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Like a Kid Again

13 Feb

Last weekend, my brother came down to stay with us. He was in town for a conference and we were lucky enough to have him visit for a few days. Although Shane had to attend his conference on Friday and Saturday, we were able to spend a good amount of time visiting, chatting, and just relaxing.

On Thursday, we whipped up some of my becoming-famous Mexi-burgers (recipe to come). The boys gave them two thumbs up, which is a wild success considering they are lean turkey burgers.

I also won them over with my Sweet Chocolate Secret Cupcakes (SCSCs). Another recipe for another day…and yes, these were healthy too! Shaner even ate one as part of his breakfast on Saturday.

shane

It was so awesome to have him come and hang out. I adore my siblings and love every minute I get to spend with them.

Shane got on the road Sunday afternoon to head back home to his wifey (they just celebrated their one month anniversary. Yay!).

Phil didn’t have any homework so we were trying to decide what to do with our day when I got a wicked-good idea; office makeover time! We’ve been planning away and last week I selected the paint color and furniture. So, we decided to tackle the project.

office2 office1

Hot mess…..

I went and picked up the paint while Phil cleaned and emptied out the room. He started painting and I headed out to run errands. Two hours later, I finally was home with a big haul. groceries

And the room was done! I’m in love.

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Since I was feeling nostalgic, I made some homemade chicken fingers and roasted asparagus for dinner that we enjoyed during the Grammys.veggies chicken fingers

It was a great weekend with lots of fun, relaxing and exciting projects!

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What I’m Loving Wednesday

6 Feb

Humps day equals focusing on the good to get us through the next few days. Here we go!

1) Changing up the nails. Yes, I’m crazy and rocked some red and gold.

2). AM workouts – back at it again, which has increased my attendance ten-fold.

Spinning

3). Girl friends. I spent last weekend with some amazing gals and then hit up drinks with some other girlies last night. I am so grateful for the laughs, love and support.

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4). Sunshine. Although the temps are still in the chilly zone, the sun seems to make the winter more bearable. I’ve been taking Henry on daily walks – love the vitamin D!

5). Juicing. I’ve been loving on some fresh pressed juice, homemade and out and about. Bring on the vitamins and nutrients!!

Juice1

6). Sasha Fierce and her ladies. Hello, can we talk about the amazing Beyonce and the Destiny’s Child reunion that took place during the Super Bowl half-time show? Girlfriend’s neck must be sore from all of that hair flipping, but it was amazing. Loved every second.

beyonce

What did you do for the Superbowl? Did you watch the game or just the commercials? 

What is getting you through the week?

XO-

BB

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Kick-Start Your Morning: Oatmeal Breakfast Trifle

17 Jan

I don’t know about you guys, but I am not a fan of early mornings without a reason to get up and moving. While I am an AM gymer (yes, that is word), it is motivating to know that my workout is on the books come 7am. And more so, I find breakfast and coffee to be that much better. Maybe because I start dreaming of what I want to eat while I’m knocking out some miles, but I love my breakfast.

Earlier this week I decided to get a little creative. I had a craving for creamy, crunchy and sweet. After an hour at the gym, I couldn’t decide on one, so I resolved to put them all into my breakfast.

This Oatmeal Breakfast Trifle is super filling and delicious because it includes all of the tastes and textures your taste buds could want. And the best part is that you can totally customize to your preference.20130117-073223.jpg

Oatmeal Breakfast Trifle

  • 1/3C oatmeal (I used steel-cut)
  • 1/3C water or milk
  • cinnamon
  • 1/3C Greek yogurt
  • 1/2C fruit of your choice
  • toppings (granola, shredded coconut, nuts, dried fruit or even chocolate chips)

Directions: combine oatmeal, cinnamon and water/milk and make to your liking. I recommend making the oatmeal a bit dry. Stir in Greek yogurt (the oatmeal will absorb some creating a very creamy consistency). And feel free to get crazy with your yogurt flavor!

Chop fruit and set to the site.

Find a glass that is oh-so-pretty and get ready to assemble.

Layer oatmeal/yogurt mixture (half) on the bottom of your glass. Next, top with half of your fruit. At this point, you can layer in your favorite toppings, I went for some crunchy granola. Repeat from the beginning layering oatmeal/yogurt, fruit and toppings and enjoy!

This breakfast is the perfect start to the day clocking in at a reasonable 300 calories (depends on your fixins) and keeps your full until lunch without a problem. And feel free to make a smaller version for days you aren’t a hungry beast or double the recipe for your favorites or store in the fridge for up to two days.

Yum!

XO-

BB

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Weekend Recap: Holiday Style

26 Nov

Wow, what a weekend! It was a nice, long, relaxing weekend with lots if celebrating and holidays packed into five days.

After Wednesday and my 30th birthday wrapped up, I started Thursday with a nice long run. When I arrived home, Phil and I enjoyed a warm breakfast while starting a few side dishes for Thanksgiving. The whole day was very relaxing; we watched football, cooked, did FaceTime with our families an enjoyed on heck of a meal!!

I am proud to say I made the pie, cranberries and potatoes all from scratch. Phil gets all the credit for the turkey; so juicy and flavorful!

Although we were home all day Thursday, I was moving slow on Friday. So, I went with it. I finished my book, watched movies, cleaned and managed to only leave the house for 45 min. No Black Friday for this girl.

Saturday started with an am spin class. It felt good to get back to class and I quickly realized that I am out of spin shape in a serious way.

We had a housewarming party in the afternoon and the came home to watch my alma mater play. Our plan was to head to the movies afterwards, but I guess everyone had the same idea because every show was sold out! Bummer. But, I’m not a fan of cramped theaters so we headed home with a flick from Red Box.

On Sunday I woke up to the sight of snow! A perfect blanket over our neighborhood. And just like a kid on Christmas, I woke Phil up and suggested we go pick out our tree. He was on board. We quickly got ready and hit the road before 9am.

After a few trial and errors, we’ve realized the best place to get a good tree for a good price I near where Phil grew up. We called up his mom and stopped by her house before hand for a little visit. It was so nice to see her.

We finally made our way to the tree farm.

Within 20 min we had our tree!!

Now that is what I’m talking about!

Phil had to get home for a group meeting for school, and I got to work on dinner. When he returned, we decided to bring Arnold in. Yes, our tree  has a name.

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Ta da! This is as far as we got, which is ok by me. The decorations will come throughout the week.

The holiday weekend was a great one. I think Henry had a good time, too.

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XO-

BB

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The Holidays are Here

19 Nov

This past weekend was an absolute whirlwind in the best kind of way. It was jam-packed with friends, food and fun.

The weekend started on Thursday when work closed out. Despite my Debbie Downer attitude, I had some plans with my ladies for a birthday dinner and then Twilight! My best friend hosted the dinner at her house. I was greeted by some decorations, a warm welcome and lots of apps for snacking.

The girls rolled in and I was surprised with dinner – a salad bar with all of my favorite fixings! Now, if you don’t know me, this might sound strange. However, I am a veggie and thus salad lover and was so touched that my friends were so thoughtful  in putting this spread together. We enjoyed our salads, wine and laughs followed by gifts and finally some cupcakes and birthday song.

Around 10:30, we gathered ourselves and headed to the theatre for the premiere of Twilight. Oh my gosh you guys, this movie was actually good. Now, I understand that comment is in comparison to the other movies in the series, but really, it was suspenseful and intense. I loved it!

I made it home around 2am and crashed on a complete birthday-high.

Friday

Friday was a work holiday, so I slept in a bit and then headed to the gym for my Tone It Up workout.

Kicked my bootay!

That night was my work holiday party. I work with some great people and Phil and I had a blast chatting with my coworkers.

We stayed out late and again, crashed just before the 2am hour.

Saturday

I was up and at ’em because I had some exciting plans to meet up with my girlfriend/ bride-to-be to do some dress shopping in Lansing. I met up with the bridesmaids, Cathy (BTB) and her mom for a morning filled with dresses for all the ladies. We tried on a lot of different options and I think we landed on a good one! Cathy also tried on some dresses and she was stunning. Sorry, no pictures to share – everything is top-secret!! 🙂

We headed out to lunch and then I started my trip home. Lansing is just over an hour away, so I had a few hours to spare before our evening plans, so I headed to the gym. Nothing like planning ahead! Unfortunately, I was pretty beat, so it was a so-so showing, but I went. Kudos to me for the effort.

After, I went home to shower up and grab Phil for our dinner plans. We headed over to my coworker’s house and then out to dinner at a new-to-us spot, Tony Saccos. they have a coal-burning oven that cooks the pizza in no time and specialize in thin-crust with fresh ingredients. Phil and I ordered the vegetarian and loved every bite.

The dinner and company were wonderful. But, despite our best efforts, were pretty pooped from the past few days and called it a relatively early night (11pm is like 8 when you are used to 2am!).

Sunday

Oh beautiful Sunday. I turned off all of my alarms, we enjoyed a slow morning with a pot of coffee and eggs.

Phil and I pulled out our cookbooks, coupons and started a list for Thanksgiving dinner. We are cooking the whole meal for the first time and I am really looking forward to it!

We spent the late morning at the store and it was a complete success. I am completely ready for turkey day!

The rest of the day was spent mowing the lawn, cleaning, reading and cooking up a home-cooked meal. It was a much-needed quiet end to the weekend.

What was the highlight of your weekend?

Are you a thin, thick or deep dish pizza lover?

I like them all, it just depends what mood I am in. 🙂

XO-

BB

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Eating and Exploring San Fransisco

13 Nov

Last time we chatted, I was heading out the door to the conference that I am attending for work in San Francisco.  I met up with some people for lunch and then jumped into some sessions. I learned a lot and met some interesting people as well. Two signs of a great conference!

In between sessions, I headed back to my room for a sweet snack. There is a super Target not even a block away, so I decided to refuel with some good eats vs. snacking on cookies and coffee (although I wanted to fill my pockets!).

Traveling is one of my favorite things to do with my free time; I’m always planning Phil and my next trip, getaway or even a drive. However, I am a fairly particular eater, which can pose as a challenge when outside of my natural surroundings. One challenge is staying active while on the road and the other is eating. I usually do some research before taking off to locate some staples; grocery stores, Whole Foods, Starbucks.

Lately, I’ve become a bit lax with my eating. And to be honest, I have not had a great focus and intention during my workouts. So, with a very special wedding just seven weeks out, I’m making a concerted effort to improve both parts of my life.

For example, eating a yogurt and taking a walk between sessions.

After the conference, I made it back to my room for part two of my workout.  I did 30 minutes of toning moves. My goal is to workout 5-6 days a week, twice a day. I decided to break up my workout; cardio in the am and toning in the pm.

I’m not going to lie, it’s tough but I felt great after a day of workouts and eating. I stayed focused and ate an awesome dinner while catching up on work.

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The night wrapped with some Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. Seriously love that show. I packed up my room and prepped myself as much as possible for my 5am wake-up call this morning.

I gathered my luggage, grabbed a coffee and headed to the airport.

And now I am (hopefully) on the plane heading home. I have a full day of travel to get back to the mitten, but, it looks like I will land before traffic so I hope to beat the rush. Phil has class tonight so I am on puppy duty! I can’t wait to get home to see Henry, get in some cozies and enjoy the comforts of home.

Do you have any travel behaviors? Do you like to travel?

XO-

BB

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San Franny

12 Nov

How is every one’s Monday going? I am about three hours behind my normally scheduled program because I am in San Francisco!

Yesterday, I had a loooong day filled with an early departure time, traveling across the country and then heading off to an event. Phew! I love traveling, but going against the clock (traveling East coast to West) is challenging. Well, at least for me.

I packed up, kissed the boys good-bye and headed off around 6am yesterday morning. I left myself plenty of time to park, check my bag, pick up breakfast and get to my gate.

Breakfast was oatmeal and tea from Starbucks. Despite its best attempt, it did not keep me full through lunch. In all fairness, thanks to the time change, lunch wasn’t until 3pm EST. Seven hours – ugh. I made the mistake of shoving a Think Thin bar and two handfuls if nuts as soon as I touched down, which lead to a belly ache.

An hour and lots if traffic later, I checked into the InterContinential. It is completely gorgeous and within a block of Market Street.

The room is beautiful.

Especially the bathroom. I didn’t take a picture if the entire thing because I’m assuming you don’t need a visual of the toilet. But past the toilet is a tub. Thoughts of a nice relaxing bath are floating in my head.

I had a few minutes to get organized before heading out to my work event.

In full disclosure, the concierge warned me of a dicey area next to the hotel (about two blocks down). I thought I wa invincible in the middle of the day and decided to walk. On the way, I was cat called, saw broken out car windows, and was almost mugged. Now, I am not completely nieve- I do live in Detroit and have traveled a lot. But this was so dumb of me and by far the scariest situation I have ever been in.

I made it out safe an calls Phil in a panic. He was able to console me and I jumped into a cab arriving beyond fashionably late but in one piece.

I made it back to my room safe and sound around 5pm and crashed. My stomach brought me to a little while later and I ventured out and stumbled upon Split Bread (thank you, Yelp!).

Dinner was enjoyed on the bed watching Valentine’s Day. Bed came around 9pm PST- well past my bed time.

But, early to bed, early to rise! I went straight to the gym for a super sweaty HIIT workout. I headed down the street for some coffee and reading. I’m completely hooked on this book by the way!

Ok, off to start my day!

When you travel, do you stay on your time zone or change?
What is your favorite breakfast? I am a big fan of eggs, cereal or oatmeal. Just depends on my mood. 🙂

XO-
BB

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On Top of the World

5 Nov

Happy Monday all!

I am loving today because I am still on vacation – extended weekend for the win! But lets back up to this past weekend because it was amaz-hing.

FRIDAY

On Friday, Phil and I hit the road for Chicago. We were so ready for a vacation and decided that Chicago met all of our criteria; within driving distance and lots of fun things to do! Despite some traffic that tried to slow us down, we made it into the city and bee-lined it to Bucktown pub to meet up with my sister and her husband who were out on the town. We had such a great time hanging with them. Like, why do these people not live closer to us so we can be BFFs all the time, fun. 🙂

SATURDAY

Friday night was a late one, and adding on the hour time difference, I think I saw my usual wake-up call time. ::Rock-stars::

I woke up without an alarm and I knew right then and there we were going to have a great weekend. Seriously, I love waking up on my own and even better? Waking up without a to-do list. Let me do my happy dance.

OK, I’m back.

I hit up the gym, we took our times munching on breakfast (around lunch time), sipping coffee and finally rolling out to the cool, crisp air of the city. The weather was nothing short of a perfect November day; mid-fourties, sunny and no wind. I was able to rock my cutie boots and jacket, but not be bundled like a marshmallow. Perfection.

We spent the afternoon on the Mag Mile. You don’t need details, we could be here all day. But, it was glorious.

Around 6pm we hit up the mini mart for some adult beverages – time to get this party started! Phil made reservations for us at a very special location at 9pm, so we spent an hour resting and then got ready for an exciting and special night. The John Hancock building is a landmark in Chicago and houses the Signature Room; a fabulous restaurant on the 95th floor. Yes, you are almost on top of the world, while enjoying an amazing meal. And lucky me, I had the best date to share the night with.

After the trip to the top, we were seated next to the window and spent plenty of time enjoying the view. It never got old.

We moved on to some wine and apps, and our meals.

The meal ended with a special pumpkin mini-cupcake with cream cheese frosting.

I cannot think of any better way to ring in the big 3-0. I felt so special; sitting on top of the city with my husband it was an awesome, awesome surprise.

SUNDAY

Sunday started much like Saturday (workout, lazy eats and coffee). We gathered up our stuff and headed over to visit with my sister, brother-in-law and niece. It was again a perfect day, so we loaded up the peanut and headed out to a late lunch in their neighborhood. I have always heard of Smoke Daddy (my family raves about it), but Phil and I have never been. Well, Sunday was the day.

The food was so good, but even better were their bbq sauces. Wow! The mustard bbq was so, so good and totally unique. I’m kicking myself for not bringing some home.

Someone loved the mac and cheese!

I’m so glad we were able to go over to their place and visit for a few hours before heading back home.

I cannot say enough good things about this past weekend. It was wonderful start to finish.

Hope you all had a great one, too!

XO-

BB

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Grilled Pizza + Girl Talk

21 Sep

Life is a constant balancing act. We do what we can with what we are handed.

This week has been brutal – we’ll leave it at that. So, I could not have been more excited to host girl’s night at my house – it was just what the doctor ordered.

My best friend rang in her 30th birthday on Sunday and since we couldn’t all be together, we decided it was the perfect reason to theme our next gathering.

I had prepped a few items earlier this week and thanks to my stellar husband, had a clean home decorated with beautiful flowers. Thanks to the gods above, I managed to leave work at a decent time and made it home before my guests arrived.

What I love most about our girl’s nights is the fact that we keep them low-key and the effort minimal. Everyone pitches in to bring the eats and drinks. Last night, we decided to make pizza on the grill. I was so excited to give these bad boys a try.

I supplied the apps and vino that we enjoyed for a bit while chatting around the kitchen island.

Kate made the dough the day before, let it rise and all we had to do was roll out our personal pizzas.

The weather was serious perfection, so we moved our party outside and took turns grilling our pizza. There were a ton of toppings; some girls brought cheese, others meats and the other veggies so we were totally covered.

Cooking the pizza was easy peasy – two minutes on one side, flip, add your toppings, close the top and let it go for another 2-3 minutes until everything is cooked and warmed through.

I loved that we were all able to customize our eats and get exactly what we were craving.

The chatter went on for some time. Finally around 9pm we moved back inside and cozied up in the backroom with another round of vino and some sweet treats to celebrate the birthday girl.

Our night wrapped up pretty late, but I was having such a great time I certainly didn’t mind the lack of sleep.

Hope you are all having a great Friday!

Have you ever grilled pizza?

What are your favorite pizza toppings? I went for fresh tomatoes, basil, onion and procutio. Yum!!

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Windy City Escape

10 Aug

Hello from the Windy City!

Yesterday, I hit up the g-y-m for a good old workout. I was debating if I was going to go since my Tuesday workout left my muscles a bit sore. But, I figured my arms and abs were still good, I would focus on those areas. I started with 20 min on the elliptical followed by three rounds of arms, abs and back strength moves. All in all, I got in a really decent workout. I am new to the weight-game, but am finding lifting to be a great workout.

Afterwards, I decided to pick up coffee since I was out of my ice coffee at home. It was raining buckets, so I opted for the drive through coffee option instead of my usual Starbucks. They managed to get my ‘iced coffee’ order wrong, so made up for it in size. Wholly crap. Got coffee?

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Despite the size, it tasted terrible. Lesson learned, stick with the pros.

What was good? My new breakfast super-star: Okios Vanilla Yogurt. I am a Chobani girl through and through, but after reading some promising reviews of the greek goodness and seeing a nice sale at the store, I picked one up. And let me say, this yogurt BLEW it’s competitors out of the water. This was hands-down the best yogurt mess I’ve ever had.

Yogurt Mess (Yo-gURHT Messsss): A cup of yogurt with lots of mix-ins from fruit to coconut, to cinnamon, granola, cereal or nuts. In a word – goodness.

I will be dreaming of this breakfast goddess for days.

After my breakfast and coffee debacle, I got myself in the shower, packed and out the door. My sister and her husband are traveling this week for a wedding, so my mom is watching their little girl, Natalie. My mom invited me to join her in the city for some auntie/daughter/away from work time. I’m in!

Four hours of driving later and I finally rolled into the city- along with the rain clouds.

Happy dance for a long weekend in the big city with some awesome company.

We spent the afternoon playing, going on a walk, watching a few cartoons (which was a huge hit) and making dinner. My mom and I had the little one down at a decent time so we settled into the couch with a movie. I think we made it about half way. Between the hour time difference and the long day, we were ready for a good night’s sleep.

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Today we are venturing out for a bit – I hope the weather cooperates!

Happy Friday all! What do you have on the calendar for the weekend?

XO-

BB