Sunday, November 21, 2010

Hot Chocolate 5K

A few weekends ago M and I ran Chicago's Hot Chocolate 5k. The course took us through Grant Park, along Lake Michigan, behind the Shedd Aquarium - a really stunning, scenic route, especially on a crisp fall morning. And crisp it was! Bloody freezing is more like it :)

I misunderstood the race times so we ending up getting there at 6:45 am and had to wait an hour for the real start time. There were 30 thousand people running this race, so a bit of body heat helped keep us warm.
While we were waiting around, guess who sauntered by? Dr. Oz! Hahahaha, you better believe that I shook his hand. His make-up was loaded on to the point of looking scary.

Before the race M and I decided to stick together and run just for fun. I surprised myself and ran the entire thing. It's so funny. When I try to run outside by myself I have to take a break after 5 minutes it seems. Here, I was going strong the whole time, hardly feeling out of breath. Endorphins must have been working overtime. We ended up having an 11:37 minute mile but I'm convinced we could have gone faster if it weren't for the huge hoards of people and a terribly small route. How you can expect 30,000 people to run down a sidewalk, I will never know...

After the race we quickly got our chocolate fondue treat and chowed down while walking back to the train. Home by 9:30am. Not bad!
I love chocolate.
I was waiting to write a blog post about the race till the official race day photos came in. They are in but I can't find any of me! I'M PISSED AT YOU, MARATHONFOTO. I sorted through 5000 pictures and only found pictures of M. We even held hands while crossing the finish line, but of course I am cut out of them.
Ohhhh well. I am so happy to cross this one off my 36 in 365 list!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Christmas Card Countdown

Every year I say I'm going to send out Christmas cards. Every year I don't. This year is going to be different, mostly because sending cards is one of my 36 in 365 goals and crossing things off that list feels so good!

This year, Shutterfly has a promo (go here where bloggers can get 50 free holiday cards. Sign me up! Hence, why I'm writing this post :)

Last year I noticed a growing trend of people sending photo cards, which I think is a really cute idea when you have kids. But is it a little pretentious to send photo cards if you don't have kids? Really, who is going to want a picture of just me and the hubs? Oh well. I'm jumping on the bandwagon because Shutterfly has a ton of nice templates to choose from. Here are some of my faves:
Go here for folded greeting cards.

Go here for flat stationary cards.

Go here for flat photo cards.

Now, to choose a picture! Most of the pics M and I have are self-portraits and I definitely don't think people want to see us up that close!

Do you send out cards every year? Or just think about it, until it's too late?!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Penny For Your Thoughts?

Have you heard of BzzAgent? It's a marketing company that sends you free stuff to try and in return you're expected to spread the word - positive or negative.

The latest BzzCampaign I've been invited to join is for a website called Otrib. Take a look at the picture below.

Otrib created a free facebook application where you can name an heir for your facebook account so that, after you die, someone can manage your profile, send out a death notification to all your friends, and create a tribute page or obituary.

Wow! What are your thoughts?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Walking the Mag Mile

Anyone who visits Chicago must experience the magnificent mile at least once.
It's full of tall buildings with beautiful architecture, high end shopping, twinkling lights at night, and TOURISTS. This is where all the tourists flock to on weekends, which is the reason why you find no true Chicagoans there at that time! It's really difficult to walk, especially when you have crowds of people stopping to watch the living statues, take pictures, and do silly things like tie their shoes in the middle of the sidewalk.
Michelle and I walked up and down the mag mile until we built up an appetite big enough for The Cheesecake Factory. Actually I don't think there's anyone who has a stomach large enough to finish an entire meal there and have cheesecake for dessert. Or if they do they'd be eating enough calories for their entire week!
I ordered the cobb salad and Michelle had nachos and by the time we were finished eating, it looked as though neither of us had even touched our food! Ginormous servings. We took some red velvet cheesecake to go, which is pretty much the best cheesecake that exists!
What happened to my mouth?

We also walked around Chinatown, which was nothing special, but warranted a one (and only) time visit.
It was a sunny but chilly day. Too bad we didn't have the weather then that we're having now. A high of 20 degrees C today!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Ba Ba Reeba and Broadway

Continuing on from yesterday's post, me and the BFF spent our crazy night out drinking sangria and watching a Broadway show. That's as crazy as we (me mostly) get :)

I've written about Cafe Ba Ba Reeba before and every time I go I end up loving it more and more. We ordered a pitcher of sangria, which should be illegal it's so good.
Cheers. Prost. Slainte.
We also ordered the pinxto platter which is perfect for sharing. Bite size morsels of deliciousness.
Man oh man, those balls of goat cheese and lemon, which Michelle is eating below, are scrumptious. Melt in your mouth. Can't get enough of that goodness.
After dinner we hopped on the L and headed downtown to see Billy Elliot on Broadway.
The train was empty so of course Michelle took advantage and showed me what she's been learning in her pole dancing class ;)
Christmas decorations are up already!
Christmas lights too, although I'm not sure if those are up year round or not.
And here's a scary dude who wanted to take a picture of Michelle and I. Ummm, no thanks. So he hopped in and ruined a perfectly good photo!
Next up is the inside of the Ford Centre for the Performing Arts, which I very promptly got in trouble for taking. Tsk tsk. I was even trying to be discrete but those theatre stewards have eagle eyes! It's really quite a gorgeous theatre.
And that was that! Billy Elliot was seriously disappointing though. Way too long. A bit boring. Too much talking. Not enough dancing. And Billy was Asian. Now, I have nothing against Asians but it's not very believable to have an Asian child, two white parents, plus a white brother. And the grown up version of Billy was also white. So, so, so, so sad because I was looking forward to this musical for a long time. Oh well. I would not recommend it.

Other than that, it was a great night out with my BFF!

Friday, November 5, 2010

The BFF Has Landed

She's here, she's here! My BFF in Chicago!

First stop, deep dish for lunch!
We headed over to Gino's East in my neck of the woods for some pizza and oh my, what a good decision. No line ups like the locations downtown, plus the cutest Bulgarian server ever. EVER. He was something else. He laid everything down so daintily and gently, gave us free dessert, and even knocked out the line "your wish is my command".
We ordered the lunch special which included salad, personal sized pizza, and pop. For $5.99. Good deal! Plus lots of leftovers!
I must say, the personal sized deep dish tastes a bit different than a full sized pizza - less crust, which is not necessary a bad thing. I told Michelle that it gives us an excuse to try a different pizza place next time she visits :)

While heading back to my place, Michelle had to take a picture of the gas prices here. She was OUTRAGED. SHOCKED. DISGUSTED. Or maybe just surprised. Thank goodness we walk mostly everywhere and get gas in the suburbs where it's much cheaper.
Michelle met the Bamster and thinks he looks like a horse. This is his favourite thing to do when he first meets someone. He gets right under your legs for prime petting position! It can be a little awkward especially when you're not expecting it!
Next up: Our crazy night out on the town!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Faves of 2010 (So Far)

So far in 2010 I have read 43 books. Close to a book a week, with almost two months left! I think I can, I think I can. Let me preface this by saying that a lot of the books I read are admittedly "fluff". Over Christmas vacation when I have two weeks off, I can easily read 5 books. What can I say? I like chick lit and I like quick, easy reads. The best part of reading, for me, is to get away from it all. If this requires too much thinking, it doesn't work.

Looking at my goodreads account, I have ranked 1 of those 43 books as 1 star, 8 as 2 stars, 11 as 3 stars, 17 as 4 stars, and the following 6 as 5 stars.

I guess that means these have been my favourite books this year, in no particular order. In no particular order because I have the worst memory and forget every book I read just as quickly as I've picked it up. I've added a link to the summary of each book if you're interested!

(I loved reading about his Kilimanjaro adventure in one of the chapters.)

If you forced me to choose my favourite, this would be it.

I have absolutely no recollection of this book, but I guess it was good!
I love you Alex Cross! I love you Sampson!

Can I just say thank goodness James Patterson is writing good books again! He had seriously been going downhill, but as you can see, I have two of his books on my favourites list this year. If you like murder and suspense as much as I do, you've gotta try his Alex Cross series out :)

Also, if you're wondering, I am the library's number one customer (customer because I know how to rack up those late fines). I rarely buy books and only ask for my favourites as gifts. My husband who never reads owns more books than I do.

Do you have any good books to recommend? I currently have only 245 on my to-read list, a few more couldn't hurt!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

My Wishlist

Tis the season to start thinking about my birthday (and Christmas) wish list! Using has been oh so helpful because if I see something while browsing the internet I can add it to my wish list right away before I forget all about it. Then when people ask me what I want, I can easily send them a link to my list!

Here's what I am wishin' and hopin' for this year!

1) Yogitoes skidless yoga towel (in pink for breast cancer awareness). Pair this with a gift certificate for CorePower yoga and I'd be one happy camper.
2) A necklush from etsy. I promise to wear clothes with mine.
3) A kitchen apron from etsy. Either this one or this one, I can't decide.

4) KitchenAid ice cream attachment.
5) Sound of Music blu-ray. Don't laugh. I love me some Julie Andrews.

Have you thought about your wish list yet? Or are you trying to finish off your Halloween candy first?!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Geocaching Adventure

Have you ever heard of geocaching? It's one of my favourite outdoorsy things to do! Here's a quick summary from the website:

Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online.

Basically, you search online for caches near you, input them into your gps, then go try to find them. It can be a very frustrating hunt, depending on the difficulty level of the cache and how many people, aka "muggles" are around. You have to be quite stealthy because you don't want just any joe blow on the street to find the cache and destroy it.

A few weekends ago M, the Bamster, and I went out geocaching around our neighbourhood. One cache in particular was pretty cool because it was near the junkyard.
This whole globe is made of old dinky cars!
Here is the magnetic box we found, hidden inside a pole.
Inside is a log where you can write your name and date, and little objects that you can take if you leave something in return.
Anyway, it's a totally nerdy pastime, but I look at it as a good way to get outside for a walk!

Bama loves geocaching too.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween, Chicago Style

Chicago knows how to do Halloween up right, that is for sure! The streets on Saturday night were full of crazy people in crazy costumes.

I enjoy most Halloweeny things - decorations, scary movies, pumpkin carving, but I HATE, no, I DETEST dressing up. I procrastinate every year and end up with some shite half assed costume. I lack creativity. I personally think Halloween was created for skanky girls so they have an excuse to dress up even more skankily than usual.

This year M and I decided to dress up as Wayne and Garth - nice, easy, homemade costume. Just my style. The only pictures we have are from a random cupcake shop stop where we had a dance party with Chewbacca. They pretty much sum up the night.
Good times :)

I don't know about you, but I am so ready to put my Christmas tree up! Bwahahahahah.