Better than last time.

Happy Monday!!

Question: Have any of you ever felt like there was an alien baby gnawing away at your insides to try and get out?  I bet you didn’t expect that one huh.

Okay, but seriously.  The Paleo Challenge officially ended this past Friday, YAY!  I managed to get through with only cheating twice in 30 days on a couple pieces of sushi and then another time my coffee creamer ran out so I used a little bit of milk.  Not bad right?  I am hoping to give you final results, pictures etc. sometime this week when they give them to us.   But back to my alien baby, let’s name him Charlie.  You see, this happens to me from time to time when I am super strict with my eating for a while and then I perhaps get naughty and have some sour patch kids or a Mcflurry.  That is when Charlie decides to come out and play and it is the WORST PAIN EVER.   I was SO excited to have some Greek yogurt today before my morning workout, I had missed it SO much.  It is like my favorite thing to eat ever.  No big deal right? WRONG.  Not having dairy for 30 days apparently makes your body think it is kryptonite.  I immediately felt stabbing pains in my stomach (Charlie) that made me want to crawl in a hole and cry.  Needless to say, my workouts totally blew today and I am pretty sure my times were no better than they were 30 days ago.  FAIL.  I have been barely able to stomach anything else all day long. Does this mean me and Greek yogurt are broken up forever?  I sure hope not. I don’t think I could go on.

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Devil Yogurt

Anyways, this weekend was pretty uneventful, class, homework, work, the usual.  Shain and I squeezed a date night in to celebrate his Birthday, aka we went out for an early dinner came home by 9pm to go to sleep.  I know, we are SO fun.  I did have my first 5k of the season on Sunday though! Wooo!  No PR for me this time, but I was the second overall girl so I will hang my hat on that and pretend I am cool.  I will get you next time mister 5k, perhaps when it is not snowing and below freezing out.  Yup, that was me making an excuse.  In all seriousness, I love races so bad.  You all know this about me already.  The running community is something fabulous I tell you, all supportive, encouraging and downright fun.  Oh and we love to eat.  Duh, that’s why we run.

Shain always gives me crap for not being “competitive” enough when I run.  For example, if he were at the race this Sunday and saw how I was 15 seconds behind the first girl he would have been MAD.  Probably would have lectured me the whole way home about how “I could have beat her”.  It is pretty funny actually.  He used to give me huge pep talks in college before all my games too, can’t blame the guy for wanting me to do well  right?  But I am not out there to “beat people”.  I am out there to beat myself and to be better than last time.  That is what makes me happy, knowing that I am improving, that I am being the best I can be.  Not comparing myself to others, that’s no fun and will get you nowhere.  Especially when others have really long legs and take 2 steps to my 5 steps, just not fair.


Don’t get me wrong, I love to be competitive and use other people to push me (Lorraine, cough, Lorraine).  But that is not the same as comparing yourself.  If I worried about how much better everybody else was, I would fail to see my own personal gains and how far I have come.  Whether it is running, cross-fitting, etc. I try to always stick with people that I know are a little better than I am.  I don’t get mad when I can’t keep up (sometimes), I just keep striving.

Oh and one last thing, HAPPY 27th BIRTHDAY SHAIN!!  🙂



First comes love, part two.


Okay, now that I got that out of the way and you are wondering why I am shouting profanities at you…we finally booked our venue and picked our date!!  Let me splain’ to you why this is so exciting (other than the obvious reasons).  Before Shain and I even got engaged, we had many conversations about how important it was to us to not spend a fortune on our wedding.  Nothing at all against those who do, we have been to some seriously fun, amazing, beautiful weddings the last couple years.   All of them were so representative of the couples we were celebrating, which is how it should be.  But you see, we are cheap.  No beating around the bush.  So we were hoping to have a wedding that we did not have to fork out too much money, can still be a great celebration but also low key.    Okay so let’s rewind to 3 months ago…


Yay, we’re engaged! Wait, I have to plan all of this?  Who has time for that? I sure don’t. Wait, this costs HOW MUCH?! No really tell me one more time..HOW MUCH?!

No offense to those of you that work in the wedding industry but its a bunch of bull.  I can totally see why people don’t even try to keep a budget, it is very difficult.  Oh and also dealing with 18 different opinions coming at you at once about what you should do, that is super fun too.

I have literally been banging my head against the wall the last 3 months.  Disappointment after disappointment.  Every place I contacted, even the “reasonable” ones had minimums that were more than our ENTIRE wedding budget.  There is a place in Oswego called Emerson Creek that both Shain and I loved so much, we had always talked about getting married there.  Until we found out that they had a rental fee of  $7,000, that did not even include food or anything else, that was just to use their barn.  Really guys?  Is this the Taj Mahal? Are the barn walls covered in chocolate? I’m confused.


So the search went on and we kept crunching numbers of place after place, even with cutting a lot of corners we were still coming in way over budget.  It started to feel like it was impossible to have a wedding that we wanted at a reasonable price.  I kept praying and manifesting it was going to work out, but my patience was wearing.

Just when we both were ready to throw in the towel and get married at Emerson Creek and forget about a budget, a friend of ours recommended a farm nearby our house (where all these pictures are from).  We had never heard of it, but we checked it out for the heck of it.  It was perfect.  Everything we wanted, low key, outside, beautiful backdrops for  pictures and AFFORDABLE.  Did you hear that? AFFORDABLE! Not to mention all the money they make goes to their non for profit organization which helps children and adults with special needs.   As Shain said when we were driving away- “so this is a no brainer right?”.


We are going to get our backyard/farm wedding after all and it is going to be awesome.  If you think it is weird that we want to get married on a farm, you don’t know us well enough 🙂  Sorry ladies, save your stilettos for another wedding.

We officially signed the contract last night, WOO!  So now all the fun begins, talking about colors, different ideas, music, food etc.  Every idea we have  had about what we want at our wedding, we are able to do at this place.  I am so so SO excited.  God is so funny like that isn’t he?  Just when you are about to give up on something, he comes shining through.


So excited to start putting all of this together and have an excuse to spend more time with family and close friends.  But I am even MORE excited for all the days following June 21st, 2014 🙂

Yes, I just got cheesy.  So shoot me.


Ode to Al

It is a sad week for the Locigno family.  Al Link, who is a very special person to my family passed away on Monday.  He had been battling a series of health issues the last few years, yet he somehow still managed to be his bigger than life, quick witted self.  Not too long ago he suffered from a stroke, so every day from that point on was a fight for him.


Al is technically a cousin to me, but I have always seen him as an uncle or as I sometimes would call him “my other grandpa“.  Him and his Wife Annie have been to every family celebration, holiday, you name it.  Growing up with them around is something I will always appreciate.  Both him and Annie have always been so interested in all my endeavors, school work, jobs, etc.  So much love, so much support.  When I was little they used to bring me Cheescakes and cookies from a bakery nearby their house,  just because.  I blame them for my obsession with sweets 🙂ALLINK

I am so thankful we have Annie and extremely sad to lose such a special person.  Al, I will miss seeing you with cigar in hand up at the Lake,  I will miss listening to you and Papa argue over the silliest things at the Kitchen table but then break out in laughter a minute later, I will miss your sarcasm, I will miss your stories, I will miss your humor and I will miss the best bear hugs ever.

Thank you for your time here, enjoy Heaven 🙂


Do you ever have those moments where you literally think to yourself…”‘wow, I suck”.  That pretty much sums up my weekend.  I know I seem to make this whole being crazy busy thing like this amazing fun whirlwind, but truth be told this weekend was a sign that I cannot always keep up.  Let me break it down for you, it is actually kind of funny.

Friday morning we had our second Crossfit Open workout and I did okay.  Anything involving upper body strength I struggle with, as I am no where near half as strong as most of the women competing.  The workout was a 10 Minute ‘as many rounds as possible’ of:  75# push press, 75# Deadlift & 15 box jumps.  I could have dead-lifted and box jumped for days, but those FIVE STUPID PUSH-PRESS were the death of me.  I ended up getting 225 reps, which is 7 rounds plus some.  I tend to be very self-conscious of my scores/times at Crossfit because people know I am a trainer in my outside life.  Others tend to think that means I should be this crazy strong perfect powerhouse.  Truth is, I have my weaknesses just like everybody else.  Being a personal trainer does not mean I am an Olympic athlete, it just means I have mastered the art of being generally healthy and fit and am able to relate that to others.  Any who, I was a little disappointed with my score which I let sour my mood all day. FAIL#1



Friday in the office, we had all of our final program edits due for this big spring IACAC conference I was telling you about.   You guys, seriously I should not be on this committee, let alone   a chair of it.  There are SO MANY DETAILS.  Details are not my strength.  I spent almost my entire day going through it to make sure it was all right, so once I was done I hit send and did a little tap dance in my head. Wait for it…I got an email back needing to re-do it because someway somehow I messed up a session time slot which is HUGE.  FAIL#2

Friday night, I went out for a friends Birthday to this fun Italian restaurant that had almost NOTHING Paleo on the menu.  It was torture.  Pasta, Pizza bread, treats, sweet wine all sitting there just tormenting me. It was a super fun night and I love being around my friends, but I was so tired from my crazy week and crabby about not being able to stuff my face with brownies that I probably was not my usual self 🙁  FAIL#3


Saturday I had a new session of weekend class all day which I totally thought I was prepared for, but as it turns out I ordered and READ the wrong book and therefore pretty much bombed the first quiz.  FAIL#4

Talk about a great first impression to a teacher.  This class is called “Group Work” so the basis of it is to learn different strategies in leading different teams, groups, working with different personalities etc.  It will be a great class, I know I will enjoy it.  However, as the teacher was going through the incredibly intense syllabus I was having a slight panic attack.  We have A LOT of reading and two papers due every week, lord help me.  I worked myself into such a panic, that I bailed on my plans for Saturday night to lock myself in the house and get a head start.  This mean I missed one of my best friend’s Birthday bash 🙁  Thanks for loving me anyway, Nicole. FAIL #5

Saturday night I was so excited to come home and eat my Paleo leftovers from the restaurant the night before (Roasted Chicken with lots of grilled veggies) only to find that Shain ate it all.  Awesome dude.  FAIL #5

(totally not offended if you are laughing at me right now, it gets better)

Sunday I worked most of the morning, got a quick workout in and then rushed like crazy to get to baby shower at 3pm.  It was for a friend I don’t get to see very often, so I was really looking forward to it.  So there I am walking in at 3:05pm all proud of myself that I was only 5 minutes late…..turns out I was 3 HOURS LATE.  Because the shower was over, you know since it started at 12.   Oh and I should also mention this is the SECOND time I have done this for a party in the last few weeks.  FAIL #6

I won’t lie to you, I maybe went back into my car and cried a little.  Sometimes I am just so frustrated with myself.  This is what happens when you go a million miles a minute, you miss really important things.  That is not okay.

There was a reason I named this blog “Blessed in the Mess”.  Because life is messy, friends. I am not perfect, my life is not perfect. Things do not always go the way we want and sometimes we fail.  But you have to keep trucking on and learn from your mistakes.  You HAVE to find the blessings in the mess, because they are always there. What are my blessings?  The fact that I have friends and family who understand and love me anyway.  The fact that even on my worst workout day, I am still strong and healthy.  The fact that in a year I will be that much closer to graduating with my Masters.

My lesson this weekend?  I need to slow down.  I can keep this pace up for quite a long time but there is always one moment, like this weekend that makes me question everything I am doing in my life.  If I am so busy that I am not able to enjoy a birthday dinner, not able to spend time with friends and family.  I am too busy. PERIOD.

Happy hump day!

So things are getting crazy up in here.  And by “up in here” I of course mean my life.  I am a busy girl, you all know that.  But I am approaching one of the busiest times of year and also my favorite time of year.  In the  world of Admission, the months of March- May consist of us counselors going out to various high schools and meeting with students, giving presentations, going to a ridiculously large amount of college fairs and just overall answering a lot of questions.  It is also the same time that all financial aid packages go out, so that means lots and lots of phone calls to families/students to go over all of that.   It is crazy crazy crazy, but it is fun.  The cool thing about my job is that towards the end of winter you get super anxious to get out on the road and start recruiting, then by the time spring travel is over you are so thankful to be able to just sit at your desk and not travel, thennnnnnnn just when you are getting anxious again BOOM, Fall is here and we are on the road again.  It’s a pretty awesome job for someone who is seriously ADD like me.

Also fast approaching is the Illinois Association for College Admission Counseling Conference!  What is that ?  Only the best 3 days ever.  It is a time where all college admission counselors and high school counselors get together and go to different sessions on how to be better at our jobs, connect with other colleagues, talk about hot topics and of course have FUN.  It is always held in the first week of May because May 1st to this profession is the equivalent of April 15th to accountants, you feel me?  Most college deadlines are May 1st, so that is usually when students getting all their last minute paperwork, visits, etc. in and also have an idea if we hit our goal for the year or not.  So needless to say, this is also a very fun event to celebrate all our hard work.  For the last 2 years I have been a Chair on the planning committee for this conference, so it is even more rewarding to see it all unfold since I had a part in putting it together.


So between all this going on, school kicking my butt, training on the nights and weekends- wedding planning has taken a little bit of a backseat.  Pretty much because I hate it. I am the worst girl ever.  We have a couple venues that are “pending” right now, so as soon as we have time to check them out I will update!

Oh and ALSO speaking of weddings, I met up with my BFF this weekend to catch up and get some grub and she asked me to be her Maid of Honor!! YAY!  She naturally will be mine too, but I have not thought of anything creative yet to ask (sorry bridge, you beat me to this one).   We are both getting married in the same year, which is so AWESOME.  I cannot think of anybody better to go through this with.  This girl is my rock and I love her to pieces.

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Here is to hoping I can post a few more times this week 🙂


The CROSSFIT OPEN has officially begun!  Many of you are probably like…”um, the WHAT”?  Or maybe some of you are like…”oh dear god shut up about Crossfit already”.  Truth be told, I could blog about Crossfit 7 days a week and never run out of anything to say.  But I would like you  guys to stay my friends, so I won’t.  Your welcome.

The Open is when Crossfit releases 1 workout per week for 5 weeks.  Anybody who wants to register for the Open can do so and they have to perform this workout at a gym that is registered and has certified judges or submit a video of the workout to and then you get to see where you rank in that particular workout with the rest of the world!  How cool is that?  I mean think about it, no other sport are you allowed to “compete” with top athletes around the world and see how you compare.  If you do well enough, you actually have the chance to go to the games.  Now let me be clear, I am NOWHERE near strong enough to be a true competitor and will not be going to the games but I love seeing how I rank and getting that “competition” adrenaline during a workout.  Today’s workout consisted of a lot of Burpees and my most hated lift- the power snatch.  I am terrible at it and have never been able to do more than 55 pounds, but today I was able to do 75lbs 16 times! Wooo!

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 First round of snatches at 45#

It so reminds me of being a college athlete again, when I could not sleep the night before games, couldn’t think about anything else and all I wanted was to be able to do my best and push my teammates to do the same.  This is no different.  The best part of competing and being a part of something like this, is seeing others succeed.  I was able to witness my two good pals Andy & Lorraine PR this morning on their power snatch and it was AWESOME!!  I was seriously just beaming with JOY,  excitement and adrenaline watching them push through it.  THAT is what it’s about people.  That is what is behind the saying ”Crossfit is Community’.

I have not felt this excited about something since my senior year of college soccer.   I will never forget my senior night. It was the last time I would ever play on my home field and we were playing North Park whom we were tied in the conference.  Not only was it a big game for me personally, it was a big game for our program as a whole.  I was having a great game, but my coach pulled me out with 20 minutes to spare in the last half.  My family and teammates (bless their hearts) were in an uproar over this.  This was also something that a year previous I would have cried about probably and questioned for days as to what I did wrong to get pulled out.  But you see, my senior year was so different.  I was so comfortable with my “game” by that point and I had also spent a lot of time that year mentoring some younger players who were working their butts off.  So me coming off meant that somebody else was getting their chance.  And it just so happened that a younger teammate who had been struggling that year was getting her chance.  And guess what?  SHE SCORED THE WINNING GOAL.  Amazing.   I was not upset that I didn’t get to play the last 20 minutes on that field that meant so much to me, because I played my heart out for 4 years on that field.  The joy I felt when I saw her score that goal and have all of her hard work payoff, was one of the best moments of my college career.  Naturally I ran out on to the field and I love that it was caught on camera.


THAT is being a part of a team.  It’s not about you, it’s about supporting everyone around you to do their best and building an incredibly strong community.  That is the kind of community that in turn pushes YOU to be YOUR best.  This is why I love Crossfit, it is my chance to re-live those years.  Don’t get me wrong, it feels so amazing to PR or have a great workout but it is 10 times BETTER to watch someone else do it.  This is why I am just so excited for the next few weeks of the Crossfit Open, I cannot wait to cheer my “teammates” on and watch them push boundaries they never thought possible.  LET’S  DO THIS CFO!

Nowhere to be.

How rare is it that you have absolutely nowhere to be?    Even on our days off, we might not technically have anywhere to be but we have a to do list longer than the 7th Harry Potter book.  This is why we love vacations right? It is the chance for us to have nothing to do, nowhere to be and finally let our brains and bodies go…”ahhhhh”.

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We had somewhat of a blizzard here on Tuesday, so AU ended up closing at 11am.  That feeling of freedom when you hear the word “snow day” still has the same effect as an adult as it did when we were 10 years old.  Why is that?  Because as kids, it meant a full day of PLAY, of doing nothing we HAD to do and everything we WANTED to do.  I think we all get taken back to that place when we are lucky enough to have a snow day, vacation day, mental day whatever it is.

I have been feeling a little run down as of lately, so this was such a blessing.  Yes, I had plenty to do at work and really could have just stayed  considering I live 10 minutes away and my drive was not dangerous.  But I didn’t.  And you know what? I did not feel guilty either.

When I got home approximately 12 minutes after leaving work (I know, even in a blizzard) I suited up into all my snow gear and took my pup on a long, beautiful, slow walk.  No, not a rushed walk where I am worrying about being late to work, a walk that could have taken 20 minutes or 2 hours, did not matter.  I had nowhere to be.  The only thing I had to do was take in the beautiful nature around me.   It is amazing how much more beautiful life can be when we have no where to be but that moment, and we can savor that moment for all it’s worth.

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After that, I made myself a yummy bowl of pumpkin granola and almond milk with sliced bananas and savored the heck out it (again no rushing here) while watching several Modern Family episodes.  I should tell you that I NEVER watch TV, like ever.   I forget sometimes how awesome it is to sit down and just laugh your butt off at a sitcom, by yourself.  Friends anybody? Literally dying laughing.  Then I did some journaling, wrote a few blog posts for the future, wrote up some workout plans and even finished a book.  All before 3pm!!!  Naturally, I decided to head to Crossfit and squeeze my second workout in for the day (I had run earlier that morning).  Why not right? I had nowhere to be!  When I came home,  Shain and I had a yummy dinner together (also never happens) and parked our butts on the comfy couch and relaxed all night.

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Sorry my food pictures are awful, this was yummy.

I have a challenge for you.  I want you to make a list.  If you had a whole day with NOTHING you HAD to do, what would you fill it with?  Make a list right now of things you love to do, things that make you really happy.  For me, that is spending time outside, reading, journaling in coffee shops, working out, spending time with friends & family, my dog.  List  all yours out on a piece of paper.  Now I want you to look at that paper and try and do one of those things at least once a week, maybe more.  We all have things we have to do, obligations to uphold, bills to pay but that doesn’t mean we should not make time for the things that make our souls happy.

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Stay blessed in the mess 🙂




There have been SO many people that have told me that they are also doing a “no shopping” 2013 challenge for themselves, AWESOME!  Now, I know that this is not because of me, but I am going to pretend it is because it makes me feel good, k? Thanks, you are too kind.  I am telling you, this is a resolution that will teach you so much about yourself.  It was one of the best things I ever did.  We are two months into the new year and even though I have full shopping power now and my resolution is over,  I had the hardest time even buying myself some new underwear this weekend, do I REALLY need these?  Too much info? My bad.  Let me tell you some of the revelations I had  while upholding this resolution last year.

  • Sometimes I would shop because I was bored or trying to avoid tasks I did not want to do.
  • Sometimes I would shop as a way of coping with something, instead of actually dealing with it.
  • When I did not shop, I spent more time reading, writing, walking the dog, things that are good for my SOUL.
  • I had a savings plan and actually KEPT TO IT for once in my life.  And guess what?  When I had to randomly put big bucks into my truck, I actually HAD it in my savings.
  • I spent less time obsessing over my appearance and being shallow.  People do not notice your clothes as much as you think.
  • I need to invest in quality clothes instead of buying crap, because once I started wearing things more than 2 times in a month they fell apart.

Also, I work REALLY hard for my money, so do I really want to continuously blow it on something material like clothes?  Don’t get me wrong, clothes are important.  I am a believer in dressing the part and being put together, but there is a fine line.  I will start investing in quality items here and there but I will not buy every new pair of Nike’s that comes out or add $20 to my bill every time I go to target for ONE thing (Target is evil).  We complain and complain that we have no money for this and no money for that, probably because that $8 top you pick up and those $18 shoes that you think are a steal oh and that little gadget that your sister would love but you forget to actually give it to her…all add up to A LOT OF MONEY over time.


I have a serious obsession with athletic shoes


We all have enough.  More than we need.  Instead of going out and spending money on useless things, put it towards something awesome.  Like a much needed vacation, to a friends charity, or heck just SAVE IT to be financially stable. Weird concept right?

To all you challengers out there, YOU CAN DO IT!!!

Weekend FUN

I know, I know I was a terrible blogger last week, I’m SORRY (You like how I pretend to have lots of readers who care when I do not blog?).  I swear every day of last week 5pm would roll around and I was like WHAT?! AHHH?  I need to be better about prioritizing my tasks, at AU especially.  I seem to constantly be pulled into different directions all day long and my to do list just keeps getting longer and longer.  Also, good news and bad news.  Bad news is I had to give up some clients that I really love in the last few weeks.  Good news is this will be better for my sanity and productivity in general, I just could not keep that pace up.  But man did I try.  I want to be good at what I do, not just get by.  Which sometimes means, I need to do less, need more downtime to focus on myself, regroup etc.

Anyway, GUESS WHAT?  I had NO class this weekend because technically it is “spring break”, I was so excited to have free time I didn’t know what to do with myself.  I also think I annoyed the crap out of Shain because he is not used to me hanging around the house as much as I did, actually I KNOW I annoyed him.  Probably because I am a woman and I love to talk a lot and have “deep conversations” and he is a man and does not.  Makes sense. Friday night we stayed in and I made Paleo Banana Pumpkin Pancakes for dinner that were sooo yummmmy.  Well, Shain will tell you they were ‘okay’, yet he ate them all.

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Saturday morning I slept in until 7AM! WOO! Then I met my good friend Nicole at the Waterfall Glen trail for a run.  The trail was not plowed and covered in snow, which means we were just one step away from breaking our ankles the whole time.  Thankfully, we lived and even had coffee after.  That night Shain and I went out with a group of friends to Chicago to see Second City and go to dinner.  We ate at this awesome restaurant called The Publican which made it SUPER easy to follow my paleo challenge because everything on the menu was fresh seafood, meat etc. with veggies and no additives.  I cannot believe I didn’t take any pictures of our food like I usually do, I think because I was too busy shoving everything into my face.

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Sunday I had my usual awesome clients and then did my cooking.  Want to know what I made?  You don’t? Too bad, I am going to tell you:

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Steak Stir Fry

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Italian Meatloaf

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 Salad with Shrimp, Mango, Apples & Strawberries

Picture 006This Pumpkin Granola kind of looks like vomit, but I promise it is AWESOME.

Oh and I should ALSO mention that on SundayI had to pass up my all time FAVORITE meal that Shain’s parents make- Chicken Enchiladas and Sopa. UGH.  Stupid Paleo Challenge.  If I don’t have a six pack in 30 days I am going to be PISSED.

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Not Paleo but so good. Sigh.

This was not a very insightful/inspirational post, I apologize.  There will be more of those coming this week PROMISE! 🙂  Stay blessed in the mess!