Aside

Day Dreamer

11 Feb

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Busy as a Bee

9 Feb

Happy Saturday!

I hope you aren’t buried under heaps of snow! We had a good amount of accumulation Thursday night and continued through the day Friday. Winter is showing it’s head, finally.

Yesterday was quite busy. In fact, the entire week has been busy. For someone who just removed 60 hours of work from her life, you certainly wouldn’t know it.

Monday – drive back home from up-north trip, unload car at 9pm. Say hi to my boys. Crash and burn.

Tuesday – unpack, laundry, dig myself out of email jail, chats with friends and dinner and drinks with the girls.

Wednesday – more laundry (how is this possible), dug through stack of mail, grocery store, Target run (aka time suck), lots of organizing throughout the house, gym, long walk with Henry Winston, dinner date with the boy.

Thursday – gymin’ x2, blog design call, meet with the financial planner followed by a long meeting at Starbucks with the boy, work meeting, and then visitors!

Friday – Lots of blog work (good things are coming in the next few weeks!), gym, meeting, lunch date and then hanging with the visitor. My brother has a coaching conference in the area, so he is staying with us through the weekend. We have spent lots of time chatting and hanging out – he is one of my favs so I am soaking in all that I can.

I have been all over God’s green earth this week and I am spent. But, I feel as though there is so much to do. Between house projects, some personal projects, house upkeep, daily gym dates, and Henry, my head is swirling. Bah. Time for a game plan.

I may be overwhelmed, but thankfully some other people have their acts together when it comes to workout plans, which has helped me keep my exercise on point. I integrated a few new routines into my workouts.

First, I finally tried out Physique 57. The company just launched online workouts that you can watch on your computer – awesome! I’ve debated investing in their dvd, but wasn’t sure where it would fall on my love scale, so this was a great option!

I went for the 30 min cardio session and it did not disappoint! My heart rate was up, I toned, tightened and strengthened in no time.

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I have also been following Gina’s Winter Shape Up program. I adore her blog and was really motivated to give her program a whirl. And I must say – I am loving it! On Thursday, I did some toning moves and her stairmaster routine. It was a killer in a good way. I would totally recommend her Shape Up program to anyone. She focuses on short, intense bursts of energy to get the most bang for your buck in the shortest amount of time. Love it.

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Hope you are having a great Saturday. Stay warm!

XO-

BB

 

Aside

Girls Wine Weekend – Part 2

8 Feb

Back to where we left off.

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After the wine tour, we jumped back into our van and headed to our house.

I have to say, if you are going to do a wine tour, I highly recommend booking a driver. We hired a driver for both Katie’s bachelorette party and the wine weekend. With all of the vino, it is better to be safe.

Not to mention, after each winery, we hopped in the car and let Chris lead the way. He had a list of wineries so he did the driving while we gabbed, hydrated and sang karaoke.

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When we arrived, our girlfriend Katie A was waiting for us! She was planning to join us on the tour but had to cancel last minute. Once we were inside and our hands were holding more spirits, she shared with us the news that she is expecting!! Well that explains why she missed the wine tour! (And is really the only acceptable answer.)

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We ordered in and gabbed into the wee hours yet again.

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Seriously, is there anything better than time with amazing women? I think not.

Unfortunately, we had to say good-bye Sunday morning following coffee chat. Despite being together for two days, we gabbed until the last second together.

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My sister had a few hours before her flight, so we met up with my brother, SIL Nichole and dad for lunch. It was so wonderful to relax and visit with the family. The last time we were together was for the big wedding!

We had to wrap up and I drove Linds to the airport. It was sad to say good-bye to my favorite lady, but I am planning to visit her in Chicago soon!

After the airport, I headed over to my brother and Nichole’s place. I decided to stay up north for another day and spend time visiting with the newly weds. Life has been crazy busy and I felt like it had been a long time since we were able to have a good chat. We spent the night gabbing, watching the commercials during the Superbowl (priorities) and was treated to some yummy taco salads.

It was a great decision to stay for an extra day. But, it was time to head back on Monday afternoon.

Wine weekends for the win! Already looking forward to the next.

Have you ever been on a wine tour?

XO-

BB

Aside

Girls Wine Tour Weekend – Part 1

7 Feb

Well hello, reality. I’m back home after a wonderful {and much needed} long weekend away. On Thursday I said adios to my job, crashed on the couch at 8:30pm and closed that chapter of my life.

Friday morning, I got my gym on and then high-tailed it to Traverse City to meet my sister at the airport. Linds flew in from Chicago for our wine tour weekend.

My fabulous book club {more to come on that} decided that we should change it up in February and return to our hometown for a girls weekend. I am from up north Michigan where the wineries are as popular as Starbucks downstate and Feb 2 & 3 is the Taste the Passion Wine Tour. Done and done.

We rented a crazy awesome house at the Homestead and when we arrived, ran around like the crazy a**s on The Real World. Our digs for the weekend was right on the water; three stories with a master suite, two other bedrooms, full kitchen, fireplaces, etc. All you would need and more.

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After a drive through crazy, white-out snow, we arrived and met up with the rest of our crew. The night was spent drinking lots of wine, laughing and playing Cards Against Humanity.

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Saturday

Linds and Claire whipped up some quiche before our driver arrived at 10:30 to tout us around to the wineries. Twenty wineries participated, however, the event went from 11am – 5pm, so we laid out a plan to hit up our favorite spots. First up, Brengman Bros.

Since this was our first stop, we were given a run-down of the program, our wine glass for the day and a punch ticket. Taste the Passion Wine Tour asks wineries to participate by selecting one wine and creating an appetizer to pair it with. When you get to each winery, they hand you the food and you have your glass filled with the accompanying wine.

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Now, you don’t have to stop there! You can continue on into the winery for standard wine tasting. Which, of course we did. At each winery. Lord.

At Brengmans, they served truffles with their Reiseling. So good. They were both sweet, but the chocolate had some red wine and was mellow compared to the tart of the white wine. 25950_4805135918865_2062481115_n IMG_9471

Next is our favorite, L.Mawby. This winery is a bit different because their wines are all ….. They served Jadore with chocolate from Grocer’s Daughter Chocolates.

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Our next stop was a standing favorite in my household, Leelanau Cellars. They paired a creamy Brie and Mushroom Risotto with their 2009 Reserve Chardonnay. No cheese for this girl. Luckily this place rocks and had chips and hummus on stand-by.

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Tandem Ciders is a bit of an odd-ball in the land of wine, but holds its own. They served Chicken Mole in a Cornmeal Crepe paired with Sweetheart Cider. We all voted the mole as not so good but the cider the clear winner of all of their offerings.IMG_9491 IMG_9492 IMG_9497

Forty-Five North was a new-to-me winery that I have enjoyed at home but never been. 45 served White Chocolate Brie phyllo shells topped with orange marmalade paired with 45 gold, an apricot dessert wine aged in Bourbon barrels and fortified with spirits.

I passed on the phyllo shell as my stomach was filled with sugar so I had to start being selective with my eats. No need to crash and burn during this fun.

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We also had Blustone on our tour. A new winery, this place has a great open room with views for miles. It was a modern winery with a solid selection. Bluestone served a heart-shaped chocolate-cherry brownie paired with their 2010 Pinot Noir. Umm, this brownie was a little piece of heaven. And the wine was one of my top picks of the day. Very impressed with Bluestone.

IMG_9511 IMG_9512 IMG_9514Verterra Winery is located in downtown Leland and just opened two years ago. Despite being a newer winery, they have made their mark. We enjoyed a Leelanau Apple Tart w/Maple Mousse and Caramel paired with their Chaos White Cuvee. The wine was one of my favorites of the day, even as a red girl, fresh, crisp and full-bodied.

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Our second to last stop took us to Chateau Fontaine, a small winery that paired their Big Paw red with Cincinnati Chili dogs. Odd, but the solid food was much needed. I did not participate, no thank you. IMG_9529 IMG_9530

Bel Lago served a Decadent Triple Chocolate Cake drizzled with Chef Hamar’s Balaton Cherry Sauce paired with Bouquet, a “delightful blend of Pinot Noir and Cherry wines”.

Part two will be coming up soon. Until then, enjoy the contact buzz from this post.

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XO-

BB

Aside

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.

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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!!

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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.

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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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New Year Resolution Check-ins

1 Feb

Can you believe we are a month into 2013?

While I am not a believer in New Years resolutions, I do believe in check-ins and creating healthy, positive habits. Often the new year is a time for people to find the latest fad diet, a quick solution. But, what happens after that time? What does your life style look like in July? November? Are you still living on cabbage soup? I highly doubt it.

Have your resolutions already gone out the window? Setting large goals that are lofty is a great way to crash and burn in no-time flat. It is best to set a very specific goal, for example being healthy enough to run around with your kids and family rather than something lofty, “I want to be skinny.”.

So, what does it take to get there? Identify the steps you are going to take and that it will take to reach your goal. Here are some examples of ways to change your actions into goal-affirming behaviors:

Start cooking. So many of today’s popular diets seem to demonize certain foods and give you a long list of items to avoid. I’d much rather switch the emphasis and celebrate all the wondrous foods you get to embrace – fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes, healthy fats, lean proteins, low-fat dairy – and find new ways to prepare them at home. Cooking more often is one of the best new habits you can adopt in the New Year.
Be positive. Believing that you can make a change is a powerful force. It’s what behavioral scientists call “self-efficacy.” You’re much more likely to reach a goal if you have the confidence that you can do it. Failing to stick to a restrictive diet plan – or jumping from one approach to the next – may damage your self-confidence, which will just work against you. Have faith in your ability to succeed.
Celebrate little victories. Breakdown your resolution into attainable, bite-size nuggets. For instance, think about one specific change you’ll make every day, such as adding a fruit or vegetable to every meal or getting up 15 minutes earlier in the morning so you can go for a walk before work. Give yourself some credit for making these positive changes – no matter how small. When you begin to succeed you gain self-confidence, which leads to greater success.
Find your “keystone” habit. For many people, making one change often leads to other positive changes. A keystone habit is a behavior that can kick-start this cascading of other new habits. You may find that exercising is your keystone habit. If you schedule time to walk in the morning, sign up for yoga class or begin training for a 5K, perhaps that will trigger other changes. Sometimes just getting started is the hardest part, but one healthy habit can lead to the next.

Finding time to touch base with your intentions, goals and really a life-check is a good way to stay on track all year-long. So many times we make general statements about losing weight, finding a partner, facing our fears that we aren’t setting ourselves up for success.  Instead, we should identify our goal or what we want to achieve and set steps to get there – making a habit of positive and healthy life style changes. Create a calendar and reward yourself when you accomplish a step or make a change for the better.

We still have 11 months to go – so hop to it!

XO-

BB

Aside

do what frightens you

31 Jan

Lessons

Today I am doing just that. Today, I am saying good-bye to my job that was no longer working for me. It was a long time coming, but certainly not a decision I made or take lightly.

But I realized that I was staying in my job out of fear. Fear of not knowing what was next. I was extremely unhappy and yet I thought I had to deal with the situation because I didn’t have the next rung on the monkey bar in clear sight.

So, I faced my fear and stood up for myself.

I will not lie, it was scary and at times I have a moment of panic – what did I do?! But, what I did was put my happiness over a paycheck. I put my family over being ‘on’ 24/7 with emails, phone calls and social media. I was brave. I made a choice to follow my passions, walk down a new path and see where it leads.

Intuition is an amazing and powerful tool that often we ignore. I have found that facing fears have been what have pushed my career and style the furthest. But those risks paid off in the long run.

Many times we so easily cave to things that seem frightening whether they are big or small. We give in to the fear, which ends up holding us back from doing what needs to be done and what is within our journey.

Being fearful as a creative is the greatest deterrent of reaching your potential and making a livelihood for yourself so the more you allow yourself to let go of the fear and just embrace the challenges the more you will see growth and success. Find a way to take things head on and not let them stand in your way. No one else can give you that motivation but yourself.

XO-

BB

Aside

Bon Jovi Sang to me this Morning

30 Jan

Seriously. I got myself out of bed at the butt-crack (4:45A) for a 75 min spin class. Booyah!

And low and behold all of the January joiners were there leaving me with the very last bike. Thank the lord because girlfriend would have been pissssed if I would have got up for nothing. Mmm-k?!

Once I was on and locked in in the front row I was off. The tunes were jammin and I was getting a minor ego boost string at my bad a** self kicking it.

Just when I thought life couldn’t get any better, my main man started in. 80s were on the turn style today and I was on cloud nine.

Life is a bitch sometimes, but when we feel down and out we need to pick ourselves up and do something about it. Only we can control our lives.

Whoa, we’re halfway there.
Whoa, oh! Living on a prayer.

Happy hump day. What are you doing to make it through the week?

XO-
BB

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VIP at Tiger Stadium

29 Jan

Happy Tuesday, all!

I have to say, I am really looking forward to all this week has to offer. But, more on that later.

This weekend was so wonderful. My dad came down to visit for a very special event. To back up, my dad is a Detroit Tiger’s fan. Not one of those wear the clothes every day or overly annoying fans, no, he knows the history and truly loves the sport and the team.

The Detroit Tigers open Comerica Park for TigerFest; a day of events around the park, exclusive access and a chance to meet the players. My sister, her husband, Phil and got two tickets to the event as a birthday gift for my dad. We were so excited to score these highly coveted tickets!

My dad came down on Friday night and we spent some time chatting and visiting before calling it a night. On Saturday, we enjoyed lots of coffee and more chats as we eased into the day.  I have to say, I credit my dad with my fondness for ‘mud’. He is a big coffee drinker and I look forward to our mornings together chatting over a warm, fresh cup.

TigerFest started at 11am, so we jumped in the car and arrived shortly after the day started. We were handed a map, which was super helpful since there were activities on all three concourses and we did not want to miss a thing!

First up, bat carving.  A company was demoing how they shape baseball bats for the players. It was quite neat to see.IMG_9345

We realized the main level was more kid-based activities, so we went downstairs (autographs, dugouts, team locker room, history). At the base of the stairs, we found ourselves in line…but we didn’t know what it led to. One of the workers told us we had landed in the autograph line. Cool! Since we were already there, we stayed put and within 45 min we were rounding the corner to meet some players.

All of the Tigers participated in the day rotating between autographs, photo-opts and interviews with fans.  So, you never knew who was going to be at which location and when, but we were happy just to meet some Tigers!IMG_9354

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Next up – batting cages! My dad took a few swings – so cool!

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After we were warmed up, we went into the visitor’s dugout. IMG_9371

It was easy to get caught up in the momentum and we decided to take a quick break for lunch since it was almost 1pm. We went back to the main level for eats when we realized there was a short line for the American League Trophy. We quickly jumped in line and scarfed our food before we were up for pictures. Go Tigers!

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Feeling refreshed, my dad and I went back downstairs to tour the Tiger’s Club House.

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The entrance was covered in Tiger history. It was beautiful and powerful – that would get me charged up to play! Next was the Tiger’s dugout.

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And then we toured the locker rooms.

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The last section was a hallway that connected to a media interview room that was all converted to Tiger history and memorabilia. This was the coolest part of the day, in my opinion. The facts, stats and history that was in the room was unbelievable. From Ty Cobb to Miguel Cabrera’s jersey when he won the Triple Crown. And for a Tigers and history junkie like my dad this was heaven.

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My dad also shared some stories of being a young boy and watching the ’68 season – apparently only some games were aired so it wasn’t baseball overload like we  can feel today. He listed off the starting line-up as though the game happened yesterday. It was really special to watch my dad remember that season – the excitement he had telling the stories was amazing.

Next up was the photo room. We had a short wait and took our picture with Drew Smiley.

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Before we knew it, we had one hour left in the stadium and a few more places to hit up.

Up on the third level, the media press box was open. Wow, what a cool view. You could almost hear them calling the game.

Around the corner was a large room that is used for executives and houses some VERY special trophies; the ’68 and ’84 World Series trophies! This was a complete surprise and we were in complete awe of seeing these trophies! IMG_9435

As the time ticked on, we had to keep moving. We ran all the way downstairs and outside to the pitcher’s box.

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And finally to the ice carving station. Phew. With the clock ticking at 4:51pm, we wrapped up with minutes to spare. Most of the players had left at 4pm, so the stadium was quickly quieting down. We called it a day and high-tailed it to Starbucks to warm up. Did I mention it was a high of 28 degrees that entire time?! Yikes!IMG_9448

But the day was worth the cold temps. Being able to tour the stadium and meet the players was a once in a life time experience. And to go with my dad, to watch him travel back to years ago as a boy when his love for baseball first blossomed and sharing those memories and making so many new ones was such a special opportunity for me. My parents are so giving, so I felt great to be able to almost pay it back.

Phil drove downtown to meet us at Slows BBQ where we enjoyed some drinks at the bar catching up and sharing our stories from the day before being seated and devouring our finger-licking good meals.

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The guys continued on and I headed home for some warm tea, shower and pjs. I was spent!

What an awesome event and opportunity I had to share with my dad. It really was a day filled with awesome experiences and memories.

XO-

BB

Aside

The Power of the Podcast

25 Jan

Happy Friday!

I am s-t-o-k-e-d that we reached the end of the week. Sure, sure, it was a short week, but I still love my Fridays.

Today started at the gym- per usual followed by an awesome breakfast, the protein pancake with fresh berries. Mmmm. 20130122-123241.jpgfsdfd

Since it’s Friday and many of you share your favs I thought I’d share one of my latest addictions- the podcast.

Recently, I’ve become slightly obsessed with podcasts. On my way into work, I load up the latest and by time I’m I to the office I’ve taken in a great conversation, learned a thing or two and felt as though I’ve expanded my mind. Podcasts are a great alternative to newspapers for people who have long commutes like me. It’s impossible to read while driving 45 min one way to work, but a podcast gives me that same ‘in-the-know’ feeling.

There are a ton of great shows out there, but my hands-down favorite is Jillian Michaels. Her shows are highly entertaining and educational. Topics range from food and fitness (dugh), to hit topics in government, stress, happiness and overall health. Listening to her show has completely opened my eyes to the false perception we have of being healthy in this world.

The show is 50 min and starts with a topic of J’s choice followed by a call or two from people with health and fitness questions.

Jillian Michaels

 

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I now only eat organic soft-skinned fruits and veggies an USDA meats. I’m saying good-bye to hormones being pumped into my body.

I have also found her shows to be completely motivational. She encourages people to live a healthy and happy life. Jillian believes that everyone can get to that point if we are simply honest with ourselves.

In December, I traveled out to the west coast three times giving me lots of un-plugged hours to fill. I found myself tearing through her podcasts faster than I do through a sale at Neimans. I can’t get enough.