A House Divided Wreath

This has been one of my favorite projects to date. Something I’ve wanted to do for a long time… And recently, on my birthday (which was a Sunday), I ACTUALLY took the time out to dive into this project, and I TOTALLY LOVED IT.

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If you’re feeling crafty, there are a million tutorials out there for ribbon wreaths and many beautiful ideas for house divided wreaths. This is not a tutorial. This more of a “show off my good work” post and direct you to my etsy store if you’d like me to make one for you… What can I say – just trying to get more merchandise in there as promised in my 30 before 30 list!

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So what do you think?? It’s a little pricey to make, due to ALL THAT RIBBON, but I kind of love it.

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And the Green Bay / Titans ribbon?? That’s what happens when you’re hubby is home sick and bored – he orders it for you as a surprise and it appears in your mailbox one day. PRETTY RAD, AM I RIGHT?!

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Cardio Mania Month {On Fitness Goals}

If you read my blog like, ever, you’ll know that I TRY really hard to have a healthy life. I make healthy meals (but also cupcakes) and I workout (but also netflix). I probably read too many blogs of these hardcore women who lift weights like a beast and compete several times a year. Compared to them, I’m CRAZY inconsistent. They have intense goals, and have to be extremely disciplined to reach them. We all have our priorities.

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So let’s talk about goals.

I don’t play a sport. I have no plans to compete. I’m at a pretty comfy weight (though can pretty much always afford to lose 10 pounds or so). I’m healthy (seriously, my good cholesterol is through the roof and all my “bad” numbers are crazy low). So what goals do I set to keep me moving? Because “not getting fat” is not really a goal. I mean, kind of, but not.

I’ve started to realize that what works for me is constantly changing it up. I sometimes feel that I jump from plan to plan (8-weeks of this, one month of that), but you know what? That works for me! It’s okay that I don’t go 52 weeks a year with a leg day, a back/bi day, a chest/tri day, a shoulder day…etc. OH MAN I could not do that. Instead, I commit to different plans for a certain period of time. And while I’m far from crazy athletic, it helps keep me motivated, and I sincerely LOVE working out because of it.

So all this takes me to my point. This month, I’m doing MAJOR CARDIO. I love lifting weights, but lately was feeling a little, well, puffy, which usually means I’ve put on a solid 10 lbs or so, and NOT of lean muscle mass. Basically, as I got more into weight lifting, I let cardio slide away. And let’s be real – I do not eat consistently lean enough to totally take cardio out of my regiment.

This month, along with a few friends, I’m following a “triathalon” plan. Don’t freak out – it’s not a real tri. The goal is to essentially complete a triathalon throughout the course of the month – run, bike, and swim (well, row) enough to equal one tri. So that’s 26.2 miles of running (or walking, or elliptical, etc), 112 miles of cycling, and 16,000 meter of rowing.

Here’s a glimpse of the blank form I’ve been using to track what I accomplish:

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And I’ve actually really liked it! I mean, not the running part, but I feel great once I’m finished of course. And I seriously had forgotten how much I loved spin classes – plus they knock out 17 miles of biking a piece.

Next month, it’s on to the next thing. Time to get back into weights. I plan to do Bite Sized Fitness’s 12-week challenge. Offers more variety than doing it on my own!! Anyone want to start with me on October 1?

Good times had by all! If you read all this, you deserve a prize!!

#winning

I write this post with a big ol’ KNOCK ON WOOD, in hopes of totally not jinxing myself. Even though I don’t even believe in jinxes. But still.

A few years ago, when my friends and I started a fantasy league, I won. I had no idea what I was doing, but I WON THE LEAGUE. It was awesome. But then nobody paid the entry fee and I got none dollars. But still. I won.

I have NOT won since. Not even close.

Well, after two weekends of football, I’m one of only two teams in my league to have a 2-0 record. YAY!! I’m enjoying it while it lasts, because as you can see below, my “points for” (PF) are not the highest by any means. As soon as I play a few high-scoring teams, I’m sure I’ll drop. So for now, loving it while I can!

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Do you play fantasy football? Are you lucky at it, or do you actually know what you are doing? I’ll update you later in the season…see if I’m still riding so high and mighty :)

 

24-Hour Chicago Whirlwind

When Jonathan bought tickets to see Garth Brooks, I was thrilled. When I found out it was in Chicago, I was more thrilled. When I found out it was at 10:30 pm, I was only sort of thrilled…because let’s be honest, I’m a super grandma.

We booked the cheapest flights we could to and from Chicago, and they put us into the City around 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, and had us leaving at 8:20 a.m. on Sunday: a full 24-hours in Chicago.

Excellent, however, due to the very late concert time, and the fact that it was waaaaay up in Rosemont at the arena, we opted not to book a hotel. “We won’t be done until 2 a.m. anyway!” we said. “We will go to a 24-hour diner and then to Midway!” we said.

We, however, are old.

So without further ado, let me tell you the story of our 24-hour visit to the windy city with one photo per hour. ENJOY!

BLENDICANO

Guys, so I’ve read about these for a while (a girl I follow in instagram is obsessed), but I finally got one and IT IS EVERYTHING AND MORE THAN I EVER HOPED FOR. Let’s face it, who doesn’t love a delicious, decadent drink from starbucks. But who feels guilty for the amount of calories and sugar they come with? (hand raised.) And who has been trying to cut dairy and soy out of their diet, leaving no other milk option? (hand raised. seriously – get almond milk, people!)

THE BLENDICANO IS THE ANSWER!!

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Blendicano + egg white feta wrap (my FAVE on the go breakfast)

Listen closely:

It is a blended americano. If that means nothing to you, follow me here. An americano is espresso + hot water (essentially taking European espresso and appeasing us Americans, who are always wanting bigger portions, by adding hot water). An iced americano is an americano on ice. A blendicano is a blended, iced americano. So just espresso, water, and ice. NO BASE. Many starbucks have gotten the hang of this now, but many have not. When you order, just be VERY NICE and ask if you can get a blended americano. (Go venti. Worth it.) Also, I’m generally not into artificial sweeteners, but the one pictured above has sugar-free caramel syrup added, making it EXTRA AMAZING. Knowing me, I think I would enjoy this drink plain though, just because I love the taste of icy, frothy coffee so much.

Guys, this has like, probably, 25 calories. No fat. No sugar (unless you add it so be careful!!). AND IT’S AMAZING.

GO GET ONE.

Thirteen Years Later

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I remember first hearing about the events of 9/11 during second-period chemistry class my sophomore year of high school. We didn’t know much at the time, and in my little town in Wisconsin, few of us really had any connection to New York. By third-period, teachers turned on TVs. Some of my peers went home at the requests of their parents, and some of my teachers, later in the day, turned off TVs. In retrospect, I’m thinking they probably didn’t want to scare us as more reports of terrorism came out.

I did not have a direct connection to anyone in New York at the time. In fact, since 2001, I had never met anyone who knew someone until two years ago. For my job in fundraising, I travel frequently, meeting alumni and parents of current students. A little over two years ago, I met with a beautiful, happy woman in a suburb of Newark, New Jersey. Part of what I love about my job is that oftentimes, people open up to me about personal stories when the only hardly know me. As this woman talked to me about her daughter’s experiences in school so far, she began to share with me that her husband had worked in the towers, and he was there they day that they went down. With an incredible strength in her voice, she told me about the pain of that day, and the journey that her and her children have been on since. She told me that every year, on that day, they come together as a family. Their daughter flew home from college her freshman year to be together on the tenth anniversary of that tragic day.

It changed things for me. To hear someone’s story, one on one. It put a face to something that I could only relate to on a surface level, like many other Americans. Now, on this day, as I sit in a hotel in Atlanta, not only do I feel gratitude for my family, my safety, my country, but I feel even more respect for the people who left this world that day, and for the loved ones they left behind. My heart goes out to all of you, any of you, who were directly affected by everything that day. I know that none of us will ever forget.