January 28, 2011

Pre-Swimsuit Slim-Down

The perfect 60 degree and sunny weather forecast for this weekend
friends discussing a springtime mini-vaca someplace beach-y 
its high time for a pre-swimsuit season slim down!

The holiday season (finals weeks, home with family, baked goods galore) were rough on my waistline. Its not that I weigh a whole lot more... I'm just feeling a bit doughy these days! I have made a commitment to myself to eat much healthier, and to make exercising regularly more of a lifestyle than a sporadic activity. Here are some of my goals - which, by making public, I hope to stay on track with now that I'll feel 1) accountable and 2) guilty if I don't!
  • Eat GREEN! I'm such a kindergartner when it comes to green veggies. I'll eat them if they're slathered in ranch dressing or breaded and fried... but my goal is to eat more green veggies - you know, the crunchy, nutritious, basically calorie-free kind - and to find delicious ways to prepare them so my hubby will eat them too! So far, we've loved this asparagus recipe and have had it twice in the past week with baked salmon :)

  • Run for fun. Fun and running are polar opposites in my book.In fact, I feel like I just typed something dirty by putting the two in the same sentence. But last night, the hubbs and I took a leisurely little jog together and it was (dare I say it...) kind of fun! We went slow enough to chat and laugh and it was just the perfect temp outside. Who would have thunk that we could combine quality husb/wife time with a little calorie burning?! I want to try to do this more often. Hopefully he is on board :)
See? They do it! If we keep it up, maybe we'll both have bods like Fergie and Josh! (*fingers crossed*)
  •  Shop smarter. When I hear moms talk about how they get their kids to eat healthy, they always say something to the effect of "they can only eat what I buy" or "I give them fruit as a 'treat' not a punishment" or... whatever. Point is: I don't live with my momma anymore. I buy the groceries that fill our shelves and refrigerator. So, I'm going to employ the same tactics as moms who don't want their kiddos eating junk --- don't buy it!!! Sounds easy enough. This week I strolled right past the frozen food aisles (check ya later, frozen yogurt) and baking aisle (no more boxes of brownies lying around begging to be baked in my pantry) and headed straight for the fresh fish, organic produce, and whole wheat bread and pasta sections. Its amazing how long I can go without sweets when we don't own any!
  •  Maintain my wellness. I'm lucky to be a healthy, active 23-year-old whose only health issues consist of the occasional cold or upset stomach. But that doesn't mean I should take it for granted! In addition to my weekly regimen of chiropractic maintenance {which I highly recommend - for reasons I will save for another post} my goal is to incorporate vitamins and healthy supplements into my daily routine. Right now, I'm taking a Women's One-A-Day multivitamin and fish oil... but I admittedly forget to take these on a daily basis. I hope to change this by taking them at a set time each day, adding a few other essential natural supplements, and eventually it will be second nature!
  •  Exercise regularly. I tend to work out in spurts. Some weeks, I'll go 5 times. Other weeks, I'm lucky to sqeeze in 30 min of exercise. By scheduling 1-hour workouts into my week, at a set day and time and even writing them in my planner, exercise will become part of my lifestyle. In just a few short weeks of planning regular workouts for 3-5 days per week, I'm already finding that I feel weird not working out for a few days... rather than it feeling strange to work out. I'm also trying to vary my workouts so I don't get bored - if I run one day, I'll do the elliptical or the bike for 30-45 min the next. If I lifted free weights one day, later in the week I'll do some pilates exercises or resistance machines. So far, so good! No results yet - these things take time - but patience is a virtue :)
This is really our apartment gym :) A sneak peak into my workouts I suppose.
  •  Pack lunches. This is a no-brainer. Packing a healthy, nutritious lunch for days when we're both at school/work is a way to control our portions and calories. If we only eat what we pack, we avoid the issue of stopping for a quick lunch between classes or ordering delivery food to the office. I am on the hunt for some semi "adult" looking thermal lunch boxes, and have already stocked up on various sizes of Ziplock containers to pack healthy lunches and snacks. Washing and cutting up fruits and veggies before putting away our groceries has been a huge help and makes packing quick, healthy lunches a much less tedious task!

So there you have it! My get-my-butt-in-shape-before-swimsuit-season goals. No tricks. No gimmicks. Just good old fashioned eat less(aka better)/exercise more..... I'll keep you posted with my progress :)

January 26, 2011

I Love My BFF

This post is a tribute to my BFF.

Because she is awesome.

And because I really, truly do love her.
And miss her!

Annnd because she totally asked for it :)

Here are just a few of the reasons why Sara-Kate is my bff and why my life would be empty and boring and dull and lonely and sad and I'd just be lost without her:
#1: She is pretty. And easy to like. And always down for meeting me for a drink, or a shopping excursion, or lunch, or whatever! Back in our rebellious high school days, we'd smooth talk our way past the parking lot attendant to get smoothies or BP coffee every morning during our study hall. She was totally ok with exchanging a piece of pumpkin roll or my senior picture for a mid-morning break from Hudson High School.
#2. We both think we're cool. She thinks I'm cool. I think she is cool. But we both know we're not actually very cool. And we've got each others' back, no matter how un-cool the situation we get ourselves into might be (think: covering up for each other's fibs to our moms back in the day - even if it meant spending your Monday night baking/decorating a cake for an imaginary extra credit project!).
#3. Even when we got our purchased-online-without-reading-carefully costumes in the mail and realized that they were a) spandex b) sorta see-through and c) didn't zip past our boobies... she was still a trooper and we wore them proudly anyway. {Control top panty hose and all!} We dressed up as totally inappropriate sailors for freshman year Halloween at OU together and pranced around campus all night as if we thought we looked normal.
#4. She (and her momma) threw me the cutest most adorable wedding shower that ever existed. With all my girlfriends. And made me feel like the most special little bride ever! I can't wait to return the favor!!! Hurry up and get engaged already, would ya?
#4 1/2. In addition to my amazingly wonderful shower, she was also an A+ co-Maid of Honor throughout all of my wedding festivities! Thanks to her, my Bachelorette Party was a night I'll never forget, and she was my go-to girl for every step of wedding planning. {This pic was taken the night of my Rehearsal Dinner}
#5. She is super fun! We loved visiting each other at OU/Miami during college - this night in particular was a favorite college memory of mine... I surprised SK for her 21st birthday :) She woke up on the morning of her milestone birthday curled up with me in her twin bed, both wearing a combination of pajamas and our outfits from the night before. Can you think of a better way to kick off your 21st year of life?! No? Me either.
#6. We love tormenting our baby brother and sister. Who also happen to be bffs. A favorite past time of ours is exchanging stories about the dumb stuff these two knuckleheads are up to. It tends to make us feel better about our own lives! Particularly when one (or both) of these precious siblings of ours hit parked cars, wind up in underage drinking debacles, throw parties thinking they are stealth just to find out they're not, and all other things along this same line of general stupidity.
#7. We reminisce {all the time} about our ridiculous high school memories. It never gets old. This picture brings back memories of our awesome - or at least we thought so - UPS girls Halloween costumes and a night of 18-year-old trick-or-treating. The same night where I may or may not have picked a wedgie  - a severe enough wedgie to require me to actually lift my skirt up to get to it - while wearing skimpy undies, without realizing that someone was behind me. Woops. That's still good for a laugh 6ish years later.
#8. More high school memories. Getting ready for high school dances is another favorite "back in the day" memory. Never mind that we usually only stayed at the actual dance for approx 22 minutes each time. We made more memories at during/post dance parties and sleepovers than we did at the high school gym anyway!
#9. We put up with each other no matter what. Even when one of us is being drunk. And/or annoying. Or whining/venting/bitching. And possibly maybe (way back in the day) puking. Even if it means that the other one has to stay in the bathroom with their bff to hold back their hair and rub their back........ while eating a frozen french bread pizza :)
#10. This was the first night of a certain memorable summer that I rekindled my friendship with Andrew. That quickly turned into a romance. One that has never ended, in fact! Which, despite some controversy that surrounded the situation, SK supported 100%. Without her keeping my secrets and giving me the most practical, sound, do-what-YOU-want-and-stop-worrying-about-what-people-think advice I have ever received at the start of my relationship w/ Andrew, we might not be married today! I don't know if I have ever told her that :)
So, there you have it! Skate is the bestest friend I could have ever in a billion years asked for. I'm so thankful that she was uprooted from her life in Massachusetts to move to Ohio as a sophomore in highschool. I'm thankful that she decided to play lacrosse - otherwise who knows how we would have met! And I'll be forever thankful for the memories we have made - the kind that pop into my head at random and made me laugh out loud in class, or at work, or in the car... at the mere thought of them - and the memories we will make in the future! 

I'm still crossing my fingers and praying every night that our dreams of being country club moms in Hudson to our heard of adorable children will come to fruition... after all, how else are our first-born babies supposed to grow up and get married so we can spend every holiday together?!


January 23, 2011

Sunday Breakfast

We love lazy weekend mornings. Its the only time during the week where we can laze around with nothing to do. When we wake up (usually around 10:30...or later) we plop our butts on the couch, turn on the TV, and lay around (half) watching whatever is on with our laptops in front of us. After a cup of coffee and browsing my favorite sites - Realtor.com, all my fave blogs, and usually Facebook haha - I make us a big breakfast! 

Some mornings its PW's biscuits and gravy. Others its good old fashioned bacon and eggs. If we're lucky, we'll have some of Andrew's mom's goetta left in our fridge to put on toast with eggs. But more often than not, it is these delish bacon, egg and cheese biscuits :)
All the ingred's you'll need!


2 for me, 3 for hubbs!
They're so simple, and relatively quick to make. I make the eggs and bacon while the biscuits are in the oven... and in about 20 min {give or take} we are back on the couch - browsing the internet/watching TV with full bellies and an apartment filled with the smell of bacon :)

We know that our weekend mornings won't be this care-free forever. And its not every weekend morning that we get to savor these moments together. So we take full advantage of the lazy Sunday breakfasts we can get. Somehow, quality time w/ each always revolves around food... usually food that involves crispy bacon.

January 20, 2011

Back to school...

After a looong holiday break, and a week of crazy snow days... we're officially back to school.

Back to reading around the clock, 7+ hour days of class, no energy left over to do anything for myself, and not enough minutes in the day to spend time relaxing with my hubbs.

Also back to no time for being a domestic wanna-be... our apartment during busy school/work weeks is usually a disaster (think: laundry spilling over the sides of 2 hampers, no clean spoons or knives, and a layer of mystery film on the stove/counters) and I have very little time - or motivation - to cook when I get home from school or work. This is where a few wonders have come into play for me this week:
1.) Wok
2.) Husband

#1 and #2 should technically be combined for the purposes of this post. Andrew has been Husband of the Year this week. I have no idea where it came from, but I'm afraid to ask for fear that it might come to an abrupt halt! For example...

  • Monday: he cooked an amazing chicken/beef/veggie stir fry dinner in our new Wok {thanks, Mom and Dad B!} and cleaned up every last dish and cooking utensil afterward. This is unheard of in our house - its usually an either/or. Either he cooks, or he cleans up. Never both. I'm talking... never.
  • Tuesday: he packed his own lunch. Left over stir fry and other odds and ends. The mass amounts of stir fry that we can now make in our 5 qt. Wok seems to have just relieved me of sandwich-making duty and I am thrilled that hubbs has found a way to make a meal last the whole week!
  • Somewhere between Monday and today (my days are blurred...): he emptied the dishwasher, did a few - as in more than 2 - loads of laundry, he PUT AWAY LAUNDRY ON THE DRYER! EVEN MINE! {again, can't remember this happening ever}, and as I sit here and type this I hear the dishwasher running again.

He is really a great hubby all the time, but it was just the little things this week that made my life so much more pleasant. I have thanked him for every.single.thing. just so he knows that his random acts of domestic-ness have not gone unnoticed. Its amazing how much sharing the household chores can free up my evenings... not to mention reduce some stress/bitchiness ;)

And #3 - my slow cooker - has been so great as we get back into the busy school/work routine because I can toss in ingredients on my way out the door, and I walk back in hours later to a house that smells delish, and a meal that feels like it was prepared for me by a little fairy while I was off learning or working. Its fun :) Here are a few of my fave slow cooker recipes these days:

Slow Cooker Chili

So they're not exactly gourmet dinners, but who cares? They're pretty healthy, easy, and we like 'em - that's all that matters! And if Andrew keeps up this miraculous cooking/cleaning/laundry-doing business, I just might have time to do some real cooking for him this semester! It's a win-win.

January 16, 2011

Sunday Morning Entertainment

The things that amuse a couple of 20-somethings
who don't have children
or any weekend responsibilities
orrr an ounce of maturity.
Hope you're enjoying your Sunday as much as we clearly are :)

FAVE Cake. Ever.

Remember the red velvet cheesecake I raved about a while back? 
And how I found the recipe on this blog and just had to try my hand at it??
Well, I recreated it last week. With a couple modifications. And a slightly sloppier assembly of the layers. Annnd maybe a few hundred extra calories.
But let me tell ya... it was worth it!
Purple is Katie's favorite ;)

See? Messier than last time. But somehow tasted even better!
We missed a couple of friends' birthdays while we were home in Ohio, so this was a delayed birthday celebration of sorts. Or maybe it was just a good excuse to have this cake again... or a good way to cure our cabin fever after a week of being stuck in our respective apartments waiting for the snow and ice to melt in Atlanta. Whatever the reason, I made the cake and it was a hit!
Bday girl Katie - who has been requesting this as her birthday cake since last February!
Yum :)

Happy {belated} 24th birthdays, girls!
Here is what was different about this masterpiece on my second go around:

1) I used (gasp) boxed red velvet cake. But who cares - it was so moist and delish!
2) I totally changed the icing.

Red velvet cake from a box is a guaranteed perfect consistency, color and moist-ness. Since the cheesecake flavor is what (in my opinion) makes or breaks this cake, the red velvet layers were really secondary... so no big deal using a box mix for it. The icing last time was way cream cheese-y. Like overly cream cheese flavored - so it overpowered the other yummy flavors in the cake. Not to mention, it was impossible to frost on smoothly. So this time I did some Googling and found the perfect cream cheese buttercream recipe to work from. I ended up adapting it by adding some extra confectioners sugar, milk, and even a little flour just to get the consistency right, but it was largely the same as this recipe. Can't go wrong w/ Martha :)
The original red velvet cheesecake recipe I used can be found on Judy's blog, along with about a million other amazing recipes that I am itching to try! I duplicated her White Chocolate Cheesecake recipe exactly for the middle layer, and it was perfection.

Thankfully, birthdays only come once a year. I think I see some red velvet cheesecake dimples forming on my thighs already... but lucky for us, we have lots of friends to share my high cal hobbies with! Several pieces of this dessert were packed up in tupperware and delivered to friends for them to enjoy (and subsequently run off). 

I've already got Andrew's 24th birthday cake picked out {in fact, it was decided on months ago haha} for February, so be sure to check it out after V-day :)

January 12, 2011


Head on over to my bestie's blog for an awesome giveaway!
Stay a while and catch up on her cute life while you're there :)

Ordy and Joon

NYE Wedding

Since I've been snowed in for 3 days, and a 4th snow day in a row has already been announced for tomorrow, I have spent upwards of 8 hours today reading blogs. I wish I were joking. Cooking blogs, decorating blogs, you name it - I've read it. Which, of course, makes me want to post fun things on my blog! But since my life has consisted of nothing but cooking, cleaning and cabin fever this week... I'll share some pics from the *fun* New Year's Eve wedding we attended :)
Us, Dad B, and sis-in-law

Cinci skyline behind us

Andrew and his dad
Andrew's cousin got married on NYE and it was such a fun way to ring in 2011! The ceremony and reception were both held at a Covington, KY hotel that overlooked the river and had an amazing view of the Cincinnati skyline! Cocktail hour was on the 16th floor of the building, so the panoramic views were beautiful for pictures. True to form, I only took about 10 - but I'm blaming it on the new camera Santa brought. How was I supposed to know the battery didn't come fully charged? Oh well. Luckily the bride and groom thought ahead and had a "Photo Booth" set up in the back corner of the ballroom where a professional photog was stationed taking pics of whoever wanted them throughout the evening. I thought this was the coolest idea!
How much family can you pile into the viewfinder?!

Note to self: In the future... pics BEFORE drinks! (Not after 5... or 6)
The lucky newlyweds headed south of the border for a tropical honeymoon the day after New Year's. I was so jealous of their week in the sun that hubbs and I decided (ok, I decided... he just didn't protest) that we want to spend NYE in a different tropical destination every year. After we graduate, of course! Realistic? Prob not. But a girl can dream! The new Mr. and Mrs. will have such a fun anniv to celebrate for years to come! Good planning on their part. We had a great time, got to see lots of family that we haven't seen in a long time {since our wedding, or longer!} and had a more memorable start to this year than most of our NYE's in recent memory.

And last but not least, best wishes to the beautiful couple, who will never read this, but who deserve a shout-out nonetheless ;) 
The newlyweds!
Tonight I'll be baking my now-famous (self-proclaimed) red velvet cheesecake for some friends' (belated) birthday celebrations! {Fingers crossed that it will turn out as perfectly as my first attempt at making this!!} Weather permitting, we'll get to enjoy it tomorrow evening with a few good friends. Can't think of a better way to spend Snow Day #4!

January 11, 2011

Hello, 2011

How is January already halfway over?! Thanks to the insane Atlanta weather, my holiday break has been extended by 2 {snow} days! We've been soaking up these unexpected days off with all things lazy! I've (re) organized the hall and guest room closets, purged our little home for 4 giant bags of trash, and finally tackled cleaning and organizing our bookshelf in the office. That sounds busier than I have felt these past snowed-in 48 hours... but we also slept in until well after 10 a.m., ordered mid-afternoon movies On Demand, and sipped on spiked apple cider while watching the national championship football game :)
The start of my garbage pile...

Our jam-packed bookcase!

Also got this sucker organized and ready for the semester... yuck.
My handy hubbs also set up our new *wireless* printer! This is exciting to me... I always have hated plugging my laptop into the printer with a cord. He also got a new Macbook Pro so we can do all sorts of fun things between our twin computers through bluetooth! Pretty exciting stuff. But he won't let me box up and store away his beloved Dell desktop yet - I turned him into a Mac user, but not 100% yet - baby steps.

Andrew's school has already announced that the campus will be closed again tomorrow! I'm crossing my little fingers that mine will decide the same... and as long as it looks like this outside, there just might be a chance that we'll get Snow Day #3!
View from our balcony

Winter wonderland!
Until then, we'll be cozying up indoors trying not to let cabin fever get the best of us. I'll also get around to posting pics of our holiday break fun :) Oh ya, and starting all that reading I've been putting off for the past few weeks. Maybe...

January 3, 2011

Home for the Holidays

There is nothing like being home for the holidays! And we are so spoiled by our grad student winter breaks that I honestly don't know what I will do when we only have a few vacation days to take around Christmas and New Year's! We're blessed to have so much family in the same general area - our parents live in the same town, my grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles all live within an easy 15-35 minutes by car - but it definitely makes for a hectic holiday break schedule!

There are so many people to see, places we want to eat, and things to get done that sometimes we get overwhelmed (in a good way) with scheduling everything we want/need to do in such a short couple of weeks... weeks that are already filled with crazy busy holiday festivities! We are down to our last 6 days at home, and we have a full schedule of visiting with family and friends, ordering next semester's books, and trying to soak up the last few precious hours of sleep we can get before the hustle and bustle of school picks back up.

I'm not complaining. Really, I'm not! This is the best kind of "stress" a girl could ever hope to have - too much family and so many friends wanting to visit with us, and not enough hours and days to cram it all in while we're home! Its the best sort of busy to be and I am happy to be running around like a crazy lady until Saturday :) But when Saturday arrives and we make the long trek back to Atlanta... I will be just as happy lazing around with my little family as I am scheduling every meal and waking moment to be around friends and family back home!
Cute hubbs and our little bebe on Christmas day :)
Until then... its sleep, visit, eat/visit, shower, visit! Hope your holiday season has been filled with as much of this good busyness as ours has been! I wouldn't want it any other way!

January 2, 2011

Planner Re-fills

I get embarrassingly excited about ordering planner re-fills for the upcoming calendar year.

Maybe its because my Kate Spade planner is just so cute that I can't get enough of it, even after being its proud owner for 3 years. Or maybe its just my precocious, over-achieving, Type A tendencies that never tire of making lists, crossing off "to-do's" and writing down holidays, birthdays, weddings and the like for the upcoming 12 months. Whatever it is... Santa brought my 2011 planner fillers and I spent the morning replacing the pages with care :)

But before I part with my beloved calendar pages from 2010, I go through my yearly ritual of reading back over the pages and reminiscing about that year. Here are some of the highlights I came across as I flipped through the pages:
  •  Deadlines and exam dates from my 1st year of law school... good riddance!
  • My parents' and sister's February visit to Atlanta :)
  • The day I met the sweet kiddos I nannied for this past summer (and still adore babysitting)
  • Our Savannah Weekend itinerary and reservation info
  • My law school's Barrister's Ball
  • Flying back to Ohio for a summer visit
  • Annual Canada vacation with my wonderful family
  • THREE Hilton Head weekend trips
  • Our 1 Year Anniversary celebration
  • A spring break vaca in Scottsdale, AZ w/ my sister and mama
  • Dinner reservations and weekend plans with our amazing friends
  • Birthdays and other special dates to remember for family and friends {new & old}
  • Reminders to pay bills, go to doctor's appointments, and other grown-up "to-do's
Looking back on 2010, I came to the conclusions that: it went too fast. We grew so many new friendships. We learned a LOT. We loved a ton. And we have so much to be thankful for! I'm excited to see what 2011 holds for us - and I'm hoping that I can arrange to have a few of my own personal goals incorporated into the next 12 months, too! My hope is that we do these things more: love, laugh, travel, sleep, create, dream, exercise, read (for leisure), grow, reconnect, save, plan, go to church; and these things less: complain, stress, eat junk, procrastinate.

As I fill my new planner pages with upcoming birthdays, weekend visitors, and school calendars - I am skeptical to make "resolutions" and am hopeful that when I look back on these crisp, blank pages in 11 months and 29 days that they are filled with memories made and fun times spent with friends and family that we will cherish forever! 

Happy New Year!