Monday, March 23, 2015

Frames From the Weekend 3/20/15 - 3/22/15

Linking up with Irina and Tara to share some photos highlighting my weekend.

I had a pretty low-key weekend planned. In the office, my team is currently enjoying the calm before the storm. Next week, work is going to get real busy real fast. In preparation, I am trying to rest up and get all of my ducks in a row.

Vincenzo's Pizzeria and Sports Bar

On Friday night, Adam and I met up with friends Eric and Sarah, plus their adorable children, at Vincenzo's. It's one of my favorite neighborhood sports bars. It's laidback and has fantastic thin-crust pizza (this means a lot coming from a deep-dish diehard such as yours truly). Normally it's not insanely crowded, but the place was packed with NCAA basketball fans when we were there. (Disclaimer: as you might guess, the above picture was not actually taken on Friday night.)

Practicing my public speaking at my bi-monthly Toastmasters meeting

On Saturday morning, I went to a Toastmasters meeting. I love Toastmasters! It is priceless to be able to regularly practice my public speaking and communication skills in a safe and supportive environment. To me, public speaking is like a muscle that needs to be continually worked and challenged to stay strong. I've been a Toastmasters member for over ten years and I intend to be a member for life.

I've also met so many wonderful friends through the club. Thanks to my friend Kim for taking this photo of me at the meeting - and congrats also to her for making a magnificent skydiving speech at the meeting!

Top Left: Artful creations at Sushi Pink
Top Right: Exploring the menu at Olympic Meat Packers
Bottom: Newly-installed Fulton Market District sign in my neighborhood

On Saturday afternoon, Adam and I went for lunch at Sushi Pink, which is our go-to sushi joint in the West Loop. I had a mad sushi craving and this really hit the spot.

Our plans for the night included relaxing at home and watching the Blackhawks and Penguins games. Therefore, I decided it would be fun to make an at-home steakhouse dinner. After lunch, we stopped by Olympic Meat Packers to pick up some fixings.

While walking the long way home, I came across a newly-installed Fulton Market District sign. My neighborhood is changing so quickly that I can't keep up with all the new additions!

Left: Stretch-work and strength-work
Upper right: Blueberry blintzes
Lower right: Animal print accessories!

Quick update on Operation Eliminate Janky Stride: it is not going well. My left knee began bothering me a few days ago. I had been looking forward to logging some miles this weekend, but decided I didn't want to push things. Instead, I spent a lot of quality time with my foam roller, my offending Stick, and some hand weights.

On Sunday, Adam and I trekked out to the suburbs to see my parents. We went for a nice brunch, of which blueberry blintzes were a big highlight. Note to self that I need to add homemade blintzes to my list of recipes to try!

These days, I have a mild obsession with anything animal-print. Weeks ago, I saw an animal-print purse that I loved but didn't purchase at the time. This weekend I finally decided to go for it. I made a quick stop at a nearby mall on the way home from visiting my parents. (Credit to Adam for not rolling his eyes while he was being dragged along. =D )

The goods from my latest visit to the Chicago Public Library

Over the weekend, I finished up One Day, which was this month's book club selection. (For those of you who have read it and/or saw the movie, I enjoyed the story and its premise but I was not thrilled with the ending.) I'm already looking forward to reading next month's pick, How to Be A Parisian Wherever You Are by Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, Caroline de Maigret, and Sophie Mas. Has anyone else read it yet?

And now, cookbooks!!!

I've been to Lidia Bastianich's restaurant in Pittsburgh, so I was excited to peruse some of her published recipes.

The Parthenon is a popular restaurant in Chicago's Greektown, so I jumped at the opportunity to try some of their recipes at home. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the book includes some interesting details on the history of Greektown. For example, the owner of the nearby Rodity's Restaurant originally wanted to call their restaurant The Pantheon. Given how similar the name was to The Parthenon, the matter went to court. It resulted in the Rodity's name that remains today. Who knew?!?

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend! Cheers to a great week ahead!


  1. That's awesome you've been in Toastmasters so long! Rich is in it as well, I think for 6 years now! He loves it too.

    1. Oh wow! Kudos to Rich for being a long-time Toastmasters member, too! It is an absolutely amazing resource. Being more comfortable speaking publicly has made a HUGE difference for me both personally and professionally. I'm glad that Rich loves it, too!!!

  2. Hi there! Stopping by from Tara's link up! I've actually been to the Parthenon in Chicago! A Greek friend brought be there and it was incredible! I'm sorry about your knee, I've been struggling with a janky left knee for almost two years now! Foam rolling is definitely a good call! How to be a Parisian is on my reading list too!

    1. Isn't the Parthenon's food amazing? You know that a Greektown restaurant is good when a Greek friend brings you there. That is terrible that you've been struggling with a janky left knee for so long - it is incredibly frustrating how stubborn these ailments can be. I wish you a speedy recovery! Yay for How to Be a Parisian - the book is so popular that there's an enormous wait list for it at my local library (I'm currently 22 of 23 people in line, LOL!)

  3. This sounds like a wonderful weekend! I love the name of Operation Eliminate Janky Stride; I do not, however, love the fact that it's not going well for you. I hate things that seem to linger like that, no matter how long I work on it or what I do to improve the situation. I have not read How To Be A Parisian Wherever You Are, but I've seen it and I think it looks delightful; you'll have to keep us posted! Thanks so much for linking up with the blog today and I hope your week is off to a great start!

    1. Thanks Tara! Appreciate the sympathy regarding the stubborn niggling injuries that so many of us seem to struggle with. The body is such a complex working, right? It seems like there can always been so many factors causing any given issue, all of which have similar types of symptoms. I was excited to see some of the books that you've been reading, yourself, and will have to add some of your suggestions to my own reading list. Thanks again for hosting the link-up and I hope you are having a great week, too!

  4. I love that you are so involved with toastmasters! How does it work? Do you have a specific topic to talk about each week?

    The book "how to be Parisian wherever you are" sounds interesting. I'll have to check it out.

    Post any cool recipes you make from those books!! Which reminds me I need to go to green town soon and have some delicious food there.

    I've already said it, but I strongly recommend not trying to change your janky stride by just changing the way your foot lands or other asthetic. Not trying to be an A-hole here, but Im not going to encourage someone I care about to further injure themselves. You really should see a quality PT who can get to the bottom of why you consistently have so many injuries. I'll step off my soap box now ;)

    1. Toastmasters is fantastic! They give you a speech manual with 10 speeches that each focus on a different realm of speaking. E.g., organization, body gestures, vocal variety, visual aids. The program is self-paced and you pick your own topic for each of the speeches. Then, at our meetings, there are also opportunities to practice impromptu speaking. You can be as involved or uninvolved as you want, and can move forward as quickly or slowly as you are comfortable!

      I actually just got a copy of the Parisian book and began reading. It's a very quick and easy read so far! Do let me know if you read it yourself!

      YES on the recipes, and on coming to Greektown for some good eats! We need to schedule our next get-together, too, of course!

      Thank you for caring about me so much and for your thoughts on the stride and the PT. I am agreeing with you more and more that changing my stride doesn't seem to be the right answer. Both times I've been in PT in the past, I was told that I needed to strengthen my hips and glutes and stretch out my IT Band. Doing all my hip-strengthening work did seem to work for awhile! It was just at RnR DC that things flared up again. And I guess you could explain that by the fact that I was racing on a hilly course and thereby pushing myself much more than I do in my training runs. So yeah, back to the strength work first and foremost. =)

    2. Oh Toastmasters sounds so fun! (And while I say Fun, I also mean a bit intimidating getting up in front of people!)

      I just bought a copy of the Parisian book. And like 5 other books online tiday. Eek. I'll be interested to hear your thoughts on it once I read it too :)

      Heck YES!! We need a brunch date ASAP! It's been far too long. Greektown could be awesome, since we haven't been there in a while- and I'm sure you and A know the best places to go!! Mmmm

      Just be careful with what you change in regards to running! I'm sure the hills and everything brought out all sorts of little pains in that race. Keep up with the hip/glute/ITB strengthening and I'm sure you'll be good as new in no time!!

      And what's with this 30% chance rain Sunday morning!? Pffffft

    3. I'm biased, of course, but my Toastmasters group is extremely welcoming and down-to-earth. We are all there to support each other in the journey of becoming better communicators, so it's a very friendly environment. If you are ever interested in checking out a meeting, you are always welcome to join me! Just let me know!

      So what other books did you buy!?!? I'm always looking for good recommendations so do let me know of any great reads that you discover!

      Greek brunch VERY soon! Actually, speaking of brunch - are we officially on to meet up with Pete and Eric and others for post-Shamrock brunch this Sunday? The place that Eric suggested sounded awesome!

      I'm doing my darndest to placate any rain for this Sunday!!! At least it's down to 30% now - I think over the weekend the prediction was higher than that. ;-P

    4. Oh man that sounds fun. I might have to take you up on that offer to join you some time :)

      Good question. I went crazy buying books lol. Got some travel books for paris and copenhagen and also "20 stylish secrets I learned while living in Paris."

      Yes. I think we are on for brunch at Howells and Hood post shamrock. They open at 10 :)

      Boooooooo rain! Cold and rain = frozen shuffle. Ick ;)

    5. Absolutely! Here is my club's website:

      Paris and Copenhagen!?!?!? Did I miss that you're planning on making a trip there in the near future!?!?!? You and L and all of your travels!

      Can't wait for brunch at H&H! Hopefully we'll be able to get there before things get too crazy packed.

      Hey - last I checked, the forecast was looking better and better for this Sunday! ;-)

  5. What a fun weekend! I think it's cool you do Toastmasters!!! :)

    I hope busy at work doesn't mean less posts!

    We have the same stride - landing on the outside of our feet. Instead of trying to change my stride, I have tried to make sure my glutes, hips, etc. are strong. I agree with Xaar about talking to a PT! :)

    1. Thanks Kim! I am hoping to keep up with posting as much as possible, even when things are busy at work. It will probably mean shorter posts, and/or me putting forth more effort to write up posts in advance over the weekend. =)

      Cheers to us underpronaters that need to make sure our hips and glutes are strong! Is it no wonder that we both wear Asics Gel Cumulus shoes!?!?!? =D

  6. Ah, knee pain. My old friend. After having runner's knee last year, I've found I'm SO sensitive to any little twinge in my knee now (okay, fine: I'm super sensitive to any little twinge anywhere when I'm running, since I'm always just waiting to get injured haha). I've been trying to do my best to strengthen up my hips this year in hopes of keeping my knees happy. I feel like the more time I spend in the running world, the less time I actually spend running and the more time I spend trying to put my body in a position where it can run without getting cranky! But it's a worthwhile cause, in my opinion :)

    1. Solidarity when it comes to feeling super sensitive about any little twinge anywhere, as I am very injury prone, too. The days leading up to any major race are the WORST. On those days, I seriously wake up in the mornings and fear that my legs are going to stop working! YES on all the non-running things. The more I try to improve my running, the more I'm doing non-running stuff like yoga, strength-work, and cross-training. I do like the variety since it keeps me from getting bored, but it does seem really counterintuitive, doesn't it!?!?!?

  7. Very cool that you are in Toastmasters. I occasionally have the opportunity to speak publicly and I still get nervous, even after all these years!

    1. Thanks, Wendy! I'll share with you that even though I've been such a longtime member of Toastmasters, I STILL get nervous about public speaking. I honestly don't think I'll ever be completely relaxed on the stage! But at least the nerves are a LOT more manageable for me now than they used to be!

  8. Wow. I applaud you for being a part of Toastmasters. I think that would be awesome for me - face your fears, so to speak. My left knee bothers me occasionally too, IT band. I am religious with the foam roller. I've also shortened by stride (aka now I'm slower). Have a great week.

    1. Thanks, Hoho! My Toastmasters group is incredibly friendly and nonjudgmental, so it makes things a lot less intimidating. Sorry to hear that you've had some knee problems but glad to hear that you use the foam roller so religiously! I go in spurts where for awhile I'm good with stretching/rolling, then I stop for awhile. I need to be more consistent like you!