Sunday, August 25, 2013

Scenes From A Week: August 25

I'm a big summer lover, and as such, I'm trying to cram as much authentic summer fun as possible in to these last days of summer.  This weekend included a boat ride on the Chicago River, a leisurely outdoor barbecue with friends, two five mile walks, and a lazy afternoon spent reading on my rooftop.  Summer, please don't leave us!

Two weeks (and $20 in) on #14!
gorgeous views
the whole boating crew!
my saturday walking buddies - love 
deconstructed greek salad at our saturday night bbq
love the view from our rooftop
spent the late afternoon starting this book -
courtesy of my friend melissa (thank you M!)

Friday, August 23, 2013

Quote of the Day: House of Cards

"He doesn't measure his wealth in private jets, but purchased souls" - Francis Underwood, House of Cards

Have you seen "House of Cards"?  It's a Netflix original, and if you haven't, I'd highly recommend that's how you spend your weekend.  (Once you start, you'll get nothing else done until it's over).  Love  it.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Kelly's Bachelorette Party

Kelly's Bachelorette party was this weekend and it was a day to remember.  Lots of pictures below!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Scenes From A Week: August 18

This week brought a long awaited Bachelorette party (more on that this week), a Bears game on TV, and a much needed girls weekend.  I'm completely exhausted (and in need of lots of water and a few hours of extra sleep) but that means that a weekend was completely fantastic and this one certainly was.

a ridiculously packed bus led to being smushed next to
the windshield, and this cool view
i'm using a new eyelash serum and i think it's working!
friday night brew & view with my main man and my cousinfriend anne
the whole crew at kelly's bachelorette dinner (at seadog sushi- yum)
the stunning bachelorette! 

Quote of the Day: Divide

"It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious" - Oscar Wilde

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Quote of the Day: Moderation

"Everything in moderation.  Including moderation" - Oscar Wilde

Scott's Bathroom Remodel

I realized the other day that while I'd alluded to Scott's bathroom remodel, I never shared the results.

Scott's bathroom (which is in our "guest suite") needed a little freshening up.  It was fine - but the tiling wasn't very attractive, and the vanity looked dated.    Here's how it looked when we toured the apartment for the first time:

He fixed the vanity issue a while back by replacing it (in one evening!!!) with some thing much more contemporary looking.  The tiling was a bit of a longer and more expensive project.

After he selected the tile he wanted (along with the contrasting tile for the band around the middle) he had to chisel each old tile off of the wall.  It was 20+ year old tile, so that was a long, loud, and physically demanding job.  Then he had to buff the walls so they were smooth enough to put new tile up.  Once he got all of the tile up (harder than it sounds because our walls aren't perfectly sized for the tile - so he had to cut many of the tile pieces to fit exactly) he grouted it, and got new hardware for the faucet and shower head.

Lastly, he originally had a shower curtain and rod, but he took those out and installed a glass shower door.

I love how it looks.  It was absolutely a labor of love on Scott's part.  Initially, the project seemed so easy "oh take the tile off, then put the new stuff up", but isn't that what often happens on projects?  It was a several day/week long project, but we're very happy with how it turned out.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Quote of the Day: Enemies

"I choose my friends for their good looks, my acquaintances for their good characters, and my enemies for their intellects. A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies" - Oscar Wilde

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Quote of the Day: Clever

"I am so clever that sometimes I do not understand a single word of what I am saying" - Oscar Wilde

on Kelly

Happiest of birthday wishes to my sister-in-law-to-be, Kelly, today as she celebrates her last birthday before becoming Mrs. Maloney.  I cannot wait to celebrate you this weekend! 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Quote of the Day: Chanel Edition

"The best things in life are free.  The second best are very expensive" - Coco Chanel

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Quote of the Day: Spark

"A spark of kindness can start a fire of love" - Unknown

22) Run 1,000 miles

"The journey of a thousand miles, begins with a single step" - Lao Tzu

I deleted this goal, and re-wrote it.  I deleted it again and re-wrote it again.

1,000 miles over 365 days.  That works out to just under three miles a day - every day.  About 20 miles per week.  That's significantly more than I've ever run in a year before - almost double probably.

I'll be honest, that scares me a little bit.  I started running somewhat consistently in December of 2011, and since then, I've run about 15-20 races.  Mostly 5Ks, with an 8K, 10K, half-marathon and two obstacle course/mud runs thrown in.  I want to love running, but I don't yet, although I love how it makes me feel afterward.

I'm committing to 1,000 miles of running or dedicated walking (that means that walking to the bus doesn't count, but putting on my tennis shoes and grabbing my headphones for a walk does).  I'm going to track my progress on this page, with date and miles and I hope to update this at least weekly.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Quote of the Day: Riches

"If you want to feel rich, just count the things you have that money can't buy" - Proverb

Scenes From A Week: August 12

The theme for this week was definitely my 29th birthday.  I felt completely and totally showered with love.  Thank you to all who made me feel special!  I had a fantastic birthday week (and day!) and am energized about finishing my 20s strong.

card from my coworkers
flowers sent to my office from my love 
saturday on the golf course

scott won a tv!  (insane)
homemade birthday cake and drinks with sam & jennie
my amazing cousinfriends (and MOHs)
showered me with love at midnight on
the dot.  

birthday brunch with my beautiful mom (my dad and scott too!)
birthday mani from joe
birthday flowers (including the kind i had for our
wedding!) from my in-laws 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Thirty by 30

1) Take an athletic class (boxing, tennis, etc) Aerial Yoga 3/5/14, Aerial Yoga 4/30/14
2) Go camping
3) Throw a theme party
4) Participate in (or host) a blind wine taste test
5) Read "What To Expect When You're Expecting" (preliminarily:)
6) Prepare a homemade dinner for my parents
7) Walk from downtown Chicago to my home in Lakeview
8) Be able to do 25 real pushups
9) Pay it forward (in the form of paying for someone's meal behind me in a drive through, or someone's coffee behind me at Starbucks, etc)
10) Memorize the names of all of the US Vice Presidents, and who they served under.
11) Babysit for a loved one's loved one
12) Dance at a siblings wedding 10/12/13
13) Invest in a new pair of fantastic jeans
14) Save $10/week every week that I'm 29 (for a stupid, extravagant 30th birthday gift to myself)
15) Write about what I learned in my first thirty years 1/27/14
16) Participate in a dance off
17) Learn how to make my mom's famous chocolate chip cookies
18) Participate in a football game
19) Have an awesome cousin weekend with some of my favorite babes
20) Plan a surprise date night
21) Start (or join) a book club - for real this time.  :)
22) Run 1,000 miles
23) Visit Joe (and Washington DC) 3/6/14-3/9/14
24) Go to Castaways (the Chicago beach-bar)
25) Finally (and belatedly) see Jenifer's apartment
26) Attend yoga in the park
27) Introduce my grandparents on my blog
28) Do something seasonal (Christmas Caroling, Smoochin' under Mistletoe, Pumpkin Carving, bake a pumpkin pie)
29) Do a week long body detox 4/21/14-4/23/14
30) Attend a non-Catholic church service

I am so excited to be 29.  29 seems both old and young, a perfect age really.  The expression "old enough to know better, and young enough not to care" seems apropos.  At 29, anything is possible.  On my 28th birthday, I declared silently that it would be the year of "change"... and it sure lived up to my whispered hope.  I haven't quite figured out my word for 29.  "Bliss" maybe, but that seems like a loaded word, and entirely too much pressure.  I told Christine the other day, that maybe the word for 29 would end up being "baby"... or maybe it'll be vodka.   Although I'm (mostly) kidding, I think it's a fair assessment of where I stand at this moment - cautious, confused, content.   More on that in the year ahead, but also, more of all 30 of the above.

Thank you for reading my blog.  It started four years ago today, and I am so grateful that you're reading.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Year of the Kate: A Recap

28.   Where do I begin?  I guess I could begin at the top, and say that 28 was the best. year. of. my. life.

So much happened while I was 28, and yet on the surface, almost everything appears as it did a year ago.  Underneath, though, change has happened.  Something silent started happening a year or two ago, unintentionally and un-intrusively.  I am not sure what exactly - a metamorphosis?  I'm still me, and yet, I've changed. I'm more comfortable in my skin and body and shoes than I have ever been before.  I own my life and my choices and I feel more like... me.  I am who I am.  That's not much, but it also might be everything.  I'm not saying it's the meaning of life... but it just might be.  Being who you are.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention how 28 started (gloriously!) as my brother proposed to his longtime love Kelly two weeks after my birthday.  I jumped for their joy.. and for my own.  I bridesmaid-ed and toasted and celebrated.. and eagerly awaited their wedding day this fall.

I traveled.  To Italy!  And St. Louis, and New York, and Los Angeles, and New York again, and of course Iowa.  (Always Iowa!)

I celebrated love.  My own, and the love of my friends, and of people I don't know at all.  I hosted an engagement party, a bachelorette party, a bridal shower.

I ran more than ever before.  It calmed my fears and stoked my confidence.  It released me.  It ignited me.  I ran for hot chocolate, Summer Shandy, and my own pride.  I ran 5Ks, 10Ks and a half marathon.    I ran up a mountain - twice.  I rode a bike for thirty miles on Lake Shore Drive.

I drank and ate and danced and sang

I popped bottles of champagne, and cans of PBR.

I cherished my family, my cousinfriends, my girlfriends, and my freedom.

I wrote about feminism, and terrorists, and my family.

I thought about motherhood.  I thought about family.  I thought about life.

I turned inward, and contemplated the future.  I turned outward, and lived in the moment.

I exhaled and inhaled and rinsed and repeated. I wanted more and embraced less.  I smiled, I laughed, I prayed, I thanked.

28 was a spectacular year.  But I think (hope!) 29 can beat it.

Here I am 29.  Let's do this.  

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Country concert

So after our fun afternoon brush with death, Scott and I continued the additional 45 minutes to Milwaukee for a night of spousal debauchery.  :)  One of the perks of being "DINKS" (dual income, no kids) is that we are able to live it up on occasion, and we took the chance this weekend.

We stayed at a hotel downtown, where we each showered up and tried to get all. of. the. mud. off of ourselves.  The amount of mud that came off of my body was absolutely ridiculous.  It was in my hair, ears, under my fingernails and toenails (even though I was wearing shoes and socks).  Insane.  My shower was at least 20 minutes long.

After our attempts to get clean, we walked a few blocks away to Rock Bottom Brewery.  Yes, it's a chain.  Yes, they have it in Chicago.  No, that didn't stop us.  It was fabulous.  I had a beer the size of my head and enjoyed every sip.

I called a cab, and it picked us up five minutes later - ridiculously fast by my jaded Chicago standards.  A $20 cab later and we were at the Wisconsin State Fair grounds to see two country artists:  Randy Houser followed by Gary Allan.  Scott and I were basically there to see Randy Houser (his song "Running Out of Moonlight" is currently #1 on the country charts!) but we were somewhat familiar with Gary Allan and figured we might as well stay for his, too.  Our tickets were only $25 each, which included admission to the fair.  And - bonus! - beer was cheaper than at Wrigley Field.

The shows were fabulous.  Each band was so good and we were really pleasantly surprised by the sound quality (considering it was an outdoor venue!)  I knew more songs than I thought I would, and it was just a rocking time with my main squeeze.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Photo of the Day: CousinFriends Edition

I am literally counting down the days to next weekend when the cousinfriend crew (including the two of us pictured above) is reunited to celebrate Kelly's bachelorette party.  I.  am.  pumped.

11) Dance in the rain

I realized last week that I'd never officially accomplished this goal.  Today my coworker/friend Lauren and I were walking to City Target, when it started raining.  Knowing that I hadn't accomplished this, I started dancing.  On Michigan Avenue.  During the lunch hour.  I did one or two patented "Kate" moves followed by the Macarena.

It isn't exactly what I intended by this goal, but it'll do for now.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Rugged Maniac 5K Obstacle Course

On Christmas Eve 2012, Scott suggested that we run the Rugged Maniac 5K Mud Run/Obstacle Course with my parents and any of my brothers who were interested.  After a glass or two of wine, my parents, Scott and I registered.  It was over seven months away, but seemed like an awesome idea.

My parents ended up not being able to join us (due to moving my brother to his new home in Washington, DC) but Scott and I ventured to Wilmot, WI on Saturday afternoon to tackle the Rugged Maniac.

The atmosphere was fantastic - super chill, super inviting.  I was pumped!  Until I saw the mountain:

Photos don't even do it justice.  It was massive and unforgiving.  The race started with a run up the hill, and then back down.  And that wasn't even one of the 20 obstacles.  Obstacles ranged from horrible to terrible.  The worst was having to repel up a steep and rugged terrain of atleast 100 feet - maybe more (it was hard to judge behind my fear).  You used a ragged rope to help you, but the ground was slick and the rope was brutal.  I ended up with pretty ripped up hands.  And then you kept running, did another few obstacles - AND THEN DID THE CLIMB AGAIN.  It was relentless.  Another tough obstacle was dragging your body - army-crawl style - through mud.  You had to stay low, though, because barbed wire was right above your head.  (I thought my knees and forearms were pretty scraped up - until I saw Scott's left knee... he's very scraped up).  

Some of the obstacles were very silly/fun though.  They had a jumbo slip-and-slide (where you landed in a huge pool of murky, muddy water).  It was strangely refreshing though, as I was pretty overheated at that point.  I was afraid of the "jumping over fire" obstacle that as advertised in the promo video... I shouldn't have been, as it was a bit of a joke:

Overall, I did not love this race.  I am not a mountain climber, and I'm not a spider-monkey in the way that Scott is (he blew my mind with the way that he maneuvered each obstacle... he was an animal and had absolutely zero fear - just awesome).   I would much, much run another half than do this bad boy again.  I am also significantly more sore today than I was the day after the half.  I think this is due to all of the hill running/climbing.

While I hated this run because it tested me physically (and mentally) so significantly, perhaps that's exactly why I should do it again next year.  Just a thought.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Quote of the Day: Feelin' Like That

"I've got lightning in my veins, and thunder in my chest" - Gary Allan

Scott and I went to the Wisconsin State Fair last night to see two country acts that we really like - Randy Houser followed by Gary Allan.  Randy Houser was probably the bigger draw for us, but I was also very impressed by Gary Allan (although less familiar with his music).  Anyway, one of the songs he did "Feelin' Like That" really got me interested.  I'd never heard it before, and when I listened to the lyrics later I was surprised to find out that it's actually a song about a breakup ("you're a tough act to follow... I can't find a feelin' like that", etc) but there were a few lyrics that really spoke to me.  I especially like this one. 

Scenes From A Week: August 4

This was the best week of summer - yet - I think.  It included many beers, many miles covered on foot and in the car, two country concerts, and a solid mix of productivity and relaxation.   This is also my last Sunday being 28 - and I am super pumped for the big 2-9 one week from today.

Happy Sunday ya'll.  Let's make this week a good one.

orange shandy - decent, but probably not my favorite.
my favorite summer color - Coastal Surf by Revlon
(and though it's my fave in the summer - it makes a
frequent appearance year round)
the american consumer in me hated getting a small dc
when an xxl would have cost approximately 3c more...
but i did.  kate 1 - diet coke 0.
weekend road trip with my love
rugged maniac mud run - 5k worth of brutal obstacles (more on this later,
but for now - ouchhhhh).
post-race, pre-concert brews at Rock Bottom in Milwaukee