Thursday, June 30, 2011

This is THE week!

Wedding week has FINALLY arrived!!! I've been super busy this week with lots of last minute details. Some of which have changed just within the past day.  The wedding planning process has definitely taught me to "roll with the punches" and let go of the reins a little bit.  Some things are just beyond my control.

On another note, I had my last Bar Method class on Wednesday morning.  I woke up bright and early (6am...eek!) to get my final studio workout in before the wedding.  It was a doozy but hurt so good.  I have seen awesome results since starting the bar method in January, which I plan on talking about in a later post.  I went for my final fitting last Sunday and the dress needed to be taken in a little bit :-) Happy about the lost inches, not so happy about having to spend extra money :-/ I brought one of the Bar Method DVD's with me and I plan on doing it tomorrow.  I'm excited to see how it differs from the actual class.  

Well I'm off to get some beauty rest and to enjoy the rest of week, leading up to the BIG day-which is this Sunday! Pics and wedding/Napa honeymoon posts to follow :-)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sean T, We meet Again

This morning, I was supposed to get my butt to Bar Method, but I forgot to set my alarm last night and woke up too late.  Luckily, I still woke up early enough to get a home workout in.  Instead of going downstairs and doing the usual elliptical/treadmill action, I decided to take the cardio up a notch and do Insanity Pure Cardio. Holy man! I forgot how intense Insanity was.  I've never sweated so much during a "warm up".  The workout felt so good afterward, but my heart felt like it was going to bust out of my chest while doing it. 

I bought Insanity last year after one of my BFF's did the whole 60 day program to shape up for her wedding.  She looked more amazing than she did before.  I bought the DVDs with the intent to do the same thing, but then I started training for my 1/2 marathon and after that I discovered the Bar Method and fell in love with that.  So Insanity & hottie Sean T, have been sitting on my shelf for a good amount of time.  I think they'll be making an appearance though after the honeymoon.  As much as I love going to Bar Method (and the results I've had), I think it's time to switch up the workout routine for a little bit.

An another note...T-11 days until the wedding!!! It's crazy that I'm now able to say, "I'm getting married next Sunday!" Words can't even begin to explain how excited I am right now!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Say It, Do it + Grocery Store Find!

Good morning! I have a feeling today is going to be a great day.  Yesterday, I had a wicked case of the Mondays and the weather did not help that at all.  Today, I started my morning off with a good Bar Method session & a coffee from Starbucks.  I'm a sucker for iced caramel macchiatos, my official summer coffee drink.  Muy bien! 

It's been awhile since I've done a "Say it, Do it" post.  The past week I've been seriously slacking on cardio, and just sticking to Bar Method.  I only ran twice and did went to Bar Method 3 times last week.  Since putting the marathon training on the backburner, I've been more focused on strength and toning, but I definitely need to add some cardio back into my life and get my heart pumping!

So to keep me accountable for my workouts from now until the wedding (and after of course) here it is!

Monday: Rest-work on wedding programs
Tuesday: Bar Method & take Oliver for a long walk
Wednesday: Bar Method & ride bike to and from Volleyball
Thursday: Bar Method/run 3 miles
Friday: Bar Method & head back to Milwaukee for drill weekend 
Saturday: Fitness testing (maybe, I'm not due yet but LC's doing his so I might just go and get it out of the way).
Sunday: FINAL dress fitting!!!!!!! 

Yesterday, LC and I were at the Super Target, just picking up a few things and I stumbled upon this:
I usually try to stay away from creamers because the majority of them are artificially flavored and I will use almond milk as my creamer.  But Coffee-Mate has come out with a NEW creamer that has no artificial flavors at all.  I can't wait to try it and report back!  Happy first day of summer! I hope everyone gets outside and does something fun :-)

Friday, June 17, 2011

DIY Unity Candle

I never envisioned myself as being a DIY bride.  I'm creative but not crafty.  I lack the patience that it has to piddle around with tiny details, and when something doesn't go right I just get frusterated and will find somewhere where I can either buy it or someone who can do it for me.  

But sometimes, I surprise myself.  I've done a lot more for this wedding than I had orginally anticipated.  After pricing out stationary and realizing that I'd have be crazy to pay so much for paper, I decided to take on all of our paper projects.  So far, so good.  I've made our table names (we're doing landmarks in Chicago as opposed to table #'s), menus, created our Save the Dates (printed by vistaprint),and assembled our invitations.  The invitations were from a Brides' kit that I picked up from Michael's.  We've received a lot of compliments on them so far.  

My latest venture was completed this past Sunday.  I decided to make our unity candle.  I didn't want just a basic plain unity candle (we're not traditional people), and the ones listed on Etsy were more than I wanted to spend for something that we are only going to use once.  So I decided to take matters into my own hands.    

The project took very little time and the total cost for everything, including the 2 holders & the stand was under $25.  Not too shabby! 

I used a sheer ribbon, so I had to make sure each piece was cut the same length so that one shade of green wouldn't be darker than the other (because wedding planning makes you do crazy things).  To get the ribbon to stick to the candle, I started with clear, double-sided tape.  Then I just wrapped the ribbon around, very evenly and used gem glue to keep the end of the ribbon to the candle.  I liked this glue because it works very well and it dries clear.  I did this to the two tapers and then added little gems to "dazzle" it up.

For the actual candle itself, I got my monograms made from IdoOriginals.  I would definitely recommend this website to anyone looking for monograms.  They were very timely and everything was exactly how I wanted it to be.  I used vellum paper to print out what I wanted to put on the candle.  I cut the paper to size and attached it with special vellum glue.  Warning, it does not stick very well to candles.  I had a hard time getting it to stay, so what did I use? Double-sided scotch tape.  It's towards the back so you can't see it at all when looking at the candle.  And it's a lot clearer than regular tape, so if you have to go this route, use the doubled sided tape.  I added some more razzle & dazzle and Voila!!!     

This weekend I'm working on programs & place cards.  Two more weeks people :-)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Good News & Disappointments

Good news or bad news first?  I'll start with the good news because it's short & sweet.  About a year ago, I started a blog to track my wedding planning progress.  When I realized that I was writing more about working out and nutrition, I decided to start a blog geared more towards that.  I had invested a lot of time in that other blog and had also written through LC's 2nd deployment.  I had a link sending people to the new blog and never deleted the old one.  It wasn't until today that I realized that I could import all of my old blog postings!!  Thanks to the traffic tracker and whoever got to this new blog via the old one.  So so happy! It's the little things people :-)

So now, you can find a tab with all my wedding-related posts and I can reference back to older postings.  This has seriously made my day.  That and volleyball getting canceled due to weather...I've got a big "to-do" list to tackle tonight!

On the downside, and this is a hard one for me to write about, I've decided that this year I will not be running the Chicago marathon.  Major. Fail. A lot went into making this decision.  Could I physically do the training program? Defitely.  Would I have the time to do. Sure, if I set everything else that I have going on this summer aside.  Ditch out my BFF's bachelorette party because I have to run 13 miles the next day? Not this summer.  When I signed up for the marathon, I guess I never thought about how much it would have to coinside with.  And just getting through this first week of training was tough with everything else I had going on.  Run on my honeymoon?  No thank you.  There's a time and a place and celebrating marital bliss is not it.  

Another reason, I decided to pass on the marathon?  My sister will be gone for training with the Air Force.  When I first realized this, I knew this wouldn't be my year.  My sister is one of my biggest supporters.  We ran our first 1/2 marathon together and I know that if she lived in Chicago, she would be my designated running buddy.  We're really good at pushing each other.  It must be a sister thang :-) When I ran my 2nd 1/2 marathon she was there with my mom, holding up signs chasing me around the course.  Her excitement and motivation for me made that run worthwhile.  So for me to run my first ever FULL marathon without her being there just doesn't feel right to me.  

I'm dissapointed in myself, but there's always next year.  This summer, I'm going to run for fun and maybe sign up for a fall 1/2 marathon after the wedding craze has died down a bit.       

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Mar's Bachelorette Party-Take 2

I was going to post about running (but that can wait until tomorrow).  Some people were requesting more deets about my bachelorette party :-) Apparently I wasn't very descriptive in the last post. Oops!  The whole weekend was a blast.  That Friday, my sister, cousin and mom came down to Chicago early.  They wanted to spend some time with me before the craziness commenced on Saturday.

We had a pretty low key night.  We went to one my favorite restaurants, Cafe Ba Ba Reeba.  I love everything about this place.  Their food is spectacular, The wine is to die for, and their patio makes you feel like you're in eating in Spain.  They also have a gluten-free menu and their waitstaff is very knowledgable about gluten allergies (my mom has a gluten allergy). Always a plus! We shared a few tapas between the table and then my sister, cousin and I split two servings of the chicken, artichoke & spinach paella.  That was my first time ever having paella and I will definitely be making/having it again.  Sooo good!

On Saturday, I had big plans to take my sister & cousin to a Bar Method workout class, but we found other things to do instead.  Mostly, because my sister didn't want to have to pay $20 to go to a workout class. So, we just went running instead.  After our run, we spent the rest of the afternoon soaking up the sun and eating lunch.  

Around 5pm my MKE (Milwaukee) girls finally arrived in Chicago!  What I loved most about my bachelorette party was that this was the only time since I've moved here (3 years ago) that ALL of my friends were able to visit at the same time.  That made it that much better.  

My sister did a fantastical job as always.  For this being her first time as a bridesmaid, much less a MOH, she has been nothing but wonderful during this whole process.  My apartment building has a party room, so we rented that out instead of messing up my actual apartment.  We played two games.  One being the underwear game.  Which I had an awful start to.  It was a lot harder than I thought!! I ended up taking two shots during the duration of this game for my wrong guesses.  The gist of the game is you have to guess who brought what pair of underwear based on which pair best describes that person.  My friend Hollie got my cupcake underwear because I know she likes cupcakes.  Hers was the only one that I got on the first try :-)

After the undies game, we had some drinks, opened some gifts & ate some pizza.  After the gifts we played another game.  I'm not really sure if that one had a name.  My sister passed around a bowl of reeces peanut butter cups and instructed everyone to take as many as the want.  Once every chose their pieces, they had to go around and tell things about me depending on how many pieces they chose.  I'm not going to lie, I was a little nervous for that game!  But the stories weren't too bad and some even took me down memory lane :-)

After the game, we consumed more drinks, took more pictures, and boarded the trolley.  The trolley was probably the funnest thing about the night.  It got pretty wild :-)  Our driver took us all around Chicago and I LOVED every minute of it.  First he started off by taking us near the planetarium and gave all of my OOT friends the best view of Chicago at night. From here, you could see the whole skyline.  It was beautiful & I wish I would've brought my camera! It takes excellent night pics.   

After the planetarium, we drove past Buckingham fountain for another photo op.  Our next stop was the Kit Kat Lounge in Boystown.  On our way there, we drove through the Cold Coast & the "Viagra Triangle", a place in the Chicago where all the old men with money hang out trying to pick up us young chicks ;-) Everyone loved the trolley & us girls.  We even had a boy in Boystown give us a little peep show!

The Kit Kat lounge was pretty outrageous.  I'm pretty sure I was laughing the whole time I was there.  

We sipped on martinis....

snacked on dessert...

...and watched a man impersonate Whitney, Tina and Rhianna. 
It was so much fun & I would definitely go back there for a girls night.  But it was definitely bachelorette party central, so reservations are recommended.    After The Kit Kat Lounge, we hopped back on the trolley and drove around the city some more.  We attempted to go the Hangge Uppe, but didn't approve of the lines and at this point, it was probably best that I went home.

So there you have it!  My crazy bachelorette party :-) It was a lot of fun and so nice to have everyone with me on my big night! I have the best family & girlfriends :-)  

I still got it!

Last night I did something that I haven't done in weeks.  I made a homemade meal.  From scratch.  I found a recipe for chicken out of my South Beach Diet cookbook that sounded really good & perfect for summer

Say hello to Grilled Raspberry Chicken.  With a side of summer squash.  Ohhh yeah :-)   
LC had his over a side of brown rice.  It felt good to be back on track and into a normal routine of things.  Life has been so crazy for the past month or so, I finally feel like everything's starting to calm down.  Just in time for the big day :-)  

South Beach Diet Grilled Raspberry Chicken

Ingredients (servings:4)

  • 1/4 cup raspberry vinegar

  • 1/4 cup red wine

  • 1/8 cup Worcestershire sauce

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  • 4 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless

  • 1/2 sprig watercress, for garnish (optional)

  • 1/2 sprig parsley, for garnish (optional)

  • 1/4 pint fresh raspberry

  • 4 ounces frozen raspberries, for garnish (without syrup and thawed, if frozen)

  • Directions

  • In a large glass baking dish, combine the vinegar, wine, Worcestershire sauce, garlic and pepper.

  • Place the chicken in the dish, turning to coast both sides.

  • Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour, turning the chicken after 30 minutes.

  • Coat a grill rack with cooking spray.

  • Preheat the grill.

  • Grill the chicken over medium-hot heat, turning halfway through and brushing frequently with the marinade, for 15 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted in the thickest portion registers 160°F and the juices run clear.

  • Arrange the chicken on a bed of 4 cups of hot brown and wild rice pilaf on a serving platter and garnish with the watercress or parsley and raspberries.

  • Enjoy!! I'll be back later to talk about my running game & how everything's going with that! 

    Wednesday, June 8, 2011

    FF to Marathon Training Day #3-My Triathalon

    Today is day #3 of Chicago Marathon training.  Monday was a rest day, which I did.  Exercise wise anyway.  Tuesday I was supposed to run 3 miles but opted for Bar Method  instead only because it was too hot to run outside & my ankle is not loving the treadmill these days.  Something is better than nothing and I think the thigh work in Bar Method is helping the patella femoral syndrome that I was diagnosed with last summer.  

    Today, I made sure to wake up extra early to get a 3 miler in.  The heat was still a killer, but I managed to get a pretty decent run in.  I definitely had to push myself when I wanted to start walking.  The beginning of runs are definitely the roughest part.  My ankle was a bit tender and for a good 1/2 mile I was questioning myself on whether or not I'd be able to complete the whole training successfully for the marathon on October 9th.  So maybe mentally I'm not as prepared as I should be.

    After my run, I went on with my day and headed to work.  After the day was over, I went to Bar Method with my co-worker, Hollie.  She introduced me to the class and for that I am grateful to her.  She's a good bar buddy and keeps me motivated.  When Bar Method ended, we changed out of yoga pants and into volleyball shorts and headed to North Avenue beach to play on our Wednesday V-ball team.  It actually started last week, but I was just too exhausted to play.  It was a lot of fun to be back out there after not playing for two years.  I was a bit rusty, but I'll get it worked out.   Our team overall is not too shabby.  Tonight, we won 2 of 3 games.

    While I was waiting for the bus on the I saw the police chase down a kid and pull their gun out him.  In Lincoln Park, which is a really nice part of Chicago.  I think next Wednesday I'll be riding my bike!

    I'm off to spend some much needed couch time with LC ;-)

    Tuesday, June 7, 2011

    When Real Life Happens

    You dont' have time to blog for two weeks...Oops!  Well I'm back just in time for the first day of marathon training, which should be interesting because my ankle still hurts from time to time.  My PT friend said that I should still be icing it since it's still a little swollen (two months later).  I'm going to give it a go and just see what happens.  There's always next year... 

    So what's been going on in my world the past two weeks? 

    26 days until the wedding, so lots of waiting around for response cards at this point and tying up a few loose ends.  Waiting is the worst.  We still have about 25 response cards outstanding and they're supposed to RSVP by this Friday, so I'm just a little bit annoyed.  More so at the people who we know are coming (bridesmaids & groomsmen). We need to know what to feed you people!    

    I completed my training for The Bar Method front desk job & last Friday morning was my first day.  The training definitely took a lot out of me.  The job itself isn't hard, it's the waking up at 4:30am that's the tough part.  Training was about 2 weeks long and it completely exhausted all last week.  Thankfully, the 5:30am part is one day a week and right before my weekend off.

    LC and I found a tenant for our condo in Milwaukee.  HOORAY! My sister's been living there for the past three years and has been an exceptional tenant.  It's been nice having her there because we knew there would be no problems and it was always nice having a place to stay when I went to visit.  I don't think the new tenant would appreciate me crashing on her couch for the weekend...My sister is going to Texas for some training and will be gone through November.  I will miss her dearly :-(  So for the first time, we are now officially "real" landlords.  Definitely not by choice, but the condo market is what it is right now.

    I celebrated my last single night out with all of my ladies this past Saturday.  I had a blast & my sister definitely went above and beyond yet again :-) 

    My wonderful bridal party & I
    We started out in the community room in my apartment building.  We sipped on some cocktails, played some games & ate some Chicago style pizza :-) Perfect pre-drinking food.  After that, the trolley picked us up at around 9:30, we drove around the city, took some more pictures, went to Kit Kat Lounge & hopped back into the trolley.  Drove around some more & ended up at The Hange Uppe.  It was my version of a perfect bachelorette party. 

    As far as marathon training day #2 goes, I'm supposed to run 3 miles today BUT with a heat index of 100 degrees, I maybe running it on the treadmill or going to Bar Method tonight.  For sure, waking up super early to run tomorrow.  Also, getting back on track with week with healthy cooking! We've been so busy that the past two weeks have been quick, packaged meals :-( I can't wait to cook something this week that does come from a frozen bag!!!  Good news is, I'm about 8lbs away from my 1st goal weight/wedding goal weight. I know that I won't lose that in 3 1/2 weeks but hopefully I'll come close.