Archives for August 2014

Sometimes…

… enjoying a glass of wine in your lulu is more important than spending the evening writing up a post.

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And that’s exactly what I did last night!

I hope y’all have a wonderfully fun, safe and relaxing Labor Day weekend – I’ll see your pretty faces next week! xo

Whatcha up to this weekend? 12 miles (I originally thought I had 14 – score!), learning BodyPump, sleeping, brunching… all the good stuff :)

WIAW – When My Mom Visits Chicago!

Are y’all ready for an abbreviated version of this week’s What I Ate Wednesday edition?

Kyle and I spent a lot of time outside last night (the weather was GORG) which was amazing, but it didn’t leave me any time to write up a post. Soooo… forgive the shortness although I’m sure our delicious eats will make up for the lack of words ;)

Thanks to Jenn for the link-up!

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Like I mentioned yesterday, my mom and I dined at Centro on Friday evening. The Best Spaghetti and Meatballs EVER (per the menu!) + Homemade Ravioli + Caprese Salad + Wine = Happy Becky :)

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Post-long run Saturday morning breakfast involved inhaling my mom’s cold, leftover ravioli. #noshame

There was a cookie break mid-afternoon at The Art Institute of Chicago… and a Diet Coke for my mom. I’m trying get her hooked on Spark, c’mon Advo – come out with a cola flavor!

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We had dinner Saturday evening with Kyle’s family at Smith & Wollensky on the river downtown – Lots of steak and asparagus and truffled mac ‘n cheese and wine was had by all. And check out my Steak Oscar… #idie <3

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After sleeping in on Sunday morning, Kyle and I treated ourselves to donuts for brunch! Glazed & Infused has the best sprinkled donuts – EVER.

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On our boat cruse, I treated myself to a mimosa because, well, Sunday ;)

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The weather was blazin’ on Sunday so after sitting in the sun for 90 minutes, my mom and I cooled down at Howells and Hood with some cool drinks and a big plate of veggies and hummus. YUM!

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Because I must take all of my visitors to get pizza at some point during their visit, my mom and I hit up Lou Malnati’s (one of my fav pizza places in Chicago!) for dinner. We ordered a small black olive and mushroom deep dish and it was amazzzzinngggggggg. I’m so glad my mom was finally able to try real Chicago pizza :)

And, after I told my mom I couldn’t imagine eating anything else, I got froyo. NUTELLA froyo. The hunger ninja made me do it.

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So, there are alllll of our delicious eats from the weekend! There was a ton of good food and I was so happy I was able to show my mom around Chicago and introduce her to some of my favorite eats in the city :) Andddddd… I’m getting back to clean eating this week because my body was revolting after all of my treats over the weekend, ha!

What was the best thing you ate over the weekend?

#50 Treat Yourself Tuesday

Before I jump into Treat Yourself Tuesday, did y’all catch my post from yesterday? If not, make sure you hop on over and check out the AMAZING project Katie is leading over the next year. I’m so proud of her and cannot wait to see where this adventure leads :)

Now, for the treats!

Treat Yourself Tuesday Badge

If you’re new to TYT, head over here to read about why I am a supporter and advocate for treating ourselves – even in the smallest of ways – everyday! I promise you will fall in love with the idea and once you do, please link up below :)

As I mentioned on Sunday, my mom visited Chicago over the weekend! We had a ton of fun and I’m excited to share it all with you today.

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After work on Friday I met up with my mom at her hotel and we walked to Centro – a cute Italian restaurant in the River North neighborhood. The restaurant was amazing – and I got the “Best Spaghetti and Meatballs EVER.” <– per the menu ;)

Yup, Centro was right – Best EVER! I actually just finished up leftovers (for the 3rd time!) last night. I’ll tell you alllll about the restaurant and our other eats tomorrow for WIAW!

Since I had to wake up before the crack of dawn (literally…) for my Saturday morning long run the next day, I let my mom relax in the hotel and I headed home to get some much-needed rest.

I met up with my mom around 11:15 on Saturday morning. It was a little later than I had liked, but one can only move so fast post-16 miles. She had a few things she HAD to do while visiting Chicago and one of them was visiting The Art Institute of Chicago!

Her hotel was within walking distance so we walked (okay, I hobbled) down Michigan Avenue in the 500 bajillion percent humidity to the museum. If you’ve never been to The Art Institute of Chicago, it is HUGE. Like overwhelmingly huge. We covered most of what we both enjoy… European Impressionism and the special exhibits and then hit up the cafe for some much needed hydration… and a cookie ;) I was lightheaded from my run (Do any other long distance runners have that issue post-long run?) and needed some sugar – a cookie seemed like the obvious choice, haha!

Then it was time for some SHOPPING – like mother, like daughter ;) Manyyyyy years ago, when I was a baby and we lived in Illinois, my mom used to travel up to Chicago for business trips and the retail buying offices she visited were in the same building as my downtown office. How cool is that?! We work in the same building… Just 29 years apart!

Anyways, we visited the City Target and Macy’s and she treated me to Frango mints because they’re my favorite. Right as we were ready to leave, the skies opened to buckets of rain so we grabbed a cab and headed to my apartment to rest for a bit.

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That night for dinner (that I’ll tell you more about tomorrow), we met up with Kyle’s family! Lots of wine and steak and good conversation was had :)

I was zonked after my run, so Kyle and I called it another early night and headed back home to get some sleep.

I slept in until 8:30 on Sunday morning <– #treatyoself! That never happens and my body definitely needed the rest. After a donut date with Kyle, I met up with my mom for another day of touring Chicago.

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First things first – caffeine. Then we were off to a river cruise! Kyle and I had taken one before and it is a great way to learn the city from a historical aspect. My mom loved it even though it was, yet again, a bajillion degrees in Chicago.

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Post-cruise, we cooled down with some drinks and then walked the river walk and some of the lake front. It was super hot, so we didn’t make it far before heading back to her hotel room. After resting for a little while, I took her to my typical Chicago visitor dinner location – Chicago-style pizza!

Lou Malnati’s never disappoints and I was happy that my mom was just as impressed as I was with their pizza :)

After walking her back to her hotel, I said goodbye and headed home for the evening. Weekends with visitors always go too quickly. I was also bummed that I missed most of Saturday morning because of my run, but I guess that is what happens when you sign up for a marathon!

It was a fun weekend and definitely a relaxing treat that I desperately needed!

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So tell me, how did you treat yourself this week?

What is your favorite thing to do when visiting Chicago? Besides seeing me of course… ;)

50 States In A Year

Hi Olives ‘n Wine readers! I’m Katie and I blog over at Talk Less, Say More. I’m so excited Becky is letting me take over her little corner of the internet today because I have something really exciting to share…

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I guess I should start by telling you that I’m a bit of a dreamer and I’m known to take some pretty big risks…but nothing compares to the one I’m taking now. This is hands down the biggest leap of faith of my life! (And somehow I convinced a friend to join me…) Do I have your attention yet?

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It’s called 50 States In A Year and it’s a charity fundraising tour!

Yes, we will visit all 50 states. Yes, we will do it in a single year. And yes, it is to give back to charity!

But let’s back up…back in May I finally decided to try CrossFit. I say finally because it was something I had been considering for awhile but found myself unsure if I would actually like it, worried I’d get hurt, and not thinking I’d enjoy people yelling at me to hurry up and finish the workout. But once I finally dove in, I learned how silly my fears were…I immediately LOVED the workout structure, learned the coaches are there to help you get the right form before increasing the weight, and realized my fellow athletes aren’t yelling, they’re an encouraging and supportive community. I was immediately hooked.

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So when I started dreaming this idea and deciding which charity to give back to, it was important for me to find a way to get the CrossFit community involved, while also bringing them closer together. That’s when I found CrossFit for Hope!

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CrossFit for Hope helps fund research for childhood cancer, as well as other important efforts. But what really got me is that every cent donated to CrossFit for Hope is delivered straight to the target recipient. All costs (administration, accounting, etc) are covered by CrossFit headquarters. How cool is that? For more on CrossFit for Hope, visit their website.

To make this a success and to give the best donation possible, we need YOUR help! Whether you’re into CrossFit or not, this is about coming together and making a huge impact!

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We’re partnering up with sponsors to keep our costs as low as possible so the more we raise, the more we can give to the charity at the end of the year. And let’s get real, how cool would it be for us to present them with one of those huge checks and for YOU to say you were a part of making that happen? We can’t do it alone and we don’t want to do it alone.

Here’s how you can be a part:

-Follow along via our blog, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and share with friends!

-Via our GoFundMe campaign where you can donate in exchange for a postcard from the road, t-shirt/tank top, or even dinner cooked by us as we come through your area!

-By inviting us to your CrossFit box to host a fundraising event when we come through your area! (50statesinayear at gmail dot com)

What started as a simple idea has turned into so much more and I can’t wait to see the impact we can make together as a community!

So…

… Life’s been busy.

By my lack of presence on all of your inspiring blogs and my awfulness (Is that even a word?!) at replying to your wonderful comments in this space and my sporadic posting schedule, I’m fairly certain y’all could tell things have been a bit crayyyy in my little world as of lately.

Between traveling and having visitors (my mom was here in Chicago this weekend!) and being crazed at work and training for a freakin’ marathon (ughhhhh… running…) and a few other things coming down the pipeline, I have been running around like a chicken with its head cut off.

Mmm… headless chicken. Sexy, right?

Anyways, I appreciate y’all’s patience and promise things are going to get back to normal ’round these parts very soon. Thankfully, I’ve been staying active on the ol’ Insta because well, for one, I’m addicted and for two, it take a whole 2.37 seconds to post an image of my life and to catch up with yours. Just ask the gals I was in Texas with, my Insta skillz are highly advanced. #resumebuilder

I’ll share more of my weekend with my mama on Tuesday, but trust that is was full of LOTS of treats like Italian and wine and Chicago-style pizza and donuts and steak and froyo. I swear we did more than eat! ;)

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Have a fabulous Sunday night and tell me what’s been going on in your life! I miss you <3

Blue Diamond – BeeCause We Care

I’m not sure how many of you know this fun fact about me, but I am a pretty big science nerd.

I always liked science classes growing up and while in college I majored in Environmental Science. During my MBA program, I received a minor in Sustainable Agriculture. Yup, you have a big ol’ science nerd on your hands my friends… specifically of the environmental variety ;)

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Needless to say, when Blue Diamond asked me to participate in their honey campaign, my tree-huggin’ self jumped at the chance. Obviously their almonds are all fantastic – especially the Honey Roasted Vanilla and Honey Roasted Chipotle varieties, and I was excited to receive a few samples, but knowing that I could also spread the word about how Blue Diamond is helping bee populations had me even more excited.

Honey bees are vital to our agricultural crops. They pollinate everything from almonds to apples to peaches to strawberries to avocados to coffee beans to beets to coconuts – I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I could live without these foods in my life! Thankfully, Blue Diamond is helping to support honey bee population research by donating to multiple non-profit organizations as well as:

  • Avoiding monoculture through the planting of diverse ground cover to improve honey bee nutrition and foraging.
  • Minimizing exposure of bees and pollen to fungicides.
  • Investigating management techniques for eradication of varroa mites and other bee pests.
  • Strengthening and improving bee stocks and breeding programs.

You can read more about the steps Blue Diamond is taking to help out our wonderful honey bees here.

And since it’s Friday and I like to keep things short and sweet on the last day of work week, I’m going to leave it at that! Actually, I’m going to leave it at… Go buy Blue Diamond honey products (They even have Honey Cinnamon and Honey Mustard Nut Thins!!) and help support our bee population!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds. Blue Diamond provided me with a 6oz can of Honey Roasted Vanilla almonds and 6oz can of Honey Roasted Chipotle almonds. All opinions in this post as well as on my Instagram, Facebook and Twitter pages are solely my own. 

Do I have any other science nerds out there? What is your favorite honey-flavored Blue Diamond product?

WIAW – Vegas Style!

If you’ve ever been to Vegas, you know the food is one of the many reasons tourists come from near and far to the city of sin.

There are restaurants galore for any and all tastes – Kyle and I love trying new places while visiting Vegas and I’m excited to share an abbreviated version of what we ate over the long weekend!

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Our first evening (Friday), we spent a lot of time walking around the Bellagio and decided to eat at Olives for a late dinner. Olives is a Mediterranean-style restaurant and it did not disappoint. Kyle and I started with glasses of wine (obviously!) and steak tartare. For my main entree I enjoyed a steak atop mashed parsnips while Kyle ordered a seafood risotto. Everything was delicious and we slept like babies post-dinner :)

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The next morning started out with mimosas poolside while I chatted with Lauren and Kim :)

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After a bit of window shopping (I was SO good this trip – go me!), I met up with Kyle and his brother for lunch at Serendipity 3. I started off with a glass of Kim Crawford (Are you noticing a theme here, haha?!) and decided on an Asian-chicken salad with Thai-peanut dressing. It was light and delicious and the perfect summer lunch.

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Since we were going to see Michael Jackson The One at Mandalay Bay Saturday evening, Kyle made reservations at Aureole.

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I was obsessed with the wine tour at Aureole and both Kyle and I thought the service was incredible. We enjoyed a bottle of wine and started our dinner with foie gras. For our main courses, we shared a blue cheese topped steak and seared ahi tuna with scallops. Everything was phenomenal – I definitely recommend visiting Aureole the next time you’re in Vegas!

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The rest of Saturday evening was spent celebrating Gabi’s birthday with vodka at Chateu in Paris… And by vodka, I mean LOTS of vodka ;)

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The next day, we reserved a cabana at Bellagio for the entire family. Kyle showed up with the most amazing Nutella pastry – I think there was an entire jar of Nutella involved in that piece of deliciousness!

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Along with eating my weight in Nutella, I also had some champagne as evidenced by my ice bucket challenge ;)

That evening, we visited Fremont Street (“Old Vegas”) and had dinner at Triple George Grill. We enjoyed some wine (obviously…) with oysters and I ordered a crab salad for dinner. I also think I ate my body weight in bread pre-dinner…….

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Monday morning began with iced coffee + Baileys… Why can’t every Monday begin like that?!

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After enjoying some vino while watching Kyle gamble, we hit up Wicked Spoon for lunch. Kyle loves visiting at least one buffet every time we are in Vegas. I had lots of sushi and veggies at the buffet and they did not disappoint.

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Since Kyle and I were heading to Wynn to see Le Reve (awesome show, BTW!), we decided to stop by Mizuni for a light dinner. The atmosphere of Mizuni is incredible and the food and wine were great as well! I definitely recommend stopping by the Wynn for dinner at Mizuni if you have a chance.

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After a super early flight back to Chicago and a long nap while Kyle did the grocery shopping (best husband ever!), Chef Kyle made us chicken parmesan for dinner last night. It wasn’t the light and healthy meal I was looking for, but boy was it ever tasty.

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The weekend was full of decadent eating (and drinking, ha!) and I’m getting back on the clean eating train TODAY because I can definitely feel my indulgences from the weekend.

Thanks to Jenn for the link-up!

What was the best thing you ate over the weekend? What is your favorite restaurant in Vegas?

#49 Treat Yourself Tuesday

Happy Tuesday!

Kyle and I are on our way home after a wonderful (and fun, yet exhausting) long weekend in Las Vegas. It was our 4th time visiting – Kyle lovesssss Vegas so we go almost every year, and I think this was our best visit yet!

The entire weekend was a treat and I’ll be sharing all of the details later this week, but for now enjoy a few photos of my weekend full of food and wine and shopping (although I didn’t buy anything… at least yet, I’m writing this on Monday afternoon…) and pool time and Vegassssss!

Treat Yourself Tuesday Badge

If you’re new to TYT, head over here to read about why I am a supporter and advocate for treating ourselves – even in the smallest of ways – everyday! I promise you will fall in love with the idea and once you do, please link up below :)

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Apparently there was a women’s fitness competition in Vegas this weekend… Oddly enough, I didn’t win ;)

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Old school gambling on Fremont Street.

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Fun in the sun with Kyle and leopard print.

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Table service in Paris for Gabi’s 21st birthday – And yes, I am much too old to be “clubbing” and staying out until 4am. Ooooph.

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An amazing dinner at Aureole before seeing Michael Jackson The One. (P.S. Rent The Runway rocked my socks again – The dress was gorgeous and fit like a glove!)

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The wine tour at Aureole was amazing – Servers climbed up on ropes to pick the wine you selected. I need that job ;)

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More pool time with the family in a cabana to sleep off Gabi’s par-tay! We enjoyed plenty of mimosas and chocolate covered strawberries to celebrate the birthday girl.

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Kyle treated us to an AMAZING room at The Bellagio – Check out our nighttime fountain view! He’s the best :)

Tonight (Monday) Kyle and I are off to Le Reve at Wynn and I may do a little shopping post-show. There are two LV bags that I need to convince Kyle to buy me, hehehehe!

I hope y’all had a fantastic week and I cannot wait to read about your treats below. See ya when I’m back in Chicago!

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How did you treat yourself this week? If you’ve been to Vegas, what is your favorite thing to do while visiting?

Let’s Get Iced – Challenge Accepted!

Hello from fabulous Las Vegas!

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Between delicious dinners, rich wines, celebrating my sister-in-law’s 21st birthday and doing a little shopping damage, the weekend has been a BLAST so far.

I was also nominated to participate in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge this weekend by my beautiful friend Lauren. Since I am always up for a challenge, I not only participated (you can watch my video below, haha!) but I also donated to ALS research.

Maybe it’s the hot Vegas sun. Maybe it is the freezing cold ice water being dumped over my head. Or maybe it is the extreme lack of sleep I am running on right now, but the challenge gave me an idea that I am proposing to y’all today.

I am challenging ALL of you to participate in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. When you participate and tag me (Olives ‘n Wine), I will personally donate $5 to ALS research. This challenge is not only about ice, it’s about finding a cure for a debilitating and devastating disease, so let’s all band together and do what we can to help support a cure!

My 5 Must-Have Essentials

Earlier this week, Man Crates contacted me about participating in their personal survival kit campaign. I have MANY things that I need to survive, but was able to narrow it down to 6 (okay, 7…) and am sharing those with you today.

We all have things that we absolutely cannot live without on a day-to-day basis and below are my top must-haves!

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1. Spark – At this point, we all know how much I love my beloved Spark. Now, I even have my own Sparkhead cup to get that energy-filled goodness into my body ;)

2. iPhone – It’s fairly apparent that I’m a social media addict. Since I’m constantly on the ‘gram, I feel naked without my iPhone. It MUST be in my hand at all times or I start to get shaky – haha!

3. Lipgloss – I’m not a huge makeup gal and would much rather go without it. However, I do love my lipgloss, especially NARS or Bobbi Brown! It just adds a little something to make me feel fancy when I don’t feel like wearing mascara.

4. Running Shoes – Yup, I’ve become one of those people that wear their running shoes everywhere. I walk around the city in them, I wear them to brunch on Saturday morning, heck – if I could get away with it, I’d even wear them to work! They’re just so comfortable and bright and keep my tootsies happy after long runs :)

5. Sunglasses – I wear my sunglasses at night… But for real, I actually where mine when it is questionable if I really need them or not. Like when I’m inside or when the sun is setting. My excuse? They’re prescription so I can actually see when I have them on plus they hide my eyes when I don’t want to wear makeup ;)

6. Mitchell – Okay, okay… I know I was only supposed to list 5 items but if I could pack Mr. Mitchell up and take him everywhere I went, y’all know I would. I love that furry little face and he brings me so much happiness!

I asked Kyle for his must-haves and his response… As long as I’m with you, I have everything I need. Awww…. But for real, the man cannot live without his iPad or a football game on the TV! ;)

Oh, I forgot one last thing… WINE! Where would my life be without it?!?!

What are some of the must-haves on your list? And what about your man’s list?

I was not compensated for this post – All opinions, per the usual, are 100% my own… even though everyone will agree that Spark is the bomb dot com ;)

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