Friday, July 22, 2011

Another Blogger Meet Up & Fun Facts Friday

Another Blogger Meet Up
Thursday I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to meet Kathi from Kath Eats Vegan for lunch. We met at Argo Tea Cafe as it was a super convenient location for both of us, plus I knew they had good vegan dishes to choose from.

I went with the Garden Lentil Salad (again) and also a spinach and sundried tomato salad (not on their online menu). Kathi got the Chickpea Salad (which looked really good by the way).

I've not been following Kathi's blog for very long, so meeting her was a little different than meeting Sarah, but not in a bad way I should add. It was just a little bit different is all. Once again, the conversation just flowed so easily. It felt like catching up with an old friend, finding out what's going on in her life, getting more details and such (that probably sound like a horrible description of what I'm really wanting to say, just can't put it into words).

Kathi is a very energetic person, very open and fun to talk to. She's very passionate about food and running - so obviously we got along right away! I think we could have sat and talked the rest of the afternoon (or I could have anyway).

To my surprise, she brought me some homemade treats - a container of vegan cookies. Homemade cookies have never looks so good!! I feel so lucky to have had the chance to meet Kathi (and not just because she brought me cookies LOL).

And if you're wondering, I've had a sample of all three (cookies are my true weakness). Peanut Butter Cookies are probably my all time fave too. One word: YUM! Thanks so much Kathi!!

Last Chicago Dinner
Class today was so much better than the last two days. The instructor is really really great. We've been talking a great deal about memory and designing based on cognitive thinking. My minor in under-grad was actually developmental psychology, so I'm totally enjoying this particular class. The mind is just an amazing thing to me.

Too bad this instructor wasn't teaching the previous class. At least the last two days are going to be much more interesting though. That's probably better, ending on an up note.

After class, I got in a 5-mile treadmill run done in intervals. I ran 1 mile then did 4 1:00 minute intervals (run/jog), 1 mile, then 2 1:30 minute intervals, then 1 mile. I also did some abs when I got back up to the room before stretching and rolling out on my Triggerpoint kit.

I got cleaned up and we headed out for our last dinner in Chicago. I can't remember how I found this place, but I had marked on my map (and to-do list) The Handlebar. I thought Sarah had suggested it, but she hadn't. However, she had been there and gave it a thumbs up. In fact, the dish I had highlighted to try was her fave dish there.

We made our way over there. It looked like a happening spot as we had to wait for a table. The big problem...no A/C inside. It was hotter inside than outside. And after taking a train, then walking, that was not a good combo at all. It was bad enough that we didn't stay for dinner. And the fact that I was starved and about to snap, says a lot about how bad it was in regards to temperature inside.

At that point, we were clueless. We were getting really grumpy with each other and had no idea what other restaurants were in the area. We started to make our way back towards the train and ducked into a sports bar called 6 Corners Sports Bar. Oddly enough, they had vegetarian items on their menu.
Not sure what was going on with Jason's eyes here - tired, hungry, no more pictures look?

We started with the Veggie Burger Sliders. They were homemade and really quite good. I had their veggie wrap and asked them to add tofu. Jason had some skewers and tempura veggies.
 
 

Overall, not too shabby. I enjoyed my wrap. Jason really liked his skewers. The only bust was the veggies as they were terribly greasy. But, we were no longer ready to harm one another, we were smiling once again, so all was good. Not the meal planned for our last night in Chicago, but sometimes you gotta go with Plan B.

Fun Facts Friday - Don't Take for Granted
Since I've been away from home for so long, there are definitely things I'm missing. We all miss those creature comforts of home after a while. Of course we miss things like our own beds, pillows, showers and such. But now, after hotel living for 10 days, there are things I won't take for granted again.
  • Real glasses - wine out of plastic cups isn't very appealing
  • Real flatware (as in not plastic)
  • Table and chairs - had to sit on an end table and eat at a desk when eating in the room
  • DVR/DVD - option of watching what I want, when I want
  • Real dishes - we bought paper plates/bowls to use
  • My own soap - I have my brand preference
  • 2-ply toilet paper - why can't hotels provide better TP?
  • Washer/dryer - please slap me if I ever complain about having to do laundry again
  • Ceiling fan or box fan - air movement can be a good thing
  • My gym - not having access to a gym with classes for cross-training sucks when you've gotten used to that sort of thing (spoiled much?)
  • Driving - While public transportation is awesome (as ours sucks ass), being able to jump in your car and not be smashed into another sweaty person is really a special thing
  • Home cooked anything 
So, what are the things you've learned to not take for granted after traveling? 

Daily To-Enjoy List
  • Being back home!
  • My own bed
  • Driving my car