Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Four Eyes

Can someone please tell me how I managed to get ulcers in not one, but both of my eyes?

It’s not only gross... but borderline comical. Because I can eat as healthy as I want, run as many miles as I please and take vitamins until I turn blue but when it comes to ulcers in my eyes, I’m at a loss.

Any of you who have been reading for a while have heard my fair share of complaints about my eye problems since moving to the Maryland area. It started off with what I thought was pink eye. Who knows what it really was. Followed by what I thought were severe allergies. Turns out it wasn’t.

Back before I had ulcers.

Next on the agenda: who has anxiety attacks and nearly passes out at the eye doctor? This girl, right here.

Turns out that eye doctors aren’t the most gentle when it comes to breaking the news that bacteria is eating holes in your eyes. Thank goodness for the nice receptionist lady who took me into an empty exam room to lay down, and have a lollipop. I really wish I was kidding.

Pretty sure I had butterscotch...

Events like this only encourage my hypochondriac-ness. There’s some music for my boyfriend’s ears right there.

So three prescriptions and a 10 day ban from contacts later, here we are. So pumped to put in some good solid miles wearing my sexy glasses..

However in the words of my emotionally-inept eye doctor: “At least you look cute in glasses.” If it wouldn’t have been for the shock of the news, I probably would have told him, as the British would put it, to bugger off.

Has anyone else ever had eye problems like this? I’d love some reassurance that I’m not an alien…

I suppose it could be worse.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A case of the Tuesdays

I’m baaaaaack.

It’s peculiar really; I’m a huge fan of social media. Anyone who follows me on anything knows this. Yet this past week I just wasn’t feeling it, and so essentially went off the grid from letting the entire world what was going on in my life.

But it’s Tuesday, it’s a 4 day work week and I’m invigorated and ready to get back on track. With writing, eating, running, life.

Andrew and I saw The Avengers yesterday and I loved it. Granted, I’m a huge sucker for super hero movies like that. Furthermore I think the guy who plays Thor is super hot. So of course I loved it. I even wore my hair like the badass agent girl (Cobie Smulders) to work today. She rocks the low bun like it’s her job.
 In other news, I need to start lifting more. Long days of sitting at a desk are really starting to get to me, not only mentally but physically.  A bit of toning up is necessary, especially with the summer months coming in hot. (literally) Part of my strategy for operation tone up is to not only change up some of my cardio workouts, but to start using the Nike Workout App a couple times a week (as recommended by my good friend Karlie)

It offers a variety of different workouts, from quick 15 minute workouts targeting specific muscles, to 45 cardio workouts incorporating tons of different workouts. Most programs require very little equipment, things as simple as light dumbbells, etc., and can be done in as little space as your bedroom floor.

Anyways, that’s my rant for the day. It’s been pushing 90 degrees here the past few days, including today, and it’s incredible how quickly I find myself sweating through shirts on my runs. I easily haven’t sweat this much since three-a-days during volleyball preseasons at Bradley. It feels both horrible and awesome at the same time.

So there we have it. Hope you all had a fantastic Memorial Day weekend, and a tolerable Tuesday back to work.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Let me count the ways

This post is a happy birthday wish to the love of my life.

Not only a wish, but a huge gigantic thank you…

For being at the finish line of all of my races, with the biggest smile in the world. For listening to me babble on about running, obsess about races, and being 100% supportive of a fairly expensive hobby.

For embracing my love for health and trying out (and pretending to like) my ‘healthy’ recipes I make. For getting up at 5:30 AM to attend spin class with me, and knowing the exact spot that needs to be rubbed on my plantar fasciitis-ridden foot. For patiently responding to my hypochondriac-ness, and knowing just what needs to be said in order to shut me up.

For signing both of us up for a coed softball league in attempts to make friends… and taking me to the batting cages on a near weekly basis to try to help me improve from terrible to decent.

For teaching me the joys of craft beer… and always knowing when an invitation for a glass of wine after work is needed, solely from the tone of my voice on the phone.

For putting up with my rigid, oldest child type-A personality… a bit of a contrast to your youngest child way of life. Aaaand for picking me up from the airport at 1:30 AM, without even a hint of a complaint.

For being the most compassionate, hardest-working man that I know. You inspire me, and I’m so blessed to do life with you.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Home is Where the Heart is...

Recently, I’ve found a lot of truth in the phrase "home is where the heart it". Cliche, I know.

Although this past weekend made me miss every aspect of Colorado like crazy, and even allowed my mind to wander back to the question why the F I ever left… and even though I cried on the plane ride back to Baltimore on Sunday night…  I know that this is where I’m supposed to be right now.

Because my heart is here. And ultimately when with I’m with Andrew, I’m so happy. So although places like Fort Collins, Crystal Lake, and Boston have stolen pieces of my heart… my whole heart is here. Next to my best friend.

Anyways, enough of the mushy stuff. I have to apologize for the hiatus that I’ve been on. It's been a bumpy week since getting back late in Sunday night; which come to think of was a super bumpy flight in itself. I have been scrambling to get caught up, and in result have been experiencing some intense writer’s block. And along with that has come runners block as well, if there is such a thing. My runs have been super slow and just sluggish-feeling in general. It may be the higher temps/humidity that this week has brought. Without a doubt, summer is in the air.

Speaking of summer, I’m SO looking forward to this three day weekend. Not only because I get an extra day off, and not only because it’s Andrew’s big 2-4… but because my mom and my sister, Bri, are going to be here! They are actually Maryland-bound as we speak… and should be pulling into town early this evening.

Me, Mom & Bri... Cheetah clad this past Christmas

Why are they driving out instead of flying, you ask? Because it just so happens that when I made the move out here 3.5 months ago, I couldn’t quite fit my entire life in my little Honda Civic. So they are nice enough to bring out the rest of everything. The most important item I’ve been missing? My road bike, Beth. Her arrival means more ways to stay active (my foot will thank me for having a non-impact cardio outlet) AND day trip bike rides with Andrew. We have been told that there is a trail all the way down to Annapolis and we both pretty pumped to explore.

Beth. Ain't she a beauty?
Definitely looking forward to some family time starting tonight. We are going to try to pack in as many activities as we can between now and Sunday– most likely an Oriole’s game in Baltimore, and a day in D.C. as neither of them have seen our Nation’s Capital. Bri’s persistent request has been to eat some crabs, so we’ll see if we can find some fresh ones for her.

Oriole's Park at Camden Yards - Baltimore
I wouldn’t expect to hear from me again until after this weekend… but my intent is to get back to the regular scheduled program come next week. Enjoy all of your weekends, get outside and soak up some sun!


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Colorado Craziness

Oh man.

This past weekend was a mental health kind of weekend. The kind of weekend where I laughed so much I got a better ab workout than I would have at a gym. And although I consumed more calories (both food and drink) than I probably should in an entire week, I walked away from the weekend with a feeling of pure joy.

Eric Church would have been proud.

 As much as I want to, I’m not going to sit here and rant about the details of the trip and the concert. It was one of those “you had to be there” type weekends, with more inside jokes and immature humor than a middle school classroom.

Leslie... in the bed of the truck.

However I do have to say this: if you ever decide to make a trip somewhere for a concert, make it Red Rocks Amphitheater. This was my second concert there and it was just as magical, if not more, than the first. And when I say magical, I mean almost spiritual.

Boots in the air when Eric Church sang "These Boots"

Our own boots

I’m unsure if anything compares to an outdoor concert up in the Rocky Mountains, surrounded with amazing people and beautiful red rocks (literally), overlooking the beautiful Denver lights and singing along at the top of your lungs to songs about life. 

Karlie and Me

I’m still a little hoarse today. When I left on Sunday all that was left of Karlie's voice was a squeak.

Probably has something to do with this.

It wasn’t just a concert, it was an experience.  And I will never be able to hear the song “Springsteen” again without tearing up.  

It broke my heart to be back in that amazing state and it broke my heart to leave once again. I am so thankful to have spent a weekend surrounded with friends who are like sisters, an abundance of cowboy boots and a pace of life that is simply a few steps slower.


Friday, May 18, 2012

Rocky Mountains Here I Come

I hit consecutive green lights coming off the exit ramp on my way to work this morning.
Two green lights in a row + Miley Cyrus songs = the foreshadowing of an epic weekend.

Party in the USA. Instant mood booster. No shame.
My day started around 5:30 AM with a run. With my shorts on backwards. Not the most alert person that early in the morning. Following my run, I zipped up this bad boy:

Aaaaand in a few short hours, I will then make my way here.

1 hour layover here:
Chi town what uppppp
Aaaand finally arrive in Colorado.

Courtesy of Pinterest. 
After a hectic, whirlwind of a week, a trip to my favorite place on the entire planet is exactly what I need. And I know what you’re thinking: “Kait, how on earth can you justify a roundtrip flight to Colorado when all you do is complain about your lack of money?” Valid question. Lucky for me, due to my excessive flying and use of Southwest Airlines I have a few free flights under my belt. So all in all I just ended up having to pay for a few government fees. Roundtrip = $10. Boom.

I’m incredibly excited to spend time with some amazing people, drink some freshly brewed beer and breathe in as much fresh mountain air as I can.

Not to mention go here:

Red Rocks... 
With a few lovely cowgirls I happen to adore:




You better have your aviators on tight Mr. Church, I don’t think you’re ready for what’s about to go down at Red Rocks Amphitheater on Saturday night.
Or maybe you are.

Hasta Luego mis amigos.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Ode to Oats

Last night was rough. I’m pretty sure I cried myself into a dehydrated state, and therefore felt it necessary to hydrate up bigtime this morning. 4 different ways.

Yes, I'm aware coffee actually dehydrates you.
So, on a lighter note, today let’s talk oatmeal.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, oatmeal in some way shape or form is usually my breakfast during the week. It’s quick, easy, filling and nutritious.

Since moving out to the Maryland area I’ve been slowly working through a FIVE POUND bag of Oats that my mom hooked me up with. Gotta love Costco. I’m just about at the end of the bag and have been using the last pound or so to whip up some creative recipes to share.

Disclaimer before I share the recipes: I’m never much of a stickler with measurements... I kind of throw in whatever I’m feeling at the time. ALSO I’m a huge advocate of the overnight oats bandwagon. If you haven’t heard, oatmeal is just delicious cold as it is warm. Try out my banana cream pie overnight oats recipe below for proof.

Banana Cream Pie Overnight Oats (my new favorite)

Overnight oats should be prepared the night before so that the oats can soak up the liquid and then be soft in the morning.

-1/2 cup oats
-1/2 mashed up banana (the riper the better)
-1/2 cup greek yogurt (plain or vanilla)
-1/2- 1 cup almond milk or milk of choice (I prefer vanilla almond milk) - enough to fully submerge oats
-Handful of Chia seeds
-1-2 TB vanilla extract (depending how flavorful you want it)

Mix all in bowl, and let soak overnight. In the morning, slice up the other half of the banana on top. I also threw some coconut shavings on top … if you prefer something sweeter, try sprinkling some maple syrup/agave.

Next up...

Cranapple Pie Oatmeal

-          ½ cup of slow cook oats
-          A few dashes of cinnamon
-          Handful of frozen cranberries
-          Pieces of chopped up apple
-          3 TB of all natural applesauce
-          1 TB of ground flaxseed

Fill bowl with either water or milk of choice, until oats are submerged, and microwave 2-3 minutes until oats are fully cooked. Top with nuts (I’ve tried chopped walnuts) or sweetner (pure maple syrup works) if desired.

how you guys liking the nail color?

This past week my beloved aunt sent me three cans of pumpkin in the mail. She clearly knows the way to my heart! I’ve been a lover of pumpkin since I’ve been born I can remember, and so am super amped to do some experimenting with different pumpkin recipes over the next few weeks. Any comments/suggestions for possible recipes for me to dabble in would be fully embraced.


Monday, May 14, 2012

A girl's best friend

Maddie Comiskey
12/12/99 – 5/14/2012

I said goodbye to a sister today.

Exaggeration? Absolutely not. Since the day we picked her up from the breeder, and spent the first night sleeping on the laundry room floor with her, she’s been so much more than just our pet. Maddie has undoubtedly been a family member.

Dad, Me, Uncle Tom, Mom, Maddie, Bri, Aunt Margie

But, as Eulogies go, this isn’t meant to be a sad post. It’s a happy one, a celebratory one. Because Maddie lived the best life a dog could ask for, no if’s and’s or but’s about it. And in a very non-cliché way, she’s now in such a better place. An amazing place. A place where there are no such things as leashes or thunderstorms. Where All-you-can-eat Iam’s Buffets sit on almost every corner and life is essentially one big dog park. I am positive that she’s much happier now. 

Her favorite chair.

For the past 12 years, she traveled more than some people probably get the opportunity to, from Wisconsin to Iowa to Indiana. Volleyball tournaments, violin camps, track meets... hiking, boating, you name it. But her first love was soccer, and to this day she still has a scarred snout from dribbling the soccer ball around the backyard. She was even known to occasionally slip out of her collar and dash onto the soccer field at my sister Bri’s soccer games, wanting desperately to get in on the action.

Boating... she hated it.

Hiking at Starved Rock State Park...she loved it.

More popular than I was in middle school, Maddie will be missed by many of her friends. From her best friend, a Jack Russell Terrier named Sammi, to walks with her big yellow lab friend Striker, she had her fair share of play dates with the neighborhood pups. But there was absolutely nothing that got her more amped than a visit from Grandma, because everyone knew that was a guaranteed treat or two.

Striker & Maddie
Grandma's coming?!

Always patient, no matter what kind of outfit we dressed her up in, or position we posed her in for pictures. She owned more dog scarves than I own fashion scarves. But most importantly, she loved in a way that humans can only dream of; a perfect love. Similar, but not the same, to the way we are loved by God. Unconditional, and so raw. Tail always wagging.

Her Old Navy coat

Throw back

Not looking too pumped about being in a laundry basket.

Our time on this earth is short; even shorter through the eyes of a dog. But Maddie embraced life harder than I could ever even hope to. She lived a beautiful, joy-filled life, and I’m so honored to call myself her owner, and her sister. 

I’ll miss ya Mads. See you when my time comes down the line… meet me at the gates. Tail wagging.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Living Part of Life

I took a step back today. And it was good.
Because in a world so absorbed with the notion of moving forward, and progress, a step back to pause, and reevaluation was completely necessary.

Before launching into a feeling-filled post, I have a big thank you to give.

Cassie, not only a beloved friend and former roommate, but beautiful writer, recently posted a joy-filled blurb about the past year for her and her roommates. It hit me hard, not only because I miss her and the ladies she wrote about, but because I realized that I need to get back to those basics. To living a joy-filled life, and not always letting my control freak type-A personality take over.

This morning I went for a run, no news flash there. But I didn't take a watch, and I just ran, because I could. I completely disregarded my possible pace, or distance, and I just soaked it in. And I thought a lot. I thought about the many blessings in my own life, and things that bring me joy.

whole lotta joy right there.

One of those things is my blog. I LOVE writing, I always have. I used to tell people I was going to be an author when I grew up. My best friend and I would write lengthy nonsense stories together in elementary school, filling up entire notebooks. Now, every other run I go on, I'm writing future posts in my head. Thinking of stories I want to share and mentally inserting the occasional sarcastic cracks.

Why am I writing this blog? Because it reflects my passions. Not only running and living a healthy life, but my passion for life itself. And I want to share it. I want to help people, inspire people, give them ideas. My life is nothing exotic, but I'm willing to share it with whoever feels like reading, and hopefully brighten up some days in the process.

Now for my second thank you. Peanut Butter Fingers is a BIG TIME healthy living blog, one that I've been reading now for about a year. The PB Fingers creator, Julie, is actually originally from Palatine IL, a Chicago suburb not too far from my own hometown, Crystal Lake. This past week I was playing around on her site, and came across her post on blogging tips.

Her simple advice? Write a blog that you, the writer, would want to read. It seems obvious, but in the midst of slowly getting more followers and feedback on my own blog, I have found myself occasionally straying from that, and getting overally excited of the idea that more people than my mom are actually reading this.

Love you Mom! Happy almost Mothers Day!!
So there it is. Expect a lot more joy, a bit of sarcasm, and a whole lot of raw, borderline inappropriate me. Because ultimately, this is my blog, and I want to write about what makes me tick. If that bores you, that's fine. You really won't hurt my feelings if you "hide" me on your Facebook timeline, or block me on Twitter. I promise.

To wrap this up, I have to throw out a huge "congrats" to all of my newly graduated homies this weekend- including my beautiful little sis. If I had words of advice, it would be to embrace this new time you are transitioning into. It's awkward, and even a bit scary at first, but run with it. (Literally, if you prefer)

Own it, find the joy, and live life hard.