Monday Motivation: Santa Claus, marathons and other magical things

I thought of you. Yes, you.

Sunday, Oct. 9, was the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

To say I am not a runner would be an understatement, but I know many of you Lean Girls are. Running 26-plus miles does not sound like fun to me. In fact, it sounds unnatural. I cannot think of one thing that would compel me to run a marathon.

Or, I couldn’t, until I heard Chicago attorney Brenda Russell’s marathon story that Monday morning on Chicago Public Radio.

Russell didn’t run the Chicago Marathon. She ran the Santa Claus Marathon in Rovaniemi, Finland, a place I previously was familiar with only from my favorite childhood Christmas movie, “I Believe in Santa Claus.” The poorly-dubbed VHS version I had actually was called “Here Comes Santa Claus” and came, courtesy of my mom, from some Christmas movie bargain bin. It’s about a girl and a boy who travel to Rovaniemi to appeal to Santa Claus to bring back the boy’s parents, who were, like, murdered in Africa or something. Anyway, the point being, Santa Claus lives in Rovaniemi. So does The Blue Fairy.

Russell’s story is every bit as crazy and magical.

The Chicagoan challenged herself to run a marathon on her 50th birthday, she told Chicago Public Radio’s Eight Forty-Eight. And the only marathon on her birthday was the Santa Claus Marathon, she said. So she traveled to Rovaniemi, alone, to run the marathon. Only… well, she found out she wasn’t really alone.

You’ll have to click here to listen to the whole story.

And then, tell us, what’s the craziest place where you’ve found encouragement?

This ‘New Girl’ ROCKS: Zooey Deschanel

This week was Fall TV Time! Or whatever it is it’s called. TV premiere week. Or the start of the new TV season, I guess.

You can tell I don’t watch that much TV. I don’t even have cable — just Season Two of Mad Men on DVD and a fondness for Saturday morning cooking shows on PBS.

But I did tune in for one premiere: New Girl, 9/8 Central Tuesdays on FOX.

It was a little awkward, as most pilots are, but it had some good lines about “reverse Mormons” (I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t used that one before… don’t ask why…) and a “stripper with a heart of gold.” That last one hit me funny because I’m pretty sure one of my former roommates owns the domain name Or she did at one point, at least. I’m also pretty sure another of my former roommates is actually Zooey Deschanel’s character, Jess. Which, considering the premise of the show is Jess moving in to an apartment full of men, might actually make me a man.

While we’re on the subject, how do I love thee, Zooey Deschanel? Let me count the ways…

  1. Deschanel acts on TV in New Girl. She acts in movies, like (500) Days of Summer and Elf and that Our Idiot Brother movie that just came out that didn’t look all that great aside from the fact I adore, like, everybody in the cast. But who didn’t love both (500) Days of Summer and Elf, The Best Christmas Movie Ever Made? She also is the “She” half of the band She & Him. And she and her friends just launched the blog Oh, AND she is the face of Rimmel makeup. AND! And, in her “free time,” she bakes, according to her personal Tumblr, Zooey’s Miscellany. Clearly, she is a girl after my own heart, a heart strained by the life philosophy that I will sleep when I am dead. Or, at least, she knows her passions, and she pursues them, a very Lean Girl thing to do.
  2. Also, have you visited HelloGiggles? The site bills itself “the ultimate entertainment destination for smart, independent and creative females.” Its Illustrated Tweet of the Day feature is genius, and how badly do I want to make my fingernails look like THIS?! It makes my day, every day. And happiness is good for your heart, according to Science.
  3. Thanks to the New Girl premiere, the Internet is a veritable primer on how to be as “adorkable” as Deschanel right now. There’s how to get her hair (via HelloGiggles). And how to get her face (read: makeup) (also via HelloGiggles) (also, I will warn you, none of the shades of Rimmel makeup mentioned in this post are available yet in stores — I checked). AND all her fashion and beauty secrets, spilled (via Refinery29).
  4. Earlier this summer, Deschanel also talked to SELF Magazine about, most importantly, how to get a happy and healthy life. I won’t give away all her tips — you can visit SELF for that — but my favorite, probably, is her approach to exercise: Do things you enjoy, and do them because you want to be healthy, not skinny. That, and “everyone needs a theme song.” Yes. You heard me: A theme song.

Um, yeah. Can she join the club? Because I think it’s pretty clear this “New Girl” rocks!

Question: If you had a theme song, what would it be? (Deschanel said hers would be “Friends of Mine” by The Zombies. And, of course, Jess from “New Girl” has her own, “Hey Girl,” sung by guess who?)

Follow Em on Twitter at @mcemilywrites and everywhere else at

Sinless Scoop: The Political Edition

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Another reason to drink the coffee

This one, from the July issue of Self:

Women who drink more than a cup of coffee a day are 22 to 25 percent less likely to have a stroke, research in Stroke reveals. The bean may also help fight diabetes and cancer, so enjoy the buzz and benefits of up to five cups daily.

That’s on top of the news coffee also can help prevent of delay the onset of Alzheimer’s.

My husband slowly is turning me into more of a local Chicago coffee elitist so as not to shame him — I now drink Intelli, Metropolis or Coffee Ambassadors — but after reading that, I made a shameless stop by Dunkin’ Donuts for an iced coffee, unsweetened, with skim milk this morning. What’s your favorite cup of coffee?

Sinless Scoop: Sum-sum-summertime and ooh! Peanut butter!

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