Tuesday, January 31, 2012

10 Minute Weaving Interval Set

Hi there!

Happy Tuesday :)

Today was a weights day for me!

I set out to the gym around 5:30 this morning to do Fitnessista's Winter Shape Up Week 3.

Before I do any weights routine, I always try to squeeze in a 5 to 10 minute warm up of cardio.

I find it hard to figure out what to do with myself for only 5 to 10 minutes, so it usually ends up being a lack-luster routine.

So, today, I decided to come up with a power-packed 10 minute treadmill set to really get me going and ready for my weights.

This one requires some concentration (lots of ups and downs!) so it goes by super quick.

10 Minute Weaving Interval Set
0 to 1
1 to 2
2 to 3
3 to 4
4 to 5
5 to 6
6 to 7
7 to 8
8 to 9
9 to 10

This is definitely a bang-for-your buck set that can even be doubled (or tripled!) for a more intense cardio routine. 

Let me know if you try it! 

Some people grumble at Tuesday for being an "ordinary day."  I say, let's be thankful for ordinary days, or else, get out there and make your ordinary day EXTRA-ordinary :) 



P.S. Need something quick and yummy for dinner tonight? Try my sloppy josies recipe I posted last night! :) 

Monday, January 30, 2012

Sloppy Josies

Good evening friends!

I hope you all are off to a great start this week.

Thank you so much for your comments on the Lulu giveaway post so far - I appreciate all of the feedback!

If you haven't yet, go comment on the post to get your entries in before Saturday! :)

Today was a long and somewhat stressful work day for me.

A mixture of good stress and bad stress, and you know...



Anyway, by the time I got home all I wanted to do was eat dinner, and FAST.

When I need to get something on the table ASAP, one recipe I often turn to is the Sloppy Joe!

I gotta tell you, I did some Google searching to figure out where the h-e-double-hockey-sticks the name "Sloppy Joe" came from, and some of the answers were a little to TWSS (that's what she said) for this little blog of mine.

I can tell you that the Sloppy Joe originated in Sioux City, Iowa, and they were created by a guy name Joe.

Go figure!

Here's my twist on the classic.

Sloppy Josies

What you'll need: 

1 lb lean ground beef (I use ground sirloin - 96/4)
1 tsp grill seasoning
1/3 cup julienne cut sun dried tomatoes
1/4 to 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 to 1/2 cup ketchup
cooking spray for pan

What you'll do: 

1) Prep your pan with some cooking spray and start browning up the ground beef at medium-high heat.

2) Sprinkle the ground beef with the grill seasoning.  My favorite is McCormick's Montreal Steak.

3) Add in the sun dried tomatoes to heat up with the ground beef.  I have been finding my SDTs in these bags lately, but you can also get them in a jar and spoon them out of the oil.

4) Add in the apple cider vinegar and ketchup, then mix it all up.

Add these to your liking, depending upon how sloppy you like it!

5) Spoon the mixture onto your favorite bun or even a wheat sandwich thin (toast these first to avoid sogginess).

I like to serve these sandwiches along with something green, and sometimes even with sweet potato fries!

The best part about this meal is that it will be in your pan and on the table in less than 30 minutes.

We usually even have some leftovers which make for great sandwiches (it's even good in a salad!) for lunch the next day.

Let me know if you try it! :)

I'm off to end my night with a little RHOBH reunion action.



Sunday, January 29, 2012

Lulu Goods + Giveaway

Good evening, friends! :)

I hope you all have had a very nice weekend!

A lot of exciting things happened this weekend in our neck of the woods.

One thing I thought you all might be particularly interested in was something I did sort of on a whim this afternoon...


And yes, that does need to be in all caps.

It's a shopaholic workout lover's dream.

I had seen Chelsey tweet a little about the sale on Friday, but I didn't think about going because I figured it was probably far away and something I didn't want to put my mom through (the lines were supposed to be horrendous).

Then, last night, my friend Ashley mentioned how close the sale was to our place (literally 10 minutes away!), and my ears perked up a little.

After my mom headed back home this afternoon, I was getting the itch to go check out the goodies.

I figured maybe since I would be going at the tail end of the sale (it closes at 9PM tonight), I might be able to get in and get out unharmed.

Let me just say, I am SO GLAD I decided to go.

Not only did I not have to wait in ANY lines, I got some pretty sweet deals, and even a little something to share with one of YOU! :)

Here's what I found...

Lululemon Power Y Tank 

original price - $52
warehouse sale price - $19

When I got to the sale, I could not find a single tank in my size, let alone one I liked.  I nabbed this one out of the "go back" bin by the fitting rooms and clung to it for dear life as I tried on my other items.  

Lululemon Run Shorts

warehouse price - $19

I actually can't find this exact pair of shorts online anywhere, but they look and feel very similar to the Turbo Run Shorts, which go for $54 at the store. 

And last, but certainly not least...

Lululemon Special Edition Dip Dye Scuba Hoodie 

original price - $148
warehouse price - $29 (buy one get one free)

Yes, you read that right.  

By the time I got to the warehouse sale, they were selling these scuba hoodies for 29 bucks a piece, and they were BUY ONE GET ONE FREE!! 

Unfortunately for me, I couldn't find the hoodie in a different color and in my size, but fortunately for YOU, I decided to pick up an extra black & white one for a fun little GIVEAWAY! 

Here are the deets...

This is a SIZE 6, brand new with tags, Lululemon Special Edition Scuba hoodie.  

I wear a size small or a 4 to 6 in women's clothing, and this is how the hoodie fits me: 

It's not super tight, so it's comfortable, but it's still cute fitting!

There is a removable (faux) fur piece (see below in the pink version), which I promptly removed from mine, but I'd be happy to leave on the prize winning piece.

My favorite part...

The message embroidered inside the edge of the hood :)

Just too good not to share the *love*

A few ways to enter:

1) For TWO entries: Comment on this post telling me what you'd like to see more of on BEBT! Recipes? Workouts? Wedding updates? Playlists? Fashion(ish)? Meal re-caps? Other suggestions?

2) For additional entries: 
  +1 Sign up to be a Google Friend Connect BEBT follower! (link on the side bar)

  +1 Follow BEBT on Twitter @beyesbtales

  +1 "Like" Bright-Eyes & Bushy-Tales on Facebook

  +1 Tweet the following "I want to win that Lululemon Scuba Hoodie from @beyesbtales!"

I will be announcing the winner next Saturday morning so get your entries in! :)

Good luck, everyone!



Saturday, January 28, 2012

Shoe Decision

Good morning, everyone!

Happy Saturday!

It is a beautiful, sunny Saturday in the suburbs of Chicago.

Last night, we headed to my favorite Mexican restaurant in the area, Caliente's!

I was super excited when my Mom suggested Mexican for dinner, because it's one of my favs, but Justin is not so smitten.

We ordered fresh guacamole for the table first, which they come make right in front of your hungry eyes:

The only other place I've been to that does this is Dos Caminos in NYC.

There has to be tons of other places that put on the same show, I just haven't found them yet!

After digging into the guac & salsa, I decided roll with the Fajitas:

Enjoyed side by side with a refreshingly-amazing Margarita, cha cha cha.

That thing dominated me.  I got through about half before I decided to throw in the towel.

Tequila is no joke, people :) I think there's even a song about that...

So, before heading out with my mom for the day, I wanted to fill you in on my big wedding wedge decision!

Thank you all SO MUCH for all of your helpful comments yesterday.

Many of you suggested throwing in a pop of color, and there were a lot of comments to remember to think about comfort.

After much thought, I have decided to order BOTH option number three:

And option number four:

To see which pair is the most comfortable and looks the best in person.

I'm super excited about the Badgley Mischka shoes because I think they will go the best with my dress, which I realize none of you have seen.

Unfortunately, that pair is "on order" with Bloomingdales right now, so I might not see them for 5 weeks.  At least I got free shipping!

In the mean time, I will be checking out the Ninas to see how they feel.

I think both willl be super cute in pictures.

I've got another fun-filled day ahead with my momma!

We are heading out to Macy's to look at some things for the registry, and then maybe to do a little work clothes shopping.

I desperately need to add to my "big girl" wardrobe.  Slowly, but surely.

Hope you guys all have a happy and healthy day!

Stay tuned for some more updates, and maybe even a wedding post, tomorrow!



Friday, January 27, 2012

Wedding Wedges

Hi there!

Happy freakie FRIDAY.

Did anyone jump out of bed this morning for a pre-weekend sweat?!

I had short but power-packed workout this morning - only about 30 minutes long.

If you're looking for a quickie today try:

Sweet Tooth Sweet Life's 20 Minute Hill Run


This --> Ab Burner from Fitnessista

I loved that combo this AM!

I am so excited this Friday because:

A) I am only working a half day today (yayyyy).


B) My mom is coming in this afternoon and will be visting with us all weekend (double yayyy).

We don't have a ton of plans this time around, so we will just see where the weekend takes us.

So, today I am in need of YOUR help!

I am having a huge debate with myself over my wedding shoes.

You see, we are getting married at a country club, hopefully out on the green, so a classic heel isn't going to cut it.

It's going to be hard enough for me to get myself and my dress down that aisle, so there is no way I am going to try to deal with having my heels dig into the grass.

I hear grass stains don't go so well with bridal gowns? Ya don't say.

So, I have decided that I am going to buy a pair of fancy wedges to wear on the big day.

Easier said than done.

There are about -5 options when it comes to wedge occasion shoes.

It actually kind of shocks me - aren't outdoor weddings super popular??

After lots of browsing and lots of pinning, here are the options I have the shoe search narrowed down to:

Option #1: Ericka by Nina

Option #2: Lulu Townsend Pultan Wedge Pump

Option #3: Eterna by Nina

Option #4: Badgley Mischka Gisele Wedge

Which one is your favorite?? 

I do need a little bit of height with my dress, and I think all of these options will be good for that. 

Leave a comment with your favorite, and I will let you know what pair I end up going with :) 

Have a fantastic day, everyone! 



Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Most Dreaded Exercises

Good morning!

How are you all doing this hump day?!

Humpity humpity hump.

Can you tell someone's had their coffee?? :)

So this morning, while I was knocking out one of Fitnessista's Bridal Bootcamp  workouts (Week #1, Workout #3), I got to thinking about my least favorite "strength training" exercises.

Pretty negative thinking for me, eh?

Maybe it's because all THREE of my least favorites are in the workout I was doing this morning - go figure!

Anyway, I think it's okay to admit that I hate certain exercises, since I usually end up grinning & bearing them in the end.

Here are my Top 3 most dreaded exercises:

Numero Uno: The BURPEE. 

Blech blech blech.  I hate the burpee.

Why do I hate it so much?

Maybe it's the fact that it just plain takes a lot of physical effort, or maybe it's because I always end up feeling like I have shaken baby syndrome by the end of a set.

I'm pretty sure we can all agree that the burpee pretty much stinks and should be abolished from the workout dictionary completely.

Moving on...

Numero Dos: The Single Leg Deadlift

I am no fan of the single leg deadlift.

Maybe it's because this is a new-to-me exercise that is taking me forever to figure out, or maybe it's because I really need to work on my balance.

When I have 10 deadlifts to do, it usually takes me about 20 tries, because I'm falling over so much.

Numero Tres: The REAL Push Up

I know, I know, push ups are a work out staple - we all have to do them.

I have always been the absolute queen of the girly push up.

Never did I once even try to do a push up from my toes until I started going to Barre Bee Fit.

I can now do some real push ups (15 to 20 a set is my max), but even though I'm ashamed to admit it, it is still somewhat of a struggle for me.

I'm working on it!

Now, lets end on a positive note, shall we? :)

What is my favorite strength training exercise?

Any form of bicep curl + plie squat combo is my kinda burn. 

(Is it just me, or does it seem like that girl accidentaly wore her bikini bottoms to the gym?)

You can see a bunch of variations of my favorite combo here, in a little video Gina did.

Love those! :)

So what do I tell myself when I have to do a burpee/deadlift/pushup to get myself through it?

Well, I like to think of a little quote from the movie Elf, of course! 

You remember when buddy said "smiling was his favorite" to his boss at Gimbels?

And, what did his boss say back?

"Make work your favorite!"

So, to myself, when I'm thinking "But, bicep curls & plie squats are my favorite!!"...

I say, "Make burpees/deadlifts/pushups your favorite!"

Then, I giggle, and I get it done.

If that doesn't work, I just think about what I have waiting for me when I get home...

A delicious smoothie made by a very handsome fiance :)

Something to talk about: What is your most dreaded exercise? How do you get through it?

Have a great day!!



Sunday, January 22, 2012

Choosing Our Venue

This particular wedding update is LONG overdue.

According to the handy Knot Book of Wedding Lists, choosing a ceremony and reception venue is one of the very first things a newly engaged couple is supposed to do. 

It's on the "12+ months" to-do list, and really, it was one of the very first things on my mind after we got engaged. 

I'm not sure if I ever went into detail about this, but Justin & I were originally somewhat unsure of where, as in what city, we wanted to have our wedding. 

We tossed around the idea of getting married back at IU (in Bloomington, Indiana) where we met, in the suburbs of Chicago (city of Chicago was never on the list - way too pricey), or where Justin's family is from - Elkhart, Indiana. 

I spent the first few days of planning on the phone with my mom and Justin's mom discussing what they thought would be best.  

Bloomington was ruled out fairly quickly because I got cold feet - it just seemed a little too far away for planning purposes and our guests. 

We quickly crossed of the Chicago suburbs too.

It made the most sense to have the wedding somewhere close to Justin's family in Indiana, which is actually closer to my Mom too.  

Also, we were hoping Indiana vendors would be much more reasonably priced - you still pay a premium even in the suburbs of Chicago. 

So, Indiana it was! :)


After that, we had to decide what kind of venue we were looking for.  

The Knot lists in the "Reception" chapter helped confirm what I had already been thinking.

I wanted a "country club" feel, with great indoor and outdoor space.   

Thankfully, Justin was on board with those same thoughts. 

We also knew we needed a venue that not only had a great reception space, but an equally beautiful space for the ceremony.  

We were still toying around with the idea of having the ceremony at a church, but we knew there was a good chance we would end up having everything all at one place. 

With all of these thoughts in mind, I started doing some online research and asking around, which led me to about 8 different options in the area.  

Justin & I then made plans to go back to Indiana and do all of our venue shopping in one weekend.  

I know he wasn't putting a lot of pressure on finding a place that weekend, because he has a lot more patience than I do, but I was really wanting to come back to Chicago with this decision made.  

I called around and made a bunch of probably too closely-spaced appointments, and we were off! 

To me, venue shopping was just like wedding dress shopping.  


And...you wish you could just pick and choose what you liked from each place and combine them all together to create your dream come true. 

A grand entrance (Morris Park Country Club): 

A comfortable/luxurious space for getting ready (Morris Park Country Club): 

A gorgeous patio for cocktail hour (Knollwood Country Club): 

Surrounded by nature (Blue Heron at Blackthorn): 

Big windows over-looking the green (Juday Creek): 

Wow factor (Morris Park Country Club): 

Beautiful outdoor space for a ceremony (Morris Park Country Club): 

A good back-up plan for the ceremony if there is bad weather (Knollwood Country Club): 

And maybe even an after-hours bar option (Hilton Garden Inn & Gillespie Center): 

Looking back at all of those pictures, the decision seems so obvious. 

But, of course, there was a lot more to it than that. 

We had to think about the price. 

We had to think about the food quality. 

And we had to think about the service. 

Justin and I tried not to share our thoughts on the venues while we were looking. 

Our plan was to wait until the end, write down our favorite place on a piece of paper, and exchange.  

And guess what? 

We picked the same place. 

But, guess what?

It wasn't the place we ended up booking with. 

I think we both picked the place we thought would be the "safe bet," and not the place we were really in love with.  

After a couple of weeks of back-and-forth, pro/con lists, and lots of advice seeking, we ended up deciding on...

Morris Park Country Club! :) 

Morris Park really had everything we wanted.  

Gorgeous indoor space, beautiful outdoor space, a great reputation for food quality, and wow factor

Morris Park is the perfect setting for our wedding.  

I can't wait to pull up that gorgeous drive.

Get ready with all of my best girlfriends, family, and soon-to-be family.

Meet my future hubby at the alter to GET MARRIED :) 

Take some amazing pictures.

Meet our guests inside for some celebratory champagne.

Enjoy some delicious food.

And dance the night away.

Only 237 days to go, but who's counting? ;) 



Saturday, January 21, 2012

20 Facts About Me

Hey hey, it's Saturday!

Good morning, everyone! :)

I hope you all got to sleep in a little this morning.

I did, and I'm currently enjoying my coffee in bed (one of my favorite things to do) while pondering what I want to do all day!

We got a TON of snow yesterday, which put a little damper on any Friday night plans, so Justin & I enjoyed one of my healthy(ish) pizzas, followed by me polishing off this guy...

It took me at least 3 sittings, so I'm considering that a victory, mmkkay?

We also watched some History Channel shows (American Pickers & American Restoration) and some crazy show about the "Alaskan Triangle"??

I guess it's kind of like the Bermuda Triangle?? Who knows!

Anyway, today I have decided to do a little survey I found over on Tina's blog, which I have been loving for a long time now (happy 2 year blogiversary, Tina!!)

I am still working up to an "About Me" page, which I am hoping to have done soon.

For now, here are 20 facts about me :)

(photo by the amazing Just Love Me Photography + Design)

1) What is one of your favorite ways to spend a Saturday?
An ideal Saturday for me would be to wake up whenever I feel like it, have coffee in bed catching up on some blogs, and then head out the door for a great workout.  After that, I'd say anything from having lunch with a friend or going shopping, then having a date night somewhere out with Justin.  Favorite date nights for me would be dinner @ any Mexican restaurant (I'm hooked), a tasting @ Lynfred Winery, or on a fancier night, dinner @ Geja's Cafe.  I would also love to start going to see more shows downtown at some point - I miss my musicals! 

2) List your top three favorite TV shows.
Oh boy, this might be a little embarrassing, and I'm not going to just choose 3, sorry!  
1) All of the Real Housewives series + Bethenny Ever After (starts again in February, wahoo).
2) Dateline on NBC, when Keith Morrison does them. 
3) Guiliana & Bill :) 
4) Competition singing shows (X Factor & American Idol). 
5) 60 minutes when there is interesting (to me) subject matter. 
6) Diners, Drive Ins, & Dives.  
7) Say Yes to the Dress (duh!). 
8) History Channel shows (Pawn Stars, American Pickers, etc.)

A show I miss is Live with Regis & Kelly (well, I guess it's just Kelly now!).  I used to love watching that in the morning, but now I can never catch it.

3) Would you rather be in pictures or take them?
I think I like being in pictures, but I also like to be in control (if it's a bad one, getting to say "let's take another!").  So, I'd say I'd rather be in pictures, so long as it's my own camera :) 

4) Why do you blog?
I would consider blogging to be a hobby for me.  I really enjoy writing, and it's a perfect way for me to share my interests and also to keep friends/family up to date on what is going on in my life.  I also really love the healthy living blog community, and I enjoy contributing to it. As my interests turned towards health/wellness and I didn't feel know who exactly to share my thoughts with in my every day life, this became an "outlet," and I love it :) 

5) Share five websites that you visit regularly…
I found Peanut Butter Fingers when Julie did a guest post on www.fitnessista.com, and I was instantly in love with the blog.  It is now my favorite! :) 
Fitnessista was the first blog I ever started reading, and I am loving it even more now that Gina has added the "Family" page.  
Umm, just a little obsessed with Katie's blog.  She is so upbeat and has such a great perspective on life.  There have been so many mornings where I am feeling down & just reading her blog can completely turn that around for me - so much positive energy.
Although I don't often buy from this site (at least not yet!), I enjoy seeing what they have to offer.  I did recently find some treasures, including this skirt and a Monique Lhuillier crystal ring holder I have been looking at forever (got it for HALF price yesterday, score!).
The best resource ever for wedding planning, home decorating, and entertaining. I'm a huge fan.

And, of course...

www.facebook.com & www.twitter.com
I'd just be lying if I said I didn't spend some time on these every night.

6) If you could have lunch with one person from your Twitter list who would it be?
Definitely Julie from www.pbfingers.com, but only if my best friend Ashley could come along.  We are convinced us three would be instant best friends :) 

7) List a few of your favorite snacks.
Apples + String Cheese
My favorite bars
Veggies + Hummus 
Fiber One brownies + a cup of tea (Tazo Refresh is my fav!) 
Chips + Salsa 

8) Do you have a pet? If so, what kind?
Not yet, but we have been talking about getting  dog for YEARS.  Once we have a house with a yard, you better believe you will be seeing a puppy on here shortly thereafter :) For now, I like to hang with my adopted pets, Justin's parents' dogs Scrappy & Lucy, and my mom's dog Rosie. 

(scrap dap-a-doo)

9) Which three material possessions would you struggle to live without?
My iPhone & iPod. 
My car, even though I don't drive it as often as I used to. 
Make-up...I don't wear a ton, but it would be hard, for me, to live without it. 
(One of my biggest fears is that I will travel somewhere and lose/forget my makeup bag. Ah!!!)

10) What’s your favorite drink?
Water with lemon or sparkling water. 
Coffee & tea. 
For a drink-drink...Red Wine :) 

11) Do you enjoy cooking?
Umm...duh :)  I LOVE cooking! I find it incredibly relaxing and therapeutic for some reason. 

12) Do you have children?
Not right now and probably not for a while, but I am very excited to have a child some day :) 

13) What are your favorite hobbies?
Blogging :) 
Working Out - all kinds. 
Cooking (is that a hobby?)
Music & Singing (especially to myself in the car)
Wine Club (yeah, this is a hobby, okay?)

14) Would you consider yourself to be shy or outgoing?
That depends! In general I am outgoing & very friendly, but in certain situations I can be shy.  Put me in a room full of strangers and I get a little uncomfortable.  I also definitely need my alone time. But, generally, I would say outgoing. 

15) If you could change one thing about yourself, what would you change?
I wouldn't change myself - I enjoy being who I am, and it would be hard for me to act like anyone/anything else. 

16) Who is your favorite actor/actress?
Jennifer Aniston! :) 

17) What’s the coolest thing you’ve done this week?
Found our officiant!! & sent out our Save the Dates for our wedding! Lots of good workouts with Justin, too. 

18) Do you live near your family or far from them?
My mom lives in Michigan, my brother lives in Seattle, and my dad lives in Beijing - so I'd say way too far from my own family.  However, my mom comes to visit a lot (she's coming next week!), which is always the best.  Justin's family is only about 2 hours away, and his sister (my soon-to-be sis-in-law) is starting college super close to us next week, which we are both really excited about! 

19) List three of your talents.
1) I'd like to think writing is a talent of mine, at least I enjoy it a lot :) 
2) Singing & making up silly new words for songs... 
3) School? Idk, I got through a LOT of school, so I'll put that down. 

(awkward photo of the year winner)

20) What is your greatest attribute?

I'd like to think my greatest attribute is having a positive attitude and a good overall perspective on life. 

Life is too short to be anything but happy :)

Wow, that was fun, now wasn't it?!

Something to talk about: 1) Pick two questions above and answer them for yourself in the comments section.  Okay? Go!! 2) Did you like that little exercise? Do you think I should open up a "q&a" type post like many other bloggers have done?

Alrighty folks, no workout for me today because today is a "rest day" (I did update my workout log on the Sweat Seshes page).

I think I'm off to shower & run some errands...I'm considering heading to Macy's to do some "pre-registering" today, aka browsing so I don't bore Justin to death when we go do the full registry in a couple of weeks.

I'm hoping to get a wedding update post up this weekend, so keep checking back! :)

Have a happy & healthy day,