Category Archives: Travel

#35for35 – EVENT #1 Hot Chocolate 5K

Today marked the first day of a year in which I have committed to celebrate my birthday with 35 (yes, THIRTY-FIVE) events in one year. The only rule is that at least HALF of them must be competitive athletic events!

I started with event #1, the Chicago Hot Chocolate 5K race. Last year I signed up, just for the shirt and the goodies, and walked it. This year I was determined to run it. My awesome friend and soror Mikyra, who had just come off the Chicago marathon a month prior, agreed to help me pace it to finish in under 40 minutes… And we did it!!

This will be a fun year, with my actually birthday falling somewhere in the middle of it all, and with the fun ending with the 2015 Hot Chocolate 15K!! Stick around for the updates and feel free to suggest any fun (and reasonably priced) events such as rices, bicycle events or alternative sports that would be worth a try this year!!

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Komen 60 Mile 3-Day Walk Preparation – Shoe Edition

This year will be my second time participating in the Komen 3-Day 60 Mile walk in Michigan (Metro Detroit area). While many people see the fund raising as the biggest hurdle (you have to raise a minimum of $2300!), there a number of other key preparation items that I probably could have focused more attention on. So for those of you who are also preparing for the 2014 walk in various cities, I will post a few entries with some of my tips, tricks and learnings. Up first – feet preparation.

Shoes are everything!!!

You’re going to be on your feet for HOURS. And not standing still, but actually covering a good amount of ground. It makes sense that you should have some awesome shoes on. I started out in a pair of Brooks Adrenaline that were easily 4+ years old and in “ok” condition. During my training I purchased a pair of super cute gray Nike shoe with pillowy cushioning. Didn’t work, and the biggest problem, not returnable after you try them. First lesson – buy your training shoes from a running store that allows returns. So I logged onto Road Runner Sports and tried:

New Balance – A sponsor for the walk, the sales team was helpful but every recommended style seemed to cut too high up my skinny ankles
Brooks Adrenaline GTS 13 – the new model of my trusty old shoe was a few versions past the ones I already had and the changes to the style left me “in between sizes”
ASICS Women’s GT-2170 – Many other walkers raved about this shoe but a mile into training I got shin splints. Twice.

After no luck, I decided (sadly 2 weeks before the walk) to go to the original Fleet Feet in Chicago and get “fitted” for a running shoe. There was a small line so I pulled a number and waited my turn. Shortly after, an athletic young lady came by and asked me about the event, what I was looking for, and then had me do some high paced walking on a treadmill and on the floor to analyze my gait. In the end, 6 shoes and 20 or so minutes later, we found a perfect pair, and they were PINK! The Nike LunarEclipse 2+ was the perfect shoe. I bought insoles but found it easier to walk without them. On Days 1 and 3 I wore the Nikes and on Day 2 (the shortest day) I wore my old Brooks.

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**Bonuses
A – I was given a tube of BodyGlide For Her just before the walk. I used it every morning and again at lunch – completely covering my entire foot with a layer of it.
B – I wore double layered socks each day. These Double Layered socks by Wrightsock aren’t cheap at approx. $11/pair, but they were well worth the investment. I bought 2 pair and washed the first pair after Day 1, wearing them again on Day 3. I have a larger foot (Size 10-10.5 in gym shoes) so I found it very helpful to use my fist and stretch the sock out before putting them on, otherwise they would tend to slide. During my training I tried socks by Nike, Puma, Under Armour (my second fav), Adidas and Wigwam. The Wrighsock won the battle on the longer distances.

At the end of 3 days, I had no blisters and my feet felt great!!

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Like a Champ

Between leading tours at this crazy work conference all week and riding the rides all night at Disney, my FitBit is getting a workout! Check out my Wednesday stats….

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Hair Stuff – Travel/Trial Size Oil

I use the fact that I travel a lot as my excise to buy excessive amount of travel sized beauty products, when I really just want to try them out for more than a sample run but not spend a lot of my hard earned money. Enter Ojon Rare Blend Oil – Total Hair Therapy. I saw it in those bins near the Ulta registers and gave it a try for my curly winter hair that was starting to lose its sheen and it works great. Every few days I would use some on my scalp and rub it thru my hair. A little goes a long way (which is good since that tiny bottle costs $15). I guess maybe I’ll spring for the larger 1.5 oz bottle at $35… Ya know, when I stop travelling as much. LOL

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Easter Trip to DC (Recap)

I spent my Easter weekend in DC with my cousin Cheryl this year. She’s the amazing food genius behind The Neurotic Baker blog. I have the pleasure of helping her with a few of her creations and being the live-in taste tester for a weekend. I swear I almost moved in with her after she made the vanilla whoopie pies below. Enjoy the recap…

Brunch at DGS Delicatessen… The Potato Latkes and Crispy Pastrami were TO DIE FOR. The bottom pic is the DGS Reuben, which was good, but I wished I had ordered the pastrami sandwich because I just couldn’t get enough of it!

Then we took a trip to Horace and Dickies… after seeing a line down the street everytime we passed by this Man vs Food approved spot, we couldn’t take it anymore. The fish was AWESOME and the “atmosphere” was as memorable as they come. We took our “sandwich” – four filets and 2 pieces of white bread – and camped out next door at the Hookah lounge’s outdoor seating area.

H & Pizza was my first DC meal, and the pizza I chose was the Farmer’s Daughter. The egg yolk was a great touch!

FARMER’S DAUGHTER –

Spicy Tomato, Housemade Mozzarella, Hot Sausage,

Farm Eggs, Spinach, Parmesan Reggiano, Red Pepper Chili Oil

Breakfast at The Diner was prety good… except the “grits”. They called it grits on the menu but it was weird, thick grains, and super creamy. The creamy part was fine but the big grains was a little awkward. Either way, the food was overall pretty good. We tried to get mimosas, but the waiter reminded us that it was only 8:30 AM and drinks don’t start until 10. Hey. I was on vacation! No judgement.
A couple of scenic shots from the city and the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial that I finally got to visit at the National Mall!

My cousin Cheryl is also the MASTERMIND behind Edith and Ethel – home of the most AWESOME oatmeal raisin cookies in the world!! Her blog http://neuroticbaker.com/ is where I now go for most of my “impress your man” recipes… so far its working too! LOL! We spent most of the day on Sunday baking – whoopie pies, cupcakes, a cake, oatmeal raisin cookies… it was a post-Lent dream!! Everything was tasty but my favorite, hands down, were the Vanilla Whoopie Pies with rhubard filling or lemon-ginger filling.

Waiting for Spring…

The weather is warming up!!! I’m so excited to break out my Spring investment piece – this adorable City Nylon Rain Coat from Cole Haan! I was lucky enough to find it during the huge sale this month so I saved a lot of money on it!!

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Skype offers free airport WiFi for the holidays | TG Daily

Skype offers free airport WiFi for the holidays | TG Daily

I absolutely LOVE free wi-fi deals around the holidays so this is very cool for me, especially since part of my holiday will be spent in an airport! Last year, Google made a similar (but even better) offer for free wi-fi that included in-flight connections. on AirTran, Delta and Virgin American. That was the greatest!

Guy on D train – Random Mobile Pic

This guy spent the whole ride sniffing little bottles he kept pulling out of his bag, about 5 minutes per bottle… I wanted to ask what he was sniffing, but figures I wouldn't disturb his flow. 

Christmas Wish List 2010

Yes people, its that time again… all the things I want but won’t get this Christmas. You know the drill and if not, you can check years 2006 and 2008. So here goes….

For this years Work Holiday Party, it would be great to show up in something as un-engineer-like as possible… you know, really cater to my inner fashionista. The Sunbird silk-gazar dress by ROKSANDA ILINCIC is something I would never get up the courage to buy, but can easily imagine myself walking into a crowded room draped in it. The fluorescent yellow is very unexpected. I love it.

ROKSANDA ILINCIC sunbird dress

For the vacationing girls’ night out, we usually tend to relive our college days through our attire, and this Jenny stretch-cotton mini dress dress by Preen Line is the perfect balance of the “young me” and the classy grown up me. My girls would love it.

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This year I because a fan of TOUS jewelry, especially the teddy bears pendants. While I like many of the options available, I definitely have to include the black diamond Bubble Bear pendant on my wish list!

tous bubble bear black

After my canopy zip-line experience in Mexico, I’m ready to take it a step further and hit the rainforest in Coast Rica. The Rincon de La Vieja Adventure  is right up my alley… of course, that includes getting to Costa Rica, which is a minor major obstacle.

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rio saverge

In one of the recent episodes of Giuliana and Bill (one of my fav reality couples) Bill went to Martin Katz to buy Giuliana a nice band… it was gorgeous and inspired me to check out the website. Turns out they have a huge collection of stackable diamond microbands. I’d love a few of these in various colors…. and maybe a couple in the black diamond to match my TOUS bubble bear!

martin katz micro bands

My current HP laptop is holding out very well, but like any gadget geek, I am always ready to upgrade. The new HP ENVY 15 laptop is right up my alley! The HP store only shows the 14 inch (too small) and the 17 inch (a little on the heavy side) so I’m not even sure if the 15” is still an option… but for the right features (i.e. Beats by Dr Dre limited edition 14” or the 3D enhanced 17″) I’d be willing to settle in either direction.

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For years I’ve said I would love to take cooking classes. Ideally I’d like to take a few months worth of classes in Italy, Spain and/or Mexico!!!!! But until then, the good ol Chicago Metro Area will work just fine. Rest assured, I will still keep my eye open for the specials that occasionally pop up on Jetsetter.com…. and hopefully I’ll no longer be scared of turkeys (see pic below from Thanksgiving 2008). The Chopping Block

Flav’our Cooking School

Chez Madelaine

Cooking Fools

TURKEY DAY

For about 5 years now I have been obsessed with this gold Roberto Cavalli snake watch. It has seemingly NEVER gone on sale (yes, I check a few times each year) but someday I may have to just go for it. I can already picture it on my wrist….

roberto cavalli snake watch

…and while we’re talking watches, the new Movado Bold watches are a great fun take on the classic style! I love the black and white styles equally!

movado bold chrono watchmovado bold blackmovado bold white

While in Nassau recently, I caught a glimpse of the “Mad Summer” yacht, docked near the cruise ships. I don’t really need a yacht of my own, but I’d love a year, or even a week, on this one – with my family along, of course! See it in all its glory here: http://www.moranyachts.com/Article/?ID=69

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Saving the best wish for last…

…my greatest wish would be the health and safety of all of my loved ones as we go into 2011!

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A break from real life…

This fall I had the chance, TWICE, to get away from the work world for a few days and enjoy some sun, water, warm weather and good food! I will spare you to hundreds of photos and share a few that stand out from each trip. Up first – My stepmom planned a girls’ trip to Nassau… The islands were not ready, heck, neither was I?? See below for my photo headings and pictures… 

Dinner on Night #1 was at Twin Brothers (recommended by a LOT of the locals we talked to) included conch salad (being prepared in the center photo below) along with cracked lobster (MY FAV), cracked shrimp, rice and peas, and plantains.

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We found a bar that was having a Karaoke night so my cousin and I did a world class performance of Beyonce’s “Single Ladies”.

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Me hanging out with the captain of the Booze Cruise… The girls were lining up to take pictures with this guy… and  will say, he was pretty HOT!

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Our booze cruise advertised a portion of the day spent on a” “secluded island”… which was actually a small, deserted, dangerous, rocky piece of land. One of the highlights was the starfish in the pic…. I was so fascinated by it. The semi-shelter in the second pic became a prop for a few folks who decided it was a great place for some drunken, not-so-sexy photo shoots… pure comedy!

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We stayed at the world class Atlantis resort…. In the center of the pic on the left you can see an archway which contains the “Bridge Suite” also referred to as the “Michael Jackson Suite”. All yours for somewhere between $25,000-$34,000 per night (4 night minimum). We would have stayed there but it wasn’t available the week we were there Winking smile

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We had a great time!!!

For the item of the day, I saw this BCBG RUNWAY GEOMETRIC WRAP DRESS in Macy’s the other day. Its not on sale in the store (Orig. $348), but it is discounted at BCBG.com ($208.80). Its absolutely BEAUTIFUL and the flowy silk is extremely soft!!! I love the belt shown in the runway pic below, although it is sold separately.

BCBG RUNWAY GEOMETRIC WRAP DRESS