RSS Feed

Monthly Archives: September 2011

don’t mess with TEXAS

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I love to travel and today I’m leaving for Dallas – YEEHAW! I love Texas. You know that saying: Don’t mess with Texas? That’s right. Don’t mess with it because it’s already awesome.

I’m visiting one of my favorite people in the world — Jillian.  She’s outgoing, spontaneous, quirky, hilarious, and beautiful.  Our friendship dates back to 1997 when I gave her a tour of the middle school in 6th grade when she moved to Bettendorf, Iowa.  Our friendship grew on the dance floor through Goldusters, the Bettendorf High School dance team (see image below) continued performing in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2003 and solidified as Golduster co-captains our senior year.  She remains one of my closest and best friends from high school.

My first visit to Dallas last August 2010 was one of my favorite trips to-date.  There was a lot of dancing and laughing and we had so much fun that I’ve considered moving there multiple times and moving to Dallas still remains on my lifetime bucket list.  Maybe I won’t come back … just saying.

An added bonus to Dallas, I also get to see some of people that have entered my life more recently:

April: My Dallas-based Account Executive for HGTV & DIY Network.  She is a rock star AE and person in general and has (unknown to her) become a mentor in my life.  She’s a blast and is the author of Marathons ‘N’ Martinis which I recommend following.

Meredith: April, Meredith and I completed our team for a few awesome months in 2010.  Meredith and I had a blast on her visits to Chicago riding public transit, “forcing” her to play in my softball and volleyball leagues, experiencing the Taste of Chicago, and becoming lifelong friends.  She recently got engaged to her bff Michael and I’m so excited for her wedding in Nashville in 2012.

7 hours to go at work then I’ll be on my way to the airport, excited as a little kid on Christmas and humming this song: Rihanna – Cheers (Drink To That)

Peace out Chi, I’ll see you on Sunday … I’m DALLAS BOUND!!!!!


Workout Wednesday: Kwando

The CDC recommends that average adults get at least 2.5 hours of moderate activity a week plus muscle strengthening activities 2+ days a week.  Personally, I try to exercise 3-5 days a week with various combinations of cardio and weights.

This week’s workout class: Kwando at 5:30p with Maureen

After a year-long hiatus at Bally Total Fitness in the loop, I show up on Monday for Kwando.  I LOVE pushing myself in this class. Could I be present for 60 minutes and be lazy at the same time?  Sure – I witnessed it.  But what’s the point?  If I’m going to dedicate 60 minutes of my life, then I’m going to work my butt off.  My fave strategy is picturing something/someone I’m frustrated with and punching it/them.  Let’s put it this way… I’m convinced that if I had to fight someone, I could win.  Jab, cross, hook, upper cut, block and bring-it-on-home with a roundhouse kick.  BOOYAH!

Moving along… I was sore within one hour of the class.  I’m still sore, really sore today.  I’m going to chalk this up to my hiatus from this class, but also to pushing myself.  So here’s the plan: I’m going to take my measurements (arms, bust, waist, hips, thighs) today and continue working my butt off in this class for 7 more weeks (8 weeks total) then take my measurements again.  I’ll blog about it and see the progress can make with a collaborative effort to eat healthy and workout at least 2 other times each week.

Wish me luck!!

YouTube Tuesday: British Animal Voiceovers

This is the kind of video that grows on you.  Silly with a hint of stupid and I cannot stop laughing every time.

What will your favorite part be? Allan (or is it Steve)? The beat-boxing chipmunk? Wolverine v. Saber Tooth? The MJ-moves bird? Nighttime daytime? Let me know! It it truly worth 4:35 of your time…

26 Amazing Experiences I’ve had around the States and the World!

  1. Surfed in Costa Rica.
  2. Hiked the Upper Yosemite Falls trail at Yosemite National Park in California.
  3. Went to my first opera in Sydney, Australia
  4. Watched my brother graduate law school in St. Louis
  5. Went to Disney World in Orlando, Florida with my cousins.
  6. Walked the Hollywood Walk of Fame in LA
  7. Cruised past the Statue of Liberty in NYC
  8. Skied in Vail, Colorado
  9. Drank wine in Napa Valley, California.
  10. Saw Gaudi architecture and design in Barcelona, Spain
  11. Went to Noah’s Ark Waterpark in the Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
  12. Rode a trolley car in San Francisco, California.
  13. Hiked the Outback in Darwin, Australia
  14. Zip-lined in Puerta Vallarta, Mexico … twice
  15. Went to the NASCAR hall of fame in Charlotte, North Carolina
  16. Climbed to the top of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, England
  17. Rode the Peddle Tavern in Milwuakee, Wisconsin
  18. Tailgated in Iowa City, Iowa – Go Hawks!
  19. Built a church in Matamoros, Mexico
  20. Party rocked in Vegas
  21. Swam with dolphins in Cabo, Mexico
  22. Went sky diving in Des Moines, Iowa
  23. Saw a million penguins in Antarctica
  24. Visited to Colonial Williamsburg in Hampton Roads, Virginia
  25. Went tubing in Twin Lakes, Wisconsin
  26. Bunjee Jumped in Cairns, Australia

Sunday Night Dinner: Skinny Chicken Enchiladas

Living on a budget in the city, one great way to save money is to cook instead of eating out.  In order to accommodate our busy schedules during the week, my roommate Lin and I cook a dinner each Sunday (i.e. Sunday Night Dinner) then eat it as dinner throughout the week.  We try to make something that is delicious and healthy, will last a week and will taste good reheated.

Last week’s recipe: 

Skinny Chicken Enchiladas

Gina’s Weight Watcher Recipes
Servings: 8 • Serving Size: 1 enchilada • Old Points: 3 pts • Points+: 4 pts 
Calories: 159.5 • Fat: 5.9 g • Protein: 16.2 g • Carb: 17.8 g • Fiber: 8.3 g   



  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-2 tbsp chipotle chilis in adobo sauce 
  • 1-1/2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 3/4 cup fat free chicken broth
  • kosher salt and fresh pepper to taste

For the chicken: 

  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 8.5 oz (2 breast halves) cooked shredded chicken breast
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 2 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • kosher salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp chipotle chili powder
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 8 (7-inch) reduced carb whole wheat flour tortillas
  • 1 cup shredded low fat Mexican cheese
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions or cilantro for topping


In a medium saucepan, spray oil and sauté garlic. Add chipotle chiles, chili powder, cumin, chicken broth, tomato sauce, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Set aside until ready to use.

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

Heat the vegetable oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté onions and garlic on low until soft, about 2 minutes. Add chicken, salt, cilantro, cumin, oregano, chili powder, tomato sauce, chicken broth, and cook 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Spray a 13 by 9-inch glass baking dish with non-stick spray. Put 1/3 cup chicken mixture into each tortilla and roll it.

Place on baking dish seam side down, top with sauce (salsa) and then top with cheese.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake in the oven on the middle rack for 20-25 minutes.

Top with low fat sour cream or scallions if you wish. (Extra points – we did not do this) Makes 8 enchiladas.

REVIEW: While the chicken took time to shred, once we had the chicken made it was SO easy!  To make the recipe even healthier, we topped the enchiladas with salsa instead of the sauce then the cheese and it was delicious.  Tasted great reheated.

Take Me Out To The Ballgame

My dad has season tickets to the Chicago Cubs that he splits with some buddies every year.  Great seats: section 130, row 8, seats 1-4 – 18 rows up from 1st base.  Last Saturday I went to the Cubs v. Astros game with my girlfriends Lin and Megan.

Picture this:

The game is going well – we’re drinking beer, chatting and semi-watching the game.  All of a sudden there’s a fly ball headed in our general direction so we stop to watch.  And then it happened.  The moment in which we realized it was coming straight for us.

What would you do if a fly ball at a major league baseball game was headed straight for you?

The obvious answer is probably to either (a) try to catch it while fending off nearby patrons or (b) get out of the way.  We chose neither of those options and instead opted for holding onto each other, a lot of screaming, closing our eyes, and I held my hat out in front of me to catch the ball – like that would happen.

As my life flashed before my eyes, the ball smacked the seat directly in front of me – Section 130, row 7, seat 2.  And a guy down the row came and grabbed it while the girls and I breathe easy that we were still alive.  While the Cubs came away with a 2-1 victory, I think we can chalk that experience up as a MLB FAIL.

Workout Wednesdays: Turbo Kick

Exciting news: My brother has a new girlfriend, Susanna!

Added bonus: Susanna is a workout instructor and after Monday night, I can confirm she’s a really good workout instructor.

That’s right.  I tried her Turbo Kick class at TEAMiFIT on LaSalle – Mondays 6:30pm. In an effort not to be late, I arrived an hour early – fail, but whatever. I was nervous since I haven’t taken a kickboxing class in almost a year. I was also excited because it’s not just kickboxing but TURBO KICK – a combination of kickboxing and dance and something else I can’t remember.

Quick synopsis: Loved the music. Loved the punching. Loved the kicking. Loved the “fly-girling” “skiing” and everything in between. Loved the calorie burn. Loved the routine. Loved the energy. Loved the instructor (obvi). And LOVED the fact that I had so much fun!!

When was the last time I was working out for an hour straight (AN HOUR STRAIGHT) and loved every minute? Clearly this needs to be a more consistent aspect of my workout regimen. At the beginning of class, Susanna said that it takes approximately 3 classes to become addicted but I would say that it took me 1 class. If you haven’t tried it, do yourself a favor:

1. Get pumped listening to this song.

2. Go here to register.

3. Sign up for Turbo Kick (or any class by Susanna) – drop-ins are $12-17

4. Kick some calories!!