Friday Favs + A Survey

Fridayyy! Did this week fly by for anyone else? Just me?

Let’s jump right into this week’s favorites!

1. BODYPUMP! First, my video is submitted – wahoo! I’ll know by December 2nd whether I receive a “pass” or a “resubmit.” Second, I am one of two instructors that was chosen to teach the YMCA’s launch of BODYPUMP on the 29th! Holy moly, I was so excited when the Group Fitness Director told me this. I think my eyes popped out of my head, haha! It’s a huge compliment and I have been working my booty off to show them that I’m dedicated and want to teach… I’ve gone to almost all of the practices and other instructors’ certification filming sessions.

2. On the topic of fitness, the director casually brought up the topic of spinning earlier this week. She asked if I liked it (I told her I have recently gotten into spin) and if I would be interested in obtaining a spin certification and teaching at the gym! They are looking for one more spin instructor and want to give the opportunity to me if I’m interested :) Kyle doesn’t want me over-committing myself so I want to learn more about spin certifications and what they entail, but needless to say, it’s been a good week for all things fitness here in Naples!

3. I failed at the photo op for my next favorite… I finally met Christa on Wednesday evening for a walk! We found out that we live super close (like literally almost across the street from one another, ha) so we took the pups out for a stroll. It was great to meet another young person here in Naples (and a blogger at that!) who’s into fitness and fashion and healthy living. We have a margarita date penciled in for May. I CANNOT wait ;) Definitely check out her blog – She’s super fun and I know you’ll like her!

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4. Y’all know how much I love my blends. I seriously have the best ones and they continue to prove this to me daily. I got some awesomely sweet gifts from some of my blends this week. A pregnancy book from Katie (I totally needed this… except heads up, do NOT read the labor section, you will want to vomit.), an adorable bear bib from Carly, and the cutest onesie ever from Lindsay! Thank you ladies! Laura also sent me some gorgeous nail polish so I can pamper myself – That’s what I’m talking about :)

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5. Finally, my Christmas corner is complete! We somehow lost our tree during our move but I found a cheap one ($25!!) at Target this week. It isn’t the fullest tree ever but I have some “holly” berries that I decorate with to fill it in. Christmas decor makes me happy :)

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Now, onto the survey! I was tagged by Christa, Ashley and Katie so I figured it was time for me to get going on answering the questions :)

1. Four names that people call me, other than my real name:

  • Becky
  • Beckster
  • Cutie (Kyle calls me this ;) )
  • Becks

2. Four jobs I have had:

  • Teaching assistant (Agronomy 101, if you’re interested in anything related to soil science, I’m your girl!)
  • Barista at The Cafe in Ames, Iowa
  • Target Corp (yes, working for Target HQ was amazing – maybe I can get them to relocate to FL ;) )
  • BODYPUMP Instructor!!

3. Four movies I’ve watched more than once:

  • Love Actually
  • The Little Mermaid
  • My Best Friend’s Wedding
  • The Matrix

4. Four books I’d recommend:

Umm… I’m really bad at this. I don’t have any!

5. Four places I have lived:

  • Ames, Iowa
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Naples, Florida

6. Four places I have been:

  • Santorini/Athens, Greece (honeymoon)
  • Las Vegas (4 times…)
  • Cozumel, Mexico
  • Amsterdam, The Netherlands

7. Four places I’d rather be right now:

  • Las Vegas (I love that city… but obviously, it’s not a great place for preggos)
  • Paris
  • Venice
  • Tuscany

8. Four things I don’t eat: (I’m not a picky eater…)

  • Eel
  • Cashews (I think I’m kind of allergic? My stomach hurts when I eat them.)
  • Moldy bread
  • Gruyere cheese (the smell makes me want to vom)

9. Four of my favorite foods:

  • Avocados
  • Black olives
  • Seeduction bread (from Whole Foods bakery – so good!)
  • Peanut butter

10. Four TV shows that I watch: (I don’t really watch TV… I know, I’m lame… so some of these are going way back!)

  • The Big Bang Theory
  • Grey’s Anatomy
  • Anything HGTV
  • Sex and the City

11. Four things I am looking forward to this year: (I’m counting the next 12 months…)

  • Our 5-year anniversary in May
  • Mitchell Junior’s arrival
  • A huge platter of sushi, brie, an undercooked hamburger and a mimosa post-baby
  • Teaching BODYPUMP!

12. Four things I’m always saying:

  • MITCHELLLLLL!!!!!!! <– that’s me yelling
  • I’m so tireddddd.
  • Ummmm… <– it’s a real problem
  • It’s in the first drawer to the right… Look under the papers! (Kyle can NEVER find anything… anyone else’s hubs have the same problem?!)

Do you have your Christmas decorations up yet? What was your favorite moment from the week? 

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

Blends Do Chicago!

This weekend was  SO. MUCH. FUN.

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I cannot believe it is already over but I am so happy that I have amazingly wonderful friends (that I met through this little blog!) who make weekends like this absolutely perfect!

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Katie, Caroline, and Melanie all arrived in Chicago around noon on Friday. I was so anxious for their flights to land that I stalked their travel paths into the city! I decided to show off my superb Chicago driving skillz and road rage during our drive from the airport to their hotel. Note to any and all future visitors… a cab may be a safer option than me driving ;)

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Once everyone was settled into the hotel, we headed to Eataly – AKA a blogger’s paradise. It was around 2pm and we all starving hangry so after wandering around the masses of pasta and wine and restaurants, we decided to eat at Le Verdure – the vegetarian restaurant at Eataly.

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There was a bit of a wait so we sipped on a glass of vino (I mean, if you twist my arm… ;) ) while perusing the amazing selection of Italian food.

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Caroline and I both ordered the lunch special – an open faced cheese, mushroom, and arugula sandwich with minestrone soup. It was delicious and exactly what we needed to kick off our Chicago weekend!

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Another perk of blogger weekends… I am not the only one taking photos of my food! Hehe… Sorry for the photo, Katie ;)

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After lunch, Katie and I hit up my favorite nail salon for some much needed pedicures and then stopped by my apartment so I could grab my clothes for the evening! Katie had the privilege (somehow I do not think that’s the correct word… haha!) of meeting the infamous Mitchell. Mitchell was in prime form for her arrival and I’m pretty sure he licked her face for 5 minutes straight…

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Wine and snacks and girl chat at the hotel took up the rest of the afternoon and then it was time for dinner!

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After much contemplation and discussion, I made dinner reservations at Nellcote. I absolutely love this restaurant and am so happy that I was able to share it’s glamorous atmosphere and tasty eats with these girls!

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For dinner we shared margarita pizza, roasted brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, and potato gnocchi.  Oh, and there was also champagne :) It was all SO good and I most definitely recommend Nellcote to anyone visiting – or living in – Chicago!

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The rest of the night involved hanging out at the hotel, more girl talk, and planning our Saturday! I decided to spend the night in my own bed and took this amazing ridiculous elevator selfie to end the night ;)

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Saturday morning came bright and early. I met Katie at the hotel and we headed to body pump at my gym! I had a lot of fun showing her around my digs and I loved taking body pump with a friend. #pleasemovehere

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I was ridiculously hungry after our workout and didn’t think I was going to make it on my 7-minute walk home… Thankfully, Kyle is amazing and had a bacon-filled quiche waiting for me when I walked in the door. This recipe will be shared soon because it’s just too good to keep to ourselves!

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Once I was showered and had a tummy full of food, I met the girls for our Chicago site-seeing day!

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First stop was coffee. Priorities!

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Then we headed to The Bean for the obligatory bean selfies :) It was PACKED but we still managed to get a few photos of ourselves.

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Once we took our fair share of selfies, we walked a few blocks (it seemed like FOREVER because it was super windy and cold!) to a mall where we could do some damage.

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Hello Lululemon, Banana Republic, and J. Crew :) I definitely found some great buys (don’t worry Kyle, everything was on sale!) and I will share those with y’all on Tuesday!

Around 1pm, we realized we needed food in a bad way. Since this was Caroline’s first trip to Chicago, she requested Chicago-style pizza for lunch and who am I to deny her cravings?! ;) The wait was LONG (and crowded) at Giordano’s so we found an indoor patio across the street to sip wine and nibble on some bread while waiting for our table.

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Once our table was ready, we sprinted across the street and were brought a delicious, deep dish, veggie (no mushrooms, no olives!) pizza that we dove into.

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The pizza was incredible but our conversations are what made the meal perfect. I love these girls SO much and am so happy we have such great connections and can share anything and everything! #comebacktome!

After a little more shopping, we headed back to the hotel for wine (theme of the weekend…), snacks, and getting ready for the evening.

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Katie’s one request for the weekend was a margarita – I’m so happy my friends are easy to please, pizza and margs! – so on Saturday night, we hit up Mercadito for dinner.

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After eating a late lunch and snacking all afternoon, we weren’t super hungry so we split three types of guacamole and chicken tacos. And lots of tequila…

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Another delicious Chicago meal for the win! After dinner, we grabbed another drink at RM Champagne Salon Bar and I surprisingly didn’t take any photos… I am blaming the tequila… and the beer and the wine. #yikes

This morning came much too early and with a headache but thankfully we had brunch planned! I took Katie, Carly, and Alisha to Little Goat when they visited back in November and knew I wanted to go again this weekend but MUCH earlier so we didn’t have to wait for a table.

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We arrived around 8am and were seated right away – Thank goodness because I needed food and I needed it fast! I decided to go with the heavy carb diet for breakfast (Have you heard of it?! ;) ) and ordered fries and a grilled cheese sandwich. It was just what the doctor ordered and I felt SO much better after getting some food into my belly.

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We walked back to the hotel after brunch and said our sad goodbyes before parting ways.

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The rest of my day was filled with a few naps (they were unfortunately not successful and I didn’t sleep!), laundry, grocery shopping, and a family walk.

I had such a great weekend and CANNOT wait until I cross paths with my pretties once again :) Miss you girls already! xoxo

If you were to visit Chicago, what would be your one request? Before I moved here, I always wanted pizza and shopping :)

What are your favorite pizza toppings? Black olives!

It’s Friday, it’s Friday!

Yes, it’s FINALLY Friday!

But it’s not any Friday… Today some of my favorites are coming to visit! So, in honor of Friday Favorites, I’m listing off some of my current favs from the week :)

1. These lovely ladies! As you’re reading this, they’re on their way to Chicago (or already here!!) and we have a fun weekend planned. Make sure you follow us on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #blendsdochicago (<– OF COURSE we have a hashtag!) to see us in action.

hls roomies walk

2. After much contemplation, I finally have my own AdvoCare site! www.ChiAdvoCare.com

I almost went with www.AdvoCareWino.com but figured that wasn’t business appropriate ;) Although it does give me ideas for a new blog…

advosite

3. These brownie bars delectable pieces of heaven that I can’t wait to share with you next week! They’re amazing and – by some miracle, I managed to save part of the pan for my lovely ladies (and Kyle!)… This recipe does not disappoint, although I wouldn’t expect anything less from my favorite combination.

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And thankfully, everyone visiting isn’t afraid of dog germs because Mitchell helped me bake last night ;)

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4. A “family” tequila dinner at Adobo Grill last night! Mexican food paired with tequila drinks?! Yes, please! I had a fun night with Kyle and his family and can’t wait to share it all with you next week.

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5. This maxi dress from Target. I got it in the “black” color which is an odd description considering the top is striped and the bottom is a flow-y floral. Either way, the price was right and now it just needs to warm up so I can wear it!

6. The AdvoBar snack bars have been lifesavers for me this week! I’ve been running around like a crazy person and these give me staying power (hello 10g protein!) plus they taste like a candy bar for only 140 calories. A healthy candy? No complaints from me!

AdvoBar® Snack

I’m linking up with Katie and Clare for this week’s Friday celebration :)

What was your favorite moment this weekend? What’s on the schedule for your weekend?

#50shadesofblends – RECAP

Okay, this recap is for realz this time. I promise <3

Part of the reason this post took me forever to compose is because I really just don’t know where to start. The five of us had SO much fun this weekend, it’s hard to put it all into one post!

However, I know y’all want to hear about it so here goes!

Friday afternoon, the ladies arrived – Sara got into town first and stopped by my apartment before we headed to the hotel. She was able to meet my two boys (Kyle and Mitchell) before we hailed a cab down to Lakeshore Drive. Her arriving early was a blessing in disguise as she helped me lug by bag full o’ wine and snacks down to the cab and into the hotel room ;)

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A little while later Carly and Katie arrived!!!! I saw them last in Napa back in July and I shrieked like a sorority sista when they knocked on the hotel room door. THEN, a little while later Alisha made her way to Chicago! Wahoo! We had never met Alisha before but she is just as crazy sweet and pretty and great at doing makeup and twerking yoga as she portrays in her blog. (P.S. Do y’all non-bloggers think it’s strange that the only reason this girls’ weekend existed was because of this little bloggity blog? Gosh I just love it!)

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After drinking a few (ahem…) bottles of vino and prettying ourselves for an evening out on the town, we headed to The Signature Lounge on the 96th floor of the John Hancock building. I knew I had to take the girls there because the views are incredible even if you feel like you might fall to the ground when you look over the edge ;)

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By this time it was around 10pm and time for dinner… and by dinner I mean snack because for some reason we decided it would be a good idea to order a few small plates at a sushi restaurant to “save room” for pizza later in the evening. And by pizza I mean beer and drinks ;)

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We visited a few establishments in Old Town and attracted more than a few men. Seriously, what is it that draws men to a group of women out on a girls’ night? I mean we’re all pretty fantastic if I do say so myself but –  and I’m not kidding here – at one point in the night a guy gave me his debit card AND PIN NUMBER and told me to take cash out and get whatever I wanted.

Ummm…. okay? He’s just lucky I didn’t place a $2000 J. Crew order ;)

After some dancing and drinking and shenanigans we arrived home at the hotel to order that pizza we saved room for back at dinner. A slice or two later I hailed a cab back home and loudly pranced into my apartment, waking Kyle up at 5am. Gosh, he’s a lucky guy – haha!

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Needless to say, Saturday morning came around much too early. Kyle took me out for a Bloody Mary <– hair of the dog, definitely needed… and then we met up with the gals in Wrigleyville to watch the Iowa Hawkeyes football game. (This is actually against my religion – GO CLONES! – but I obliged since Alisha was my guest and she’s a fan…)

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We drank and ate (theme of the weekend!) and then started our trek to Whole Foods a few miles away. On the way we came across this European-style cafe that had sinfully good waffles with things like crunchy Nutella and Bailey’s spiked whipped cream. Who were we to say no?

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From there we made it to Whole Foods – aka my Mecca, cue the angelic singing – so Alisha could experience the wonder of all wonders for the first time. #TWSS

{By the way, if you want to stalk me, I’ll be there Saturday evening shopping my little heart out while sipping on wine <3 Yes, you can drink wine while walking around this Whole Foods!}

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A few hours later snacking on cheese and bread and olives and wine (duh!) along with some wall twerking and makeup lessons occurred before an evening out.

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I sadly called it an early night – my body seriously can’t handle a few hours of sleep anymore and it felt like it was falling apart.  I came home, put on my Bears’ sweats and cuddled Mitchell. {Warning, pathetic-faced selfie below!}

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The next morning I woke up bright and early feeling refreshed and ready to take on the world… the girls were feeling the opposite ;) Katie, Carly, Alisha and I (Sara left early in the morning to head back to Kentucky) met for brunch at Little Goat. Seriously this place is amazing, the wait is crazy long because it is so popular, but it is worth it!

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I ordered a burger and fries (naturally…) for brunch and we all split a HUGE cinnabon that Carly ordered for the table. Yum, yum and MORE yum. Love that place. If you’re curious, yes, it is owned by the same owner as Girl & The Goat but GATG isn’t open for brunch and has a 3-month wait to get in for dinner.

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Once our bellies were full, I showed the girls my apartment and introduced them to my main furball, Mitchell. Then it was time for some Chicago tourism!

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We visited The Bean, walked around Millenium Park, rode a bull and took in the sights and sounds of the city. Once we were fully exhausted from walking miles upon miles upon miles, we headed back to the hotel for snacks, PIZZA and a new-to-me show, Girl Talk.

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I still had work to do on Sunday night (whomp, whomp…) so I said my goodbyes to the ladies and headed home around 7pm for the evening.

Seriously y’all, I love these girls! Every weekend I spend with them is a total and complete blast and is worth the exhaustion and detox I have to put my body through the next two weeks ;)

Make sure to check out their recaps of the #50shadesofblends reunion weekend as well!

Have you ever made friends (and met them) online? Do you find it weird that everyone seemed to ask us how we met when we were out? (This always created awkward silences on our part… errr… uhhh….. we met through our blogs?)

#10 Treat Yourself Tuesday {TYT}

Woohoo, it’s time for another TYT! Are y’all ready for a Chicago weekend recap?Treat Yourself Tuesday Badge

If you’re new to TYT, head over here to read about why I am a firm 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 :)

I’m tired (and STILL have work to do… ugh… work!) so this is going to be short and sweet.

Sara, Carly, Katie and Alisha arrived.

We ate a lot.

We drank a lot.

We slept a lot.

Wait… no. We didn’t sleep a lot. Actually, we barely slept AT ALL hence my glazed-over eyes in a lot of our photos ;)

The end.

Oh, you want more? You don’t like my abbreviated version?

Fine… fine…

BUT you’re not going to get it today. I’m seriously swamped with work, like no joke like I can’t get a guest post to Holly or an email back to Laura (they’re coming guys, I promise!)

I did want to get a post up today however because it is TYT and treat myself I did this weekend. I’ll get a recap up sometime this week, thanks for understanding!

In the meantime, read up on how everyone else treated themselves this week :)

Confessions, Part II

Confession: I don’t love almond butter. I know, I know… Healthy living blogger fail big time fail. I mean, it’s not that I don’t like it – I have no major problem with the butter of almonds but I much prefer peanut butter or Nutella (obviously…) or almonds in their whole state. It is definitely a texture thing. Almond butter just doesn’t get as creamy or as smooth as peanut butter does and because of that, it doesn’t do the trick. Love me or hate me, it is what it is – peanut butter will always hold true to my heart. Heaven forbid I have a child that is allergic to peanuts <– The thought of this actually just gave me mini-panic attack! If that’s what my future holds, Kyle and I will have to have a peanut wing in our house because there’s no way I could give the stuff up ;)

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Confession: Carly, Katie, Alisha and Sara are coming to visit MEEEE (okay, they’re coming to visit Chicago but it’s conveniently where I live so I say they’re visiting me…) in 2.5 weeks – TWO AND A HALF WEEKS biotches! I’m so darn excited for blend-y blogger friend time I’m about to internally combust. Get ready for a weekend of debauchery and shopping and eats (Chicago pizza) and Scott’s <– Because men with this name tend to flock to us when we’re together… Unfortunately I’m not kidding – Remember Blend and Napa? I guess it’s a good thing for Katie (being the single and ready to mingle girl of the group), she only needs to remember one name for the weekend ;)

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Confession: When I applied for my current position, I used my full name “Rebecca” on my resume. I also went by Rebecca during the interview process. I was nervous starting my job so I never corrected anyone during my first few weeks and now it is much too late to pull a name change out of the bag. So I’m officially Rebecca at work and it’s weird. It took me a few weeks of getting called Rebecca to actually start responding – my coworkers must think I have hearing problems or that I’m lacking half of my brain. And I’ve awkwardly introduced myself as Becky a few times. I’m obviously the cool girl at work <– HEAVY sarcasm…

Confession: I felt like a rockstar this morning when I could actually give someone accurate directions to a destination in downtown Chicago! I’ve been able to point people in the general vicinity of locations and have definitely sent people the wrong way before (sorry ’bout that!) so I was extremely proud this morning. It’s the small things ;)

Confession: I miss Target more and more every day. They really have their stuff together and I miss working for an organization that has distinct goals, processes and structure for their employees. Don’t get me wrong, I’m ELATED to be in Chicago, I just wish Target would relocate 400 miles southeast! Hint, hint Triple G ;)

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Confession: I’m going to see 50 Shades! tonight. Yep, a musical parody based on the book series. Kyle surprised me with the tickets when we moved to Chicago back in August. (As a side note, I don’t think he knows what the books are about – He’s in for a BIG surprise tonight!) I’m anticipating a crowd of middle-aged women and a room full of tension. Things could get awkward.

Time to confess – What’s on your mind?

HLS13 Saturday and Sunday

Okay, I think it’s time to continue on with my HLS 2013 recap! If you didn’t catch my recap of Friday, you can find it here.

After a not-so-great night of sleep on Friday, Katie and I were up before the sun (literally) to embark on an 8-mile run. I led her around my old running paths and it felt great to be back running along the Mississippi!

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Following the run and some a gallon of coffee, I joined the HLS bloggers for breakfast at the hotel. We had a great buffet full of eggs and potatoes, cheddar-pepper biscuits that were to die for, fruit, yogurt and pastries. Everything was delicious!

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Throughout the day, I attended 4 conference discussions – Blogs in Transition: Embracing Your Blog, From Blog to Job: Utilizing Your Personal Blog to Elevate Your Career, The Organized Blogger and Blogger and the Brand: Building Relationships – and visited our amazing sponsors’ booths.

I didn’t take a single note during any of the conference sessions (oops) plus I’m not great at educational recaps… HOWEVER, if you’re interested in reading about what we learned, both Caroline and Amanda have great recaps of these sessions!

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I mentioned that I visited and talked with our sponsors, right? Well, I am just going to get it out there and say that our sponsors were freakin’ AMAZING! We snacked and snacked and snacked some more throughout the day on delicious things like Driscoll Berries and Blue Diamond Almonds and homemade Nutella via a Ninja Blender and Wild Harvest popcorn and Sargento cheese sticks. In addition to some serious snackage, we also had some fun opportunities for photo shoots (had I known this, I would have actually done my hair and worn makeup…) and giveaways – we seriously could not have had better sponsors :)

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Oh and my recap wouldn’t be complete without mentioning lunch! We had a tasty fajita salad buffet along with a Diablo Chocolate Cake – I was tempted to eat 5 pieces but then decided that I shouldn’t do that at a healthy living conference ;)

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After a full day of sessions, the roomies and I had plans to go out for dinner and drinks. The idea of showering, putting on makeup and real clothes along with the rain storm outside had us thinking that staying in the hotel room for a girls’ night was a much better option. We trekked out into the storm to grab some wine (obviously) and Chipotle (of course!) and headed back to our room for some girl time. It was great to spend a Saturday night without make up and bras (oh wait, that’s just me that hates wearing ’em, hehe!) and talking with my ladies :)

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On Saturday night, I found out that I won the contest for a Ninja Ultima Blender!! I was so freakin’ excited, I couldn’t believe it! My old blender (that was probably $15) died just before I made the move to Chicago and I haven’t had the chance to make smoothies since. I can’t wait to receive a ($200-ish) blender and make soup and smoothies and pestos and other deliciousness that I can share with you all!

As a little side note – and to keep you awake for the rest of the post, I will be hosting a Ninja GIVEAWAY in the near future! Get excited!

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Sunday morning was welcomed after a much better night of sleep with a cup of Starbucks (my beloved downtown Dunn Bros doesn’t open until 9am on Sundays – whaaa??! People need their coffee, Dunn!) and a walk to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden with the whole HLS group. I had a great time chatting with Hannah, Casey, Sam, Chelsea, Gina and Kim along the way!

Next came a sleepy breakfast followed by more giveaways. Us bloggers love things to review on our blogs ;) I didn’t win anything but Katie did and she gave me her HUGE bag of EnergyBits (another giveaway that I’ll be having soon!).  Thanks Katie!

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Before packing up to head to the airport, I said my goodbyes to SO many amazing women including Amanda and Katie (who were at our dinner on Friday but I didn’t get to talk with them that much since they were on the other end of the table – bummer!), Kelsey, Tara, Katie and Katie (who lives in Chicago!).

P.S. If you ever forget a blogger’s name, just go ahead a shoot for Katie – you have a 72% chance of getting it right ;)

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Once I was all packed, I hit up Target for some Phillip Lim action with Jen and then she was kind enough to drive me to the airport. I stopped at my favorite MSP hangout (go here the next time you’re at MSP!) – Surdyk’s Flights – and ordered a flight of reds along with the Minneapple panini – turkey, brie and apples.

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I have yet to sort through all of my swag although Kyle is quite excited about some of the Wild Harvest snacks I brought home ;)

Phew! It was a whirlwind of a weekend and I’m so excited and happy that I was able to meet and spend time with so many wonderful and inspirational women!

What was your favorite session if you attended HLS? How many Katie’s do you know? I think I’m up to at least 150 ;)

A Fabulously Bittersweet Weekend

Hi friends! I hope you’re all currently in the middle of a fabulous weekend, I know I am!

This was the first weekend that I haven’t traveled in a month and it was much needed. Even though I love traveling, it can add a lot of stress from the lack of sleep, different time zones and getting thrown off schedule so it was nice to stay at home (at least my home for a few more days!) this weekend.

Friday, as you all know, was my last day of work at Target. I left the office around 2:30 and let myself be sad for about the first 3 minutes of my walk home. After that, I realized that I wasn’t really sad – Yes, it felt strange to not have a job for the first time in 15 years but it also felt pretty damn liberating so I changed up my attitude and was a whole new person by the time I got home :)

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It’s a good thing too, because Melanie texted me that she was on her way as I was walking into my building! Melanie, Katie and I made plans to go to dinner on Friday as part of our monthly blend meet-ups which coincided perfectly with my upcoming move. While we waited for Katie to arrive (she was stuck in traffic, boo!), Melanie and I enjoyed some wine, the views from my patio and caught up on each other’s lives in more detail than we write on our blogs :)

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Once Katie made her way through the crazy Minnesota Vikings traffic (okay, can I admit that just mentioning the upcoming football season makes me SO excited for fall??!!!), we walked over to Spoonriver – a restaurant a few blocks away from my condo that supports all things local, sustainable and organic – for dinner.

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I hadn’t been to Spoonriver in quite some time and forgot how their food is always so delicious and fresh. For dinner, I decided to go with the Tuna Nicoise salad – a great mix of fresh veggies, olives and tuna!

nicoise salad

One thing I love about going out with fellow bloggers is that we all take photos of our food! With these two, I am not the only weirdo that makes everyone wait to take their first bite until I’m done with my photography ;) Thankfully, Kyle’s gotten used to this habit and even offers to take photos of his food for me while he’s traveling, haha!

bloggers taking photos

After dinner, we walked back to my condo for some more girl talk and to share some desserts that we all had made. Katie brought her Special K Bars – holy deliciousness, go make these right now and send me half of the pan! – and I shared my Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars (recipe comin’ your way tomorrow!). After one two okay, I’ll admit it… THREE bars – sometimes being a healthy living bloggers means indulging in your favorite desserts #treatyourself – we were all in a happy, sugar-induced coma state for the rest of the evening :)

special k bars

All of this late-night sugar did not lend to a good night’s sleep on Friday night so I let myself  sleep in until the late hour of 8am on Saturday morning. The rest of Saturday was spent at the Mill City Farmers’ Market (my FAVORITE market so I had to hit it up one last time!), taking a long walk to the grocery store, napping, baking for National S’more’s Day, blogging and yoga-ing. It was a perfect Saturday.

On Saturday night I hosted a “Drink All My Booze” party because I do not plan on moving 15 bottles of liquor to Chicago! Plus, Kyle and I don’t really drink liquor at home – If I want a fancy cocktail, I’ll have one with dinner or on a girls’ night out. Unfortunately, a lot of my friends were out of town for weddings or vacations, etc. this weekend – Amanda and Jen were still able to make it though! Needless to say, I still have some booze left. SO, if you come help me pack, I’ll make you a cocktail ;) Deal?

booze

This morning, I slept until 9am (amazing!) and have no big plans for the rest of the day. I might go on a run or hit up yoga or go on a walk – I could get used to this no schedule thing! – but I plan on just taking it easy and starting the packing process.

What did you do this weekend? Any tips on what I should start packing first??!

My Weekend in California – Napa, Part 2

Okay, where did I leave off… Oh yes, Carly and I heading back to the Napa Hilton Garden Inn to get our beauty rest on Thursday night!

I – unlike Carly – slept like a baby on Thursday night. I’m contributing this to the wine and gin that was consumed earlier in the evening.

Anyways, Carly and I woke up bright and early, excited to pick up Katie and to head out for a full day of wine tasting with Platypus Tours! I made a quick run to Starbucks (super close to our hotel, great hotel pick Carly!) and then took my time getting ready for the day while Carly drove to the train station to pick up Katie.

platypus

Once we were all gorgeous, we headed down to the hotel’s lobby to meet our Platypus Tours driver, Scott W. We quickly introduced ourselves (we had wine waiting for us!) and let him know we were expecting a fun day full of wine and cheese. He promised not to disappoint which he definitely did not!

On a side note, the three of us cannot escape men with the name of Scott while traveling with each other… Our driver and one of the sommeliers were named Scott and, let’s be honest, who can forget STH from Blend? ;)

kcb

Okay, back to the wine!

The first winery we visited was Flora Springs – a gorgeous vineyard with amazing views! When we arrived, the “boys” (as they are referred to on the website!) had our wine glasses ready for us to begin our tasting at the early hour of 11am. By the way, drinking wine at this hour in Napa is totally acceptable and I need to move to Napa if only for that reason…

Flora Collage

I was a bad wine taster this trip and didn’t write down any of the wines I tasted at the 4 wineries we visited. Sorry – but not really – I was having too much fun with my girls to bother with all of those silly details! I guess it just means I’ll have to make another trip back to report back on actual wines next time…

Anyways, the first glass of Flora Springs wine was my favorite. It was a Sauvignon Blanc and was much too easy to drink. Thankfully, Travis – our tour guide and wine pourer extraordinaire – kept our glasses nice and full!

kcb 2

We also got a tour of the winery’s cave where they store their wine. It was SO cool – both figuratively and literally – I had to keep drinking wine as to not get too cold. Seems logical, right? I didn’t drink too much wine however since I do remember learning that each wine barrel holds around 300 bottles of wine!

cheese collage

We were getting a bit hungry – who am I kidding, we’re always hungry! – after our first wine tasting and luckily, Scott W. offered us a delicious wine and cheese basket. It was amazing and I’m fairly certain I had 12 crackers.

The next stop on our tour was Arger-Martucci Vineyards! Hannah guided us through 7 or 8 (I can’t remember… I didn’t take notes – see above) of some of the best red wines I have ever tasted. She also had some of the best stories about guests that visited their vineyard that had had slightly too much to drink.

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They have a pool on their property and one of the stories involved a fighting couple pushing each other into the water and then, well, er… making up – I’ll leave the rest up to your imagination! Needless to say, we were all laughing hysterically while she was giving us a play-by-play.

If you go to Napa, go here. Arger-Martucci has a super laid back atmosphere and their wine is delicious. I may have purchased a case of 2004 Cabernet Franc for someone’s Christmukah present later this year but you’ll have to wait and see ;) It’s okay, it was on sale and it was the only thing I purchased the entire trip, besides food and wine that is…

grapes

Next on the tour was Rutherford Hill Winery. I honestly don’t have anything great to say about this stop. The owners weren’t friendly or talkative and the pours were basically just enough to smell the wine – not that I need a full glass for a tasting but I’d like to be able to take at least 2 sips so that I can get a feel for the wine… Am I right?

rutherford winery

At least we took a super cute, wine barrel model photo at Rutherford. This gives it some redemption!

At this point in the tour, I asked Scott W. if we were by any chance heading to Silver Oak Winery for our last stop. Silver Oak produces Kyle’s favorite wine and I would have loved to have visited! Sadly, we were not heading to Silver Oak but Scott told me to request it for my next trip and Platypus Tours would make it happen!

Instead of Silver Oak, we headed to Hill Family Estate, a tasting room with wines made from Silver Oak’s grapes!! How lucky did I get?

Brie Collage

Our entire tour group sat around a large table while we learned about and tasted the wines and ate the amazing cheese and cracker platter provided to us. Forget the wines here, the cheese is what stole the show! Seriously, it was the best cheese I had ever tasted. I even took a photo so I could find it on my next Whole Foods trip.

After we were all sufficiently full of wine and cheese, Hill Family Estate’s tasting room kicked us out because I tried to steal the entire wheel of brie.

Just kidding, my purse was too small! If I had brought a larger bag this story might have ended differently…

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The rest of the evening involved dinner at Ristorante Allegria where Katie and I thought it would be a great idea to split a bottle of wine after wine tasting all day. In case you were wondering, in retrospect, this was not a good idea the following day…

As a group, we also shared a big plate of spaghetti and pesto gnocchi. I would share photos but the lighting was romantic (perfect for a girls’ night out date…) so the photos don’t do the scrumptious Italian food justice!

After dinner we enjoyed a few more drinks and then all fell into bed, ready to head to San Francisco the next day.

I would like to add that I am very impressed with myself that I did not end up spilling ANYTHING on my white and navy striped dress. Not even red wine. Kyle would be so proud!

What is your favorite wine to drink? How do you select a bottle of wine from a wine store? Most importantly, do you think Carly, Katie and I have a good chance of becoming wine barrel models? Say yes.

Weekend Things

Happy Sunday!

I hope your weekend has been just as beautiful as mine has been in Minneapolis.

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I took Friday afternoon off of work so my fun started at noon with Katie and Melanie! We had a little blogger shop ‘n’ lunch at the Mall of America Friday afternoon. Katie had a lululemon giftcard burning a hole in her pocket so we did a little shopping and then grabbed lunch at Crave.

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I had a delicious BBQ chicken salad that I definitely burned off after lunch while we walked around the mall 5 times (if you haven’t been to the MOA, the mall is HUGE!) catching up and enjoying girl time :)

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I was planning on running 12 miles on Saturday morning so Friday night I just chilled at home – nothing exciting to share there ;)

Saturday morning, I woke up to an intense lightening storm! It stormed from 4am-8am and as soon as I got outside for my run, I knew the 12 miles were not going to happen. I do not run well in humidity. It messes up my breathing and I hear oxygen is slightly important when you’re running… I ran 4 miles and called it day.

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After my failed running attempt, I headed over to my favorite farmers’ market. I picked up a ridiculous amount of produce (and some grass-fed bison) only to remember that I’ll be going out of town on Wednesday to visit Katie and Carly! I have accepted the challenge to eat 1 entire watermelon, 2.5 pounds of cherries, a bag of mixed greens, a pint of strawberries, beets, a cucumber and radishes all in 4 days.

Funny thing is, all I want to do is order takeout for dinner tonight. Isn’t that the way it always goes?

Anyways, the rest of my Saturday included a little drink tasting and a photo shoot for a guest post I have coming up and some oven cleaning. My life is so exciting ;) I’m totally fine with a chill weekend since I know next weekend will be anything and everything but!

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Today, I went out for 12-mile attempt numero dos. Yeah… that didn’t happen either. I honestly cannot breath in humidity! More details on my thoughts and training plan on Tuesday.

On a positive note, I did get to try out the new lululemon tank top I bought on Friday! I looove the color and it actually keeps everything in place :)

lulu top

I plan on spending the rest of the afternoon lounging on my patio, napping and maybe hitting up a yoga class to stretch out my muscles.

For my weekly meal and fitness plans… I am going to go with no meal plan for this week! Since I’m heading out of town, I’m just going to wing it for the next few days. Obviously there will be lots of produce and I have some of my black bean burgers in the freezer but I’m not going to stick to any sort of plan.

As for fitness, when I started my marathon training, I built in 3 extra weeks to use as rest weeks along the way – thank goodness! This week is going to be one of those rest weeks and I could not be more excited. Yes, I’m still going to run – especially on Thursday morning because the weather forecast said the low is going to be 57 in Davis!!! Perfect running temps – Carly, want to join me for a 6-7 miler??! ;)

I have a vague outline of a fitness plan this week but with my travels to Napa and San Francisco, I’m going to take it by the day. I can almost guarantee that I will not be working out on Saturday morning!

Weekly Fitness Plan

  • Sunday: 8.5 mile run/walk + yoga (maybe)
  • Monday: Yoga Sculpt
  • Tuesday: Run
  • Wednesday: Yoga Sculpt
  • Thursday: Run in COOOOOOOLLL and non-humid weather!
  • Friday: Wine bicep workout – you know, the one where you go wine tasting all day and lift wine glasses and cheese and bread to your lips ;)
  • Saturday: TBD

How was your weekend? Did you do anything exciting?

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