Sunday, April 25, 2010

Weighing in on Chicago

I'm literally weighing in here. In 5 days I have managed to gain 5 pounds. And my god, it was worth it.

I was lucky enough to travel with my fabulous friend and coworker, Karen, who is a complete foodie. Before we even got there, she had a list of places to visit.

I didn't get pictures of everything with my crappy camera phone, but here are some of the highlights.

Hello, Chicago!

Water. Yacht. Yes, please.

The Bean!

Playing around under the bean.

Navy Pier.

It's playoff time!

Cupcakes! I'm not a huge cupcake fan, but these were that good.

Car bombs for Karen's birthday!

Karen, post-bomb.

Some of the other restaurants and places:
Trader Joe's (this place needs to come to Colorado. Pretty please?)
Russian Tea Time (instead of tea, we had their standard 3 shots of vodka.)
Cafe Iberico (oh my god, this is the best tapas place in the world.)

Oh, yeah. We also worked. We worked a lot. As in my cheeks are sore from talking and smiling for three days straight and my feet don't want to see my heels again. Ever.

The booth.

A red beacon of light, inviting people to come buy books---and to 
write more books for us to publish.

I loved Chicago. I want to go back. Now.

If only....

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I'm going to Chicago

And you're not.

Neener neener neener.

Chicago is one of my favorite cities. If I could move anywhere tomorrow, Chicago would be it. (In the city, not the suburbs).

Too bad I've applied for multiple jobs out there with no luck.

Oh well. Boulder ain't too bad.

Chicago's Palmer House Hilton, looking hawt in business suits, and pizza and beer all on the company dime? Yes, please!

Oh yeah, and I'll work a little bit too.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Dear Societal Norms: FU! Love, Me

May I please vent for a minute?

The older I get, the more I realize that some "societal norms" are stupid.

I've also realized that we all say these things and yet we still mold ourselves into expected behaviors and actions. We're all hypoctrites. I'm one too. I get it.

Despite this, I want to point out three lame expections:

1. Debt. Keeping up with the Joneses. All that good stuff. Want to know how to piss me off? Tell me to buy a new car. Nothing gets my blood boiling than the thought of it. My car runs great. It takes some maintenance, yes, but why get rid of it "just cause"? I love my car. I love not having car payments. I love not being in debt. So, FU.
2. I'm in my mid-20s and I don't own a house. Thank god. I have no idea where I'm going to be in 6 months, much less in 5 years. The best article on why renting is better than buying is here: 'Nuff said.
3. Marriage is overrated. My new favorite quote: "Marriage asks you to sacrifice yourself for the common good." I'm not saying that I disagree with marriage and families, I just think that people can rush into it and a couple years later ask themselves---while undergoing a divorce---"WTF was I thinking?" Ladies, let me be clear: Being married does not complete you as a person. It's all about the dress anyway.

These three things can connect to make your life either amazing or awful.

Confession: I only watch one show, The Biggest Loser. What fascinates me is that all these contestants are out of control not only with their weight, but with their lives in general. From a recent show and MSNBC article:
Last time, [Suze] Orman predicted a winner based on credit scores, and her pick, Danny Cahill, turned out to be a record-setting champion.... Then — speak of the Loser — Danny showed up, looking as good as the day he won, to talk to the current players about overcoming his 526-pound weight and $45,000 debt (and he had the best credit score last year!).

The best credit score was 45k in debt? Are you kidding me?

So, my rant is this: Our focus needs to be on self-control and not on societal expectations. Personal goals, health, family, happiness. Is it really that hard? Yes, it's hard. It's f-ing hard. But it's worth it. Society demands the American Dream---consumerism and debt; leading to divorce and obesity. I won't buy into it.

Friday, April 9, 2010

I’m Getting an Edumacation

No, not the kind with books and chalk and teachers. (Who uses chalk anymore?) Been there, done that. I think my degree is buried somewhere at home. Instead, I’m getting edumacated about life.

With my time off from soccer, I’ve been able to hunt down some awesome informational sessions and courses in  Boulder—all of which are free. Hurrah! Where have I found these goodies? Full Cycle and REI. They are both the bomb-diggity.

(Confession: Now that I can play soccer again, I don't want to go back. I've been having too much fun off the field...)

Some of the things I have learned:

1. Triathlons. Wow. Where to begin? The most important thing I got from this session is that triathlons are expensive. You could show up with just your Wal-Mart Huffy mountain bike (but that would be frowned upon by the elites); or you could start racing with a "simple," beginner road bike (with a starting price tag of $1,000). It just goes up from there—specialized wheels, tri bars, carbon fiber... you name it. Then there’s the rest of the gear. A decent tri suit is at least $100, and then you need a wet suit for open-water swims at another couple hundo. And then there’s the entrance fee and required insurance for the actual race. See the progression here? It’s expensive. It makes sense why you never see young people in triathlons—they can’t afford it! However, for a 40-something that’s established and has some extra money to burn, triathlons and most importantly the cool gadgets are definitely a plus.

I think I’ll stick to my $200 commuter bike and cheap and cheery running races for the time being.

I'd be the person drowning

2. Bike Maintenance. I’m not gonna lie, I’m spoiled by my mechanic father and two older brothers. They’re so efficient in fixing things that I happily whine and complain until everything is taken care of. This, of course, means that I know nothing about maintenence myself. Even my little $200 bike leaves me baffled. It seriously took me 15-minutes to figure out how to put air in my tires the other day. Sad, but true. So, off to bike maintenance class! The course was also very informative. The most important thing I learned: A clean bike is a happy bike! So, my bike and I are going to have a pool party this weekend. Chain grease (dry, not wet!) and spare tire tubes will be involved. Care to join? Speedos and Bikinis required. Banana Hammocks preferred.

See the pump? I now know how to use that. Everything else is gibberish.

3. Nutrition. I went to a women’s nutritional course hosted by Megan Forbes and Full Cycle. It was fascinating! To sum it all up—eat lots of fruits, veggies, and foods without additives and preservatives. I pretty much know all of this, but it was really helpful just to see it specifically discussed and analyzed. I also found out that my daily multivitamin, of all things, was making me sick and nauseus. Yay for scientific coding. Oh yeah, we also feasted on catered duck confit sandwiches. Yum.
Mixed drinks contain juice so they're healthy, right? Right?

I’m also getting educated in the fact that I’m not young and invincible anymore. I am still sore. I may cry. I played indoor for the first time in months on Tuesday, I lifted legs, back, and biceps on Wednesday morning, and I’ve been close to tears ever since. It’s bad enough that I couldn’t sleep so I gave up and went to the gym at 4 am just to soak in the hot tub and sauna. Brutal.

Finally, I have to share my recent cooking conquests. As always, I get far too excited any time a new recipe is successful. My new favorite is the gem I cooked last night:

Helloooo, lover!
Homemade wheat pasta with cooked asparagus, roma tomatoes, and proscuitto
The homemade pasta was very time consuming. Not too hard, per say, but the time involved is questionable when you can easily buy a huge package at the grocery store for a couple bucks. I'm still glad I figured out how to make it!
I can barely draw in a straight line, much less cut noodles! Seriously, it's like squiggle play pasta in there.
Straight lines? P-shaw!
Other fun times in the kitchen:
Tomato soup with white wine

Skillet cornbread with hot chilis and cheddar cheese

Soup and cornbread---yum!

Exhausted and bored from reading yet? I am. And I'm sore.