Thursday Things

1. As a self-declared expert on all things Cookie Butter, I took it upon myself to sample Trader Joe’s newest offerings, Cookie Butter Ice Cream and Cookies & Creme Cookie Butter, so that I could report back to all of you with my reliable opinion. The sacrifices I make for my readership :P

cookies and creme cookie butter, cookie butter, trader joes

I’m not gonna lie: I was nervous about Cookies & Creme Cookie Butter. I bought a jar of Cookie & Cocoa Swirl last year and was WOEFULLY underwhelmed. I feared Cookies & Creme Cookie Butter would disappoint me as well, but I’m happy to announce that that was not the case at all. I know this is a bold claim, but I think Cookies & Creme Cookie Butter just may be better than the original product. Though, to be fair, comparing Cookies & Creme Cookie Butter to regular Cookie Butter is a bit like comparing apples and oranges. Nevertheless, this stuff is AMAZING, and I love it.

cookie butter ice cream, cookie butter, trader joes

I was also pleasantly surprised by Cookie Butter Ice Cream. Trader Joe was VERY generous with the cookie butter swirl, and since I think we can all agree that the quality of ice cream with add-ins hangs entirely on the ice cream:add-in ratio, I’m quite satisfied with this ice cream. It’s perfectly cookie butter-y while also retaining crucial ice cream flavor qualities. High fives all around.

Based on these tests, I’m happy to bring you, for the first time ever, Bethany’s Definitive Cookie Butter Ranking:

1. Cookie Butter AND Cookies & Creme Cookie Butter (see: apples and oranges)
2. Cookie Butter Ice Cream
3. Crunchy Cookie Butter
4. Cookie & Cocoa Swirl

You’re welcome :)

2. Last Friday, I went to Lincoln Hall with one of my good friends from college to see Noah Gundersen in concert.


Since we are now ~Lincoln Hall Veterans~ (i.e., this was my…fifth show at Lincoln Hall? I think? It was somewhere in that neighborhood for my friend, too), we knew to show up way late so as to avoid the openers. My phone ended up FREAKING THE EFF OUT right before I left home (I tell ya, this iPhone 6 is more trouble than it’s worth), which delayed my arrival and made us even later than we originally planned to be. It actually ended up working out great, because by the time we went in, the second opener only had one or two more songs to get through until Noah Gundersen came on.

As is almost always the case when I go to shows, I, personally, was not familiar with the artist prior to the show, but I had done my “research” (that is, I found full albums on YouTube and listened to them a couple of times) and really liked Noah Gundersen’s voice, so I figured it’d be a good show. And it was! Perhaps not the cheeriest music you’ve ever heard, but that’s probably why my indie friend invited me along, rather than my EDM friend :P

BUT. The encore included on of the coolest concert moments I’ve experienced to date. With just one light shining on stage, Noah, along with his sister Abby and brother Ivan (who are both in the band), came out and sang Poor Man’s Son acapella while everyone in the audience sang along. It was an incredible moment.

3. It’s my least favorite day of the year tomorrow! Haha. Costumes are not my thing at all, and therefore Halloween is not my thing at all. Instead, I will be going to physical therapy, because that’s what I do on Halloween (true life, actually. I had my video gait analysis on Halloween last year, and I have a PT appointment tomorrow. Does this make PT my Halloween tradition? :P ). Plus they have good candy at PT, so I can take advantage of the only part of Halloween I like without worrying about any of the parts I don’t like. AND once Halloween’s over, we can finally move on to Thanksgiving, which I do like very much :)

Cookie butter opinions?
What are you going to be for Halloween? I’ll live vicariously through you :P


Filed under Life

What’s Next

The end of marathon season once again left a bit of a void in my exercise life. After four and a half months of knowing exactly what I needed to do in terms of training (and thus in terms of exercising), I now need to find ways to get movement into my day.

After kinda sorta taking a full week off exercise (if you don’t count dance [which definitely counts] and a run the Saturday after the marathon [which, at 2.83 miles, I don't think counts ;) ]), I jumped back on the fitness train last Monday with ClassPass.


ClassPass exists in a fair number of major cities around the U.S., but in case you happen to live in an area without ClassPass, ClassPass is New York-based startup where, for $99 per month, you can take a class at any studio within ClassPass’s network. Your $99 buys you unlimited class access in the sense that you can take as many workout classes during that month as you want, but is limited in the sense that you can only visit the same studio three times per month. I don’t know how many studios are in ClassPass’s network in other cities, but currently ClassPass has over 60 studios in its Chicago network. Needless to say, it’s not that difficult to avoid going to one particular studio more than three times in a month.

If you don’t keep tabs on usual fitness studio prices, ClassPass is an INSANE deal. A drop-in class at most studios around Chicago will run you $20+ a pop, so to pay $99 for basically unlimited access is crazy. Unless I won the lottery, I could never, ever afford to visit fitness studios for a month. Heck, unless I won the lottery, I couldn’t even afford one single month at any one studio. I’m taking FULL advantage of ClassPass and hope to hit up as many different studios as possible between now and mid-November when my month runs out. If this past week has been any indication, the next month will involve a whole lot of HIIT-style cardio/strength classes, Pilates and yoga. (I also took one barre class so far, but real talk: I hate barre classes. Loathe them. Despise them. Abhor them. You get the picture. Life (and one month of ClassPass) is too short to waste my time in fitness classes that I don’t like when there are so many other available options, so I doubt I’ll hit up too many other barre classes during ClassPass unless I have no other options.) I’ll keep you posted on all my ClassPass experiences throughout the month :)

I am, of course, still in PT until kingdom come (though I told my PT that we absolutely have to break up by New Year’s Eve, because that’s when my deductible resets, and, barring another lottery win, I DEFINITELY can’t afford to hit my deductible again), but *hopefully* that will all be done in mid-November as well (coincidentally, my last day of ClassPass and my last scheduled PT appointment are on the same day). At this exact moment, I feel like most of my injuries are day-to-day. My knee is just fine when I don’t run, though when I ran on a treadmill during one of my ClassPass classes, it wasn’t happy. My shoulder follow a predictable pattern of progressively getting better throughout the week until I do shoulder-y exercises, whether at the gym, in PT itself, or at dance…so there’s that. But at least it’s kind of getting better?

Speaking of the gym: obviously I won’t be spending too much time there during my ClassPass month, but I still had a few personal training sessions left on my account after the marathon. My trainer thought it’d be silly to throw those away (as did I!), so I’m still meeting with him at least once a week until those run out as well…which, once again, will probably happen in mid-November. Basically, I really need to look into winning the lottery right before Thanksgiving, because all my current fitness endeavors will end at the same time, and I will be gym-less, PT-less, and ClassPass-less all that the same time. Bad news bears.

With the exception of that one 2.83-mile run, I plan to not run at all until November 13, a full month after the marathon (aside from running that happens during a ClassPass class, of course). I want to give my body a break from running so I (hopefully) heal up fully. I have two 5Ks I plan to run in December, but I’m not particularly concerned with my ability to run either one of those, even with taking this much time off running. If nothing else, knowing I have these races coming up motivates me to work harder during my HIIT classes, in hopes that the work I put in during tough intervals will make up for my lack of running.

I’m eventually going to have to cough up some $$ to join a gym once my current membership runs out, but I’m hoping to subsist on workout DVDs and/or “first week free” places for the month of December, since I know most gyms around here waive joining fees around January 1. I’ll be home for at least a week in December anyway with Christmas, and it seems silly to pay for a full month and pay for joining fees when I know I could get a better deal (and use a full month’s membership) later on in the year.

And that’s that! It should keep me pretty busy, and hopefully will help my body get more into a shape I’d like and less in a post-marathon blob sort of shape ;)

Do you have a favorite fitness class?
Any ideas on how to work out for free? I’m really dreading losing my gym membership :/


Filed under Fitness

Thursday Things

1. I have a first world problem. I got the new iPhone 6 a couple of weeks ago (not because I’m so ~with it~ when it comes to technology, but because I was due for an upgrade. Hooray convenient timing!), and finally activated my phone last week. It was a traumatic occasion, as I was 100% sure I was going to ruin everything and my iPhone would explode or something equally disastrous, but after much tension and no actual problems, I got everything all set up.

Quick backstory: I’m weird and particular about certain things, and one of those things is iMessage. For no real reason other than not wanting to use data when we had unlimited texting, I always had iMessage turned off on my iPhone 5 (prior to my iPhone 5, I had a Tracfone, so obviously iMessaging was not a part of my life :P ). My family HATED that I refused to turn on iMessage, especially my mom, who would use iMessage via her iPad to communicate with everyone except me, because I was stubborn and weird (at the time, she didn’t have an iPhone and therefore could not be included on family group texts). Because iOS 8 comes with the ability to get out of group texts, however, and because I think (though maybe I’m wrong…please, someone inform me if I’m wrong) the opt-out only works when using iMessage, I begrudgingly turned iMessage on after setting up my iPhone 6.


To announce my entrance into the iMessage world, I jumped onto my family’s group text to send them a snarky, “I hope you’re happy now.” My brother soon responded, saying, “Yay Bethany! But why are you sending it using your email address instead of your phone number?”


I had no CLUE I was sending iMessages using my email, and I had no clue how to stop it. Much drama ensued.


My brother eventually called to talk me off the ledge, and I thought I had solved all my iMessaging problems. Lately, however, I’ve found myself with a more troubling problem: my phone doesn’t tell me when I have text messages. Instead of popping up on the lock screen like they, you know, have been told to do, my phone usually just decides to not inform me that I’ve gotten a new message unless I actually unlock my phone and see, oh, whoops — totally missed that entire conversation. MY B.

Of course, there’s no rhyme or reason to when my phone decides to tell me that I’ve received text messages. Sometimes it does right away, sometimes it does 15-45 minutes after the fact, sometimes it just doesn’t tell me at all. I updated my software on Tuesday, assuming this would solve the problem, but nope: still not getting text notifications, at least not all the time.

Obviously I realize in the grand scheme of things that this is a pretty insignificant problem, but it’s really obnoxious, and I don’t know how to fix it :(

2. It’s been awhile since I’ve had anything to note about my office’s bathroom, but this appeared on one of the stall doors earlier this week:


Lulz. I <3 passive aggression. What I <3 even more is that the unflushed toilet that prompted this note has long since been flushed, and likely has been cleaned more than once since the note was posted, and yet the note still stays on the stall door. People are weird.

3. Last Thursday, I went to a pre-wedding party with a friend. I had been invited to said party three weeks or so before the occasion and had duly rescheduled the post-marathon massage I had originally scheduled for that same day and time to last Friday instead. Before the party, I was hanging out with my friend and asked about the wedding. I had assumed my friend was going to the pre-wedding party in lieu of the event itself, but as it turned out he did plan to go to the wedding, but had opted to not invite me since the wedding was at 3:30 that Friday, and I had work. That was all fine by me, since I had only met the bride (one of my friend’s supervisors) once or twice before, so it’s not like I was exactly on invite-to-the-wedding status with her.

We went to the pre-wedding party (I don’t know if that was actually the shindig’s official title, but I don’t know what else to call it, so we’re going with pre-wedding party) and took full advantage of the dessert table and limited advantage of the open bar (see: I had work the next day). This pre-wedding party, for those of you engaged, on your way to being engaged, or who hope to someday be engaged, was a genius idea, in my humble opinion. The couple rented out event space in the wedding’s ~official~ hotel and had an open house style event where people could come and go and mingle as they pleased, without all the OMGWEDDINGDAY madness that, in my experience, tends to accompany wedding ceremonies and receptions. When my friend and I were ready to leave, we went to say goodbye to the bride, who then asked if we were both coming tomorrow. I somehow eloquently managed to say, “Well, I would have if I had been invited, but I wasn’t, so I’m not,” in a much less blunt, much more polite, much more accurate-to-my-nonexistent-level-of-bitterness way, to which the bride was like, “Come anyway!” I protested that I hadn’t RSVPed, I didn’t want to mess up table arrangements, etc. etc., and the bride was like, “Don’t worry about it! Just show up.”

And that, friends, is how I found myself invited to a wedding 17.5 hours before the ceremony began.

Obviously, this presented a few logistical challenges, including, but not limited to, the fact that I hadn’t taken Friday off of work, and the fact that I had a pre-paid massage booked for 5:30 on Friday afternoon, and my 24-hour window for cancellation had long since passed (which, to my understanding, would not only have meant I had lost the money I used to pre-pay for said massage, but also would’ve been slammed with a 50% cancellation fee on top of that, putting me somewhere in the neighborhood of paying over $100 for a massage I didn’t get). The work situation wasn’t too difficult to maneuver, since the office tends to be pretty chill on Fridays, so I was able to take the afternoon off without trouble. To remedy the massage situation, I figured I’d just go to the 3:30 ceremony and skip the reception, thus avoiding any last-minute table seating chart issues. No harm, no foul.

I ended up attending the wedding ceremony and then successfully navigated my way from Bridgeport (where I have never been before) to Lakeview using only the CTA, a fact of which I (and my wallet) are most proud and made it to my massage…almost on time. I was five minutes late. But they let me have my massage anyway :)

Then on Tuesday when I saw my friend and asked about the reception, he told me that they had actually moved him to a different table because they planned on me being there. Oops. We’ve agreed that next time one of his supervisors gets married, he’ll invite me two days beforehand, rather than the night before :P

iPhone woes?
Funny wedding situations?



Filed under Life