August 19, 2014

Gratitude Lately


Lately I've been thankful for gooey Farm-to-Table grilled cheese sandwiches and dining al fresco with friends on unseasonably cool summer days.



For the reminder that sometimes the best views are up.



For tiny gold initials worn around my neck to remind me of the one I love countries away.



For tequila + girl chat at a swanky spot. Two things that should always go together.



For treats in cones and the sprinkles that make them twice as merry.



For new adventures in the city that has stolen my heart and the colorful sites along the way.



For home cooked meals on the patio, and for the ability to google 
"how to put out a grease fire in the oven" quickly.



For snuggly Beasts who like to be the little spoon.

(L to R: Erin, Meredith, Kari, Megan, Angela, Mandy )

For new communities that have brought about friends in the most unconventional way.



For furry companions who can type excel spreadsheets like a boss.



For exploring new gems nestled deep in the city, and the breakfast bounty they provide
which makes it all worth it.



For weekly Monday Family Dinners sharing Big Chewy Monster Cookies and stories
that make our bellies ache.



For checking things off the summer bucket list, especially when they are blackberry + lavender flavored.


.:::.:::.:::.:::.:::.


Here's to gratitude and how it makes life fuller, and the smallest things more than enough.

  //  What are you thankful for today? //


 photo Signature-5_zps1ea392df.png
Follow along here:  BlogLovinInstagramTwitterFacebookPinterest
________________________________________________



August 18, 2014

Mingle Monday Blog Link-Up

Thanks for your patience... I was having some technical difficulties last night, so it didn't go live at midnight.
Anyway, I am here and so are you, so that alone is something to be celebrated! How was your weekend?

I had a great weekend spending time with my hubby and friends while be-bopping around KC (more to come on that later), so I'm still basking in the weekend glow.

Thanks so much for stopping by, and I hope you will spread the word! Lots of great things planned for the blog this week (Yay! Finally got myself in gear!), so stay tuned.


 
    

HOW TO MINGLE

 ** Only 3 easy rules - that's all I ask! **


1) Link-up your blog below.

2) You must share a link to Mingle Monday on your post or the Mingle Monday photo.
 
3) Answer the weekly question in the comments section below and have FUN!
 
** What is your absolute favorite season and why? **
(If it could be fall all year long, I would be one happy camper!) 
 
________________________________________________________________________________________

Still proud to say that 100% of advertisement sponsorship proceeds go to my charity of choice, the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge. There are dozens and dozens of Hope Lodges across the country that give cancer patients a free place to stay while out of town for cancer treatment - such a cool place! 

With just $10, you can get a month long ad and know that it is going to help real cancer patients and their families. So please join me in my fundraising effort by becoming a sponsor HERE!


.:::.:::.:::.:::.:::.

Wishing you a stress-free week!

 photo Signature-5_zps1ea392df.png
Follow along here:  BlogLovinInstagramTwitterFacebookPinterest

August 11, 2014

Mingle Monday Blog Link-up!

What a lovely, go-with-the-flow weekend.

Although the Ingrid Michaelson concert got cancelled Friday, we still made the best of the gorgeous crisp night. Saturday was kind of a whirlwind since I was on call for work, but the day shaped up as soon as my hubby came home from being out of the country.

Sunday was spent sleeping in, going to see "The Hundred-Foot Journey" (go see it - it's amazing!), and a cozy evening of comfort food and relaxation.

I sure hope yours was fantastic too, and thanks so much for dropping by to link-up your blog. Enjoy a little laid back networking and hopefully you make some new blog friendships. Now get in there!

 
    

HOW TO MINGLE

 ** Only 3 easy rules - that's all I ask! **


1) Link-up your blog below.

2) You must share a link to Mingle Monday on your post or the Mingle Monday photo.
 
3) Answer the weekly question in the comments section below and have FUN!
 
** What is one thing you want to check off your bucket list before summer ends? **
(I'm dying to go pick fresh fruit and make a tasty pie!)
________________________________________________________________________________________

Still proud to say that 100% of advertisement sponsorship proceeds go to my charity of choice, the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge. There are dozens and dozens of Hope Lodges across the country that give cancer patients a free place to stay while out of town for cancer treatment - such a cool place! 

With just $10, you can get a month long ad and know that it is going to help real cancer patients and their families. So please join me in my fundraising effort by becoming a sponsor HERE!


.:::.:::.:::.:::.:::.

Cheers to a good week, my friends!

 photo Signature-5_zps1ea392df.png
Follow along here:  BlogLovinInstagramTwitterFacebookPinterest

August 8, 2014

Weekend Outlook + Have a Brave One!

Hello, sweet weekend, I have missed you!
Every single day this week, I have woken up thinking it was Saturday like some kind of cruel joke. Then I would drudge away at work trying not to count the minutes that needed to tick by until 5 o'clock.

Please tell me I wasn't the only one this week...



Well, praise the Great Lion of Judah, the weekend is finally here.
I can't wait to celebrate with some fun plans and a whole lot of relaxing. Here's what's happening...


Friday //
Tonight, Ally and I are finally going to make it down to Westport to try out the acclaimed food at Port Fonda for the first time (I know, I know... I am way late to that fiesta), and then we will be taking in some Ingrid Michaelson awesomeness at Grinders. It's going to be a spectacular night.


Saturday //
I am dog sitting for several family members, so my house will be full of pups with cold noses and I couldn't be more excited. I can imagine a trip to the dog park will be in our very near future.

 Adam has been in rural Canada this week on a business trip, so contacting each other has been slim to none with no phone service and spotty internet connection. Needless to say, I am missing my other half and can't wait to have his back home to catch-up.


Sunday //
I will be up bright and early just chilling with my cute 4th graders at Sunday school. After that we will hit up what my girls call "big church", and hopefully going to see a movie. The Hundred-Foot Journey has been calling my name ever since I saw the trailer, and I can't wait to revel in this foodie film.




.:::.:::.:::.:::.:::.

I hope you are braver this weekend than a Beast flying through the waves chasing her beloved stick.
Let's catch up for Mingle Monday and share our adventures, okay?


See you there, brave ones.

 photo Signature-5_zps1ea392df.png
Follow along here:  BlogLovin, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest
________________________________________________

August 7, 2014

Eats Around KC + New Adventures

My goal for the summer was to get into the heart of this beautiful city and discover new treasures and adventures. With my friends and family in tow, we did some urban exploring.

Whether it was a hole-in-the-wall mom and pop restaurant that has been in business for 40 years, or brand new places to Kansas City's best food scene, we found the perfect little gems.

Here's a glimpse of the past week's discoveries...





Every Thursday morning, I meet my dear friend Ally for some coffee and stories before work. We have two rules: Always local, always roaming. So when I came across an article about Thou Mayest, it sounded like the perfect place for my hippie loving heart to visit. 

Little did I know that Ally knows the owner through a friend from undergad, and after 3 visits in the last week and a half, I am well on my way to becoming a regular. The atmosphere is very chill with wanderlust, nature-loving decor and rustic industrial furniture. If I could have them come decorate the Haskins House like that, it would be incredible.

Not only do they serve incredible coffee for those seeking a morning caffeine high, they also turn around and have a full service bar featuring delicious hand crafted cocktails (try the Jalisco!) and craft beer for the happy hour and late night crowd. The best place to sip your beverage? I love the back patio furnished with exotic plants, garden lights strung from above, and cozy eclectic lounge chairs.




One of my favorite things that my co-workers and I do once a month is pick a local restaurant to eat at to celebrate that month's birthdays. So you can imagine my excitement when the July birthday babies chose to swing by this swanky bistro inside the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art.

Not only is the menu wonderful (best reuben sandwich ever), the artwork is always changing in their skylight filled great room, and also the art lobby you walk through to get to the cafe. Now that's food with a view!






On Sunday evening, we hit up the chic eatery, Story, tucked away in the heart of Prairie Village. I have been there once before and left wishing I would have worn stretchier pants - thanks, Chef Carl Thorne-Thomsen! 

But when my in-laws told me about their new Sunday special where they feature one entree for a mere $10 price tag (they post the entree preview on Instagram!), I knew another visit was in my near future.

So we grabbed the fam for a little dinner indulgence. The Sunday special was a deliciously prepared and perfectly cooked hanger steak, fresh garlic green beans, and fingerling potatoes... all for the price of a Chipotle burrito. Of course, a fun summertime cocktail and deconstructed German chocolate cake were also a must... and I'm not complaining!




.:::.:::.:::.:::.:::.


As you can imagine, my gourmet loving heart runneth over. Dear heavens, I am going to need to schedule some extra gym sessions, but the adventures were absolutely worth the splurges.


//  What foodie adventures have you been on lately?  //


 photo Signature-5_zps1ea392df.png
Follow along here:  BlogLovinInstagramTwitterFacebookPinterest
________________________________________________

August 4, 2014

Mingle Monday Blog Link-up

Holy smokes - I apologize for the belated post!
Unfortunately my Monday started out with a 2.5 hour visit to the dentist... ugh.

Needless to say, it's been a heck of a morning and I could really use some good mingling to pick my day up. What about you all? I hope your morning has gone a lot smoother! Let's mingle, shall we?


 
    

HOW TO MINGLE

 ** Only 3 easy rules - that's all I ask! **


1) Link-up your blog below.

2) You must share a link to Mingle Monday on your post or the Mingle Monday photo.
 
3) Answer the weekly question in the comments section below and have FUN!
 
** If you could travel for free to any US city, where would you choose? **

________________________________________________________________________________________

Still proud to say that 100% of advertisement sponsorship proceeds go to my charity of choice, the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge. There are dozens and dozens of Hope Lodges across the country that give cancer patients a free place to stay while out of town for cancer treatment - such a cool place! 

With just $10, you can get a month long ad and know that it is going to help real cancer patients and their families. So please join me in my fundraising effort by becoming a sponsor HERE!


.:::.:::.:::.:::.:::.

Cheers to an easy and surprisingly smooth week!

 photo Signature-5_zps1ea392df.png
Follow along here:  BlogLovinInstagramTwitterFacebookPinterest

July 27, 2014

Mingle Monday Blog Link-up

Hurray! Thanks for swinging by le blog to link-up for some networking!
Every single week there are some incredible bloggers that you are bound to discover. Your on your way to new great reads and more loyal readers!

I hope your weekend was incredibly relaxing and full of the people who make your heart full. \I spent my weekend with eleven of my closest girlfriends at the family cabin. We sat on the dock and dipper our toes in the pond, went on long walks, and played way too many crazy games. Those girls sure wore me out! ;)

On to mingling!


 
    

HOW TO MINGLE

 ** Only 3 easy rules - that's all I ask! **


1) Link-up your blog below.

2) You must share a link to Mingle Monday on your post or the Mingle Monday photo.
 
3) Answer the weekly question in the comments section below and have FUN!
 
** What new hobby or skill would you like to learn? **
(I would pick sewing or canning... old school!)

________________________________________________________________________________________

Still proud to say that 100% of advertisement sponsorship proceeds go to my charity of choice, the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge. There are dozens and dozens of Hope Lodges across the country that give cancer patients a free place to stay while out of town for cancer treatment - such a cool place! 

With just $10, you can get a month long ad and know that it is going to help real cancer patients and their families. So please join me in my fundraising effort by becoming a sponsor HERE!


.:::.:::.:::.:::.:::.

Cheers to an easy and surprisingly smooth week!

 photo Signature-5_zps1ea392df.png
Follow along here:  BlogLovinInstagramTwitterFacebookPinterest

July 24, 2014

8 Favorite Fitness Must Haves

I have had so much fun lately sharing our new lifestyle change with you all, from our eating plan to our grocery list, and now I am here to share some fitness fun.

Growing up, I was always active with dance and sports and loved every minute. I was with my friends and having fun, which totally distracted me from the struggles of training. Once I went away to college and was without team sports and dance class, I had to learn how to workout on my own.

Within the first year, I slowly learned to enjoy running to relieve stress, and started going to the gym at 6AM before class. Now, 8 years later, I am so glad that I actually find pleasure in attending a workout class or taking the Beast on a walk.

Setting goals, trying new things, and discovering my favorite fitness items has kept me motivated along the way. Here are a few I can't live without...


1// Fitbit Flex 




I just purchased my Fitbit Flex and I already love it. As I move throughout my day it tracks my steps, calories burned, activity level, water intake, and calorie intake. Meanwhile at night it tracks my sleeping patterns, which is totally nerdy for me to be so excited about, but it's very interesting to see if I had  a restful night sleep or if I was rolling around like a tornado!

Believe it or not, it tracks all of this while wearing a stylish colorful bracelet (I chose yellow... are you shocked?), and syncs wirelessly to your smart phone, tablet, or PC. I also love that you can pop out the tracker at any time and switch it to another colored bracelet. I am loving the soon-to-be-released Tory Burch band designs - both athletic styles and gold jewelry styles, that are way more trendy for all you fashion forward gals!


 2// FT4 Polar Calorie Counter + Heart Rate Monitor 



I got my FT4 Polar 6 months before my wedding as a workout motivator, and have been wearing it ever since. If you don't have this and you need a fitness wake-up call like I did, you need to rush to Amazon and buy this watch ASAP. If you've been going to the gym and tracking your calories burned by what's on the treadmill, think again! Mine was off by over 200 calories, but this tracks your specific calorie burn accurately.


 3// Contigo Autoseal Water Bottle + Contigo Tranquil Water Bottle




I absolutely love these autoseal Contigo bottles. The big one I use for my water all day everyday, and the Tranquil bottle I use with a blender ball to blend my protein powder for breakfast or post-workouts. You can shake those things silly and they will never ever leak. Way better than past Nalgene or Camelbak bottles.


 4// Champion C9 Workout Gear 

Always cute styles of tanks and tees, and I have 3 pairs of their workout leggings and capris. They are made well, despite their affordable Target price, and they've lasted me for years.



 5// Goody Stay Put Headbands 



Having very fine, thin hair and cheekbone length bangs, I depend on these grippy little headbands to keep loose strands out of my face. With other headbands, they tend to slide out of my hair mid-workout class, but these headbands have thin little sticky strips all the way around the band to keep it from budging. Not to mention, they are cheap and easy to find at most drugstores.


 6// Old Navy Active Workout Tops



Have you seen the Old Navy Active line? I am a girl who loves color and texture, and ON is doing it right. Every season they introduce new patterns and colors of their most popular tanks and tees, and they're always on sale. I mean, who can beat a $9 dry fit, super cute workout top? They also have great workout jackets, well fitting sports bras, and sometimes hair accessories.


7// GAP Fit gFast Leggings



This is also a newer obsession for me. This winter I had a GAP gift card, so I went browsing through the GapFit section until I came across their leggings. Holy heck. I like them so much I bought long ones for cold weather workouts, and little capri leggings that I sport at yoga and Zumba. They are high waisted, have a drawstring and thee structure of the material hides any lumps and bumps.


8// My Fitness Pal App



I know you have probably heard about this time and time again from me, but I love this free app. What a great way to get in the habit of keeping a food and exercise journal, and it syncs effortlessly with my Fitbit for a streamlined, simplified lifestyle tool. Feel free to add me on MFP and we can do this healthy living journey together. Encouragement is key!

.:::.:::.:::.:::.:::.


What are some of your fitness must haves?



 photo Signature-5_zps1ea392df.png
Follow along here:  BlogLovin, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest
________________________________________________

July 21, 2014

Mingle Monday Blog Link-Up

So glad you dropped by for a little link-up networking!
Grab a latte and get comfortable... you are bound to meet some great bloggers.

I hope all of you had a wonderfully relaxing weekend. We had lots of fun outings and celebrations with family and friends, so it was a memorable weekend for sure. Lots to be thankful for.
Happy Mingling!


 
    

HOW TO MINGLE

 ** Only 3 easy rules - that's all I ask! **


1) Link-up your blog below.

2) You must share a link to Mingle Monday on your post or the Mingle Monday photo.
 
3) Answer the weekly question in the comments section below and have FUN!
 
** If you had a $100 to splurge on anything, what would you pick? **

________________________________________________________________________________________

Still proud to say that 100% of advertisement sponsorship proceeds go to my charity of choice, the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge. There are dozens and dozens of Hope Lodges across the country that give cancer patients a free place to stay while out of town for cancer treatment - such a cool place! 

With just $10, you can get a month long ad and know that it is going to help real cancer patients and their families. So please join me in my fundraising effort by becoming a sponsor HERE!


.:::.:::.:::.:::.:::.

Have a wild week, y'all!

 photo Signature-5_zps1ea392df.png
Follow along here:  BlogLovinInstagramTwitterFacebookPinterest

July 18, 2014

30 Day Slimdown Grocery List + Favorite Recipes

It's been a solid 12 days of sticking to our simple, healthier eating plan, and my energy is out the roof!
I am down 5+ lbs. and Adam has rocked it out at 7+ lbs. lost.

This easy plan works!

After posting our 30 Day Slimdown Challenge eating plan last week, I've received messages from many of you asking about what type of foods we purchase at the grocery store in order to set ourselves up for success.

So since you asked nicely with extra sugar on top, I am here to deliver the inside scoop!




Our Guidelines

1) Minimally processed, nutrient-dense, whole foods
2) Extremely limited dairy (if any)
3) No caffeine, sugar, white flour, fried foods, etc.
4) Focus on lean protein + vegetable/fruit


Produce:

mini carrots
celery
cucumbers
bell peppers
sweet potatoes
broccoli (frozen or fresh)
brussels sprouts
mushrooms
spinach
lettuce 
tomatoes
apples
bananas
grapes
berries


Healthy Fats:

avocado 
almond butter (Justin's all-natural nut butter)
dry roasted cashews
dry roasted almonds
dry roasted edamame


Proteins:

chicken breast (we prefer organic, antibiotic-free Smart Chicken)
chicken tenderloins (Smart Chicken)
ground chicken (Smart Chicken)
ground turkey (Jennie-O 99% lean)
fresh salmon
flank steak
deli turkey breast (from deli counter)
eggs (farm fresh, if possible - yum!)
canned tuna in water
hummus
mozzarella cheese stick 


Other Complex Carbohydrates:

brown rice
quinoa
whole grain english muffins (Orowheat double fiber)
whole grain tortillas - if needed (local Kansas brand)
steel cut oatmeal
black beans


Spices/Other:

low sodium taco seasoning
low sugar salsa
italian seasoning (I purchase ours from a spice merchant at the Farmers Market)
cinnamon 
unsweetened vanilla almond milk
low sugar tomato sauce


.:::.:::.:::.:::.:::.



Our Favorite Meals

Breakfast:



Lunch / Dinner:



Snacks:

Tuna Stuffed Eggs
Egg Muffins
Kale Chips
Turkey Cucumber Roll-ups
Baked Cinnamon Apple Chips
Rosemary & Sea Salt Baked Sweet Potato Chips


Dessert:

Baked Almond Butter Banana 
Banana Ice Cream
Grilled Peaches & Cinnamon
Grape Sorbet

.:::.:::.:::.:::.:::.


For more insider information to our 30 Day Slimdown Challenge eating plan, check out this post!
To see my food and exercise journal, add me on MyFitnessPal!


Here's to a healthier + happier you!

 photo Signature-5_zps1ea392df.png
Follow along here:  BlogLovin, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest
________________________________________________

July 16, 2014

Balsamic Rosemary Marinated Flank Steak

The summer is the perfect time to host a fun backyard barbecue and invite all of your friends over for a delicious warm weather meal on the patio. So when the forecast predicted an unseasonably cool Monday, we knew exactly what we wanted to do. 

 Knowing that Adam is quite the expert griller, I wanted to look for a recipe that would perfectly compliment his skills, be healthy, and just taste like the essence of summer. So you can imagine the perfect fit when I came across this mouth-watering flank steak recipe from Food & Wine magazine. 

 It took us a whopping 5 minutes to throw this easy marinade together the night before, and we let the steak marinade for 24 hours. As you can imagine hosting a group of 10 people for dinner, we were super relived to come home from a long day of work and simply throw the steak on the grill for a good sear for 10 minutes. 

It was perfectly cooked, juicy and lightly pink when we carved it up for our guests. There were so many good moans and groans while taking first bites that many of our guests begged for the recipe. Oh my goodness, this one is a keeper and definitely a must try for lean red meat lovers everywhere!  

//  Balsamic Rosemary Marinated Flank Steak  //
Adapted from Food & Wine




  1. Ingredients:
  2. 4 garlic cloves, minced
  3. 2 tablespoon rosemary leaves
  4. 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  5. 2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
  6. 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  7. 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for grilling
  8. Ground sea salt
  9. Freshly cracked pepper
  10. One 3-pound flank steak (or skirt steak works well too!)

Directions:


1) In a large bowl, combine the minced garlic, rosemary, oregano, mustard and vinegar and beat until well combine. Gradually add olive oil wine whisking until creamy. You can also use blender to combine all ingredients. Season mixture lightly with salt and pepper.

2) Place steak in a glass baking dish (9x13 works well), and sprinkle sea salt and pepper and rub into the top of the meat. Pour marinade over meat (you can reserve 1/4 cup of the mixture to drizzle over steak after cooked); turn the meat to coat well. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours ( we recommend overnight for most flavorful results).

3) When ready to grill the steak, oil the grates of your grill well, and heat to moderate heat. Remove the steak from the marinade, letting the excess mixture drip off and season well with sea salt and pepper. Place the steak on the grill (turning occasionally) and sear on both sides lightly until internal meat temperature reaches 125 degrees (10 - 12 minutes).

4) Remove steak from the grill, and let rest on a carving board for 5 minutes. Once it is cooled slightly, carve 1/2 - 3/4 inch pieces of steak against the grain, and serve. Drizzle the reserved vinaigrette over each serving for maximum flavor.




I hope you will try this recipe the next time you're craving a juicy, lean piece of steak. 
You can't go wrong, my friends. This one is fail proof! 


Bon Appetit!

 photo Signature-5_zps1ea392df.png
Follow along here:  BlogLovinInstagramTwitterFacebookPinterest
________________________________________________

July 14, 2014

Mingle Monday Blog Link-Up!

Anyone else on their 3rd round of caffeine?
It's definitely a Monday, and I'm trying to get myself in work week mode. Please tell me I'm not the only one dragging!

Although it was our Slimdown Challenge weigh-in day, and I've lost 4.2 lbs!  Woop woop! 
Now that's a heck of a great way to start off a Monday morning. Inching closer to healthy everyday and you can join me on the journey via MyFitnessPal!

I just wanted to say I'm glad you're here, I'm glad you're you, and thanks for taking the time to stop by to make Mondays happier! I hope you meet some great new blog friends and find a few extra readers!
Happy Mingling!


 
    

HOW TO MINGLE

 ** Only 3 easy rules - that's all I ask! **


1) Link-up your blog below.

2) You must share a link to Mingle Monday on your post or the Mingle Monday photo.
 
3) Answer the weekly question in the comments section below and have FUN!

 
** Have you ever paid it forward to a random stranger? Let me hear your stories! **

________________________________________________________________________________________

Still proud to say that 100% of advertisement sponsorship proceeds go to my charity of choice, the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge. There are dozens and dozens of Hope Lodges across the country that give cancer patients a free place to stay while out of town for cancer treatment - such a cool place! 

With just $10, you can get a month long ad and know that it is going to help real cancer patients and their families. So please join me in my fundraising effort by becoming a sponsor HERE!


.:::.:::.:::.:::.:::.

Have a spectacular start of the week, sassy ladies (and guys?)!

 photo Signature-5_zps1ea392df.png
Follow along here:  BlogLovinInstagramTwitterFacebookPinterest

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails