Friday, February 28, 2014

Pinterest Told Me To - Mint & Polka Dots

I just love the color mint for spring. It was definitely the color of the season last spring & I'm so excited it's coming back again this year. Just like the taste of mint, the sight of it is almost refreshing. I also love polka dots. All sizes. All colors. Love them all. So it comes as no shock that I fell in love with this inspiration photo over a year ago. It had so many elements that I loved! I always take a few minutes to admire it when it comes across my Pinterest page. It's just a happy outfit. 

So when J.Crew Factory came out with a white skirt with black polka dots, I knew I needed to have it! I was so excited when it arrived, and knew immediately that I was going to copy this outfit.... 

I did pretty good right?! It's still freezing here, so a) I added tights & boots to the equation and b) you're stuck with a crappy inside my house picture instead of the cute strolling down the sidewalk one in the inspiration photo. I'm sorry, but I'd have to add a parka to pull that off right now & that would just kill the combo... 

But moving past my poor photography skills... I love this outfit! I'm really excited to be able to wear it without the tights & boots, but I think it'll be another two months or so until I can. Until then, I'll be rocking it this way... 
sweater - J.Crew Factory // skirt - J.Crew Factory {sold out but similar} // tights - LOFT
boots - Steve Madden // watch - Coach
I also added my favorite gold accessories to make the outfit pop. I decided not to copy the statement necklace in the inspiration photo because of my v-neck sweater. I thought the longer necklace was a better fit & it's just one of my favorite pieces in general, so I wear it every chance I get. 

Speaking of Pinterest, make sure you're following me! I'm always busy pinning new workouts, recipes, and outfit inspiration! 

Be sure to check out the link up & see how everyone else has been Pin-spired! 
Thursday, February 27, 2014

Small Changes

We're two months into 2014 & I can honestly say that it's already kicking 2013's ass. My whole family is healthier & happier and all it took were a few small changes.

last year vs. this year  - I mean seriously... look at my thighs! 

For starters, we've changed up how we do breakfast. It's always been carbs for breakfast around here, but now we're switching it up. I've abandoned my daily bagel with butter & am eating a Clif Bar in its place. Far more protein & fiber with less calories. It's still sweet though, so I feel like I'm having a treat.  Eric is still eating cereal, but now it's either Multigrain Cheerios or Raisin Bran. Such a small change for both of us, but it's making a huge difference. 

Another small change I've started to integrate into my diet is 12 Hour Fasting. It's really simple & I've noticed a huge change in my metabolism. This is how it works... you stop eating at 6:30 p.m. and don't start eating until 6:30 a.m. That's all there is to it. You just shut down the kitchen at night. Yes, I'm hungry when I wake up. But I've always been hungry when I wake up. You know when I'm not hungry anymore? At 9 p.m. - I just don't even think about it. 

Another small & easy change - vitamins! I'm going to be honest, I don't notice a difference in how I feel now that I'm taking them, but I'm trusting that they're working their magic on the insides. Right now, I'm taking a simple women's multi-vitamin. I thought I'd start off with that & see how it went. I wanted to see if I actually followed through & took them daily before researching & investing in multiple bottles of supplements.  Even Ella is trying this one out, she started taking Flintstones Vitamin Gummies & loves them. I'm pretty sure she's the only child that screams MORE when she's finished taking her vitamins. 

The biggest small change we've made is our gym membership. We've always belonged to two separate clubs with "cheaper" rates. We had to alternate when we went because someone always had to stay with Ella. This year, we decided to let our other memberships expire & invest in at he YMCA. We have a family plan, so Ella can go to the supervised play area while we workout. It has already helped us double the amount of exercise we get each week - which is easily worth the $20 extra we're paying each month. 

Moral of today's post? Start small. You'll still get results. We haven't turned our world upside down, but we're all making progress. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

What I Wore Wednesday

On Saturday night, I headed out to dinner with my hubs. We were supposed to go to see Justin Timberlake in concert... but he cancelled. Even though he apologized, I'm still heartbroken. I now have to wait until July 9th to see him. Seriously, July 9th. I'm trying to stay positive though, at least I'll be able to show some skin for him :) 

So anyways... Ella was already at my parents' house, so we decided to go out to dinner. We tried a new place called Bar Louie, which I'm pretty sure is a chain. I wasn't impressed & we probably won't go back. It's not that anything was bad, we just know a lot of other local restaurants that we really enjoy. We then went to Dick's Sporting Goods to find Eric a sweat band - yes, a sweat band - which turned into a grand adventure in the golf section. 

skinnies - J.Crew Factory // chambray shirt - J.Crew // vest - J.Crew Factory
boots - MIA // bag - Target // phone case - J.Crew 

Luckily, I looked cute as hell for this adventure wearing my J.Crew from head to toe. I am loving my new chambray popover! I had been on the hunt for ages for a good chambray shirt. The one I had before this was so boxy that I ended up selling it. It just never worked. This on the other hand, definitely works & you will be seeing lots of it! So comfy... 

skirt - Target // tee - Target // boots - MIA
necklace - Lia Sophia // bracelets - Alex & Ani 

Monday was back to school & I felt like getting a little bit dressed up. So, I threw on a new skirt from Target. I found it in the clearance section for $12. It's a really stretchy, almost sweatshirt like material, so I'm not sure how it will hold up, but I'm looking forward to wearing it with sandals & a tank top this summer. For now, I wore it with navy tights, a long sleeved white tee, and my gray boots. 

skinnies - Gap // chambray - J.Crew // bracelets - Alex & Ani
I was so comfortable in my outfit from Saturday night, I decided to replicate it & wear it again yesterday. I swapped out skinnies because my red skinnies gave it a little bit more pizzazz than the black skinnies I wore over the weekend. And even though I'm barefoot in the picture, I wore my favorite black & white flats with it. This is another outfit that I plan to wear into the spring, just adding sandals to it. It's so laid back & comfy - which was exactly what I needed after being thrown back to the wolves on Monday! 

linking up with the pleated poppy & shanna
Tuesday, February 25, 2014

3 Items I Can't Wait to Wear...

I'm beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel people! We've had a few days in the mid-50's & it has me itching to pull out all of my favorite spring & summer items. My closet doesn't have room for them right now though, so I'm being forced to restrain myself. But if I could, I'd be pulling out my...

1 - Jean Jacket

I'll be able to pull this one out soon, once it hits 60 I can manage it with a scarf. I bought my jean jacket on sale from J.Crew last year & wore it all of the time.The outfit above was from this post, where I paired it with my favorite maxi, but I also wore it all of the time with shorts... 

via Madewell

It's the perfect item to keep thrown in your car because it matches absolutely everything! If you don't have one already, Shaeffer & Shay are obsessed with this one!

2 - Sandals 

Sandals are my favorite part of summer. I love the air between my toes & being able to show off my pedicure. I'm also proud to say that I've spent a significant amount of time upgrading from Old Navy flip flops to more stylish options (though I do still wear my black Old Navy flip flops more often than I probably should) and I'm dying to break them out. But... there is still at least half a foot of snow on the ground in my backyard, forcing me into more sensible options. Right now I'm getting by by wearing my Hunters to work & then switching into my flats when I arrive. 

3 - Pastel Khakis

Last year I invested in a few pairs of pastel khakis while Gap was clearing out their stores. I absolutely love them because a) they're remarkably comfortable & b) they add a relaxed feel to any outfit that makes me feel like I'm a celeb out running errands. Above is how I wore them in early fall, but this is how I wore them throughout the summer. I was happy to see that Gap is bringing them out again this season, so if you missed out before, now's your chance.

What are you dying to pull out of your closet? 
Monday, February 24, 2014

Slow Cooker Chicken Fajita Soup

While I was home on break last week, I actually had some time to cook real meals. I'd been itching to get my slow cooker out & fire it up all winter long. Eric had been itching for soup. So after browsing through Pinterest for a bit, I decided to make some chicken fajita soup. The problem is, I'm not a gourmet, I'm actually a pretty picky eater, so nothing that I found really worked for the family. Thus, I decided to create my own recipe using ingredients that I like & things we already had in the house. And that is how I ended up with this recipe for Slow Cooker Chicken Fajita Soup. 

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • Can of chicken broth
  • 1 Cup of Water
  • Can of Rotel Tomatoes 
  • Small Jar of Salsa Verde (The level heat is up to you...)
  • Package of taco seasoning 
  • Can of Healthy Choice Cheese Soup 
  • Can of Corn 
  • Box of Instant White Rice 
  • Shredded Mexican Cheese 
  • Tortilla Chips 
Note: When I say can, I mean the normal size one that you'd get if you're buying good old chicken noodle or a can of vegetables. I don't know how many ounces that is & was too lazy to look it up. 

How To: 
  1. In a medium bowl, combine the chicken broth, water, and taco seasoning. Stir & set aside. 
  2. In your crockpot, layer the chicken on the bottom. Then, dump the Rotel tomatoes and green salsa over top of it. (Don't worry if they aren't evenly distributed, they'll get mixed together throughout the process.) Add the wet ingredients from Step 1 over top of the other ingredients.
  3. Set temperature to low & cook for 6 to 8 hours. 
  4. While everything cooks, prepare the rice according to the directions on the box. I used a small box of Instant White Rice from Wegmans & it worked just fine - nothing fancy needed here. 
  5. When time is up, use a fork to shred the chicken breasts right in the crockpot. (They'll be so tender that this will be an easy task!) Then add the cheese soup, corn, and prepared white rice. 
  6. Set your crockpot to the warm setting for 15 to 20 minutes. 
  7. Stir & dish it up! Garnish the bowls of soup with shredded Mexican cheese & serve with a side of tortilla chips.
  8. Enjoy! 

  • I always get nervous when cooking for my husband, which seems silly, but he's extremely opinionated about everything & I'm sensitive. Luckily, Eric really loved the soup & even took it to work for a few days afterwards. (This is a shock because he's a total sandwich & chips for lunch kind of guy.) I wanted something more substantial for lunch & discovered that if I drained off the broth, the meat & fillings worked perfectly in a burrito! So if you're worried about having too much, don't worry - you'll definitely get your money's worth on this one! 
Sunday, February 23, 2014

Best. Week. Off. Ever.

Where do I even begin? Last week was quite possibly one of my best. weeks. ever. I was off from school for February Break without any obligations. Nothing. I had the whole week to do as I pleased with. And you know what else? Ella's daycare was still open three days of the week - which meant even. more. freedom. As in, unheard of amounts of freedom for this mama. It was a completely unprecedented scenario. To say that I made the most of it would be a complete understatement. This is what "mommy time" looked like... 

The Spa... 

On Wednesday, I was able to use my gift card to the Spa at the Del Monte to get a massage. I was advised by my co-workers to get there early & reap all of the benefits, so I showed up at 9, even though my appointment wasn't until 10. After checking in, I took a long, hot shower in their huge multi-jet showers to get my muscles warmed up & relaxed for my massage. Then after changing into the plush robe, I sat in the completely silent waiting area, sipping my tea & reading magazines. It was completely zen. 

My massage was absolutely fantastic. I had her do a full body, and then focus on my legs for the end of the session. So worth it. The time on a massage table always flies by & I was sad to see the 80 minutes end. I was warm & relaxed... a rarity in February. 

And you know what I did after my massage? I got back into one of those showers because it was just that amazing the first time. Then, I got ready for the day there, taking advantage of the free salon quality products they had & taking my sweet time. It was a day of total relaxation. 

The Gym... 

I spent at least an hour a day at the gym every day of vacation. My mom thought this was overkill, but it was exactly the type of kick start that I needed to get going on my half training. I did spinning, running, elipticizing, weight lifting... everything. And even though I took a rest day on Friday, I still showed up to to take a nice long walk on the treadmill, since I didn't want to fall on the sheet of ice outside my house. 

The icing on my fitness cake was that I was even able to make it to a Power Vinyassa class at Breathe. If you've never done "hot yoga," you need to. It's a great way to stretch & sweat at the same time. I left the class feeling so refreshed & zenned out that it was unbelievable. My instructor was amazing & really got me thinking about how I want to grow as an individual too... but more on that later this week. 

Shopping Without A Stroller... 

Don't get me wrong, I love to shop with Ella. It's something we do regularly together & really, she's great at it. But there's just something about shopping without a stroller that makes me happy. Yes, I have to carry my bags, but I'm not weaving in & out of people, apologizing along the way. (If you've never shopped with a stroller, you probably think I'm crazy, but if you have, you know what I'm talking about.) So even though more than half of what I bought was for her, the actual shopping trip was totally for me. 

While I was at the mall, I did a little research for an upcoming post & hit up the new Athleta store that just opened at Eastview. I tried on a bunch of stuff & ended up getting this tie-dyed tank top that I'm totally obsessed with, so expect to see it frequently. 

The best part of the whole week though? At the end of the day, I got to go pick up Ella & focus all of my energy on her. I didn't have to worry about doing a load of laundry or cleaning the kitchen or meal prepping - all of that had been taken care of already. So before you all start leaving me nasty comments about how I don't like spending my daughter, let me assure you that she got far more undivided attention from me as a result of my mommy time than if I'd dragged her along with me on all of my errands. We played with "Mo" and read Brown Bear, Brown Bear a hundred times without me throwing off her entire napping schedule at day care. It was the perfect balance. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

What Ella's Packing for Florida

We're officially three weeks away from our trip to Florida. It's going to be short, but I still have a ton of packing to do. I'm not so worried about myself, I know that all of my summer clothes still fit & I have a ton to choose from. That is not the case for Miss Ella though, she was two sizes smaller last summer, which means mama has some serious shopping to do. 

My first stop every season is Baby Gap. Their clothes fit Ella well & everything I've purchased from there has held up impeccably. It's all stuff that I can pack away for #2 too, because for the most part I'm buying timeless pieces. Here's what we've picked up for our trip so far... 

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6
7 // 8 // 9 // 10 // 11 // 12

I wasn't planning to purchase so much in one place, but Gap really made it easy for my mom & I to get all of her stuff pulled together. I've picked up a few things from Marshal's too, but that's about it. She's all set for our trip to the Sunshine State! 21 Days to Go...

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

6 Things About This Photo...

I started to post this photo to Instagram earlier today & realized that I had so much to say about it that it merited its own post... 

1 - It got up to 52 degrees today! Holy heat wave NY! That of course merited wearing my favorite running skirt to the gym & baring my pasty white legs to the world for the first time in months. 

2 - I have my favorite shades back! I had left them at a friends & finally got around to retrieving them. I love them so much that I even wore them inside... 

3 - I got in over an hour of cross training & then did abs. This week is making a huge difference in how I feel about the half marathon. I'm definitely feeling more & more ready with every workout. 

4 - Welch's fruit snacks are my favorite for refueling after workouts. They're only 80 calories & satisfy my sweet tooth. We order them in bulk from Amazon because the whole family loves them and I keep a stash in my gym bag. 

5 - Lululemon headbands are my new obsession & I got this one on sale. Score! 

6 - My shirt is by New Balance & I scored it at Marshal's for $10. It's just what I was looking for, except it wasn't $80 like the Nike one I'd been eyeing. Again, score! 

See?! Way too much for an Instagram post & far too much "important" information to keep to myself... 
Tuesday, February 18, 2014

And the Training Officially Begins...

This past Sunday marked the official start of my 12 week training plan for the Brooklyn Half Marathon. The bad news is that I have to run 13.1 miles in less than 12 weeks. The good news? I'll be in NYC in less than 12 weeks. That's the thought that is going to get me through this training cycle, because I just can't get enough of that city... 

I feel like I'm finally getting back my base. I can finally run a 5K "comfortably" again at my old pace. But I can't help but feel like this training cycle will probably be harder than the last, as the "newness" of it all has certainly worn out. However, I now have the confidence of knowing that I can actually pull it off & even have a little bit of good sense as to how to do it. So I'm hoping that will balance it all out.

I am petrified that I'm going to get injured this time around. Last time, I was so naive & new to the sport that the thought never even crossed my mind. Now, I'm "slightly more seasoned" & am trying to play it safe. I even foam rolled yesterday. The whole time I was thinking, who am I? 

In order to combat injuries, I've come up with a plan - 4 miles on Tuesday & Thursday, plus my long run on Sunday. That leaves a rest day on Monday & cross training on the others. This is pretty in sync with the training plan I followed last time, except I'm actually going to listen this time & cross train instead of run. 

Another thing I'm doing differently? I'm adding in lifting & abs. I basically ignored these components of training last time. I got my runs in & that was about it. This time around, I'm adamant that I want to do it better - which means strength training & core work. According to everything I've read, this will make a huge difference in both my running & the overall functionality of my body. Let's hope they're right...

you have my sister to thank for this gem from Saturday morning...
Last change, I'm going to get outside more this time. I did almost all of my miles on the treadmill last time around. When it came time for me to run outside, I was in complete shock. My body definitely felt the difference & it wasn't pretty. So this time, I'm going to try to do all of my long runs outside. The only thing that might hold me back is the thick sheet of ice currently coating all sidewalks within a 100 mile radius, but I should be good to go for everything longer than 8 miles in my training - plus, I have a weekend in Florida coming up that will make for a great long run too! 

So yeah, I'm doing this again. I'm not exactly sure how I feel about it, but I'm going for it & I'll be sure to keep you all posted! 

leaving the gym after 60 minutes of cardio yesterday morning
Monday, February 17, 2014

Story Time

I'm watching my sister-in-law today... which basically means I have free babysitting because Ali is actually 12 herself. My mother in law just needed her out of the house for the day, so I took advantage of the extra set of hands & we headed off to story time at Barnes & Noble this morning. It was our first experience & I honestly didn't know if Ella could handle sitting still that long, but it was super interactive and she loved it. The pictures were just too cute to keep to myself... 

looking super sexy, as we went immediately following my gym session

this picture is from the "I can't sit still for more than 5 seconds" portion of the trip
immediately following the actual story time

Now we're meeting Eric for lunch & heading home to read our new books. I love days off...

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sunday Social - Randoms

Happy Sunday everyone! I'm officially on Winter Break & am at my in-laws celebrating some birthdays! I'll be back tomorrow with a recap of our Valentine's Day, but until then... 

1. What are your favorite things to do on a lazy day?
Watch HGTV, take a bath, read magazines, browse Pinterest... 

2. What is your TV guilty pleasure?

I don't want anything too cringe-worthy. My husband probably thinks that my love of DWTS is a guilty pleasure. But really, there isn't anything overly embarassing that I watch. My husband on the other hand should be completely embarassed by his love for COPS. 

3. What is your favorite road trip music?
It kind of depends on where I'm going, the time of year, and who is in the car with me. If it's just me, I'll usually jam to my normal XM radio pre-sets. If I'm with Eric, we listen to our massive playlist of DMB, John Mayer, and Hootie. If I'm with my sister, it's always Taylor Swift. (Yes, I know I have extremely eclectic taste in music.) 

4. What are your favorite magazines or books to read by the pool or laying around?

My most recent fave is Real Simple. I have large organizational dreams that I'm usually too tired to accomplish, so I read about them instead. I always love my fitness favorites too - Women's Health, Self, Shape, Fitness. Oh, and I can't forget People! I love me some trashy celeb gossip... 

5. What is your favorite snack?
Hands down - Pirate's Booty! A five year old made me try it when I worked at day camp & I've been in love with the stuff ever since. I get so annoyed when I can't find it in a grocery store, but it's become more popular & I can find it at Target & Wegmans now. 
Friday, February 14, 2014

Be My Valentine

free printable available here
Eric & I were supposed to go out to a big, fancy dinner tonight. Then I called to confirm our dinner reservation & found out that said dinner was going to cost over $200 because of the "special holiday menu" the restaurant is serving. We love each other, but not that much. So instead, we're going to make dinner together at home & enjoy each other's company without the chaos of Miss Ella. I was disappointed the dinner plans fell apart at first, but I realized that I'll be just as happy with our new plans. I guess what they say is true, all you need is love.

Happy Valentine's Day! 
Thursday, February 13, 2014

Miss Ella's Valentines!

Last year, I got Ella all dressed up for Valentine's Day & we bought her a movie and watched it as a family. But, Little Miss Ella was too small to eat any Valentine's treats, so I didn't bother making treats for her to hand out at day care. I just felt like it wasn't necessary & that there would be plenty of time for it in years to come.

Fast forward to this year, and I couldn't help myself! She just loves the two little girls that she spends her day with & I knew that they'd get into it this year. So I started sorting through all of my pinned ideas & decided that these would be perfect! 

I used Welch's Fruit Snacks because the girls are obsessed with them right now, but my original plan was to use Valentine's M&Ms. I think they'd be cute with just about anything in there! 

Ella is obsessed with her pail & is always carrying it around or wearing it on her head. I thought this was a fitting tribute to her craziness :) I had no idea where to buy tiny shovels though, so I turned to Etsy to find something similar. That's how I found Scrappin' Ashley & these amazing little kits to make Ella's valentines. The whole thing was so easy. All I had to do was assemble! She sent everything... bags, shovels, the customized printable! 

And if you've been waiting until the last minute, or if I'm making you feel guilty (sorry!), here are a few DIY Printable you can throw together tonight! 

Valentine's Day Personalized "Stick With Me Valentine" Tags - Digital File 12 per page (YOU PRINT)
via The Pretty Party Shoppe 

Printable - Minion Valentines Day Favor Tag - Party Favor Tags - Classroom Valentine Party - Print at home -
via Gingersnaps Party 

via Slightly Askew Designs

These last ones are my fave for a little boy! You can get a few loose Legos from the Lego
store & attach them in a baggie! Or you can attach them to the gummy
bears that look like Legos! 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

How to Dress Down - Part 2

This time last year, I was fed up with my colleagues after several horrific style encounters during our Dress Down Week. We do these weeks to support a charity every year, and if you pay $5, you get to wear jeans for the week. The problem is, some people take jeans & pair them with an oversized hoodie, ratty sneakers, and bed head. They use the week as an excuse to look like total slob-kabobs & I was over it. Thus, I wrote... How to Dress Down Without Looking Like a Total Slob-Kabob. Apparently I'm not the only person with this concern, as it's my second most popular post ever. 

Unfortunately, I think I failed to get my message across. Last week was Dress Down Week & I'm just as fed up as I was last year. While I didn't think that anyone at work read my blog, I did think they'd at least read the paragraph in the dress down email reminding everyone that we were still held to a standard of professionalism, as parents & district administrators would be in and out of the building. If they did read it, they have a very different standard of professionalism than I do. 

So today, we're going to do a little re-teaching and I'll share with you some of my personal favorite outfits for dressing down, as well as some of my favorite Pinterest looks for dressing down. If you want a refresher on my general rules, click here. Let's get started... 

This is the outfit that I am wearing today for Animal Print Day for Spirit Week. While I was tempted to buy a pair of cheetah leggings from Target last night, I chose to wear my leopard flats with skinny jeans and a black blazer. I added a statement necklace & my favorite arm candy to spice up the look. It's totally simplistic, but looks far more pulled together than a hoodie (or cheetah leggings) ever could. 

This is one of my go-to combinations for Fridays. I love to wear my favorite tank tops, like this one from Ruffles with Love, with a cardigan layered over top. My room is freezing, so I need the warmth, but this looks a lot more pulled together than a Rangers hoodie.  I like to think the sparkly flats add a little something to the outfit too...

This outfit probably took me 2 minutes to throw on. I know this for a fact because we were running WAY behind the morning I wore it (but not too behind for me to snap a picture obviously). I have a growing collection of simply blouses that can be worn with skirts, slacks (does anyone say that anymore) and jeans. The great thing about this outfit is that if I was sitting with you at a meeting table, you'd never know I was dressed down! 

I've told you before, I own a million sweaters. They can all be worn with jeans & are easily dressed up or down with jewelry. I chose to wear wedges on this day because I had meetings at our District Office, but didn't need to be fully dressed up. I think the look works perfect for in-between days that are meant to be casual but are spent with judgmental people. 

And in case I haven't provided you with sufficient inspiration, here are my top 5 dress down outfits from Pinterest... 

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

It's The Little Things...

As I was getting ready to leave the house this morning, Ella reminded me that taking joy in the little things is what life is all about. I was rushing, grabbing her sneakers to put on her, and she got so excited. She just got new ones with "Mo" on them this weekend. My mom says she picked them out herself. She lit up over these sneakers, reaching down to point to Mo & beaming at me in the process. It was the perfect reminder that if Ella can get that excited over her sneakers, then I can find joy in the small things throughout my day.


Today, I'm choosing to be joyful because... 

  • I am in love with my new iPhone. I told you all I was getting a serious upgrade with my tax refund & it came through! I have a gold iPhone 5S and just love it. It's pretty on its own, but made even prettier by the background freebies that Lisette has hooked me up with. 
  • Eric is home. I could never fully explain to him how much his mere presence balances me. I'm far too high strung on my own. I need him & probably don't tell him that enough.
  • It's Spirit Week at school & who loves Spirit Week more than a cheerleading coach? No one. I'm fully decked out in my Batman tee for Superhero Day & love it. 
  • My clothes are fitting perfectly and I feel amazing - thanks to exercise & clean eating. I've stumbled a little bit in the midst of the weekend chaos, but already feel better after a solid sweat yesterday afternoon. 
  • I get to sweat again tonight. 
  • Instagram always makes me smile. Whether it's dogs, babies, quotes, people at the gym... I just love Instagram.
  • My students are awesome. They give me so much to smile & laugh about throughout the day. If you're a teacher - you get it. Students are completely, unintentionally hysterical. The humor they provide me is priceless. 
  • I get to watch more Olympics tonight! I'm just so obsessed... Go Team USA! 
What "little things" bring you joy? 
Monday, February 10, 2014

Total Cheer Domination

This weekend was chaotic for two major reason...

  1. My husband went on his annual trip to Lake Placid with all of his college roommates. I went last year & really wanted to go again, but... 
  2. We had Sectionals & States for cheerleading this weekend. 
So basically on the busiest weekend of our whole season, my husband was out of town from Friday to Monday. Not ideal. Luckily, my mom & dad drove in from Saratoga & my sister helped out too. 

On Friday afternoon, I was supposed to pick up Ella & meet my sister at the gym for a sweat session. But, we ended up having to cancel because I got called into a 4 hour emergency practice. Not how I'd hoped to spend my Friday night, but at least I made it home in time to watch the Opening Ceremony... by the way, not impressed. London & Beijing  did a FAR better job. 

Ella woke up at 5 am, so we got a jump on our day & were able to meet my sister at the gym to make up for the night before. I'm so glad that we made it too, because I was a complete stress case headed into Sectionals on Saturday. Sweating made me feel better & made up for my less than ideal choices later on in the day....  

Ella was pumped up to head into the child care center & I'm hoping she'll get more and more comfortable there while I'm training for the half.

After the gym we headed back to meet my parents at my house & then went to look at my sister's new house! They don't close on it until April, but it was fun to see it in person! 

The remainder of my day was spent at Sectionals... and I'm really not ready to talk about it. I have a lot of issues with the judging from the day. Not that I thought we deserved first, because I actually thought we were going to get second. But they got 4th. Unacceptable after a flawless performance. Frustration doesn't even begin to describe it. So, we went & drowned our sorrows in bottomless fries at Red Robin. Totally healthy behavior...

The next day we headed for Cuse to compete in the state tournament. I had decided to drive myself instead of ride the bus, because I wanted to get home to this little one just in case of emergency. I mean, her Uncle Matt was in charge & this is the picture they sent me... 

Just shopping in the beer aisle with her Uncle Matt... 

So the JV coach & I road tripped it. That meant Panera for lunch & lots of Dunkin'. We were feeling much better by the time we made it to the arena. I actually loved the venure & the tournament. It felt small after our huge division the day before and the girls were totally motivated to go out there & make up for Saturday. 

They performed flawlessly again. I cannot tell you how amazing they were. I was so proud. 

They finished second. Which is a little disappointing, but we beat the team we came to beat... proving that we probably should've placed higher on Saturday & winning some sweet medals. 

I got home around 8 p.m. & snuggled with Ella while watching figure skating. The season is over. Time to relax... 
Sunday, February 9, 2014

I Just Have to Watch...

What is your favorite thing to watch on a girls night?
Mean Girls! It's just my favorite of all time... and working in middle school, I know it's all too true. 

What is your favorite thing to watch on your day off?
I always watch The Today Show when I'm off work. I love the mix of news with entertainment...  In the afternoon I work really hard to catch up on my DVR. It's pretty stocked for Feburary Break right now. I'll be watching a few week's worth of The Bachelor, Nashville, and New Girl. 
What is your favorite thing to watch when you’re sick?
Hmmm... I count that as a day off, so probably anything on my DVR. I really love re-watching the Twilight Saga though & that's something that I can only get away with when I'm home alone on the couch, so we'll go with that. 

What is the last movie you saw in the theater?
We went & saw Anchorman 2 on New Year's Eve. Not really all that impressed, but I was reminded by a friend that we didn't really love the original at first either. I'm hoping it'll grow on me... 

What are your top three favorite movies or tv shows?
Of all time? That's easy... 
  1. Gossip Girl - Hands down my favorite tv show of all time. Chuck & Blair & NYC forever...
  2. The O.C. - My absolute favorite show from the high school days. My friends & I used to throw Christmakah parties & watch that episode year - even the first year we all came home from college. I miss those simpler times... 

  1. The Break Up - My favorite movie. Yes... it has it's sad parts but there are other parts that just crack me up. Eric & I have watched this movie a hundred times & still love it. 
Friday, February 7, 2014

Friday Favorites to Support Team USA

The games have begun! I'm so excited to start watching this weekend. I just love the Olympics! Funny story, I was in labor during the last opening ceremony & watched from the hospital. Ella must have heard us talking about how awesome the games were & didn't want to miss them :) I already own a ton of USA gear to support the team, but if I had the funds, this is what I'd be purchasing... 

4 - USA Leggings //5 - USA Long Sleeve // 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Beast is Back

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that as soon as cheer season ended, half marathon training began. That's no coincidence. During cheer season, I leave work, pick up Ella, go to 2 1/2 hours of practice, race home, scarf down dinner, put Ella to bed, and get ready for the next day. I'm tired just typing it. Cheer season is a grind. I love it & it's totally worth it to me to do something that I'm passionate about it, but to say that I'm always a little relieved when it's over is an understatement. 

I've told you all that I've been surprising myself with how well I've maintained my diet since the new year. I'm already at my ideal weight & my jeans are fitting perfectly. That was all diet - extremely minimal exercise people... unless you count chasing Ella. 

Now that season is over, I'm turning things up a notch. That means I'll continue the clean(ish) eating & ramp up the exercise. When I ran my last half-marathon, I ate like absolute crap. I mean, I'd eat McDonald's two to three times a week. I was starving ll of the time & that was my excuse. The pounds didn't pack on because I was running so much, but I know that I wasn't fueling my body correctly. This time around, that's going to be different. 

flexing after my second run yesterday

The second big change from the last half-training to this one is the amount of lifting I'll be doing. I have a decent base for running, so I want to follow my training plan & add daily core work with rotating arm & leg days. So far, it's going awesome. 

Friday - 30 on Elliptical with Arms & Legs 

Saturday - 30 Minutes Elliptical & 30 Minutes Bike 
Sunday - 4 Miles with Arms 

Monday - 3 Miles with Legs 
Tuesday - Double Session with 6.5 Miles Total 
Wednesday - REST 

my triumphant return to lifting this weekend
I have a game tonight, which is why I did the double session yesterday. I couldn't fit in my long run in one chunk, so I split it up before & after the workshop I attended. My legs are SORE today, which I expected. That's why I'm easing back into things. I'm just so happy to be back in the gym. I can't wait to start seeing & feeling the progress.... 
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