Kelly the Culinarian: August 2014

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Observations from Life with Two Dogs

Twice the hair but the same amount of work. I've watched my sister's "dog" several times in the past few weeks. I use that term loosely because Bowie the Pomeranian isn't really a dog. He's more of a stuffed animal who pees when he gets scared. I've taken to calling him Dumb One, in the nicest tone of voice possible and with all the love in the universe, because he isn't so good at the whole being a dog thing.

You see, adorable, precious, incapable of hurting anything Bowie was almost put to death. My sister salvaged the live softie a few days before and has had him for about two years now. Bowie lived his whole life in the cage of a puppy mill and was discarded because of his two-tone eyes (hence the name).

Anyhow, seeing Napoleon and Bowie together is just hilarious. We were walking around the neighborhood and Napoleon barked at a kid on a bike while the kid was like "Look at that cute dog!" I explained that Napoleon is scared of things on wheels and the kid said not that dog, the other one.
Another funny observation: Napoleon pulls on his leash, exploring and sniffing and barking and examining. Bowie is perpetually surprised it's there and gets all tangled up, then just sits and bites it. He doesn't really need a leash - he's too scared of life.

Bowie also doesn't really play with his toys. He takes them from place to place. Napoleon takes it as his mission in life to destroy dollar-store toys within 10 seconds of them entering his line of sight.
Bowie also can't get onto the furniture, so Napoleon jumps up onto the couch to taunt him. It's funny how mean they are to each other. In the middle of the night I was awoken by Napoleon prancing on my bed, because Bowie was sitting below desperately trying to get up.
"This is how we destroy stuff"
"How did I get here?"
Bowie also seems to be more tired all the time. Little body means he exhausts quickly.
So sleepy

All in all, two dogs are no more work than one. They both go out at the same time, they sleep all.the.time. and eat the same food. I would perhaps consider acquiring another furface, but dog sitting is plenty for me for now. Napoleon is an only dog kind of puppy, I fear.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Review: Love with Food Gluten Free Box

I am not a gluten-free gal, but I do love a good treat and enjoy getting care packages. I received a Love with Food box to review for free, but the opinions are all mine, always.

This box was so baller - I don't actively seek GF snacks, but I was impressed with every item in the box. I'd been meaning to try the coconut chips from Dang foods and both bags are already gone. Not sorry. Also, the 180 Nutty Rice Bites were awesome in yogurt - nuts, puffed rice and treats added staying power to my afternoon snack. I am looking forward to using the Jules cookie mix the next time one of my GF friends invited me over - I finally have something safe to bring! The box says it makes 60 cookies so I'll be good to go. The JunoBar also was interesting - the base is dates, but there's also quinoa crunch and plant proteins, so it's really filling.
Snack happy!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Three Things Thursday

1. Last week I gave a presentation about social media for work. I wasn't nearly as nervous as I thought I would be. Dare I say it was fun?
2. My parting gift for my services was this giant box of treats. The photo doesn't do it justice. It was enormous. My job has some awesome bonus features.
3. It's amazing how easy it is to make friends when you have snacks in tow. This is Harmony. We are now besties after the bus ride from the venue that I spoke at. She wants to be a cheerleader, doctor, pet store person or mom when she grows up. She likes my dress. I think I'll keep her. "Can I interest you in a snack?" worked just as well on the older crowd, too.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Training Tuesday: Two Week Wait

Tapering sucks. I didn't even train that hard and already think that this little fake taper will be the death of me. I found this graphic that perfectly encapsulates how my days have been going:
Basically, easing off the gas training wise makes me feel fat, slow, achy and disproportionately tired. I'm not sure how I can bike 100 miles and run 18 and feel decent the next day, and this weekend after a 10-mile run/walk and 60-mile bike I'm like:
So here's what's going down, training wise. I'm still training at least once a day, sometimes twice, but dialing back distance on the bike in favor of intensity. I want to get in one last half marathon run, a leisurely long bike ride and perhaps make it out to an open water swim this weekend. In the meantime, my inbox is filling up with messages like this:
Time to find Ironbitch in here somewhere.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Motivation Monday

Ironman Wisconsin is less than two weeks away people. Two weeks from today, I'll find out if this whole minimalist training "plan" I've executed is enough. I'll find out if I'm tough enough, strong enough, can endure enough. Here's what lies ahead.

Got goosebumps yet? How about this:

Here's to the dream. To the pursuit. To winning before I ever start. To being enough.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Three Things Thursday

1. I was honored to speak to the Chicago Tribune yesterday about Jim Foley's murder. It's my sincere hope that he's remembered for his fearless contributions to public dialogue rather than the horrific way his life was abruptly ended. My heart goes out to his poor parents. I can't imagine what they're going through.
2. I have literally run out of things to watch on the bike trainer. I don't have a television and only watch stuff on the bike. Even so, I'm bored out of my gourd. Is it time for Ironman Wisconsin yet?
3. I'm dog sitting again and I'm surrounded by cute. Everywhere I look these two furballs are staring at me with stupid little grins. I think Napoleon has worked out an uneasy truce with Bowie, mostly because my sister's Pomeranian is too dumb for life. It's like living with a stuffed animal of Boo.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A Break in the Programming

You may have heard in the news about the beheading of an American journalist by extremist, or saw it on Reddit or Huffington Post. Jim Foley, the reporter at the center of this shocking story, was my classmate in the winter of 2007. We worked together at the Medill News Service in Washington, D.C. We went through foreign correspondence training together and edited each others' work. He was always quick to smile and faced challenges with an easy demeanor that caught on to everyone he met.

My heart is heavy and my thoughts are with his family. Jim was kidnapped in 2012 from Syria while working to expose human rights violations. This kid was easily the bravest reporter I encountered in my time at Medill - after graduation, he took to the Middle East, fearlessly working to bring to light the tales of atrocities a world away.

It certainly puts things into perspective - my career, my choices, my life. The world is a better place because of Jim, and his contributions will live on beyond this tragic turn of events. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Motivation Monday

It's time to embrace the set backs and the detours. Progress sometimes comes in the form or starts and stops, false starts and wrong turns.
Here's to staying focused and keeping your sights and your standards high!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Yelp Elite Party at Stonewood Ale House in Schaumburg

Yelp Elite parties are my favorite - fun people, free food and fabulous drinks. What's not to love? I took Katie as my plus one to the Schaum-Brew Party. I got dolled up and we met there after work:
I am never looking the right way. Ever.
It was a fantastic party - all of the 22 beers on tap were available for free. This place knows the way to my heart. So naturally, I drank some of the best beers on the menu that I'd been meaning to try. Find out what I drank by following me on Untappd.

We also sampled a ton of bites and appetizers throughout the night. It was my duty as a foodie and a Yelp Elite member to try it all. Right? My favorite was the pretzel, but I am a salt fiend. This Southwestern eggroll didn't do much for me.

The nachos were surprisingly crispy despite being coated in melted cheese. That pulled pork sandwich was good but needed more sauce.

When we left, we all got pint glasses from the place. Maybe something for my growing collection?

If you want to join me for a future event, learn how to get invited to Yelp parties.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Three Things Thursday

1. I watched my sister's dog over the weekend and it was hilarious watching Napoleon teach Bowie how to be a dog. At one point, Napoleon started chewing on a piece of cardboard and Bowie was like "Yay! We do this!"
 2. This is my sister's apartment. I want to emulate her pint glass collection display thing. Am I too old to proudly display pint glasses? I don't see how it's any different than collecting post cards. Except more delicious.
 3. My Ironman tan lines are insane. I have at least three distinct sets on my legs and back. I'm going to be in a wedding at the end of November and am looking at my options for sorting this all out. I think I'll need a tanning bed.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Two Girls and a Grill

And a bottle of wine and 11 pieces of metal. I am very, very thankful for my sister tonight, who miraculously enjoys putting stuff together. Like I don't even get it. I hate buttons, let alone assembling furniture. But this kid went to work:
For the price of a cheap bottle of wine, we ended with this:
So now we have a grill! The question is, what do we make first? Taking all suggestions and requests!
The kid also assembled this beauty:

That's right, I bought an end table/dog kennel combo for the furry man of the house. He is actually quite pleased, and I'm rather pleased Katie assembled it while I was at work. Yay for sisters!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Training Tuesday: Crunch Time

Only a few more weeks between me and Ironman Wisconsin. Not sure where the months went, but oh well, I'll do what I can. Twenty five sleeps separate me from a multi-hour journey ending in what I hope will be my own personal triumph. While my training has certainly not been up to par, I'm trying to piece together enough to finish the damn race.

So I ran 18 miles Saturday with friends and did not die. It was tough, especially the last two miles. It was an overall pace of 8:52 which felt damn tough for me. When this whole Ironman endeavor is over I'm going to have to focus on cutting back on beer and treats to get my speed back.
Why do these other people look like they haven't run?
That was promptly followed up with a 100-mile bike ride ... on the trainer. I'm a masochist, clearly. I was on that damn trainer long enough that my Kindle ran out of juice and I had to switch to my cell phone. Ridiculous, clearly.
Recycle bin = table. Also, there's a growler propping up that fan.
Mentally, I'm unfocused. I'm muddling through training and hoping for the best. This was not my plan at all, but very few things in life go according to plan. My only goal was to be able to finish this race with a smile. Now I'll take just finishing the damn thing. I have my doubts, but that's my normal state of being. 
The reason my runs feel so hard
So instead, I'll focus on smiling. That's just as hard as an Ironman these days.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

It Might be Peak Week If ....

Ironman Wisconsin is less than a month away and while my training sucks, I'm at least trying to do this whole peak week routine. That means this week represents the most time I **should** spend training in this cycle.

But there are challenges. It might be Peak Week if ...

The need to still nourish oneself seems as daunting as scaling Everest. #PeakWeekProblems
There is a constant hum from the ever-running wash machine. #PeakWeekProblems
Riding 100 miles on the indoor trainer is the most television you've watched since March. #PeakWeekProblems (I'm now set on Awkward, Under the Dome and Downton Abby)
Did you see The Daily Show last night? Neither did I. If it happens past 9 p.m., it's as mythical to me as mermaids. #PeakWeekProblems
Now if you'll excuse me, I just spent five hours on my bike on the trainer in the garage this morning after running 18 miles yesterday. Naptime anytime? Well that's my favorite example of #PeakWeekProblems.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Three Things Thursday

1. I'm at the point in my training cycle that wearing underwear is a special occasion, and shoes that aren't athletic or flip flops are totally off the table. I got a massive blister when I was at a conference in Spokane for work, so I've decided it's not worth the risk. Hope my clients understand that Ironman pursuit > looking pretty in heels.
Um, no, just no

2. I think I need more yoga in my life. Or something. Finding zen has been really difficult. The only place where I truly zone out is on my bike on open roads because I have to concentrate on the task at hand - shift, pedal, turn, eat, shift, sip. Maybe I need some hot yoga or something.
Also, get a manicure, those are looking icky
3. My mom is a wise lady. She suggested I treat myself to something every day. Any little something. However, most of these somethings have involved food. Not sorry.