Five Things Friday

1. I made it to my first book club meeting last night! Finally! I’ve been stalking a few book clubs for a few months, but had yet to make it to a meeting because I either didn’t finish (or even start) the book, or something came up. But I read Ready Player One, which was really engrossing, and made it to the meeting.

2. I also got to enjoy some mini-spa services at mySpa at the Fairmont Chicago Hotel yesterday during happy hour. Champagne, mini-massage, hand treatment and polish change? Score! The spa isn’t just for hotel guests, Illinois residents get 20% off their services. I personally would like to check out the couples’ room – a giant soaking tub (we don’t have a tub at home, just a big shower) and side-by-side massages. Also, during my “hand treatment,” my esthetician told me all about the benefits of salt scrubs and using oil for cleansing and moisturizing (which I already do). It was interesting stuff worthy of it’s own post (and more research by me).

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Forgot to ask what color my polish was, but it’s Essie

3. Divvy added a new station literally next to my office. It was like Christmas when I walked to work on Monday morning and saw it for the first time. Now if only they could add one at the Roosevelt Collection.

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Recycled picture

4. I might try my hand at bedazzling this weekend because nothing says “I am serious about my art” like bejeweled undergarments, thigh-highs, gloves, shoes … everything. If I start tweeting weird things, it’ll be because I’m high on E6000.

5. Somebody special recently got engaged and I really hope this means I get to plan a bachelorette party this year!!! Which would also be like Christmas for me.

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That would be BFF Vera

What is a hipster?

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Hipster Ariel Forever  

One of the most commonly used and (to me) commonly confused words these days is “hipster.” What does it even mean? Because if I try to deduce a definition based on how it is used … it means lots of things:

  • This is ironic … but don’t ask me to define ironic
  • I can’t tell if this is cool or not cool
  • I can’t tell if this is serious or if it’s satire
  • This is so trendy it’s not trendy
  • This is so not trendy it’s trendy
  • This is actually trendy but I liked it before it was cool
  • This is actually trendy and therefore it’s not cool
  • This is something “kids” like, “kids” being anyone younger than me
  • My generation doesn’t get this
  • My generation didn’t do this
  • My generation didn’t have this
  • This does not appeal to me
  • I don’t understand it
  • This person thinks they are better than me

So, yeah, everything and everyone is a hipster, OK? Now, can we stop using that word? Can we just like what we like and do what we enjoy and live where we want to live without worrying that we’re doing something for the wrong reasons or that we’re unoriginal or too original or that no one will appreciate it or that too many people will appreciate it or that we’ll miss the boat and by that I mean getting on the boat at the same time that everyone else does? Because that sounds like a really fun party boat.

ThermXRoller Review and #Giveaway

I’ve been a big fan of foam rolling for years. Going back to 2010, when IT band pain forced me to walk the majority of the Hot Chocolate 15K. Ever since then, I’ve tried to roll out my IT band somewhat regularly. And when Emo Knee … well, became Emo Knee, I’ve started to embrace loosening other muscles besides just my IT band. After some sports massages, and later a gait analysis, I’m really into loosening my hips.

I’ve had my own little foam roller for awhile, but recently, I was able to try out the ThermXRoller.

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At first, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. I tried to just use it like my other foam roller. However, given the X-shape with the cover over it, it doesn’t roll quite like a traditional foam roller. But with the removable cover, you can freeze it or heat it up in the microwave for added benefits.

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However, I’ve come to find that the shape is a good thing! Given my tight hips, and my desire to loosen them for the sake of my knee, I like stuff that I can just lay on and target specific areas of tight muscle. Tennis balls have been my tool of choice … until now.

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Why do we have a dolly in our apartment? 

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These pictures are a reminder that I still want to do something about our recycle & garbage bins so they’re not just sitting there all ugly and noticeable. 

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UMF. THAT’S THE SPOT. Time to breakdance. 

When I try this kind of move on the regular foam roller, it can be hard to hold it in one spot, since it’s wants to roll and all, and I can’t really hang out, working into my hip. Same wtih a tennis ball. However, on the ThermXRoller, given it’s shape … it’ll hang out. And it’s all nice and warm. And if you want to work something other than your hip, ThermX has videos to show you how!

And you can check it out for yourself! ThermX has generously offered to send two Mag Mile Runner readers their own Therm X Roller! Click the link below to open the Rafflecopter and enter by April 28th!

Enter via Rafflecopter!

Linking up with Erica Finds and  Running with SD Mom

Eight Years

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Recently I read (on the internet, so it must be true) that couples who divorce were married for an average of eight years. Today is my husband’s and my 8th wedding anniversary.

And in the interest of keeping it real …. we almost separated this year.

But in the vein of “what doesn’t kill you makes your stronger,” I think that was a good thing. Because it brought up some things I think we were scared to admit. To each other and/or to ourselves. But hey, at this point, what else do we have to lose?

Finding the courage in those moments to be brutally honest ended up saving the relationship. Because love is wonderful, and love is necessary, but sometimes, love isn’t enough. Sometimes you realize your needs aren’t being met. Maybe they were needs you weren’t really conscious of. Maybe they are needs that you are still grappling with yourself.

But reaching this point of “I’m done” seemed to shake things loose. And once that happened, we could just walk away … or figure out if it was worth putting the pieces back together. And more importantly, how to put them back together. Because they can’t go back the same way.

Whenever we look at our wedding pictures, and see those crazy kids (KIDS! We were totally kids … 24 and 26), we joke that they don’t know what the heck they were getting themselves into. And our 30-something selves like to joke that we’re doing Marriage 2.0. This certainly wasn’t how we imagined marriage on April 21, 2007, however, for our 2015 selves, this works.

The difficulty is growing with someone you pick at a certain point [in your life]. That’s the built-in problem with long-term relationships: You get to a certain point and try to hold on to that, instead of seeing [the relationship] as an organism that’s moving and needs to be fed and re-examined. You try to maintain the status quo, and that doesn’t work.

Susan Saradon in THE WEEK, October 31, 2014, page 10

If we all continue to grow and evolve as individuals, our relationships have to as well. There will be growing pains. Nothing good comes easy. You can either grow together or grow apart. Sometimes it felt like we were growing apart. We still have more growing to do, so maybe someday we will grow apart, I’m not naive enough to think this is the end of any bumps in our relationship. And if someday we do decide that we’re better off not together, that’s OK. I hope we will have the maturity and self love to know when to walk away from something that can no longer work.

But for now, we both still love who the other person has become, and the potential we see in each other. And this works. Maybe not for everyone, but it works for us.

So here we are. Cheers.

vintage illinois wine fest

What’s in your TV queue?

Maybe I’m a luddite, but it wasn’t until last year that I programmed anything to automatically record a show. I never owned a TiVo. I never paid for whatever the feature it was of Comcast that would automatically record shows (or maybe I did and didn’t know how to use it?)

Last year we moved into a [rented] condo, and DirectTV was included with the place. (Sidebar: This is not a sponsored post.) One feature is the ability to automatically record shows. (Hello, 2004!)

So! What shows do you have in your queue?? I need some ideas. Although Mad Men is still on Netflix (and I have most of the series on DVDs … but putting on a DVD is more work than Netflix and OMG we’re so lazy aren’t we? Remember what it was like to program a VCR??)

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Season One Peggy. Does not last.   

Anywho, it’s 2015 now. And this is what I have in my queue, sort of in order of priority:

  • Mad Men (HOW WILL IT END???)
  • Project Runway (when is the next season????)
  • Broad City ( <3 <3 <3 COME BACK PLZ)
  • Younger (surprisingly entertaining!)
  • Check, Please! (just makes me feel poor and hungry)
  • Mexico, One Plate at a Time (I love Ricky B., OK?)
  • Jeopardy (sometimes I yell on the rare occasion I know something they don’t)
  • America’s Test Kitchen (I like to pretend)
  • Archer (for my husband, although I do kind of like it)
  • New Girl (queued but so behind)
  • Mindy Project (ditto)

What else should I be pretending to keep up with? (I don’t have any premium channels.)

Bachelorette Party Ideas

So, here’s a fun fact about me, I love bachelorette parties. I don’t really care what we’re doing, it’s an excuse to be goofy, and I always have a lot of fun.

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Even if it’s not actually a “bachelorette” party

As such, I love brainstorming bachelorette party ideas! If I had more time and motivation, I might start a side business as a bachelorette party planner, but only if I could require that I always be invited to the party, haha.

Anyway, here are some ideas for a rockin’ bachelorette party.

Step one – Figure out what your guest of honor will enjoy. Some women (HI!) love the typically raunchy bachelorette party. Some women are all “no male [junk], in the flesh, implied or represented.” I don’t understand these women, but I respect their wishes.

For the raunchy women, you can get a stripper at home, but I prefer going out. Before it closed, Castle (formerly Excalibur) would do a “Girls Night Out” that catered to bachelorette parties, complete with very Adonis-like exotic dancers. This is what we did for my bachelorette party and I’m glad the majority of us did not have smartphones in 2007. In the absence of that nightclub, check out boylesque at The Naughty Little Cabaret.

Another idea – Bottle & Bottega offers the option of painting a nude male model, also check out Dr. Sketchy’s to see if they have any dudes on the schedule. (B&B also does ladies-only classes with nude male models if anyone is interested in checking that out with me without it being a bachelorette party.)

Wangs not your thang? (Ba dum bum.) What about lovely ladies? There are lots of burlesque shows all over Chicago (and other major cities) that you can choose from! Vaudezilla does a weekly show at Stage 773, The Chicago Starlets can be found at Wiggle Room and the occasional larger-scale production, the Kiss Kiss Cabaret and other groups perform at the Uptown Underground.

Or, look for a Turkish, Middle Eastern or other restaurant that has live belly dancing, such Alhambra Palace.

[Edited to add] For a different kind of lovely lady, drag shows are also a fun option! The Baton Club is popular in Chicago, but I’ve had more fun at The Kit Kat Lounge.

Want to be more hands on? How about taking a burlesque class! Vaudezilla and Studio L’amour both offer private group classes at their studios, or, if you’re in the far south suburbs, you could hire me to teach a private group burlesque class at Room to Move Studio. There are also options out there for pole dancing, or for a less risqué option, belly dance classes.

Bachelorette-Burlesque-Class

Another idea that allows for creativity (and a fun memento) is pin up pictures! You can either go to a studio, hire a photographer to shoot in a private location (such as someone’s home, a local dance studio, or book a hotel room), or ask a trusted photog friend to do it for you at someone’s home. Then get out all your sexy underthings and practice smizing. I recommend taking a group shot at the end, which we failed to do for this party:

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Guess that tushie (spoiler: not mine). Photos by Teresa

Or, speaking of hands on, your bachelorette party can include a toy party.  If you’re in Chicago, check out Early 2 Bed for in-home parties. In some cases, you can even apply the host credits to benefit your guest of honor so she can get something at a discounted price or free.

Not interested in a sexy bachelorette party? That’s OK, we can still be friends. How about a wine tour? If you want to make it an overnight or weekend trip, check out the Vino Bus via Fruitful Wine Tours for a winery tour in southwest Michigan.  We did this for my cousin’s now-wife because she “didn’t want a stripper.” (And then she got drunk and started asking our Vino Bus driver to be our stripper … he coincidentally did look a lot like her fiance / my cousin.)

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Other ideas:

  • Spa day
  • BYOB painting party (non-nude version)
  • Brewery tour
  • Wine tasting (a single winery)
  • Sporting event
  • Whirleyball or Paintball
  • Concert
  • Other live music (like a blues/jazz club)
  • Karaoke, especially at a place where you get a private room
  • Comedy/improv show
  • Cocktail-making class
  • Dancing (if you’re my age (30s), check out Beauty Bar)
  • Vegas (my friends and I never went that route)

What have you done at a bachelorette party that you really enjoyed? Or really didn’t enjoy? If you’ve had one, what did you do for your bachelorette party?

6th Annual Strike Out ALS 5K #Giveaway

The sixth annual Strike Out ALS 5K at US Cellular field is happening Tuesday, July 14th at 6:30pm. And YOU could win a free entry!

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Race highlights:

  • The course includes a complete lap around the warning track of U.S. Cellular Field
  • Post-Race Party at ChiSox Bar and Grill, with food and beverage discounts for runners and spectators
  • Entertainment at every mile
  • WXRT’s Lin Brehmer will emcee the event
  • NEW this year – it’s a CARA-certified race!

Want a shot at winning a free entry?
Enter via the Rafflecopter link below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Linking up with Erica Finds and  Running with SD Mom