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Friday, August 28, 2009

Friday 5!!!!! 8.28.09

2/42 Camping Trip @ Starved Rock State Park City Slickers meet nature on this rapid weekend getaway. You don’t need the Rockies to find hike-worthy trails – Starved Rock State park boasts 13 miles of trek worthy trails, scenic sandstone rock formations and the beautiful Illinois River. Get geared up for some fun and fellowship in God’s creation. Aug. 38-30, Cost: $40/person and includes meals and campsite costs. Registration is full, however, stay-tuned for other adventure getaways. www.starvedrockstatepark.org I'm actually going and am sooo excited!



Jammin’ at the Zoo
Calling all party animals!!! Crazy things happen when you mix music and zoo animals…Like seeing Five for Fighting and Angel Taylor for nearly nothing! Head out to Lincoln Park Zoo this Friday for this popular concert series. Aug. 28, Cost: $23-28, Gates open at 6p.m., Concert starts at 7:15p.m., Bring lawn chairs or blankets for seating, 2200 N. Cannon Drive.


http://www.lpzoo.org/.


Randolph Street Market Festival
Festival-goers need not fear, this sixth annual indoor/outdoor European influenced festival features art, fashion, vintage treasures, timeless keepsakes, d├ęcor galore and all the music, food, drinks and fun you could want. It is also home to the world-renowned Chicago Antique Market and Indie Designer Market. So, dust off your turntable and pick up some new tunes this weekend! Aug. 29: 10a.m. – 5p.m. , Aug. 30: 10a.m. – 4p.m., Price: $10 (includes repeat entry all weekend), 1350 W. Randolph St., Free shuttle from Water Tower Place and Free Parking. http://www.randolphstreetmarket.com/.


Chicago Green City Market Before the warm Summer breezes turn bitter and the green leaves that paint Lincoln Park green disappear, be sure to stop by Chicago’s Green City Market where an array of locally farmed and organic treats await you. You can find everything from meats, fruits, vegetables and cheeses to honey, herbs and baked goods fresh and ready to take home. Don’t forget the gorgeous fresh flowers sold at a fraction of flower shop prices to complete the experience. Saturday, Aug. 29, 7a.m. – 1p.m., Price: Free, 1750 N. Clark St.



Bucktown Arts Fest Celebrating Art in all forms and fashions, this long-running fest is sure to please the art lover in all of us. It has been heralded as one of Chicago’s premier showings of painters, sculptors, photographers and craftspeople. Entertainment also abounds in the form of live music, theater, dance and spoken word performances. If you’re in the mood for a Picasso-sized dose of culture, you’ve come to the right place! Aug. 29-30, 11a.m. – 7p.m., Price: Free, 2238 N. Oakley Ave., http://www.bucktownartsfest.com/.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

An Apple A Day!?!

The old adage says, "An apple a day will keep the doctor away." And if that's any indication of what fruit can do for you, just imagine the power of daily doses of fruits and vegetables on your health!!!

As the Whole Foods revolution grows, people are talking more and more about the benefits of eating raw, organic, natural and local and consuming less refined and artificially flavored foods. Recently, I've been bombarded with all sorts of books and articles on eating better for life, and finally committed to reading the NY Times Best Seller, Skinny Bitch. Now, this book is quite crude, harsh and a little over-the-top for my liking, however, the basic principle of "what you eat matters" rings true for me on a personal level and I'm finding ways to "be good to my body" that fit my lifestyle, not the LA superficial model.

One of the things I stumbled upon that has been most beneficial in my quest to "be good to my body" and "eat for my future" is Juice Plus+!
It's a whole food based nutrition supplement, including juice powder concentrates from 17 different fruits, vegetables and grains. The idea was born because the founder realized that people don't get the daily recommended servings of fruits and vegetables, and the negative implications this has on our health! Thus, a simple, convenient, and inexpensive way to add more nutrition from fruits and vegetables to our diets just made sense!


Hmmm...Why hadn't I heard of this before? I'm a pretty healthy eater, love reading about nutrition and health, have taken vitamins as long as I can remember, and am always one for good old fashioned exercise. My first introduction to Juice Plus+ came through a friend a few months ago and I was both intrigued and perplexed by the idea of whole foods supplements. So, I did what any good student would, I researched the company, product, whole food supplements, and the link between fruits and veggies and disease (cancer, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, osteoporosis and many more) and immunity. The result? Whole Foods Nutrition is not a fad. Juice Plus+ has been around for almost 20 years and is the most researched nutrition supplement out there. I also found many articles that support the notion that what we eat influences our health over time and thus science is interested in what is the best diet for maintaining health through all the stages of life. I also learned that the effect of fruits and vegetables on our long-term health is cumulative, helping to protect us from the ravages of time and our own metabolism. Heck if that's the case, I'll have a double dose, haha! To read more on this topic check here and here!


All of this information was so exciting to me that I had to try Juice Plus+ myself to see if I could truly tell a difference in my body/life. I mean, the proof is in the pudding, right?!? So, I took the challenge and took the Garden and Orchard Blend capsules for a month. I consider myself pretty healthy, so I figured it would take a while to notice a difference, but low and behold, I seriously had more energy after only a week!!! I was used to crashing at my desk in the afternoons and reaching for a Diet Coke (bad I know) to keep me awake and had lost this urge. Then, the longer I took it the more I realized that I was more in tune to my body. I was more regular (pardon the TMI), craved water, and just felt like a well-oiled machine, haha. Can't really describe it any better.

After doing my homework, taking the challenge and talking to others about Juice Plus+ (realizing that many of my close friends and their families take it), I signed up. Not only as a customer, but as a distributor too. I mean, how can I NOT tell people that I love and care about how important fruits and vegetables are to their diet and that I've found a way to get more of them into mine that's easy, convenient and inexpensive?! This has been such a fun and educational journey for me and I look forward to sharing the ride with you guys!!!


Oh, and I this new endeavor has also motivated me to kick my pop habit. Thus I'm a little over 3 weeks without this syrupy serpent and have never felt better! Yay!


If you are interested in learning more about how to "be good to your body" and how fruits and veggies can help, check out my website: www.mslapejuiceplus.com. Or email me at mslape@gmail.com, and I'd be happy to get you on the path to better health for your future!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday 5!!!!! 8.21.09

Each week you'll find a weekend size taste of Chicago and Park happenings. So don't be out of the loop...check back each week for the full scoop! http://park242.wordpress.com/

1) 2/42 & 30Somethings @ the Chicago Summer Dance Festival

Take off your work shoes and slip on your dancing shoes tonight! Join Park’s 2/42 and 30Somethings group at Grant Park for a fun evening of dancing in the park as part of the Chicago Summer Dance Festival. Don’t have smooth moves on the dance floor? Not to worry, dance instruction begins at 6p.m. and you’ll have until 9:30p.m. to perfect your moves! Meet Zhenya and others at the entrance sign. Email zslundgren@gmail.com for more details. Aug. 21, 6-9p.m., Cost: Free, Grant Park, 601 S. Michigan Ave.

2) Millennium Park Workouts

Can’t get to the gym on Saturday mornings? How about Millennium Park? That’s right, every Saturday through Sept. 19, Lake Shore Athletic Club hosts free workouts in Millennium Park. What better way to start a Saturday than doing the downward dog with thousands of your best Chicago friends?!? Four 45 min classes offered on the Great Lawn: Tai chi (7 a.m.), Yoga (8 a.m.), Pilates (9 a.m.) and Aerobic Dance/Martial Arts (10 a.m.). Get ready to sweat…this ain’t no walk in the park! Aug. 22, 7-11a.m., Free Admission, http://www.millenniumpark.org/parkevents/fitness.aspx



3) Lake View Music Fest

No Chicago weekend would be complete without a festival or two beckoning you off the beaches of North Ave. This weekend Lake View hosts their 5th annual fest full of continuous live music – with the likes of Stache!, Too White Crew, Trash Martini and Wedding Banned you’re sure to be entertained. Got the urge to splurge? Shopping will be plenty as local merchants display the best of their summer stash. And what would a festival be without eats? Get your fill from tastings of local restaurants and be on your merry way! Aug. 22-23, 12-10p.m., Cost: $5-$7 donation, 3600 N. Sheffield (Sheffield & Addison), http://www.chicagoevents.com/event.cfm?eid=134



4) St. Demetrios 60th Annual Greek Festival

Prepare to experience Greece right in your back yard. That’s right, no expensive air ticket, luggage or small fortune necessary. This longstanding Greek Fest is sure to please with live music, traditional folk dancing, carnival games and of course delicious Greek fare! Homemade souvlaki, lamb, chicken, homemade pastries, loukoumades and other Greek specialties will be in abundance, so eat your heart out! Aug. 21-22, 5-11p.m., Aug. 23, 12p.m.-12a.m., Admission: $2, Free Parking, St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church 2727 W. Winona St.


5) Glamorama 2009

Calling all fashion and hip-hop divas & dudes!!! Ne-Yo headlines this 11th annual fall fashion event featuring designers such as Jean Paul Gaultier, Marc Jacobs, Max Mara and more. Entertainment will also include The New Standards and Jadyn Maria. Open-to-the-public after party at Underground. Aug. 21, 8p.m., Tickets $50-$1,000 (ticketmaster.com), The Chicago Theater 175 N. State St., http://www.thechicagotheatre.com/events/macys-glamorama-2009.html



Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday 5!!!!!

Hello my Blog Friends!!! I know I've been a bit delinquent in my posting the past few mos, but I'm back! And wanted to share with you something new for me. I've been asked to do a weekly posting for the Park Community Church Blog. The jist? Friday Five - Each week you'll find a weekend size taste of Chicago and Park happenings. So don't be out of the loop...check back each week for the full scoop!

So without further ado...http://park242.wordpress.com/2009/08/14/friday-5/

1) 2/42 @ the Symphony

The 2|42 group is heading to Millennium Park Friday to hear Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. What better way to kick back after a long laborious week than on the lush lawn of the Pritzker Pavilion? You’ll be sure to leave with a smile following Beethoven’s famous “Ode to Joy”! Look for the 2|42 flag or contact Alyssa Bray 312.343.3674 or Russ Lewandowski 810.820.0909 to meet up with the group. Blankets/chairs and food/beverage are a must! Cost is FREE! Aug. 14, 6:30-7:45p.m., 201. E. Randolph St. http://www.grantparkmusicfestival.com/.


2) Air & Water Show

Nothing brings the city to life more than the annual Air & Water Show. For 51 years this show has drawn millions to Chicago’s magnificent lakefront and has become the largest spectator event in the U.S. Headliners this year are the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights and U.S. Navy Parachute Team Leap Frogs. Snag a spot along North Ave and Oak Street Beaches for prime views. Or you can try and finagle your way onto a lakefront rooftop and feel the air brush your cheeks as they whiz by! Aug. 15-16, 10a.m. – 4p.m., Free Admission, 1600 N. Lake Shore Drive.



3) Green Music Fest

Love Music? Love our planet? Head to the Green Music Fest this weekend. Relish in all things

green – think eco-friendly vendors, eco-conscious bands, free bike valet parking, recycling stations, a book swap, yoga and more! It’s Mother Nature Palooza! Aug. 15-16, noon-10 p.m. Tickets $11.50-$25, kids under 12 are free. 1330 W. Chicago Ave., www.greenmusicfestchicago.com.


4) Bicycle Film Festival

The Bicycle Film Festival at Columbia College stars the two-wheeler in a variety of movies. Check out "WHERE ARE YOU GO," a film about the Tour d'Afrique, one of the world's longest cycling races. Action-packed with 7,000 miles of pure adventure. Aug. 14, 7 p.m. Tickets are $10. 1104 S. Wabash Ave., 8th Floor, Watch the trailer. Fulfill all your cycling thrills with a movie marathon. Shows going on all weekend! Aug. 14, 5-10p.m., Aug. 15-16, 12-10p.m. Columbia College - 1104 S. Wabash, 8th Floor, Tickets $10, www.bicyclefilmfestival.com.


5) Play Ball!

Get outside and enjoy one of America’s favorite past times this weekend. Root on the Cubbies vs. Pirates, Friday 1:20p.m., Saturday 12:05p.m., or Sunday 1:20p.m. The odds are good as the Pirates are on an 8 game losing streak! 1060 W Addison St., http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com.



Thursday, August 6, 2009

Colorado Calling!


Go West Young Woman, Go West...


That's exactly what I did for 4 days last weekend. And man did the West live up to the promises of the glories and majesty, the hope and the dreams, the beauty and wonder that my heart desired. I planned this getaway to do just that. To get away from the concrete jungle in which I "live". Yet what I found in Colorado, was that I am not really "living" rather, I am getting by. I don't mean to imply that I don't embrace life and tackle it head on, but that true adventure is surely lacking in my day to day life. I have known this for some time, and have squelched these unpleasant reminders with busyness and travels - getting my fill on long weekends to get me by. Luckily, this weekend surely had enough steam behind it to keep me going until the next escapade! :)

So here's the story of my adventures with Dan in Colorado! Thursday night I flew into Denver and was welcomed by Dan and Savannah (his jeep) and we headed to a friend's going away party. And upon arrival, the craziest thing happened... I walk in the door of the house party and a girl says "Michelle?". Shocked I turn around and see Rainey, a girl I went to college with at OSU and studied abroad with!!! Talk about small world! I had no clue what had become of her since we parted ways 3 years ago and it was quite the pleasant surprise. The party continued at a local bar and I just enjoyed getting to reminisce with Rainey and meet some of Dan's HS friends, and see a wee bit of Denver too before spending the night in Colorado Springs.

Garden of the Gods!


Friday morning came bright and early...for some reason I couldn't sleep in at all during this trip, hmmm...chalking it up to the mountain air. Dan, his mom and I made a breakfast of champions (blueberry pancakes, sausage and fruit) and ate our yummy meal on their balcony overlooking lush pine trees and blue skies. It was heaven. Then we were off for a speedy day of errands and visits before packing up the house and cars for our trip to Breckenridge. We made a pit stop in Denver to check out the place Dan is interested in buying and to have dinner with his parent's friends. Ironically enough, the chosen restaurant was "Old Chicago" haha. Seeing as I was trying to "get away" from Chicago, I found this to be pretty funny. We rolled into Breck pretty late and got settled into their home there.

Saturday was a glorious day. I awoke to sun shining through the closed curtains and warm oatmeal cooking for breakfast. I immediately jumped at the chance to peer outside as soon as I woke b/c the night before everything was pitch black. Like a kid at Christmas I was giddy at my first glimpse of the mountains before me.

After breakfast we prepared to brave the trails on our bikes. And i'm not talking a light jaunt. Nope, a full-on 38 mile path...in the MOUNTAINS! We had enough bikes at the house for everyone, and Dan and I were tackling this road bike excursion on mountain bikes - not the easiest form of recreation.

The most entertaining part of the day was when I was consulting Betty (Dan's mom) on what to wear. You see I had brought my own cycling shorts, but as luck would have it, Betty found something far more appropriate for me to wear - a 1980s spandex cycling
unitard with sleeves that zipped up the front! I'm talking green, pink, blue, and white floral print that accented some black areas...wow. Never did I expect to see the day that I would don full out spandex, haha. I'm blaming it on the mountain air again!
My sexy spandex!
The Crew!

Half way!

The bike ride itself was awesome. The views were monumental and the exercise challenging. I loved every minute of it...even the ones where i had to stop riding b/c i was wheezing too hard to breath in the thin air! Ultimately, I made finished the ride, but not without some battle wounds. This was my first time biking outside with clips and at one point I flat out fell over in a parking lot b/c I stopped without taking my shoe out of the clip, silly me! I joked that my pride wasn't hurt b/c that had already been accomplished with the spandex!!!


An after dinner hot tub session was the perfect remedy for this
loooong day of biking. And helped me get back on the horse (figuratively speaking) for our trip back to Denver for another going away party for the same guy, lucky guy, huh?! We had a fun night meeting new people and catching up with old friends before hauling it back to Breck.


Sunday started with a fabulous church service in an outdoor amphitheater overlooking a stream. Talk about powerful worship. Signs of the Creator were everywhere and His presence was unavoidable. After the service Dan and I took a quick wade in the stream, I foolishly not knowing how cold glacier melt water could be. That excursion lasted all of about 2 minutes before my feet started going numb and I pounced back onto dry land! That afternoon we went 4-wheeling in Savannah (the jeep) and it was awesome. We took all these mountain trails and climbed our way through the unthinkable. We were able to see an amazing waterfall and blue lakes against rugged gray mountains and soak in the pristine mountain air...we got a little muddy too. :)

Chillin' with Savannah!



We finished up this perfect day by grilling out for dinner and I made my delish "Puppy Chow" cookies - seriously, they taste just like puppy chow and aren't as mess - for dessert. Topped that off with another night in the hot tub gazing at the diamonds in the Colorado sky.

Monday a.m. was an early one. I was flying out later that night and we had lots to accomplish in the meantime! Like....a 14er called Quandary (14,254')! I was super excited for this day b/c I had always been intrigued by the thought of hiking a mountain, but a little anxious about my ability to do so. I mean, the air was thin enough as is and I just wasn't sure the old lungs would hold up, haha. But not to fear. Dan was an amazing coach and gave me lots of pointers and time to catch my breath and just take in this adventure. It was probably one of the most challenging, yet rewarding things I've done. Once at the top it started snowing and then thundering and raining and I didn't complain a bit...it added to the novelty of where I was - the peak. What a feeling. I only wish words could describe my heart at that moment. Literally breathtaking views, so close to God I could feel his sweet breath on my cheeks, I was at peace.

Almost there!!!

The trail...don't you see it?

On top of the world!
The Trailhead after the climb...It is finished :)

We relished it as long as we could afford to and then made a hasty trek down the mountain (down is much, much easier for a flat lander!). As much as I hated to relinquish that moment on the mountain top, I had to accept that as with life, there is very little that is lasting. This realization is both comforting and concerning. It means the hard and tumultuous times do have an end in sight, good right? Yet, it means that the beautiful, lovely, wonderful things in life will ultimately end too, bad right? Yes and no. These revelations lead me to the cross. To the One Good that will never end. To the most beautiful, the most lovely and the most wonderful thing man can know...the Creator. Wow...I just love it when God takes my adventure, my "get away" and makes it His! So until next time, I will hang on this taste of heaven and keep my eyes on the Creator.