Chicago: Part 3 {Brunching, Architecture Tour, Homemade Dinner}

Hi there! After this post, my Chicago recap is finally done ūüôā In case you missed the other posts, you can find them here, here, and here.

Sunday morning, I woke up feeling mostly better, but my stomach was still a little off. We hung out in the hotel for a bit and I blogged and we watched some tv. Around 11ish, we ventured out into what looked to be another beautiful day in the city! Seriously, I cannot believe how lucky we got with the weather. It could have been miserably cold/snowy, which we were not prepared for at all!

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We met up with JP for brunch at Eggy’s, but not before going to the grocery store to pick up a bottle of Prosecco¬†since Eggy’s was BYOB. How fun is that?! Dining out would be so much more affordable if you could bring your own booze. Boston, get on that, will ya?!

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Apparently cheese curds are big in Chicago (I didn’t even know what they were until Danielle and JP explained the to me), so we go an order of the fried cheese curds to start. I was pleasantly surprised by how good they were!

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I got the green eggs and ham, which was one of their signature dishes. Sadly, it looked better than it tasted. It wasn’t bad, there was just too much stuff going on… too many flavors.

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We walked around for a bit after brunch to digest and then jumped on an afternoon Architecture Tour. Whenever I go to a new city, I always try to go on as many tours as possible because I think it’s the best way to see the city and get a good overview of all the important pieces of information and dates. JP took this photo of my sister and I as we waited for the tour to start. Whoops. Not very good company!

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Our tour guide was fantastic and I learned so much about Chicago! As I mentioned in my last Chicago recap, Chicago completely burned down and was rebuilt in the 1900’s, so a lot of the buildings are relatively “new” and really interesting to look at since so many famous architectures came to Chicago to show their talents. I didn’t take many photo’s on the tour because it was SO COLD. Seriously… We were¬†freezing because it was mostly in the shade and on the water. Brrr. I did get this one of the Sears (now, Willis) Tower, which is the tallest building in Chicago (right? I think it is…) since they count the tall things at the top in the measurement.

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I didn’t take this photo on the tour, but we did see them and talk about them, so I’ll post it now.

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Danielle and I immediately noticed these buildings when we arrived in Chicago. They were so cool looking, and when we found out that they consider themselves mini “cities”, we thought they were even cooler. Apparently they have everything in the building that a city would have, so basically if you lived in one, you’d never have to leave. A little weird, right?

After the tour, we warmed up by walking around the mall on Michigan Ave and then got a drink in the lobby of our hotel. Danielle and I went to JP’s to make dinner on Sunday night since we were tired of eating out and were craving healthy food. Ok, and, we wanted to shop at the amazing grocery store across from JP’s apartment building. It was like a mix between Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s… but better! It was two levels and had the best deli/hot bar section I’ve ever seen. I died and went to grocery store lover’s heaven!

We went simple for dinner and I just made a veggie and chicken dish, served over a fancy fettuccine with a nice, big salad on the side!

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Yum. It was so good! Danielle and I were in bed by 10pm on Sunday night and it was wonderful. Between traveling for work and then going right to Chicago to travel for fun, we were both exhausted!!! I think I fell asleep before my head hit the pillow ūüôā

Monday morning we both got up and went to the gym and then hit the road for the airport.

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I traveled in comfy clothes, which I never do, because I had to sub a class on Monday night and was worried we might be delayed and I wouldn’t have time to change. Lucky for us, everything was on time (shocking for the Chicago airport) and I got home and to the gym with plenty of time to spare!

All in all, both trips were a blast. I might be going back to Chicago with a group of friends over the summer and I’m already looking forward to that possibility because I seriously loved Chicago. If I didn’t live in Boston but had to live in a city, I would choose Chicago. There was just something about it that I loved and I could see myself living there!

Thanks for following along through my recaps of the trip!

Questions for you: Have you done the architecture tour? If you had to pick a city to live in other than where you currently live, where would it be? Do you know of any BYOB restaurants in Boston?

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Weekly Workouts: Hotel Gyms & Preparing for Mania & Spartan

Hi Friends! How are you doing? Did you enjoy Meredith’s guest post on Friday? It’s worth a read if you missed it!

I am still in Chicago, but heading back today.¬†I’ve¬†had a great week of travel, but I am reallllyy ready to be home. I’m ready to not have¬†wine or beer at every meal and I am ready to not eat out.¬†Does anyone else feel that way at the end of a vacation?

With that said, I tried to counteract the cocktails and restaurant food by getting in some solid workouts. The Westin I stayed in while I was in Dallas was great! It was big, there were lots of cardio machines and a good selection of weights. I got up before my training sessions on Wednesday and Thursday and took advantage of the gym. I headed to Chicago on Thursday night and met up with my sister at a hotel near the airport and was able to get in another hotel gym workout before heading into downtown Chicago.

I took the weekend off from any formal exercise. This wasn’t my intention, but it worked out for the best since this week is going to be an intense workout week between attending Mania on Friday and Sunday and doing the Fenway Spartan race on Saturday. I’m also subbing a class tonight, so resting on Saturday and Sunday (besides walking a lot!!) was a good thing.

Last Week’s Workouts

  • Monday- I went to the gym after work and ran 4 miles on the treadmill. I ran it about 40 seconds faster last week than I did the week before! My muscles were sore from Sunday’s “Y Pump”, so a good run was perfect.

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  • Tuesday- I got up before work and did the 25 rep cardio & core I posted a few weeks ago. Before completing that, I did 10 minutes of random cardio in my apartment.
  • Wednesday- I ran 3 miles on the treadmill at the Westin and then completed some core and strength exercises.

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  • Thursday- I did 20 minutes on the stair stepper (I haven’t used that machine in SO long. I forgot how much it makes me sweat!) and then did a superset workout: upper, lower and core.

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  • Friday- I did 10 minutes on the bike and 20 on the elliptical and then did 2 rounds of my Got 20¬†Minutes? workout.

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  • Saturday- Lots of walking around Chicago! My feet hurt by the end of the day!
  • Sunday- More walking around Chicago… lots of walking again!

This Week’s Workouts

  • Monday- Subbing a kickboxing class at the Watertown BSC… pending that my flight isn’t delayed!
  • Tuesday- Not sure! Something quick after work I assume so that I can grocery shop after.
  • Wednesday- Cardio and teaching UXF Burn- I missed my members!!
  • Thursday- SHRED and Kickboxing… ready to be back at it!
  • Friday- Spending the day in Danvers at the Boston Mania fitness event. I signed up for a bunch of courses so I am excited to be in my “happy place” all day learning lots of new information about workouts!
  • Saturday- I am doing the Fenway Spartan Sprint… eek! I hope I am not too sore from Friday’s fitness events!
  • Sunday- I signed up for more courses at the Mania event, but I think I chose lectures and information sessions more so than fitness ones… I have a feeling I’ll be very sore on Sunday.

Questions for you: Are you ready to go home by the end of your vacation? Is anyone else attending the Boston Mania event?

PS- Thank you to all the Veteran’s who protect our country!

Weekly Workouts: Awesome on the road workouts & finally back at teaching!

I have to say, it feels pretty darn good knowing that I don’t have to travel for work this week! I need to soak it in because next week I will be in Dallas from Tuesday-Thursday and then I am flying directly to Chicago for a long weekend getaway. This week/weekend is also a bit crazy, but all of the craziness is good stuff, so I can’t really complain ūüôā

Last week, I was in Ohio for my workouts on Monday and Tuesday, but both workouts were strong and didn’t feel like “on the road” or hotel room workouts which is always a plus! I was really excited to get back to teaching, though, which I think was a little scary for my members ūüėČ

Last Week’s Workouts

  • Monday- I often workout in my hotel room because it can save 10 minutes or more of my morning by eliminating the travel time to the gym and equipment set up time. I’m all about efficiency in the morning and sleeping for as long as possible, so extra sleep and a hotel room workout generally trump all else. With that said, I knew I would have more time on Monday morning to workout so I decided to head to the gym. I ran 3 miles on the treadmill and then completed a short strength circuit, including the Monday and Tuesday moves for the Fall Into Fitness challenge that I am participating in. Loved the Monkey Curls!

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  • Tuesday- I completed a 25 rep core and cardio workout that I will post for you this week. No equipment necessary and even with a warm up, I finished in 28 minutes. Win, win if you ask me!

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  • Wednesday- I was finally back in the gym!!! I ran a 5K on the treadmill before teaching a killer UXF Burn class. I did the usual format that my class enjoys (Face off, but staying in their own spots) and after the Strength & Core exercises, we did 10 burpee tuck jumps. By the end of class, we did 100 burpees!
  • Thursday- I taught SHRED and Kickboxing. Felt good to be back for my double.
  • Friday- I did not have a great day on Friday and when I have bad days I usually like to workout, but I knew I should rest since I was teaching kickboxing on Saturday, so I drank wine instead… while doing my Fall Into Fitness Bridge & Crunch move. Whoops.

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  • Saturday- I taught a fun kickboxing class at the Oak Square YMCA. There were 33 people in class and the energy was so high- I was in instructor heaven. Judging by Jen’s Facebook status, it was a good workout for them, too!

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  • Sunday- I decided I wanted to try the “Y Pump” at the East Boston YMCA. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that I love BodyPump and have been working on increasing my strength workouts so since I was around yesterday morning, I decided to try it out (it was hard to not just go to the 11am BodyPump class at the Wellington, BSC, though, since I know what to expect there!). The class ended up being awesome! We did a lot of reps and I really struggled to finish a number of the sets. In addition to the bars, we also used a band, something I don’t do often. I was sore by the end of the day yesterday, so I’m sure that will continue today!

This Week’s Workouts

  • Monday- To be honest, I am not sure! Since I did weights yesterday, I’ll probably focus more on cardio today. I hate that it’s getting colder and darker out after workout because I loved my Monday night runs!
  • Tuesday- Pending on whether or not I’m still sore from Sunday, I would like to do a lower or upper body strength workout. If I am still sore, I’ll do a core-focused workout.
  • Wednesday- The usual: cardio and then teaching UXF Burn.
  • Thursday- Another usual: SHRED and Kickboxing. I may bring back a circuit/stations workout this week since it’s been a while since I’ve done that!
  • Friday- Rest day? I am babysitting after work and since I’m teaching on Saturday again, a rest day is perfect.
  • Saturday- Teaching kickboxing again at the Oak Square YMCA. Since I will be in Chicago next weekend, which was my weekend to teach, the other instructor was nice enough to switch with me so I wouldn’t miss out on a class. Thanks, Amy!
  • Sunday- I have a feeling this will be a rest day, too. My weekend is: babysitting Friday night, teaching Saturday morning, heading to ME for the afternoon and then heading back to MA for a gym friend’s party so I think by Sunday, I am going to be exhausted!

Questions for you: Do you like trying new classes at the gym or do you stick to the classes you know will be a good workout? What was your best workout last week?

Weekending: Sushi, Shopping, Harvest Party & Travel

Weekends go by fast enough when you have the whole one, right? Well, getting one cut short makes them seem even shorter ūüė¶ Even though my weekend was cut short, I feel as though I was able to do a lot of fun stuff during the time I did have!

Friday night, I went to Douzo Sushi in the Back Bay. I had never been there before, but I was pleasantly surprised by both the atmosphere and the service/food. We sat right at the sushi counter which was fun because we got to watch the sushi chefs do their magic. I had a glass of Cava to start… nothing like bubbly to kick of the weekend!

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We got the garlic-spice edamame (holy crap SO SO good. I want to try and recreate this at some point), a few signature rolls and some sashimi pieces. Yum!

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Isn’t sushi presentation the best?!

Saturday started with a workout and then some shopping, which was really just a reason to exchange a pair of shoes. There was a Chipotle in the mall so I treated myself to a chicken burrito bowl for lunch. Delish!

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My friend Nikia and her boyfriend, Kyle, had a Harvest Party at their gorgeous home in New Hampshire, so I headed north on Saturday afternoon to attend. It was only about an hour trip- love that. No surprise that Kia had the place beautifully decorated!

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I was driving back home to Boston that same night, so I had a few glasses of bubbly at the start and then switched to water.

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They had games set up outside and I had forgotten how fun it was to play corn hole, beruit, etc. Steve and I (well, mostly me… apparently I’m good at corn hole?!) killed it at corn hole!

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Per usual, Nikia had an amazing spread of food.

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Thanks for a fun party, Kia!

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I made it back to Boston in no time at all and ended up watching the Sox game… I don’t watch sports, so I am glad I picked Saturday’s game 6 game to watch.

Sunday morning was spent blogging, catching up on some TV shows, filming something fun for an upcoming post and getting ready for an afternoon of travel. I love that most airports have Wi-Fi because it allows me to get work done.

I hope you’re having a good week so far, I’m hoping to be back tomorrow with a really fun Wednesday Workout post.

Questions for you: Do you like sushi? What is your favorite sushi restaurant? Favorite drinking game?

Weekly Workouts- Travel Edition

Hi friends! How are you doing today? I am good, besides the fact I am not ready to get back on the road for another work trip. Luckily, this one is short and if all goes well with travel on Wednesday, I should be back for my 6:30 class at Central!

As all of you probably know, I was away for a work conference most of last week. The trip was a blast (I promise, I’ll recap everything later this week) and I am happy to report the fact that I got in a couple awesome workouts! I am hoping this week will be the same as I should have already gone running before this post gets published and will try to get in a workout Tuesday morning before a long day at our client’s office.

Last Week’s Workouts

  • Monday- I went to the Wellington BSC and did my own UXF/CrossFit¬†inspired workout consisting of a brief warm up and 4 rounds of: 500M row, 60 seconds ropes, 60 seconds kettlebell¬†swings, 1-legged push-ups up and down the ladder, 60 seconds pike plank with feet in TRX straps. Felt great!

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  • Tuesday- I got up in did a jump rope and ab circuit and was sore the next day!

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  • Wednesday- My coworker, Tim, and I skipped the ice cream social at the conference and went to the gym. I let him run ME through a workout (I had to use every bit of my self-control to not take over the workout!) because I wanted to focus on isolated strength moves. We did back and biceps, which Tim lead and then I lead abs and then we went on a 2 mile crazy trail run. It.Was.Awesome. I’ll save most of the pictures for my VT recap, but here are a few:

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  • Thursday- Tim and I had planned on working out in the afternoon, but ended up going to Ben and Jerry’s. Sometimes you need an ice cream ūüôā
  • Friday- Tim and I met at the gym before breakfast for a morning workout since we were hitting the road around 10:30. We did our separate workouts (I ran on the treadmill 1.5 miles to warm up and then did a circuit I’ll hopefully post on Wednesday), but joined together at the end to do abs. Tim loved what I ran us through which was fun! We used a medicine ball and did lots of Dynamax-esque throws. Loved it!

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  • Saturday- I taught the most sweaty kickboxing class ever. I know I say that all the time, but literally this was like nothing I have ever seen. I could barely see the mirror in front of me it was so coated in sweat! Members/friends agreed!

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  • Sunday- Rest. My back was feeling SUPER tight, as was my right quad so I decided to take it easy.

This Week’s Workouts

  • Monday- As I said earlier, I am hoping that by the time this post goes up, I will have gone for a run and maybe have done some strength stuff.
  • Tuesday- I will be in Toronto, Canada, but hope to get a workout in before work. I think it’s going to be a very long day, so I know a workout will help mentally, more than anything. If we don’t have to be to the client site too early, I’ll go to the hotel gym, but if we have to get there early, I’ll likely do a short workout in my room.
  • Wednesday- Hoping to make it back per my itinerary so I can teach my 6:30 UXF¬†Burn class- I missed them last week!
  • Thursday- Teaching my Thursday double: SHRED followed by Kickboxing. Again, missed these guys last week so I am excited to be back!
  • Friday- I may workout at home, but I may use Friday as a rest day pending on how I feel.
  • Saturday- My friend, Lauren, and I are doing a Color Me Rad run in Brockton on Saturday morning. I’m nervous/excited!
  • Sunday- Again, pending on how my workouts went during the week will determine whether I work out or rest on Sunday.

So, there you have it!

Questions for you: What was your best workout last week? Have you ever done a “Color Run”? Is there anything I should be warned about?