Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Jackpot! Five Added Bonuses of Working Out

5. Discovering new music. 
Some of my favorite get-ready-for-the-weekend/walk to the train and imagine I'm in a movie about an awkward but whip-smart small town girl making it in the big city songs have come from classes at the gym. "Run the World (Girls)" by Beyonce, "Cannibal" by Ke$ha, and "Titanium" by David Guetta (featuring Sia) still make me want to burst into a sprint anytime I hear them.

4. Occupying your mind.
One of my go-to secrets when I've had a bad day or need to get my mind off a boy is to go to the gym and  sweat it out. Running or spinning or any type of hard cardio works, but the key is to push yourself to the point where all you care about is surviving the next five minutes...and then the five after that. The peace of mind from focusing on truly strengthening your body is beyond compare.

3. NSC's
My girlfriend Amanda coined this term--non-sexual crush--years ago in regards to those girls you instantly idolize or adore. So many of my teachers--spin, weights, running--have fallen into this category, but there are also girls in class that push you further than you'd intended on going. It's empowering to be around strong, driven females and it's even better when their drive and intensity inspires you.

2. Owning your body
I have this weird and awesome trait where I am either a decent dancer (as in I can keep the beat loosely but with confidence) or I am terrifically laughable (think Elaine from Seinfeld). It comes and goes without warning but I have to say when I've been working out hard--and consistently--the whole dance floor experience is exponentially less mortifying. Getting in tune with your body--feeling the muscles activate and respond--affects the way you use it.

1. Feeling Like a Bad Ass
Trust me. When you feel it there will be no explanation necessary.


Monday, May 14, 2012

One Question

Do you guys have a secret question you ask yourself when you start dating someone (or when you started dating your significant other)? My morning radio show was asking this today and it made me realize I have a silent litmus test in the back of my head: could I be happy if I were stranded with this person on a deserted island? Barring the survival stuff--let's just pretend we possess the skills necessary to keep living--would I grow annoyed or would we never run out of things to talk about? Could we make each other laugh and keep each other entertained if there were no TV, internet, or Iphones? Would I feel safe with him? The initial stages of dating are so fun--filled with new experiences, places and gestures of your best self, but when all that balances out, the connection that remains is what interests me. What about you guys--do you have a secret question?

image via pinterest (credit unknown, let me know if you have the information!)

Friday, April 20, 2012

six simple things to smile about

1. girlfriends that ground you
2. feeling strong
3. guys with rosy cheeks
4. weekend road trips
5. collarbones
6. actively pursuing a dream

Going on a road trip to Michigan with these girls plus two more lovely ladies, and I cannot wait for a weekend of wine and girl talk. What are you guys doing this weekend? Whatever it is, enjoy the time off and we'll meet back here Monday :)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

a birthday book

Months ago I came across this post on Joanna's Friday wrap-up and was immediately inspired to do the same for my own dad's 70th birthday (shout out to girls named Brooke with smart gift ideas!). She had sent postcards to everyone important in her dad's life and for weeks before and after his birthday, he received fun memories from people he loved. I thought it was genius.

So about a month before my dad's big day, my mom and I did some super awkward stealth sneaking around to find email and home addresses of old co-workers, classmates and friends from my dad's life, starting all the way back to his elementary school . We sent them either an email or a letter asking them to share their favorite memory or quality about him and then we copied them all into a large book (adding pictures and mementos people had sent along) to present to him at his birthday dinner. Let me tell you, if you ever have the opportunity to do something like this for someone in your life, do it. What started out as a fun birthday surprise turned into something so much bigger.

I always have felt that after weddings and retirements, we don't do nearly enough big celebrations of the people in our life to let them know what they mean to us. This gave everyone close to my father a chance to share what he really meant to them--whether it was a memory that they still laughed about or a piece of advice that impacted the rest of their life. Not only that, but it gave me such an incredible peek into a part of my dad's life I never knew about--the 30 plus years before I was born. Within the stories about him as a 20-year-old in college or as a newly married guy starting out with the love of his life, I saw pieces of myself--bits of my personality he would pass along to me in the future. The stories made me cry at work multiple times (I would get them in my email box throughout the day), they made me guffaw with recognition at qualities and habits that developed early on which he still does to this day, and they made me proud to call him my dad. Bonus? They made up what he called "the best gift ever."

So, friends, do you have any clever ideas to share for milestone birthdays? Next up is my mom's, but I have a year to prepare, so any help would be greatly appreciated :)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

life lists

Do you guys make life lists? I found one in my wallet from a couple years ago and it's crazy how much my interests have changed. Since I got over my fear of flying, it's literally like a whole new world has opened up to me--it's no surprise that my latest list (above, deceivingly entitled surfing, since that was the first thing I wrote) is all about new places to go and experience. Have you done anything on this list? What's the latest obsession on your life list?

new obsession: ginger beer

When I visited my friend in San Diego, we went to an Alice-in-Wonderland-like bar that specialized in cocktails (similar to the spot-on Chicago date spot Violet Hour!) and I tasted my first ginger beer cocktail. Since then, I've been hooked, and am thinking about making my own version at home. It should be noted that I love saying I'm going to make things at home only to read through the recipe, imagine myself making it, and then call it a day, but if I did get the motivation I would make this version of Pimm's Cup. There is something to be said for having a professional mix you up a great cocktail, but maybe at our next dinner party (I don't think I've ever thrown a dinner party in my life), we'll have them as the featured drink. Apparently this post is filled with details of a fantasy life I don't live, but my point is that ginger beer kicks ass :)

Image by Katie Cannon via Heavy Table

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

the waiting

As one of the last girls in the world in my group of friends to get married, I love the varying perspectives people have on relationships and timing. My friend Lauren (the pretty gal on the left...she just moved in with her adorable boyfriend!) said something memorable and inspiring the other day.

"Of course I was happy for my married friends, and I wanted that for myself," she said "because they obviously have the kind of lasting love and a forever partnership that is most people's ultimate goal of dating. But when I was single I always loved knowing that falling in love with my husband was something waiting for me in my future." Isn't that a refreshing thought? It's such a positive way to experience the years before you meet the person you're going to marry.