St Patricks Day 2016

Hey Guys!

I wanted to pop in with a fun weekend recap because this past weekend was a BLAST! About a month ago Brent had the idea to rent an Air B&B in Chicago for St Patricks Day weekend and invite a bunch of friends. Well out idea became reality and we met up with a bunch of our friends for a weekend of festivities!

Friday night we all made our way to the city to meet up at the condo. Brent, my friend Katie from college & her boyfriend all drove in together while I took the metro after work. As I waited for the train I got a text from Katie with this picture…

St Patricks Day 2016

Brent & PJ fixing the flat!

And the caption “totally got a flat” thankfully Brent & PJ were able to change the flat safely and not get hit by any of the cars flying by. Not too long after the text from Katie the train pulled up to the station and I made my way to get on…

Well after trying 4 cars, yanking on the doors with none of them opening, the train pulled away leaving me there in awe of what just happened… Thankfully my friend Megan, who drove me to the station after work, hadn’t left yet and was able to drive me to a different station to get the next train. I had to wait about an hour but I was able to get the next train to the city and met up with the group at dinner before they even ordered!

View from the condo we rented

View from the condo we rented

We made our way back to the condo after a very late dinner and the 8 of us hung out had a few drinks and talked about everything and nothing before hitting the hay. Since Saturday morning we were planning on getting up bright and early.

St Patricks Day 2016

Gorgeous sun rise!!

Saturday started with this BEAUTIFUL view from the condo before we all got dressed and had a St Patty’s toast before heading to Bull & Bear.

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We had bought tickets for the Bull & Bear Top Of The Mornin St Patricks day party which started at 8. I cannot tell you the last time I went out drinking starting at 8am, and can tell you that the next time I do won’t be for a veryyyyyy long time 😉 Our tickets to Bull & Bear included drinks & brunch food so we found a spot near the bar and congregated there for the next 4 hours! We danced, sang to the songs and drank our little hearts out #balance 😉

St Patricks Day 2016 Kaley & I St Patricks Day 2016

At noon we headed outside and met up with 4 of our friends who opted out of Bull & Bear and grabbed lunch at Lou Malnati’s. After lunch we all went back to the condo to recoup a bit from our 4hour drinking escapades with some Cards Against Humanity! Once we recovered we headed down to the river front to see the green river and take some pictures, because well thats the point right! We said goodbye to a couple friends who had to head back home and then went back to relax some more before grabbing dinner.

St Patricks Day 2016

Chris, Kristina, Me, Brent, Kaley & Ryan at the river!

I forgot how hard it is to go H.A.M first thing in the morning and then continue to party the rest of the day, we all were pretty much done at 2pm so relaxing, hydrating and napping sounded wonderful! We definitely aren’t 21 any more 😛

St Patricks Day 2016 St Patricks Day 2016

After a while we decided to get dinner and made reservations at a sushi place down the road. Brent & PJ opted out of going as they both were exhausted and not feeling the best, so Ryan, Kaley, Katie & I headed out together for the BEST sushi experience of our lives.

If you are ever in the Fulton River District of Chicago you should definitely check out Tanoshii Sushi and splurge on Omakase tasting menu. You will not be disappointed and it is definitely worth the cost. We were treated to a multi-course meal and honestly each course was better than the one before. Since none of us really knew what was being put down in front of us, they told you but quickly, we made Ryan taste everything first and tell us what it was like before Katie, Kaley or I would try it. After a while we were laughing because Ryan would say “Thats the BEST one yet!” to almost everything he tried, and he wasn’t wrong!

St Patricks Day 2016St Patricks Day 2016

After dinner the 4 of us walked back to the condo in a sushi euphoria and settled in for a night of watching My Strange Addiction and seriously relaxing! It was the perfect ending to a fun day.

Most of the Gang!

Most of the Gang!

I am so glad that we have great friends who are up to coming and celebrating with us. It was so much fun to all get together and spend a weekend pretending that we were 21 again!

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Twenty-Eight Years

February Eighth, a date that I look forward to every year, it’s my birthday & today I turn twenty-eight, just another year closer to 30 😉

I think when you grow up your birthday has this seemingly huge impact on your life. In Elementary school each year is monumental and you get to bring cupcakes or some sort of treat to your class and feel super special. In middle school & high school you continue to feel important hitting those age milestones 13, 16, 18 and starting to get a little more freedom with each passing year. In college its all about partying, celebrating with your best friends and obviously turning 21 is a big one! But once college comes and goes there are a few years that are important but nothing significant in between.

A patient told me a little pearl from his father regarding age “after you turn 30 your age doesn’t matter again until it ends in a zero… you say you are THIRTY-two and people only hear 30” I laughed at this but then later really agreed.

 

I love celebrating birthdays, and how you celebrate definitely changes as the phases in your life change. I remember some birthdays so much more than others, enjoy remembering parties and times spent with different friends and family, special cakes and gifts but most of all I love looking back on the years and remembering the moments and how they have made me grow as a person.

While twenty-eight isn’t a huge milestone birthday in the “unwritten book of milestones” but for me this year was a big milestone for me. Twenty-Eight is my first birthday married and its been a pretty fabulous one so far!

Twenty Eight Years Twenty Eight Years

This weekend Brent & I celebrated early and spent all day Saturday having a fun date day together. I headed to the gym first thing and got my sweat on, because well i knew I’d be eating quite a few calories to sweating some out before hand was definitely necessary. I did a new to me spinning class at our gym, I hadn’t done a spin class in a few years so it was a bit nerve wrecking before I headed in but it was SO worth it & I will definitely be back for more. I just wish the classes during the week weren’t so dang early! Then I headed to get my hair cut from my friend Stacie, it was nice to catch up with her and get some fresh locks.

Twenty Eight Years

When I got home I walked in to a cleaned kitchen, a birthday cake & my birthday gift from Brent. It was such a sweet surprise and definitely made me feel really special! We were both starving so we headed to a new local cafe Purple Sprouts that we had heard about from a coworker of Brent’s. Purple Sprouts Cafe is a vegan & raw cafe and juice bar that has only been open for a few months. The cafe is cute and bright with super fun colors and a very interesting menu. We decided to get a hemp burger and a seitan burrito which we decided to split and were both surprised by how satisfied we were from the lunch.
Twenty Eight Years

Twenty Eight Years

But that didn’t stop us from wanting to get coffee! We headed to a cute little coffee shop and got S’Mores lattes which were different, delicious and just the pick me up that I needed. We sat & chatted before heading home and relaxing for a few hours before dinner.

Twenty Eight Years

We headed to E+O for dinner per a recommendation from a couple friends and it was awesome. The atmosphere was super cute a nice mix between industrial and modern without feeling too stuffy & the menu was really unique. A mix of tapas, entrees and sushi, which made decision making extra tough. We ended up splitting a Brussel sprout & kale salad, which was AMAZING I could eat it every day & Brent desperately wanted it paired with some fish on a taco, and a thin crust pizza. The pizza was also good it had some fun flavors and was different then anything I’ve had in a while, it wasn’t my favorite pizza I’ve ever had but it was still really good. We debated on getting a sushi roll but decided to just go home and eat cake!

Twenty Eight YearsTwenty Eight Years

After some cake & gelato we decided to go to a local bar/restaurant Durty Nellies who had a band Hot Sauce Committee that did a Boy Band tribute which was freaking amazing. It was fun to go out and sing to some Backstreet Boys, N’Sync & Spice Girls. The band was hilarious, they were dancing and just genuinely looked like they were having a good time which made it even more fun. The only thing that sucked was how packed it was, I do not do super well with big crowded bars but oh well.

Twenty Eight Years

It was such a fun day getting to spend time with Brent without having anything else on the agenda, a true date day. On Sunday we did our “normal” weekend stuff and then watched the Super Bowl on the couch with dinner at home…anddddd maybe got some FroYo for dessert! I mean it is ONLY your birthday 1 time a year 😉

the only picture we got of each other... ugh I bummed with how grainy it is!

the only picture we got of each other… ugh I bummed with how grainy it is!

Brent made me feel beyond special on Saturday as we were able to just enjoy life together because at the end of the day its about the MOMENTS we spend with someone celebrating not the GIFTS that we were given.I am excited to see what year twenty-eight has in store for me!

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What We're Eating – Macro Meal Plan

Hey Guys!

I haven’t done a “What I Ate Wednesday” or food prep post in a longggg time but have no fear, we continue to meal prep each week so we have healthy delicious meals each week. Lately Brent & I have been trying to clean up our meals and get back focused on macros to help cut some of that winter fluff that has accumulated around our midsections.

We dropped our calories and are focusing on a solid macro split so I thought I would share what we are eating this week with y’all today.

Breakfast: 398calories; 6g C; 16g F; 52g P

1 scoop of Protein + 2tbsp Ground Flax
2 whole eggs + 4 egg whites, cooked in 1tsp coconut oil

Macro Meal Plan

Eggs are almost always my go to morning meal & I usually just eat them scrambled up with some hot sauce. Some days I get “fancy” and will fry them but that undoubtably leaves me wanting some bread to soak the yolk up with. Adding flax to my morning protein gives it a little more bang for the buck and a nice nutty flavor. PLUS it keeps all my systems going, if you know what I mean!
Some mornings I eat breakfast at 6:30am and other mornings I eat closer to 9 or 9:30. It depends on if I am going to the gym first thing (then its later) or if I start work at 7 (than its earlier). The rest of my meals will be shifted based on what time of day I eat breakfast, but generally will try to eat every few hours.

Morning Snack: 202calories; 25g C; 2g F; 21g P

2/3 cup Fat Free Cottage Cheese
1 White Grapefruit

Macro Meal Plan

A whole grapefruit and 2/3 of a cup of cottage cheese makes a super filling nutritious snack. I ALWAYS get hungry around 10-11:00am each day, especially when I start work at 7am and eat my breakfast at 6:30. Having a snack that has some protein, something a little salty and something a bit sweet really makes that time of day better and I don’t go into lunch starving.

Lunch: 245calories; 30g C; 3g F; 33g P

Stir Fry Bowl
5oz Crockpot Chicken (red pepper flakes, fish sauce, rice vinegar & Sriracha)
7oz Roasted Broccoli
1/2c Roasted Mushrooms
1/4c cooked Quinoa

Macro Meal Plan

I love these bowls, they are loaded with flavor and PACKED with veggies. I roasted the broccoli and mushrooms at 375deg until lightly browned and fragrant, then combined the quinoa & lightly wilted spinach with the chicken made in the crockpot. You could use any seasonings for the chicken, I went pretty basic to not add many “empty macros” to a marinade but anything will work! These are super satisfying and make a fantastic filling lunch.

Afternoon Snack: 350calories; 3g C; 13g F; 56g P

1 scoop of Protein
Three 2oz Turkey Meatballs

Macro Meal Plan

These little meatballs are FULL of flavor! I cooked them with lightly caramelized onion, garlic, paprika, chipotle red pepper flakes. I measured out 2oz portions prior to baking them at 375deg for 40-50minutes until they were golden brown. You could easily put any flavors and spices in these to make them your own.
Some days I eat these right before going to the gym but most days I snack on these on my way home from the gym a few hours before dinner!

Dinner: 388calories; 43g C; 10g F; 27g P

5oz Broiled Salmon
120g Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Power Green Salad

((sorry about the terrible lighting guys... it tastes way better than this photo makes it look))

((sorry about the terrible lighting guys… it tastes way better than this photo makes it look))

We are cooking our salmon each night to keep it fresh and will likely use different seasoning to make it feel like a new meal. I love salmon and have been missing it in my diet so am excited about getting to incorporate it this week. We found salmon at Costco for a great price too! For the salad its really just a simple base of power greens, red bell pepper, roma tomato & caramelized onion and I’ve been topping it with a sprinkle of balsamic vinegar. Simple & delicious!

Macro Break Down:

So heres our macro break down… We are eating just about 1600 calories which ends up being about 107g Carbs, 44g Fat & 188g Protein and almost a 30-20-50 split. Actually is 27-25-50, a little high in fat, 8g, and low in carbs 13g but good enough for us! This is a very protein heavy meal plan which was our intent for this week, we will likely tweak and change our macros again in the next week or two based on our goals/progress.

I hope this is helpful for any of you who are looking to start tracking macros and honing in on the nutrients. I am by FAR not perfect at calculating or creating perfectly balanced meals but I am working on finding balance and freedom with the use of macro management.

Happy Eating,

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Weekending XVI

Hi Friend! Its another Monday & another Weekending update. These are some of my favorite posts to write and reflect on the week/weekend.

A very lazy weekend went down over here and honestly it did the body good. Sometimes it’s good to just sit back, relax and do nothing! For the first time in a long time we had ZERO plans for the weekend, except the usual weekend tasks, and it was fantastic!

Friday night we went to the gym, did a great full body workout & put some sumo deadlifts back into my programming which were seriously difficult considering I haven’t been doing them regularly in foreverrrr.


After the gym we headed to the grocery store to get the basics for the week. Brent & I have returned to focusing on macro’s (macronutrients) and structuring our meals around a specific macro goal. We cycle in and out of counting macros when we feel like our bodies need a boost, we both are feeling a bit “fluffy” right now and just want to drop some of the fluff to look as strong/healthy as we feel!

Saturday was the ultimate couch potato day. We got up made breakfast and then lounged with the intention of letting breakfast digest and going to the gym… Then we started watching House… A marathon of House and before I knew it I looked at the clock and it was 4:30…. WHAT THE WHAT!?!?


We headed to Costco & then had an impromptu date night at Pei Wei, I hadn’t been in forever & it was a nice cheat meal, followed by some Fro-Yo because it was right next door and we couldn’t say no! We ended the night watching the proposal and continuing to be lazy bums…

Sunday started a bit slower as well, but when I got up I was UP & got straight to work. Sunday is meal prep day and that’s exactly what I did… I mixed a Spark, made & ate breakfast and then spent about 3.5 hours chopping, baking and measuring out food.

The nice thing about being macro conscious is that meals take less time to prep, there’s usually only one or two steps and not a lot of ingredients. The not so nice aspect is that measuring out the food (& being precise) takes a lot more time than casually scooping 1/2 cup here or there into bowls. But 3.5 hours is pretty typical and I was done before 2!


We relaxed a bit before getting to the gym where I STRUGGLED through a cardio workout. I haven’t done prolonged interval training in a long time, Tuesday I did 15second intervals, but Sunday I did 2 minutes at a fast pace & 4 minute recovery. I did my work rate at a 7:20pace and then recovered at a 12:00 pace (which was a fast walk) I did 6 rounds of this and you guys I was dying when on the treadmill. I don’t know if it’s because my legs are super sore or what but man it was a hard workout. I spent some time rolling out my legs before hitting the bar and doing some pull up negatives.


Sunday night we prepped turkey burgers for the week and ate them for dinner. I love turkey burgers, it’s been a delicious addition to our meals and makes me think of summer!!!

What did you guys do this weekend? Anyone else have a super lazy one like us?

Hope you all have a wonderful start to your week!

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Weekending XV

Happy Monday & Happy Birthday Martin Luther King JR.

I loved learning about MLK when I was in school, for some reason I was fascinated with him. But it wasn’t until just a few days ago that I realized he was about the same age as my grandma!

I haven’t done a weekending post in forever so I thought I would do one today! This weekend we did a bit of everything. It was the first weekend in a while when we had plans in Illinois each day. We were excited to see friends and do some activities we haven’t done before.

On Friday night we had a going away party for my coworker who is moving to NYC. He actually has been done with working for us for the past two weeks so it was nice to get to see him again, see some coworkers who work in different clinics and areas of the company & spend time with my new work team outside of the clinic ((I moved to a new clinic, within the same company, a few months ago)).

my lovely coworkers rocking a group selfie!

my lovely coworkers rocking a group selfie!

My coworker Snay will be definitely missed, he has that personality that makes you feel 100% a part of the group and he is really pretty funny, not to mention a fantastic therapist. He will do amazing things in New York and has an amazing opportunity ahead of him there!

Saturday morning we got up and hit the gym. I did my full body workout from Marc Megna’s program, I focused on my form during the deadlifts & tried to key into the information I’ve been reading in Kelly Starrets book. And then hit the rest of my workout hard! It felt good to get a workout in before what I knew would likely be an indulgent afternoon.

Once we got ready we headed to the city to Revolution Brewery where we met up with our friends Brian & Gina for the afternoon. We did the brewery tour at Revolution which was great, the tour is FREE & you get a beer at the start 👍🏻 plus it’s cool to hear about the history and growth plans for this small and growing brewery.

Brian, Gina. Brent & I at Revolution Brewery!

Brian, Gina. Brent & I at Revolution Brewery!

After the tour we headed to Honey Butter Fried Chicken for a late lunch/early dinner. The resturant was cute and bustling for 4pm, but they turned the food & tables over really quickly and the staff was super friendly. Brent & I split  the chicken strips, an order of buffalo Mac, & a side of the kale slaw (because balance!) Everything was super tasty!

HBFC - a must try!

HBFC – a must try!

Then we headed to watch the Packers game with Brian & Gina before heading home for the night.
Sunday was much more relaxed. We got up and headed to mass & met up with our friends Rich & Agnes for breakfast. We hadn’t spent time with the two of them in a while so it was nice to meet up and catch up on life over some yummy breakfast!

weekend

A small roll of toilet paper is a must have at Church!

A small roll of toilet paper is a must have at Church!

We did a couple errands before going home where I promptly took a 2 hour nap. I have been dealing with a bit of a cold and was feeling really drained and exhausted from all our fun. The nap was much needed 😊

Now it’s the start of a new week and time to check things off that to do list! Have a great Monday!

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The Year of No Expectations

Happy 2016 Guys!

We are 11 days into 2016 and I hope you all are off to a great start! I have loved reading friends and families New Year’s goals and resolutions over the past week or so and it has got me thinking about goals of my own.

2015 was all about getting married and getting to June. Then the rest of the year was adjusting to our new normal and finding the right balance, which I don’t think I did at all but life is always about adjusting right?!

For 2015 I did not set a bunch of goals but rather I set a word for the year, to practice more SELF LOVE. While this word sort of went by the way-side as they year progressed looking back on 2015 I feel that I did a pretty good job of practicing this.

On Jan 2 of this year I went to a Yoga class at my gym and the instructor set our class intention as “No Expectations” and I thought that it was the perfect phrase for 2016.

The Year of No Expectations

I often find myself putting these grand expectations on myself and then when I am not able to live up to those expectations I feel defeated and it takes me a while to get back on my feet. I think that with the social media world and within the beautiful blogging community we are constantly comparing ourselves to each other and this can often put a lot of unnecessary stress and expectations on yourself. I know that I fall into this trap a lot!

SO for 2016 I am not setting any grand goals, I just hope to live this year doing my best and accomplishing the goals that I have in my head one day at a time without a timeline because this is the year of No Expectations. The year of achieving and doing t for ME and no other reason than that.

What are you going to achieve this year? What word or phrase resonates with you?

Cheers the happiest and healthiest 2016 possible, I can’t wait to see what this year has in store for us all.

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Farewell 2015… Hello 2016!

Hey friends remember me? I blogged here… 28 days ago… And before that semi regularly…

  

Well the last month… Uh 6… Have been filled with lots of other stuff leaving not a lot of time to dedicate to this blog. I also honestly just felt uninspired which didn’t lead to GREAT posts or topics, and I don’t want to blog just to put something on the page and say I did it. That’s just not my style 😊

I hope to be more consistent in 2016 but to be honest life is more important and I want to enjoy it to the best of my ability so if that means not as much blogging that might be the case. I am going to do a blogging challenge starting in January so hopefully that’ll help! 

OK the real reason I’m plugging in today is to share my 2015 year in review! I was reflecting on this year, how much happened, changed and the growth that has occurred. I wrote up an Instagram post that’ll be up later but I wanted to capture it on the blog today too! 
  
❄January❄️ A new year and new fitness goals & achievements… we started the year strong with Crossfit and achieving some handstand goals
❤️February❤️ My birthday month and celebrating the love and marriage of our good friends Kelsey & Sean. Celebrating their wedding was definitely the highlight of the month!

🍀March🍀 Some, short lived, warm weather meant outdoor running and handstand/shoulder strengthening. March was also the start of showers and wedding crunch time!

🌹April🌹 The birth of my precious niece Juliette, she has brought a lot of joy to our family and it’s been so fun to watch her grow. April also brought some new found faith between Brent & I as we celebrated our first Easter both Catholics. 

  
🌧May🌧 The month of “showers,” wedding showers that is, I was blessed with two beautiful showers thrown for us by our friends & family. May also brought the challenge of MURPH that my Aunt & I accomplished together!

  
👰🏼💍June💍👰🏼 

WE GOT MARRIED!!! I married the love of my life and was blessed with a beautiful wedding celebration with all our family and friends. looking back on June brings so much joy & happiness, I couldn’t have imagined a more perfect day! We also traveled to Mackinaw Island and enjoys a few days of Pure Michigan Bliss!

  
🎉July🎉 

More fitness fun running in the Mastadon Challenge with our family was so much fun! we finally stopped traveling so much and got to enjoy life married. I took very few pictures in July so I’m sure we had a nice relaxing month… Maybe?

☀️August☀️ 

The month I took the most photos… Lots of fitness photos as we finally got back on track after a few months of enjoying life and hit the gym hard! Outdoor running, sunshine and enjoying the summer in Chicago. Definitely my favorite time of year!

🍃September🍃

Football games and enjoying time with our friends with a few trips to the city and to Michigan. With having season tickets we started new traditions of going to the Michigan Games and spending a lot of time on the road. We also spend Labor Day with our friends in the City enjoying all the fun that Chicago offers! 

🏈October🏈 

Another month of travel! We went to all the Michigan Football home games, tailgated our butts off and enjoyed spending time with great friends! At the end of the month we jet setted again, in October we had plans every weekend with staying in Illinois only 1 weekend of the month!

  
✈️November✈️ 

SAN FRANCISCO!!! we traveled to SF for 10 days of relaxing and enjoying each other! Our trip was so much fun, you can read about it here, taking a belated honeymoon was so worth it! we also celebrated Brent’s 30th birthday in style, at the Michigan-Ohio Stare game and then with a great dinner downtown Ann Arbor  😜

🎄December🎄

A great pre-holiday Advocare challenge that helped to cleanup our diet and I avoided a lot of pre-Christmas junk food. Sadly I have been enjoying those treats now that the challenge is over, that’s to end Monday! December also meant lots of fun holiday celebrations with family. We ended the year in style with Brent successfully growing (and shaving) a beard and ending the year on a really happy and satisfied note! 

There are things I can’t wait to achieve in 2016. Goals and achievements that are just dreams waiting to become reality but looking back on 2015 & I can honestly say we lived EACH month to its fullest and enjoyed every bump and bruise we encountered along the way! 

Cheers to 2016!

  

Getting Back on Track

Hey Guys!

With all of the traveling and weekends away this fall I’ve been feeling really off when it comes to the gym and the food that I’ve been putting in my body. I think everyone goes through periods of time when food and fitness become a chore rather than a pleasure and thats where I am suck right now.

image source @keri_lynn_badach on Instagram

I have been struggling with wanting to love my workouts and have been eating the same boring food for months and while they are healthy they don’t really satisfy us so often I find that we go out to grab “a snack” or opt out of eating at home and grab takeout or a sandwich. All of this leads to a vicious circle of being upset and angry with myself and playing that dreaded comparison game.

image source @keri_lynn_badach on Instagram

A few weeks ago I talked about how I was going to get back to GPP as I really do love the programming and the workouts, I had a great week of workouts following the programming and making them work but then we went on vacation and didn’t workout (but we walked a lot) and then I got sick. So here I am almost 4 weeks later feeling the same as I did then.

WELP its time to recommit and get focused finding my inner happiness which I know can come from a good workout and positive talking.

Image source @keri_lynn_badach on Instagram

I was chatting with my friend Keri about this on Friday when I was feeling less than motivated to get my sweat on at the gym. She reminded me that I can never achieve the goals that I have in my head if I can’t find inner happiness first. Its one thing for someone else to tell you that you’re strong, fit and amazing and its another thing to FEEL those feelings yourself.

Since my seriously cleansing chat with Keri I decided to give up on this negative “i can’t” “I’m not” “i wish” talk that I kept finding myself going to and start to DO the things that make me happy.

image source @keri_lynn_badach on Instagram

SO I getting back on track by cleaning up my diet & cleaning up my attitude at the gym. Even if my workouts still struggle, because a rut sometimes is just a rut, I am going to COMMIT to getting to the gym & doing the best that I can during the rest of the hours of the day.

I challenge you to spread POSITIVE talk to yourself and remember that YOU are AMAZING no matter what the social media pressure wants to tell you, no matter what that reflection in the mirror or the amount of weight on the stack shows, YOU are here doing the BEST that you can and ROCKING IT!

Image Source @keri_lynn_badach on Instagram

Also if you are still in need of some positive talking and help in finding the best healthy way for you, check out Keri’s website & her new blog, she is a certified holistic health coach and a seriously amazing person with the best spirit and energy possible!

With Love & Positivity,

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San Francisco Vacation

Hey Guys long time no chat!

Sorry about that… the past few weeks have been a bit crazy and honestly this little blog got pushed to the way-side. But I’m back now and here to share our trip to San Fran!

Since Brent & I opted out of a big extravagant honeymoon right after we got married and made our way to Mackinac Island for a little R&R we decided to take a trip in the fall. Our amazing friend, Gwen, lives in SF and invited us to her home while she vacationed in Mexico with her sisters. It was the perfect opportunity to get away and spend some quality time together!

 

We got to San Fran late Friday night for a full week of exploring & while we had ideas and things we would like to do/see in mind we had almost ZERO agenda which was nice!

If you followed me on SnapChat (mywellnessland) or Instagram you have a pretty good idea what we were up to during our trip, I tried to stay off social media through the trip except to capture memories by posting on snapchat. For those of you who don’t follow me, grab a cup of coffee this could take a while 🙂

Day 1: Napa

On Saturday we spent the day with Gwen before she left town, it was so nice to catch up with here and go up to Napa together!

We headed to a neighborhood resturant Just For You Cafe for a filling breakfast. The cafe was cute & busy on a gorgeous Saturday morning. We waited for our table and then enjoyed a great breakfast.

Once we were fueled for the day we headed back to the house got our stuff together for the trip up to Napa & got on the road.

DSC_0615 San Francisco

Our first winery was Bell Wine Cellars which was a complete coincidence and Brent & I were beyond excited to enjoy OUR winery! We probably took so many pictures of this winery because everything was branded “Bell” and we were obsessed! Plus they had amazing wine, a bit pricey but absolutely delicious. We went home with a bottle of their reserve wine & two wine glasses… Because BELL, duh!

San Francsico San Francisco

After Bell we headed to B Cellars which was just down the road & a winery which Gwen belonged to. We took a tour of the grounds where they not only grow the grapes but they have bees for honey, a gorgeous herb garden & fresh vegetables to use in their kitchen. The vineyard was build on a hill so they had tunnels and caves which we toured as well, they had a wine barrel on tap which was pretty awesome!

San Francisco

Once our tour was completed we sat down for a food & wine paring, and I decided I wanted a personal chef! The food was divine and the wine was pretty dang good too. We took home a bottle of their Syrah.

San Francisco

San Francisco

Later that night we headed out to Plouf for a Halloween seafood dinner. Brent & I decided to split a bucket of Coconut Milk Mussels & the Sea Bass special. The sea bass was pretty good, I had never ate sea bass before and really enjoyed the texture and flavor. BUT for me the star was the Mussels. I could’ve ate the whole bowl, the sauce was so flavorful and rich it was a totally new take on mussels for me & I loved it!

Day 2: Brew Tour

Sunday started early when we took Gwen to the airport & then relaxed a bit taking our time to get up and going. After a homemade omelet breakfast we decided to seek out the different breweries in the city.

San Francisco

We started out walking from the house and just hit different breweries as we went along. We ended up walking to 5 different breweries, almost 7miles round trip. It was fun to go to some of the smaller places and chat with the bartenders about the area and local brewery scene. At our last stop we had a bit of a hike back home which took us up some serious San Fran hills and in some not so great neighborhoods, by the time we got back to the house it was 8+ hours later and we were exhausted.

Here’s where we went & my humble opinions 😉
1. Triple VooDoo I loved the vibe of this bar, it was very industrial, which went great with the neighborhood, and had  huge selection of beers. Including some that I enjoyed since I am a picky beer drinker! I could definitely see hanging out here or going here for happy hours and enjoying the environment.

2. 21st Amendment – They also had a large selection of beers & were more of a “brew-restaurant” rather than a hard core microbrewery. We split a sandwich here which was mighty delicious! The beer was tasty and if you’re looking for a brewery with a sports-bar feel the upstairs here is just what you want!

3. Black Hammer Brewing – the environment here was super chill, family friendly and really cute. It had big open windows, community style tables and while its a pretty little place it was super comfortable & dog friendly! I was not a big fan of the beer here, but again I’m picky, but Brent enjoyed the flight that we had and the sour I got wasn’t bad!

4. Local Brewing Co. – We spent the longest time here because we sat at the bar and visited with the bar tender. Local is a relatively new brewery and the bar had a very industrial feel, Brent kept saying it reminded him of Five Guys because of the Red & Black. They had a nice selection of beers & the bartender was very well versed in their beer along with other local breweries. We enjoyed a flight of their beers & I actually liked quite a few!

5. Southern Pacific Brewery – Our last stop was Southern Pacific which was again more of a sports bar/restaurant than just a brewery. It was rather spacious and had a nice big patio which would be a fun place for a night out with friends. They also had a good beer list with house beer & otherwise which was nice to see some other local beers on the menu. We ate dinner here and the sandwiches were delicious.

So there you have it! I would go back to all of these breweries & there were a few we didn’t make it to (Magnolia, Harmonic, Speakeasy & Cellarmaker) but heres a start for your next trip to San Fran!

Day 3: Trolley Ride, Lombard St & Painted Ladies

After the wine tastings and brew tour all the alcohol had Brent not feeling the best. I woke up at 5:45am, thank you DLS, and read while Brent caught some extra sleep. Again we had a slow start to the day but it’s vacation and I was enjoying relaxing!

It took a while but we eventually got up and moving but once we did we decided to walk down to Union Square and do a trolley ride up to Lombard Street.

San Francisco

The trolley ride was more entertaining than I had expected. Watching the driver conduct the trolley, working the brakes and turning was pretty impressive, I guess I thought they just went along the track without any work! Also the hills were extreme I felt like I was on a tame rollercoaster.

San Francisco

Once we hopped off the trolley at the end of the line we walked back up Russian Hill to Lombard St to take pictures and be tourists!

Lombard Street

Lombard Street

Painted Ladies - As seen in the opening credits of Full House

Painted Ladies – As seen in the opening credits of Full House

After a million pictures we started walking towards the Painted Ladies. It was a bit of a treck but we were up for the task and had plenty of time! Drying our walk we got to see a lot of neighborhoods, stopped for a coffee break, witnessed a fight & avoided it, walked through a couple pretty parks, and finally got to the Painted Ladies as the sun started to set.

San Francisco

San Francisco

Both of our legs were pretty tired from the walk so we grabbed a Lyft and relaxed the rest of the night with some delicious take out Pizza from Long Bridge Pizza down the street from where we were staying.

Day 4: Alcatraz Island, Ferry Building, Fishermans Warf, Pier 39 & Ghiradelli Square

Alcatraz Island was the ONLY thing we planned ahead of time. I had been told by basically everyone that we had to do Alcatraz & to order in advance. We did both, plus per online recommendations we booked the first ferry to the island. Since we aren’t traveling during the big tourist season the island wasn’t super busy but it was nice to get there right away and not have a ton of crowds.

San Francisco San Francisco

The island tour was completely worth it, I learned so much about the history of Alcatraz and was so impressed with the audio tour.

San Francisco San Francisco

We took the boat back to San Fran and were both STARVING!!! So in search of food we headed toward the Ferry Building Marketplace go find something to eat. We settled on burgers from American Eatery which were the BOMB!! I don’t think I’ve ever ate a burger from a “fast food” place which was so good.

San Francisco

Cute Shops & The Ferry Building

San Francisco

Cute Shops & The Ferry Building

We then stopped at Pier 39 and watched the sea lions for such a long time, they are really entertaining & we loved standing and watching them adding our own commentary when they would make their different noises.

San Francisco San Francisco

After we had our share of the sea lions we walked down to Fishermans Warf and up to the Ghiradelli Square to split a sundae!

San Francisco San Francisco

We enjoyed some down time just relaxing, people watching and recharging our phones so we would have enough juice to make it home 😁 that evening we just relaxed and let our legs rest from all the walking!!

Easy Quinoa Pasta Dinner after a long day of walking!

Easy Quinoa Pasta Dinner after a long day of walking!

Day 5: Muir Woods

We got up Wednesday and after some breakfast we headed out to Muir Woods to see the California Redwoods! We wee both pretty excited to see the big trees but I was prepared to be underwhelmed because all the reading I did said “these are NOT the ones you drive through or see on TV.”

San Francisco

After some tight turns and winding roads we made it to the park and started our walk through the red woods!

San Francisco San Francisco San Francisco San Francisco

I must admit I was seriously impressed with the massive size and presence the trees took on, they were seriously gorgeous & if they aren’t as BIG or impressive as the ones you see on TV than I can’t even imagine how big those would be.

Pacific Ocean @ Muir Beach

Pacific Ocean @ Muir Beach

Pacific Ocean @ Muir Beach

Pacific Ocean @ Muir Beach

Once we got back to the city we got sandwiches from an awesome little southern restaurant down the way from us and then hit the grocery store for more breakfast & snack food for the remainder of the week.

Ice Cream with Granola a perfect end to a day!

Ice Cream with Granola a perfect end to a day!

Oh and some ice cream too! 😍

Day 6: Anchor Brew Tour

On Thursday we headed to Anchor Brewery to get our Beer Nerd on. It was so interesting to hear about all the history of the brewery, the fires & challenges that they had to overcome over the years. Also hearing about what STEAM beer was & getting to taste some was pretty cool too!

Anchor Brewery

Anchor Brewery

After the tour we enjoyed a hearty tasting… Well Brent enjoyed the tasting the most, while I liked a few of the beers they had I wasn’t the biggest fan so Brent did the drinking & I walked us home at the end.

San Francisco

After a trip to Whole Foods because I had a SERIOUS craving for a big salad!

San Francisco

And let me tell you that salad hit the spot! We literally lounged the rest of the day, we both got colds while out there so a day of rest and relaxation was completely necessary.

Day 7: Chinatown, Union Square & Financial District

On Friday we had plans to rent bikes & bike around the city however since we were both a bit under the weather we slept in and got a late start so we deferred biking to Saturday & went to walk around Chinatown.

San Francisco

It was fun to walk through the city on a busy Friday around lunch time, the city was buzzing and alive which was awesome to see. We walked through the financial district, around Chinatown & though Union Square for a few hours which was such a fun easy afternoon!

A HUGE chopped salad definitely satisfied our hunger at the end of the day!

A HUGE chopped salad definitely satisfied our hunger at the end of the day!

We both were feeling a little under the weather so we headed back home for an evening of just relaxing and taking it easy which was perfect!

Day 8: Bike the Bridge & The Blarney Stone

Saturday was our last day in San Fran and we got up bright and early to head downtown to rent bikes for the day. Once we got fitted for our bikes we headed out along the trail by the bay up to the Golden Gate Bridge.

San Francisco

We stopped a few times to take pictures, once to grab a warm drink & then up to the big bridge! It was quite a ride to the bridge and so once we were up there I was shocked how tough it was biking across it. We made it 3/4 across the bridge & decided due to time we would turn back and go to our next destination.

San Francisco San Francisco

I was kinda bummed because I had heard so much about Sausalito but I didn’t want to ride over just to FLY through and not enjoy it, plus we would’ve had to ride back across the bridge before getting to the bar which sounded hard on my already tired legs (& congested lungs). Now we just have something to do the next time we go to San Fran 😉

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The BEST Bartenders in Town!

The BEST Bartenders in Town!

Once we turned back we headed towards The Blarney Stone which is a Michigan Alumni bar & our destination for the afternoon. We made the 5 mile ride to the bar and once we got there settled into our seats at the bar to watch the game and enjoy the atmosphere! The bar tenders and environment was amazing and a great place to watch the game. I would highly recommend going to Blarney Stone if you’re looking for a cute neighborhood bar!

Street food never tasted so good!

Street food never tasted so good!

Once we dropped off our bikes we walked through the Warf and picked up a bowl of clam chowder soup and a crab roll from a street vendor for dinner before walking home. The soup & sandwich were AMAZING and definitely a delicious way to end our San Francisco adventure!

Day 9: A sad flight home to chilly Chicago!

PHEW so there you have it! 8 days in San Fran and a ton of stuff! We didn’t spend a lot of time eating out at the wonderful restaurants in the city, because we had a kitchen at our disposal and often just grabbed something when we were hungry rather than making plans for dinner and feeling stressed about it.

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I already can’t wait for our next vacation! 😉

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Tailgate Challenge: Mediterranean Dip

With layers of hummus, couscous, tomatoes, cucumbers,
onion, olives & feta
this 7 layer Mediterranean dip will leave
you satisfied and your tastebuds BUZZING!!! 

Hey Hey!!!

It’s time for another delicious tailgate recipe… In case you haven’t been tuning in to my weekly recipes check out these posts too!

Tailgate Challenge

Tailgating Challenge: To bring something healthy to each tailgate all season to help fuel myself and my friends with some sort of healthy nutritionally rich food! I’m not following any diets or sticking to 100% clean foods just making a healthy option for everyone.


Last week we were in Michigan for the game against Northwestern & our first afternoon home game of the season. I was thrilled that we got to sleep in a little bit & go to the farmers market to buy fresh produce before the game.

Mediterranean Dip Mediterranean Dip

Our tailgate theme was Kebabs and things that go with them. I decided to make a dip of sorts to complement the kebabs. When I think kebab I think Mediterranean flavors and lots of fresh veggies so I decided to go with those two ideas into a blended delicious dish!

Kebabs before they hit the grill!

Kebabs before they hit the grill!

I wanted to do a little more than just hummus and veggies AND I wanted to stay away from a yogurt/cream layer since we were going to be outside all day and I didn’t want it to warm up too much. So I beefed up the dip with a layer of Israeli Couscous & it was a brilliant idea.

Mediterranean Dip

I mean look at all those layers!

I mean look at all those layers!

Starting with Sabra original hummus I layered everything in a high-walled baking dish, I think mine was a 8×11 dish with 3in walls.

 

[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:56]
Nothing like trying a new recipe on a bunch of people & not knowing how it would turn out…

pin me for later!

pin me for later!

This dip was a HUGE hit! It was so fresh and seriously delicious. I thought it was good & my dad said it was good but he is always going to complement my food, well almost always, but when 4-5 people came up to me and said they really liked it… Then I knew it was a success!

I cannot wait to make this again for the next party that I have to bring a dish to pass. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

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