Thursday, May 19, 2016

Currently

Currently looking forward to: My friend Helanne's wedding this weekend, along with a host of other celebrations coming up! The springtime is one of my favorite times of the year for all the graduations, weddings, birthdays, and anniversaries on the calendar.

Currently focused on: Trying to be more mindful of my eating. I've let loose over the last few weeks and allowed myself to go a little overboard on desserts, dining out, and portion size. Not surprisingly, the scale has crept up a couple of pounds. Time to get back on track.
Current travel plans in the works: Last week, Adam and I found a fantastic airfare deal to eastern Europe in September. We'll be going to Budapest and Vienna for sure, and are also considering Prague, Bratislava, Salzburg, and Ljubljana. (Shout out to Rob for all of his helpful thoughts during the planning phase!) There are so many great destinations in the vicinity, but not enough time!!!

As I've said many times before, these 1-2 week vacations are never enough. I want a minimum 6-month vacation!
On a related note, I am...

Currently waiting for: My Global Entry application to be reviewed. There have been a lot of recent reports about horrifically long TSA airport security lines. I can personally relate, as I nearly missed my last two flights out of Midway because I was stuck in line (sweating bullets). Talk about stressful situations and wasted time!

I submitted my application earlier this week and am hoping it gets processed quickly. Anna and Maureen both shared positive experiences with me, so I am optimistic.
Funny you should ask... =D
On another semi-related note, I am...

Currently bracing myself for: Renewing my driver's license, which expires in July. (Basically, it's all about governmental ID reviews for me these days.) I'm going to be one of the first to undergo the new Central Issuance process that Illinois just started phasing in. Fingers crossed for the new process implementation to be as painless as possible.

Currently snacking on: Baked chips with spinach and kale greek yogurt dip. I first learned of this dip from Xaarlin, who had some on hand from Trader Joe's at a gathering awhile back. Now I am hooked! I've seen a few copycat recipes floating around the internet which I want to try soon.
Currently considering: Buying racing flats. My company brought Fleet Feet reps in earlier this week to help folks get fitted for running shoes. During my appointment, I mentioned my current focus was speedwork for an upcoming 5K. I received three suggestions: the Nike Lunar Tempo, Adidas Adios Boost, and New Balance Zante.

Racing flats would be a luxury purchase for me. In general, I consider them something only super hard-core speed runners wear. I also tend to shy away from sprint-type races. But at the same time, it would be cool to try something new.
Currently getting inexplicably militant about: Unsubscribing from mailing lists that no longer interest me, and clicking "dismiss" on all the irrelevant advertisements/news articles that clog my social media feeds. (The raging Blackhawks fan in me has spent the last several weeks X-ing out every single mention of any rival teams. With great vindictiveness, I might add.)

My ad avoidance techniques probably make no difference since there are always more where those came from... but what the heck. Market segmentation be gone.
Currently wishing: Spring weather would make up its mind on whether to come or go. I find it hard to believe Memorial Day is next weekend because summertime feels really far away to me. For the first time in my life, I am not mentally prepared for summer. It's weird. Honestly, I'm not sure what seasonal state of mind I am in?

Currently thinking about: Signing up for more races purely because I want the race shirt/swag. I'm looking at the North Shore Classic Half Marathon, the Chicago Bears 5K, the Tiki Run, and the Bucktown 5K.
If anyone is up for doing any of these races, let me know!

--
Linking up with Amanda's Thinking Out Loud Thursdays.

29 comments:

  1. 1st rule of global entry: don't talk about global entry ;)

    Hate to possibly pop your excitement over GE, but it only works for domestic, US based airlines- as we found out a few weeks ago when we took air Berlin and they made us stand in the herd to go through TSA. It was a bit of a surprise to us at the time- but makes sense that other countries wouldn't honor it. At least using GE to bypass the immigration line after landing in the US is nice and takes the sting off of returning a little bit. ;)

    The travel to Eastern Europe sounds amazing! We would love to go to Croatia to visit our friend, but he always tells us we'd need to go for 1 month minimum ;) so I feel your pain- 1 week is not enough! Even 2 :)

    I use racing flats as they seem to make a difference for me- psychologically at least. but unless you're focusing on 5ks, I wouldn't get them. The ones you mentioned are more "performance trainers" shoes vs flats. I have 2 of the ones you mentioned and I use them for speedwork and up to half marathon distance races. I like how light they are- if you find a pair on sale might be something worth looking into if you continue with more speedwork and shorter distance stuff.

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    1. I've got the triumvirate of ID checks these days: passport renewal, driver's license renewal, Global Entry. =D

      That is a huge bummer that Global Entry has those types of limitations. The name "Global" is definitely quite the misnomer - they should call it "American Entry" instead, yes? But I'll definitely still take the help with the U.S. flights. Nobody's got time to wait in line 3 hours to fly domestically. Sheesh.

      Ahhhhh, I have heard AMAZING things about Croatia! I looked at trying to go to Dubrovnik this fall but the scheduling won't work out. How cool that you have a friend who lives there - he could totally give you the local perspective and avoid all the tourist traps!

      Thanks for your thoughts on the racing flats/performance trainers! This is super helpful information!

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    2. I guess I should have separated the "TSA Pre" separate. we assumed since we were at Ohare that it would work for our flight- but air Berlin was all NOPE :( at least returning to the states is super easy with GE- no lines at all!

      You're very welcome! You might really like the lighter shoes to race/speedwork in. They just make me feel "fast" when I put them on which helps when tackling a speed session.

      That spinach dip was amazing... I need to buy more of it soon.... Mmmmm

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    3. How was your experience with air Berlin? They came up as one of the carriers while Adam and I were searching for airfare this fall, but I haven't heard much about them?

      I have tried some of the more minimalist running shoes, which are lighter than my current trainers, and you are right - it is nice to feel "fast!" I believe any boost we can get in motivation is worthwhile!

      That spinach dip is so addicting! After your marathon trials viewing party, I've bought that dip every single time I've been to Trader Joe's ever since! =D

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    4. They were good. Very German :) the business class was very nice on the way there- food and service was great! On the way back the economy class wasn't too awful. The food was fine (probs because it was from Germany and not American lol) and the service was solid. It was an Airbus plane with the 2-4-2 seating which was nice. The only complaint was L's super emerald status on American was pretty much worthless even though air Berlin is part of "one world". Lesson learned.

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    5. Thanks for sharing! All good details to know! That is really disappointing that L's status didn't help out, though, especially considering the enormous amount he travels! GRRRRR.

      FWIW - Adam and I used to have our airline status on the Star Alliance. We flew to Israel last year on Turkish Airlines, which is part of that alliance, and were excited to get the partner miles. It wasn't until afterwards that we learned we had booked some airfare class that wasn't eligible for partner miles. Huge bummer since that was a good 12,000 miles! Clearly it doesn't always pay to work with the "partner" airlines, you know?

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  2. I went through a long phase in which I was x-ing out every trending topic on Facebook. I want that trending menu gone. I go to Facebook to get away from the news, and I don't care to read what's going on "out there."

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    1. Oh yeah, I shake my head at some of the ridiculous trending topics that come up on Facebook. I want that trending menu gone, too! I'm the same as you - I go to Facebook to find out what's going on with friends and family, not to read the news. That is what news sites are for!!!

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  3. May is one of the hardest months for me because the weather is so unpredictable. Just when I get used to it being warm and sunny it drops back into the 40s-50s and is gray and rainy again. It drives me crazy.

    The last time I flew I barely made my flight but it wasn't due to security. It was due to waiting in line to check in!! For some reason Southwest wouldn't let me check in online so I had to do it at the airport. And I was checking a bag so I couldn't use the no bag check kiosks where the line was shorter. Grr.

    I'm intrigued by the Bucktown 5K but I just don't know if I can bring myself to pay $44 (plus whatever registration fees they charge) for a 5K so far in advance. Plus, I think I might target the Park Ridge Charity Classic as my goal fall 5K and that's the weekend afterward.

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    1. I think this May has been especially bad, weather-wise, yes? It feels like we've struggled to get even into the 50s for most of the month. I hope it doesn't mean we're going to have another cold start to the summer like the last few years. Sigh.

      OH GOD - that is super annoying that SW wouldn't let you check in online so you had to do it in person! So you had to wait in long lines TWICE - once for check-in, and once for security? Total frustration! It's times like these I'm glad we are not frequent business travelers. Can you imagine having to deal with this twice a week?

      Yeah, I hear you on Bucktown being so expensive so far out. I am also planning to hold off on registering for awhile to let my schedule firm up a bit, plus hopefully find a discount code. Ah yes, you'd mentioned Park Ridge before and I'm still thinking about it, too! =D

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  4. I'm going to Seattle to visit family right around Labor Day, and I'm REALLY hoping the TSA gets its act together before then. My flight to Seattle leaves at 7 a.m., and I have NO desire to GET to the airport at 4 a.m. (which means leaving my house well before 4, and getting up before that!).

    I didn't realize Illinois was changing the way it issues licenses! I was SO surprised when I got my IL driver's license last year and walked out of the Secretary of State with an actual license - in Michigan, they always printed out a temporary, paper license and then mailed you your real one a couple weeks later or so. I'm glad they're doing this, though, if it means meeting Real ID standards. The idea of having licenses that DIDN'T meet that requirement and needing to use my passport to fly domestically seemed so stupid to me.

    Bethany @ Accidental Intentions

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    1. I really hope the TSA gets its act together before Labor Day, too! Can you imagine the entire summer being plagued by this kind of disaster? Seriously - a 7 AM flight is painful enough as is without having to set your alarm clock for 3 AM just to go stand in line. Sheesh.

      Ahhhh, it sounds like Illinois is now transitioning to the same process that Michigan already has in place! I am not sure what to think of the temporary, paper license, though - it seems like it would be a magnet for all kinds of problems, no? But for sure, I am all about meeting Real ID standards. I don't want to have to carry my passport around all the time!

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  5. You're not clicking off Wild ads, right? ;-)

    Your trip sounds amazing. I am totally jealous and looking forward to living vicariously through you this fall.

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    1. LOL, now that you mentioned it, I don't remember ever receiving any Wild ads - so no clicking required! The real culprit for my click-offs is another Central Division team located about a 5-hour drive southwest of Chicago.

      Thanks Natalie! Likewise, I am enjoying living vicariously through you with your Quinn adventures!!!

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  6. Racing flats? are those the fancy looking track sneakers? I'll have to look them up. Have you tried Nike Free? Those are the ones I use for running, and Roger likes those for speed work.

    Oh how fun!! a European vacation! I'm so jealous!

    those 4 races, are they back to back or spread out? I'm considering a weekend of 3 5Ks back to back, but trying to figure out if I can do it.

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    1. To be honest, I'm not even really sure since I've never looked into racing flats! I think they are the shoes that you see the Kenyans wearing at the marathons? I need to do some google work, too. =) Thanks for the tip on the Nike Free - I will definitely investigate!

      Thanks! The vacation should be fun - but then there's always the part of reallocating all your work to the weeks beforehand and afterwards to make up for the time off, right? LOL

      The four races are spread out! OMG - 3 5Ks back to back in one weekend????? That would be quite a feat! Please do share more details, I am dying to hear more about this!!!!

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  7. I did not realize that we won't be able to get our driver's licenses right away any longer. Seems to be a step backwards! Also what's the advantage of Global Entry besides beating the immigration lines when you reenter the U.S.? After my trip to the UK it was pretty much a breeze with the automated kiosks, but maybe I got lucky?

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    1. I agree, I guess we have to take a few steps backwards with our driver's licenses before we can move forward, yes? Global Entry also allows for TSA PreCheck, which means you go through a faster line and don't have to remove your shoes, computer, liquids, etc. when going through security. Initially I didn't think it was worth the application fee, but after hearing about the 2-3 hour airport lines and nearly missing two flights because of them, I changed my mind. I am glad you had no issue when traveling from the UK!!!

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  8. I feel you on the portion sizes and desserts! I have been easing up up up while dealing with this injury...why is it so fun and easy?! yet, in the end you feel bah...always the battle.
    It has rained almost 6 inche in my area of VA this May...it is really dreary. Usually it is blazing hot and I am sad lol but this rain isn't much better lol

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    1. easing lol ...I meant inching up!

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    2. LOL, I knew what you meant. =) It's indeed a constant battle. I've heard so many times that in order to stay healthy, we shouldn't "diet" - we should change our lifestyle altogether. Much easier said than done, though! WOW - 6 inches of rain this month??? Hopefully you haven't had to deal with any flooding!!! April showers bring more May showers, apparently!

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  9. Hope your application gets accepted. Those TSA line can be so long. Have a fantastic time at the wedding this wkend! They are always fun!

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    1. Thank you, appreciate the good vibes on the application!!! I'm flying to DC over Memorial Day and am already bracing myself for the crush of the holiday weekend in combination with all the TSA disasters. Sigh. And thank you, I am excited for the wedding, too! I hope you have a fantastic weekend, as well!!!

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  10. I'll let you know how the drivers license thing goes - I have to do it in a week or two :( I'm not looking forward to it either!

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    1. Alexandra, please do let me know how it goes! The articles I've seen haven't been clear on which facilities will be phasing in the new process at which point. Since you're going in so soon, I'm wondering if you might actually get in before the transition begins in earnest? I look forward to hearing more details from you!

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  11. How exciting about your trip to Eastern Europe! My husband and I did a road trip in Austria in 2013 - Vienna and Salzburg (<--LOVE) and a couple small towns in between. Also I went to Prague in college and remember that being very cool too.
    You know you're a serious running when you have racing flats!!!

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    1. Oooh, would love to hear more about your road trip to Austria in 2013. What other small towns did you visit in addition to Vienna and Salzburg? That is awesome you went to Prague in college - I have heard so many great things about the city! YES - I feel like only the super hardcore runners have racing flats! I'd feel like an imposter if I went out and got some of my own, LOL.

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    2. Dude, You are super hardcore! :-)
      We flew into Vienna and did 3 days there - All the usual touristy things, I liked Schonbrunn Palace best. We ate at a great restaurant called Mini - It's on Trip Advisor and you can make a reservation online - Super good food!
      Then we rented a car and drove to Salzburg for a couple days - A really neat smaller city. The Sound of Music tour sounds kitschy but is actually really fun! On the way back to Vienna we visited Hallstaat for a day then stayed overnight in St Wolfgang. The next day went to see the Melk Abbey (very neat) and Durnstein, then stayed in Krems that night which is the only place I don't really recommend.

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    3. Thank you, Kelly! =) Thanks for sharing the details on your trip - I am taking notes on your suggestions! I have barely begun the research process on what to see/do and where to eat, so your thoughts are super helpful!

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