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Chicago Christmas: Runner Gifts #2 and Friday Favorites!


subtitled, ALLTHESHOES and getting spoiled rotten 😀

Have you ever tried Sprouted Bread? Check out my review and giveaway for Manna Organic Bakery Sprouted Bread and start your new year healthfully!

And don’t miss my recap from Wednesday of Alex’s and my return to Orzo, the restaurant in Charlottesville that I worked at–working there changed my life for the better in so many ways, and it was a pleasure to return again as a diner.

I hope that all have also enjoyed fabulous holidays, regardless of how you celebrate (and if you don’t celebrate anything, well then, I’m sorry….). We were fortunate to have an incredible holiday, filled with immaterial and material gifts–both in quantity and quality. I can only hope to enjoy this kind of peace and happiness all the years of my life!

My favorite moments: 

Sitting across from Alex at the office while we both worked (nobody was in, we had just had lunch at Eggy’s, and he needed to do some work).

Waking up to find Zoe curled up between our feet (which she has never done before!) at 2 AM in the morning. She really just likes our new comforter. AKA she is obsessed.

(old pic)

(old pic)

Getting to 30 tiers at Jenga by candlelight and Christmas music while drinking wine and eating chips before dinner Sunday (and again twice more during the week). Then deciding on a whim to have another date night and head to our fave Cantina Laredo Tuesday.

Saffron rice, green beans, and the coho and Atlantic salmons done like my easy mustard salmon

Saffron rice, green beans, and the coho and Atlantic salmons done like my easy mustard salmon

Comparing different types of Salmon (Atlantic vs Coho) with Alex for dinner on Tuesday.

Watching Christmas Vacation while drinking Baileys and Makers in decaf pumpkin spice coffee, then having our Christmas Eve pasta dinner Wednesday, then watching Thor 2 (can we talk about Chris Helmsworth?) while eating chocolate covered oreos…… dipped in Baileys.

On Christmas Day proper, a run in my new shoes (details in a mo), opening $.99 stockings sent from my mom and a few other little gifts, napping on the couch (instead of watching Elf haha), going on a nice walk and getting a Gingerbread latte, going to see Hunger Games, and going for sushi. (Remember those traditions?) We held off on the panettone french toast this year because we both wok up at such different times and went to the gym/run and our appetites were all over the place!

IMAG2007Also, if you need to hide from the TV (that appears to only be able to show basketball, use flowers).

Now, a bit about the gifts 😀

A quick thank you to these lovely ladies! Heather, Nicole, and Jill.

Round 1 (Virginia Christmas)

Saucony Ulti-Mitts, Yaktrax Run, and the new snowflake ProCompression Socks!

Saucony Ulti-Mitts, Yaktrax Run, and the new snowflake ProCompression Socks!

(see round 1 here!)

I already have worn in the gloves! They are great, but a little thinner than I thought, but with handwarmers (as I talked about in this post), they will be perfect!

Round 2 (Chicago Christmas)

Remember how I got that smorgasbord of packages when we got back from Virginia? Well, there were a few things in there for me (and don’t worry, some were for others :D) Round 2 of Christmas was a bit more footwear focused, I have to say–let’s just say, Mama got Suz some new pairs of shoes! And yes, they were the same as the last time that I said that!

Tom’s One for One Black Metallic Synthetic Leather Desert Wedges

metallic wedges

A little different of a style for me, but I like wedges (especially because of my walk to work) and these are supposed to be hella comfy.

TOM’s One for One Celestial Blue Knit Classics

blue knit toms

I love TOMs, and I basically stole Mom’s version of these while I was in Georgia for Thanksgiving. And these are so cute and shearling lined!

Newton Running Kismets (new color!)

newton kismets 2

Yay! Now I have some other shoes to break in for the marathon! When I saw on Runner’s Warehouse that Newton was coming out with a new color for the Kismet (see my shoe review), I knew that they were going to be on my list. Well, wahoooooodydoo, not only did the new color come out in time, but I found a coupon (Thank you, Erica!) for a major discount! Now I won’t get my 2 pairs confused (often a problem with my Defyances), and I can even keep a pair at the office, though I will still have to shuttle my orthotics back and forth.

Newton Running BOCO AT

newton boco at

Well, the discount meant that I could indulge my desire to try out trail shoes on the mixed bag of conditions that we find here in Chicago. My Yaktrax (that I got from my in-laws) will be fabulous for when it does really snow, as well as when I go out to run with Mo in the burbs, but I would like to have shoes that are a bit more tough, water repellent, and have better traction on problematic surfaces. These are going to be a little bit different than the Kismets, but I hope that they will do more help than harm!  I ran in them on Christmas morning to break them in in case I need to wear them this weekend–super duper comfortable and nice and warm feeling.


Oh, and I got ugly sweater Christmas socks with my purchase 😀

Best Gift that I received?

Alex really outdid himself. I had said that there was only 1 thing that I really wanted for Christmas, and that was a medal rack. I almost got one last year, but then I couldn’t really figure out which one I wanted. Well, Alex hit the nail on the head.

i run these towns medal display

How perfect is this medal display? So proud. It will be here in a few days! (from Gone For A Run medal displays)

He also got me a 3 piece kit for taking pictures–it comes with a tripod, light, and changeable backgrounds! I am SO EXCITED.

And even better? He sent me on fun little scavenger hunt through the apartment (he only had to help me with one clue!) that ended with me getting little cards showing me my gifts! I had talked with Alex about maybe doing a photography class, but yesterday, I decided that we should look into that together as a join present. We both want to learn to take better pictures, especially after that Instagram workshop. I have a fabulous camera, a phone with a great camera, and I feel like I often just get lucky. We are trying to find one that we can both go on!


Meanwhile, I made him look like an alcoholic and gave him Makers Mark, Baileys, and Crabbies…. And gave them to him a day early because he was about to buy some for himself!

I guess what I am saying is that all the gifts are lovely (hello, I love Toms and Newtons), but really? I would give it all up in a flash to have these moments with the people I love most. To be sent $.99 stockings, play Jenga while drinking cheap wine and Chex chips, and to cook all of our meals from basic ingredients. To snuggle with my kitty, make my husband crazy concoctions, and talk to my loved ones, be it in person or on the phone.

Happy Holidays to all–I hope that you had exactly the day that you needed–one that spoiled you rotten 😀

Any new traditions to share?

Tell me the best material and non material gift you received this holiday season!

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