Battle of the Yoga Pants

On the same day the price of Lululemon’s shares took a precipitous tumble, I am writing a post comparing their Align Pant with Athleta’s Salutation Pant.  First things first, I love both of these pants and rarely wear anything else to yoga.  If it’s a hot yoga class, I’m partial to Lululemon’s Wunder Under Shorts or the discontinued Liberty Shorts.

Let’s get to it–

Lululemon’s Align pant definitely seem like they would be see-through, but I tried them on in-store and I bent and stretch every which way and was all clear.  I don’t like super compression tights, so these are terrific.  They’re a 7/8 length, which is great because Lululemon pants are often quite long on me (I’m 5’3..and a half).  The ankle does stretch out a bit after a wash or two (I wash all of my yoga pants inside out and generally by themselves–I only dry them for 15-20 minutes and let them air dry the rest of the way).  I also have the Align crops (19″ long) and there’s no problem with stretching out on those.  I love that these are seamless–it really feels like you’re wearing nothing at all.  One item to note, certain lighter colors show sweat very easily.  I returned the dark red color because of this problem.  The navy and black are fine–I’d steer clear of anything lighter though.  Size-wise, these run a little bigger than Lululemons other pants.

Pros: Soft, non-compression fabric.  7/8 length. Seamless.

Cons: Ankle stretched out after a few wears/washes. Light colors show sweat quite easily.

Athleta’s Salutation pant is similar to the Align pant.  They’re a little tighter (these are my first pair of Athleta pants, so I don’t know how the others compare, but I got an XS) and the fabric, while very similar, isn’t identical. These are less expensive (by about $20) than the Align pant.  These do have seams, which I don’t love but isn’t a deal breaker by any means.  These are also 7/8 length and the ankles are intact after the first wash.  (I just bought these a few days ago, so I’ve only washed them once.)

Pros: 7/8 length. Price.  Sleek fabric.

Cons: Little too much like compression tights.  Seams.

Overall, I really like both, but give my official endorsement to Lululemon’s Align pants.  Hopefully my endorsement takes them out of the red after today’s disappointing sales forecast.

Goodbye for meow.

Chocolate Avocado Pudding

img_2343I’m really proud of this one because I’ve been making variations of this recipe for months and I finally found one that is truly delicious.  The secret was adding a little bit (well, like, a half cup, actually) of brown sugar–without it, it’s just too bitter for me.  If you like really dark chocolate, maybe you can pass on the brown sugar.  I made this over the weekend when my dad came over for dinner (I made this super easy eggplant Parmesan recipe) and even he liked it, and he’s not really a dessert guy.

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  • 2 avocados
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk (I used an unsweetened vanilla flavor, which I recommend)
  • crushed pecans for topping (optional)

Blend it all together, let it chill in the refrigerator for a half hour or so, and serve!

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Goodbye for meow.

5 Things Friday

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Workin’ for the weekend!  Am I right?!  Well, I didn’t do a lot of ‘work’ this week per se, but I’m still ready for the weekend.  A few items from my first full week back in Chicago:


Library Card.  I got my library card at the historic Harold Washington Library this morning!  I used my library card in DC all the time and I was inordinately happy to get my card this morning.  I really don’t like reading books (or magazines for that matter) on my iPad–it strains my eyes (I’ll be 85 and a half in July, thanks for asking!).  I also don’t really like having books around after I’ve read them, they take up a lot of space.  Thus, the library is a very happy place for me.  Also, in case you’re wondering, I’ve never witnessed anyone doing anything indecent at the public computer terminals.  I’ve seen folks napping or talking loudly to themselves, but nothing more disruptive than that.



The DMV.  I also got my Illinois Driver’s License.  That was a much less exciting experience, but it meant that I was able to get my Chicago library card so, ya know, you take the good with the bad.


Sweetgreen.  In DC, I ate a lot of Sweetgreen.  I visited the Sweetgreen in River North this week and the quality of the end product and consistency of dressing allocation left a lot to be desired.  First, the bread was totally different–it tasted fine, but it was very thin. In DC, they have a very delicious, hearty buckwheat bread.  In Chicago, I don’t even know what the bread is, but it isn’t good.  Second, the employees (salad artists?) have a very different interpretation of light, medium, or heavy dressing than I am accustomed to.  Even so, the salads are still delicious, so I’ll be back.  I’ll always be back.


The El. So, I’ve only ridden the el (Chicago’s subway system, its called the el because most of the stations are above ground and the tracks are elevated–hence, the el) a few times this week and I wish I could say I vastly preferred it to the DC metro, I can’t.  I do like that it’s above ground so I don’t feel like a mole person journeying five stories down to the center of the earth to board it.  However, I don’t like that the stations don’t have escalators (this makes me sound lazy and I’m ok with that).  It runs about as frequently as the metro. That is, I waited 12 minutes for the el at Randolph and Wabash in the middle of the day.



Massage.  I got my first massage in over a month this afternoon and, oh boy, was it awesome!  I’m a big advocate for people getting massages–I know they’re not for everybody, but I love them.  I had a 40% coupon from the health club that David and I joined and it only took me two days to use it.  It’s reasonably priced at $75 for an hour-long massage, but even at that price I can’t make it a weekly habit.


Have a terrific weekend!  Goodbye for meow.

When Did Busyness Become a Crutch?


“How’ve you been?”

“Good!  Really busy, but good!”

Honestly, that used to be my default answer pretty much any time someone asked how I was doing—even if I wasn’t all that busy.  Last week, I moved from Washington, DC to my hometown of Chicago.  In DC, I worked full-time, maintained a fairly active social life, and always made time for yoga.  I wasn’t exactly drowning in extracurricular activities, but I felt reasonably busy and was always tired at the end of the day.  I know women who work full time, have children, are active in Junior League (or other volunteer-based organizations), and run marathons.  Busy is, I suppose, in the eye of the beholder, but those women certainly seemed a whole lot busier than me—yet, I always claimed to be a busy little bee.  I did so partly out of a habit—after all, it’s boring to just answer “oh, fine” when someone asks how you’re doing—and partly because that’s what most women seem to say.

Well, no more.  Not after reading this Inc.com piece on busyness being the new status symbol.  The author of the piece draws the phenomenon back to the old adage “time is money.”  So, it stands to reason, that if you’re very busy, your time must also be very valuable (i.e., valuable in terms of dollars and cents).  The author goes on to suggest that this dynamic is beginning to shift as employers put a renewed emphasis on work quality—especially as more and more people take advantage of telecommuting and flexible work hours.  After all, just because you’re sitting at your desk doesn’t mean you’re fully immersed in official business.  I can’t be the only one who occasionally gchats with their friends during the work day…right?

Now that I’m really thinking about it, I was way busier in college than I am now/was in DC.  I was involved in my sorority and in Student Senate all four years (it should come as no surprise that I landed in DC for 8 years after graduation).  I had class during the day and then meetings until 8 or 9 at night and then would head out to, um, fraternize with friends—I’d wake up the next morning, fresh as a daisy, and do it all over again.

I guess this is all to say that, when people tell me how busy they are, I’m going to take it when a grain of salt.  Since I’m not working full time right now, I have very little business saying it myself.  Also, I’ll get more creative with my response to “How are you?”—“I’m fulfilled”, “I’m cranky”, “I’m hungry”, “I’m content,” etc.

Goodbye for meow.

Newly Discovered Snacks


I don’t love to cook–I have high hopes for developing my repertoire of recipes, but this post isn’t about cooking, it’s about snacks.  I love snacks.  Since moving to Chicago, I’ve discovered a number of delicious, healthy-ish snacks.  Here are three of my favorites and one honorable mention:


Emmy’s Coconut Vanilla Macaroons.  These aren’t macaroons as I know them–the French kind or the American kind (at least, I think of that version as distinctly American), but they are delicious.  100 calories per macaroon ans 6 grams of sugar.  I’ve really been trying to watch my sugar intake these last few months.  I can never just cut it out, I’m only human, but I do try to limit my sugar to no more than 20 grams a day.  I limit myself to no more than two macaroons in one sitting (yeah, usually…).  You can order them online or it appears Emmy’s are sold at most Starbucks and a select number of Whole Foods.



I Heart Keenwah Dark Chocolate Puffs.  I’m in the minority, but I really don’t like dark chocolate.  It’s too bitter.  There, I said it.  I Heart Keenwah Dark Puffs (with Pink Himalayan salt) are so good though–after Lake Shore Lady recommended them, I decided to give them a try.  While I don’t like dark chocolate, I do love quinoa, so I was intrigued at the idea of putting them together.  The quinoa is puffed up to be quite large and dipped in chocolate. 140 calories and 6 grams of sugar per serving (serving size is 1 oz).


Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter.  I’m really late to the party on this one, I know.  Sitting here, studying the nutrition label and it’s not exactly unhealthy, but I can’t, in good conscience, say it’s healthy either.  Even so, have I been eating it by the spoonful every six hours or so since purchasing it?  Yes, definitely.  Having a Trader Joe’s in walking distance of my new apartment will be dangerous.


Tera’s Sustained Energy Blend.  This may come as a shock to those of you who know me, but I love Muscle Milk.  Feeling a little sluggish before a yoga class?  Drink half a Muscle Milk.  Feeling depleted after a particularly tough, say, yoga class?  Drink half a Muscle Milk.  Tera’s Sustained Energy Blend is not Muscle Milk.  I’m including it here mostly because I feel good after i drink it and I know it’s really good for me.  It is by no means a tasty treat.  I’m sorry if you feel misled.  I felt misled too, but that’s my mistake.  I mean, I bought this concoction at the health club I just joined, what was I really expecting?  I don’t know, I thought it would taste more like Jamba Juice.



Goodbye for meow.

Are You Engaged? Boy, Do I Have Advice For You!


First, I’m so sorry for the delay in a post.  It’s been almost a week!  As you can imagine, it’s been quite a week with unpacking and getting settled/organized. 

We’re still not completely done, but I’d say we’re about 70-80 percent unpacked.  I swear, it’s as if our boxes somehow doubled in transit to Chicago.  Unpacking, like its colleague, Packing, is so tedious.  Instead of bore you with the details of where we put everything and how our fancy china is now stored in my bedroom closet, I wish to impart some wisdom to folks who may be reading this and are also engaged.

Look at the happy couple in that picture. So happy, so in love, and yet, so naive about all of the crap they’re going to have to haul across the country. 

Unless you love entertaining or really, truly see yourself transforming into someone who entertains, you probably don’t need 28 stemless wine glasses or 8 different kinds of juice glasses (why did I think I would need so many different styles of regular juice glasses?!?) or a thousand napkin rings. 
Now, don’t skimp on items on the registry. Nothing is more annoying than going to a couples registry 3 months before the wedding and seeing that everything has already been purchased. Stock the registry with your must-have items and even the items you’re not sure about (giant decorative bowls? Sure!) but, here comes the advice, be very willing to exchange for a gift card.  (Write a thank you note for the gift that was given though, duh.)  

I wish David and I had been more realistic about knowing which gifts we just weren’t ever going to use–either now or in the future.  An extra trip to Crate and Barrel a year and a half ago would have made for much less stuff to haul back to Chicago. 
Totally my opinion, but a few bigger ticket items that I loved were a Kitchen-Aid mixer, crock pot, and Vitamix. If these make it on to your registry and into your home, do not exchange them! Even if you think you won’t use theme, you will, I promise! 

While we’re on the topic, my favorite wedding gift was this cat statute from one of my mom’s best friends (a fellow cat lover, obviously). It’s about 15 pounds, so it doubles as a weapon in case anyone breaks in to our apartment.

Goodbye for meow. 

Moving Day


As I write this post (from my iPhone), Burrito and I are sitting on the floor on our empty apartment while David and my dad go fetch our moving truck from, this is no joke, the tow lot.

Yesterday, my dad flew to DC to help with the move. Everything, up until about 80 minutes ago, went so smoothly. Picking up the moving truck, the movers themselves were fantastic, cleaned the apartment, had pizza for dinner, and in bed by 9 0’clock. Woke up this morning at 6:30, ate some breakfast, and we’re ready to hit the road. The previous night we had secured a permit from our building to park in the alley behind the building. By 6 o’clock this morning, the moving truck had been towed. As you may know, DC got some snow last night. We were told that the snow would not interfere with our ability to park behind the building as they were spaces privately owned by the building. Well, I already told you the punch line.

The truck got towed.

Here’s hoping my dad and David make it back here in no time at all. But I fear tow lots are even worse than the DMV. Good thing I have Netflix on my phone. I’ll let y’all  know how this turns out. It’s gonna be a loooooong day…

Goodbye for meow.

UPDATE: $330 later, we’re on the road and Chicago bound!

5 Things Friday

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5 Things Friday.  Hopefully you’re spending your weekend doing something much more exciting than packing.


5. Children Invade Dad’s TV Spot.  Children are, I’m told, a blessing.  This video of a guy talking about the South Korean President’s impeachment while his kids disrupt him is too good not to share.  I love how the daughter marches into the room, followed immediately by the baby who rolls on in.


4. Lululemon Align Pants. By far my favorite yoga pants–they have a very light compression so you feel ‘held in’ rather than ‘sucked in.’  Be careful with the lighter colors though, they do show sweat.  And that’s all I’ll say on the matter.  Athleta appears to have a similar style pant, the Salutation Pant, for $20 less that I’d like to give a try.


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3. Relationship Status: Cats.  My new errand running bag and I couldn’t be happier.  I walked around the apartment last night, wearing the bag, and telling David we were no longer married because my relationship status is CATS.  I’m delightful and not at all annoying to live with.


2. Rose’s Luxury.  For my final dinner out in DC, my friends and I are going to the Michelin starred restaurant, Rose’s Luxury.  They don’t take reservations so my dear, dear friends are going to wait in line and I’ll join them once David and I are done packing for the day.  Given that people pay $25-50 for a professional line-waiter at this restaurant, not having to wait in said line is a tremendous going away gift.


1. Girl and the Goat.  One more restaurant to round things out.  My friend and my co-worker got my a gift certificate to Girl and the Goat as a going away gift.  If you live in Chicago, you’ve definitely heard of this restaurant and, even if you don’t live in Chicago you may have heard of it.  I’ve never been and based on their Open Table availability, I’ll have to wait a little while.  Items like bleu cheese sweet potato pierogies and escargot ravioli have me pretty jazzed about trying this Chicago hot spot.

Goodbye for meow.

Top 5 Worst Parts of Moving

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Less than 7 days out and the apartment is in full-on tornado mode.  The posts for the next week or so will be pretty sporadic, my apologies.

Everyone with a pulse knows that moving is stressful and moving across the country increases that stress tenfold.  I give a tip of the hat to my husband, David, as he’s really done the lion’s share of the packing thus far.  We’re at a place now where 40% of the apartment is packed up and we still have 60% left to go.  While progress has been made, there’s still a ton to do–no matter how much we pack, more stuff inevitably materializes.

Here are some of the worst parts about moving…

5. Zero Counter Space.  This is most evident in the kitchen, where endless bric-a-brac is on every inch of the counter top.  Nowhere to make my breakfast!

4. Boxes.  Boxes everywhere, as far as the eye can see.  Big boxes, little boxes, medium-sized boxes.  Full boxes, half full boxes, not yet assembled boxes.  Jerry Seinfeld was right.

3. Laundry.  We move next Tuesday, I still need clean clothes to wear.  When do I do the last load of laundry?  When do I pack up my remaining clothes?  What do I do with dirty clothes after that?  How can I live like this?!?

2. Walking Through the Door.  Since we started boxing things up over the weekend, every time I come home I’m reminded “yeah, you’re moving and this is what your life looks like now.  Now and for the foreseeable future.”  I spent so much time making the apartment look nice and now I’ll have to start all over again.  Which, don’t get me wrong, I’m excited about, but it’s also daunting.

1. Trying to Explain Things to Burrito.  This is a challenge, because she is a cat.  She’ll have a long drive on Tuesday and I’ve tried telling her this, but it’s tough to know if she’s really hearing and understanding me.

Goodbye for meow.

Super Easy Vegan Oat ‘n’ Junk Cookies

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Calling these ‘cookies’ is maybe a little generous, but calling them oat clusters seems uncharitable to their deliciousness.

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These treats couldn’t have been any easier.  To make the basic version of these bad boys:

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, line a baking sheet with tin foil
  • Mash up two ripe bananas (I used a potato masher, but you could use a fork too)
  • Mix in 1 cup of rolled oats–let them sit for 5-10 minutes (the mashed ‘naners soften up the oats)
  • This step is totally optional, but I mixed in just a tiny drop of almond extract, a shake of cinnamon, a spoonful of chia seeds, a handful of sliced almonds, and a handful of dried cranberries.  Repeat mixing.
  • Plop the dollops on the baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes or so.  (This recipe makes about a dozen small/medium cookies)

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Blam-o, you’re done!  Now, kick back and wait for the compliments to roll in on your baking abilities…

Goodbye for meow.