Sunday, August 12, 2012

Hot, Sweaty and All Stretched Out

#5. Finally use that Groupon for hot yoga that I bought 8 months ago.

Back to Bikram. Back to sweating out 1/2 my body weight and wondering if that person in front of me removed their ribs or some other bone to enable their un-human-like flexibility. Back to admiring the Greek men in the class (why are there always Greek men in Bikram?!) in their small brief shorts and convincing myself that if I keep this up, I, too, can achieve 1% body fat. Back to wondering why the instructor always uses metaphors involving flowers.

Saturday I packed up my gym bag with my not-cold-enough Nalgene, towel and yoga mat and headed down to Bikram City Chicago in River North. Not the most creative name, but straight-forward and a solid studio.

The 90-minute class reminded me why I like yoga. For a girl who is constantly planning, running (late) and overbooked, yoga forces me to stop; to focus on breathing, stretching and building strength for the duration of the class.

Of course, in that 1.5 hours, I also mentally planned the rest of my weekend, tried to figure out how I was going to use 20 classes before the expiration and made a promise to myself to wear a headband next time (as my bangs constantly fell in my face). I'm not quite a pro at achieving true zen through yoga, but I am a little sore today - so I'll count that as a win. And I checked off #5 on my 30 Before 30 list.

What to do next?
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Monday, August 6, 2012

My 30 before 30. Bring it, adulthood.

Thirty Before 30.

 We've heard the phrase before. We've seen the books. Each of them reads like the motivational posters with the pretty landscape photos. OR, better yet, looks like a resume that few people can or will achieve before 60, let alone 30.

Like many, I have loved my 20s. While often beer-infused and boy-confused, in these 10 years, I also survived and graduated college, got a job - that pays, and ended up in a fabulous city with friends that I love.

 Lately, though, as my typically over-drived work schedule has let up briefly due to the perfect trilogy of project ending, Olympics beginning and European holidays, I've had a chance to reflect on life.

And damn, that was scary.

Time to take on some more projects and return to my best friends Jimmy Johns and That-Cab-Outside-the-Aon?? Hmm...

To prevent myself from over-working or in a dark bar, holding onto an Old Style, pathetically sobbing away my 20s, I decide to kick the 20s can with as much gusto as my out-of-shape 29-year-old body can kick it.

So, while I don't know where my life will take me in the next 30 years, I do know where I want to take IT in the next 5 months. And I'm going to be okay with that... until 35.

As inspired by my mom's "60 before 60" list... here's my take at my 30 before 30. Follow me as I say "goodbye" to the good, the bad and the hangovers.

30. Revive "A Sip of the Second City" blog after 2 years of typelessness (Accomplished after Googling how to log-in)
29. Post a blog for every accomplishment (this will get better, i promise)
28. Overcome my commitment issues to book trilogies and finish "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" and "50 Shades" series
27. Visit a college and buy a round of drinks for under $10
26. Do a kayak tour of Chicago - even if I fear that falling into the Chicago River will make me either a) infertile or b) cause extra limbs to grow
25. Rent a wave runner on Lake Michigan
24. Witness Aline's mastery twin-raising skills in D.C. Bring her lots of wine and diapers
23. Go to a Kentucky horse race and wear a big, floppy hat even if it's too late in the year for Derby
22. Take the Jim Beam brewery tour, because if I'm already in Kentucky...
21. Buy a table... because I need one. And responsible people have kitchen tables
20. Host Friendsgiving because I will have a table. And because I have friends
19. Attend a wedding in a barn
18. Get together with the BBs - argue about what "BB" stood for in high school. Listen to Dee and Keehner fight about being president. Talk too loud.
17. Run at least 30 miles a month. Because I'm turning 30
16. Make a pie, from scratch. Even the crust
15. Have a Merkles at Midnight dance reunion
14. Join Zipcar, because having wheels in the city is "so 30"
13. Eat a hot dog with Old Style at Wrigley; sing "Go Cubs Go" - even if/when they lose
12. Make tea sandwiches on a Sunday. With tea. Because that just sounds adult. And because cucumber sandwiches are delish. And because a little part of me wishes I was British
11. Eat a Roast Beef sandwich from Arby's... because I've never done it
10. Make conversation with a stranger on a plane.
9. Go to a movie. In a movie theatre. And maybe sneak into a second feature because I have never been that rebellious. Or maybe never had that much time? A little of both.
8. Eat a real, Chicago-style hot dog. Without the ketchup - and all the other stuff. Never have I ever.
7. Ask someone who is older than me what they want to do "when they grow up"... because I will always be younger than that phrase.
6. Go to an OU alumni event. Revel in the fact that we can "still hang." Drink a lot of water, take an Advil and eat a banana before going to bed.
5. Finally use that Groupon for hot yoga that I bought 8 months ago.
4. Take a cooking class. Or a wine tasting class. Just take a class. Become smarter.
3. Listen to Tim McGraw's "My Next 30 Years" on repeat for an hour on December 29, 2012.
2. Go to Duffy's Sundays brunch, take a shot before noon because they are yelling the specials so loud that you can't hear yourself say "no more pancakes!" and thank God that I can blame being 30 for never doing it again.
1. Ring in 30 with my birthday twin, Cristy, and friends somewhere fabulous, and if it were up to me and an unlimited budget, warm and tropical. With umbrellas and fruity drinks.

Thanks for following! Any other suggestions? Always open to replacing a few of the lamer ones.
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Monday, December 13, 2010

A Year In Review

December always brings moments of reflection. Because I try not to sugar coat my year-in-reviews, I confess that my yuletide greetings haven’t always started with cheer. In the same way, I will commend a year that has achieved a nearly perfect 10, earned a grade A and sent me into a state of elation at least once a month. I’ve coined 2010 as that year: THE BEST YEAR EVER. To honor this gold medal-worthy 365 days, I compiled a Top 10 of Colleen’s 2010 list (in no particular order)… Drum roll, please…

1. Started the year off by singing karaoke in Korea Town for New Years Eve. Leaving the Korea-inspired, frat-style establishment at 1 a.m. on January 1st, I thought… “If this is any indication of 2010, it’s going to be a memorable one.” And it was.
2. Left the can for the ‘sticks. Mid-March I step down from my throne as SPAM Queen at Burson-Marsteller to go to Edelman, a more consumer-focused PR agency. Now I get to indulge with those who live for the suburban pleasure of Olive Garden and never-ending soup, salad and breadsticks. I love every bit(e) of it.
3. Took on the serious self-titled role of dance floor coordinator at Marlene (my cousin) and Todd’s wedding. I think the pictures speak for themselves. ☺
4. Landed a book deal without actually having written a book -- which is insane and keeps me up at night with the fear it will be lamer than or as much of a mockery as Bristol Palin’s moves on Dancing with the Stars. Cross your fingers and mark your calendars – “Sweat, Tears and Jazz Hands”… coming to a bookstore near you, September 2011.
5. Fell in “like” with a Peruvian boy named Eduardo. Although, it ended unexpectedly via an email and drive through-style breakup, I was left with three bottles of excellent Lake Michigan Shore wine, a better understanding and appreciation for Chicago’s fancy restaurants, five months of mostly-fun memories and a reaffirmation that normal is nearly impossible to find. I’m accepting applications.
6. Double Swenson’s Day. It happened. It was amazing. I ran 6 miles the next day.
7. Committed dating suicide and got Moxie (my 16-pound cat/tiger) a trainer to help her shed half her body weight in fat. The trainer took the form of a 3-month-old kitten named Smidget…. Or Little Mox, Little One, Get the $%# off the curtains!, etc. Cue the cat lady joke. If I even start talking about getting a third cat, I completely expect a full-on intervention.
8. Summer. It actually arrived in Chicago this year. Joined a new beach volleyball team, hosted 4th of July party, watched the air show, rode a wine-o-wagon, attended fabulous weddings, went to my first Lollapalooza. Loved life.
9. Completed the Chicago Super Mini Triathlon (emphasis on Super and Mini) in August with my friend Joanna under the training of Coach Jake.
10. Discovered the Chicago VFW Post #7579. Sang karaoke until way past my bedtime, ate pizza supplied by the 100-year-old receptionist and obtained the official door code. Made unforgettable memories and a handful of retired military friends.

Happy Holidays! May 2011 try to top 2010 – or at least put up a good fight to match its madness.
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Thursday, October 21, 2010

O! Yes Please.

Sometimes it takes a mention of my blog or a comment from a friend to get me back on the blogger bandwagon... but this time it was a little nudge from my friends at I'm a huge fan of the big O! In fact most of my almost-put-together furniture is from Overstock. I felt it was a momental moment in my single-woman life when I seriously put together an entire bed with just my two hands, my insane cat and several numbered blocks of wood. Three years later, the bed is still standing... and has survived two cross-city moves. Nice work,

I do have to admit... the tops of my side tables and coffee table are not connected to the bottoms... and my bedside table's drawer for some reason will not shut. While most would see these as small, some-what hidden imperfections... I like to think of them as projects... that will be finished by my future, handy boyfriend. He's going to be one lucky guy... #1 qualification... must own an electric screw driver.

Anywho... onto the fun stuff... until the end of October... they are having a OcSTOCKober (excellent play on words marketing department) clearance event as they celebrate 11 years of sending Americans quality furniture and fun. Given my budding writing career (clearly, check out these mad literary skills), I decided to indulge myself in this STOCKacular sale and purchase the corner desk pictured above... thinking it might work perfectly (given my serious tape-measure measurements) in my living room... taking advantage of my small, corner lake view! 5-10 days for shipping... who wants to come over and help me?!?

What do you need to STOCK up on?? Check out and use the discount code 121728 for an extra 10% off. You can thank me during the holidays. My birthday is Dec. 30th.. :)

Happy shopping!!

All the ideas and opinions expressed are my own. No monetary compensation was received for doing this post, however, I was provided with a discount code.
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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

My Friend: The Microwave Meal

I have to admit... I love the microwave and the magic dishes that appear in 5 minutes or less when I come home from work. I'm pretty sure if I didn't own a microwave I might starve. I'm a huge fan of trying out different foods... love to eat out... love leftovers... but really haven't gotten the bug to really try and make these items myself. Really, I haven't found many reasons why it would benefit my current life - financially or socially. So I continue to hail the micro of waves.

This is why I was pumped to find out Healthy Choice is getting more creative with their meal offerings. Today, I tried their new Pumpkin Squash Ravioli, and it was surprisingly amazing. For once, it tasted as good as the picture on the cover promised - and let's be honest, that never happens. Of course, it didn't come out on a white plate with garnishes... but it also didn't appear like a gravy mess when I unveiled the magic plastic wrap.

Healthy Choice, bravo... well, done. And bring on the funky flavors. I. love. them.

Any other new microwave meals that you've tasted recently? Please share. My lunchtime taste buds will appreciate it.
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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Polish and Planes

Today begins my summer... aka my reunion with airports across the country in an effort to not miss everyone's big life moments. I'm excited and overwhelmed by this summer's schedule... but as my calendar fills up, I do take extra notice at the downtime that I have... and think about how that time could be more efficiently spent.

Case-and-point. Right now... I'm hanging out in Houston, Texas airport on the nicest Sunday of 2010... and I can't help but notice and slightly obsess over my chipping nail polish on both my fingers and toes. This was one to-do i didn't quite cross off my list before the work trip... and so, now I'm mentally planning out how/when I can fix this situation prior to the media event tomorrow afternoon.

Why... oh why... don't airports have nail salons?! They have bars and food everywhere you look... but just imagine how much money a salon would make if they set up shop in an airport terminal? 1/2 an hour delayed?? Time for a quick polish change... 2 hours delayed? Mani/Pedi combo... plus a massage! This is a lost opportunity if you ask me... looks like it's going to be a CVS run for me and self-manicure in the hotel.

Am I alone? Ladies of the airports... I think we need to do something about this... maybe I'll talk to someone important during my next delay... until then... cheers to chipped and unattractive nails.

Sipping in a different city...

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Leftovers from Vivo

Although I've worked on food marketing my entire 5+ year career, I have had a hard time defining myself as a "foodie;" My recent weekend food adventures, however, have made me reconsider... or wishfully think... that I could become a foodie or at least a foodiot, either way... I like food.

Last weekend I got to check out Vivo, which is located in the West Loop/Warehouse district on Randolph. After work, the bf and I headed there, Groupon in hand, ready to indulge in some trendy Italian Fare. The last Italian restaurant we went to rhymed with Colive Tarden... so, as the urbanites that we are, we were ready to be impressed by this city-tastic location.

The decor did not disappoint. We walked in through a velvet curtain to find a number of white-linen-lined tables with votives, exposed brick wall covered in wine bottles ready to be drank and a shiny/fancy bar. The waiter was attentive and friendly. The wine was AMAZING. I have no idea what brand of Cab my hot date picked out... short-term memory...but I do know that it was A LOT better than the Funky Llama that I had been sipping on throughout the week.

One complaint I had was the amount of salt and oil used in the dishes. I could even taste the salt in the salad. I know restaurants tend to splash a bit on salads for taste, but this reached miso-soup levels of sodium. Next time I go... which there will be a next time... we didn't read the fine print of "limit one coupon per table," I might just have to request the chef keep his/her hands off the salt shaker for my entrees.

Anyone else have a chance to indulge at Vivo post-Groupon?

Pass on the advice...
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