Monthly Archives: April 2016

The Best View in Chicago

Fluoxetine and abilify

I’ve lived and/or worked in Chicago for almost 8 years and yet, in all that time, I’d yet to take advantage of what some call the best view in Chicago: the observation deck of the Hancock Building.

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I can see my office from here!

Recently revamped as 360 Chicago, the observation deck is starting to host a ton of great events to get more than tourists to come check it out. In fact, if your zip code starts with 606, you can get tickets to the deck for only $10 until the end of the year!

Plus, they have a bar and a small cafe up there, not to mention Tilt!

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Yeah, this mechanism actually tilts you out over the roof of Water Tower mall from over 1,000 feet high! Trust me, it’s not as scary as it seems. Especially once you’ve had a little wine.

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Jacket – Forever 21 (similar) | Dress – Neiman Marcus Outlet (similar) | Shoes – Kate Spade c/o Shopbop (similar) | Necklace – The Limited (similar)

Oh, they also have an awesome sunset series where they have special events starting at 6:00 PM on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. On Monday nights you can bring your tripod to take photos, something that’s strictly forbidden the rest of the time.

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On Tuesdays they have Chicago Architecture Foundation docents talking about the buildings you can see in all directions.

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All I can tell you is that there’s the beach where I trained for my triathlon last summer

And on Thursdays they have DJs and drink specials. In fact, in May they’re serving a drink called The Yellow Ribbon where part of the proceeds go to ChicagoVets.org.

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You can also view the Wednesday and Saturday Navy Pier fireworks, the Air and Water Show, and much more! I had no idea, which is why I was happy to attend their media preview event. Jason is already planning to go back for a Tripod Monday night and I am pretty sure I’ll go with. Because for $10, why not? And the view will be a little different every time thanks to Chicago’s weather, I’m sure.

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End of an Era

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I got some sad news via email today. The Le Tote ambassador program is being discontinued! As an ambassador I got some nice perks just for doing what I was already doing: telling you how much I love Le Tote. I’ll still keep using Le Tote but I’ll have to rely on people using my referral link.

Anyway, speaking of Le Tote, today’s outfit features a striped blazer I got in my last Tote.

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Blazer – Le Tote (same) |  Camisole – The Limited (similar) | Jeans – American Eagle Outfitters (similar) | Shoes – J. Crew Factory (similar

I really wanted to like this blazer. It’s cotton-y and comfy and I would like a striped blazer to replace a navy and white one I consigned awhile ago. However, for some reason I just wasn’t feeling this one.

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But, again, that’s what I love about Le Tote. I got to wear this all day and then make my decision about whether or not to keep it. And, if I decide later that I want to try it again, I can do that.

So, even though I will no longer be an official Le Tote ambassador, I’m still going to use them and share about them here on the blog. And that’s how you know that something is good, right? I get no perks for telling you about it but I do anyway.

SIA: Tiffany Glass at the Library

Style Imitating Art

Welcome to my second time hosting the Style Imitating Art series! If you need a refresher, this is when either myself, Jen or Salazar pick a piece of art, share it, and encourage YOU to come up with an outfit that is inspired by that piece of art.

One of our regular participants, Mike, emailed me last week to point out that this week is National Library Week. Since several of us who participate regularly are either librarians or have library degrees he thought it would be fitting if I chose some art relevant to  libraries.

I agreed and this is what I chose.

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Source

What does this have to do with libraries?

The building currently known as the Chicago Cultural Center opened in 1897 as the first Chicago Public Library. In the room now known as the Preston Bradley Hall people picked up the books they had requested underneath what is still the world’s largest Tiffany glass dome.

If you do a Google image search for this dome you’ll also see that due to the way it’s constructed it actually appears to change color throughout the day, sometimes seeming more blue and sometimes more green and other times, like in this photo, multicolored.

The dome also has the signs of the zodiac inlaid in the center, which is a neat touch, I think.

So, there are lots of ways you could go with this art when it comes to creating an outfit since there are so many colors and patterns and details. I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone comes up with.

Remember, to participate all you have to do is send a photo of your outfit to looplooks@gmail.com by 7PM Central Time on Monday, April 18th and you’ll be included in the round-up on Tuesday, April 19th. Flat lays, mirror selfies, top-down selfies are all welcome, too!

Oh, and here’s something else: in keeping with the Chicago and library themes, the American Library Association, which sponsors National Library Week, is headquartered in Chicago. Just another fun little connection.

 

 

Five Small Goals [April]

About Me

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In case you need a refresher, in February I decided that each month I was going to come up with five small goals for the month instead of big goals for the year. So far it seems to be working for me!

How did I do with my goals from last month?

March Goals

1. Try a new recipe – Yep! I tried several, actually. Of all of them, though, I think the keeper is this Herbed Roasted Chicken Thighs with Potatoes. I modified it a bit by using boneless, skinless thighs, adding minced garlic to the vinaigrette, and baking the potatoes for about 20 minutes before adding the chicken. Still, it was amazing and I would highly recommend it!

2. Not over schedule myself – Based on my list of things I did in March you’d probably think I failed at this one. But, I don’t think I did. I had a lot of weekends at home, lots of evenings re-watching the West Wing with my husband, and several dog park visits with the pup. So, personally, I think I did pretty well here.

3. Set some personal training study goals – If anything, this is the one I struggled with. The book is 24 chapters long and once I got it and cracked it open I decided I was going to study one chapter a week. Yeah…I’ve barely made it through the second chapter. It’s a lot more biology, chemistry and physics than I was expecting! Trust me, there will be an April goal for this one.

4. Read at least one book – I actually struggled a bit with this one, too! Due to having to upgrade the software on my Kindle I actually lost most of the ebooks I had checked out from the library. The only hardcopy book I had was Luke Skywalker Can’t Read and Other Geeky Truths by Ryan Britt. I mean, I’m a pretty decent nerd. I get a lot of nerd culture. I’m married to a HUGE Star Wars nerd. I’ve seen the Doctor Who reboot but, still, there were quite a few parts of this book that sailed right over my head. Which means I really only finished it because one of my goals was to finish a darn book!

5. Learn to make pie – This totally happened and here’s the proof. I went to visit my mom the first weekend in March and we made crust from Hoosier Mama Pie Company’s book and the salted caramel apple filling from this recipe. Pie crust is still a bit of a mystery to me so I think that means I just need to make more pie.

April Goals

So what do I have on the list for April?

  1. Actually study one chapter a week of my NSCA book – if I can set aside 30 minutes per evening I think I’ll be doing well.
  2. Get my overhead press into the triple digits for my one rep max – My one rep max is currently 70 pounds for overhead press but I’m doing a lifting program that is supposed to help increase it
  3. Take clothes to the consignment shop – I have a slowly growing pile that I just need to deal with.
  4. Read another book – If I don’t keep this on the list I won’t do it and I actually do like reading!
  5. Try a new brunch restaurant – I rarely go out to brunch (too many crowds) but I keep hearing good things about several brunch places in my neighborhood that I want to try!

Linking up with Nicole

Favorite Outfit of March

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So, March is over and I feel like I didn’t accomplish very much. But, since one of my March goals was to not overschedule myself, I suppose that’s to be expected.

What did I do in March?

  • Learned how to make some new cocktails with Femme du Coupe while raising money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
  • Tried Lyfe Kitchen for the first time
  • Tried Shake Shack for the first time
  • Participated in a user experience study for the Illinois Sunshine website
  • Made a pie with my mom (more on that tomorrow)
  • Ran a Pi Day 5K fun run with friends
  • Attended my first Idea Potluck
  • Learned proper kettlebell form at OTG Bootcamp with Personally Paleo
  • Visited the Goose Island Tap Room for the first time to say goodbye to some friends who moved to North Carolina (and drink beer)
  • Visited the Lagunitas Tap Room for the first time to hang with my running club (and drink beer)
  • Started a new weight lifting program
  • Wrote 20 blog posts
  • Ramped up the email sending and marketing for the Good Life Race
  • Started studying for the NSCA exam (more on that tomorrow, too)
  • Helped a friend shop for a new wardrobe
  • Worked my day job
  • Taught Chewie how to shake
  • Celebrated my husband getting a new job with dinner at Saigon Sisters
  • Got interviewed by Jen for her librarian style spotlight which is live today!

Although, when I write it all out like that, it seems like I was super busy!

And, like usual, in between all of that I had to figure out what to wear. So, without further ado, here’s my pick for my favorite outfit from March. And, like usual, you can vote for yours below!

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Nothing really earth-shattering about this outfit, but this vest always makes me feel good. That’s really all.

So, let’s move on. What was YOUR favorite outfit from March?

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There’s no need to miss out during swimsuit season

Shopping

Head’s up that this post was sponsored by Target. If you would prefer to skip it, that’s your call. But believe me when I saw there are some pretty awesome photos in here. Moving on….

I saw a post on Facebook from a grad school friend a few days ago that read “I need to buy a swimsuit. I feel like this calls for a tranquilizer of some sort.”

And this made me sad. Because I don’t think buying a swimsuit needs to be a traumatizing as we make it out to be. Will every suit look amazing on you? No. But that’s no reason to avoid swimsuit shopping.

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Option 1 | Option 2 | Option 3 | Option 4

Save 20% on swimwear for all. Valid 4/3-4/9

Target has SO MANY amazing swimsuits right now that there’s got to be something for you there. And Target is challenging women to try something out of their comfort zone as part of their #NOFOMO campaign (that’s “no fear of missing out” for the uninitiated). For some people that’s just putting on a swimsuit. For others, like me, that meant trying on styles of swimsuit I wouldn’t normally pick.

And then taking pictures in public.

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As I’ve mentioned before, I’m in this weird position where I’m trying to put on weight. As a result, I’m not 100% comfortable in my own skin. So while in the past I would have stuck to my rules of a buying a halter top bikini with bottoms that had embellished sides, I decide to break out of my comfort zone and try a monokini.

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But, let me honest: I’ve never once seen someone in a swimsuit of any kind and though “oh man, she shouldn’t be wearing that.” Instead, I tend to think, “go you for rocking that swimsuit!” Because you know how you get a bikini body? You buy a bikini and put it on your body. Done.

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Am I 100% happy with my body right now? Nope. I mean, I’m probably 90% happy. But clearly I’m not going to let that stop me. So, don’t let it stop you. Try on those swimsuits. Try on something you wouldn’t normally pick. Find a color or a pattern that makes you happy. And then rock that baby at the pool, the beach, your backyard, or on a bridge in Chicago. Believe me when I say that you might feel self-concious at first but you won’t feel that way for long.

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Try it yourself! Pick up a suit at Target, take a picture, and share it on social media with the hashtag #NOFOMO and you’ll find yourself in some good company.

This post was sponsored by Target as part of my partnership with Rakuten Marketing. However, I did spend my own hard-earned cash on this swimsuit and all opinions are my own. So there’s that.

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What is the maximum dose of metformin you can take Shopping

Yes, you’re going to see about 100 Shopbop sale posts today. Why? Because those of us that partner with Shopbop really love doing so and when they ask us to post about the sale we want to give back. As I’ve said in the past, their customer service is amazing and I’ve purchased some of my favorite items of all time from them.

And just what are those items, exactly? I’m going to tell you. Some of them are sold out but I’m sure you can find something similar that you love from their current selection. Especially since almost everything is 25% off until April 7th!

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So, let’s move on to my favorite Shopbop purchases!

1. Tretorn Polka Dot Sneakers

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2. Velvet Jacket

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3. Club Monaco Faux Leather Leggings

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4. Sam Edelman Boots

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5. Koral Activewear Leggings

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And what am I planning to buy during this sale that I hope will become a new favorite? I think I’m going to splurge on a pair of the Paige Denim ultra skinny jeans in black. They’ve gotten great reviews from both Audrey and Bri and my current pair of black jeans are fading. Plus 25% off premium denim? Perfect timing.

 

SIA: A different version of red, white and blue

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Last week we saw the Turkish textile pattern that Jen chose for this week’s Style Imitating Art.  I fully admit that I struggled a a bit with coming up with an outfit. I don’t have much in the way of florals, I don’t own anything paisley, and I think it’s just a tad too early in the year to dress in colors I associate with the Fourth of July.

Still, I think I managed to put together something that fits the bill.

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Jacket – Langford Market (similar and on sale until 4/7!) | Top – The Limited (similar) | Jeans – American Eagle Outfitters (same) | Shoes – Loeffler Randall c/o Shopbop (similar) | Bracelets – gifts (similar

I kept most of my blues in the denim family and added the bright blue with just my shoes. Jen had also written that dots were a motif that was common in these textiles so that’s the pattern I chose. Plus, the top is red and white which goes with the fabric she chose.

Want to see how other people interpreted this week’s prompt? Check out Jen’s blog tomorrow!

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In other news, I did a really fun interview with Sherry of Save, Spend Splurge that you can read here. She asked me about my clothing budget, how I learned about spending and saving money, and a variety of other topics. Plus, reading her editor’s comments is always a good time!

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One of the first things I did after I moved to the Chicago area was look for a running club. Because of where I was living at the time I ended up joining the Oak Park Runners Club. I didn’t have any friends in the city and I didn’t know anyone so I threw myself whole hog into being an active member.

And, you know how it goes, when you become super active in a group you usually end up being asked to volunteer for things. I am incapable of saying no when asked to volunteer which is how I wound up not only doing all the Facebook, website, and email communications for the club but also for our 5K race: the Good Life Race 5K.

2015 The Good Life Race

I’ve been on the race committee for several years now and I’ve always been in charge of managing our race’s Facebook page, email, and press releases. Did I have any idea what I was doing when I started? Nope. Do I have any idea now? Sort of.

I don’t have a marketing background, but I do have a running and racing background! So I know what I want to see. But the question is always, how do I attract other people? How do I attract people who aren’t necessarily runners but who live in the area and are interested in running or walking a 5K? Or who have kids who might want to do the 1 mile youth run or the shorter Junior Dash?

2015 The Good Life Race

These are all things I think about. Our race is unique in that we actually have two 5Ks: one for men and one for women (although it’s not like we check birth certificates or anything). People tend to like this because, if there are kids, they can usually find someone to watch the kids while the other person runs the race.

Also, we give out flowers at the finish line. We usually get lots of positive comments about that.

2015 The Good Life Race

Plus, other than the fact that we pay a timing company, every thing else we do is completely done by volunteers and yet we’ve had over 1300 participants the past few years. I believe we’re still the largest all-volunteer-run race in the area. And one of those volunteers is me. Trying to figure out how to do marketing and PR.

Which means if you’re in Chicago and still haven’t heard of the Good Life Race, I still have work to do.Screen Shot 2016-03-24 at 5.59.08 PM