Archive for November 2011

29 November 2011

Moving to morning workouts

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: gym

There are two types of workout people: morning and evenings. And until recently, I thought the morning people were crazy. Get up early…voluntarily? To…work out? NO WAY.

I prefer to work out at night. I used that time to work off the days stress, clear my head and just relax. But working out at night takes a big commitment too. Home is very alluring when it’s cold outside, you work late, plans come up and suddenly it’s a week since you’ve been the gym. I found myself in that situation all too often and I started to fall behind.

And now that the holidays are coming up and things are busier, I just cannot go after work.

So, two weeks ago, I reset the alarm for 5:30 a.m. (OMG SO UNHOLY OF AN HOUR) and headed to the gym to work out before work.

The first day, it went really well. I was up, out of bed and out the door with a little spring in my step. Day two, yeah the reality set in. I was fussy and really wanted to go back to bed.  But I still made myself go. And turns out, working out in the morning isn’t so bad after all. I mean, it’s not puppies and rainbows, but it’s not awful.

To be honest, I’m not even really awake until that elliptical-induced endorphin kick sets in. Before then, I’m pretty much a zombie. But after? I’m all “good morning!!” and feeling good.

I’m going to try and keep doing morning workouts for now and see how it goes. Let’s just say, some days are better than others. But it’s better than not going at all.

Plus, it’s so dead there, I love the peace and quiet. But, the main downside is that I’m up at 5:30 a.m. and (for now) wanting to go to bed at 8 p.m. Still working on that adjustment, nothing’s perfect.

Are you a morning or evening workout person?

28 November 2011

Thanksgiving in one word

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Random


After this weekend, I have a whole new appreciation for preparing Thanksgiving dinner because it is no joke. For me, it was a bundle of nerves, anxiety and doubt, but in the end, it was a big accomplishment and sense of pride.

That’s right, my SIL and I both prepared our first-ever Thanksgiving meal. And I only have one cut and two burns to show for it (each hurt).

So let’s do a little recap with link love of what we made:

And everything turned out DELICIOUS. Being a perfectionist, I would make adjustments to the green bean casserole and soup recipes next year, but everyone assured me they were delicious as-is, so I can quiet my concerns.

The hardest part was the prep and rotating items in the oven, plus reheating the next day. This, plus exhaustion, lead to my battle wounds too. An oven rack burn on your arm at 325 degrees? OUCH.

The best part? Cooking everything with my SIL, working together with my brother to get the house ready, appetizers out and entertain our guests. The good china came out and everything! I have to say, we were a great team and I don’t think it would have been possible without them.

It looks like we’ll be doing this again next year too and I’m already buzzing with ideas of what to change and make.

Now, I’m ready for a nap and days of leftovers :) So let’s look at some pictures!

GD that is one sexy turkey

View of the table (including our beverage, Miller Lite)

My Thanksgiving feast

How was your holiday weekend?

24 November 2011

Being thankful

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Random

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Before I head back to the kitchen to finish preparing the first Thanksgiving my SIL and I are preparing, I wanted to put up a post about being thankful.

This year has been full of change, but I’m still thankful for so many things in my life. Now, I just need to be better about being thankful for them year-long, not just today. Working on that.

So, here is my 2011 list of things I’m thankful for:

  • Friends (old and new)
  • A good job
  • Ability to travel (and the balls to challenge myself to do it)
  • Fur nephew/brother/SIL
  • Ability to live in a good apartment in Chicago
  • iPhone (even though AT&T sucks)
  • Dishwasher
  • Leggings (which always get me through the holidays)
  • North Face jacket (which I’ve slept in twice and spilled a plethora of food on)
  • Cooking accessories (which have helped me immensely in the last 24 hours – love you skillet)
  • Not having to travel far for Thanksgiving
  • Being as awesome this year as I was last year (high self-esteem much?)

Yep, that’s part of the list for this year. Some are ridiculous and some are serious (as you can tell).

I will be back with a full report on our Thanksgiving meal, but I will say this, the house already smells amazing.

I hope you all have a wonderful, food-filled Thanksgiving. What are you thankful for?

21 November 2011

Scenes from New York

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Friends, travel

Happy Monday! And Happy Turkey Week!

Before I succumb to the craziness and cooking in a few days, I decided to get out of Chicago for a weekend and visit Arielle and Lacey in New York. I love New York (almost as much as Chicago) and being back, but this time in fall, was just what I needed.

Sure, there was a lot of walking, drinking and eating (A LOT) but the best part was catching up with good friends and laughing (a lot). That may sound cheesey, but it’s true.

So to best sum up my three days in NYC, here is a little photo sampling of my trip.

Yep, lots of eating and drinking. But everything was amazing and I was on vacation so…calories don’t count :)

How was your weekend? What’s your favorite thing to do on a weekend away?

16 November 2011

Type-A Thanksgiving

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Food

Last month, I posted that my SIL and I are making Thanksgiving dinner for the first time. Grandma loving has passed us the torch and when she did it, it felt like it was in the distant future.

Except now I’m saying, holy s*t it’s November and Thanksgiving is just a week away!!

I’m extremely excited about making the meal, but also, as an anal retentive, Type-A, hyper-organized, people pleaser (which could also be hashtaged, #reasonswhyimsingle), I am nervous.

So to ease my nerves, I’m channeling my PR/Type-A-ness and moving in to an organized, Project Manager role for this meal.

That included starting an email chain with my SIL to share recipes, menu options and timing.

She also mentioned creating an “oven schedule” to ensure everything we prioritize what needs to cook and be reheated. I nearly wept in joy when I read that. She gets me.

So here is our near final menu:

  • Turkey (going with pre-cooked this year)
  • Stuffing
  • Mashed potatoes and gravy
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Butternut squash soup
  • Fruit salad (break up all of the veggies)
  • Green bean casserole
  • Corn and wild rice salad
  • Dinner rolls
  • Cranberry chutney (still in negotiations)

After reading over this list again, I will not need to eat for a month.

Like I said, it’s near final so there may be a few changes still but I’m very happy with this. I’m also salivating over the thought of succulent turkey.

Now, I’m off to dig up more recipe options and start building that cooking spreadsheet. You know you work in PR when…

Do you plan ahead for big meals?