Thursday, March 5, 2015

Three Things Thursday

1. The winner of my REM-Fit Active giveaway is Ken C.! Never fear, non winners, another giveaway is in the queue and ready to get posted next week. Stay tuned ...

2. Another thing you'll have to stay tuned for is my big kitchen reveal. It's been a month-long labor of love, but damn is it worth it. Soon, so very soon, I'll be done with this.
"This is where the food happens. I can ask a double?"

3. I'm finally back to making kombucha at home, which is fantastic because this stuff is expensive. I had to buy a starter on Amazon (which annoyed me endlessly because every batch of kombucha makes a new starter, so I paid for something that is free), and it's as perfect as I remember. Anyone have kombucha flavors they recommend?

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Training Tuesday: A second 20 miler

Post-run celebratory calzones 
Man oh man, this spring is stacking up fast. For example, the window for running big miles this training cycle is rapidly closing. My first marathon of 2015 is this month.

Let that sink in there. I can't believe that I'll be running a marathon in like 25 days. Gulp.

I'm not sure how well I've trained this cycle, but I feel as ready as I'm going to be. I've run two 20-mile training runs, and lots of mid-week speed work and tempo work. Thank you, home treadmill, for making this happen, and Netflix for keeping me from losing my mind while doing it.

My training plan calls for 23 miles this weekend, which simply isn't going to happen. I don't have the time to do it. But two 20-mile cycles during which I felt great and could have run the next day is fine by me.

So what's next? Running 16-18 Saturday morning, a few more speed work sessions and lots more binge watching of Amazon and Netflix to pass the time. And hopefully having a better showing at Circular Logic this year than last.

Monday, March 2, 2015

#Sweatworking at Power Sculpt Chicago

I really need to question my ability to fend off peer pressure. After last weekend’s workout at CrossTown Fitness, Katie of LiveHalfFull mentioned another event she was going to this weekend and said I should totally get in on it. She’s been meaning to try out #Sweatworking for a while, which is a workout coupled with networking and a gander at new products in the healthy living sphere.

I actually missed the registration deadline and just happened to score a seat in the class off of the waiting list (thanks, Jeana!). Parking at Power Sculpt was a challenge in a truck, but I was right on time and ready when the 65-minute class kicked off. We were split into three groups, which rotated through different workout scenarios. One group started on spin bikes, then the other two with TRX and Bosu ball activities. I started in the main studio with that. I wasn’t nearly as liquidated by the workout as last week’s, but I also was concerned my form was lacking on the squats and curls because I’m so far out of practice.
The spin portion of my workout was about 18 minutes of intense pedaling interspersed with up and down out of the saddle efforts. The studio was tiny and the mirrors steamed up, so it was hard for me to tell if I was sweating from exertion or in unity with the sweltering room.

We finished the workout in the main studio again with core work and light lifting, and more resistance band work. In all, it was an intense session that if I had pushed myself, would have kicked my ass in a BIG way. However, my ass was slated to run 20 miles the following day, so I held back to prevent three-hours of whining about my soreness while traipsing up and down the hills of the Morton Arboretum.

After I finished sweating, refueling was in order. A local purveyor brought in healthy chili, and electrolyte drinks were plentiful. 

There was also a raffle in which I snagged a 10-class pass for later, and the goodie bags alone were worth the price of admission. They included a free wax, sake-infused drinks, chapstick and deals on future workouts, so that offset the $15 entry fee.

The next #Sweatworking event in Chicago is March 24 and it’s a combo yoga/HIIT workout at 7:30 p.m. It’s $15 per person and if you follow the organizer on Twitter, they occasionally share discount codes, too. Sadly I’ll be sweating in another state that day (don’t cry for me, I’m going somewhere warm).

Friday, February 27, 2015

What I'm Watching Lately

Another week, another batch of treadmill miles. This was a particularly atrocious week, training wise, as I didn't quite achieve my long run Sunday. Something about the temperature being significantly lower than the miles I needed to run was off putting. So I rented a tile saw and redid my kitchen instead. I only regret this decision when I look at my Garmin profile instead of my beautiful kitchen.

So instead, I had two 10-mile runs indoors on the treadmill, along with a four- and six-mile jaunt this week. That's a lot of television time.  Here's what I've stumbled upon:

The Duchess
So this was a two-hour movie, which I needed for a 10-mile run. It was actually very well-done. Depressing, sexy, emotional, intriguing. Try it.

The One I Love
So there's no video clip for this on purpose. This is the weirdest romantic comedy I've ever seen. Don't read about it, don't watch the trailer. Just watch the movie and report back.

It's everything they said about the movie and more. It's so good. The music is great, the acting is wonderful and the tension and stress are palpable.

And right, of course I watched this. Looks like my favorite Republican and fellow BU alum just got Insta-Busted. Careful with social media, friends. This is probably the 5/2/26/8114239/aaron-schock">most succinct article about Aaron Schock's imminent downfall, if you're curious.

 Next up? Binge watching House of Cards, naturally.

Whatcha watching?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Three Things Thursday

1. The winner of my RawSpiceBar subscription giveaway is Rachel S.! Congrats on scoring three free months of specially selected exotic herbs and spices. If you're one of the other 213 entries that didn't win, Rebecca of RawSpiceBar is happy to extend a special deal to all my readers: Use KELLYTHECULINARIAN when you subscribe and you'll receive a free month with a six-month subscription. If you feel your luck is changing, be sure to enter this week's high-value giveaway of a REM-Fit Active band valued at $120!

2. My sister's dog Marvel has finally rolled out. This is Napoleon expression about the situation.
 3. I got a lot of questions about what type of wine I used in my wine jelly recipe for the Chicago Food Swap. Spoiler alert, it is not fancy. Indeed, it's a $5 bottle from ALDI.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Win It Wednesday: REM-Fit Active Activity Tracker Giveaway

FitBit alternative
High-value giveaway alert! Another week, another way to win. This is a special one – the REM-Fit Active is a brand new activity tracker valued at $120, which one lucky winner will take home for FREE.

FitBit alternativeI got this tracker when I won an entry to the F^3 Half Marathon earlier this year. I spoke fairly extensively with the reps on-site to learn more about the device, and it’s really cool. It’s a bit like a FitBit in that it tracks your activity, but it’s generations ahead in that it gives you both qualitative and quantitative measures of your activity. Instead of just tracking steps, it assigns a value to how active you are. So you get more points for running five miles versus walking five miles. It does the same thing for your sleep, awarding you more points for deep sleep over tossing and turning. Finally, another differentiating feature of this tracker is that instead of just syncing to your smart phone, it displays data right on the bracelet so you can see how you’re doing throughout the day without uploading data.

·         Active Score - How active are you being in a day? REM-Fit Active gives you a score based on how active you are, not just how many steps you have.
·         Steps - Take every opportunity to rack up your steps! REM-Fit Active tracks how many you take in a day.
·         Distance - From A to B and everywhere in between; REM-Fit Active will show you how far you went today.
·         Calories - Ever wonder how many calories you burn in a day? REM-Fit Active will calculate it for you based on your activity.
·         Sleep Points - How'd you sleep last night? REM-Fit Active is awake while you are asleep to help you answer that question.
·         Advanced Watch - What time is it? Date, time and battery life are easily found on your REM-Fit Active.
Want one of your own, totally free? Enter now! Rafflecopter will select a random winner in one week, and I’ll announce it here on March 5. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Take Time Tuesday

When I saw Katie for our workout this weekend, we swapped stories about blogging and what we’re doing next, as well as the challenges of keeping up with writing while balancing demanding careers and life in general.

So it seemed appropriate for a Take Time Tuesday in which bloggers around the ‘net write take a few minutes to reflect on what they have to be grateful for. And do I ever had a lot to be grateful for.

At the top of the list is that my sister is returning from vacation tomorrow to retrieve her dog. I’ve been chilling with Marvel the shiba for a few days and he wants to go home. And my sleep patterns would like him to do so as well.

I’m very appreciative for my treadmill these days, too, as it’s ridiculously cold. Furthermore, I’m thankful for the television directly above it that makes the miles more pleasant, along with Amazon and Netflix for their gloriously unfettered access to amusement.

I’m equally thankful for web-backed mosaic tiles, which accelerated my kitchen improvement timeline significantly. Also, Amazon Prime shipping is helping me power through this little project at warp speed.

I’m happy to be loving my new job. I’m edging closer to my 90-day mark, which will earn me the right to work from home two days per week. Hello, fewer fill ups! While I love my truck, the MPG leave something to be desired.

And finally, in this totally craptacular weather, I’m very grateful for warm and funny socks. It at least makes me smile when I can’t feel my toes.