Saturday, August 31, 2013

Instagram Life – August Edition

August went by even faster than July! Something I didn't think was possible. July was all about moving, and organizing, and preparing and stressing. August has been all about celebration! From Lollapalooza, to Jenny’s wedding, to bridal showers, to the kick off of Football season, the month was full of festivity. And the fact that Michigan has had an unseasonably cooler July and August makes the presence of September even more surreal. Indian Summer? Nah, I’m looking forward to Fall. This next month is always one of my favorites and this year even more so. It’s going to whiz by faster than you can say pending nuptials.

Here’s my August via Instagram:

1. London Grill – A quaint little Kalamazoo joint discovered while exploring with the Rents

2. Half Rubeous, Half All Day IPA – celebratory cheers for a job well done flea market Saturday

3. Monsters to get me through some grueling Friday afternoons (where the sunshine is simply calling my name!)

4. I've been on a serious sugary cereal kick

5. Just a lil somethin somethin from a co-worker

6. Lunchtime run (that caused dehydration and almost a heat stroke… whoops)

7. Founders Live music night! Serious kitty debate happening here! 

8. Spartans under the lights! GO GREEN!! 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Friday Five!

{hilarious couples shower invite with a Michigan State theme J}

This week was interesting. On Monday (and part of Tuesday actually) I felt sad, that kind of sadness that you can’t really pinpoint (the start of Fall allergies are not helping!). I came to the conclusion I was slightly depressed that the wedding this past weekend is over. I had been looking forward to the celebrations so much and for so long, and then, all of a sudden it was over in the blink of an eye. It dawned on me that these next 5 weeks are going to go by in a flash just like this past weekend did. But then, all at once, everything snapped back into focus. The sadness quickly faded when I realized that, in 5 weeks, after all of the planning, all of the excitement, all of the events, Max and I have an entire life to look forward to. Nothing sad about that!

Alright, onto the next unforgettable weekend! These next 4 days are going to be whirlwind. It’s a jam packed holiday weekend filled with amazing people and amazing memories:

FRIDAY – In just a few short hours Mom and I are East Lansing bound to kick of the start of the MSU football season! I always get so giddy for the first Michigan State visit of the season, but honestly, tonight… Spartans… under the lights! The B.E.S.T!! I’m going to show Momma a good time J GO GREEN!
SATURDAY – Max and I head back to Kalamazoo to celebrate my cousin and her fiancé at their couples shower. Multiple levels of shenanigans always shine through when this group gets together…
SUNDAY – We all pack the car(s) and head to Dowagiac for Max and my couples shower thrown by his brother and sister-in-law. Everything is becoming so real. I’m so excited to marry that kid I’m starting to lose sleep daydreaming about the big day!!

P.S. Court – I wish more than anything that you were here for all of this!

Have a happy and safe Labor Day weekend!

Friday Forte: Save the World - Swedish House Mafia Knife Party Remix 
(i know i already mentioned this song in my Lolla post, but it was the only thing that got me through the most difficult and final week of the plank challenge)

{caught up with Desert Noises + Chimney Choir at Founders}

{perfect for transitioning into Fall}

{testing out perfumes to pin down my “signature scent”}

{what I wouldn’t give to have this stool! Kinda kicking myself for not picking it up at the flea market… I know I know it doesn’t go with the décor, but it could have served as an accent piece?}

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Circuit Training - Session 8

{image via my Pinterest board}

Maximum Weight Circuit! After doing this circuit for a half an hour straight, I had a very hard time lifting my fork up to my mouth during my quick lunch. Very heavy in the upper body, but worth every fist clenching dumbbell lift!

1. Weighted Squat (1 minute)
2. Deep Swimmers Press (1 minute)
3. Y- Press (1 minute)
4. Scissor Lunges (1 minute)
5. Curls (1 minute)
6. Burpees (1 minute)
7. Prison Cell Push-Ups (1 minute)

8. Single Leg Lunges (1 minute)

Fresh & Crunchy Couscous

It's been quite awhile since I made anything different than my go-to salad and saltine dinner, but after listening to a coworker recently describe her homemade shrimp fried rice, I got a craving for couscous--with some crunch.

The final product may not look too different from previous meals I've posted, but I promise you this:  the flavors and texture will bring welcome variety.

First, prep your ingredients...

 De-shell some pistachios

Season & *lightly defrost peas & corn 
(fresh is fine, too, but frozen is cheap & easy!)

Dice some carrots nice and small. Leave them raw to add texture 
(and retain nutrients)

Pick your freshest & favorite spices.

Sear your favorite fish (these are tilapia filets) with olive oil, salt & pepper.

To get the spice & fish flavor all over, pour defrosted 
veggies right in the pan.  
*TIP: If you cook them and then put them in the pan, your peas and corn will be far too soft and lifeless at the conclusion of your meal, so leave them somewhat solid before this step.

[Perfectly cooked couscous=flaky when forked]

[Here comes the crunch!]

[For a truly fresh & unique twist, sprinkle on some fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime or lemon juice]

[Can't you just taste the spice and feel the texture?]

[Fruity finisher: white nectarines soaking in a chardonnay bath]

Monday, August 26, 2013

Wedding Season – 2013 Edition: Jenny & Matt Chapter

WARNING: I apologize in advance for all of the wedding photos to come over the next few months. They are going to be a huge part of my life and I couldn't bear the thought of not sharing in my best friends wedding(s).

This past weekend I got to share in the joy of my best friend getting married. Jenny and I have been talking about our wedding since we were 8 years old. What kind of dress we wanted? What color flowers we would have? Who our bridal party would be? Ha, who our grooms would be (boy has that changed over the years!). One week it was Paul Walker, the next it was Usher, then it was Leonardo DiCaprio (I think it’s still Leo…).

The weekend was amazing, and I’m already having withdrawals of the festivities  At least I can re-live them all with pictures, and more to come from the photographer! They are going to be amazing. Some funny, some serious, all fun. 

{first time using our new champagne flutes - 3 down, 3 to go}

Friday, August 23, 2013

Friday Five!

{sneak peek: Bridesmaids dresses for this weekend's nuptials}

I've been preparing for this week for WEEKS. Really years, if you think back to the day many moons ago when Jenny asked me to be her Maid of Honor and plan her bachelorette party. This has been a week in the making for so long, and it’s finally here. We’re in the midst of it! I’m happy to report that the party went off without a hitch J. Last night, I, and all of her best ladies, got to toast the bride-to-be one last time before she walks down the aisle. The night was so special to Jenny, which in turn made it equally special for me and all of the wonderful women she wanted to share this milestone with.

TOMORROW IS THE BIG SHOW! Jenny and Matt will tie the knot in a beautiful Grand Rapids park Saturday afternoon, and I can’t wait! Before then, there is much to do in preparation. It's going to be a busy weekend.

Friday Forte: Forever– Ben Harper (in honor of the bride & grooms first dance)

{just testing out the DJ booth at MJ's wedding venue}

{red mirror to accent the knights armor}

{there is nothing better than a girls night to celebrate an amazing woman! CONGRATS JENNY!}

{chalk board love (another favorite flea market find) that served as a drink menu for the bachelorette party}

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

iPhone Apps - EXPOSED

{image via}

Now that my sister has finally joined the land of the iPhone, I thought I would share some of my favorite apps. It’s a bit overwhelming when you first get the iPhone. You want to download anything and everything. Literally. Well, take it from me, you will never EVER use half of the stuff you download. I can’t even tell you how many pointless games and apps I downloaded in the first few months of owning this phone. Stupid, and a complete waste of my storage space which, let’s be honest, is better suited for music (why I bought a larger gig in the first place). Over time, you’ll find that you always migrate back to your select few. Some fads come and go obviously (although I don’t know if I’ll ever get sick of Candy Crush), but then there are those apps you find yourself going to on a daily basis. 

Note: This list excludes the obvious social networking tools, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter that I browse constantly

  1. 8 Tracks (obviously!)
  2. Starbucks – you can re-load gift cards and are able to scan your phone at most locations. No money, credit cards, or gift cards necessary. AND bonus, they give you weekly free music and app downloads! Sometimes the songs are true gems…
  3. Moves – this app tracks how many steps you take per day. It tracks running steps and steps walked. Very cool and interesting (especially someone like my sister who walks all the time in her line of work) to track. The day of Lolla I walked over 15,000 steps.
  4. Clear – My FAVORITE way to keep to-do lists that I don’t feel like writing down (although my favorite will always be the write-and-scratch-when-done method J)
  5. Amazon – the easiest way to buy something… ever! Very dangerous but very handy when you just have to order something quickly or want to do some shopping on the go
  6. Tune Time – awesome way for a non-runner to get into the swing of things. This app changes the song every minute so you can circuit train… I credit this app for my start to running
  7. BeautifulMess – my very favorite picture editing apps created by the lovely Elsie & Emma from A Beautiful Mess blog
  8. Shazam – because there is always a time when you LOVE a song playing but have no idea what it’s called or who it’s by
  9. Candy Crush – the most addicting game I’ve ever played
  10. Netflix – I’m very surprised how many times having all of my shows available at my fingertips has come in handy. Airport. Waiting in the car. Lunch hour where I just feel like kicking back. Unpacking my new kitchen with no internet service J
  11. Around Me – I use this all the time! This app allows you to find places around you (get it?). There are times when Max and I felt like having an impromptu bar crawl and wanted to know all places within a certain radius. It’s fun for finding unknown holes in the wall… Or, say if I’m lost and need to know where the nearest gas station is.
  12. Us Weekly – let’s be honest…. I gotta be in the know
  13. Bloglovin – I love reading the blogs I follow on the go. They are always at my fingertips, and I like that

8 Tracks

On our way to Lolla, my friend introduced me to “8 Tracks” a musical app that is similar to Pandora or Spotify in the sense that you can listen to music for free and it’s great for navigating many genres that peak your interest. The app allows you to browse THOUSANDS of playlists by genre and there is any kind of genre imaginable. Take “workout” for example. It doesn't stop there folks! From the “workout” section you go into running playlists, yoga playlists, kickboxing playlists, etc. You name it, they have it. Let me tell you, this app is the bomb. I could browse for hours and HOURS.

Recently,  I’m just wanting some cool, chill, new stuff to plug in and hammer out work (the office is buzzing like crazy with the upcoming Food Show season and I need to drown out everyone’s yapping with musica). This app is perfect. You can change your mood in an instant and go to another playlist or another genre entirely. I kinda wish you could see what the songs were called once you entered each playlist but they want you to wait and find out.

Anywho, here are some fun songs I’ve found since playing around with this app:

1. Awkward – San Cisco (Friday Nights playlists – found via explore, then hipster, then indie rock)

4. Big Jet Plane – Angus And Julia Stone (ironically found this just last week… great minds Court, great minds J - found via explore, then chill, then acoustic… playlist called “cold mornings”)

Obviously, I will have so many more amazing finds from this app. Can't wait to share!!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Monday Motivators!

(A word wall in one of the PreK classes I work with. 
Appealing and PURPOSEFUL to both teachers & students.)

YOGA + SPA=Relaxing Saturday!

6 MILE RUN + ATTACKING TO-DO LIST=Productive Sunday!

It's the perfect equation. Not to mention I got to Face Time with my whole family (Meggie 2x!), connections that always motivate me.
Add to that a night out to the movies with my husband and I nearly had a perfect weekend.

Family, exercise and task-completion are among the many things that are motivating me this week...

Next month, I'll be starting a professional learning book club with my PreK team. This book will be in the mail by Tuesday so I can begin my research and planning.

Tuesday night is Trivia Night @ Tracey's, our neighborhood bar.  
We may not make it every week, but knowing it's there if we need to unwind with Po-Boys & friends is always a motivator at the 
beginning of the week.

Tuesday & Wednesdays are my all day PreK days...
they make me so happy.

(Well, it never actually ends, but I take the [HOT] summers off here.)
Saturday evening will mark my first race of the season.

iTunes and I spent some quality time together this weekend. 
I found some new favorites along the way (*=thank you, meggie!)

Santa Monica Dream--Angus & Julia Stone
Silver Coin --Angus & Julia Stone
Paper Aeroplane -Angus & Julia Stone
*My Bride--Josh Mhire
*Me--The 1975

These are sure to keep me calm, happy & grounded
as I begin another week. 

What will you be focusing on to hold on to yourself this Monday morning?