Friday, September 15, 2017

Friday Favorites

Hi all! This has been a bitttt of a week. There were some major changes at work this week that were shocking to say the least and the last twenty-four hours have been pure mental adjustment on my end. After a few conversations within our department, I'm more at ease and am tentatively optimistic, but I'm still so, so, so happy to see Friday come around. A much needed break awaits. 

Since this week was somewhat of a shit show, I'm simply going to do a photo dump and call them all "favorites" ;) Sorry for the laziness, but it's warranted this week. 

Forever saving screen shots of Jessica Garvin's style (and everything else for that matter). She's my favorite blogger for sure and I can't get enough of what she posts. I love this look for fall.

I spent one weeknight folding laundry with some white cheddar popcorn and one of my favorite movies of all time. Gene is just too good...*sigh*

This quality photo is brought to you by me taking it sideways while walking incredibly fast. 
You're welcome. 
Last Friday I surprised my Grandma by bringing dinner (obviously a really classy dinner as evident by the Stove Top I have in my bag there, although, I'll always defend Stove Top because it's just GOOD. I don't even care.) and spending the evening with her. She totally lost her mind and was so happy to see me...even though I see her every single week haha.

Last weekend my girlfriend had us over for brunch. She led us outside and handed us each one of these super pretty boxes. 

Inside there was a clear balloon we had to pop and when we did, a little rolled up piece of fabric and gold confetti flew out! She asked us all to be bridesmaids in her wedding next June and it was so sweet and cute. 

This was her spread and I went back about three times because I have a death wish.

She served bagels, pumpkin cream cheese coffee cake, a fruit plate, a cheese plate, some pastries, and a cheesy hash brown casserole. We sipped on mimosas and raspberry spumoni all morning and afternoon and it was so lovely.

She gave us the rundown of some wedding details she's been keeping from us, one of which is our bridesmaid dress. She'd like us to wear this dress alternating in traditional gold and rose gold. I absolutely love it and think it will go perfectly with their Gatsby theme.

Later that night my mom, grandma, and I headed over to our cousin's for a girl's night she threw so we could all see her new home. It's so cute and they've made such pretty updates to it. 
There was also this fun spread as well.

And that would be my grandmother doing a jello shot with a spoon. 
OBV a favorite.

I finished We Are Never Meeting in Real Life and loved it. I mentioned it here before, but it's worth repeating: definitely, definitely recommended.

Some morning views on my walk to work this week. Our building is next-door to a communal garden and I love peeking over the fence to see what they're growing. 

About a month ago, Chelsie and I realized we needed one of "our days" together since we haven't had one since before her wedding, so we bought tickets to a Cubs game for tomorrow since neither of us have been this season and I am absolutely jacked up about it.

Since we haven't been yet this season, we haven't been since they've won the title and I can't wait to be in that space with all that energy, especially toward the end of the regular season. 
Can't wait to get a glimpse of that gorgeous ivy. 

I hope all of you are looking forward to some fun plans this weekend!

Friday, September 8, 2017

Friday Five

Very happy it's Friday, people. This week has been a little mentally draining, so I'm looking forward to some relaxation this weekend and a therapy appointment on Sunday to get my head back on straight ;) Let's jump in to the five things I'm loving/thinking about today.

//Diet Refresh Thoughts
So if you know me, you know the phrase "diet refresh" isn't a favorite of mine or something I'm loving, but that's what this week was about for me so I'm including it here because we're keeping it real. I purchased the 3-Day Refresh from Beachbody about a month ago for an exorbitant price thinking that price tag would hold me accountable for doing it because I'm not about to waste $80.
Without getting into too much detail about that program itself (I wouldn't recommend it honestly because, as with all Beachbody products, the price is ridiculous for basically paying for 9 shakes/drinks, and the taste is terrible like I was only able to get down the Shakeology ones and even those were a struggle), I'm left feeling discouraged and it's really frustrating. Today is my last day on it and while I guess I feel better, I didn't see enough "results" to warrant the mental crap I had to go through this week. I know, I know. It was only three days and I'm super aware of how dramatic I'm being about it. 
I wasn't expecting to lose a considerable amount of weight by any means, but maybe one pound or two. I ended up getting sick this week with a sinus cold so that hasn't helped in terms of being able to recognize my body feeling much better because it doesn't. I guess I'm complaining maybe just to complain. But I weighed myself LIKE AN IDIOT last night (like for real why do I even own a scale? it's just the worst) just to see if I saw any kind of progress, and I actually gained three pounds from last week. I was so annoyed and upset (again, exactly why I shouldn't get on a scale). 
I've followed the program pretty strictly and felt like I didn't get "the prize" for doing it. My expectations were reasonably low: lose one pound or so, jumpstart the weight loss train again, feel better internally. Maybe by the end of the day I'll have lost a pound or at least break even, I know this shouldn't deter me from getting on that train, and I do feel better internally for the most part especially since I'm proud I completed something I set out to do. And yet, I can't shake that discouragement. I spiraled a little last night feeling like this decade+ weight loss journey is impossible and it's never going bring me to the place I ultimately want to be. I know a journey is a never ending plight, but I thought at some point this would get a little easier. And then I felt guilty for even complaining about this because I know people have so much worse going on in their lives right now and something this silly doesn't even compare.
But then this morning on Facebook, my friend Maddie's (who was also my roommate in college) mom posted a video from the gym she goes to with Maddie. The gym did a story about Maddie after she had posted on Instagram a few weeks ago about her weight loss journey. Maddie has struggled with her weight all her life and has spoken about her freshman year of college (the year her and I lived together) as being the year she realized she needed to make a change. She left Chicago and moved back home to Nebraska to be closer to family and go to college there where she subsequently lost over one hundred pounds. She is a beautiful soul, a loving member of her family, devoted girlfriend, and owns her own business--which happens to be a cookie store--and she met this struggle head on. She's my inspiration. So this morning I decided to shut up, try to cut that negative crap from my mind (which will forever be a lifelong struggle for me), and absorb a little bit of Maddie's magic. 

I mean, who wouldn't be inspired by that? So I'm going to push through the mental blocks, continue doing the research and the work, and hopefully I'll end up with some of the results--both physical and emotional--I've been looking for. Endlessly proud and thankful to my friend for sharing her story.

//First Signs of Fall Weather
Moving on to some less heavy subjects... I've been loving the first signs of fall weather we're getting here in Chicago. Today I threw a cozy sweater over my chambray shirt and was feeling very fall, especially with my cup of tea I'm having this morning. Yes I drink hot tea through a straw. Try it, you'll change your life.

//Current Read: We're Never Meeting in Real Life
I'm currently finishing up We're Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby and I've been loving it. It's dark in some places, vulgar in others, but wholly honest, and very, very funny. She's from Evanston, IL, and I love the references to Chicago and the surrounding suburbs, so if you're local, I bet you'd get it a kick out of it too. Highly recommend.

//Nightstand Vibes
This is nothing groundbreaking obviously but I snapped a picture of my nightstand last night because it looked so calming to me haha. I recently resubscribed to Glamour (not sure why I ever stopped getting it) and I'm so happy when it's delivered. This just a glimpse at some things that make me so happy: my bed, stacks of books, remotes which mean The Golden Girls are on in the background ;) It's the little things, folks.

//Weekend Plans
I've been looking forward to tomorrow for a few weeks now. My girlfriend is having us over for brunch in the morning, I may run some errands with one of them in the afternoon, and then my mom and I are going by my cousin's who is hosting a girl's night. I. Can't. Wait. for all the girl time. The women in my life are such a source of joy for me and I'm so happy to be spending some quality time with them. 

As for tonight, I may make a surprise visit to my grandma's after work :) this summer was so busy for me that I wasn't able to stop by or spend some quality time with her like I should have, so I'm hoping to make up for some of that in the upcoming months.

Well thanks for listening to the rants and random thoughts today if you've even made it this far, friends ;)
I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

2017 Fall Bucket List

Eee! I'm so excited to be writing this post today. I've missed drafting up seasonal bucket lists. They keep me accountable and save me from being lazy, plus they're just fun to think about!

Diving right in...

Go Apple Picking 
Sammy doesn't have any weekends off this fall, so I'm not sure him and I will be able to get to an orchard together this season which is a bummer. But that just means I'll have to go with some girlfriends or my mom! Sammy's mom has already mentioned wanting to go this month, so maybe we can make a day of it.

Go to the Drive-In
Sammy and I went and saw Grease at the McHenry drive-in a few weekends ago and it was SO much fun. I'm such a dork about this kind of stuff and had a blast (even though I chipped my tooth while eating popcorn and cried about it, it's fine, guys). A bunch of people came with their vintage cars and it was so cool to see them all parked there.

They're doing a fall throwback series until Halloween and once October hits, it looks like all the movies are horror/Halloween themed, so I'd love to catch one more movie before the season is over.

Carve Pumpkins 
This is one of my and Sammy's fall traditions we do every year. I love going to a farm and picking pumpkins together and then going back to one of our houses and carving them while listening to Halloween music I make him listen to. Maybe this year I won't subject us both to "Monster Mash" and we have a movie on in the background instead. Why have I not thought of this before?...poor guy haha.

I've carved a castle for the last two years, and even though Sammy insists I have to pick something different... I think I really still want to do a castle haha.

Go to "Autumn Drive"
Autumn Drive is an event that happens every fall in McHenry County where participating farms, orchards, local businesses, etc., will sign up to be on a route you can drive through and peruse items they're selling. Sammy and I went last year and I enjoyed it a lot. Some stops are definitely better than others but it's nice to get out and walk on beautiful fall day. This year it's the third weekend in October and I'm hoping my mom will want to go with me!

Make (at least) Two New Pumpkin Recipes
A few days ago, I searched through the New York Times cooking section and saved a few fall-inspired recipes to my virtual recipe box.
I mentioned in my fall favorites post that last year I was surprisingly turned on to pumpkin chili, so I'd love to try my hand at it this season. This version looks hearty and perfect for a chillier day.

These maple pumpkin muffins sounded really great to me as well. I'm wondering if I can tweak the recipe and make them as scones with a side of clotted cream instead.
Go to an Oktoberfest with My Dad
I mentioned this to my dad recently and he suggested heading up to Wisconsin to go to one of their Oktoberfests so the hunt is on for a good one!

See the Leaves Change on the East Coast
This is going to be a lifelong fall bucket list item because I can't imagine I would ever tire of seeing the changing of the seasons on the east coast, but it could actually happen this year. My siblings and I are going with my mom to Niagara Falls (on the New York side) over Columbus Day weekend and I'm hoping it looks super seasonal and festive.

Have Halloween Date Night
Two years ago I went a little ham on the idea that I was going to plan this super cute Halloween date night for Sammy and I, and while it turned out a little bit over the top (see photo below of a ridiculous amount of shit that was intended for TWO people...), and the food definitely turned out less than stellar, it's become a tradition for us. We eat some comfort food, watch halloween themed movies, and I usually force Sammy to dress up in some kind of costume so we look somewhat festive when we pass out candy to the five kids that show up (like where are all the kids these days? the last few years we've gotten such a low turnout of trick-or-treaters). As I've mentioned several times, Sammy is working Halloween, so we'll have to do our date night a few days early. I think we'll keep it way more low key than the last two years by staying in pajamas, but I'm already planning a few treats ;)

Donate to a Food Bank for Thanksgiving
The holiday season is always a reminder for me to give back (although I really need to work on doing this throughout the entire year), and I really want to organize something with my family and/or friends to gather a bunch of food to donate to food bank, especially around Thanksgiving.

Bring Something to Thanksgiving Dinner
Every year on the night before Thanksgiving, my siblings and cousins and I have slept over at my grandparent's house to help prep food for dinner the following day, but beyond helping in that respect, I don't cook any dishes by myself entirely, so I'd love to make and bring something this year. 
Sammy has to work this Thanksgiving, so I'll be with my family this year for the entire day instead of splitting the day with his family, so I think it's a good time to try a new recipe out even though I have a fundamental opposition to new recipes (or altering old ones) on Thanksgiving (the food is already so good!! why change anything?!) 

But this jalapeƱo spoonbread looks too good to pass up and pretty foolproof. 


So I think that's it! I wish it were even longer though. I bet I can come up with a few more things ;) I'll report back if I do!


Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Weekending | Labor Day Weekend 2017

I swear I always need another day to recover after a three-day weekend. The last few days have been kind of a whirlwind, but it was definitely a lot of fun.

Last minute, a few girlfriends and I decided to grab tickets to the Tim McGraw/Faith Hill concert on Friday night and I was surprised at how much I loved it. I'm not a huge country fan, but I can get down with some classics when I'm in the mood. Plus I'll never turn down looking at Tim McGraw, in the flesh, for a few hours. Damn that man. 
They are the sweetest couple like ever, I couldn't even stand how cute they were together.
It seriously rivaled seeing Brad Paisley--my ultimate favorite. 
Ben Rector opened for them and he did such an awesome job as well.
Highly recommend if they're coming to a city near you. 

On Saturday, my family and I went to the Taste of Melrose and it did.not.disappoint. I obviously grabbed everything Scudeiro's was selling ;) my family is now officially a little creeped out by how much I love that place. Among the five of us we got a stuffed pepper sandwich, pizza, a pepperoni roll, gnocchi, linguini with garlic, oil, and parmesan, two sausage sandwiches, a steak teriyaki kabob, corn, two arancini, sfinge, and chocolate covered strawberries ;)

And since we were in the area, my dad asked if I wanted to stop into Scuderio's and obv I didn't say no ;) I grabbed one of those focaccia loafs to take home and my brother somehow ate an entire meatball sandwich.

On Sunday we had our niece's baptism and it was such a lovely day. Sammy did a great job executing his godfather duties ;) He's seriously loving every minute of this.

We had an early dinner at Trezero's in Mount Prospect which was delicious. Dinner lasted from 3:30 p.m. until after 8 p.m. which made for a very long day haha but it was so nice to sit with family and catch up at a slower pace.

See? Loving it. Plus I never get tired of this view ;)

I hung out by Sammy's for the rest of the evening and we caught up on The Sinner which is getting a little creepier than I thought it would! But we're digging it. 
Is anyone else watching? Jessica Biel is so good.

On Monday I went to yet another Italian fest with Sammy's family. This one is more on the religious side, but there's still a carnival and food and what not. We went earlier in the day on Monday and the crowd was sparse which was nice on one end (no lines for food, easier to navigate the stroller), but made for kind of a gloomy experience (the weather didn't help) since it was so quiet. It was still nice to spend some quality time with Sammy's parents and his brother's family.

Sammy and I went back to my house in the early evening and spent some time on the hammock since the weather had cleared up. Then we lounged around watching Lockup because your girl can't get enough of prison documentary series for some reason. 

Love spending some lazy moments with Sammy, especially when he's coming off his weekends off. He won't have another weekend off until November, so I've been trying to soak up this time with him. Since we don't live together and don't automatically see each other every day, we'll have to find time  after I get home from work to hang out on his days off which will fall during the week for the next two months. 
I'm learning that this isn't as big of a deal as I thought it might be and we just have to work around his schedule since he doesn't work a conventional 9-5, Mon-Fri. 
I'm already planning our fall-themed weeknight date nights ;)

 I hope everyone had a fun-filled weekend! I'm already looking forward to lots of girl time this coming weekend. 

Linking up with Biana!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Friday Favorites | Fall Favorites

Today is the first day of September! And in my eyes, that means it's the first day of fall and I couldn't be more pumped about it. I thought I would do a little roundup this Friday of my current favorite fall items in honor of the changing of seasons :)
Bahama Mama might be my favorite nail color of all time, but it's for sure my favorite fall color. It's the perfect vampy shade for fall without being too dark--I love that the actual color shines through. Plus I think it looks good with any outfit. I instantly feel pulled together when I'm wearing that color.

I recently got a few new pieces for fall, but I've been trying to stick to sites that I know are on the cheaper side just because I really need to curb the spending over here. I tend to go for things that I know I can wear to work and wear on the weekends so I feel like I'm getting more use out of them.

These tops are from Jane (which is an app I peruse quite frequently now much to the dismay of my checking account). The deals disappear after a certain amount of time so all of this stuff is now gone, but everything was under $20 which is right up my alley. 

I love easy stuff for work (especially if it's flowy) that I can just throw on over jeans or leggings and walk out the door. 

I think this peplum maxi in olive will be so pretty in the fall especially with a scarf and denim jacket as the temperatures start to drop a bit.

I grabbed this bright red vest from ThredUp and I was so thrilled when I got it because it looked brand new! I think it will be super cute with sweaters and tunics underneath during the fall and winter time. It feels super festive to me. Not to mention that it goes with all of my "ugly" Christmas sweaters ;)

I also grabbed this vest for reasons even I don't understand. There was something about it that made me feel like I neeeeeeeded it. And for $13.99 I was like, what the hell. It looks so much better in person, screams "fall!", and I'm going to love pairing with a chambray shirt, leggings, and boots. 

I grabbed these booties that I think are so cute! I don't have any shoes in this color and I love the peep toe and unique ankle cut. I think it'll be a great transition shoe from summer to fall. 

I have wider calves, so I need a knee-high boot with a wide opening so they don't cut off my circulation ;) and I can always count on Amazon to have a pair of wide mouth boots for under $50. I'm really excited to get these in and wear with leggings and tunics and vests and scarves and all the fall things!

And speaking of clothes...Sammy and I couldn't resist a few things for our niece in honor of her first fall/Halloween ;) (that pumpkin on the butt!!!)

I love going to Target around this time as they've started to unveil their holiday items and try to find a few neutral seasonal pieces to add some festivity to my desk. I know a lot of people are still sad summer is coming to end, so I don't like to go crazy Halloween-in-your-face right away (but come October 1st...) but I like my space to look a little more festive. 

^that is like my ideal home office UGH.

I love to christen the beginning of fall with a huge pot of chili. It's such a comfort food for me and it's something that can really be a healthy option, so I try to make it as often as I can 'cause I rarely get sick of it. 
find here
My cousin served pumpkin chili at her annual pumpkin party last fall and I wasn't sure I was going to like it since I don't usually love savory pumpkin flavored things, but I ended up loving it. She added some crushed red pepper for an extra kick and I think that's what did it for me. I'm definitely hoping to make a few pots this season. 
find here
I would also love to try to make a batch of all-natural pumpkin spice coffee creamer. I love flavored creamers, but they tend to be full of shitty ingredients (not that I don't eat a ton of other stuff with less than stellar ingredients...) that leave me feeling gross, so I thought I'd make my own to try and avoid that. We'll see how that goes!

Well that's all for today, friends. I can't wait to get into all this festivity! What are some of your favorite fall items? I would love to hear. 

This weekend I'm looking forward to seeing Tim McGraw and Faith Hill tonight with some of my girlfriends (!), going to my favorite Italian fest we go to every year with my family, our niece's baptism (especially since Sammy has been asked to be the godfather!), and a relaxing day off on Monday. 

I hope everyone has a safe and wonderful long weekend!