpop Ultra Satin Lip in Panda. I wasn't sure about the color, but it has grown on me. I love the longevity. The name satin threw me off because they become more matte throughout the day. The formula feels a little sticky on the lips and doesn't dry completely. It's quite pigmented, but applying it wasn't too tricky. One downside though is that it transfers. 


  • Dr. Teal's Eucalyptus Body Wash. I have been using this lately to relax me. I've been consumed by anxiety and the essential oil scents sooth me. (Note: I received this from Dr Teal's and Influenster after winning a badge prize.)

  • Miss Spa Exfoliate sheet mask. I've been focused on my pores lately. Their size bothers me. I know it's genetic, but I'm willing to try anything and everything to minimize and unclog them. Thus, I've been trying masks and serums. I enjoyed this one, which I picked up at Target recently. The mask didn't quite fit my face that well though. I noticed a brighter complexion after use. I plan to try other Miss Spa masks soon.

What are some of your favorites this month? Share them with me in the comments!


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Monday, June 20, 2016

Chicago Marathon Training, Week 1



Chicago Marathon training has begun! I doubled my mileage from the previous week, but I didn't log as many miles as I wanted in Week 1. When runner friends talked about their training last week, a couple of them said they are on 10-plus miles, which I have to admit made me feel like I'm not doing enough. But I have to remember that I am following a different training program. My goal for the Chicago Marathon is to run it even just one minute faster than my first marathon time, which was 5:02. 

So here I go!

Monday: 3-mile run. It was a cool, breezy day, and I wished it could always be this way.

Tuesday: Rest day. I didn't need a rest but I had scheduled workouts the following three days, so I wanted to give myself a break.

Wednesday: About 2 miles at group marathon training. I think we actually ran more than that, but my running app failed to record the workout. Bummer! We did hill workouts: We ran forward and backward up the hill, did lunges up the hill three times and jogged in between. We also did planks, stretching and more.

Thursday: 2-mile run. I meant to do at least 3 but I received the phone call I've been waiting for since the end of May, so I immediately went back home to finish the call. It was an amazing day!

Friday: Rest day. I didn't plan for this to be a rest day. I planned to work early, work out at lunch and then attend a rooftop party with Graham. I ended up being too overwhelmed with work to even take a full break.

Saturday: I missed group marathon training, so I did a 2-mile run/walk through my neighborhood.

Sunday: I went to my first Soul Cycle class! It was tough, and I loved the inspirational aspect of class. I will definitely be back soon. Have you tried it? Let me know in the comments!

Week's mileage: 9.

Reflections:


I keep making excuses for why I miss my runs and workouts. That needs to stop. One of the challenges for this marathon training will be waking up early enough to train during the Chicago summer. It has been much warmer than last June, and that will likely continue. I am disappointed with myself for missing my 4-mile group run on Saturday, but at least I stayed active five days last week. My battle in the coming week will be training in Phoenix during my work trip. The forecast is 113 degrees and higher, so I will most likely train at Orangetheory. I would have to run at 4 a.m. in Phoenix to be in temperatures under 90 degrees, and that's not happening. Wish me luck!


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Friday, June 17, 2016

Brookfield Zoo




Graham and I have wanted to go camping for months now, but our schedules haven't allowed it. The next best thing we can do is explore a place we haven't been to yet in the Chicago area. Last weekend we took a mini road trip to Brookfield Zoo to check out their grounds. That may sound weird, but Graham works in the turf industry and he's fascinated by anything to do with gardening, outdoors, nature, animals and sports turf. Basically, the Floras are obsessed with flora.

We just didn't quite feel up to it after we heard about the Orlando shooting. After thinking about it for hours, we decided to go anyway to make the most of our one day off together.

It took us about an hour to drive there. The GPS directions were a little off. One second it told us to turn left, and the next it said right, but we discovered that you can just rely on zoo signs once you exit the highway. The reason the directions seemed off was that you park on one side of the street and then take a short little tunnel to the other side, where the zoo entrance (North Gate) was.

I was impressed by the size of the zoo. We spent four and a half hours there and didn't even see everything. You could easily roam the grounds for an entire day. Graham and I quickly discovered we were one of the few couples there without children. We decided to stick with the general admission vs. the tickets that included six additional attractions. We contemplated getting membership because we have a feeling we'll be back soon and with more family members.

I liked that many of the animal enclosures were larger than I've seen at other zoos.  Of course, nothing is as good as what they'd have in the wild, but at least these animals seemed to be able to explore a larger area. The Tropic World habitat was especially impressive.





We witnessed two memorable animals moments: the black rhino sprayed the wall (and he could have sprayed us), which would have been a story to tell, and the pygmy hippo decided to come out of the water and take a No. 2 that cleared the surrounding area immediately. It was fascinating.


We walked around until I couldn't take it anymore. I wore the wrong shoes -- flats -- which was the worst decision I could have made. In my defense, I was not in the best head space when I got ready. We enjoyed the zoo regardless and plan to go back soon.




Have you been to Brookfield Zoo? What did you think?

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Thursday Tidbits


I got the idea for a Tidbits post from Allison of Because I Said So. She shared little bits of information and updates that wouldn't make up a full blog post on their own. I love the idea, because I tend to have several drafts waiting to be published that never really pan out. 

Thus, here are my Thursday Tidbits:
  • I recently bought a Samsung Galaxy S7 when I was eligible for a Verizon upgrade. 1.) I am disappointed Verizon doesn't have contract pricing on phones anymore. Instead you just pay a certain amount per month on your phone. It seems like Verizon gets more and more expensive, am I right? 2.) The Galaxy S7 is touted as being water resistant and durable (or so I thought), but within the first week of having it, my phone fell out of my pocket and the BACK shattered. Not the screen, the back of the phone. I have never heard of that happening with any phone. I was livid. After cooling off for a week, I bought a gold case that hides the shattered part. The only advice I got from Verizon had been to submit an insurance claim, which typically costs $100. I am shocked at how this phone could be manufactured to be so vulnerable on the back of phone, which is typically more durable. By the way, I love my case, which I got from HD Accessory (not affiliate link). It was shipped quickly and matches the gold on the phone. It cost me about $8 including shipping.
  • Graham and I finally made our annual trip to a home-improvement store for gardening supplies and plants. I am getting a late start on our garden because we waited until we moved into our new apartment, but I'm so excited! This year we are sticking with the vegetables I had success with last year: jalapeƱos, Anaheim peppers, red and green bell peppers, eggplants, cilantro, sweet basil, chocolate mint (Graham's choice) and oregano. We also bought a lot of petunias (which I am always drawn toward) and many other plants.
  • I recently tried George's Ice Cream & Sweets in the Andersonville neighborhood of Chicago and it.was.amazing. I ordered the smallest sundae they have with Caramel Chaos ice cream and I struggled to finish it. But it was delicious. The line was out the door on a Friday night, and I can see why. George's has tons of flavors to choose from and the portions are generous. Want to see where else I'm eating? Follow me on Instagram!
  • I just started marathon training and I absolutely love these shorts from C9 at Target. They kept me cool and comfortable while running in the heat and humidity. 
  • Last but not least, I tried Starbucks' Granitas, which are available starting at 3 p.m. every day.  I ordered the Strawberry Lemon Limeade Granita on a hot afternoon before marathon training. It was a perfectly refreshing summer drink. I will be trying the Youthberry White Tea Granita next. Have you tried them? What did you think?

Share a tidbit about your life in the comments!



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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

More Thoughts I Had During an Orangetheory Class

After my first class at Orangetheory, I wrote about the thoughts that popped into my head during the session. After being a member for eight months now, I decided to write about what I thought during the most recent class I attended.


I still find Orangetheory Fitness to be incredibly challenging. Some days I feel some soreness the next day, but for the most part I can attend more than one class in a row. This is how my most recent class went:

  • *As coach scrolls through the playlist* Don't you dare turn off that Beyonce!
  • I'm gonna puke. No I'm not. I'm gonna puke. No I'm not. Get it together!
  • *Coach yelling "Empty the tank!"* OK, OK. I'll turn it up a few notches on the treadmill.
  • Coach is coming, I better turn up that rowing.
  • This is the longest row in the history of rowing.
  • Time's almost up, just a couple more reps!
  • OK, I gotta stop checking the monitor every 10 seconds. *10 seconds later* How am I doing?
  • OH YEAH, coach complimented my form!
  • *Looking in the mirror* Holy biceps! 
  • More Beyonce, please!
  • *Imagines she is on the U.S. Olympic track and field team.*
  • *Imagines she is on the U.S. Olympic rowing team.*
  • How are there 20 minutes left in class?!
  • I'm going to feel this tomorrow.
  • Can't wait to do this again!
Read the first installment here. Have you tried Oranegtheory? What did you think?



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Monday, June 13, 2016

Chicago Marathon Pre-Training Week

I decided to officially start marathon training last week when I got an email from my half-marathon training coaches that they are also doing a training for the Chicago Marathon. They only charged $26! That's practically giving it away. I signed up immediately. 

But things didn't quite go as planned:

Monday: 1.34 miles at Orangetheory. It was a good workout on a terrible day. My mind was so all over the place that I don't remember much of the floor workout, besides:
Tuesday: Rest day. I could have benefited from a run on another bad day, but I didn't.

Wednesday: 2.2 miles at Orangetheory. My push pace was 9:40. I am still a bit slower because of tightness in my calf. We did a couple of inclines. Our last all-out was at a 5 percent incline, for instance.

Floor workout:
  • Bench hopovers (not sure this was the actual  name; 3 sets of 30 total reps)
  • Horizontal bicep curls on the TRX strap (3 sets of 8 reps, I think)
  • Side plank hip dips (3 sets of 8 reps on each side)
  • 3-minute row (714 meters)
  • 2-minute row (494 meters)
  • Reverse lunges to high knee jumps on TRX straps (3 sets, reps: 8/10/12 on each side, I think)
  • Chest press on bench with 15 pound weights (3 sets, 15 reps)
Thursday: Rest day.

Friday: 0.5 mile run at lunch before I realized it was too hot. I did squats, crunches and hip raises at home instead.

Saturday: It was the first day of marathon training ... and I missed it. I assumed the training was at 8 a.m. and I was wrong. I missed it completely and was disappointed in myself. Later that day I did a .75 mile run and 40 pulse squats, 100 bicycle crunches, 100 crunches, 30 lunges. It was 97 degrees and humid, so that was all I forced myself to do. 

Sunday: I awoke to horrific news about the mass shooting in Orlando. I had planned to run, but I just was in shock and disbelief, like the rest of the country. Graham and I debated whether we should go through with our plans to go to Brookfield Zoo. We ultimately decided to make the most of our rare day off together. Orlando was on our minds though.


Reflections:


I didn't even get to 5 miles, so I am not even considering this a training week. I am grateful to still have 17 weeks until the marathon, so I can start seriously running this week and build up my mileage again. Despite being thrown off in the first week, I am at least giving myself a longer break to heal from my previous tightness and soreness. Also, judging from Chicago weather lately, this summer is going to be a challenge. I have to get used to running in warmer, more humid weather or running earlier in the morning.  Somehow I was left with only a couple pairs of running shorts after my recent decluttering, so I bought a cute summer running outfit (for 30 percent off!) at Target that I'm sure will help with my motivation and comfort during the season. Wish me luck!

What are your summer fitness goals?

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Thursday, June 9, 2016

Speak Your Truth,
Even if Your Voice Shakes



I've written about "speaking your truth" before, but this week it's been more important than ever. If there's one thing I will not stand for, it's disrespect. When someone speaks to me in a condescending, derogatory or just plain rude tone, I have to say something about it. But it's not easy to stand up for yourself.

You can say whatever you want to anyone, but you have to learn to do it the right way. When I encounter people who use "That's just my personality; I'm direct" as an excuse for rudeness, I am appalled. 

But does it even have anything to do with me? I am guilty of being overly sensitive, and I recognize that. I constantly have to remind myself that the way someone behaves toward me often has nothing to do with me. However, it's important for me to let people know I do not appreciate being spoken to in such a harsh way.

In yoga, truthfulness is satya, one of the yamas. While I try to focus on being as honest as possible about how I feel, I recognize that I need to do so with the intention of being understanding as well. 

I remember a workshop we had during teacher training in which we were instructed to ask ourselves, "How would I live if I weren't concerned with the opinions of others?" It is a constant battle for me to not worry about what people think.  I sometimes avoid confrontation because I stress about how my actions will be perceived. But I would rather be seen as sensitive than walk away from interactions with such a negative feeling about not only the conversation, but my whole environment.

I have to be honest about how things affect me. I have to also be honest about what I want. It is teaching me that I need to make changes in my life instead of solely complaining to Graham about them. How can I expect change when I never speak out about something that bothers me? I often think of the quote by Maggie Kuhn (I think) that reads something like, "Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes." That's exactly what I plan to do.



Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Brunch at Cafe Ba-Ba Reeba, Chicago

Choosing where to brunch is an extremely difficult decision. Chicago has countless options, and there's pressure (I put on myself) not to pick the wrong spot. Luckily my friends and I made the right choice this weekend by going to Cafe Ba-Ba Reeba in Lincoln Park.


The tapas (small plates) are meant to be shared, so order a bunch of everything and try it all!

What we ordered:


  • Waffles with marcona almond nutella: Amazing.
  • Two orders of spicy potatoes with aioli sauce: I could not get enough. I pretty much ate one order by myself.
  • Brussels sprout salad: Looked like cole slaw to me, but was great.
  • Eggs Benedict: I may not be an eggs benedict person, so I don't know.
  • Calamari: Good, but seemed like aioli would be a better sauce for it. In fact, that's what I used.
  • Goat cheese baked in tomato sauce with toasted bread: Yum.
  • Deviled egg: Also yum, but tiny.

  • Chicken and ham croquetas: Didn't try them. Comes with ham that I didn't eat. 
  • Beef empanadas: Didn't try them.
I didn't try all of the items, but my friends seemed to like everything. We also loved the blackberry-raspberry sangria (We ordered two pitchers.). I was so full that it felt like I had a bowling ball in my stomach afterward, but I was happy. I should also mention that the waiter was nice enough to bring us dessert without us asking. It was a caramelized banana, butterscotch custard and a marcona almond caramel bar. 



Would I go back to Cafe Ba-Ba Reeba? Absolutely. You'll probably see me there again this summer.


Monday, June 6, 2016

Pre-Marathon Training Week & 5 More Exercises I Love

This week was a take-it-easy period in terms of workouts. As I wrote last week, I needed to let my body heal from injury before jumping into marathon training. Instead of working out five days a week as I had previously, I attended three Orangetheory classes (and mostly power walked instead of ran) and stretched at home.

I previously shared my favorite exercises for half-marathon training, and today I'm sharing another five exercises I love: 
  • Squat jacks. Like its name says, this move combines pulse squats and jumping jacks. It really gets your heart racing while give you the benefits of squats.
  • Plank jacks. I'm all about the jacks this week. These combine plank with jumping jacks and can be done on your elbows or hands. I like that it gets your blood pumping while also working your core.
  • Alternating weighted reverse lunges. I have been doing these with 15 pound weights on each hand and I alternate legs each time. Reps: 14/12/10/8/6
  • Weight toe touches. With feet in the air and one weight between your hands, reach for your toes. I've been focused on my core lately, so this aligns with that goal.
  • Bicep 21s. OK, I love these, because I am really seeing a difference in my arms. Basically, do seven reps in the lower range of motion of a bicep curl, seven reps at the upper range of motions, and seven full bicep curls. The last seven are the hardest.


My plan for marathon training, which officially begins this week, is to follow the training plan provided on the Chicago Marathon website for the mileage and use yoga and Orangetheory as my crosstraining. 

Update on my calf and shoulder: My calf still feels tight but is no longer painful when I walk. I plan to get back into yoga this week, which I know will help. I also plan to foam roll more. It's vital!

Previous training recaps and posts:


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Friday, June 3, 2016

That Summer Feeling

Chicago summer has arrived, and it already feels like it's moving too quickly. Last summer was a blur. It was our first summer in Chicago after moving here that spring, and we crammed as much as we could into that short but glorious season. I didn't get to do everything I wanted, so this summer I'll be working on my Chicago summer bucket list before the clock runs out. Wish me luck!



These are some of the changes I see in myself in the summer:

I'm more of a planner. In reality I always plan, but it's on overdrive in the summer. I have filled every weekend in June in my planner, for example, with things I want to do.

I have a short attention span. It's becomes more difficult to focus on my responsibilities. There's too much to see, do and eat. This is why I need a planner. 

I take my workouts outdoors. Actually, I want to be outdoors in general. I am already looking at various outside yoga classes in Chicago. I have been running outside, but I relied on the treadmill a lot during the cold days this year. It will be more about the running in the sunshine this summer. I also am dying to go camping and hiking.

I have so much more energy. I want to do everything. I just love the longer days, except the part about waking up earlier because the sun creeps in through the windows. Try as I might, I can't fall back asleep when that happens. But hey, more time to do things!

I want to sit on patios. I haven't done much brunching in Chicago, but that needs to change. I also can't wait to fully get my new apartment in order so I can set up an outdoor workspace on nicer days.

I don't want to wear makeup. It's going to melt off anyway. I still wear makeup, I just keep it even more minimalist than usual.


Do you notice a change in you during the summer? What do you have planned this season?


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

June Goals

May was a big month in Floradise. We learned some important news about our family, we moved into a new apartment and I ran my half-marathon. I am excited to see what June has in store for us. The weather in Chicago has finally changed, and it seems so fitting as we start a new chapter in our lives. I can't wait to share more about our journey!

But first, accountability.

May goal check-in:

  • Declutter a bit more, pack and move into our new apartment! Done! It was difficult and exhausting, but we moved! We already love our new apartment much more than the previous one. 
  • Find freelance writing and editing work. I found a few sponsored opportunities and will have an editing project later this summer. I kept applying for freelance work only to have the project turn full-time, meaning I couldn't do it along with my full-time job. I will continue to look for more opportunities. I even reached out to a company I regularly blog about and hope we can work together soon.
  • Continue half-marathon/marathon training, and beat my previous half-marathon time at the Chicago Spring Half. I wanted to set a PR, but I was 5 minutes off. I did beat my previous time, so I am happy! I am confident I can PR in the fall if I keep up with training.
  • Limit personal spending to $50 a week. Fail, except for one week. It was nearly impossible with  travel I had to do and changing apartments. Moving meant eating takeout a lot more than usual while we set up our place and get groceries.
  • Grow my blog community and social media presence. Success! I have grown my blog community by joining Blog Boss Babe and a couple more Facebook groups. I love finding new blogs to read. Leave a comment with your blog link; I'd love to check it out!
  • Live in the moment despite the anticipation of what's to come. I did the best I could. Now that I know what is coming our way I am happy to make preparations for all the changes. I am happy to be in our new place and ready to move on from our first apartment experience in Chicago, which I plan to write about soon. My half-marathon is done and now I can start training for my full marathon and my next half. It's going to be a fun summer!

June goals:

  • Prepare for a major life change that I'll share more about soon.
  • Pay off one of my student loans.
  • Plan a summer camping trip.
  • Find freelance writing and editing work and sponsored posts.
  • Continue to grow my blog community.
  • Start marathon training!
What are your goals for June? Share them with me in the comments!