Anna Maria Locke


end of February in photos

Helloooo. Is February over yet? I wish. Instead we're getting handed another blizzard tonight, yay.
I'm definitely sick of ugly winter, so I bought myself a bouquet of cheap pink garden roses from Trader Joe's. Best idea ever! $4.99 of joy and pretty. I should probably do this on a regular basis.
I'm also really proud of myself for starting a book club! We had our first meeting last Friday. Our first book was Jenny Lawson's Let's Pretend This Never Happened, which as a quirky and expletive filled comedic memoir doesn't really purport itself for deep challenging discussion, so we just ate pizza, drank wine, and read the craziest chapters out loud to each other.
The next day I baked the leftover pizza dough into rolls and made prosciutto mozzarella paninis mmmm.
We never order pizza because it's cheaper and almost just as easy to make it yourself. The trick to yeast bread is letting it rise in a warm oven (turn it on for a few minutes, turn it OFF, put covered dough in for an hour).
And since I'm not working this week my mom asked me to come visit for a couple days, using the excuse that I should teach my little sister how to play the trumpet so she can be in jazz band (apparently they don't allow clarinets into upper jazz bands, which seems kind of discriminatory). I played the trumpet for 12 years, and I do sound like a professional compared to Nicole (although she is definitely doing a great job so far and has learned five notes in one day, not too shabby for having woodwind chops). Our cat will be forever traumatized.
Oh, and since I'm sure you've always wondered what the landscape between Chicago and central Illinois looks like in winter, here it is. MIND NUMBING. Or starkly beautiful? Nope, mind numbing.
And there in the distance is my home town, population 6,000. My family lives on the outskirts now, behind a few fields of corn/pumpkins/soybeans. You can vaguely make out both of our watertowers in this shot, which incapsulates the entire city. And yeah, it's technically called a city.
And finally, here's the line-up of what I've made recently!

More colors of these cute boho lace knit headbands

And I figured I'd capitalize on having a mini-me around and whipped up a kid and tween size chunky cowl.
See the struggling grass in that last picture? Apparently it's about to be buried in up to 8 inches of snow. Le sigh.

winter running: tips and motivation (part 2)

After months of drought and flirting with balmy temperatures, winter has finally arrived in Chicago with a nice layer of snow and ice.
Despite the weather, I've finally started to get outside and run a little bit (read: about once a week) after two months of laziness and indoor workouts.
If you like to run outside when it's warm but turn to the dreaded treadmill or just quit altogether when the temperature drops below freezing, I'd like to try to convince you that winter running is NOT as horrifyingly terrible as it sounds! I'm only a casual jogger myself these days, but I actually prefer running in the cold since direct sun and temperatures above 65*F zap me, thanks to my northern European genes.
To motivate both you and myself, I've compiled a list of 10 winter running tips!** These specifically apply to running on sidewalks or roadsides when there's snow on the ground and the temperature is below freezing. I hope the list inspires you to pile on the layers and get your butt out the door for some Vitamin D.
Above all, be careful!

1. There is NO SUCH THING as "too cold to run" so you can lose that excuse right here and now. Just put on more layers and you'll be fine. However, there is definitely such thing as "too dangerous to run", so watch the conditions and don't be stupid.
2. Re-set your expectations. If there's snow and ice on the ground, you're not going to be able to maintain your usual pace or run as far as you want, so enjoy the opportunity to slow down!
3. Always wear sunglasses and SPF on your face. Snow is reflective!
4. Wear two layers of socks (or wool hiking socks). Running shoes seem to be made for summer, covered in breathable mesh panels, and you'll find that your feet may be the coldest part of your body! Numb toes are not fun.
5. Warm up inside. Put on all your layers and do 5 minutes of jumping jacks, lunges, burpees, jog in place, etc. until you feel your body heating up. This is essential to not wimping out the moment you step out into the cold!
6. Remember: Snow is a safer surface than ice. If you see a suspicious patch on the sidewalk that may be slick, move to snow covered grass until you pass it.
7. Pick up the pace on patches of obviously dry and clear sidewalk. This will give you some interval work to burn more calories and zap boredom.

8. Master the snot rocket. Gross? Oh yeah. Necessary? Only if you want to breathe. Tip: NEVER face into the wind.

9. Try to run without the distraction of your iPod. Cars aren't going to be looking out for runners especially if it's dark out, so make sure you're aware of your surroundings at all times. If a car lets you pass when they're stopped at a stop sign, give them a friendly wave and remember that everyone who sees you is massively jealous of your motivation!
10. Re-fuel with hot chocolate. If chocolate milk is the ideal recovery drink, I'm willing to extrapolate this finding to cocoa! Reward yourself after your effort, and enjoy a hot shower too. Also, don't forget to drink plenty of water. You might not be drenched in sweat, but your body is still losing fluids.
Do you have any tips to add to the list?
Good luck and happy workout :)
**Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or fitness professional. These are my persional opinions only.


[Lake Chelan, WA 2008]

 It is super cold here in Pennsylvania. So much for a dry mild La Nina winter...
This weekend has been spent mainly on thesis work. Yup that is my life, so get used to me freaking out about it, because it is the main thing on my mind. I have so much data to analyze still before I can even write the darn thing, and my first format review deadline is in one month. Waaaaa!!! I feel super comfortable whipping through fancy schmancy Excel functions at least. I am trying to keep things in perspective because it WILL all get done.  

This week I am loving this recipe
Achy from Jillian's Six Week Six Pack. If you are looking for a great indoor workout DVD, this one is worth the $8. She will shred you.
Excited about my newest cookbook (aaa I get too excited about cookbooks, it's becoming an addiction)
Burning lots of yummy tropical candles and pretending I don't live in the Allegheny tundra.