Sights from the weekend

I can’t believe this past weekend is almost a week behind me, but I can believe I forgot to mention anything about it on the ol’ blog. In any case, here’s a quick recap with pictures to boot….

On Saturday, we took the red line down to Chinatown and strolled a mile to a little art studio for one of them BYOB painting classes. The theme was “love birds,” challenging us to turn to blank canvases into one cohesive piece of art.

In the end, we did okay, going from this:

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To this (please note how far away Tristan’s bird is from mine):

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After class, we walked a bit more in search of lunch, landing at Honky Tonk Barbecue, an apparently famous place. Too bad for them (or us) that their waitstaff was really rude, so we turned around and walked out, instead going to a Mexican place for a meat plate for two:

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After the meal, we took another two or so mile walk back to the redline. Exhausted.

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Sunday started with a bike ride, followed by me meeting up with my parents for lunch and boat and kayak watching by the river. It’s rarer and rarer that the three of us meet up for a meal without Tbag in tow, so this was a nice, shall I say, break from the GMC.

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After parting ways from my parents, Tristan and I embarked on an impromptu fashion shoot, snapping these beauties:

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I don’t know why, but Tristan’s face looks really really different and oddly middle eastern in all of these to me. I had a good laugh…I’m still having a good laugh.

We finished Sunday and the weekend the best way possible: on the couch, watching Big Brother and, of course, our new favorite, “Mistresses.” (Shut up shut up everyone shut up.)

Some Thoughts re: Weight Loss, Health, etc.

A girl I used to play softball with recently posted a picture of her flexed biceps on Facebook, and damn, she looked good.* Her updates show up fairly often on my newsfeed, so over the past few months I’ve very creepily watched her from the shadows, as she’s not only dropped an impressive amount of weight, but has also become strong. And I mean really strong. The girl is packin’.

And I’m envious.

Envious that she has the discipline, determination, and by golly the patience to transform her body and her health in such a drastic way. Envious that she genuinely seems to enjoy eating healthily and working out. And envious that she’s not at all weak – neither physically, nor emotionally (or, at least her Facebook persona isn’t).

When I saw that picture, I immediately wanted to hit the gym (spoiler alert — I didn’t go). If this girl could chisel her drastically overweight body — and yes, I know how harsh that sounds, but it’s true — into envious form, why can’t I do the same with my very average body? It should be easier to start from healthy, so why haven’t I done it?

“Well, Kristy, it’s because you have no self- control. And because candy exists,” said the crazy woman to herself.

It’s a fair point. Candy is pretty great…but I can still do something, right? Yes, yes I can. I realize I’m talking to myself now, but here’s my plan: I’m going to simplify my life by resolving to stick to a few simple guidelines:

• Make conscious decisions about what I eat…without getting carried away. I know what my body needs—less carbs, more vegetables.
• Go to the gdamn gym. Yes, I run fairly regularly, but I haven’t stepped foot inside the ~weight room~ (I’m a total brah) for months, maybe even a year.
• Drink more water. Duh.

As such, I might be posting more about food/health/workouts/etc. here a little more often because I really really wanna whittle my waist and shape my buns (wow TMI) for the wedding. Also, I need to start leading by example for Tristan. I won’t go into too much detail on that, but I know when I eat well and exercise, so does he.

*despite mentioning softball and my fondness for another gal’s body in the same sentence, I have not become a lesbian. Fear not, the wedding is still on.

A few completely unrelated thoughts

  • We went golfing today. Real live golfing on a course with holes that are like 500 yards away. And we survived! My biggest fear was that we’d be holding up other people, but it turns out, everyone is pretty darn slow on the course. We actually were paired up with another duo — a father and daughter — and, even though they had their own clubs, nifty golf attire, and the confidence of someone who has been golfing for years — we weren’t that much worse than them. Overall, I really really enjoyed it. 10/10 would golf again A++++.
  • Yesterday, we met my family in Evanston for dinner and also some pie from a place called Hoosier Mama. Again, A++++ would buy again. Forgive me father, for I have sinned and seriously considered going back and buying a whole pie just for myself.
  • We finished watching House of Cards earlier this week and there’s now a gaping whole in our hearts. So, we’ve picked up a new show called “Mistresses” on ABC. I don’t know how or why, but Tristan started TiVo’ing it and we’re hooked. Grrreeeeaaat.
  • Speaking of House of Cards, you know how Claire and Frank sit by the window and share a cigarette? I realized the other day that Tristan and I do the exact.same.thing. Except our cigarette is a Magnum bar because we’re not in the public eye and are allowed to be fat fat fat.

  • Last night, I took the Opel for a spin around a parking lot. I’m really getting much better at driving a manual and one day, I think ol’ Gerta will be mine all mine. 
  • On a related note, Tristan had his tires changed on the Subaru a few weeks back, and for whatever reason, the mechanic left the old tires in his backseat (rather than disposing of them and charging a disposal fee). Tristan, being the genius — and cheapskate — he is, decided to leave the tires in the backseat with the car doors unlocked, hoping and wishing and praying that a thief would take them off his hands (without charing a disposal fee, of course). Well, it only took three or so weeks to actually happen. Someone stole the tires. Thank you, degenerates of Lincoln Park!

Weekend Recap: Our Trip to Door County

This weekend, the whole Doukas clan (plus and Esparza and a Bonk) went up to the great state of Wisconsin for a getaway in Door County (or “Whore County” according to my brother’s boss…)

We rode bikes, we kayaked, we ate lots of fish and had an overall stinking good time. Unfortunately, though, I completely forgot to take pictures and document the trip, so I’m going to post a bunch of words now for posterity’s sake. 

Here’s a play-by-play recap:

Friday
I left work at 3 p.m. and hopped the orange line to Midway, where my betrothed picked me up in his hot ride. I mean that literally — our car overheated, leaving us stranded at the mechanic for an hour or two. It was a real damper on the trip, but we tried to make the best of it, dining on hardboiled eggs (yes, we brought a container of hardboiled eggs on our road trip) and a bag of sour cream and cheddar chips, all while Guy Fieri talked about his trip to Flavortown, where the sandwiches are the bomb.com and the chefs have a PhDs in Delicous (i.e we watched Diner, Drive-ins, and Dives at the meachanic’s).

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A Mexican man eats hardboiled eggs.

I won’t go into the details of how the evening got worse and worse before it got better, but let’s just say we had to rent a car and didn’t end up leaving Chicago until 7 p.m. — a solid 3.5 hours later than we intended.

At midnight, we rolled up to a little hotel in Door County called the Waterbury Inn. My brother and my dad met us in the parking lot and showed us around the joint, before we retreated to our room — a two-bedroom lofted suite for the five of us (me, Tristan, my brother and sister, and my sister’s bf). Much to our delight, my dear parents had also stocked our room with the essentials…you know healthy snacks like bananas and blueberries, plus two bags of Matt’s cookies (chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin), Cheez-Its, Special K Bars, beer/pop, and bags and bags of chips. We were in heaven.

We finished the night with a friendly bet ($10/person) over a game of Yahtzee. And guess who won? This lady did.

Saturday
Despite staying up way past my bedtime, Tristan, my brother, and I woke up at the crack of dawn on Saturday morning, got up and dressed, and headed to my parents’ room to, in Tristan’s words, “see what kind of trouble Ted has gotten into already.” Much to our dismay and surprise, though, Ted — my dad — and my mom were still sleeping! And it was already 7 a.m.! It was truly shocking.

In any case, we walked around outside a bit by ourselves, before returning to their room to drink coffee and watch the Running of the Bulls. Then, we headed to a little restaurant that claimed to have the best breakfast in Door County. I have no idea how accurate that claim is, but damn the food was tasty. Nothing like a light breakfast of cherry pancakes and corned beef hash to start your day.

After gorging ourselves, my brother, Tristan, and I rented some bikes and went for a breezy 5-mile trek through the state park. I wish I would’ve snapped pictures, but I didn’t think of it at the time. In any case, it was a vonderful ride, maybe topped only by the next activity — kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding. We’ve gone kayaking before — on an October night in the Chicago river — and I gotta say, this was much more enjoyable. Instead of worrying about falling into the river and getting Hepatitis B or eaten by an alligator, I was able to jump in and out of the kayak without fear.

We kayaked to my sister and my boyfriend, who were lounging on the other side of the beach, let them try it out a bit, and then headed back to the rental place to return our vessels. 

When we brought the kayaks back ashore — where I landed on a pile of slippery rocks — we coincidentally ended up running into my parents, who graciously gave us a ride back to our car.  The five us then headed for ice cream at a local shop that always seemed to have a line out the door and for good reason. I’m still not sure what a “caramel explosion” is, but I’d do it again.

When we got back to the hotel, Tristan and I swam (i.e played with inflatable toys) in the pool for a bit, before getting ready for Door County’s signature dinner: The fish boil.

The boil — the actual cooking of the fish — is part of dinner extravaganza, so we all gathered around a fire as a portly, backcountry-looking guy explained to us the intricacies of making fish and answered questions from the crowd. Tristan almost asked, “Why did my wife leave me?” but thankfully decided against it. When it was finally time to eat, we all piled into the dining room and got in line for our serving of the boil. I’m not a huge seafood eater, but hot damn this fish was good. Covering it in melted butter didn’t hurt either.

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The “kids” at the fish boil.

Saturday night ended with more ping pong, a game called Pass the Pigs (which is stupidly simple but surprisingly fun), and an early bedtime.

Sunday
Sunday Sunday Sunday — our last day in the county. The last days of vacation are always a bit depressing for me, as I can’t always keep myself from thinking about going to work the next day. But, I tried my darndest to push it out of mind, and I succeeded for the most part.

Big shocker, we started our morning at 6 a.m., when we went for a run through the state park with my parents. It was a short and easy jaunt — only two miles or so — but it felt good to get some exercise on vacation. It’s not something we always do, but something I’d like to start doing more often.

The whole group — all seven of us — had grand plans for making the most our of the day, and we were on a bit of a tight schedule. After our quick run, we headed back to the room to shower, change, and pack-up. I played my dad in a game of checkers (and lost miserably) while Tristan looted the rest of the group’s snacks. Then, at around 9, we all took off to catch a ferry to Washington Island, a scenic spot just a half-hour ride away.

Only Maria and Jeff (my sister and her boyfriend) brought their car on the ferry, leaving me, Tristan, and Nick to fend for ourselves re: transportation. We decided to bike around the island, first from the dock to a breakfast joint — where I befriended an adorable dog named Drake — then from the restaurant to an old church (that actually ended up being a new church that just looked like an old church), and finally from the church to a beach and back. The beach was one of the highlights of this day trip, only because Tristan acted a damn fool, trying to sink himself in the water by holding on to two big rocks, flopping onto the shore like a beached whale, and just generally being a moron. The whole family had a laugh, my dad asked me if I’m sure I want to marry him, and then he and my brother nicknamed Tristan GMC (Giant Mexican Child) due to his size, ethnicity, and childlike wonder.

By the time we got back to the dock, it was around time to start heading back home. We hopped the ferry, got in our respective cars, and then made a quick pit stop for more ice cream (shocker), before finally setting off for Chicago.

Waking up for work this morning was extra hard because of this damn good weekend, which makes the cynical side of me not want to take vacations ever because it’s just so darn depressing coming back. But I’m over it by now, I suppose. I do want to head back to ol’ Whore County sometime soon though. There was a ton to see, and two days (really 1.5 days) just wasn’t long enough to cover it all.

Fourth of July Weekend – A Gay Old Time

Wowza, what a weekend what a weekend what a weekend. Movies, horseshoes, runs and walks, and food. Oh my god so much food. Yet, nary a firework, which is kind of sad.

Here’s a quick recap (for posterity’s sake):

Friday: We started the weekend as healthily as possible, taking a 3-mile run along the lake, followed by tricep dips, squats, burpees, and so many planks I wanted to cry (30 seconds on; 30 seconds off for 5 minutes is way harder than it sounds). We carried on the healthy trend for approximately another two hours, choosing a wise brunch of pork over cabbage while watching so many (too many) episodes of House of Cards. Sidenote: Frank Underwood is THE WORST. THE ABSOLUTE WORST. Then, after seeing “Tammy,” which was overall funny, but not as funny as I was hoping, we hit the town with my sister, drinking way too many margaritas, eating way too much popcorn, and dancing to way too much Whitney Houston. Five hours and one altercation with a 55 year-old Queen later, and I was home in my bed, snug as a bug.

Saturday: Day two of the three-day weekend started out pretty rough (due to a pretty brutal stomach ache from the aforementioned margaritas). Nothing a DD breakfast sandwich—and three more hours of House of Cards—couldn’t alleviate, though. We capped off that day with another movie—“Deliver Us from Evil”—and some fish tacos with Tristan’s uncle and uncle’s girlfriend.

Sunday: You guessed it—Sunday started with more Frank Underwood and holy crap did everyone go crazy? What is happening on this show? I don’t want to spoil it, but anyone who watched the first episode of season 2 knows exactly what I’m talking about. I cried. Tears of joy that is.
Anywho, after finally peeling ourselves off the couch, we hit the road en route to beautiful Algonquin for a little bbq shindig with my family. ‘Twas a pretty solid day with horseshoes, hot dogs, brats, steaks, burgers, and something called “Smart Dogs” for my vegetarian brother. We laughed, we mocked each other, Tristan and I performed slam poetry but no one paid attention to us, and we ended the night in the best way possible: watching Big Brother and eating donuts.

Overall, it was just a super duper weekend…making going to work today that much harder.

Story Time: That Time I Lost My Shit Because Someone Threw Away My Pork

I accidentally brought the wrong tupperware to work this morning, leaving me with a full pound of unsliced roast pork loin, rather than a more manageable chicken breast with feta.

I wasn’t about to gnaw on a log of meat at my desk, so I instead tucked the pork back into the fridge, with grand plans of bringing it home at the end of the day.

But, I never got to bring my poor baby pork home. No, I failed to notice a very important notice on the fridge door:

“We’re cleaning out the fridge at 3 p.m. Claim your lunch or it’s getting tossed.”

So, when I stopped by the kitchen at 4 p.m. to pick my pork up from camp, I was understandably shocked to see every shelf on the refrigerator completely empty…and the garbage can next to the fridge completely full. It was freegan’s paradise — myriad tupperwares and brown paper bags filled with still-edible lunches. I scavenged through the top few layers, hoping and praying I’d save my pork (and tupperware!) from the dump. But, alas. No luck.

The world is cruel.

Low-carb Recipe: Zucchini Pizza Boats

Three weeks ago, we took the plunge and signed up for DietBetter — a website that lets you put money on your ability to lose 4 percent of your body weight in 4 weeks. Or, if you’re me, it’s a place where you can pay $25 to post a picture of yourself on a scale — clad in nothing but spandex and a Hall and Oates t-shirt — without judgment.

You see, we’re trying to get ~shmexy~ for the wedding, and this site seemed like a grand opportunity to kick start our good eating habits. And, for the most part, it has been working. I’ve managed to lose (and gain and lose and gain and lose) the 5.6 pounds needed to win this bet. Mostly though, DietBetter has taught me just how capable I am of losing a lot of water weight in two days and gaining it back in two hours. But I digress.

The point of this post — believe it or not, it does have one — is to share a neat-o low-carb recipe I tried out whilst DietBetting.

You see, as a champion DietBetter (ha!), I have successfully eaten healthily 70% of the time for the past few weeks (okay…maybe 50%). For me “healthy” = low carb and low carb sadly ≠ pizza.

Enter z’pizza!

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I’ve seen pictures of this creation, often called “Zucchini Pizza Boats,” on Pinterest for quite a while and decided to give it a whirl last week. Truth be told, I didn’t have high hopes…because I’m not a psycho. I know cheese on zucchini is just fancy zucchini ….which is not, by any means, pizza. Still, the end result was pretty darn good. If there are any other low-carb eaters reading this, I highly recommend you give it a try.

Z’pizza
Serves 4

  • Three zucchinis, cut in half lengthwise (or in thirds, if you’re good with a knife and prefer a thin-“crust” pizza)
  • A few tablespoons of olive oil
  • One to three cloves of garlic, mashed (on a scale from a slight hint of garlic to garlic bread)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • A handful or two of grape tomatoes (or any tomato)
  • The shredded cheese of your choice and quantity (I used about a ½ c total of a mozzarella and provolone blend)
  • Toppings (I used pepperoni)

Pre-heat the oven to 350-degree F.

Using a spoon, gently scoop out the “meat” of each zucchini half. Tip: you don’t need to apply a lot of pressure or force; a gentle raking motion will get the job done and keep your zucchinis healthy and in-tact.
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Next, mix the olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper together and brush across each zucchini half. Accept that this is the pizza “crust” and don’t look back.

Build your pizzas by layering tomato slices across each zucchini half and covering them with as much — or as little — cheese as desired. Top each zucchini with the toppings of your choice (see here for inspiration).

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Toss the z’pizzas-to-be in the oven for ~30 minutes or until the zucchini is soft.

Voila!
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In case you can’t tell, this is more a faux recipe than a science, so excuse the lack of quantities and specifics. Oh, and if you’re using pepperoni — or any other fatty meat — you’ll notice that the z’pizzas can get really REALLY greasy, so dab them off with a paper-towel after they come out of the oven, and maybe use less olive oil in the beginning.

If you like the grease, for the love of God eat your z’pIzza with a z’fork, lest you want to stain z’couch and piss off your z’spouse/partner/roommate (ah-hem, Tristan).

Enjoy!

Co-Workers and Weddings: To Invite or Not To Invite?

Lately chatter at work has taken an interesting turn — everyone is chit-chatting about my wedding, the social event of the season! Okay, I’m kidding, it’s like two or three people who keep bringing it up — and it’s definitely not going to be the social event of the season — but they’ve created a Pinterest board just for me, and it’s really flattering and exciting.

But also, it’s slightly upsetting.

Upsetting because I’m probably not going to invite them to the wedding they’re so excitedly planning.

They know this, by the way. When I first got engaged, I mentioned that we’re having a really small wedding — family only.  And when I said it, I meant it.

But then, Tristan and I wanted to invite four mutual friends of ours — after all, they had invited us to their weddings.

And then, I started thinking about my two best friends from high school, and how awful I’d feel if I didn’t invite them — so I changed my mind and sent each of them a save the date.

Next, I realized I haven’t seen my buddies from college in a long time, and this wedding could be a fun reunion for us. Add four more names to that guest list.

Then came my parents input — who knew my dad had so many cousins?

So now, with our party ballooning to around 50 people, I’ve started to reconsider not inviting my work friends. Truth be told, I am legitimately good friends with two of these girls, so it does feel strange that I’m not inviting them.

The problem is, I’m very ~friendly~ (no innuendo intended) with about five other people—which makes me feel compelled to invite them, too.  The last thing I want is to make someone feel left out … but I also have to be realistic about how many people I can actually invite to this thing.  For one, it gets hella expensive. Not too be cold and calculating, but excuse me while I’m cold and calculating — each extra work friend is really two more people, which is really an extra $350+ dollars/couple.  I can practically hear my mom saying, “Don’t worry about it,” but I do. I do worry about it.

Plus, if we add even one more person to our guest list, we’ll probably have to change venues, which wouldn’t be a tragedy, I suppose.  But, I do worry about where we’ll end up.

The way I see it, I have a few options:  a) invite no one from work; b) invite my two friends from work and risk hurting feelings across the board; or c) invite everyone and call it a day.

Ugh decisions, decisions.