Busy, Busy!

The last few weeks have been busy ones in our household! Here’s what we’ve been up to:

  • LASIK Surgery
  • First Wedding Anniversary
  • Hubs’ 25th Birthday
  • 40 Day Yoga Challenge
  • Marathon Training Commences!
  • Registered for the Disney Princess Half Marathon!

In the beginning of July I went under the knife (or laser as the case may be) to correct my vision with LASIK. The surgery itself took less than 10 minutes, and the recovery was quick. I spent two days laying low, and after that I was ready to take on the world! My vision used to be 20/400 and the day after my surgery I tested at 20/20. Four days later I had my second follow-up appointment, and I tested at 20/15. I’ve never in my life been able to see everything around me so clearly. After wearing glasses/contacts since first grade, I still wake up in the morning and look for my glasses and panic a little when I think I’m stranded without them. Then I realize I can actually see, and it’s such an incredible feeling!

This was me before LASIK:

And this is me after:

July 3rd - One day after my LASIK surgery and I tested 20/20. After that result I donated my glasses - I'm free!

And this is me, one day post surgery…donating my glasses because I don’t need them anymore!

On July 6th Hubs and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary. We had an incredible weekend celebrating together. The first anniversary is traditionally the “paper” anniversary, so we used that to theme our gifts. Hubs gave me a beautiful necklace that’s made of paper, and I gave him a “Year in Review” which was Up themed (which included tix to the U.S. soccer match this weekend – tickets count as paper, right?!). It was so much fun finding gifts for each other and celebrating this milestone!

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Toasting to our anniversary! Do you see my necklace? It’s made of paper – how cool is that?!

Have you seen Disney's Up? It was my inspiration for this gift. Every balloon had a photo attached which highlighted our first year of marriage.

Have you seen Disney’s Up? It was my inspiration for this gift. Every balloon had a photo attached which highlighted our first year of marriage. I even found an anniversary card with the Up characters…yes!

July 10th was Hubs’ 25th birthday, and we decided to celebrate by buying a 6 lb. lobster. We ate lobster rolls and homemade lobster raviolis for days!

Now that's a lobster claw!

Now that’s a lobster claw!

The 40 Day Yoga Challenge continues, and I’m absolutely loving it. I’m in the studio almost every day, and I couldn’t be happier. Last night I had a “double date” at Yoga by Degrees – aka back-to-back classes. The classes were held by one of my favorite teachers, and I always leave feeling refreshed!

Last weekend I participated in the Rock your Asana Workshop, and I finally feel comfortable trying inverted poses. I still have a long way to go (don’t we all?!), but I’m excited by my new-found confidence. Our teacher brought energy and fun into the studio, and I just loved the “vibe!” You can check her out on instagram at Rock Star Yoga!

Hubs joined me for the second of last night's classes. I love doing yoga together!

Hubs joined me for the second of last night’s classes. I love doing yoga together. And what a view after class last night. Beautiful!

Marathon training is officially underway, and it’s so liberating to run without my glasses! Last weekend’s long run was a 10-miler in the rain (it felt so good though!). It went surprisingly well (hooray!), but I was a little intimidated by this distance at first. My very first half-marathon training plan worked up to 10 miles max. So, beginning my marathon training with 10 miles gave me a little bit of sticker shock, but the run went smoothly. The weather turned for the worse in the second half of my run, but there was only way back to my car so I kept on trucking. In the end, it was a great day!

I was a little damp by the end of my run. At least I didn't get too hot from the sun!

I was a little damp by the end of my run. At least I didn’t get too hot from the sun!

And finally, I’m thrilled to report that I’ll be running the Disney Princess Half Marathon this February with one of my very best friends. It’s her first half, and I’m so excited to share the running love with her! And you better believe we’re going to rock some sweet costumes during the run.

I couldn't have survived college without her! <3

I couldn’t have survived college without her! <3

And now, a Run With Pup post wouldn’t be complete with a quick shot of Millie Pup :)

Millie's new favorite place to sleep is on the arm of the couch, next to the window. Too cute!

Millie’s new favorite place to sleep is on the arm of the couch, next to the window. Too cute!

Yoga Challenge

This week mark’s the official beginning of my marathon training and a 40-day yoga challenge. It’s a lot to take on at the same time, but I think it’s going to be a good athletic venture!

The yoga challenge is through my local studio – Yoga By Degrees. They have a wide range of classes offered at varying levels of difficulty/pace and all of their classes are heated. They’re offered at 80, 85, 90, 95, 100 and 105 degrees. So far I’ve only gone up to 95 degrees, but it felt great to sweat that much…there’s something cleansing about it (who knew?!).

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For $59 you have unlimited classes for 40 days. The challenge is to attend at least 30 classes during this time ($2/class – not bad at all!). I’ve really enjoyed making yoga a bigger part of my daily life. I feel rejuvenated after class and ready to take on life’s challenges with a sunnier disposition.

In the coming months I’m hoping to begin a certified yoga teaching program. I have it narrowed down to a couple of studios, and I’m looking forward to making a decision sometime soon. In the meantime, a yoga challenge is the perfect thing to do!

After rocking a 6am yoga class - what a great way to start the day!

After rocking a 6am yoga class – what a great way to start the day!

This weekend I’ll also be attending a “Rock your Asana” workshop where we’ll learn more about arm balances and inversions. I really enjoy arm balances, and I definitely need additional guidance with inversions. I’m thrilled to take on this new challenge on Saturday!

In the meantime friends, I’ve been keeping the below quote in mind. Enjoy!

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#100HappyDays: Days 76-100

It’s hard to believe my #100HappyDays challenge is complete – time flies! I’ve really enjoyed this project because it’s helped me take time each day to think about what I appreciate. I’ve found that often times it’s either spending time with Hubs, hanging with Millie Pup, enjoying food/wine or running/yoga.

Here are some highlights from Days 76-100!

June 15 - Day 82

June 15th – Happy Father’s Day, Dad! Here’s a shot from 2013 when my dad walked me down the aisle. I’ll never forget that moment – or his speech!

June 21st - Running in Central Park was a highlight of June. I just love the energy there!

June 21st – Running in Central Park was a highlight of June. I just love the energy there!

June 23rd - Enjoying homemade fresh bread, gazpacho and wine I brought back from France for dinner. Yum!

June 23rd – Enjoying homemade bread, fresh gazpacho and wine I brought back from France for dinner. Yum!

June 26th - Spending some time relaxing poolside. I'm so glad summer has come to Chicagoland.

June 26th – Spending some time relaxing poolside. I’m so glad summer has come to Chicagoland.

June 29th - Fun times at the dog park. There was much swimming to be had by Millie Pup!

June 29th – Fun times at the dog park. There was much swimming to be had by Millie Pup!

July 3rd - One day after my LASIK surgery and I tested 20/20. After that result I donated my glasses - I'm free!

July 3rd – One day after my LASIK surgery and I tested 20/20. After that result I donated my glasses – I’m free! Not a bad way to complete my #100HappyDays journey. This was day 100 – how appropriate!

I hope you’ve enjoyed following this #100HappyDays journey. It’s been an adventure, and I’m a little sad to see it end. I plan on continuing the practice of appreciation, because it really does make you happy. Just a few minutes a day made me appreciative for the big and little things in life. How cool is that?!

Did you miss the beginning of my journey? Check out my pictures on Instagram, or my previous reviews!

Are you participating in the #100HappyDays challenge? I’d love to see your pictures too!

This puppy just loves to play fetch.

Dog Park Exploration

Recently I’ve discovered the beauty of the off-leash dog park. I’m so glad to live in DuPage County with its six off-leash parks. Millie’s finally had all of her required shots, and now that we have our dog park permit we’re free to roam the trails.

We’ve visited the Blackwell Forest Preserve twice now, which is good for a quick walk with pup but isn’t my favorite for a long stay. The fenced-in facility is well maintained but isn’t very large, so there’s a lot of interaction with other dogs and people. It’s great social interaction for Millie, but sometimes it’s nice to walk and hike without playing doggy referee.

This led Hubs and I to visit the East Branch Forest Preserve. This park isn’t fenced, but the doggy area is very large so I don’t worry about Millie running away. There are trails that lead around the property and to the many swimming holes for dogs.

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Millie’s great off leash. She almost always stays within 10 feet of us, and when we call her she comes running into our arms.

A beautiful day for a hike and swim.

A beautiful day for a hike and swim.

This is where we learned that Millie is a total water dog. She just LOVES swimming. She has so much fun in the water, and then she sleeps for hours when we get home. This is a win in my book!

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She will chase the ball into the water over and over again.

Who else loves the Chuck It dog toy?

Who else loves the Chuck It dog toy?

Victorious!

Victorious!

We all came home a little muddy and in need of showers!

We all came home a little muddy and in need of showers!

After some swimming we started our hike. Our hope was that this would allow Millie time to dry before driving home, but the trails were really muddy…so we just accepted defeat and had fun in the dirt!

Millie patiently waits for her ball

Millie patiently waits for her ball. We’re teaching her to sit before each release.

This forest preserve is very beautiful. We even ran into our neighbors at the park with their dog too!

This forest preserve is very beautiful. We even ran into our neighbors at the park with their dog too!

After getting more muddy we opted for one more swim for Millie. I think a wet/cleanish dog is better than a dry/muddy dog in the backseat. One day we’ll own an SUV and this will be much easier!

Swim time

Swim time #2

Look what I found, 'Ma!

Look what I found, ‘Ma!

We finished up our hike with some sunshine and a game of fetch.

Go fetch!

Go fetch!

Incoming!

Incoming!

Have you taken your dog to an off-leash dog park? What was your experience like?

Overnight Puppy Stay

Last weekend Hubs and I boarded Millie overnight for the first time. I was so relieved when we finally found a place for her that felt right. The week leading up to our trip I felt like Goldilocks searching for the perfect place for Millie to stay.

The first location I visited wasn’t quite right. The facility was very clean, the staff professional and the location ideal. But the dogs were separated from each other the whole time, and Millie LOVES playing with other pups. At doggy day care she has a “boyfriend” – Dasher. He’s the sweetest Golden I’ve ever met!

Millie & Dasher <3

Millie & Dasher – The play together and cuddle during nap time. Adorbs!

So location #1 was too lonely.

The second place offered lots of doggy interaction, but I thought they were understaffed for the number of animals on the property. The facility was also very loud. We have a pretty quiet home, and even at doggy day care they keep the volume/barking pretty low. I didn’t want Millie picking up any bad habits from this weekend…

Location #2 was too loud.

We finally visited the third and final location, which was suggested to me by a colleague. This place was juuuuust right – hooray! The dogs play together during the day, and at night they have separate sleeping areas. In the doggy play area there’s always a staff member keeping an eye on things (dressed in a referee shirt – how great is that?!), and the whole set-up was professional, clean and well maintained. As soon as we walked in Millie’s labby tail was going a million miles an hour. She was so excited! I was so relieved to have found a place that was professional, well staffed and allowed for doggy play time.

DePaw University Canine Campus

DePaw University Canine Campus - Millie’s boarding location. It was just what we were looking for!

Finally, location #3 was lovely and just right!

I was so relieved to find a place where we could leave Millie for the weekend and have peace of mind about her well-being. The staff was so sweet to Millie when we first came in, that I don’t think Millie thought twice about leaving me to go play with the other pup dogs when I left. Hallelujah!

Have you gone through the dog boarding selection process? How’d it go for you and your pup or furry friend?

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Running Central Park

Last weekend we surprised Hubs’ dad in NYC for a belated Father’s Day weekend. His girlfriend organized the whole thing, including Hubs’ brother and his wife joining too. What a sweetheart!

We started the weekend off with a Yankees game. The Yankees won with a home run in the bottom of the ninth with two outs. I thought that only happened in the movies!

Yankees Stadium

Yankees Stadium

I started Saturday morning with a 5-miler in Central Park. It was a beautiful day and I was so glad to have a chance to stretch my legs.

Pre-Run - Rocking my glasses and baseball bat. T-7 days until my LASIK surgery!

Pre-Run – Rocking my glasses and baseball bat. T-7 days until my LASIK surgery!

I was really impressed by the number of people out running!

I was really impressed by the number of people out running.

Love the view!

Love the view!

The rest of the weekend was wonderful. Here’s a quick shot we fit in before our flight home!

LOVE

LOVE

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Brooks Fun Run

I hope everyone’s weekends are going well! This was my first weekend home after my trip without jet lag (hooray!) and it’s been so much fun hanging out with Hubs and Pup.

Saturday morning Hubs and I attended the Naperville Running Company’s Brooks Fun Run. There was a great turnout for this 3+ mile run, and the weather was absolutely beautiful.

Learning the running path from our group leaders (should've listened better!)

Learning the running path from our group leaders (should’ve listened better!)

The run started along the Naperville River Walk, which is a beautiful brick pathway along the river complete with sculpture gardens, fountains and bridges.

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Running with this group was terrific. The group organizers stopped traffic for us, which was such a treat!

We continued along the river and turned around about 1.5 miles from where we started at NRC North.

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Our path was mostly shaded. Very pleasant on a warm morning!

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During this section of the run we were flanked by the river on one side and beautiful homes on the other. Dennis and I enjoyed “window shopping” for future homes.

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I took a sneaky picture of Hubs!

We accidentally added a little distance to our run by going one block too far on our way back. Luckily there wasn’t anyone directly behind us, or I would’ve felt badly for leading them astray. That’s what I get for taking pictures instead of paying better attention to our route – ha!

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Post-Run we enjoyed water, juice and bagels at the NRC. The staff here is extremely helpful and professional. If you need a new pair of running shoes in the Chicago suburbs, come on over.

Later in the day we took Pup to the dog park for the very first time. She had a terrific first experience. I think her socialization from our training classes and puppy day care are paying off!

Our first attempt at a photo was photo-bombed by Millie.

Our first attempt at a photo was photo-bombed by Millie’s tongue.

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After a few tries we got a keeper! I’m rocking my glasses for two weeks leading up to my Lasik surgery, so you’ll be seeing lots of me in my baseball hat!

Hope you have a great rest of your weekend. Hopefully the weather is beautiful where you are too!