30 Thankful Days {18-24}

Happy Tuesday!

I cannot believe it is already the last Tuesday of November and almost the end of my 30 thankful days posts. Last week I felt a whirlwind of emotions and moods and events in a rather uneventful week and weekend, so lets get to finding something in each day to be thankful for.

Linking up with Katie

Linking up with Katie

Day 18 – Meeting new Doctors… this is a total nerd thing to say, but I truly love learning new things and getting to engage with the physicians who directly treat and impact my ability to help patients heal. I was given the chance to talk to two doctors last week through different meetings, and beyond the free lunch, I was able to learn more about them and their practices along with a little about myself!

Day 19 – is it cheating to say our Engagement Pictures?? No? Okay good because I am definitely thankful for how well they came out, all of your sweet comments (here, here and here) and how amazing they worked with our save the dates! didn’t see them?? head to this post and check them out (then tell me which is your favorite, because mine changes every day!)

here's a peak ;)

here’s a peak 😉

Day 20 – Open Gym @ EPC… Weekends tend to be filled to the brim with traveling and family time lately (which is AWESOME) so when we get a chance to stay in town and go to the gym/do what we want without plans I am in heaven. Saturday we spent a couple hours working on some strength moves, pull ups and got extra Chalky! 

you know you Snatched & did pull ups for 2+ hours when your covered in chalk at the end

you know you Snatched & did pull ups for 2+ hours when your covered in chalk at the end

Day 21 – Dinner with someone other than Brent CrossFit EPC… Our CrossFit gym started a 8week challenge right when we joined the gym, we opted out of the challenge because of doing our Advo challenge, so to celebrate the challenge finishing they did what all smart people do and went out for Burgers & Beer! YES PLEASE! Brent & I were all about this and it was so nice to spend a little time in real clothing with people we have started to get to know in the gym and talk about things other than snatches, PR’s & Pull ups! (although I do love all those things too!)

Brent with his "Spears' Burger, he was excited the bun was branded!

Brent with his “Spears’ Burger, he was excited the bun was branded!

Day 22 – Read THIS to know what I was thankful for. It pretty much says it all… 😉

"Dear Momma" ~Happy 50th Birthday

“Dear Momma” ~Happy 50th Birthday

Day 23 – Weekend Crafting!!!! I had a huge itch to do a craft on Saturday. So I scratched it and headed to Michaels for a little pinterest inspired crafting day. I had plans to make 1-2 simple but statement Christmas gifts and left with supplies for 3 gifts & 2 wedding crafts. The best thing about my crafting itch was that ALL of the crafts were a success… no major fails and serious glitter adoration! I am slightly obsessed with them all!

{{almost}} finished product for our wedding

{{almost}} finished product for our wedding

Day 24 – Homemade Mac & Cheese, Crockpot Pot Roast, Turkey Soup & Sweet Potato Quiche… Let me just say that I KILLED it this week with super simple meal prep and delicious homemade mac & cheese. If those recipe “titles” don’t sound good to you let me know & I’ll go grab my AED.

I hope you take some time this Tuesday to treat yourself to a craft, delicious dinner or conversation with a friend and at the end of the day reflect on what you are thankful for. I promise you if you reflect a little you will find a lot.

Tell me something you’re thankful for today!
Ever get the crafting itch?
How do you like your Mac & Cheese?


Dear Momma

Dear Momma,

Today on your birthday I have so much to say and so many things to wish you. I think about birthdays with friends and other family members and how each year the celebration is filled with such emotion & joy. Celebrating another year in history another milestone, celebrating with cake & gifts and love, lots of love.

Birthdays are some of my favorite days, making them a little more special for the person who we are celebrating and creating memories are just some of the things that make me love them so much. But how do I spoil you? How do I shower you with love? How can I mark this milestone in history?

Dear Momma

When I was reflecting on the fact that today would be your 50th birthday, while in my eyes you are still (and always will be) 30 years old. How is it possible that you are truly 50? Anyways, I was thinking about what I would say, how we would celebrate together and what we would talk about.

On your birthday I would tell you how much I love you, how much you help me through the hardest of days. Although I don’t get to see you, talk to you or hug you I can feel your presence on the days when I need it the most. So today for your 50th birthday I want to share to all my friends (or the ones who read this little blog of mine) how lucky I AM to have you as my mom.

Dear Momma

On your birthday I would tell you how thankful I am for the family you helped bring together. I could not imagine my life any different than it is right now, and I am 100% sure that the family support that I have is completely because of you. You are the glue that brought us together when life was the hardest and you are what held us together during all of those hard times. Because of our love and your love for all of us we formed this strong bond and love, for that I am forever thankful.

On your birthday I would tell you how much I stinking miss you. How much I wish I could create new memories with you and share all of the madness that is wedding planning… and life… with you. I know you have been with me each and every step of the way and I wouldn’t have that any other way.

Dear Momma

If we were celebrating together today, I would shower you with gifts and I imagine us sitting around a fire doing a craft or doing something artsy. I imagine a big mug of hot cocoa and some crazy concoction recipe that you created. I imagine watching Grease and laughing & singing at the top of our lungs.

If we were celebrating together today it would be the best day, because it is your day & I would just be happy to be there with you!

Happy 50th Birthday my Beautiful Angel! Thank you for choosing me as your daughter.



Engagement Pictures – Wedding update



I am so excited to FINALLY be sharing our engagement pictures with you all! While they took a few tries and some crazy stories to come to life these pictures are exactly what Brent & I were hoping for and Chelsea made the whole day fun and easy. I am so excited to see what magic she works for our wedding day!

Engagement Pictures Engagement Pictures Engagement Pictures Engagement Pictures Engagement Pictures Engagement Pictures Engagement Pictures

Engagement Pictures We had a blast walking around Depot Town in Ypsilanti taking pictures, laughing and enjoying a beautiful September day!

One of the funniest parts of the whole photoshoot was when a homeless man started cat calling at us while taking a photo in the alley, he got me laughing so hard and then went on to have a long conversation with Brent about how my BUTT is what attracted him. I am sure most of you think that this is gross but to me it was a HUGE complement and totally made my day!

One of my favorite moments from the day was when we blew the glitter. It was a fun moment and I just love our facial expressions when blowing the glitter off our palms!

Engagement Pictures

All photographs are from the beautiful & talented Chelsea from Chelsea Brown Photography… collages made on Canva 😉

Stay tuned for our Save The Date recap!


30 Thankful Days {11-17}

Happy Tuesday!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. We had a good mix of being busy and resting all at once, it was great! I am back for my next 7 days of Thankfulness and like last week am really loving reflecting on my days.

Linking up with Katie

Linking up with Katie

Day 11 – I said I wanted to wait to think of what I was thankful for but then realized the best thing to be thankful for on 11/11 is all Veterans for everything they did and do for us!

Day 12 – RCIA, Brent and I are going through the RCIA program at our local church. I grew up Catholic but never went through confirmation & Brent decided once we got engaged that he wanted to join the Catholic faith with me. We have been going to the classes together each week and I always get something out of the meeting plus it is nice to take a couple hours out of our week to spend together.

because I don't have a picture of the meatloaf, here is a picture of my PURPLE workout day. Everyday is better in purple ;)

because I don’t have a picture of the meatloaf, here is a picture of my PURPLE workout day. Everyday is better in purple 😉

Day 13 – Turkey Meatloaf… okay this is a weird thing to be thankful for but you guys this turkey meatloaf was amazing, and having something warm to eat on these cold nights is a huge plus. I tried to recreate the recipe this week so I could give it to you all but that didn’t happen… so its on my TO DO list 🙂

Day 14 – Stovetop Granola. I LOVE granola and if I buy it from the grocery store I will EAT.IT.ALL in a matter of minutes. Last year I made this granola and have been having fun playing with the flavors and recreating delicious “sin-free” granola that costs a fraction of what you get in the store!

I am not thankful that fall is over... I could use a few more weeks to ease me into this cold & snow!

I am not thankful that fall is over… I could use a few more weeks to ease me into this cold & snow!

Day 15 – Coffee Dates & BLENDS! So last week I got a text from my girl Becky basically telling me to become friends with Kelly. So I shot Kelly an email, HUGE step for me, I don’t like making the first move ;), and after a few email messages we planned to meet up for coffee & I AM SO glad I did! Kelly blogs over at Kelly the Culinarian and is awesome, super fun and down to earth. It definitely made my Saturday a little more fun!

Day 16 – Wedding Registry… Brent & I started our registry this weekend and it was a lot of fun, and slightly overwhelming to register for our future life and adulthood. I loved going through the stores and fantasizing about our future but got a little trigger SHY when it came time putting things on our list. The big things I knew I wanted were easy but all the other pieces & small stuff (that lets be honest is the stuff I’ll likely get) was really hard for me. I have some online registry completion to do where I can’t sit and ponder without Brent getting impatient 😉

Treat Yourself Tuesday

I am also linking with my girl Becky mainly so you all can go send her some love on her news that she is having a BOY!!! I am so excited for you and this new adventure you’re on! You are going to be a fabulous momma!

Day 17 – Responses to Save The Dates… We sent out our save the dates last week to our family and (super) close friends, and the responses have started to trickle in! I am 100% IN LOVE with our Save The Dates and the response we have received from our family and friends about them has been nothing short but amazing. It is silly to say, but I am happy that other people are happy for us and excited to celebrate with us too!

Some of the text's that made my weekend that much better! YAY LOVE ;)

Some of the text’s that made my weekend that much better! YAY LOVE 😉

Day 18 – Cozy Night by the Fire… this cold weather has me craving warm blankets, hot drinks, comfort food and fire. Over the weekend we had chips, salsa and guac and then lit our Apartment “fire” for ambiance. It was lovely & something I could do each and every night!

our cozy apartment fire <3

our cozy apartment fire ❤

Hope you have a beautiful Tuesday! Tell me something you are thankful for.

What are your wedding registry tips?!
Do you and your spouse/partner do something together each week?

The Guys – Wedding Update

Hey Friends!

This post has been a long time coming… This project was completed prior to our engagement pictures & before I found my dress… I have been meaning to post about the groomsmen but my fingers never did quite get around to doing the talking. I figured I should tell you about the rest of the Bridal Party before sharing our amazing engagement pictures.

In my defense I was waiting for one of them to get the card & open it before I publicized it to the world 😉 

Okay so the story with the groomsmen is that I asked Brent to formally ask each guy to be in the wedding party. Well this led to a lot of hemming & hawing by him and fake asking a few friends while mentioning the wedding, without truly asking people.


I was inspired by Kasey to make a wedding emblem for all our wedding updates. I plan on using it during our day as well! 

After a few months of him never making up his mind I decided to take matters into my own hands and create a card for him to send to the guys. I wanted to do something masculine but creative, which is really hard to do as a female, and so I went to work looking at Pinterest. I found a few different ideas but nothing really stuck, until I saw this card on Etsy.

The Guys

I set to work on my computer with a word document and clip-art I was able to re-create a similar but different card for the guys. Seriously guys this was super easy, and probably took me 2 hours tops to make the design (this includes all my edits, redo’s and positional corrections). The hardest part about the cards were figuring out the alignment so that I could fold them and the lettering would be right side up and not upside down.

For the Ring Bearer I wanted to send him the same card, but it needed to be U-21 appropriate so I did a little modification to the card and wah-la a card fit for a kid!

The Guys

The best part about this card was the voicemail I got from my cousin after he opened it. He is a 1st grader and beyond adorable. The voicemail goes something like this “I am excited to be your ring bearer…. and I like ROOT BEER!!…” it was the best. Now we just need to make sure that there is some root beer available for this little guy the day of the wedding!

I love the bow tie on the bottle neck!

I love the bow tie on the bottle neck!

I loved how these cards turned out but apparently the paper I got didn’t love them back and smeared a little when they arrived to their final destinations. SO a word to the wise, make sure it is a LASER printer not an Ink Jet.

The Guys

Brent Party includes:
Shane – his Best Man & best friend from school & football
Ben – Friend since Middle School
Chris – High School friend…Chris also opened his house to us when we first moved to Rockford, and was a great friend to us when we lived there
Josh – High School & Rockford Friend
Robert – My brother (and the reason this post is delayed… not really but I can blame him right?!)
Evan – my youngest cousin and the ring bearer!

These cards are some of my favorite things, so I am linking up with Katie, Heather and Clare for some Friday Favorite love!

Alright I will be back SOON with our engagement picture post!

What is your favorite kind of Root Beer?
Have you ever recreated an Etsy inspiration? 

30 Thankful Days {5-10}

Happy Tuesday!

I am back this week for days 5-8 of giving thanks for the small things in life. Last week I challenged myself to reflect each day on something that made that day a little bit better, more special and something I was thankful for. I am notoriously bad at doing thing every day so this was a little extra challenge for me, but I enjoyed the challenge and loved that I had to reflect a little each night.



Day 5: My Patients – I have said it before but on Wednesday last week I was reminded again why I love my job. I received a letter from a former patient expressing her gratitude towards me and my efforts to help heal her. I feel honored and blessed to be able to help other people and make an impact on other peoples lives.

Day 6: Striving for Optimal Health – In my post on Thursday I expressed my internal struggle between GPP & CrossFit but after writing that post all I could think about is how thankful I am to even be able to have that struggle. I have the ability to exercise and pursue my optimal health, this is not something that everyone can do and it is definitely not something I take for granted.

30 Thankful Days

Day 7: Breakfast with Bill – Friday was filled with a lot of fun and happiness. One of my favorite parts of Friday was getting to have breakfast with our friend Bill. It was a simple breakfast and chat but it definitely made our trip to Texas that much better!

Day 8: Kori & Cam’s Wedding – if you missed my recap yesterday, go check it out [NOW!] okay welcome back! Their love & being able to witness the festivities was awesome and so worth the trip. I am beyond thankful for my friendship with Kori & excited for her and Cameron’s life together!

30 Thankful Days

Day 9: Etsy – This weekend I found Etsy’s app and spent a good deal of layover and airport time browsing the site for wedding related ideas & inspiration. Yep I could spend days on there, its like Pinterest but better.

Day 10: Manic Mondays – okay thats way more than one thing but this Monday was definitely a manic one, and I am so grateful for it. After having a patient have a medical emergency and scare the daylights out of me before 9am, to having a fantastic lunch with a doctors group, to getting a big wedding project done and out the door, I cannot pick just ONE thing that I was thankful for. I am thankful for being able to be there for my patient and help him through a scary and life threatening time. I am thankful to be able to meet and market to different doctors group, while also meeting amazing clinical teams and physicians. I am thankful for the little extra time after work to get operation wedding underway and some stuff stamped & sealed & off to be delivered!!!

Day 11: well today is not over yet so I will add day 11 to next weeks recap 😉

Linking up with Katie

Linking up with Katie

Happy Tuesday friends, take some time today to reflect on something that you’re thankful for, I am sure you’ll be surprised with how many things come to mind!

Tell me something you’re thankful for this week!

A Texas Wedding Weekend

Hey Y’all!

Thursday Brent & I headed to O’Hare and hopped on a flight to Texas. We both got our graduate degrees from Texas Tech and had not been back to Texas in over a year so it was exciting to head back to the South and see some friendly faces and hear southern accents.

Because weddings are Marvelous!

Because weddings are Marvelous!

If you follow me on IG (which you should!) you would know that we went for my friend Kori’s wedding. Kori & I met in PT school and over a few bottles of wine and a kickboxing class became great friends. I was super excited to head to Texas and see Kori since the last time we were together was at graduation in May 2013, AND I had yet to meet her man Cameron.

Friday morning I decided it would be a great idea to wake up and go for a run. I mean Amarillo had to be warmer than Chicago right?!! WRONG! I made it about a mile before I started coughing so hard I couldn’t breathe, and decided the cold air & wind were not in my favor. I thought about doing some body weight workout in the hotel gym but my ears were so cold my brain hurt. SO I settled for a hot shower and some Spark!

Brent & I then headed to breakfast with our friend Bill. Brent & I met Bill when we were living in Lubbock and going to a boxing/kickboxing gym. We all became really good friends and Bill has been a huge support of us and our relationship. It was so nice to be able to catch up and have some amazing breakfast. We obviously had such a good time I forgot to take any pictures. WHO AM I?!

Texas Wedding

Friday night was the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner for the wedding. We met at the Polk Street United Methodist Church, which is an absolutely gorgeous church, and ran through the ceremony and logistics for Saturday. Then it was off to dinner at Macaroni Joes. It was a really nice night getting to know the bridal party and catching up with some Texas friends.

How cute are these champagne glasses! customized to the dresses we wore!

How cute are these champagne glasses! customized to the dresses we wore!

Saturday started with a Bridesmaid Brunch held by two friends of Susan (Kori’s Mom). The brunch was so nice, we had mimosas and snacks and all just hung out in a stress-free environment. Susan told a hilarious story of a car wash mishap that could only happen 2 days before your daughters wedding and the hairdresser worked her magic.

Opening her Charms...

Opening her Charms…

Then it was time for a surprise, Susan had asked everyone in the wedding to think of a memory and a symbol for your relationship with Kori. She bought a charm for each memory and surprised Kori with each of the charms. Kori opened each individually and the person whose charm was pulled shared the story about the charm and a memory or relationship with Kori. Susan is going to put all the charms on a bracelet so Kori can remember her wedding each time she looks at it. Let me tell y’all this was the most emotional part of the day. So many happy memories and stories were shared and the impact that Kori had on all of her friends and family was truly apparent. It was a really special surprise and moment!

Kori & I prior to getting dressed!

Kori & I prior to getting dressed!

Texas Wedding

We headed to the church to finish getting ready & get Kori married! It was a really zen day, everyone was super calm and excited but overall just chill. Which was so nice! The ceremony was so sweet, the pastor was the perfect combination of sincere and funny to lift the nervous excitement that filled the air. Kori & Cameron beamed with happiness and love for each other.

Mr & Mrs Cameron West

Mr & Mrs Cameron West

After the ceremony and pictures we headed to Khiva Shrine Ballroom for dinner and celebrations. The ballroom was gorgeous, Kori & Susan did an amazing job decorating the room. The food, because thats what the girls on TLC care about the most, was delicious and there was plenty of beer & wine for everyone. Then it was party time! They had an awesome band who played everything under the sun. It was fun to see so many age groups dancing the night away.

Texas Wedding

Texas Wedding

At the end of the night we lined the street with silver confetti sticks and wished Kori & Cameron farewell in a whirlwind of Navy & Silver confetti as they drove off to their new married life. It was an awesome weekend and was so nice to see Kori & Cameron so happy together.

Texas Wedding Texas Wedding Texas Wedding

Kori & Cameron I wish y’all nothing but happiness and love, I hope you guys have a blast on your honeymoon too!


GPP vs. CrossFit a search for Optimal Health

I have been thinking about this post for the past few weeks, okay maybe months, but never felt that I had the right perspective to share. I think I have it now & feel I am ready to share my thoughts with you all.

Thank YOU Amanda for this platform!

Thank YOU Amanda for this platform!

As most of you know I am a lover of heavy lifting, core strengthening and challenging my system in ways I was not challenged before, or ways I didn’t think I could be challenged. This love & passion, along with inspiration by my girl Meg, led me to GPPFitness. Most of you also probably know that my love and obsession for all things GPP are strong and led me to their intensive in January [read here, here & here for more].
 GPP vs CrossFit
I love GPP, I love the morals of GPP and the programming. It’s good stuff, really good stuff and it works. It doesn’t just work your physical appearance but it challenges ALL aspects of your health and I dig that, A LOT!
After intensive my life was GPP workouts. Where I lived and the environment I exercised in really led itself to the GPP workouts and I loved killing it. So much so I was able to con a few friends in and brainwash them with the GPP gift! It’s good stuff y’all really good stuff!
GPP vs. CrossFit
When we moved to Arlington Heights Brent challenged us to join a CrossFit gym and try it out. I felt like I was cheating on GPP. I couldn’t believe I was joining a CrossFit “BOX” and ditching everything I loved about GPP, which is seemingly impossible the love is too strong.
We did our first workout, second & third at CrossFit EPC and I really liked it. There was so much to learn, so much energy & so much challenge. A sense of competition that I once felt with GPPs online comments board, but didn’t drive me to perform at a higher or faster level which I felt in CrossFit.
GPP vs. CrossFit
Still I hesitated. Could I really cheat on GPP and join CrossFit? That’s like picking sides, cheating on your spouse with their best frenemy or biggest rival. What did that say about me? Am I really searching so hard to “be the best” or find the “biggest” challenge that I will cheat on something I love?
I continued to go to CrossFit, thinking about my GPP loves on occasion but you know the saying “out of sight out of mind”? Yeah kind of me. Until my friend sent me a picture & text saying he was back in the gym and hitting up GPP again.
New GPP Rockford "members" loved my friday storm crew!

Swoon!! I miss my GPP loves!

This got me thinking. Why do I love the both? And why is it OKAY to do CrossFit and be a GPP girl at heart? Well CrossFit is fitness, it’s health & often it’s more than just physical health it hits a lot of areas of optimal health.

Physical… Mental… Emotional… Social… Spiritual… Financial

When solo GPPing I still got the physical, mental emotional & financial (especially, CrossFit is expensive) aspects of fitness but I was missing something, something I didn’t realize I needed so much.
The thing I love so much about CrossFit right now is the social experience that accompanies a workout. If it’s 5am or 5pm there is an energetic buzz that swirls through the gym because there are other people who are there. There is a stronger sense of challenge because other people are working too, there’s a larger push to go hard & strong because there’s at least one other human pushing you. The internal urge or action to quit when you’re tired or because it “seems too hard” is almost completely eliminated because of the social and community.
{photo credit CrossFit EPC}

{photo credit CrossFit EPC}

This is what I was missing. I was missing the social experience.

Yeah the workouts are different, sometimes more strength based and programmed in a different manner but physically I am still making gains and being smart, I’m listening to my body and my coach, just as I listened to my body and the GPP HQ site.
GPP provided me with the foundation that has made me successful in CrossFit and while they are fundamentally different they both focus on the same foundation in fitness.
GPP vs CrossFit
I will always hold a special place in my heart for GPP, but for now, at this point in my life CrossFit is a perfect fit, and when it comes to exercise that is what you should be looking for! Not what you think that you should be doing rather what you enjoy doing.
Have a wonderful Thursday!
Tell me your fitness perfect fit? 
Have you ever “cheated” on a workout before? 

30 Thankful Days

Happy November Friends!

I don’t know about you all but I always feel a sense of giving thanks and counting my blessings. I know Thanksgiving often sparks this but with the weather changing, the year coming to a close and all of the holiday cheer popping up everywhere you look I feel a huge amount of gratitude for what I have and am fortunate to take part in.

30 Thankful Days

I was thinking about how could I recap or promote some of the things I am grateful for this November without being a cheese ball 24/7 for the next 30 days. I want to savor the small things and never forget all the things that I fortunate enough to take part in, so what better way to celebrate all that than during this month of giving thanks?

So for the next 30 days, on Tuesdays, I will be recapping some things that I am grateful for. Some may be HUGE things and others might be the smallest simplest thing but giving thanks is not about the size, its about the action & thought. Right?!

Day 1: Good Friends… On saturday I got to spend the day tailgating with some of my favorite people & got to see my girl Gretchen who I haven’t seen in forever… I love spending time with friends!

30 Thankful Days

Day 2: My Aunt Sheri… On Sunday I got up a little earlier and met my Aunt at the gym. She is one of the people I look up to so much because through all of lives challenges she continues to make her health and wellness a forefront and is always challenging herself to the next level. I also am just thankful she got me out of bed and to the gym!

Day 3: My Dad & Step Mom… yeah this one is the typical thing to be thankful for right? Well on Sunday I was reminded again how thankful I am for my Dad & Step Mom. When I feel like the weight of the world is on my shoulders and the stress of doing everything “right” is weighing me down the two of them are the best at helping me (and Brent) at taking a few breaths and seeing the bigger picture. Life is stressful y’all and these two help take some of that burden away.

30 Thankful Days

Day 4: Brent… He is of my biggest supporters, if not my biggest. I am constantly in awe of how much this man loves me and honors me and even though our relationship isn’t perfect (are any?!) I couldn’t imagine spending my days, nights and car rides with anyone else. You are my rock!

Take Time Tuesday November 2014

I am linking up with Katie for Take Time Tuesday’s

I challenge you to take some time today to think about what you’re thankful for today.

Tell me one thing you’re thankful for today
Does November make you think about all you’re thankful for too?