Mitchell,The Furry Snowbird

When Kyle and I relocated to Florida nearly two years ago, I joked with our friends and family that our move was actually for Mitchell. He was 8 when moved south, and as dogs are “seniors” at age 7 (!!!), he officially turned into a Snowbird when we changed our residence to Naples ;)

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Dog beaches with an ocean front view, plenty of parks and walking paths, lots of friendly faces, and warm weather year round – What more could my furry snowbird request??

Now that Mitchell is 10 years old – and a big brother that has added a bit of stress to his life, our focus is to keep him healthy, active, and young at heart for as long as possible. Because of this goal, I was more than happy to partner with Purina Pro Plan and give Mitchell a taste of their Purina Pro Plan BRIGHT MIND Adult 7+ dog food. And let’s be honest, Mitchell was the one who was happiest… A new food to eat? Count him IN!

In addition to trying out BRIGHT MIND Adult 7+ (a total win for Mitchell), we also had the opportunity to give Dognition a whirl. Dognition is comprised of fun, science-based games that allow you to better understand your dog’s personality and how they view the world. While Mitchell wouldn’t sit still (or participate… he’s young at heart, LOL) for all of the games, it was fun to have some one-on-one time with my favorite furry guy! Make sure you read through the entire post as I’m giving away a Dognition code for one of you to try out the games with your pup!

I’m sure it’s no surprise to my fellow dog lovers, but scientists at Nestle Purina have studied aging dogs for many years and have found that nutrition can positively impact a dog’s cognitive health as they grow older. I know I want Mitchell to have both a healthy body and a healthy mind as he continues to age, so getting quality nutrients in his body- along with keeping him active – is one of my top priorities for him right now. BRIGHT MIND 7+ contains enhanced botanical oils that have been shown to improve alertness, memory, trainability, and mental sharpness. Owners may actually notice more willingness on the part of their loved senior dogs to play and adapt/cope with change when feeding their dog BRIGHT MIND 7+. I think those are all characteristics we’d love to see in our dogs as they age!

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Over the past 30 days, Mitchell’s been chomping down and fully enjoying the flavor of his new, BRIGHT MIND 7+ dog food. Kyle and I have been happy to see a positive change in his mood and playfulness and I *think* he may even be listening better! Or his food is just so tasty that he no longer wants to beg for Dean’s food at dinner ;) Mitchell has always been full of energy so that wasn’t a big concern for us, but he’s been happier as Dean has been attempting to play with him and willing to go on longer walks in our Florida summer heat. Having a dog that is relaxed and adjustable around small kiddos is important to us so Mitchell will most definitely continue on his feeding regimen of BRIGHT MIND 7+. We are happy and thankful to see a positive improvement in our little ol’ snowbird dog.

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Now, it’s YOUR turn for a chance to get to better understand your dog’s feelings and behaviors. Comment below and tell me your dog’s name, age (any age counts!), and your favorite thing about your furry friend for your chance to win a Dognition assessment code ($19 value).

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Purina Pro Plan BRIGHT MIND. The opinions and text are all mine.

Apartment Tour!

Okay, it’s been 3 months since Kyle and I moved into our apartment in Naples and it’s finally time for a tour! (AKA – the place is nice and clean because my mom is arriving today, haha!)

You’ll have to excuse my congestion and the fact that I’m out of breath (thanks baby…) but hopefully this will give you an idea of where we live :) Also, if you have any suggestions for the master bedroom, I’m all ears!

Christmas Eve Survey

It’s Christmas Eve! I’m practically shaking with excitement here, y’all!

My plans today involve heading to spin this morning, learning a few more BP tracks, grabbing a hot cocoa from Starbs to make apartment cleaning a tad more bearable and then heading to Christmas Eve service tonight.

I saw this survey on Amanda’s blog a few days ago and thought it would be the perfect segway into Christmas. I’d love to read some of your answers in the comments section below!

Egg Nog or hot chocolate?
Egg Nog is nasty so hot chocolate ;)

Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
He wraps them and fills my stocking! The photo below is Santa’s visit from last year for my sister and her husband, Kyle and I. Apparently his sleigh is now redirected to my mom’s house for the boys too ;)

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Colored lights on tree/house or white?
White lights! If I ever decorate the outside of my house, however, it’ll have the big ol’ colored retro Christmas lights.

christmas tree

Do you hang mistletoe?
No, but I did see some for sale at Trader Joe’s this year.

When do you hang your decorations up?
Whenever I want! This year it was a few weeks into November… before Thanksgiving, the horror!

What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?
My mom’s Holiday Cranberry Salad <– It is SO good! I also love green bean casserole.

Cranberry3

Favorite holiday memory as a child?
The elves visiting each night in December. They’d leave my sister and I candy in our Advent calendar… One morning during Christmas break I even found a jingle bell in the ice outside. Apparently our elves had extra time on their hands… ;)

What is on your Christmas wish-list?
ALL the things! I reallllyyyyyy need this. Like need need. And the rest of my list is here.

Do you open a gifts on Christmas Eve?
Nooooo! That’s breaking the rules! You MUST run downstairs as soon as your eyes open (but no earlier than 6am) on Christmas morning. Then you have breakfast and play with your toys for the rest of the day :)

How do you decorate your Christmas tree?
This year I have white lights, red berries, and red and gold ornaments. I like to be matchy-matchy. {See above photo.}

Snow? Love it or dread it?
Let’s just say we moved south for a reason. Mitchell’s face says it all.

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Real tree or fake tree?
Fake this year. I’d love a real tree but those are few and far between in the land of palm trees ;)

Do you remember your favorite gift?
I’m sure it was an American Girl doll or something along those lines.

What’s the most important thing about Christmas for you?
The fun and tradition of preparing for the season. I’m excited to start some of our own traditions with a baby next year!

What is your favorite holiday dessert?
Birthday cake for Jesus (we always had one when I was growing up) and peanut butter balls.

What is your favorite tradition?
Candlelight service on Christmas Eve followed by chili and oyster stew – yum yum yum!

What tops your tree?
A star. We typically had an angel when I was growing up though.

Which do you prefer, giving or receiving?
Both. I think that’s okay :)

What is your favorite Christmas song?
Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree <– Do ya have it stuck in your head now?! ;)

Candy canes, yuck or yum?
Ehhh… I could pass. All of the peppermint recipes don’t do anything for me this time of year to be quite honest. I did like my grandma’s mini-candy canes as a kid though.

Favorite Christmas Movie?
Love Actually or Peanuts

What do you leave for Santa?
Cookies and milk as a kid… This year it’s going to be a Gingerbread AdvoBar and MRS ;) He needs his protein to get through the rest of the night!

Do you have a Christmas morning tradition?
LOL. Does ripping through presents as quickly as possible count? I’m going to start a few next year including family onesies (I apologize in advance to the little guy for any future embarrassment this might cause!), early morning present opening, family breakfast and a walk before dinner!

Do you prefer to shop online or at the mall?
I prefer shopping in the mall up to December 15th. After that  point it is just a chaotic mad house and I’d rather have Amazon ship items directly to my door in less than 2 days :)

Christmas letter or Christmas card?
Cards. I rarely read letters I receive (sorry!) and I love hanging the cards around our apartment.

Answer one of the above questions! I’m excited to hear your Christmas traditions.

Weekending

Four day weekends are the best but alas, it is Monday again. How about a little weekending recap to start Cyber Monday off on the right foot?

Let’s go way back to Wednesday evening…

thanksgiving eve

Mexican + Hunger Games date night! Don’t listen to the reviews, the film is awesome. Yes, Katniss is slightly different than the previous movies/books but if you would have read the books (ahem movie critics!), you’d understand the reason :)

thanksgiving mexican

I told you alllll about our Thanksgiving yesterday.

My inbox contained an awesome surprise when I woke up on Black Friday – I PASSED! Whoop!

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Since I refuse to shop on a holiday, I missed out on Target’s $79 Beats sale. I was devastated! So Kyle bought me an upgraded version as an early Christmas gift and all was right in the world again. I’m still hoping I get the champagne-colored ones for Christmas… they’re so pretty!

thanksgiving beats

We also hit up the mall… More to come on that tomorrow!

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Post-shopping leftovers breakfast of turkey + eggs + stuffing.

state park

Followed by some state park hiking with Mitchell – It was a gorgeous day!

state park 2

On Saturday I helped launch BODYPUMP at the YMCA. We had limited space (more equipment is being delivered this week) so it was somewhat chaotic but I think once members are used to BP, the process will be a whole lot smoother.

cider press

Kyle insisted we try a raw, vegan restaurant for lunch (odd?) but it turned out great! I ordered the AvoBLT with kale chips and was impressed… although I don’t see myself becoming either a raw food or vegan eater anytime soon ;)

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For dinner, Kyle wanted Italian while I wanted sushi. To our delight, there is a place in Naples that serves both – Noodles Italian Cafe and Sushi Bar! LOL! We were both a little skeptical at first but everything was really good. I was able to get some of the cooked sushi and they rolled it on a different surface to avoid raw fish germs.

Sunday was pretty laid back…

BP Thanksgiving

BODYPUMP in the AM.

beach afternoon

Beach in the PM.

It was a great weekend but I must say, I’m more than ready to get back to some healthier eating :)

What did you do over the long weekend? Did you do any Black Friday shopping?

Weekending

Happy Monday!

Since I shared my Thanksgiving Dinner plans yesterday, I’m here today with my weekend recap. Spoiler alert – It wasn’t very exciting ;)

On Friday night Kyle and I headed out for burgers at the #6 burger place in the USA. It was semi-cool outside so I sported one of my favorite fall scarves.

friday night outfit

Brook’s Gourmet Burgers and Dogs was just okay. Not rankable in my books but apparently someone out there likes it! Maybe I just ordered the wrong thing ;) Either way, my burger craving was satisfied and Kyle got his chocolate milkshake with dinner.

brooks burgers

Kyle is in Chicago through tonight so on Saturday morning, I dropped him off at the airport and then headed straight to the gym for BODYPUMP! The drive was quicker than I expected so I burned some extra time on the treadmill before the class started. Hunger struck while I was walking. Thankfully, I had a DB9 bar (tastes like a caramel almond latte!) in my gym bag and decided to look like a total weirdo and eat while working out ;)

saturday gym Collage

Post-PUMP my hunger returned so I made a pit stop at Chipotle on my way home. SO good!

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I downloaded the new BODYPUMP release on Saturday afternoon and I cannot wait to check it out. I must say that I do NOT like the new downloading system but it is the way Les Mills is going so I’ll have to get over not having my DVDs.

I got a couple of fun packages in the mail on Saturday – a Running For Two tank top from my MIL and a Christmas ornament from a fun ornament exchange I did with my AdvoCare team :)

Saturday packages Collage

Saturday night involved a Kourtney and Khloe Take The Hampton’s marathon and Hunger Games before bed.

Sunday morning kicked off with a semi-empty spin class… A lot of people are traveling back home this week for Thanksgiving so I think my classes will be calm over the next few days.

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Everything bagel + veggie cream cheese for the post-spin win!

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The rest of Sunday involved deep cleaning the apartment. Mitchell apparently loves clean carpet and was rolling around like a crazy dog.

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I got a great start on our Christmas cards Sunday night while watching 90-Day Fiance… worst show ever but watching the disasters is pretty fun ;)

How was your weekend? Any fellow burger and bagel eaters over the weekend?

Weekending

Another weekend come and gone – They sure do fly by, don’t they?

With Halloween come and gone, we can now focus on the important things… Stuffing our faces with turkey and stuffing and Christmukkah! And that reminds me (in a round about way…), before I kick off my weekending photo recap, I want to say good luck to all of my pretty little challengers who are starting their November 24-Day Challenge tomorrow! Y’all rock my socks and you are going to do so well. Yay for staying healthy during the holiday season!

Now, the weekend!

Kyle and I didn’t dress up this year but Mitchell sure did. What’s cuter than a dog in a bacon suit? Not much ;)

mitchell bacon

The rest of Friday night involved watching Halloween movies and shoving my face full of Reese’s. {No dog was harmed or had the chance to consume chocolate during the taking of this photo.}

mitchell reese

Apparently it looked like this on Friday night in Chicago. I don’t think I’ll ever move back.

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Saturday morning kicked off with an amazing AdvoCare ladies event! I learned so much and had a ton of fun, plus the entire theme was pink – Pink balloons, Pink Lemonade Spark, pink notebooks, chocolate/peanut butter meal bars… I loved it obviously :)

Pursuit Collage

And check out this recipe – swoon <3 Totally making this for breakfast tomorrow!

pursuit recipe

After the event, I was starving per typical Becky style so Kyle met me at Agave Grill where I promptly shoved my face into a bowl of guacamole daintily ate my mahi-pineapple tacos ;)

fish tacos

Post Mexican came a nap, obviously… And then shopping at the outlet mall that Kyle was dying to check out! Yes, my husband has a bigger shopping problem than I do. Should I be concerned?! We both found some good steals including this dress. It looked super nautical to me and perfect for Naples and after texting Katie for a trusted opinion, it went into the purchase pile!

gap dress

Because we spent a long time at the mall and neither of us were up for making dinner, pizza it was! We headed to Rosedale Brick Oven Pizza for some tasty, Italian-style pizza. The restaurant was super busy but we managed to grab seats at the bar in front of the kitchen so I could watch the chefs throw each pizza into the brick oven and stay warm all night. The pizza was delish but I somehow only got a photo of my pre-dinner arugula salad. It was also tasty so I’m just going to go with it!

rosedale salad

Sunday morning called for BODYPUMP because well, Mexican + Pizza in one day calls for a good sweat the next morning! I even got Mr. Kyle to join me for his 2nd PUMP experience.

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Post-PUMP, Kyle and I headed to the Everglades so he could scope out some good kayaking routes for the future. We stopped for lunch at Camellia Street Grill and enjoyed the sun and chilly breeze on their patio. After hitting up the state park there for a few maps, we headed back up to Naples.

everglades

And now Kyle is seasoning a big ol’ steak for dinner! It’s seriously the perfect temperature outside (we even slept with the windows OPEN last night!!!) so we are taking full advantage and getting out to grill.

Did you dress up for Halloween? What about your pets? What was the best thing you ate this weekend?

Friday Favs

TGIF! I’m super excited for this weekend – Kyle and I have plans to go kayaking, get his car windows tinted (time to pimp the Subaru, LOL), enjoy a steak dinner, visit a few gyms in the area, and find plants for our balcony.

I’m linking up with Katie, Heather, and Clare again today to share some of my favorites from the week.

1. OMG, this video. You must watch it. Male pattern blindness. It’s real and it happens in my house more than Kyle would like to admit ;) I was laughing the entire way through this clip! If you have a husband, I guarantee you can relate.

2. Clear Mood – This is AdvoCare’s October product spotlight and is marked down for this month only! I tend to be an anxious person and freak out at the most minor of things (darn Type A tendencies…) which just causes a crazy spiral of freaked-outness. Not a good thing. I have been taking Clear Mood for the past 2 months (one in the AM and one in the PM) and it has helped tremendously. I feel much more at ease and have learned to go more with the flow than to freak out at the first sign of chaos. It’s a good thing and I highly recommend giving it a try.

Clear Mood™

3. I made a friend! I made a friend! Okay, so we haven’t really met yet but I’m going to make her be my friend. I hope that is okay, Christa ;) She’s a fellow healthy living blogger and also lives in Naples. I cannot wait to meet up with her in the next few weeks once I get everything settled here.

4. Yoga – I visited an actual yoga studio on Wednesday and enjoyed a really good class! It felt so good to stretch out and challenge myself. They have a newbie special, $70 for a month, but I’m waiting to purchase because one of the gyms we’re touring also offers yoga.

yoga naples

5. This isn’t a favorite, but I need to figure out how to get more steps into my days! I’m used to walking EVERYWHERE and now that we live in the land of suburbia, I drive most places. Over the past week I’ve been lucky to fit in 10k steps/day and I’m used to almost double that. Fellow suburbanites, do you have any tips?! I think once it cools down here I’ll be taking Mitchell on more walks but right now, it’s just too hot for the furball. At least the rest is good for my knee! #positivethoughts

What was one of your favorites from the week? What is on your agenda for the weekend?

A stress-free day

Stress-free days.

Those are the best one, right?

Kyle and Becky Garter

Today I’m guest-posting for Chelsea while she’s in Punta Cana getting married! It’s all about how to keep your big day fun and stress-free.

I’d love for you to check it out :)

wedding // a stress-free day.

Friday Favs

Friday, Friday, Friday! This week has been a lot of “work” and I am happy we’re approaching the weekend and got plenty of things checked off our to-do list.

I’m linking up with Katie, Heather, and Clare again today to share some of my favorites from the week.

1. The movers come today. THE MOVERS COME TODAY!!!! If I have to sleep on an air mattress for one more evening, my back is going to go into revolt mode. I was practicing BP yesterday and my back felt all wonky during the squat track… I’m contributing it to sleeping on a crappy mattress for almost 2 weeks. I’m also excited to stop rotating the same 3 dresses that I have in my closet ;)

2. This meme. Most of my salads are delicious, but every once in a while I’ll come across one that makes me think like this cat, LOL.

cat salad

3. I’m so happy that Mitchell loves his new place. I’m thankful that he’s a very adaptable pup (I calculated that he’s lived in 9 different places since I got  him 8 years ago while in college…) and is always happy when he’s with his people… mainly Kyle ;) Anyways, he loves our new steps and the patio… The heat not so much but we’re heading into “winter” so that should help him with the adjustment.

mitchell patio 2

4. Checking a TON of things off of our to-do list. Yesterday was probably the most expensive day of our marriage next to purchasing our condo in Minneapolis. We purchased a car, a new mattress (king size, baby!), patio furniture, and a dining room table. Phew! We both agreed that we’re eating only Target brand Cheerios for the next month to save some money ;)

new car

5. Speaking of Target, have I mentioned that there is a Super Target within a 5-minute walk of our apartment?! Holy dangerousness! I’m both excited and nervous for this discovery ;) At least if I walk I can’t buy as much, right? Haha!

I hope y’all have a great weekend!

What are you up to this weekend?

My new job(s)

As many of you already know, yesterday was my last day at my corporate job here in Chicago. And now I’m sure most of you are wondering what the heck I’m doing with my life.

Find Something You are Passionate About and Keep Tremendeously Interested In It

You’re not alone. I wonder the same thing on a daily basis ;)

This afternoon I thought I’d share with you my “new” jobs to let you know my career plans! And for a little fun, I’m adding in a list of potential LinkedIn job titles for y’all to vote on.

Seth Godin quote | {motivational monday: when it's ok to quit} | The Sweet Escape

So, what am I doing?

1. This lil’ blog – Obviously I love blogging and I plan on devoting more time to it in the future.

2. AdvoCare – I love that I’m able to make a career out of helping others achieve a healthy lifestyle, increase their energy, improve their fitness and get well, physically and financially, on a very part-time basis. Plus, Spark is pretty darn tasty if I do say so myself! ;)

3. Body Pump – I still have to record my video and send it over to LesMills but I plan on doing that ASAP after I get to Florida!

4. Open my own business – More to come on this in a few months once I get all of the deets ironed out!

I just did it by turning down a full time job doing not my dream for a part time job doing my dream.

And now for the fun… I mean, it’s not really a job unless it’s on LinkedIn, #amiright?! I’ve come up with a list of attention-grabbing job titles for myself, I just need your help in selected the perfect one. (And don’t worry Dad, I’m not actually going to put any of these up on LinkedIn…)

  1. Stay at home puppy mom
  2. Lady who lunches (For you, Erica.)
  3. Gym rat
  4. Sparkhead
  5. Insta-addict
  6. Baker of all things peanut butter, chocolate and Nutella-filled
  7. Blogger extraordinaire
  8. BODYPUMP lover and bicep grower
  9. Emptier of wine bottles
  10. President, Founder and CEO of yet-to-be-named business (This one I will actually list once it’s established!)
  11.  Wife of Chef Kyle
  12. Collector of running shoes

If you could come up with a job title and description for yourself on LinkedIn, what would it be and why? Which job title should I select for myself?

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