Personal Experiences · Review

A local bar had terrible service

Over the weekend, I went to the movies to go watch Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2. (Great movie, but I’ll do a review in a later post.)  My movie theater of choice is the Cinemark at First and Main Town Center.  It’s situated in the center of an outdoor shopping plaza surrounded by several eateries and some shopping boutiques.  I prefer it for 2 reasons: I really enjoy the Cinemark experience, and it’s a 5-minute drive from my house.  My parents had accompanied me on this trip.

Upon arrival, each of us had gone our separate ways for different tasks: my mom to the boba tea shop for drinks, my dad to purchase the tickets and grab seats, and myself to buy fries.  We had gone at the 2:50 p.m. showing because it’d end right at dinner time, so we planned to get food afterward because there’d be fewer people inside the cinema.  At this time, there were no lines at any of the concessions or ticket booths, so the Cinemark staff was very attentive and quick to help.

After the movie, we decided on burgers and bar food for dinner, so we headed to our usual spot, Bar Louie.

Bar Louie is a restaurant/bar place that boasts a local feel.  It’s actually right next to the theater on the second level of the complex, so we head up and enter into the dining area.  Two hosts are sitting at the first table and tell us it’s all open seating.  My mom and I detour to the bathroom to relieve ourselves and discuss how she had fallen asleep during the movie because she had worked all morning in the yard.  My dad heads to the bar to grab a table.

When we head back, my dad leaves for the restroom, so my mom and I peruse the menu.  At this time, I’m waiting for a server to bring over some waters and to ask for our drink orders just like every other time I’d come here.  A server walks past our table and greets another group that sat down after we came in and then checks on the larger table next to us.  She then walks past us to the bar to refill some drink orders.

I become a little concerned because the place isn’t half-filled, and there are two groups of servers, each consisting of about 5 or 6 people, standing around and chatting with one another.  The server that checked on the two other tables drops off the drinks for those two tables and heads back to the group of people behind the bar to continue talking.

We decide to leave because we’re all hungry, so we set the menus back in their holder.  At this time, we’ve been in the place going on 15 minutes.  I know because I checked the time stamps on some texts I’ve sent while there.  As we head out, a server from one of the groups says, “Leaving so soon?”

“No one acknowledged us, so we’re not staying.  This is terrible service,” my dad answers.

Even though it was a short amount of time, I was insanely disappointed with the service that Bar Louie demonstrated.  As I stated earlier, this is a spot that we frequent after our many daytime movie ventures, so we were expecting a certain level of service from the place.  Every time we had come to the place previously, we were greeted as soon as we sat down, and the server would engage us in some nice conversation about the movie we had just watched.  And the last time that we were there, we learned that one of the servers was actually from my dad’s hometown, so we all ended up talking about growing up there.  Last time, our waitress was way friendly and super attentive, and this time, they couldn’t give a shit.

Across the plaza is Rock Bottom, a brewery-style restaurant under the Old Chicago umbrella company.  We walk over there and head to the bar. The bar is all open seating, just like Bar Louie, so we quickly find a table, and as soon as we sit down, a guy comes up to introduce himself as our server, takes our drink orders, and quickly brings us water in the meantime.  A vast difference to earlier.

Compared to Bar Louie, Rock Bottom was actually a lot busier.  Most of the tables were filled, and the place was loud.  Throughout the entirety of out stay, the place managed to get busier and a bit louder, but the waiter still check in on us frequently, and he brought our food out in a timely manner.  There was one moment when someone else had checked in on us, but I think it was because our server was busy delivering someone else’s food or drinks.

In retrospect, I am surprised we found a table as soon as we walked in. But I guess that goes to show that good food and good service will put cheeks in seats.  Yes, I did very much enjoy the atmosphere at Bar Louie during previous visits, but this time it put a bad taste in my mouth.  The drinks are good and the food is delicious, but I don’t think I’ll be back anytime soon.


Personal Experiences

A rant on boobs from someone who has a pair

I was at Target today perusing the lingerie section for a new bra when I came across the smallest adult-sized bra they carry: 32AA.  Now, I have never seen this size at all before.  I had only ever heard about it in passing several years back in an ad campaign for another lingerie company, but I could just be misremembering.  I was amazed, and still am, about the size of this bra!  It looks like it was misplaced from the girls’ section to the women’s section.  I was so intrigued by the novelty that I took a couple of pictures and texted them to my friends.

Some backstory for you: I am a larger-chested woman.  My bra size is actually 38DD

After I got over my wonderment, I realized smaller-chested women probably go through something like this when they see ridiculously larger bras.  There are some with cups larger than my head.  I could probably use one to parachute.

Then I started thinking about boobs and bras and all I’ve encountered with them.

For all of my post-pubescent life I have had large boobs, so that’s all I really know.  Once they settled in after first appearing, I was actually really happy about them.  I had built-in accessories that would help to emphasize my femininity.  I’d wear shirts that teased that I was capable of showing cleavage, like boat neck tees, henleys, and ribbed tanks.  Hell, I was even using my bra cups as pockets.  I still do it to this day.  You know, use what your momma gave ya!

Then as I got older, I realized that although big boobs helped with my identity, there was also a downside.  Or several.  For the sake of time, I’ll narrow it down to four.

  1. Wearing a bra is almost always a necessity.  Because of being a 38DD, if I were to go out in public, it’d be extremely obvious that I was not wearing a bra.  My boobs would be loose, separated, and lower than usual.  There’d also be far more jiggle than necessary.  Even with a large hoodie on, it’s still noticeable.  And it’s not just the look of the boobs, but in a cooler atmosphere, nipping out can occur.  Having witnessed a nipply situation on other people, it can be a bit awkward.
  2. Big boobs can and will be painful.  I do go braless when I’m at home, but it can become painful.  Jean-Denis Rouillon conducted a study at University of Franche-Comté regarding the benefit of bras to boobs.  The results: bras actually make boobs sag.  The chest muscles that support the boobs weaken with repeated use of bras causing them to sag sooner than nature intended.  That being said, I tend to hunch when not wearing a bra because my boobs are heavy and that’s how I compensate for it.  Not just that, but when I have to run or move quickly without adequate support, my boobs feel as if they’re heaving and swinging and pulling against my chest.  Totally not comfortable.  My usual gym attire consists of two sports bras to alleviate the jiggle.
  3. Shopping for a bra is daunting.  If you remember from earlier, I was at Target searching for a bra.  At all the Target locations in my town, the largest size they carry for bras is 40D.  Now, you may say, “But Monika, you said you’re a 38DD, why would you buy a bra at Target if they don’t carry your size?”  The answer is simple: I’m cheap and lazy.  The popular spot is Victoria’s Secret, and I’ve been known to indulge, but it’s expensive.  The last bra I purchased from there was $52.50.  For one bra!  So, I go to Target because they carry close to my size with bras for a quarter of the price.  I’d sacrifice double-boob to save $40.  Most women understand the struggle of bra shopping, you have to be in the mood for it because it takes a lot of patience and usually a full day for one bra.  Even if you do manage to find a bra, you’re limited by the color selection.  There’s mostly only blacks, whites, nudes, and occasionally one or two fun colors like a navy blue or deep red.  You don’t get the fun patterns or the bright colors, you just get saddled with the practical colors.
  4. Clothing can be a hassle.  What I mean by that is I’ve come across cute clothes that don’t and won’t fit because of my boobs.  Back in college, a Forever 21 opened up at the mall near my college, so a friend and I went to check it out.  There was a black top that caught my eye, so I grabbed the largest size they carried and tried it on.  I couldn’t even pull it over my boobs.  Because of that situation and other similar experiences, I shop mostly for looser, flowing tops.  Aside from the threat of ripped clothing, I also suffer from bacon shirt.  Bacon shirt is an affliction in which the wearer’s shirt will wrinkle across the cleavage due to the boobs stretching the shirt.  Usually bacon shirt is evident while the shirt is being worn, but occasionally the shirt will be stretched so frequently, that the shirt will maintain the overstretched shape.  Another issue is not being able to see much below the boobs.  If a stain or mark occurs on my shirt below my boobs, I won’t know about it until I look in a mirror or until someone tells me.  I once marked up a goldenrod shirt with a black pen right below my boobs, and apparently it had been there for a few hours, but no one told me about it until after lunch because they didn’t want me to feel embarrassed.

Given the struggle of larger boobs, I wouldn’t trade mine for the world.  They’re a big part of me.  No pun intended.  There are some good things about them, too.  I can fill out a low-cut dress or shirt very nicely, I can hide things in my bra like my wallet contents on a night out or lip balm on a daily basis, and I can use them for warmth when my hands get cold.  Just like everything else, there’s good and bad to large boobs.  And sometimes I just like to rant about the curse of big boobs.

Personal Experiences · Review

OrangeTheory gave me muscles

Last summer, I think maybe end of May, one of my coworkers invited me to a gym class that she swore up and down was going to change my life.  I was hesitant, mostly for the fact that she said the class started at 5 a.m. Yep, that’s five in the morning, way before the sun even gets up.  I didn’t want to, but I said yes just to appease her.  One of my faults/strengths is that when I promise someone I’ll do something with him or her, I will do that thing with him or her, even if I’m on my death bed.  So, at 4:30 that next morning, I struggled out of bed, got my gym clothes on, and met her on the curb in front of my house.  She was a ball of excitement, and I was fighting sleep that was trying to creep back in.  She was right, though: that early morning gym session changed my life.

Kayla had taken me to OrangeTheory Fitness.  OTF is a high-intensity, interval training class, which usually consists of anywhere between five and 30 people.  The class is led by a trainer or coach that leads you through the workout.  During the class, there are three areas of the gym that you workout in: treadmills, rowing machines, and a weight room.  On the treadmills, the coach leads you through three different paces: a base pace which is a challenging yet doable pace, a push pace which is either a higher incline for power walkers or a faster pace for runners and joggers, and lastly, an all out pace which power walkers max out their inclines and runners/joggers run and jog at their fastest pace possible.  On the rowers, the coaches lead you through the three paces, but focusing on lowering the split time, or the time that it takes to row 500 meters.  The base is 2 minutes 30 seconds, push is 2 minutes 15, and the all out is preferably less than 2 minutes.  The weight room, or strength floor, is actually just guided weight training with free weights and TRX bands.

This isn’t my gym, but this is all the equipment we use.

What’s different about this workout is that you’re trying to get your heart rate into what they call “the orange zone.”  There are five zones for your heart rate for the class, which are gray, blue, green, orange, and red.  The idea is that you spend a majority of the class in the green zone and at least 12 minutes in the orange zone.  The green zone is 71% to 83% of your max heart rate, something that’s determined when you take your first class.  The orange zone is 84% to 91% of your max heart rate.  There are TVs around the place that show your heart rate so that you can keep track of where you’re at.  The reason for the 12 minutes in the orange zone, or the Orange Theory, is that when you spend that time in that zone, you’ll burn between 300 to 600 calories up to 36 hours after the workout.  Each minute spent in the orange zone is considered one splat point.

And instead of body part focuses like arm day and leg day, OTF actually switches class focuses between endurance, power, strength, and a combo of the three.  Their reasoning is so that your body is continuously being worked out to improve our overall strength and fitness.

Now, we get personal…

For me, I really enjoy OTF for the fact that it is class-based and that the focus is the heart rate.  I have had a few gym memberships in my time, and I do really great going and working out, but some of the problems I had with them, like any other person, is consistently going to the gym and knowing how to use the equipment.  At OTF, the trainers took the time to talk to me and see what my fitness goals were.

When I started, my biggest goal was just to become fit.  I’ve always been overweight and trying to get down a few dress sizes, but nothing ever stuck.  But here, the staff, I feel actually tried to help me succeed.  I told the head trainer that my biggest goal was regarding my butt: I want a butt so amazing that I could star in a rap video.  Such a weird goal, but he told me it would be achievable, hard but achievable.

During my initial workouts, I was focusing on getting comfortable with the workouts and hitting the 12-minute goal.  At the time, I was only going three times a week.  I was new to working out consistently, and I didn’t want to overdo it.  It was fucking hard!  I was power walking on the treadmill: my base was a 1% incline and a 3.5 mph speed.  At these settings, I was able to remain in the upper green zone at around maybe 80% heart rate.  But because I was still new, I thought it was too much.  To me, I felt I was pushing too hard, so I’d want to slow down or quit, but after looking at the screens and seeing everyone else in the class, I knew I could do it.

My stats pulled form when I started.

OTF compiles all your data on their app, so that you can review your data.  As you can see above, I was fluctuating with my calories burned and my 12-minute goal, or points in the screenshot.  It was hard, but after the first few weeks, I was getting in the rhythm.  I wanted to get that bubble butt!  But what I really noticed was how toned everything was getting.  My thighs were getting firmer, my butt was getting perkier, and my arms were getting harder.  I was loving it.

Then winter happened.

Around the Thanksgiving, I started slipping.  I was only going a couple of times a week, and I was eating junk food, essentially preparing for Thanksgiving.  The good things were that everything was staying where it was at and I was spending more time in the orange zone, but I wasn’t improving: nothing was getting firmer, and my weight stayed steady.  I was stable, but I wasn’t getting to where I wanted to get.

My stats from the beginning of 2017.

Then, the new year came.

I made a New Year’s resolution, something I had never done before, and I told myself I’d stick to it no matter how much I wanted to quit.

It totally didn’t happen.

Then March came, and I decided to get my ass into gear and make some changes.  I started eating right, prepping meals, and going more frequently.  And not just going more frequently, I was challenging myself to do more when I wasn’t feeling the burn in my muscles.  I was upping my dumbbell weights, I was jogging instead of power walking, I wasn’t stopping while rowing.  I was doing all these things to improve and get better and to push myself.  I wanted to improve my overall health.

I wasn’t paying too much attention to my weight during this time.  Instead, I focused on how my body was feeling, both my state of being and physically how I felt.  I noticed I was happier and had more energy and not tired as much as when I started.  I also noticed that my muscles were hella firm!  Even when I wasn’t flexing!  Holy shit, I was getting strong!  I loved it!

And I think I succeeded!

Most recent stats.

I’m at the point now where I’m enjoying my new and improved body and sharing my successes with everyone.  For instance, this morning while I was getting dressed, I put on a shirt I hadn’t worn in a few months.  Before, I had a bit of stomach pooch sticking through the shirt.  Now, it’s actually loose on me!  As soon as I got to work, I showed everyone that was willing to listen to me brag about it.  I even went around and had people poke my thighs to show how rock solid they were!  Yeah, I’m that person now.

My favorite part is that my underarm wings are going away and my arms are getting so toned.  When I flex, I can see and feel a lot muscle definition.

Right now, there’s still a lot of work, but I’m so happy with the progress that I don’t want to stop any time soon.  I mean, I went to a class right before I started typing this out.

Stats from May 4th, 2017.

As you can see, I’ve burned almost 60,000 calories so far this year!  And not just looking at my numeric success, I also feel great!  And that right there, I think, is the biggest success.