Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A New Morning Routine

Hi there! :)

Sorry I've been a little MIA over the past couple of days.

This is a super busy work week for me, and our mornings are in a bit of a transition over here.

On Monday, Justin and I started P90x - the "extreme home workout program."

Why, might you ask, have I decided to put myself through this torture??

Please ask me in 90 days, because right now, I'm only certain that I'm not so sure

{We are doing P90x, and no, it's not the "new" version - we're doing the old one because that's what we have and we didn't feel like paying for a new program/version right now...gotta save those dollas!!}

Justin bought the DVDs a couple of years ago and went almost all the way through the program (70ish days until he moved to Chicago), and the results were definitely clear - he was 100% ripped.

There is a "nutrition plan" that goes along with P90x, and he followed that pretty religiously at the time.

I have no plans to change my eating habits, because I think I've finally come to an equation that works for me in that area and I don't want to mess with the system.

And, let's face it, I'd be a cranky mess if my diet consisted mainly of grilled chicken and broccoli (I do love broccoli though).

The "diet" situation will be a struggle for us, because I'm getting the feeling Justin doesn't even want to look at a carb for the next 90 days - total carb-o-phobia, folks. 

I had to throw away half of his sweet potato last night and I was seriously mourning the loss.

Who throws away half of a delicious baked sweet potato?!?!? The horror! 

Really, I am doing program because Justin wanted to start it back up, and I would hate to give up on our morning workouts together.

Plus, you may not know this about me, but I am a huge sucker for a challenge.

I have gone somewhat blindly into a lot of challenges in my life ( school) - I peform so much better with a little fire lit under my booty ;) 

Some of things I am hoping to get out of the program:

1) More muscle definition in my stomach area (for the honeymoon bikinis, duh!).
2) Challenging myself in my workouts.
3) Variance in my daily exercise routine.
4) To be able to do at least 3 pull ups by the end.

That's right folks, in our "fit test," I could only do a whooping 1/4 of a pull up, and that was with some assistance from Justin.

Go ahead...judge me :(

I can do push up for days right now, which is an accomplishment for me, but pull ups have never been in my vocabulary.

I remember there was some gym class challenge in elementary school involving the pull up bar - and I wasn't even touching that.

Yep, P90x will continue to be a very humbling expereince for me.

Sunday night, we did our "fit test" and took our "before photos."

A sure sign you are comfortable around your partner?

Allowing them to take pictures of you in a bathing suit when you are not allowed to suck in.

On that note, this is not a weight loss thing for me, more of a tone up and maintain kind of thing leading into summer and our wedding.

{ Oh yeah, didya know, we're having a wedding! :) }

So, Sunday was printing out all of our materials:

{My Bar exam binders - so they're good luck ;)}

Then the fit test, which went well other than the pull-up fiasco.

And the before photos, which I may share at the end, if you all care to see the progress.

Monday was chest & back + abs, which is apparently what I need to work on for the pull ups.

It's no shocker that I was not excited for that day.

Yesterday was much more my style - Plyometrics.

That was a doozie - who knew we had that gem of a cardio workout collecting dust all along?!

And then today was shoulders + arms + more abs.

And with that, I now need to go eat about 20 bananas.

Maybe I'll just make some banana bread and call it a day.

Hope you all have a fantastic hump day!

You know, we're half-way thereeee.



P.S. Don't worry, this isn't going to become the "let me tell you every day about my P90x experience" blog.

I'm just filling you all in on what the game plan is.  We will continue on with the normal shenanigans, including lots of wedding sick of those yet? ;)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Bridesmaid Shoes

Good afternoon, friends! :)

This whole "spring forward" thing had me more than a little confused this AM. 

After going to bed fairly early last night (11PM, woaaah buddy), I was shocked to see that my body allowed me to sleep until 8:30AM.  

Sleeping in has kind of become a thing of the past for me - my body is unfortunately now used to being up at the crack of dawn.  

So, I was pretty impressed with my 8:30 accomplishment this morning, until I realized it was actually 7:30AM, and my iPhone had just taken care of the whole "spring forward" thing for me. 


Anyway, I was up and ready to go, so I went outside to check out the weather (it was GORGEOUS yesterday and I was hoping for a repeat today). 

B-E-A-utiful once again. 

I went to the kitchen to get the coffee ready, only to find that we had just enough left for a cup or two. 

So, I decided to make a coffee run to my favorite Dunkin Donuts just down the street. 

Two cups of coffee and five muchkins later (had to do it!), I was on my way home to wake up my fiance for the day. 

{French Vanilla w/ Skim for me, just plain Black for him}

{3 chocolate munchkins +  2 plain = only 99 cents!}

I took down a few of the munchkins while I was making up some eggs. 

Eggs are only done in our neck of the woods on the weekends at this point, so we both look forward to them. 

Look, it's an angel bagel!!! 

{whites + 1 yolk + grilled onions + s&p and 1/2 wheat bagel with light veggie CC} 


Well, lets get onto some more interesting things, shall we? 

Yesterday, I took care of a very important errand, which ended up taking me just about all day. 

I headed off to DSW to see if I could find these shoes, which I have been eyeing for my bridesmaids.

Soooo cute, right? 

Unfortunately, they didn't have all of the sizes that we needed online, so I decided to try my luck at finding them in-store. 

I headed to the DSW in Schaumburg, which is HUGE, and searched up and down and up and down the aisles, with no luck. 

They didn't have those shoes - in fact, the didn't have ANY wedge occasion shoes. 

I really wanted wedges for my bridesmaids for the same reason I want them for myself - to make things more comfortable and safer since we are getting married on the golf course.  

There is nothing more unnerving that trying to walk on grass in a spiky-heel, especially when you have about 200 people looking at you while doing it. 

It would be a lot easier if we were getting married in the summer, because then I could justify some really cute flip flops or more casual wedge sandals - there were PLENTY of those at DSW. 

I spent some time looking at these shoes: 

The dresses are a deep navy, which I think will be really pretty with a champagne/gold shoes and accessories, but this pewter color was also grabbing my attention. 

I didn't end up getting those shoes because they still felt too summery to me. 

But, now that I'm looking at them again, I kind of want to go back and get pair for myself.  

I am such a sucker for sparkly sandals ;) 

After going through the store for at least an hour, I decided to give up and head over to Woodfield Mall (which, by the way, could probably give the Mall of America a run for its money - it's HUGE). 

On the way out, I had to come back to look at some other sparkly sandals that were calling my name. 

Since my official wedding shoes are pretty high, I have been wanting to get a pair of more comfortable shoes to change into for later in the night. 

DSW actually has a great selection of "wedding" flip flops, if you're looking for some. 

I tried a bunch on before deciding on these Guess sandals because they were cute, comfortable, and still had a little bit of height to them so I won't be tripping over my dress (it will be hemmed based on my other shoes). 

I made sure the "Gs" were easily removable (they were).

They weren't so bad, but that detail seemed a little chincy to me, so I went ahead and removed them when I got home.

At least with that purchase, I didn't feel like my time at DSW was completely wasted, and I moved onto the mall.

First stop was Nordstrom, where there were a couple of bridesmaid shoe contenders.

I loved these flats, but decided against them because I figured the girls would want at least a slight heel.  

Also, I tried them on and felt like I could ice skate across the floor - the bottom of the shoes were very "slippery" - which could be a recipe for disaster. 

I have also had my eye on these...

I liked the shoe, but I wasn't sold on the color. 

Also, my toes felt pretty squished

Not terrible, but not exactly comfortable. 

I then went through every other department store and shoe store in the mall before heading to Macy's, where I tried on about 10 pairs of shoes, until I found these: 

I really LOVE these shoes.  

I feel like they look super fancy from the front, and looking straight on, you can't even tell they are wedges. 

While I wished the gold material continued on to the heel, I did like that the heel wasn't cork or "espadrille" - it's a brown covered heel with a wood-like finish.  

I feel like that is at least a little more dressy. 

The kicker was that these shoes are SUPER comfortable.  

The front detail is all soft, real leather, and the heel is padded - so I am hoping the ladies will all be comfortable in the shoes throughout most of the event.  

This was a really tough decision for me - as you know, there are not a lot of options for wedge occasion shoes out there.  

At least with these, while they could be a little more formal, I think the girls will be able to wear them on other occasions. 

I ended up getting the girls sizes and buying all of the shoes on the spot, because Macy's was (and still is) having a deal where if you buy 2+ pairs of shoes, you get all of the shoes at 25% off.  

That made this purchase really reasonable, so I felt good about it. 

So what do you guys think!?!?! 

Did I do well, or should I rethink this immediately? 

And now that this post took on a life of it's own - I gotta get movin'! 

Lots of grocery shopping and other Sunday things to do! 



Friday, March 9, 2012

Simply Friday

Good morning!

What a gorgeous sunrise this morning, right?

I still can't get over that it's finally light out when we leave the gym in the morning!  Thank the Lord!

Happy freaky friday, folks! :)

Isn't Friday simply the best?!?

{I know, I know, cue Tina Turner}

I came THIS close to skipping my morning workout this am, but then I decided I'd prefer to take a rest day tomorrow.

Thankfully, I had a little Britney Spears Pandora to get me through it!

Loved when this song came on...

Although, I must say I was disappointed when I turned the music up louder and realized the Pussycat Dolls are saying "I wanna have groupies."

I really thought it was "I wanna have boobies," all along.  I could relate a lot more to that! ;)

Today, I wanted to share some of my recent favorite products with you guys so that maybe you can add some items to your weekend shopping list.

As I gathered up this list, one thing stood out - these are all pretty simple items, but each one I am really enjoying right now.

1) Special K MultiGrain Oats & Honey

This stuff has probably been around for ages (has it?), but I am just now discovering it.  

I kind of got off the Special K train after burning myself out on the Strawberry kind in college, which just so happened to be the ONLY Special K my sorority would ever supply.  

Don't argue with me, you know those "strawberries" taste like straight up space food. 

Anyway, I got the Oats & Honey Special K to use for the topping of my hashbrown casserole last weekend (sick of buying a big box of Cornflakes we'll never eat), and it was a winner. 

I've now had a couple of bowls of the cereal on its own and I am a fan. 

2) Trader Joe's Vanilla Unsweetened Almond Milk 

This stuff is super cheap and it's super good.  

If you are an almond milk lover like me, pick up a gallon (or 3!) at TJ's, you'll save some $$ without sacrificing on taste. 

3) Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Vanilla Tea

Um, yeah...I could have like 8 million cups of this tea at night.  

So yummy, and it instantly relaxes me for, well, sleepytime :) 

4) Lidded Soy Jar Candle (from Target)

If you're at Target this weekend, check out these candles. 

I'm a huge fan of soy candles (they last longer!), and this line has great scents for bathrooms/kitchens.  

I picked up the Pink Magnolia for my bathroom, but I also have my eye on the Lemon Verbena and maybe the Mint Basil for the kitchen.  

At $7.99 for a larger jar, these are sort of a bargain. 

Not sure what is so simple about this stuff, but hey, it's Friday - time to kick back and relax, and a glass of this is sounding delish for tonight.   

Have you tried it yet? 

Hope you all have a fun Friday - no big plans over here, so I hope to catch up with you all later! 



Thursday, March 8, 2012

They're HERE!


Last night, when I got home, I walked into a very, very intriguing box sitting just outside our kitchen.

From the outside, this box looks like no big thang.

Maybe some protein powder?

A book?

Something of mine my mom was sick of storing at her house??

Oh no, I knew better than that.

Just check out the label...

Let's face it girls (and guys?), any box from Bloomingdales (cue the angels singing) is swoon-worthy.

But, it just so happens, that I have been waiting on a very special, pre-ordered before it even hit the store, kind of box.

Any guesses yet?

Let's just say, I new this was going to be my very own little Carrie Bradshaw moment, and I could not wait to get my little paws inside that box.

Oh yeah.

I changed into my comfy clothes (so I could fully enjoy the moment), scooped up that brown box, and headed back into my "junk room" to hide the receipt avoid spoiling the surprise for Justin.

{ He was already told not to read today's post - he already saw the earrings, I think that's enough ;) }

First, I carefully scissored through the tape.

Then, I slowly pulled off the cover of that beautiful little chocolate brown box.

After that, I delicately unraveled the mountains of tissue paper.

Oh yeah, Badgley Mischka is not messing around.

There might as well have been a newborn baby in there with all of the tissue paper they used.

And then, it was time for the big reveal. 

I peeled back the last piece of paper to see the most perfect sparkley toes I have ever seen. 

Needless to say, I am IN LOVE

And guess what? 

They fit. 

And you know what they say? 

If the shoe fits...

Wear it.

And so I think I will - on 9/15/12 :) 

Something to talk about: What do you think about the shoes? What is your favorite pair of shoes you own? 



Wednesday, March 7, 2012

(Blank) of the Day

Hi there!

Happy hump day :)

Wow, just when I was complaining about cold weather, Spring decided to grace us with its presence in Chicago.

It was downright balmy in chicity yesterday, and it looks like we are setting up for the same deal today.


Another happy point?

It is now full-on DAYLIGHT when Justin & I leave the gym in the morning!

It seriously makes me instantly 10 times happier.

Another thing that makes me happy?

Dinner for tonight is in the Crock Pot, cookin' away! :)

Workout and dinner done by 7AM? I'd say that's pretty darn good.

I just have a couple of quick things for you guys today because I've got a train to catch!

1) Workout Move of the Day:

The "Spiderman Plank"

Directions: From a forearm plank, alternate bringing each knee up towards the elbow on the same side, then come back to plank position.  Do this 15 times on each side, for as many sets as you like.

One of my all time favorite ab-oblique moves! :)

2) Workout Jam of the Day

"Good Girl" by Carrie Underwood

This song will get you movin'!

I mean really (if you have an iPhone or iPod with music "art"), how can you not be motivated if you are staring at Carrie Underwood while working out - I would die for those legs!

3) Thought of the Day

YOU are in charge of your own happiness. 

That thought gets me through many a "blah" day. 

Hope you all have a fantastic hump day!

We are half-way there (ohhhhh livin' on a prayer....).



Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Bridesmaid Dress Shopping

Hi everyone :)

I hope you all had a fantastic weekend and are off to a great start to the week!

Before we get into some more wedding stuff (getting tired of it yet??), I wanted to say that if you need a good little blast of strength training today, you should try Fitnessista's recent Booty Blast workout.

I did it this morning after my own 10 Minute Weaving Interval Set, and yes, the buns were a burnin'.

I will now be waddling all the live long day.

Now onto the goods...

We had some very special guests in town this weekend, our good friends Ashley & Tyler!

Unfortunately, that picture was not taken this weekend.

It has felt pretty darn cold in the Chicago area these past few days - not quite shorts and tshirt weather yet, friends.

Although, today they are saying a high of 61 degrees...holy heat wave!

Ashley is my maid of honor (yay!), and she was up to join me and 3 of my other beautiful bridesmaids to go bridesmaid dress shopping.

{From the left: Bridget, Ashley, Me!, Christina, and Megan}

After much thought, I ended up deciding to have my girls purchase their bridesmaid dresses through Reddington Bridal, where I found my wedding gown.

Reddington carries a large selection of bridesmaids dresses (it's amazing how they fit them all into the cute, little store!), and since I bought my gown through there, my bridesmaids were offered a pretty sweet discount on their dresses. 

Everyone knows standing up in a wedding can be very pricey, so every little penny off counts! ;) 

I took Justin's sisters, Dani & Tayler, to Reddington about a week ago to narrow things down to the "favorites" since there were just so many dresses to choose from. 

It was nice to have some special time with my future SIL's - so nice that I apparently forgot to take any pictures of that trip.  Bummer city. 

I wanted my bridesmaids to each have the opportunity to try on the dress contenders, because I want them to feel both beautiful (as they all are) and comfortable on the big day.  

There is nothing worse than feeling like you can't relax at a big, fun party because you have to suck in, pull up, and shift things around all night long. 

After toying around with the idea of mixing things up, I did end up deciding to have everyone wear the same dress.  That is totally a personal thing - but in the end, I liked the idea of keeping things cohesive for the pictures - as long as we could find a dress that everyone liked. 

After trying on almost every strapless, short Bill Levkoff dress in the store, here were the favorites...

Style 172

Style 586

Style 587

We ended up choosing the last dress because it honestly looked SO GOOD on everyone.  

It wasn't too body conscious, but it still showed off everyone's figure, while a lot of the other dresses just looked like big tents. 

I can say that that picture does not do the dress one ounce of justice - it's not how it looked on the girls and the navy blue swatch was much darker than the way that color looks online. 

The winning dress was Justin's sisters' favorite, and even without telling the other girls that - they chose it  too! Win, win, winner. 

After having all the girls measured and discussing some logistics (the dresses will all ship here and then I will give them to each girl to have altered, if need be, at a place of her choosing), it was time for some food & a little afternoon cocktail hour. 

Mimosas for everyone - so delish. 

We headed to Brick House Tavern & Tap, a now go-to place for me & Justin, which apparently is a chain that used to be similar to Hooters (they've classed it up now), who knew?! 

We decided to order a bunch of appetizers to share - the stars of the show obviously included...


{Meat + Cheese Board} 

{Macaroni + Cheese} 

Plus an unpictured flatbread pizza that was really, really good. 

Everyone thanked me for planning lunch after the dress shopping. 

Hey, this isn't my first rodeo. 

After the dresses, we all sadly said our good-byes, and I continued on to enjoy my weekend with Miss Ashley :) 

Something to talk about: What has been your best (or worst!) bridesmaid dress experience? Would you rather have the bride choose the dress, or let you have some say?