Tag: blogger meet up

Monday Things {Chicago Running Blogger Holiday Meet-up}

1. On Saturday about 20 members of the Chicago Running Bloggers got together at Erin’s to go for a 3 mile run, enjoy a potluck lunch, and participate in a gift exchange. I had more then 3 miles on my training schedule for the day, so I woke up early and knocked out 6 on the treadmill before heading to the event.

2. When I arrived, I was pleasantly surprised to see that despite the rain, so many bloggers had showed up and were ready to run. We all dropped our stuff off and then got ready to head out.

(photo from Erin)

3. We took the run at a relaxed pace and I really enjoyed meeting other bloggers and chatting away in the rain. I also realized that I could really use a decent waterproof running jacket. I almost always opt for the treadmill when it’s raining but it’d be nice to have something to wear in the case that it rains during a race.

4. When we got back from the run, we changed into our holiday best and then helped the bloggers who didn’t run finish setting up all of the food. There were soo many goodies and lots of wine!

(photo from Kelsey)

5. We chatted lots, ate all of Kelsey’s special salad, had a Christmas costume contest, and then started the gift exchange.

(photo from Kelsey)

6. The gift exchange was like a white elephant except that the gifts were not gag gifts like they typically are in a white elephant exchange. Somehow one gag gift managed to make it into the exchange and Katie was the lucky recipient. She was a little bummed that nobody wanted to swap with her but I’m sure the pillow will look great with the decor in her Chicago apartment!

(photo from Kelsey)

7. I picked the last number for the exchange which meant that I could either pick the final gift or steal from someone else. I opted to steal and took the package of injinji socks and Mission Max Muscle Rehab roll-on gel. I was too nervous to try the socks on my long run on Sunday but I put them on Saturday night to see how they felt and was surprised by how comfy they are. I can’t wait to try running in them this week.

8. People started trickling out after the gift exchange but a few of us hung around for a little bit and chatted. Kelsey asked Kim to paint her nails and somehow I managed to convince Kim that she should paint my little stubs too. Bonding time!

(photo from Kelsey)

9. Overall, I had an awesome time at the holiday party. I got to put blog names to faces with many bloggers that I hadn’t met in person before and also got to catch up with the ones I already knew. There was also great food and lots of wonderful conversation! Thanks again for hosting, Erin!

(photo from Erin)

What fun holiday-themed parties have you participated in this year?

Monday Things {10-08-2012}

1. First of all congrats to the Chicago Marathon runners. You guys did great!! Now it’s time to relax, recover, and sign up for your next one :).

2. On Friday night, Ian and I tried out a new sushi place, Union Sushi + BBQ Bar. We were both hungry when we arrived, so Ian was happy when our server brought us complimentary edamame just after sitting down.

I passed on it and ordered their roasted cauliflower salad instead. The salad was awesome, I could have eaten a larger version of it for dinner and been happy.

We also ordered their oysters on the half shell. They were pretty good and came with a japanese cilantro ponzu sauce.

And lastly we had some sushi. Ian ordered half of the old city market roll (big picture – spicy tuna, seared salmon, spicy ponzu, cilantro, green onion, crispy onion + wrapped in collard green), we split a tsukiji market roll (albacore, salmon, red & green onion, cilantro, burdock root, wasabi tobiko, ponzu sauce + wrapped in radish sheet), and then we ordered fluke + super white tuna nigiri.

3. I totally messed up my weekend by doing my long run on Saturday morning. It just felt so weird. I know a lot of people like getting their long run out of the way on Saturdays but I’ve always liked running long on Sundays after a day off from work and hopefully two nights of good sleep. Fortunately, I got to see a lot of marathoners and wheelchair cyclists out along the lakefront which kept me motivated to keep running and not curl up in a ball along the path and take a nap.

4. Ian wanted me to show you all his breakfast on Saturday morning. It’s pretty much a monstrosity that is sweet enough to give Bongo Room’s menu a run for it’s money. It is a waffle stack with marshmallow fluff and sliced banana in the middle and it’s topped with a pumpkin pie glaze and a few left over banana slices. So. much. sugar.

5. Kelsey and I decided to go to the Chicago Marathon expo on Saturday afternoon to check it out and see if we could score any free samples. Unfortunately, we each only walked out with a bag of chips and a few mini Larabars- BUT we did see Hal Higdon and request a picture with him. I don’t think he was nearly as excited as we were.

6. After the expo I met up with Ian and some other Michigan transplants to watch the Michigan vs. Purdue game. I’m always happy to see Michigan look awesome and they ended up beating Purdue 44-13. Woohoo! We also tried out a new Michigan bar and I got to shove my face full of complimentary chips and salsa. I was a happy camper.

7. Unfortunately I never got to sleep-in this weekend because on Sunday I had to wake up early check in at my volunteer spot for the marathon. Knowing that I was going to be on my feet for almost 6 hours, I made a breakfast that would hold me over for a long time- cinnamon apple oats.

8. Volunteering was fun? I really liked seeing the elites come by along with cheering for all the runners and the people I saw that I know BUT I felt kind of useless as a volunteer. I was basically spectating in a super sexy getup and hat. It was also freezing. I think it could have been better if the volunteer system was more organized but I really felt like I was thrown out there with no idea what to do.

9. When I got home from volunteering, I scarfed some lunch, attempted to make bagels (flop), and then headed back into the cold to go shopping. I really should know better than to walk into lululemon and expect not to spend money. I ended up only buying two things because the store was pretty picked over from the marathoners. I bought the run swiftly tech short sleeve shirt in grey and then the aphrodite crop. I’m wondering if I should take the crops back and exchange them for something run-specific. Has anyone run in crops from lulu that were designed for something else?

10. Last night, I met up with Kelsey, Kim, and the running legend Skinny Runner to grab dinner and drinks at Bar Toma. We chatted, noshed on salad (for me), a goat cheese spread, and margarita pizza. I can only speak for the salad but it was delish.

It was definitely a fun way to end the weekend and it was so nice to meet Sarah!

How was your weekend? Did you run the marathon?

Chobani Boka Dinner

Last night I had the chance to enjoy a wonderful dinner at Boka courtesy of Chobani. The food was fabulous and the restaurant was gorgeous but the best part of the evening was meeting and connecting with other Chicago bloggers. It was a blast!

Boka has a reputation for outstanding food; however, for last night’s event the chef prepared a 4 course menu inspired by Chobani. How cool is that! I love it when chefs get creative.

When I arrived at 7 p.m. I was greeted with a glass of wine. Not too shabby for a Wednesday night. There were already a few bloggers at the restaurant and it didn’t take long for conversation to start flowing. Appetizers were passed as well. I tried two but I can’t remember what they were (bad blogger!). One was a wheat-free falafel and the other had salmon and a yogurt sauce. Both were incredible.

A little while later we all found seats at the table.

I sat near Marisa and Cate

And Katie and Kelsey. Other bloggers at the event included Carly, Jessica, Molly, Joelen, Torey, Stephanie, and Megan. I wish I’d had a chance to talk to these ladies more but it was so nice to meet them!

Another perk of a dinner full of bloggers, consideration of food allergies. I was shocked but pleasantly surprised when our server went around and asked about dietary needs. The chef was incredibly accommodating!

Before our food came out, we were brought bread. I declined because I don’t eat gluten and was shocked when the chef sent out a flax-seed cracker. It was so delicious!

Katie and I kept trying to share these with the other bloggers but they all declined. It was truly their loss, I need to try to recreate this!

Our first course was hay roasted beets, blueberries, Chobani greek yogurt, fir tree honey, pepper wheat cracker (left off of mine).

This was incredibly tasty. The beets were phenomenal and everything went well together. I didn’t even miss the cracker!

For our second course the chef prepared soft shell crab, grilled prawns, Chobani greek yogurt grits, morel mushrooms, beet braised kohlrabi, mache.

Another great dish. The chef even prepared the gluten-free versions with rice flour. How cool is that? The crab was good but I was a sucker for the sides. Morel mushrooms and beet braised kohlrabi? Yum! The chef also prepared a vegetarian dish for individuals who didn’t eat fish or meat. I could not get over how flexible the restaurant was!

Our third course was lamb rack but as I don’t eat meat I was presented with halibut, rooibos, bulgur wheat, roasted baby vegetables, purple fingerling potatoes, fava beans, roasted eggplant and Chobani yogurt sauce.

The halibut was perfectly cooked and so flavorful. I could not get over this dish. Unfortunately, I could not eat the bulgur wheat so I moved what I could of the other stuff off to the side and dug in. Everything was pretty incredible.

Our fourth and last course was dessert. We were served a Chobani greek yogurt panna cotta with plums and honey.

It also came with a streusal topping although my panna cotta was served with a gluten-free option, almonds. This was fabulous but I was feeling pretty full and only managed a few bites. I’m not used to 4 course meals!

We all hung around for a little bit after dinner but as it was nearing 10 and many of us are early risers, we had to call it a night. We took a group picture (hopefully I can post it later) and then all parted ways.

We were also sent home with these lovely gift bags that included stickers, recipe ideas, a water bottle, and a cute lunch bag (I plan on using it today!).

All in all, I had a wonderful night. I got to eat some delicious and creative food AND connect with some local bloggers. What could be better than that?

I do want to thank Chobani for inviting me and providing an awesome menu as well as the ladies who work for Chobani and put the event together, Emily, Jackie, and Amy. Thanks for a great night :)

Monday Things {07-09-2012}

1. On Friday Ian and I saw Ted. I thought it was just okay but he really enjoyed it. Go figure. It didn’t help that I had a teddy bear named Teddy when I was growing up…

2. Sonic has a girl friend. Her name is Zoey. We received a picture of her in the bottom of his food bag and he seemed to show some interest. We decided to hang it on the fridge (at his level) so he can look at her when he likes. Puppy kitty love <3.

3. On Saturday I did a reverse brick. When I woke up it was already in the 80′s and I was nervous that it would be too hot outside to run after a long ride. I ended up going out for three miles and then following my run with a 17 mile ride out and back to Hyde Park (my favorite route). The reverse brick was the right call. It was warm running but muuuch more comfortable on the bike.

4. On Saturday I made a trip to Kramer’s Health Foods. I was hoping to buy a juice but the cafe is closed on Saturday’s. Bummer. I ended up picking up some new-to-me gluten-free vegan granola bars. I’ll have to wait until I can have soy to enjoy the Heart Thrive but I couldn’t not buy it. I used to buy Heart Thrive’s all the time at a co-op in Ann Arbor and haven’t had one in a few years!

5. I had the privilege to meet up with three other bloggers this weekend. Katie, Elyssa, Molly, and I met at Forever Yogurt to enjoy a late afternoon snack on Saturday.

It was great to chat with these ladies about food, running, and everything in-between. Speaking of meet-ups, Chicago bloggers, check out the Chicago Healthy Living Bloggers facebook page and join up. We’re hoping to have a bunch of small get togethers this summer!

I had key lime and mango sorbets with berries. It was great that Forever Yogurt posted allergens on all of their flavors. It was very easy for me to find vegan and gluten-free options.

6. Sunday morning I ran my first double-digit run since training for the Boston Marathon last winter/spring. It felt awesome… except for the whole not bringing water thing. I’m loving triathlon training but am starting to get excited for the fall running season. Training for a January marathon means I’ll be running a lot of miles during the best running season of the year! I’m psyched :-D.

7. I made a quick trip to Sports Authority this weekend to pick up a handful of things. I walked out with a sports bra (I finally found the under armor one in my size!), a nylon swim cap that won’t pull my hair (so annoying), and new goggles (much-needed).

I wanted to buy water bottles for my fuel belt (I threw my old ones away) and a tri top but I couldn’t find either. I guess I’ll be making a trip to Fleet Feet soon!

8. The lunch hour struck while Ian and I were out running errands on Sunday and I managed to convince him to have Chipotle with me :P. I ordered a burrito bowl with brown rice, lettuce (the one they use for the salad, you get the best of both worlds this way), black beans, fajita veggies, pico, and guac (shared half w/ Ian). It was absolutely delicious, especially topped with Tabasco Chipotle sauce!

9. We were out near the Anti-Cruelty Society and dropped in to visit with the animals. I’m usually all about the kitties and Ian the dogs but yesterday I saw this little female chihuahua pit bull mix named Cookie. I thought she was cute and sweet and then she went and flared her ears out…

I fell in love. I need a dog with bat ears soooo badly! Aren’t they awesome?? Ian asked me if I wanted to take her for a walk but I’ve learned my lesson (similar situation occurred when we adopted Sonic) and forced myself to leave the shelter. I’m half tempted to check back in a few weeks… if she’s still there I can’t make any promises!

10. Ian and I made a major dent in the fifth season of Mad Men this weekend. I think we watched 5 episodes and only have the finale left! When does season 6 start?

How was your weekend? What was the highlight?