Category Archives: Nightlife

Life, Work, and a Health Overhaul.

So…it’s been a while.

Life (read work) has taken over for the hubs and I. When we aren’t at work, we are doing work at home, and in the few moments we have to tear our eye balls aways from glowing computer screens (maybe while sleeping or shoveling food into our mouths), we think about work. May was just really busy for us both. Oftentimes, in those moments, I become stressed about everything I’m missing–friends, family, art, a walk in a park, blogging, FUN. I get all lost in, “I’m so busy. I’m so stressed and IT WILL NEVER END!!!” But it does end. It has ended. I’m home. Enjoying a cocktail of OJ and coconut water. The hubs made a roasted beet salad and honey, sesame glazed salmon for dinner, that we ate at the table like adults. We took Elphie for a nice walk before the sky broke open. And now, I’m writing again.

How do you live in the storm of work and still see through to the clouds parting (sun shining, birds chirping, etc)?

Like, for real. How do you do it? Does anyone actually do this??

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One thing I’m trying now is an eight-week health overhaul. It started when I read a blog post about a detox cleanse that made me want to try one. However, after discussing with friends, I decided a cleanse of protein shakes for meals was not really the way to go for me. Instead a more holistic–mind, body, soul–approach. My friend Emily (of wedding and pop up photography fame) came up with a plan/set of goals for herself (super rigorous and awesome) that I, with help from my buddy-and running enthusiast-John adapted for ourselves. Below is the full list, including the goals Emily outlined for herself and how I’ve adapted it for my life and my RA:

Emily–No alcohol, Sarah–same–this one is easy. I already limit my alcohol intake due to medications I’m on and I have to say, it is actually a lot less stressful not drinking than it is to think about, “How many drinks have I had this week? Is this beer really worth one of the two drinks I can have right now?” Also, even after a late night with friends, I wake up feeling just fantastic (instead of headachy and sluggish)

Emily–60 minutes of yoga a day, Sarah–20-30 minutes of yoga a day–I do a combination of what I remember from taking yoga classes, RA specific poses/stretches I found by surfing YouTube and core work a physical therapist taught me. This has changed my morning and all I did was take the time I was spending reading email on my phone in bed first thing and use it on yoga. So much better for the soul.

Emily–40 miles of running a week, Sarah–5 miles of running/walking per week–Here is where I have been struggling, not with the task but with finding the time. But I just have to do it. Aforementioned running enthusiast and friend John helped me come up with a run/walk program to ease me into running. I walk two minutes, run 30 seconds for eight sets for a total of 20 minutes (I can do about a mile and a half in this time right now). Slowly, like every week or so, I increase the running increment and decrease the walking increment until I am running the entire time. Still working on this one…

Emily–60+ ounces of water and green tea a day, Sarah–24oz of water per day plus green tea or OJ and coconut water–I gave up caffeine two years ago but green tea is so tasty and so good for you and doesn’t really have THAT much caffeine so I’ll have it once a week or so. But the water has made a huge difference. For real. I used to be one of those people who just didn’t drink things, not throughout the day, sometimes not even at meals. Very weird. Because now that I’m drinking water all the time, I feel really good. I’m sure the yoga and all this other stuff helps too, but on a very basic level, I can tell that water helped right away.

Emily–Oil pulling 1-2 times a day, Sarah–same. See my post on oil pulling. I love it.

Emily–Fish oil 1 time a day, Sarah–multi vitamin once per day–I eat a lot of fish and wasn’t sold on the whole fish burps thing so I started a multi-v. I’m sure I need all of that stuff. Oh, I also do chewable because, despite taking pills for most of my life, I’m really terrible at it.

Emily–Significantly reduce processed foods including sugars, Sarah–significantly reduce processed foods, especially sugars–I have a sugar addiction. I will eat cookies every day, multiple times a day then come home and have move cookies. I am an actual cookie monster and it just had to stop. It’s been two weeks and I have not had a single processed sugar item. I will tell you honestly that there have been days where the cravings were like, whoa. I mean. CRAZY. GIVE ME A COOKIE NOW OR I WILL STAB YOU feelings. But I have conquered them (for now). And while I may not ban sweets for life (I mean what’s Thanksgiving without pie crust?) I feel I am well on my way to kicking the habit. And most of my other meals have come from the organic produce section (of the fabulous new Mariano’s on Lawrence). I’ve also kept up with fruit for breakfast instead of–highly processed–cereal.

Emily–1 long dog walk a day, Sarah–1 dog walk a day–The hubs and I have thoroughly enjoyed this part. We do it together at the end of the night, when the sun has almost set and we reconnect. It’s nice outside, people are out with their dogs and our neighborhood feels like a community.

So that is what is keeping me sane these days. Anyone else want to join in on our challenge?

Hyde Park Night

I’m ashamed to admit that I am one of those Chicagoans that really sticks to their neighborhood. Or really the few neighborhoods that I already frequent–Buena Park, North Center, Andersonville and Lincoln Square. That’s it. So when my friend Allison said she wanted to do dinner, I said, “Why don’t we come to you?” She lives in Hyde Park, and the only times I’ve been there I have been picking stuff up either from her apartment or the University of Chicago–all for the theater. Shameful. So last Friday, Danny and I took Lake Shore Drive past the exit for I-55 to meet Allison and her beau and found Chicago, the college town.

Like for real, a college town with its mix of little independent shops and restaurants, the essential big box places and bars. It was a gorgeous night in Chicago so we ate dinner OUTSIDE (thank goodness) at Z & H. It was taco night and we had our fill of tacos, guac, chips, and quesadillas. Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

It was delicious, even if ordering and receiving the food was slightly chaotic. They subscribe to the deli model of taking your name and then shouting when your food is ready, which would be totally fine if there weren’t very segregated seating areas. Not to worry, we got our food and ate. it. all.

Processed with VSCOcam with x1 presetNext, we attempted to go to the new, swanky A-10 for drinks, however were denied access–no seats available. And it clearly wasn’t a standing bar. So instead we went to what can only be described as the exact opposite of new and swanky, what I’m told is a Hyde Park classic, Jimmy’s. Which isn’t even its name, mind you. The official name is Woodlawn Tap, however I think if you call it that, you might get kicked out. This is a college bar. Bad beer, torn up seats, loud, dark, FUN. We got a pitcher of beer and chilled with some friends of Allison’s that had the same idea.

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Here’s the other thing about Hyde Park; apparently everyone knows everyone! Walking down the street, sitting at dinner and upon entering Jimmy’s we ran into no less than 5 people that either Allison or her beau knew. Craziness. Sure we were surrounded by people who did not look a day over 15 to me, but who I’m sure were in college, saying things like, “If I wanted tacos, I’d just go to Big Star.” But we had a fantastic time and I loved the vibe of the neighborhood. People just out and about having a great time. Thanks Allison and Sam for a great night showing us your hood!

Day 365: Wow

Here we are. Day 365. I’m getting it in just under the wire. What a good, relaxing day I’ve had.

I started out doing some work from home, looking out at the alley view I wrote about on Day 3. Then I took a three mile walk (Day 235) with Elphie (Day 18)! We went to sit by the lake (Day 21) for a minute or two before heading back home (Day 93). Then I may have done a little online shopping (Day 28), reading (Day 112) and adoption paperwork (Day 348) before the hubs (Day 175) came home from work. Then we got ready and went out for a little celebration at Lady Gregory’s (Day 27) with friends (Day 172).

I added all these post links in to show that in one day, I have done at least 11 things that I consider fun. (And this doesn’t even include all of the Instagraming that happened tonight). As I continue to reflect on the year, I realize that this is one of the best things to come out of it–both appreciating all the good, and yes fun, in things I already do and going out of my way to ensure each day includes something fun. It has been an amazing year of highs and lows (mostly highs) and I cannot wait to see how this blog, these activities, and the support of amazing people continue to impact my life.

It was suggested to me this evening that I change the name of the blog to “Life of Fun.” That’s a good idea because that is how I intend to live. I hope, at the very least, I have made some people smile or laugh. I hope some have seen the best in their lives. I hope that maybe a few who also suffer from some kind of disease have found comfort in our shared experience. And maybe just a couple of people have found inspiration here. If not, then at least I helped myself by becoming proactive about my struggles.

Thank you thank you to everyone who reads this. Every comment, text, Facebook post or like. Every follow. It has meant something to me. Thank you. To my friends who tonight shared with me their favorite posts from throughout the year–I can’t believe you all remember posts that far back! Thank you. To far away friends who have been just as supportive as local ones. Thank you. A special thank you to to Emily who has been such vocal advocate of my continuing on this journey. Thank you. To my family for their unyielding love and open encouragement. Thank you. A special thank you to my mom for printing every post and putting it in a binder for my grandmother to read since she does not have a computer. Thank you. To the hubs, who has not minded when I put anything and everything on the internet, who has cared for me in my worst time and who has constantly encouraged me and reminded what doing a Year of Fun is all about. Thank you.

My gosh. Now I’m getting sad. The Year is over, but the blog and fun continues. Here are some pics from throughout the day and dinner with celebratory people!

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Also, the hubs made this amazing poster with the text from the “What is a Year of Fun?” post and pictures from special moments throughout the year. It has found a home in our hallway. I love it! 20130925-000839.jpg

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Day 359: Nick at Night

When I was a kid, I watched I Love Lucy, The Dick Van Dyke Show and Bewitched on Nick at Night. I loved those shows because of how old they seemed. It never occurred to me that some day I would be watching contemporary shows I liked on Nick at Night as an adult. Yet, almost every night (around this time when I’m writing blog posts) I turn on the TV for some background noise and what do I discover? Friends and Full House on Nick at Night.

Now, I love Friends. I could watch it non-stop all day, any season. As a child, I felt the same way about Full House. But, let me tell you, Full House is actually terrible. The hubs had to leave the room because he could not take the writing, long pauses and after-school-special tone. Is this what all my childhood shows were like? Did my parents hate watching them? Will I hate watching shows my kids think are good? Will I suffer through them because I think my child is learning something? I don’t know, but, at this moment, I am strangely entranced by the shiny teenage angst of DJ, the know-it-all sass of Stephanie and cheeky cuteness of Michelle. Please send help.

Day 358: More Arbonne and More

Remember those awesome vegan face products I blogged about a few weeks ago? Well, I hosted a small gathering for some of my friends to get free facials and learn about the skincare line from my friend Amanda. Even the hubs participated! And let me tell you, I did not hear one complaint. He happily used products that she lovingly called, “pantyhose for your face” and “magic unicorn love.” In fact everyone loved it!

On a totally unrelated note, I don’t know if you saw this after you started following Emily Alt Photography (after I recommended it because of how awesome she is), but Emily posted this super nice stuff about my involvement with the company. And, as if that wasn’t enough, she bought me this awesome t-shirt AND a subscription to Kinfolk as a thank you. Girl. Thank YOU.

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