Sunday, April 29, 2012

Fleet Feet Girls Night Out

About two weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend Fleet Feet Chicago's Girls Night Out event at their Lincoln Square location.  As soon as I got the email about the event I knew I wanted to attend.  I love all that the Chicago Fleet Feet does for the running community!  They put on some great events and are really supportive of all types of runners.  As a member of the FF Cheer team I was given a free invitation to the event and asked if I wanted to model some of the new spring gear.  I was a little hesitant about "modeling" but I thought, why not?  Plus I would get to keep the clothes I modeled, which was a nice little perk.

I arrived at the store to see a line out the door of all the ladies waiting to get inside.  There were people at the door to check everyone in and give them a little handout about what was going on at the store.  

The first table I checked out was the Foiled Cupcakes.  They are a local cupcake order and delivery service here in Chicago.  I have had their cupcakes before at a Fleet Feet Chick's Night and was glad to see them here.  They offered three standard flavors: chocolate, vanilla, and red velvet.  
I went with the chocolate which was good.  I enjoyed the frosting and I love the little "Quippies" they stick in their cupcakes.  They customize them for every order.  I passed by there later to talk with the main baker and she explained how she started the business and how much she enjoys doing it.  I love hearing how people end up doing what they love!

I then made my way back to the Nutritionist Table where they were doing mini consults.  I spoke briefly with one of them, but she didn't really tell me anything I didn't already know. Meh.

Right next to that was a representative from Feetures!.  I have seen their socks before in the store, but never tried them.  He explained how the sock molds to your foot and explained the two different types they made.  They felt good and worth a try.

My next stop was the Luna Bar table where I picked up a couple sample bars and a coupon. I chatted with the representatives about their favorite flavors and when they like to eat a Luna bar or Luna Protein bar.  One mentioned a blueberry flavor bar that sounded good and both said they loved the chocolate coconut bar as well.  

Throughout the evening the store was doing shoe and bra fittings, which many ladies took advantage of.  The store had some great sales for all those attending that evening too.  Upstairs there was also a dance workout class led by an instructor from WERQ and a mini massage station.  

I then ran into Sonja, who I met at the FF Cheer get together last month.  We chatted briefly before Catherine, who helped organize the event, found me and told me I would be modeling two outfits that evening.  She handed me my bag of gear and I went to change into my first outfit.  I met up with the other FF Cheer ladies upstairs before we went down to start the show.  
FF Cheer ladies modeling new Spring Gear: Angelica, Paula, me, Jill, and Supriya  
Catherine explained that the mini fashion show would span about the length of the store and where to walk and stand. 

I was up first and headed out in clothes from Moving Comfort, which included the Take it on Tank, in the sunset color, and on the bottom the Endurance Capri.  As I walked the "runway" Catherine gave a description of the outfit I was wearing.  I walked from one end of the store to the other and stopped a benches along the way to pose.  Once I finished that outfit I did a quick change into my second outfit which was from Saucony with the Ignite Tight Capri on bottom and Axiom Printed Short Sleeve Shirt on top which has UV protection in it.  I made my way back and walked the mini runway one last time to finish the show.  
I was pretty nervous walking around in the outfits while people stared at me, but I put a smile on my face and made the most of it - it was fun!  

After the show I changed back into my regular clothes and walked around the store one more time checking things out.  I soon said my goodbyes and headed back home around 10pm.  

For modeling the clothes we each got to take home the new gear.  Plus we each got a pair of Feetures! Elite Ultra Light socks in an awesome pink color.   (I was actually going to buy this pair, before Catherine told me we were getting them for the show!)

Everything was really comfortable and cute; I love the different colors!  I am looking forward to running in the new gear soon.  I'll be sure to let you know what I think after I test them out.

I am still shocked that I got to model and then keep such awesome running gear!  I definitely needed some new pieces and am so appreciative to Fleet Feet for letting me have and test these.  A big "Thank You" to Catherine, who helped organize the event and also coordinates some of the FF Cheer stuff, for the invite and gear.  I thought the Girls Night Out event at Lincoln Square went really well!  It was a nice to meet with other runner's and have fun at such an awesome store!    

What is one piece of workout gear you are looking to add to your wardrobe?  Do you have a favorite kind of running socks?  

Friday, April 20, 2012

Tasty Trail Mix Bites

The last few weeks have been pretty busy as my roommate and I have been trying to find our next apartment.  We probably looked at ten different apartments before finally finding one.  It is a little bit closer to the city and in a cute neighborhood.  We move in less than two weeks, so I have been figuring out what moving company to use, switching the utilities over, and packing.  

However, amidst the craziness that is moving there was a lovely little blogger meet-up this past weekend.  Originally we had planned on a picnic, but the weather didn't cooperate so Marisa offered her place for a midday potluck lunch.  I worked early in the morning and ended up being a little late, but we had a nice time.  It's always nice spending time with these ladies.  We chatted and enjoyed the food we all brought.  Diana brought a quinoa salad, Marisa a bean and avocado salad, and Alyssa and Katie each brought fruit salad; which were all really good!  My contribution to the potluck were some delicious Trail Mix Bites.  
Diana, me, Alyssa, Marisa, and Katie
In trying to decide what to make I kept in mind the other ladies diets (vegetarian, gluten-free, etc).  I then saw a recipe on Pinterest that sparked my interest and thought it might work for the meet-up.  I wasn't really sure how they would turn out, but used the recipe as inspiration to create a trail mix bar.  The idea of it in compact form sounded good to me!  I thought they were great and I think everyone at the lunch enjoyed them too.  They make a great pre-workout snack or after dinner treat!  So here is the easy and tasty recipe:
Trail Mix Bites
Makes about 12 squares
1/2 cup cooked, plain quinoa
1/3 cup sunflower seeds 
1 cup dry old fashioned oats
1/4 cup chopped almonds
1/4 overflowing cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup dried fruit (cranberries, raisins, cherries, etc)
1/3 cup agave nectar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp coconut extract
1/3 cup dark chocolate, chopped or chips
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp + 1 tsp natural peanut butter

1.  In a small sauce pan heat the agave nectar to a simmer (this only takes a minute).  Then stir in vanilla and coconut extract and remove from heat.
2.  In a medium mixing bowl combine quinoa, sunflower seeds, oats,  almonds, coconut, and dried fruit. 
3.  Pour the agave nectar mixture over the combination in the mixing bowl and stir to combine.
4.  Let the mixture cool a bit before adding in the peanut butter, chocolate, and salt.
5.  Once everything is mixed together use your hands to shape the mixture into small balls or flatten the mixture into an 8x8 pan.  Let cool in fridge for at least 2 hours for the bites or bars to set.
adapted from Eat, Live, Run


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Fun and Food with Friends

After the Georgia Half Marathon I flew back to Chicago Monday morning.  My friend Mari, who I have known since high school, came to visit Kristin (my roommate) and I during her spring break.  The three of us have been good friends since high school and attended college together at Florida State University.  
Flashback to 2007!
My work schedule ended up working out that I had two more days off so I had time to hang out with my friends.  Mari, her boyfriend, Andrew, and I decided to head to the Art Institute of Chicago.  
I have only visited it once before when I first visited Chicago in middle school, but it is an awesome museum.  There are tons of paintings, sculptures, photos, and artifacts which makes it easy to spend a whole day there.  The three of us spent a few hours exploring.  Next, we met a friend of Andrew's who works for the Obama campaign.  He gave a us neat little tour of the campaign offices. 

The four of us then went to grab lunch at a place called Noodles and Company, which is a small chain.  I have passed it before, but had never been in.  It was a great little place with lots of different pasta and soup dishes to choose from.  A few things sparked my interest, but I decided on the Whole Grain Tuscan Linguine, which was pretty tasty.  I would probably go back there again.  

Post lunch we headed to the Bean (or Cloud Gate) to take some standard Chicago tourist pictures.  

We then made our way back to the Museum gift shop to meet up with Kristin.  
We explored the goods there before heading to a small pub.  I'm not much of a drinker, so I just drank some water.  It was gorgeous day so we sat on the patio and chatted.  
Next was a delicious dinner at The Counter.  This place is awesome!  I have been there several times before and it is one of my favorite burger places.  You are given a clipboard and tons of options to choose from to customize your own burger with a choice of meat, cheese, toppings, sauce, and bun or salad.  I went with a beef patty on organic greens, with tomatoes, carrots, green onions, avocado, and chipotle aioli -absolutely delicious!   Kristin and I also split a side of shoestring french fries.  Mari is a vegetarian and said the veggie burger was one of the best she has had.  The three of them had never been there before and all really enjoyed their meals. 

Tuesday we all headed out to brunch to a place I heard about in Ravenswood called Over Easy.  It was cute, tiny place with an awesome menu.  Seriously, everything sounded and loked delicious so we all had a hard time making a decision.  I ended up with the Acelga Picosa Omelet which included swiss chard, provolone cheese, jalapenos, onions with salsa rojo and sour cream on top.  
The portion was pretty big, but I was starving and it was wonderful.  I will definitely be going back there!

We decided we should probably walk around some after our big breakfast so we walked over to Lincoln Square.  We strolled Lincoln Ave and checked out all of the cute shops and stores.  It was another beautiful day which made it perfect for walking.  Later we just wanted a place to relax and stopped in at a Mexican restaurant (Garcia's) to sit and chat some more.  It was a simple thing, but we enjoy just hanging out and chatting about life together, so it was perfect for us.   Mari and Kristin enjoyed margarita's, which were quite tasty I had a sip or two.  We spent the rest of the day walking some more before getting an easy dinner at a local bar and grill.  

I had such a nice time spending time together with my friends for a couple of days.  We always have a good time together and this was no exception!

Are you still friends with people from high school or college?  What is one of your favorite things to do with friends who visit?