Small Pictures

I’ve been feeling a lot of negatively lately. It’s not all bad. But work stress has been creeping into other areas of my life. I come home with negativity. I don’t have the time (or energy or motivation) to workout as much, so I’m not giving myself a good healthy outlet to work out these aggressions.

And I don’t like it. I don’t like feeling this way, like I’m losing control over my own life. I don’t like that when I do workout, it’s so obvious that I’m losing strength and stamina. And I don’t like that I’m feeling all this stress, and for what?

But I know it’s all within my own control to fix it. I can maintain boundaries, prioritize what is important to me. This is my life and I’m the only one who can make it what I want to be.

I haven’t been blogging as much lately, but I’ve been at least trying to do my monthly check-in on my goals. And honestly, it’s an annoying post to write. I feel like the goals I set at the start of the year, while all nice and good, don’t reflect what’s important to me right now. But what is important to me?

I read a really great quote on Facebook a few weeks ago, and it really stuck with me. Maybe you’ve heard it.


Don’t worry, this is not quite an “OMG what am I doing with my life????” post. I’m not really fretting about the “Big Picture” of my life, but rather, the many smaller pictures that make up the big picture.

I don’t know that I’ve ever really been a Big Picture person. I’ve never had one singular goal in my life other than to be happy and feel like I’m doing some good. I think I’m struggling with that right now. I know what the source is, and there’s a pretty obvious way to fix it. And if I do, will that solve my problems? Well, no, nothing is that easy, but it’s a big step.

But the small pictures are important. What I do between 9-5. How I take care of myself. How I take care of the ones I love. How I express myself and who I am and share that with others. What truly gives me joy, or at least, enjoyment in that moment.

Do you love cold-weather training? #GetOutHere Nike Challenge

During the month of November, Nike is encouraging you to embrace the lovely weather and Get Out Here as part of their #GetOutHere Challenge. I was able to join them for a media workout this week, and YOU can join them for some awesome FREE workouts next week at Northerly Island.



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After a great workout with Betina

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Reserve your spot at

Nike is also on an extensive search to find the 48 most weather-defying athletes to compete in the Get Out Here Challenge with the ultimate outdoor training and running workouts held in Chicago during the week of December 8th. Selected athletes will also receive Nike swag specifically designed for cold weather.

For the challenge, Nike is looking for the best stories of athletes training outdoors in the elements. To have the opportunity to be included in the Get Out Here Challenge, athletes can create and submit their own outdoor training photos and videos on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram utilizing the hashtags #GetOutHere and #Contest.

The 48 athletes with the most cold weather-defying outdoor training stories will earn a trip to the Get Out Here Challenge with the main event taking place December 12th. Upon selection, athletes will be featured on Photos and videos can be submitted until November 25th, and this is open to athletes beyond just Chicago. Learn more.

Whether you enter the contest or not, you can join free weekly outdoor training sessions and group runs. Every Nike+ event is complimentary and registration opens each Sunday at 2pm at

Nike provided me with swag and free media workouts with no obligation to talk about anything, however I decided this challenge sounds pretty neat and shared it with you. 

What’s your craziest winter-weather workout story? I recall a few cold and snowy long runs on the Old Plank Road Trail with the F’N Runners, complete with single-digit temps and Kelly slipping on ice.

October Recap

October was a good and bad month.


Keep up with PT exercises. #Fail.

Weekly yoga. I made it to three classes. One 6am class, and twice with the Pilsen Yoga Tribe on Sunday mornings. (Which is still free, if anyone wants to join me and get juice or coffee or brunch [Hipster or Mexican] after.)


104 strength workouts. (2x per week.) I made it to Go Row, Sweat Chicago, CrossTown Fitness, and Barry’s Bootcamp in Boston. So, four classes … 1x per week.

Also, I still have ClassPass buddy passes if anyone wants to sweat with me.

1,000 miles. 11 total miles. 5 running, 6 cycling. So. There’s that. I don’t even think I’ve hit 300 miles yet this year. Oh well.

So what was I doing all month, if it wasn’t working out the usual amount? Well, work was crazy. A combo of preparing for our busy season and training on our new content management system, plus a lot of “everything is a priority.” I’m trying to keep more rigid boundaries. I also started taking a non-credit class at DePaul, and was doing a lot of burlesque stuff.

Art & Culture:

Perform again. I already hit this goal in May … BUT … I did it again in October! And it was a blast. And I’m planning to do a similar show in December.

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Photos by Eve Studnicka 

Read 18 books. I’m doing so terrible at this goal. I did see The Martian, which was the best book I’ve read this year. The movie was great, even if you haven’t read the book.

Attend at least one art-related thing per month. Other than performing myself, I didn’t attend anything else “arty.”


Stop talking myself out of doing things. There was a lot of stuff I canceled or skipped due to working late, which is always a bummer.

Volunteer. I volunteered at an aid station for the Chicago Marathon.

Decrease our debt. Yeah yeah yeah.

Other stuff that happened in October: 

My best friend’s wedding and a trip to the east coast:


I attended three clothing swaps


Sadly this year, I didn’t celebrate Halloween with any costumes, but I did celebrate a great couple in a gorgeous Rent the Runway dress. And there were still fake eyelashes involved. Besides, I got to dress up and have fun the previous weekend at my burlesque show.

Boston Bound

No, not that kind of Boston Bound. I spent the past weekend in New England celebrating Coach BFF Ultra Vera’s wedding.

It started on Wednesday, when we boarded a plane in Chicago, bound for Detroit. Unfortunately, there was a brief groundstop in Chicago due to weather, and we just missed our connection in Detriot. More unfortunately, even though it was only 4pm, Delta said they couldn’t get us on a flight that day, but could get us on a flight the following morning.

Rather than stay the night in Detroit, we made the wise decision to rent a car and drive, instead of hanging out in Detroit for 15 extra hours. That is an 800-mile drive. If we had our passports, we could have gone through Canda and saved 100 miles.

You might be thinking “that sounds like a dumb decision,” and well before we even made it to Cleveland (only 170 miles into the trip), that’s pretty much what we were thinking. But it was too late. We had to drive. We looked for a cheap hotel so that we could at least be well-rested and make the drive during daylight. (Which, at this point … yeah, staying a night in Detroit doesn’t look so bad.)

But, it was a lovely drive. We’ve always wanted to take a roadtrip through New England in the fall, and now we have.

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However, it’s hard to get a good picture from a moving car, and we didn’t have time to stop. Even though we came really close to Niagra Falls and Seneca Falls, home of the Women’s Rights National Historical Park and the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

Thankfully, we made it to Boston in time to head straight to Night Shift Brewing for the welcome party. Sadly, we missed out on a day of sight-seeing in Boston (or Marblehead and Salem, which was our loose plan).


Man of Honor, Bride, Maid of Honor

Friday morning started with a workout with the Bride at her favorite – Barry’s Bootcamp. Then I had to head to a UPS store to get my dress, then shower, check out of our hotel, and eat, which left my husband and I with not that much time for sightseeing since we had to be at the rehearsal, in Providence, RI, by 5:45pm.

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We spent a little bit of time in the Public Garden

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And stopped by Quincy, MA, to “look at the ocean.”

We were staying at an AirBnB in Providence which was quaint and on a very cute street near Brown University. I wish we had more time to explore.


Saturday (yes, Halloween) was the big day! Apparently it was raining in Chicago, but we had gorgeous weather on the east coast. The bride started her day at 6:45am with a fun run. I opted to skip it and get some extra sleep so I would be able to make it to the end of the day. She might be able to power through with love and adrenaline … me, not so much. My day started with make-up and then hair at 9:45am. By 2pm, everyone on the bride’s side of the wedding party was gussied up and ready to head to the Providence Public Library for photos, and then the ceremony and reception.

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The ceremony was beautiful and heart-felt. I held it together and came close to crying, but didn’t. Vera looked gorgeous!! The metallic theme for the bridesmaids’ dresses looked really awesome.

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The PPL was a beautiful site for a wedding. The pics I’ve seen so far from her photographer are great.

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Vera had a great time and it seems that the day (well, weekend) was everything she wanted! I wish I could have contributed more, but being almost a thousand miles away makes that hard.

Sunday morning was a brunch for wedding guests, and then we flew home. Thankfully, our flights were booked as two one-way trips, so missing part of our flight there had no impact on our flight home. And our flight home went smoothly, minus the fact that I discovered yesterday that I probably left my library book on the plane at Midway. Oopsie.

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And in case you were worried, Olive spent the weekend with my brother and sis-in-law, and their 2 cats, 2 dogs and the additional cat and dog they are fostering for a friend. She started getting comfortable (sort of) by the time I picked her up on Sunday night.

So, lessons learned:

  • Always book direct flights. They are usually worth any additional costs.
  • Don’t assume you can just up and drive for 12 hours on a whim.
  • Take the rescheduled flight.
  • New England in October is beautiful.
  • Rent the Runway is awesome.
  • Driving in New England cities is borderline terrifying. I was so thankful to return to Chicago and the grid system.

What’s the cure for a crappy mood?

First of all, thank you all for your comments, replies, emails, private messages, tweets, etc on my last post. I was not expecting that! But apparently, we’re all in this together and some of you are right there with me feeling the burn out or have gone through it. So thank you for reaching out! :)

I mentioned in my post that I had a burlesque performance coming up and was so stressed/frustrated that I wasn’t excited for it. And I wasn’t. Yesterday was another frustrating day at work and part of me just wanted to throw in the towel and skip the show. I would have, if I didn’t have some lines (jokes) in the skits during the show. If I was just in the group acts and it wouldn’t have made a difference if I was there, I may very well have just told them I was sick and curled up with a bottle of wine and my PJs.

But I didn’t. I mean, I probably would have gone through with the show anyway, I don’t like quitting, especially when I’ve made a commitment to others. So I left the office with work unfinished (I was still there until 5:30, there are only so many hours in a day), headed home and started heating up my hot rollers.


But first, let me take a … shot of rumpy. Because if you’re grumpy … have a rumpy. #Robbisms

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Rollers in, fishnets on, girls gotta eat. 


Rollers OUT

I got to the theater on time for our call (9:30) and was ushered upstairs to our “dressing room” (the theater’s office) and I joined the rest of the cast in final prep.

Do you know a group that can instantly put you in a better mood? Burlesquers.

There are so many things I love about burlesque – the sex positivity, the empowerment, and the dancing, make-up and costuming, being able to literally play dress up and pretend.

But I really love the burlesque community. Everyone is so friendly and open and honest and supportive and encouraging and FUN. I mean, you have to be most of those things to willingly get up on stage and take off your clothes and ENJOY IT. But we’re doing each other’s make-up, zipping up dresses, lending each other teddies or lipstick, offering up advice, confirming how sexy and gorgeous everyone else is. Seriously, it’s like a mini self affimration workshop.

So once I walked into the room with the rest of the cast, I forgot (mostly) about how crummy work has been lately. We have a show to put on, and it’ll be AWESOME!

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You loaned me a lace teddy for the second group act, so the least I could do is loan you my lipstick. 

AND THE SHOW WAS AWESOME! Despite the fact that we were performing on a stage that was almost half unusable because of the set for the play that is currently running on that stage. Or that we didn’t even get into the theater to run our numbers until 20-30 minutes after the show was supposed to start. Or that our final group act was with hand fans and we barely rehearsed with hand fans, or that some of us had to kneel in fake blood because one of the awesome solos included a small splattering of fake blood and immediately after we were doing “Light as a Feather, Stiff as a …”

But so many things went right, like everyone loved all of the dick jokes in our brief skits (GUYS I’M ACTUALLY FUNNY), and our final group number with the hand fans was FIERCE (as it should be, it was to a Beyonce song), and according to my guys, despite that it was a[n advanced] student show it did NOT feel like a student show but was actually one of the best burlesque shows they’ve ever seen.

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When Burlesque Zombies Attack 

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Crazy Sexy Ghosts

So, if you didn’t make last night’s show, you missed a good one. And my mood is at least improved temporarily. I know what I need to do to get out of this burnout, no one is going to fix it for me. But while I work on the big picture, this was a fun diversion.

XOXO Kitten Von Purr


Keeping It Real

I’m feeling burnt out. (Burned out? Whatever.)

I’ve maxed out my vacation time. I’ve never done that before. (Because at past jobs I could cash out unused vacation time, so I did that instead of taking all of it. Can’t cash it out here.) But basically, I don’t remember the last time I took a legitimate vacation. Other than long weekends with friends, the last time my husband and I got away together was for our 4th anniversary (we’ve been married for 8 1/2 years).

I’m heading back to Boston next weekend for my best friend’s wedding and I can’t really muster any excitement for it. And I need to. I’m the Best Woman.

I have a burlesque performance on Friday and I’m just like … oh yeah I have that … instead of feeling excitement.

I’m barely working out because I’m working late or if I do get up early, it’s to get to the office early.

Honestly, the only excitement I feel right now is the thought of starting a master’s program this winter, although I have no idea how to pay for it. Tuition benefits cap out pretty quickly. And I’m sure graduate school wouldn’t exaggerate my burn out, nope, not at all.

So. There’s that.

Introducing the #ClassPassAmbassador Program


It shouldn’t be news to anyone who has been on this blog over the past few months that I’m a big fan of ClassPass. Recently they announced their new ambassador program and introduced their ambassadors, and if you haven’t guessed already, I am proud to be one of them!


And good news for you (maybe?), they are looking for more ambassadors! If you’re a fan, hop over to their blog for more info and link to let them know why you’d make a great ambassador.


Sadly, it does not include free CP membership (not yet??? one can dream), but it does include a lot of other great perks, like $10 off for YOU if you sign up for ClassPass.


ANNNNDDDD … I can bring friends to try out a free class with me! I get a couple guest passes each month, and would love to show off my favorite studios to you! If you’re interested in joining me for a sweat session, drop me a line at mag@magmilerunner!