Friday, May 29, 2015

Friday I'm in Love

Ok guys, I have to say it...

Happy Freaky Friday....we made it!!!!!!!


Today linking up with Mary BethKendraMishaAmanda, and Laura for "Friday I'm in Love."

Our Yard

I don't know about you all, but I would just like to freeze my yard and flowers right where they are. Everything is finally blooming and it's too early for things to start dying because I've neglected to water them.

(I have, however, already killed two of my planters I'm made, #imspecial)

Everyone please admire how good our grass looks and tell my hubby he's a stud.

He's been workin' hard in the yard!

Our Bird Friends

This year we have not one, but TWO birds nests on our garage. The one that is further to the right (kind of hard to see, its up in the rafters) has been there since we moved in, but the one on the left is brand new this year.

Is it weird that I am proud that these birds chose to come live with us? Like, they thought our house looked cozy enough to make there home here. How sweet, right?

What I don't love is that in the morning when I am heading to my car in my sleep-walking state to go to the gym the birds get all freaked out and go kamikaze at my head.

How can I get these birds to understand that I am not here to disturb them??

This Song 

If you're looking for someone who has sophisticated taste in music, you have come to the wrong place.

I have been playing this song on repeat this week. I love love LOVE it!!!!

Brings me back to old school Mariah Carey and I just can't stop.

Lake House Dreaming (& Pinning)

Justin and I have always talked about getting a lake house of our own some day.

Until then, I am pinning my little heart away with pictures of my dream lake house.

All donations will be reciprocated with a weekend invitation! :)

This Quote

Enough said.

Have a fantastic Friday and an even better weekend, everyone! Relax and soak up some free time with your loved ones.

Don't forget to go check out Mary BethKendraMishaAmanda, and Laura.

See you on Monday!



Thursday, May 28, 2015

My Latest Obsession

Hi there!

I love me a Thursday. The weekend is so close, I can just feel it! I hope you are all having a great week! 

So, I have a confession to make. 

Something about this confession feels a little dirty. 

So, I'm just going to rip off the band aid...

I am currently OBSESSED with Lean Cuisines.


I don't know why I feel so guilty about this? I think just because we all know that I love to cook, and eating Lean Cuisines just feels like cheating!

But, at this point, if Lean Cuisines are wrong, I don't wanna be right. 

I have to admit that I used to kind of judge people who brought lean cuisines for lunch. 

I lazy! Does that really fill them up?? 

I'm not sure how it all started.  

It was like some devious force pulled me over to the frozen foods section and whispered in my ear that my whole week's lunch was right in front of me at the great low price of $2.00 a box (they were on SALE!). 

So, I picked up a couple of boxes. A little dabbling with the dark side can't hurt, right? 

I rotated them in with my usual lunches of leftovers from dinner or homemade salads.

Then, slowly, I started picking up some more of these little boxes. 

I started thinking to myself..."damn, these are actually pretty good!" 

It was genius! 

I cut down my morning routine by 5 precious minutes because all I had to do was grab a little box out of my freezer and throw it in my lunch bag. Done and done!! 

Also, I have to say that I think these Lean Cuisines are actually having a positive effect on my waistline. Who knew?!? 

I would credit this to the fact that the meals are perfectly portioned and portion-control when packing leftovers probably isn't my strong suit. 

One other thing I love is that, as I mentioned before, I have been using MyFitnessPal. These things all pop up INSTANTLY on that app. 

We're talking every single stinking meal - it's there! 

Ok, so, in case you want to get in on my dirty little secret (assuming you aren't already part of the boxed-lunch club), here are some of my current favorites...

I bought this one because it reminded me of Applebee's Fiesta Lime Chicken (yum!). 

This tastes like Chinese food delivery to your desk. 

Spinach. Artichoke. Sign me up.  

Reminds me of Pad Thai. 

These are great. Don't over-cook them or they get tough. 

So, that's my latest life hack. I am praying I don't get sick of these meals, because they are constantly on sale at my grocery store and they are making my life so dang simple.

Do you have any favorite Lean Cuisines?? Tell me your secrets!!



Wednesday, May 27, 2015

What's Up Wednesday

Happy hump day!

Wow, getting to Wednesday this fast is the best! 

Today, I'm linking up with Shay, Mel, and Sheaffer for What's Up Wednesday.

What We're Eating This Week: Well, I kind of already shared that with you on Monday. But, I must say that I went ahead and made the  Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Burritos for dinner last night and they were a huge hit. 

I threw two chicken breasts in the crock pot with a little BBQ sauce, the crushed pineapple, a can of green chilies, a little cajun seasoning & garlic powder, and 1/2 cup water. Cooked on low for 7 hours, then came home and shredded the chicken and filled fajita-sized tortillas with the mixture (drained) and a little swiss cheese. Once they were all rolled up & in the pan, I drizzled a little extra BBQ sauce on top and added a little more swiss cheese. Baked for 15 minutes @375. 

Basically the same recipe as Mix & Match Mama's, just a few little changes. Do it!! So good. 

What I'm Reminiscing About: Our wedding! With wedding season in full swing, I'm loving reminiscing back to our wedding day. I still can't believe they called for rain all week long, then we got a perfect, sunny & 75 degree September day. 

What I'm Loving: I will save most of that for "Friday I'm in Love," but currently, I'm loving on this new La Croix water I picked up for the first time over the weekend. I went through the whole box by the end of Monday and I am dying to get my hands on some more! 

What We've Been Up To: Hmm...well, a lot! Obviously working, trying to keep our house in order and doing little fix it projects here and there, getting ready for a very busy summer! 

What I'm Dreading: I always hate the end of the month because it's a last minute rush to get all of my billable hours entered at work. So, there's that. #lawyerproblems

What I'm Working On: Trying to get back to consistently blogging and gearing up to do some re-vamping of this site!

What I'm Excited About: A weekend at the lake!! Grilling out, boat rides, country music, bon fires. And, let's be honest, probably a sun burn. 

What I'm Watching/Reading: RHONY, Botched, Bachelorette, Million Dollar Listing New York, WHHL, Kardashians, Rich Kids of Beverly Hills. 

You can see I have very sophisticated taste in television, right? 

Reading The Precious One by Marisa de los Santos for June book club, hosted at chez moi. 

What I'm Listening To: Country all day every day. 

Loving the new Jake Owen Song - Real Life. I think it's hilarious how he talks about "and we really did just drive around cause there wasn't sh!t to do." Driving around was THE thing to do in my hometown (at least with my girlfriends) because there really was nothing to do. Hours upon hours of blasting Britney and Ja Rule making loops around town hoping we'd maybe drive by our crushes...yep, we were cool! 

What I'm Wearing: Those Christmas-colored PJs I swore I was putting away for the season. Don't judge me. 

What I'm Doing This Weekend: Hopefully working on that photo wall project! I have all of the pictures picked out, I just need to go get some frames. I'm leaning towards the Ribba Series from Ikea. 

What I'm Looking Forward to Next Month: A family trip to Costa Rica and Justin's cousin Johnny's wedding. 

What Else is New: A lot is new, because we're just catching up! :) I updated my little "about me" blurb in the sidebar, so that's new.



Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Chicken Parmesan Quinoa Bowl

Hi party people!

The holiday weekend is over, but it is a short work week! #silverlining

I had a great day yesterday with all of my neighbors. It turned out to be sunny and HOT here, which I think we were all kind of loving.

I did watch The Bachelorette, but this episode put me to sleep. All I will say is: 1) where did Shawn B go??? and 2) I take back everything I said last week about JJ.

I'm not going to do a whole post on the show this week because I thought it kind of stunk (sorry!). If you would have preferred to have seen that kind of post today please let me know in the comments. Otherwise, I will assume you agree with me and we can all move on. Okay? :)

What The Bachelorette did do for me last night is keep me busy before I had to go get Justin from the airport at 11:15pm (no earlier flights popped up). Coffee at 9:30pm also helps with that, but trying to get to sleep at midnight after said coffee is a real challenge.

Needless to say I am a walking zombie today. Pray for me.

Last week I shared with you my current obsession for everything from The Protein Bar here in Chicago. 

If you don't live in Chicago (or DC or Colorado!) you may not know what The Protein Bar is.  It's a causal restaurant that has super healthy options with a focus on protein: egg scramble bowls, quinoa bowls, burritos with quinoa, protein shakes, and juices.  I am not trying to do an add for The Protein Bar, because a) they're stealing my money, not paying me and b) they definitely don't need the advertising! But for people who aren't from here, I just thought I'd share! :)

There are often occasions during the work week that I have neglected to figure something out for myself for breakfast, lunch, or a snack and I love The Protein Bar because it's getting me my protein and doesn't have 8 million random ingredients thrown in that I can't figure out.'s expensive! So, I have started experimenting making some of the recipes at home. I've been making the Buffalo Bowl for a long time (I'll share that recipe another day), and last week I tried out the Healthy Parm. It turned out so good, dare I say better than the original?

Here's What I Did:

Copycat Healthy Parmesan Quinoa Bowl

1 cup quinoa (prepared according to directions on bag or box)
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut up into small cubes
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup marinara sauce (your choice!)
1/2 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp Italian seasoning (I use Mrs. Dash)
1 tsp garlic powder

1) Prepare your quinoa in a 4 quart sauce pan according to the directions on the bag or box.

2) While the quinoa is cooking, brown up your chicken in a separate (big) pot with the olive oil.  Add all of the seasoning to the chicken (salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, garlic powder).

3) Once your chicken is fully cooked and the quinoa is also done, mix the quinoa into the chicken in the large pot. 

4) Add in your 1/2 cup of marinara sauce, mix, and allow the mixture to warm up for about 2 to 3 minutes on medium heat.

5) Mix in the Parmesan cheese.  Give everything a good stir to combine.

6) Serve in bowls and if you want, add a little more cheese on top to your liking, and enjoy! :)

So if you're like me and you're putting meals into MyFitnessPal or are just curious about the nutrition stats, I am a huge cheater and just use the stats from The Protein Bar's recipe. 

36g protein, 390 calories, 16g fat, 29g carbs, 6g fiber

Is it exact? Probably not. But, I'm a lawyer, not a dietitian so faking the numbers a little on this one works just fine for me.

Let me know if you try it! 

See you tomorrow morning when I will hopefully be a little more bright eyed and bushy tailed.

See what I did there? :) 



Monday, May 25, 2015

Mini Weekend Re-Cap and Grocery Guide

Hi there!

First of all, Happy Memorial Day! I'm going to kind of ramble today, so grab a cup of coffee and enjoy...

I have been blessed to travel and even to spend some extended time overseas and I will tell everyone unapologetically that I have 100% been happy to come home each time. It's hard to explain, but after spending months on end in other countries I have always been so ready to be home.  It has made me so grateful to live in this country. It's not lost on me that days like today are so important to reflect and show respect and gratitude to those who make it possible for us to grow our families in a safe and free country.

And, before I jump off this subject, I need to give a major shout out to my sister-in-law, Tayler, who kicks some major booty in the National Guard. We love you, Tayler, and we are so proud of you!

So, usually on Memorial Day we have a front-row seat to the Memorial Day parade that comes right in front of our house! Unfortunately, they cancelled the parade this year due to a threat of storms? We are all somewhat confused because the parade was cancelled days in advance and guess what? I've been up for a while and so far no storms...

Given that I will actually be able to get my car out of my driveway this morning, I'm hoping to go get our grocery shopping done and then spend some time with our fabulous neighbors who are still planning to get together to celebrate.

AND...after 3 days and nights at home alone by husband is FINALLY coming home today from his cousin's bachelor party out in Colorado.

Thank God, because I have been b-o-r-e-d and also irrationally scared to sleep at night.

I've been passing my time by doing all sorts of random things like...

Getting our windows cleaned. Add this to the list of things I didn't realize I would need to take care of once we bought a home. Our windows were so incredibly dirty. Like, so dirty that both sets of our parents had mentioned it. Yikes!

The previous owner left a lot of screens off the windows that needed to be cleaned and put back on, so I'm sure that might have had something to do with our inability to keep the dirt out.

I was also told by the window cleaner that because we live on a busy-ish street, the windows get dirtier faster. Who knew? Anyway, despite the fact that I think I might have gotten ripped off, the windows are clean and the screens are in.

Having a spa day. I have a serious love affair going on with Mario Tricoci. I go there to get my hair done now, and I've been going for occasional facials & massages. My mom gave me a gift certificate, so I figured what better time for a spa day.

This time, I had a facial with a collagen mask & hot stone massage. I also picked up this GlyMed anti-aging masque on the way out that I have purchased before and love. You can use it as a simple exfoliant or leave it on for a mask.

Girl time. I love hanging out with one of my absolute favorite little girls - Miss P - and her beautiful mom, Megan! I went over to Megan's house Saturday night and she had the BEST buffalo chicken dip out for us to have with some vino. After that, we headed out to dinner in Roselle. The highlight of the night was Penelope discovering chopsticks for the first time. Her face when I handed them to her was priceless.

"Ohhhh, can I have THESE?!" :)

Working on my decorating. Yesterday, I was going to get started on a hallway photo wall project that I have been putting off for a good 2 years now. However, after spending several hours on Pinterest in the morning, I gave up and decided my day would be better spent going into the office (ugh, I know).

I do want to get the pictures up on the wall soon. My plan is for all black & white photos and I'm debating between keeping it simple or doing a collage-type wall. What do you think? I know what my husband's vote would be...(sorry, honey!!).

Vegging out. I came home from work last night and treat myself to a some Cooper's Hawk wine, leftover pasta, and a few hours of trashy reality TV (Kardashians & Rich Kids of Beverly Hills). I had to stay up until I was REALLY tired so I would go straight to bed and not freak out about every little noise I heard.

That brings us to today, and it's time for me to get moving! I've got a goal to keep my grocery bill under $100 this week, think I can do it??? Here's what's on my menu this week:

Monday: Buffalo Quinoa Bowls (recipe to come!)

Tuesday: Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Burritos

Wednesday: Leftovers

Thursday: Burgers on the grill + green beans.

Friday: Wing it or out!

Soak up the holiday, everyone!



Friday, May 22, 2015

Friday I'm in Love

Hi friends!

Happy freaky Friday!! We made it!!

The sun is shining here and we have an extra day tacked onto the weekend. I am ready!

Today, I'm linking up again with my friend Mary Beth and some other lovely ladies for "Friday I'm in Love." Sharing with you some of my favorite things from this week.

Pajama Sets

I am currently obsessed with pajama sets. I bought a couple of Ralph Lauren sets from Nordstrom Rack over the winter that I have been living in.

It's definitely (past) time for me to retire those and get some sets for summer.

I found a couple of sets online at Nordstrom that I'm loving, but I need to go see in person if they are lightweight enough for summer.

What is your favorite??

New Country 

I've been hearing tons of new country songs on the radio this week, which is getting me so excited for summer. Nothing says summer like some new country music up way too loud out on the lake, right?! 

Some of my favorites from this week: 

Anything & Everything Protein Bar

My debit card has definitely been getting a workout at The Protein Bar lately. Just ask my husband! :) 

I have been loving the egg scrambles in the morning (if I don't have my Sausage & Veggie Breakfast Bake), and I've been re-creating some of the quinoa bowls at home for dinner. 

The Buffalo Bowl and the Healthy Parm are so easy to make at home! Maybe I'll share one of the recipes on here next week. 

I also love that I can find all of their meals in MyFitnessPal right away - makes my life so easy! 

Bravo Everything

I can hardly contain my excitement about what's coming up on Bravo. 

My love affair with Bravo runs deep. I remember when we first moved into this house and got a new cable provider (WOW!). There was a major moment of panic when I thought our package didn't have Bravo. Thankfully after a lot of scrolling and sweating, we found it. 

Happy wife, happy life :) 

On June 8th, RHOC is starting and I'm super excited to meet the new housewife - Meghan Edmonds.

I also just found out that Flipping Out is coming back on July 1st. LOVE me some Zoila! 


And, next week, Bethenny is doing a one-on-one interview with Andy on WWHL (Tuesday night). The preview look very innnneresting! 

Go on over to check out Mary BethKendraMishaAmanda, and Laura for some more "Friday I'm in Love" fun. 

Have a fantastic holiday weekend, everyone! Soak it up! 



Thursday, May 21, 2015

How I'm Getting Back to the Gym

Hi there!

Happy Thursday! The (LONG!!) weekend is almost here!

Today I wanted to share how after a long and unfortunate falling out, I have gotten myself back into a regular workout routine. I am doing this not to brag (swear!), but in hopes that it might help someone else who has has fallen into a rut like me.

I used to share a lot on this blog about my love for staying active and getting in a great workout. I can't really put my finger on what exactly got me out of the habit of getting to the gym, but if I had to give one answer it would probably be working full time.

I remember back in law school hearing people tell me how hard it was to keep up a workout schedule once they started a full time job, but I just didn't get it. Sure, law school was a lot of work, but I had so much more freedom with my schedule.  Classes didn't go from 8am-6pm and there were always pockets of time I could use to get in a workout at the gym or pop into a barre class.

There was a good period of time after I first started working full time that Justin & I got on a schedule of going to the gym together in the morning before work. I loved it, but as I got more wrapped up in my job and schedules changed, so did my energy to get out of bed in the morning!

When we moved into our current house (May 2013), I started looking around the area for a combination tennis club/gym and found one that I absolutely loved (Midtown).  I signed up and dove into a ton of tennis, which was making me super happy, but was also hard on my wallet! Tennis is NOT a cheap sport.  A great workout, but NOT cheap! So, things on the tennis front quickly fizzled out.

Around last fall, I knew I really had to make a change. I did not feel like myself...sluggish, anxious, unhealthy and out-of-shape. Here is how I have started to turn things around:

1) Picking the Right Time for Me: When I was playing tennis, all of the classes and groups were in the evening. I realized quickly (as I should have remembered from the past!) that when working full time, I do not like saving my workouts for night.

At night, I want to be home making dinner and relaxing. I don't want to be jetting off to the gym for hours and missing even more time I could be spending at home with my husband (not trying to be cheesy, it's just true!).

My office building also has a gym that some of my co-workers use at lunch, but that was never really in the cards for me. It lacks variety and space, and I get way to red-in-the-face to head back to the office after a workout. So, it was going to have to be early morning workouts again.

2) Baby Steps: Beginning in about September or October of last year, I decided to take some baby steps towards getting back into the morning workouts. I literally would try to go workout in the morning before work once or twice a week. I needed to get myself used to waking up at 5am when I had been getting up at 7am, and that wasn't going to happen over night!

By the end of the year, I built up the goal to go into 2015 with at least 3 workouts a week. It's not a crazy amount, but starting small made this goal achievable.

I pinned this "rule list" on my 2015 Goals board and I have been trying to stick to it as much as possible:

I regularly skip Mondays because my office holds an early morning meeting (I know, isn't that just the perfect way to start the week!?!?). I have a rule that I will not wake up before 5am for anything unless it involves a beach vacation.

Now, I am up to about 4 days of early morning workouts a week and my body is finally waking up on it's own around 5am.

My goal is to get to the point where as long as I'm feeling good that morning (aka I'm not super sick with a cold or something), I get myself to the gym.

3) Focusing on Classes: I have been taking a lot more group exercise classes in the mornings. I'll do a strength/conditioning class, step class, body pump, and sometimes a pilates/yoga class. Doing something different each day of the week keeps me from getting bored and I'm starting to get to know the ladies in the classes. Their dedication to getting to class every morning inspires me and I almost feel like I'm missing out on a club or something if I don't show up!

4) Bribing Myself: I have made this morning workout experience a huge treat for myself. I make a cup of Hazelnut coffee in the Keurig and take it in the car with me.  I listen to a little Lisa + Ray on the country station and drink that whole dang cup on the way to the gym. I am still at Midtown, which is basically a resort, so that helps too.  It's pricey, but in my opinion there is no better investment if I'm using it enough. I take an extra change of comfy clothes (usually leggings and long sleeve) and some basic things I need to get ready. After the workout, I do a quick shower in their luxurious locker rooms.  I'm out the door about 30 minutes after my workout and when I get home, I just have to change into my work clothes, make a smoothie, and I'm good to go!

If anyone is already doing the morning workout thing or wants to get on board - I will totally be your texting buddy! We can encourage each other and virtually keep each other company at the crack of dawn.

Questions of the Day: What do you do to keep up your workout schedule? Have you ever fallen off the workout wagon and gotten back on?



Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Bachelorette Thoughts: Week 1

Happy Hump Day!

(Sorry, I know that picture is frightening, but it's hilarious and completely how I feel!).

So, Week #1 of the Bachelorettes-no-more is officially in the books.  I would like to announce that I lied yesterday and only had to waste three hours of my life this week on the show, not four.

Small victories, people.

We now officially have only one Bachelorette (right, ABC??? don't even mess with me).

I can stop being irrationally mad at the "two Bachelorette" concept and move on to to more important things, like...

How bad do you feel for the law student that just outed his stripper-side-job on national TV and got sent home on NIGHT ONE!!

The horror.

I could just hear him saying "sh*t, sh*t, sh*t" all the way out the door.

Better keep your day night job, buddy.

Thoughts on Night One 

I have to be honest, I fast-forwarded through a lot of the show on Monday night.  The guys were kind of boring me and I was more interested in the interaction between Britt and Kaitlyn awkward?!?!

I really, really despised Britt last season and I was completely #teamkaitlyn going into the premiere. With that said, during the first episode, I thought Kaitlyn seemed bitter to be sharing the spotlight in a not-so-attractive way.

On the other hand...Britt's publicist...she deserves an Emmy. Girl completely cleaned up her act (and her make up!) and actually seemed kind of...dare I say...nice?

I couldn't tell you one guy that struck me in a positive way from night one. Mainly, I enjoyed watching the train wreck that was the token drunk guy and I was left wondering if hot-tub car guy went around with soggy undies all night.

If you haven't seen Tuesday's episode and you don't want a spoiler...better stop here!!!! 

Thoughts on Night Two

Woohoo! They picked my girl.

I think I'm happy?

I did much prefer Kaitlyn's dress over Britt's so maybe the season will be worth watching just for the outfits (and Possessionista's recaps!).

Now we get to know a little more about the guys, and the ones who stood out to me as being strong at this point are:

Ryan Gosling a.k.a. Shawn B. 

Shawn B. got the first impression rose and she announced that clearly, yes, she is just that into him. 

Mr. Dad a.k.a JJ

JJ seems super sweet and a lot less desperate than previous contestants who have come on the show with kids. 

Cupcake Dentist a.k.a Chris


Not sure why I like the dentist on the show at this point, but he seems like a strong contender and I just love the idea of a dentist who shows up in a cupcake.

We get to the rose ceremony and of course whats-his-name (emo song writer) leaves to go chase after Britt (because that's not produced...). I thought Kaitlyn handled that situation well and I 100% agreed with her cast-off choices.

One thing that I literally COULD NOT get over is how long this night/morning must have been for these poor guys. They had literally been drinking for hours upon hours just to get the Bachelorette choice and then they had to do it all over again to get through the rose ceremony!!

I love that ABC doesn't even try to hide the timing anymore with all of the exits in broad-daylight.

I have to give them all major kudos because I did not see one yawn or even a glimpse of anyone appearing tired or fed up. Me...I can barely stay up past 9pm on a Saturday night these days (no really), so thank GOD I met my husband in college like the studious girl I am and did not have to resort to champagne and roses at 5am on national TV.

Finally, I would just like to say that the most exciting part of every episode are the previews for what's ahead. Apparently Nick Viall is still trying to stretch out his 15 minutes of fame and has inserted himself into yet another season of this show to stir up all sorts of drama.

And, boy, does it look good.

Okay, that's all I've got for you on the show for this week! And for the record, I spent my whole night watching the second episode and typing this up, so I am showing great restraint and leaving RHONY on DVR for another night.

If I do a recap again next week, I promise I'll leave out the weird gorilla pictures maybe.

What did you guys think of this week's episodes?  Any early favorites??? 

Have a happy hump fantastic day, people!