Finally home

By , February 8, 2016 6:40 am

After months of waiting, we’re finally in our home!


There’s not this much snow on it now, but I just love how it looks with all the snow!



Entry gate to our home

It’s a loooooong story of how we ended up with our new home, and what we went through to buy it. I won’t tell it all today (that will come later!) but I do have to share some parts of the story (yes, there really is more than this long post)!


Steven and I had wanted to sell our townhome and move for a few years. We wanted privacy and more space (land, not necessarily house space) We also wanted peace and quiet – we had years of discourteous, disrespectful townhome neighbors. We decided last summer was the summer to do something about it. Finally.

Steven searched Zillow for houses with land and privacy. We’d drive around and look at them. There was only one house we were excited enough to consider asking an agent to show us around inside.

But we decided before we went and saw it, we should probably meet with an agent and see how realistic it was to sell our house – because we needed to sell to be able to buy. In August, we met with an agent who had recently sold a townhome in our neighborhood. After discussing our house, he asked if we were looking to buy, and we told him yes, and started describing what we wanted, and he said “I have a house just like that!” And lo and behold, it was the house we wanted to see! Wow! (That was a sign, right?! Ha.)

We toured the house in August and I fell in love with it and could immediately imagine myself living there. I stared thinking about it a lot. I talked about it a lot to my friends and family. I definitely became too attached. I drew the house in AutoCAD and sketched some renovation ideas Steven and I had. We even had an inspection done (since it was a foreclosure and had been sitting vacant for awhile). But I realized I was becoming too emotionally connected, with no chance to buy since our house wasn’t even on the market. So I stopped thinking about it (however, Steven kept thinking about it since he was there for the inspection and became much more attached to it then).


The back of the house in August. The top left windows are the master bedroom, and the bottom right ones are the room we’re using as a dining room. The little window is the kitchen. 


The windows on the left are the dining room, and the rest are the living room. 

We got serious about selling our townhome in the fall. We packed up a lot of stuff and put it in storage, staged the house, and listed it in early November. We thought the house wouldn’t sell, and we’d have to relist it in the spring. It sold in two days! Wow! But that meant we had to get out and had no place to go.

We drove around and looked at other properties in November. Amazingly, the house we looked at in August was still on the market! We weren’t sure about it though, because there were a few issues – it required construction work (we’d have to get a special loan for that), the price needed to come down because of the amount of work required, it only had 1.5 bathrooms, it didn’t have internet/cable access because of its remote location, the taxes were (ARE) really high, there were a lot more inspections to be done (well and septic…), and so on…

But we looked at a ton of other houses and none of them were for us. That house was the only one we both loved.

So we went back to the original house. And made it work. We negotiated with the bank, found a general contractor, did a lot of other inspections and research, got the special construction loan, and worked hard on keeping things moving forward…

And here we are!


The living room

It hasn’t sunken in yet – that I am living in the home I fell in love with instantly upon seeing, and even more upon stepping foot in. I feel so lucky. When I woke up there Sunday I thought “this is really my home!”


North side of the master bedroom


South side of the master bedroom


And Data is doing well! We brought him over to the house early Saturday morning. He got to explore before the movers arrived and after they left. Data loves the windows. The ceiling fans still freak him the eff out. Sigh. And there’s a visitor he doesn’t care for that I’ll tell you about later (it’s NOT my parents, ha!).


I’m happy we brought Data in the early morning instead of late last night like the last move – this way he was tired and ready for bed (rather than running around like a nut all night). Sunday morning was the first day in weeks that he didn’t wake me up early to feed him – he needed his sleep!


My parents were a HUGE help this weekend! It was so nice to have an extra pair of hands and for Steven and I to divide tasks and do things with one of them. Bobbi came over and helped clean and unpack, too! I LOVE that she is only a ten minute drive away. Love, love, loooooooooooove!

The house is still in unpacking mode, hence the mostly empty pictures! We’re getting there though! A lot is unpacked and the appliances arrive today, yay! Expect many photos in the weeks to come!


Here’s the kitchen before moving in – it already looks a lot different – we removed a few cabinets and the weird wooden panels.


The other side of the kitchen – the dining room.


The room we’ll use as the office (outside of the kitchen)


Another view of the living room. And there is a garage, big basement, guest bedroom and 1.5 baths. But we can look at those another day!

Training Week 329

By , February 7, 2016 7:06 pm

Highlight of the Week: Going on a run from our new house with my dad!


Monday | February 1, 2016: 10 m run + teaching strength class
Loc: hood, Temp: 42°/36°, Time: 1:25:14, Pace: 8:31 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: mostly good – mad stomach from junk eating
Strength: two dumbbells, core and cardio, Difficulty: medium, Felt: tired and low on energy

Tuesday | February 2, 2016: 13 m ride (w/Tina)
Indoor Ride Time: 50:18, Pace: 15.5 mph avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: crummy – headache
Wednesday | February 3, 2016: 8 m run 
Loc: Gages Lake/Gurnee, Temp: 34°/34°, Time: 1:11:32, Pace: 8:56 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Thursday | February 4, 2016: 18.5 m run (incl. 6 hill repeats) + 20 mins strength
Loc: hood to Heather Ridge, Temp: 23°/23°, Time: 2:51:01, Pace:9:15 avg, Difficulty: harder with each repeat, Felt: decent
Friday | February 5, 2016: teaching strength class + 7 m ride + 3.5 m run
Strength:two dumbbells, core and cardio, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good, energetic
Indoor Ride Time: 29:15, Pace: 14.4 mph, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Loc: hood, Temp: 27°/28°, Time: 29:47, Pace: 8:31 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good

Saturday | February 6, 2016: rest (moving!)
Sunday | February 7, 2016: 6.5 m run (incl. 8×400, w/Dad on bike)
Loc: hood, Temp: 39°/39°, Time: 57:36, Pace: 8:52 avg, Difficulty: medium/hard, Felt: held back by the wind


  • Gah, I totally overdid it on Monday, without realizing it until it was too late. I’ve often run longer distances before teaching class and it’s been no big deal. But I’ve figured out why this class is so hard – the core work has cardio bursts with it that really jacks your heart rate up. So that, coupled with a ten mile run before class did me in! Oops!
  • 5K course PR training this week:
    • I was crunched for time so I did my 6 1-mile hill repeats as part of my long run.  That was tough! I think I’ll focus on shorter (in distance, not elevation) hills for the rest of the month.
    • Speedwork for the week was 8×400. The first and last one were in to 20+ mph winds, so… yeah, that was fun. Ha!
  • This week was a bit loco with the move, but I am happy with what I fit in! And always very grateful that Steven is supportive of me taking the time to work out (cause it keeps me sane!).

Link to Training Week 328

Let’s do this!

By , February 6, 2016 6:40 am

I’m exhausted and we haven’t even started moving things in to the new house! Ahh!

But the good news is:

  • I slept REALLY well last night. Best sleep in a long time.
  • My parents are here helping (and lots of friends have offered to help!).
  • We hired movers and they’ll be here soon!
  • Bobbi and her daughter helped clean the new house last night.
  • And we won’t have to move again for a very, very, long time. Yay!

Here we go!


Hace un año

By , February 5, 2016 6:26 am

A year ago today, we were arriving in Mexico, for a week of sun and relaxation!


I feel so grateful we were able to take that trip, and especially, that we got to do it with our “otra familia”- Gina, Steve, and Luca!


I know quite a few people who’ve taken vacations to Mexico or the Caribbean this winter, and I feel so happy for them! I love seeing their photos on Facebook! It’s cheesy, but I feel like I can take in some of their joy when they share it.

One of my friends came back from Cancún in January and I asked him why he didn’t share any photos of it on Facebook, to which he replied that it’s not really his thing. I thought about it, then felt like an ass for asking in the first place. I knew that about him, and duh, when I went to Mexico, I hardly told anyone I was going, and definitely didn’t share any photos on Facebook (instead I recapped it for WEEKS, here, ha!) – I didn’t want to make it super obvious I was out of town!

So, while I do like seeing those photos on social media I TOTALLY get when people don’t want to share. To each their social media own.

I am excited we get to take another “big” trip this year – to Alaska! Then after that, I bet our trips will stay in the continental 48 for a bit… and probably mostly be to see family and friends. Ha!

Random Thoughts Thursday 85

By , February 4, 2016 6:04 am
  • We actually have a close date – tomorrow! FINALLY! We have movers set up for Saturday! THIS SHIZ IS GETTING REAL, YO!


Why yes, this creepy room is in our basement!

  • Work has been nuts for a few months, but it’s reassuring to know that I can always let my boss know when I’m overwhelmed – and that she’ll get it and help me out. She’s been so understanding about the house and health stuff. I hope she’s my boss for as long as possible (people move around a lot at my office).
  • I haven’t run with anyone yet this year! But I have cycled six times with Steven and twice with Tina (and once with class). I think the run stat will change soon – my parents are visiting this weekend to help with the move, and it should be warm enough for my dad to cycle with me while I run. Yay! (Other than that though… I really enjoy my solo runs.)
  • Since I know you guys are super interested in my first no chip manicure (ha), I have to report it is no more. By Sunday five of the nails had peeled off, so I picked the rest off (which you are NOT supposed to do!!!). So it lasted two weeks and a few days. Even though it didn’t last a long time, I would think about getting it again, because it was nice not to have to worry about my nails chipping (just peeling off).
  • Do any other iPhone users have issues receiving texts from Android phones? Every few days I won’t receive an Android text, and I’ll know because a group convo won’t make sense, and because the messages show up a day later. Restarting my phone helps, so I need to remember to do that each day. But… wtf. It’s annoying.
  • Did you guys hear about that college that requires all the students to wear a Fitbit (article here, pdf here)? The students that go there have always been required to track their exercise via a point system each week, and now the mandatory Fitbit makes it easier to track. Interesting!

Link to Random Thoughts Thursday 84

No More Ms. Yo Yo

By , February 3, 2016 9:40 pm

Please, please, let this stick. 

I’ve lost a decent amount of weight since the fall, and kept it off for a few months. I feel great.

And I want to keep feeling this way.

But I don’t know how.

I’ve yo-yoed in my weight for years. Not from following fad diets – just from going on and off with binge eating.

I’ll be eating well, with daily indulgences and no restrictions, but being careful with seconds and too much snacking then I just… stop… caring… and start binge eating again. I exercise the same amount, but you can’t run your way out of a poor diet. And the weight comes back.

I can’t pinpoint what makes me stop caring to anything.

It’s so frustrating.

I’m determined for that not to happen this time. I am sick of being Ms. Yo Yo.

I know it’s going to be hard. I think it will come down to getting out of the moment and seeing the big picture – which, of course, is something I am not so good at in most facets of life. But I need to get better about making decisions for the future and not necessarily for the moment. And not making such rash decisions. I’ll get there.


Notes like this in my office are my attempt to remember what’s ahead!

The one that made the cut

By , February 2, 2016 6:34 am

Do you guys still have nightmares about school? Missing tests and forgetting to study and all that?

I still have them, but my school nightmares are a bit different – I’ve forgotten or simply put off doing an architecture project until right before it’s due, which is ridiculous, because they took me weeks of preparation.

It’s amazing the panic these dreams still make me feel. And I’m so grateful when I wake up and realize I’m not in school and don’t have to do all that anymore. Now I do a completely different set of things I don’t feel like doing, ha! (But have great work/life balance, the majority of the time, so it’s fine.)

Throughout the years, I’ve slowly gotten rid of my architecture models from school, until the move to the rental house, when I got rid of all but one.


Bye bye models!

The one I saved

I wonder if this one will make the final move?

I <3 this vest

By , February 2, 2016 6:16 am

My mom gave me this Gap vest sometime in fall of 2011. She probably gave it to me because it’s orange (my fave color). Ha.


I wore shorts for my run yesterday – on February 1, in Illinois! Crazy!

I remember when she gave it to me, I had NO idea what I’d use it for. What did the Gap intend people use it for? Hunting? Was it supposed to be stylish? Ha! I don’t think it’s intended to be fitness gear.

But that is what I use it for and I use it ALL THE TIME. Seriously, this thing is constantly in the wash, or hanging on the side of my laundry basket so it will be mostly dry when I use it the next day, heh.

The vest is great for keeping my core dry when running in the rain. Or keeping my core warm when it’s windy. Or keeping me the right temperature in the winter when it’s too warm for a jacket but too cold for only one layer. The two pockets are huge and can hold a ton – my phone, keys, chapstick, gels, arm warmers, a face mask, gloves…

Yeah, I love this vest.

And I’d like another (since I use this one so often). But all the ones I see for fitness are fleece or heavier. I want something nice and thin like this, that’s wind and water resistant. Let me know if you ever run across something like that! (And yes, I DO like obnoxious colors – visibility is good!)

Things I’m excited about in February!

By , February 1, 2016 6:23 am
  1. Moving (at some point)!
  2. Taking a few days off work to settle in at the new house (and finally showing it to you guys!!!). The long Presidents’ Day weekend.
  3. Seeing my parents… when they come to help with the move… I hope?! Ha!
  4. Seeing Star Wars: The Force Awakens again (haven’t seen it since December 31st!!!).151231starwars
  5. Spending time with friends.
  6. Watching the Olympic Marathon Trials on February 13th.
  7. Valentine’s Day boxing class! I’ve been working on a fun playlist. (And really, I am excited for all my classes.)
  8. Setting up our home gym at the new house!
  9. An already scheduled pre-race massage, and151221massage
  10. My first race of the year!
  11. Documenting house projects/doing projects with Steven! I’ll explain more after we close, but we got a special type of loan that includes money for home improvements that will begin shortly after we move in! And there are MANY projects that Steven and I will do together (now, and over the years!).
  12. And… seeing what the month brings!

What are you excited about in February?

Training Week 328

By , January 31, 2016 3:28 pm

Highlight of the Week: Having fun running hills / a fantastic long run / teaching fitness boxing.


Monday | January 25, 2016: 8 m run + teaching strength class
Loc: Gages Lake/Gurnee, Temp: 28°/28°, Time: 1:12:48, Pace: 9:06 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good, but sleepy
Strength: two dumbbells and cardio, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good

Tuesday | January 26, 2016: 14 m ride
Indoor Ride Time: 58:43, Pace: 14.3 mph avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: too hot
Wednesday | January 27, 2016: 11 m run (incl. 5 hill repeats) + 15 mins strength
Loc: Heather Ridge, Temp: 24°/22°, Time:1:37:18, Pace: 8:51 avg, Difficulty: easy then harder, Felt: good
Thursday | January 28, 2016: 6.3 m run (incl. 4×800, 6×1:00)
Loc: Gages Lake, Temp: 37°/38°, Time: 53:01, Pace: 8:25 avg, Difficulty: medium/hard, Felt: held back by the wind
Friday | January 29, 2016: teaching strength class + 5.3 m run
Strength: Two dummbells and core, Difficulty: easy/medium, Felt: good, like we were working hard
Loc: Gages Lake, Temp: 27°/27°, Time: 46:14, Pace: 8:43, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good, but too full!

Saturday | January 30, 2016: 6.3 m ride (w/Steven) + 15.6 m run
Indoor Ride Time: 25:14, Pace: 15.0 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Loc: Around Grayslake, Temp: 43°/41°, Time: 2:15:42, Pace: 8:42 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: fantastic!

Sunday | January 31, 2016: 3.8 m run + teaching fitness boxing
Loc: hood, Temp: 36°/34°, Time: 32:05, Pace: 8:27 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Strength: boxing and body weight movements, Difficulty: easy, Felt: great


  • My class was hyper and chatty Monday night and it pumped me up! Sometimes people are having a Monday (understandable!), so it was nice to see everyone in a good mood!
  • 5K course PR training this week:
    • Wednesday: 5 1-mile hill repeats
    • Thursday: 4×800, 6×1:00. GAH, all but the last 800 were in to the wind. Good training in case the race is windy (it often is).


  • To take the photo from Friday’s run I walked up a hill that I thought was covered in snow, but the freeze/thaw cycle had turned it into a sheet of ice! I took one step down when I got to the top and fell right on my butt. Ha! My leg got the brunt of it (scratched in the photo below) but it was fine the next day. And I don’t regret taking the photo – the reflection of the sun was so cool off the snow/ice!


  • My long run this weekend was randomly fast for  me – it was a bit under marathon pace! I had to wait to cross several streets, and stopped to get water twice, so it’s not exactly a true test of pace (since the overall time was higher than moving time) but, it is encouraging! I was planning on going after my half marathon PR sometime this spring, so I seem to be on track for that!
  • Teaching fitness boxing really pumps me up (broken record)! I am happy I was able to teach a class this weekend (since we weren’t moving like we thought we’d be… maybe next week?!).
  • Monthly recap time! The first month of the year was stellar! In January I ran 230 miles and cycled 98 miles. I taught 8 strength classes, 4 fitness boxing classes, and 1 indoor cycling class. I rode my bike 10 times outside of class, and also did 6 strength sessions at home. My coldest outdoor run was -1°F and my warmest was 43°F.

Link to Training Week 327

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