Month: September 2011

Autumn and Ohio (Lots of Pictures!)

Gourds Happy Autumn!

Now that it’s here, there is no good reason to keep fighting it, right? Getting out of Chicago and to Ohio to visit friends and family really helped me remember what I love about autumn. First of all, the colors. The glorious colors! We were in Ohio for six days and every day I watched the trees get more and more brilliant. Then, harvests and pumpkins and apple cider and all sorts of neat things. So, yay for autumn. Just wish winter didn’t have to happen after. But not gonna dwell on that. Instead I’m going to dwell on the fun trip to Ohio I had this past week!

I got to eat yummy Mexican food and drink a delicious margarita, I got to feed a giraffe, see a camel up close, and ride a horse. I met a friend who I’d been emailing with for years, and I saw Andy, one of my best friends. Chris and Matt brought up Aidan and we all went to Amish country, where I bought lots of pies, cookies, and cheese. My camera was on hand, and of course I got loads of photos.

We hit the Amish country in the middle of the state. First place we stopped was Hershberger, where there was lots of good desserts and breads, and animals (including a HUGE Clydesdale) to pet. Then we went to the cheese barn, and then to Berlin. Adam and I agreed that the more authentic Amish/Mennonite places were better because they weren’t mired in touristy gimmicks. Just yummy food.

Aidan and some Pumpkins Aidan and some Pumpkins Aidan and some Pumpkins
Pumpkins Galore!

I got to ride a horse for the first time ever. My friend Amy (who I’ve known for years but only through email) arranged for us to get together at the stables. There, she saddled up Jessy and let me and Adam take turns riding her. By the end of the ride, I was going a pretty good job of getting Jessy to walk and go in the direction I wanted her to go in. We also go to ride Pablo bareback. That was neat, too.

I'm on a Horse!

Horseback Riding! Horseback Riding! Horseback Riding!

We got to eat good food, have good laughs, and have good times. The Mexican restaurant, El Camino, was delicious. I had an enchilada and a tostada, and a yummy raspberry margarita. Delicious!

Mommy My Magarita Hi Aidan!

Mommy and Greg

Most of my extended family is in Cleveland. I don’t get to see them often, so a lot of us used this trip to reconnect. It was good. Some of these people I hadn’t seen since 1996. I hadn’t seen all of them for many years. That’s a long time. It was nice to see them again.

My Cousin Mazayron and Me Aunt Geneva Falandos
Good Saturday Night

So many new experiences. I got to feed a giraffe! Do you have any idea how much I love giraffes? They’re so graceful and beautiful. They’re definitely in my top five of animals. Getting so close to one was amazing. Also, I never knew how gorgeous camels were until I saw them close up. Petting zoos are cool, especially when they have animals like emus and llamas and zebras.

Aidan and his Grandmommy A Big Chair! Aidan Playing in the Corn Pit

UM Camel

Another really cool thing. I am an Ohio State alumna, but I had very little OSU clothing. I’ve been slowly, slowly building up a collection of tee-shirts, but I really wanted a hoodie. They’re expensive, though! Well, we went to Marcs to get snacks and groceries (and my BBQ Fritos and Snyder of Berlin chips that are not sold in IL) and they had OSU gear. CHEAP OSU gear. So, I got three sweatshirts and two tee-shirts for a grand total of $40.00. I’m wearing one of the shirts in a few photos above. I really, really, really wish we had a Marcs in Chicago. I’d go all the time. I love that place.

Anyway, I had a great time. What a wonderful way to start off autumn 2011. It’s just gonna get better! :)


Feeling the Burn

Who doesn’t love free stuff? I know I like it, especially when it gives me a chance to try something I’ve never done before. Today, I popped over to Soulistic Studio and Spa for their Fall Open House. They offered 30 minute samplers of some of their classes, and for first timers like me, it was a great introduction to new fitness techniques.

You all know I’m a Moksha purist, so did I feel weird when I first walked into Soulistic? Sure. I’m so used to Moksha and the teachers there–it was strange to go to a place where I didn’t know anyone. Fortunately, people were friendly and open and warm, and I hope to see some of them again sometime.

As I said, today’s open house consisted of a number of 30 minute “samplers”, many offered simultaneously. So I had to choose what I wanted. Here is what I did:

Pilates Reformer
Pilates Burn
Barre Belly Sculpt
Nia Dance [learn more]
Capoeira [learn more]

Here are my impressions.

Pilates Reformer was strange, and I know that’s because I’d never used a Pilates Reformer machine before. I’d only done the Pilates Mat workout. I know that after a few more times, I’ll be OK on the machine, but to be honest, other than my bike (or a treadmill), I don’t really like using machines to work out. Props I don’t mind, but machines aren’t really my thing.

I ended up loving Pilates Burn a LOT more than I expected. We used a BOSU ball, did a lot of core training, and some slight cardio. Part of the reason I enjoyed that class so much was because of the teacher. Ilana was a lot of fun. I think a lot of people forget that exercising doesn’t have to suck. It can be hard work but it can be fun as well.

Barre Belly Sculpt was surprisingly hard, as we did a lot of strength training with dumbbells. It’s hard to furrow your forehead when the instructor is giving you a beautiful, encouraging smile, though. I did the best I could with the weights (my arms are so not my strongest body part). I didn’t expect the class to be so much belly dancing, but I LOVED it.

Capoeria is a dance that combines music, sports, and martial arts. That was the one class that intimidated me, because you have to be so exact and so precise. It was the last class of the day, so my body was NOT feeling the precise movements so much. It’s a beautiful dance, though, and challenging. At the end, we got into a circle and clapped and sang while two people “played.” It was really, really cool.

My favorite, favorite, favorite was the Nia Dance. I LOVED Nia Dance. Music, movement, martial arts, yoga, and meditation all in one. It’s a grounded, low impact dance. I like cardio, but I DO NOT like aerobics. This was perfect, because I love to dance, I love yoga, and there was no jumping. I was building strength, burning calories, and making my heart healthy. This is the class I definitely plan to go back for. Again and again and again.

There was lots of fruit to snack on (including honey crisp apples), and there were samples of Solixir. It was a good day for my body.

I might be feeling differently once the soreness kicks in. But I will keep going. Candlelight Vinyasa with Amber at Moksha tomorrow evening. I must be there.

It feels good to have time to take care of myself again. It also feels good to have MOTIVATION to take care of myself. Now if I could just slow down with the sugar…… *innocent look*

What are your favorite ways to keep in shape?


Saturday 9 (4)

Saturday 9: Tuesday Afternoon

1. Where will you be and what will you be doing this Tuesday afternoon?
I’ll be at my mom’s, visiting her and eating good food.

2. Do you belong to any group(s)?
Not really.

3. Do you feel energized or drained by being in a group situation? (If the answer is “it depends,” on what does it depend?)
It depends on if I am tired to begin with, and if it’s a fun group outing for something for business.

4. Is there a role you naturally put yourself while adapting when in group situations?
Not that I know of.

5. In business or formal situations, do you mind hugs or are you offended if it goes past a handshake?
Not at all. I love hugs.

6. Do you find what we’d call “ice breakers” a playful way to build community in a lighthearted manner, or a complete and utter hell of forced fun and awkwardness?
I do NOT like ice breakers at all. I think they’re awkward and forced. I’ve found it very easy to get into a conversation with a stranger at a party or some sort of social event. I listen for common ground and jump in. I also live in Chicago, where people are generally pretty friendly. Often, someone will come right up to me, introduce herself or himself, and then we’re off. It helps when I attend functions where many people have the same interests I do. Conventions come to mind. Or the yoga studio I go to. I’ve met loads of neat people at conventions just because we have fandoms in common. I also have no issues complimenting a stranger. So, as far as I’m concerned, ice breakers are not necessary, but that may not be the case for everyone or every situation.

7. What word do you use far too frequently?
Not sure.

8. What word do you use not frequently enough?
Onomatopoeia. Isn’t that a great word?

9. What word do you use when swearing is not appropriate?
Banana. “What the banana?”

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Why, Hello There, Fall

YAY Leaves! Well, there’s no more denying it. Even though the official Equinox isn’t for a week, autumn has definitely settled in the Chicago area. The temperatures are way cooler, and even the days where the temperature is in the 70s, there is still that certain “bite” in the air.

I suppose it’s time to drag out my bin and pack away the tank tops and shorts, and pull out the sweaters and cords and knee highs and tights. The pea coats and jackets and boots can be moved to the front of the closet. It won’t be tank top weather for a long time.

Fall makes me want to shop. I have to be more careful with my money these days, but I can always use sweaters. It’s hard to find nice, basic sweaters these days. They’re all flowy and drapey. And as I mentioned in my last entry, most of mine are dark. Greys and blacks. I need some brighter colors, don’t you think?

I love fall as long as I don’t remember that there is a bitterly cold winter following it. It’s Adam’s favorite season, especially with all the pumpkin treats to eat. Adam really loves pumpkin, and he looks forward to enjoying a gallon of Edy’s pumpkin-flavored ice cream every October. I don’t like pumpkin, but I do like fall colors. And I like the gorgeous blue sky. I also like how pretty the leaves look on the trees. I hope to take a LOT of seasonal pictures this year. I hadn’t had much time during my other Chicago autumns.

Check out this adorable fall bucket list:


From this list, I plan on doing these things this fall:

Take a nature walk. I’m FINALLY going to Morton’s Arboretum. I’ve been wanting to go for years. I’m going to go later in the season, when the leaves have changed colors. (I also plan to go in the spring, when all the trees are blossoming.)
– Instead of the fancy coffee drinks, I’m going to drink hot cider! :) Yum!
– I’ve already done the corn maze.
– I’m going to try to bake a pie. I probably won’t be cutting apples or anything, and the crust won’t be homemade, but dang it, I will make a pie. I haven’t made a pie in years. Mmm, pie.
– I don’t know what counts as fall cookies, but I will be baking some chocolate chip ones. And seeing as I am not domestic in the slightest, they will be made by our friends Pillsbury.

I guess I like fall a lot more than I thought. I know it used to be my favorite season once upon a time. But the past few years, it’s just been a stress ball. I’m excited to go back to enjoying it again. There is holiday planning, another taping of The Rosie Show, and hearty Crock-Pot meals. Not to mention new TV shows to check out, a new cycle of America’s Next Top Model, and Halloween candy to eat. And then there’s Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving will be awesome. Mmmm, turkey and gravy. Peach pie. Mac & cheese (made by me). Good times. :)

What are your plans for the fall?


The Test Audience Experience (Multimedia)

The Rosie Show Test Show

Today, Adam and I attended a test taping of The Rosie Show. As you may know, The Rosie Show has moved into Harpo Studios, and the show will begin airing next month on OWN.

I’d never attended any sort of big scale show like this, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I freaked out about my outfit. They asked for bright colors and warned us that the studio would be cold, so to wear long sleeves. Well, guess what? All of my bright colors are summer clothes, thus short-sleeved or sleeveless. All of my long-sleeved clothes were pretty dark. I wore a boring grey tee-shirt and skinny jeans.

When we got to the studio, we stood in a big line. Someone came down the line asking people for funny stories about meeting celebrities. I told them about how I met Mario Lopez when I was 17 and wanted to stick my finger in his dimple.

When we got inside, Adam gave them our name, and we had to show them our IDs. Once we were checked in, they handed us a blue card and a green card to fill out. We were then moved into a room where they searched my purse and had us walk through medal detectors. Then it was time for a potty break. Harpo Studios has one men’s room and two women’s rooms. Smart. There were still lines.

We headed upstairs to the holding area, where they passed out bottled waters, pens to fill out the cards, and cupcakes from Sugar Bliss. They were cute and yummy.

The Rosie Show Test Show

The green card had information that could probably be used in a show as filler. The blue cards had a number on them and asked for some basic contact information. After we snacked and turned in our green card, it was time to head into the studio. They called a bunch of people by name, and then the rest of us by the number on the blue cards, which they collected as we filed into the studio. They were NOT kidding when they said the studio would be cold. IT WAS FREEZING. And naturally, my bladder began sending signals as soon as I got settled. Typical.

Someone came out to warm up the audience, and I was really amazed at how warm and responsive the crew seemed to be. We were introduced to the house band. The leader is the person who wrote “Dick In A Box” for Saturday night live. How cool is that? Then, Rosie ran across the stage and yelled “You can’t see me!” and everyone screamed. She looks fantastic. She opened the show with a monologue that was very funny. Then she introduced the guests: Randy Jackson, Noland Gould (who plays Luke on Modern Family), and Crystal Bowersox.

It was fun watching the guests. It was really cool when Randy Jackson talked about his new eyeglasses line, and then announced that all of the audience members were going to get a free pair! Wooo! Crystal sounded amazing, and Nolan was hilarious and super cute.

At the end of the taping, Rosie stood on stage and allowed people to take photos of her. If there were children in the audience (she allows kids–how cool is that?), she let them actually come on stage. She was really great with the audience, making personal connections and letting people ask her questions in between segments.

The Rosie Show Test Show

I snuck and took this tiny video of her thanking us for being there:

We got to watch them tape a short segment for Access Hollywood, then we were led out. We were then given gift bags (which consisted of a The Rosie Show tee-shirt, a small bag of Garrett’s popcorn, a bag of PopChips, and a Vosges peppermint candy cane bar). We were given a coupon for a free frosting shot from Sugar Bliss, and a postcard to mail in for the free Randy Jackson sunglasses. We’re also going to get tickets for a real taping that’ll take place in October or November!

I’m looking forward to it. I also know not to drink a thing and to layer like a mofo. It’s really, truly freezing in those studios. And I apologize for camera quality–I didn’t want to take any chances of having my Canon T3 confiscated.

Thanks for reading! :)

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