Thursday, May 19, 2011

My BFF's Bachelorette Party

This past weekend, my girlfriends and I celebrated our BFF's last "single" night out.  Marrisa's getting married next week before boarding a cruise to the Bahamas.  I really wish we could go, but with it being so close to our wedding, it's not within the budget.  But she's having a little reception when they get back, so I'll for sure be in attendance for that.  

On Saturday, I woke up at 5am, went to drill & sat in chem gear all day.  



After Drill, I showered & got ready for the night's festivities.  We started our at a friends house for drinks, appetizers & a passion party.  It was lots of fun to see the naughty stuff & learn new things about my friends I NEVER would've expected :-)  


After the passion party, we played musical penis...a first for me.  Last two women standing got to take home a free gift.


After Lizzy's, we headed over to Mo's Irish Pub in Wauwatosa to have dinner, too many drinks, and listen to one of Marrisa's favorite bands, The 5 Card Studs.   The studs can best be described as a Las Vegas style, cheesy, 70's cover band.  They're so much fun to dance to! We always have a good time when we go out to see them.


I always look forward to spending time with my friends from home, and catching up with some of my bridesmaids.  I've been friends with these 3 girls since we were about 11 & 12.  They're the only 3 non-related bridesmaids, but they're like sisters to me.  


Besides dancing, drinking & catching up, we also enjoyed a night filled with laughter.  This was probably my favorite picture from that night, partly because I forgot that I took it and mostly because the look on my friend's face is priceless and makes me laugh every time.  Not to mention this man's snazzy pants :-)  


Next bachelorette party of the crazy wedding season will be mine in just a few weeks.  I'm really excited because all of my girlfriends are coming to Chicago!  For the first time since I've moved here, we're all going to be together in the Windy City for a fun girls weekend.  It's something we've always wanted to do, but it never worked out for all of us at the same time.  I'm looking forward to the shenanigans we're going to get into :-)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Closest thing I'll ever get to Winning the Lottery

Sooo I got some good news today.  I got a new job!  I interviewed for it yesterday and the owner e-mailed me and offered me the front desk position this morning.  It's very part-time.  It's actually only one day a week for 3 1/2 hours on Friday mornings.  From 5:30am-9am.  And it doesn't pay.  But I couldn't be more excited for this job because.....I get FREE Bar Method classes!!!! WAHHHOOOOOOO! 

As of right now, I pay $120 for unlimited classes.  The price isn't bad compared to what a personal trainer cost at my old gym.  And you still get that one-on-one attention that you would get with a trainer.  I was worried that once the 6 month bridal package was over, I wouldn't be able to attend classes anymore because it wouldn't be within our budget (I was getting them at a discount & as part of a special).  But now I can & I'm super thrilled about this.  I worked out a few times with a trainer before joining The Bar Method, and would definitely choose Bar Method over personal training any day.  That's just my opinion and based off of my experience.   

The studio is 5 minutes away from my regular 9-5, so this works out perfectly.  I start training next Monday.  

Monday, May 16, 2011

Say It, Do It {Wedding Countdown Edition}

48.  The number of days until THE BIG DAY!

source
 I started this blog as a way for me to write about working out & eating healthy, partly in preparation for the wedding and mostly because I was just tired of the way I looked and felt.  Since February, I haven't lost as much weight as I would've liked to by now {majorly discouraging}, but I've lost inches and my clothes are fitting more comfortably {So I must be doing something right}.  Final count will be revealed a few days before the wedding.  I blame this little weight-loss set back on my ankle injury & lack of calorie counting.  The fact is that I love to eat.  And sometimes I would prefer a cheeseburger and fries over a salad.  And some days, catching up with my DRV'd shows (you know, the ones I missed because I was busy working out) takes priority over exercising. Those are just the facts of my life.

In order to make the most of these last 48 days I've made some adjustments to my diet/habits.

*I will drink at least 2 nalgene bottles full of water during the workday.  I need more water in my life. 
*Eat more veggies & fruit and less carbs. 
*I will NOT go to sugarbliss between now & wedding.  Best cupcakes in the loop; I usually end up getting two. One being their special flavor.  Two being a red velvet {you know, just in case I end up not liking the special flavor}. I normally eat both :-/ This a rare occaision, but something that really needs to stop.
*Limit myself to one night of adult beverages.  If I could, I would drink wine every night of the week.  I absolutely love it.  BUT more than one glass leaves me feeling sluggish and tired the next morning, therefore canceling my AM workouts. 
* I will attend Bar Method 4-5 times per week.  I pay a pretty penny for unlimited classes, I need to go more.  The first month, I saw a big change in my body just by going 3 times a week, that has come to a standstill so it's time to up the BM workouts.
*I will run/do other forms of cardio 4 per week.  I've been pretty good about this since being able to run again.
*I will count calories using myfitnesspal.

Hopefully these little changes will help give me the results that I'm looking for.  I think the hardest one for me will   

Now for this week's Say, Do it! {AM workouts might change according to the weather}
Monday- Rest; I just had a long weekend of early morning drills mixed in with Bachelorette party fun. Rest is much needed today.
Tuesday- Morning cardio/Bar Method level 2
Wednesday- Bridal bootcamp/Bar Method Whoopsies! Slept in; no bridal bootcamp today.
Thursday- Run /Bar Method; Did the elliptical instead-the sky looked sketchy this AM
Friday- Morning cardio/Bar Method
Saturday- Bar Method/Self's workout in the Park
Sunday- Fitnessista's Spring Ab workout/Bridal shower #2! (Chicago Edition)  

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Nice & Slow

Holy man, what a productive day! I started my day at the crack of dawn (5am, bleh!) to prepare my first ever slow cooker meal.  Thanks again, sis for the lovely gift!  It's been a while since I've cooked something worth sharing, so I was really pumped when this turned out so well. 

My sister gave me (yes me, because when is LC EVER going to use this??) a slow cooker along with a nice little cook book, The Art of the Slow Cooker as a wedding shower gift.  I was doing some menu planning Sunday and decided that tonight, I would make Chicken Cacciatore.  Something I've never even eaten before.  It turned out AHHHHH-mazing (even though I have nothing to compare it to).  I can honestly say it was the best meal I've ever made.  I cooked up some risotto (from the box) to go along with it.  Muy perfecto!

After I was done preparing my first ever slow cooker meal, I finished getting ready for work and was out the door by 7:30am.  This past week, I've been taking advantage of the warm weather by walking to work every morning.  I much prefer this over the L.  Not only do I get an extra 1/2 hour of exercise, I get to jam out to my music while soaking up some fresh air and sun.  Not to mention, I don't have to deal with the shade-sters on the L.  It's a win all around. 

After I did the work thing for about ohhh 6 hours, I came back home and took little Ollie pup to get a much needed hair cut.  Doesn't he look so handsome? He is definitely ready for the summer heat! 

While he was getting pampered, I did a little workout.  Today, I took a little break from Bar Method & did a workout courtesy of Gina over at Fitnessista, one of my favorite blogs.  It was just these abs ordered.  Although, I love a good Bar Method burn session, it's nice to mix it up once in a while and keep the body guessing.       

Nice & sweaty!!

I've been thinking a lot about about what's to come after the wedding.  More so my career & where we're going to live.  (City vs. Suburbs-but still in the city b/c of LC's job). I've decided to go back to school in the Fall.  I'm not saying for what because I'm not 100% sure yet, but I do know that being a stay at home housewife, no matter how good my chicken cacciatore is, is out of the question.  I once had a crazy idea of starting a Chicago Cupcake tour because I know all the best places (and the not so great ones), to get cupcakes from.  This is the stuff that matters people.  I was devastated to find out that one already exists.  For now, I'm going to focus on the wedding and take it one day at a time. 

Recipe for Chicken Cacciatore (4-6 Servings)
Ingredients
1/3 cup flour (I used whole wheat)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
4 pounds skinless chicken thighs (about 8) bone in
2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 onion coarsely chopped
1 pound mushrooms, cut into thick slices
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
1 cup chicken broth 
1 cup canned diced tomoatoes, drained
1 tablespoon minced anchovy paste (I did without)
2 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian Parsley

Mix the flour, salt, pepper & poultry seasoning in a medium mixing bowl.  Turn the chicken thights in the flour mixture until thoroughly coated; pat off the excess flour and reserve the seasoned flour mixture.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large deep skillet over medium-high heat.  Brown the chicken in batches, about 3 minutes per side.  Do not crowd the pan, and add more oil if the pan comes dry.  Transfer the browned chicken to a 5-6 quart slow cooker as it is browned.

Add more oil to the skillet, if needed, and heat over medium heat.  Add the onion, mushrooms and saute until the vegetables are tender, stirring often, about 4 minutes.  Add the garlic, oregano, and rosemary and saute for another minute.

Add the reserved seasoned flour and stir until the vegetables are coated.  Add the chicken broth and tomatoes and heat until thickened, stirring often and scraping up any browned bits clinging to the bottom of the pan.  Pour into the slow cooker, cover the cooker, and cook for 3-4 hours on high, or 5-8 hours on low, until the chicken is easily pierced with a fork.

Remove the chicken to a platter with a slotted spoon.  Stir the anchovies and parsley into the sauce and simmer for 5 minutes.  Spoon the sauce over the chicken and serve with hot cooked pasta, rice or bread (or risotto!)

Bon App├ętit!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Say It, Do It

Here's this week's scheduled workouts.  I already had to cancel my bar method class for tomorrow because Oliver pup needs a haircut very badly.  He looks like a scrappy little dog.

Monday- Walked to work (30 minutes) Rest, stretch, & iced my ankle.
Tuesday- 30 min. on the elliptical, 30 minute walk to work, Bar Method (level 2!!)
Wednesday- 30 min. walk to work  Fitnessista's Spring Abs Workout
Thursday- 30 min. cardio in the AM; walk to work (weather pending) /Bar Method
Friday- Bar Method
Saturday-Back to Milwaukee for drill/BFF's Bachelorette Party
Sunday-Rest and rehydrate :-)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Back into the (Silent) Groove

Yesterday was my second run since my ankle injury last month.  It felt so good to get back into the running groove.  When I first set out to run last Thursday, I had no time or distance goals.  I didn't wear my headphones.  My only goal was just to run.  And run I did for two miles.  My ankle didn't give me the slightest problems.  I ran 2 miles and I could have ran more, but I didn't want to overdo it.  I was so happy that I was back at it that I almost cried tears of joy.  Friday morning, I woke up and went to Bar Method.  I had to work off those 'ritas & chips I consumed the night before.  My mom came to visit me this weekend.  We spent the weekend going to brunch and walking around on Armitage (one of my favorite places in the city).  I found the earrings and bracelet that I'm going to wear for the wedding.

Yesterday I took advantage of the beautiful day.  I took Oliver for a long walk & then I came back, laced up my shoes and headed out the door.  This time, my ankle was bothering me at the start of my run, so I decided to stop and stretch then I continued on for a slow, comfortable run.  It got better as time went on.  I went on another music-less run.  And I actually liked it.  I've always depended on my music to help power me through a workout.  There have been times when I've gotten to the gym, only to leave before I even workout because I discover in the locker room that I forgot my iPod.  But I really enjoy running through the city without Britney & Rhianna blasting through my ears.  It's relaxing and it allows me to concentrate on my breathing.  I think I'm onto something new.

On another note, Spring has officially sprung here in the Windy City! Yesterday, I swapped out all my sweaters & boots for sleeveless tops & flip flops.  I hope this weather is here to stay.  

  

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to my wonderful & beautiful mother.  Who successfully raised two little girls on her own. Who taught me never to settle for anything less than what I deserve and that it's never too late for a new start.  Who has shown me love unconditionally even when I came to her with the worst of problems, who always knew what to say to make me feel better, and who guided me along the way.  Happy Mother's Day to the woman who helped mold me into the young lady that I am today and who has shown me how to be a good future wife & mother.  I love you & hope you are having a lovely day! 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Ole!

Look at what I did today...

 Hell to the yeah...

Now I'm off to enjoy some of this...

Happy Cinco De Mayo!!

Showered with Love...and gifts! (warning:pic overload)

This past Sunday, my sister & mom threw me the best wedding shower I could have ever hoped for.  It was held at Maxie's Southern Comfort in Milwaukee.  We had the whole upstairs to ourselves and they brought in brunch from their sister restaurant, Blue's Egg.  We munched on strawberry/blueberry french toast, a tasty egg bake & pastries.  I also sipped on a spicy bloody mary & a few mimosas.

Cupcakes were provided by Ashley Weber at Miss Cupcake in Milwaukee.  She's also making the cupcakes for our wedding, so I was really happy that my mom chose her to do the shower cupcakes.  This way, I get to taste a few new flavors before deciding what we're going to do for the wedding.  The pink cupcakes are Pink Lemonade (winner!) and the ones below that were called Hummingbird (also a runner up).  The Hummingbird cupcakes were banana flavored cake, with bits of pineapple, chocolate chips and nuts topped with cream cheese frosting.  The cupcakes were a hit and we were left with hardly any to take home.  
After we stuffed our faces ate, my sister led the party with a little trivia game.  I'm not big on wedding shower games, so instead we played Royal Wedding Trivia :-) It was a big hit!  My stepsister (Jamie) won, but she helped write half the questions, so my sister gave the prize to the next runner up.


There were a lot of nice touches, like this board my sister made for us.  It was made up mostly of just pictures of LC& I from over the years, along with some of our family.  Thanks Facebook!
   


...And lots of gifts to give away!  The guests got a lot of nice things. Bottles of wine, jewelry, and make-up.  My sister definitely outdid herself in preparing for this shower.  

Me & my lovely mom.

my mom, grandma, me & my sister :-)

After Royal Wedding Trivia, it was time for gifts!  We got so many nice things, both on and off our registry.  My guests were awesome. 

 *Kate Spade champagne Flutes from my grandma...one of my favorite things on our registry. One says "Mr" the other says "Mrs" <3

The gift that never seemed to end from Crate & Barrel from my girlfriends. They got us all of our bar glasses, a rapid beverage chiller (no more ice in my white wine!!!) a table runner, a pack of Guiness for LC & Skinnygirl Margarita mix for me. They know us well.

My slow cooker & slow cooker cookbook from my sister :-) Definitely sisters with the identical facial expressions.

This one definitely came as a surprise.  LC put it on our registry and I told him he was insane if he thought someone was going to buy that for us. But I left it on there for him (the kegerator, however, wasn't so lucky).
We got our Jimmy Buffet Margaritaville, along with a big bottle of margarita mix and salt! (Thanks a million Brad & Krista!)  This gift is actually very perfect for us, as we are known for making tropical drinks & hosting pool parties.  Neither of us can wait to use this machine. It will be delivered to our apartment in a few weeks.   

After I opened all of our wonderful presents, I got to spend some more time socializing with my guests & taking a million pictures with my girlfriends.  I've known these girls since forever and 3 others in this picture are getting married this year between May & October, so it's going to be a very busy summer for us!! 



LC & I are very lucky to not only have one wedding shower, but TWO!  In a few weeks, LC's parents are throwing us a couple's shower in Chicago, for the people who couldn't make it to Milwaukee. We are looking forward to it.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Say It, Do It

I will try posting this in the begining of the week.  I can't believe it's Wednesday already, time is just getting away from me.  With two months left before the wedding, I've been super busy. This past weekend was my wedding shower & it was amazing. My sister did an awesome job.  Pics to come as soon as my computer decides to speed up its downloading.

Monday: No workout; cleaned our new pots, pans & glasses. Out with the old and in with the new!
Tuesday: Doug Rice's Bridal bootcamp; Bar Method
Wednesday: 30 minutes on the elliptical; Bar Method
ThursdayElle Cardio Blast; Attempt to run since ankle sprain; enjoy a margarita :-)
Friday: Bar Method in the AM!
Saturday: Walk around the city with my mom; weather pending
Sunday: Yoga