September 22, 2016

Pre-Surgery Checklist

As you you know there is a lot going on in my little world as of late.
With surgery less than 2 weeks away, I'm diving into full planning mode. While I'm down to one functioning leg, I'd prefer that our house doesn't fall apart, we remember to feed ourselves daily, and I am not bored out of my mind during recovery.

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1) Research and prep quick meals
When I told Adam I was doing this he reminded me that he has fully functioning limbs and would be happy to cook (he's a keeper, ladies and gents). However, when he's working long days I don't want him to work about my usual duties of meal prepping, shopping, and cooking. So anything I can help do ahead of time to make it easier, I'm all about it.

Any suggestions on freezer or crockpot meals that you love? 


2) Buy comfy lounge clothes
Have you tried the amazing things at GapBody? They make a good majority of their PJs and lounge wear out of modal, and let me tell you, there as smooth and silky as butter! I have two Gap Body boy short/cami sets that I practically live in, but I would love some cozier pants or a little hoodie to lay around in. I love these joggers!

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3) Clean the house from top to bottom
Nothing relaxes me more than enjoying a squeaky clean house while my Scentsy warmer is on making our house smell SO good (fave fall scents are Cider MillHoney Pear Cider, and Pumpkin Marshmallow). However, our house could use a little TLC deep cleaning... enter weekend to do list! 

I've started lots of miscellaneous projects - sewing, going through my closet, sorting and labeling Christmas decor - that I need to finally wrap them up. After that, I want my floors to shine like the top of the Crysler Building (any Annie fans out there? Buehler?).


4) Make a list of fall movies to watch
So granted I will be hopped up on some good pain meds and will be sleeping some of the time, but I am not a napper. With fall being my absolute favorite time of year, I want to bring a little bright spot into my recovery by watching some of my fall favorites:

   + When Harry Met Sally
   + You've Got Mail (pretty much anything with Meg Ryan!)
   + Runaway Bride
   + October Sky

Do you have any that remind you of fall?


5) Stock up on good books to read
I'm currently reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and I can barely put it down. I love being back in the world of Hogwarts! Looking for other great books to add to my library list. I'd love to stock up before being confined to the couch for a week or so! If you have any books you could barely put down, please send your recs my way!

Recently read:
   + The Girl on the Train
   + Me Before You // After You
   + Modern Lovers

On my radar:
   + When Breath Becomes Air
   + The Last Lecture
   + The Summer Before the War
   + First Comes Love
   + The Vacationers
   + All the Light We Cannot See


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If you have any suggestions on recipes, fall movies, and books... help a sister out!!


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September 20, 2016

Pulse Check... I'm Alive & Have Photos!

Why hello there!
After 6 weeks away from the blogosphere many have reached out to make sure I was still alive, and to those wonderful peeps I want to say thanks! Although still alive and ticking, there has been a lot going on to say the least.

Here's a little recap...


1) I went to Chicago!

I had such a blast conferencing with my co-workers for the week, and I feel truly blessed to say I love my co-workers and they inspire me to work harder and smarter every single day.

After our work conference wrapped up, I got to see my dear friend Jess from 26 and Not Counting for a lunch date and catch up! She just moved to the big city and it was so fun to spend some girl time with her!

Adam joined me for the weekend and we laughed until we cried at Second City, watched the Olympics while eating deep dish Chicago pizza from our hotel bed, visited the Aquarium, and saw the sites!



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2) I was diagnosed with Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome (boo!)

After getting back from Chicago my leg pain was worse than it's ever been. Unfortunately a diagnosis been a long time coming (if you remember this post from last year). After 6 months of physical therapy and 1.5 years of not being able to exercise and do the things I enjoy, we have figured out the source of pain. Here's a little more on compartment syndrome in case you are wondering what the heck that is... and for the love of Pete please don't google image that like I did!

Anyway, I'm honestly relieved to have a diagnosis and a plan. Bring on feeling better! My first surgery on my left leg will be early October and I will have 6 weeks of recovery time. After healed, I will have surgery on my right leg before Christmas and hopefully start the New Year off brand new. Prayers appreciated!  #wowzers


3) I visited my Okla-homies

My bestie had a baby, so of course we had to go meet him! It was fun to see my favorite people, spend time lounging, snuggle my new "nephew", and make a trip to my alma mater... Go Pokes!

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4) We had a bestie cabin weekend

It's always nice to sneak away to the cabin and lounge, especially when you are in good company. My bestie married Adam's cousin... so now Court and I are bestie/cousins (didn't we plan that nicely?!). They have a sweet baby girl who is so animated, snuggly, and gives me mad baby fever. The struggle is real! It was a great weekend visiting the Kansas State Fair and just catching up!

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Don't worry, I got my act together and feel a little more at ease after things have settled a bit. I can't wait for more blog posts (and not in 6+ more weeks - yeesh!) coming this week and the weeks to come! Fall is my absolute favorite time of year, so it shakes up my inspiration quite a bit.

Sending all of you lots of love!
What have you all been up to lately?



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July 22, 2016

Bestie Baby Shower

This past weekend I had the opportunity to host a baby shower for my bestie, Sarah, in my hometown and absolutely had a blast. I met Sarah all the way back in 3rd grade when she transferred into my elementary school and along with my other bestie and shower hostess, Paige, we've been inseparable ever since.

When we found out that Sarah was expecting here first kiddo, a sweet baby boy named Eli, Paige and I knew we wanted to throw an extra special celebration. Inspired by Eli's black and white striped nursery with gold accents, we had a blast putting together ideas for the big bash.

We booked Love of Character, an adorable new boutique party store in Wichita, Kansas that doubles as a darling event venue, and loved how everything turned out! The owner, Mary, is an absolute doll and made our whole party so wonderful. Unfortunately I forgot my nice camera, by these photos will still do the trick... take a look! 

The 3 amigos!
Paige (left - who is also expecting), Sarah, and yours truly!


We decided on very simple white table with black and white striped plates, blue accessories, gold silverware, and of course some mini flower arrangements for a pop of color.


For the mid-afternoon shower we wanted to to feel playful and also have some tasty snacks! 

For food items, we did cheese and crackers, fruit and marshmallow fruit dip (so good), chicken salad, chocolate dipped pretzels, and the world's cutest cookies and cupcakes from by local pastry chef, Pastries by Calli Leigh. The cookies turned out SO cute!



We didn't want to do too many silly games, so we had a little side station where people could write fun messages on diapers, fill out a cute Wishes for Baby card, and then take a clothespin for a care-free shower game where you try to avoid saying the word baby. If anyone says "baby", you steal their pin, and the person with the most at the end won a fun prize!

After that, we moved into the good stuff... baby presents and photo taking!



Mom-to be, Sarah (she looked SO cute) and her mom, Janice.

My hometown besties! It was SO good to see them!

On the way out of the party, guests were welcome to shop the insanely cute party gifts and stationary at the front of the store. Personal favorites included Rifle Paper Co. products, balloons with confetti in them, a giant gold swan pool float, and adorable party plates!


For the invitation to guests and other party stationary items, like the Wishes for Baby card, we used DigiBudha Papperie on Etsy and loved how everything turned out! Cute online, but gorgeous in person and so easy to work with to get our desired look!



So all in all it was a wonderful shower where we made great memories and my dear friend Sarah felt very special. Woo hoo! It was so fun to not only get to be creative and have lots of fun projects, but also talk to my bestie Paige everyday in preparation. 

I am back in Kansas City now and am already missing those girls, but can't wait to be Auntie Meg this summer/fall! I'm ready to smooch some babies! :)




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July 19, 2016

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Energy Balls

Some weeks I feel like Martha Stewart and am on top of the world.
The house is deep cleaned and organized, meal plans are fully prepped and perfectly balance, my life feels in order, and I have a perfect manicure that is color coordinated to my outfit (jk... who has time for that?).

And then there are weeks like basically the last 6 months where I am lucky if I don't have to re-fluff our laundry in the dryer for the 4th day in a row, as I am scrounging to make a meal out of string cheese and a cup of applesauce because our pantry has been neglected.

Can anyone relate to my hot mess express?
Please say yes.

So over time I've started to learn how to find the right amount of balance. I figured out how cleaning one area of our house a day means I get to avoid the 4 hour marathon cleaning on a Saturday morning. How when I schedule workouts in my planner, I am able to make it to the gym and manage my stress better. And how meal planning once a week saves me so much time finding healthy meals to fuel the busy days ahead.

And this is where the peanut butter chocolate chip energy bites enter.


Is life-changing an appropriate description for a snack?

I discovered these gems while reading Gimme Some Oven, one of my favorite cooking blogs, and decided to tinker with the recipe a bit so they wouldn't be as high in calories. With the taste of cookie-like goodness disguised in nutrient dense miniature bites is a total home run!

I was working with a nutritionist when I first showed her the recipe, and she loved the combo of a touch of protein in the protein, chia and oats to provide fiber, omega 3's from the flax, and a little sweetness from honey instead of processed sugar. The best part if you can keep tinkering with them to sub out ingredients and change them up a bit.

Each Sunday, I prep these little no bake energy balls when I do the rest of my meal prep. It takes no longer than 5 minutes to stir everything together, and then I let the mixture chill for 20 before rolling into balls. And then voila! Easy, delicious snacks to give a boost of energy before the gym or in the middle of a busy work day. Adam loves having one after dinner as a little sweet treat (goodbye huge bowls of ice cream!). I also love to make these when we bring meals to friends - and they loved them! Especially great for new breastfeeding moms!


Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Energy Balls


Ingredients:

1 cup dry oats 
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup ground flax seed
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips 
1/3 cup honey (you can get by with less if you want lower sugar!)
1 tablespoon chia seeds 
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Directions:


  1. Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl until well combined. Cover your bowl with saran wrap and place in fridge to chill for 20-30 minutes, or until mixture is firm enough to roll into balls.
  2. Once chilled, roll into compact balls. You can make them into any size you'd like - mine are typically about 3/4 - 1" in diameter). Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.
  3. Makes about 20-25 energy balls.

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Bon Appetit!


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July 8, 2016

Gratitude Lately

Oh my dear goodness... life has been too busy!
Between holidays, traveling, planning a baby shower, and general life/work craziness, I have so much to be thankful for. 

Here's your fair warning... SO MANY PICTURES!

Lately I'm grateful for...

How handsome my hubs looks in shades and plaid, and a sister who made it to big girl world.

For friends who like to craft and mornings with no make-up.

For weddings that look like they are straight out of a fairytale.

And lifelong best friends who simply feel like you're coming home everytime you see them.

For plumb juicy blueberries that stain your fingers.

And the friends who make picking them an extra fun adventure.

For friends fostering kittens so I can get my furry fix.

For family night out and hometown pride.

For long hot days by the pool, and nights sipping bubbly in my PJs.

For my mom's incredible pie skills and that she gave me her creative genes.


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Here's to gratitude and how it makes life fuller, and the smallest things more than enough. As always, thanks for the inspiration, Today's Letters.


  //  What are you thankful for today? //

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June 27, 2016

Chicago Bound - Any Recommendations?


I'm movin' and shakin', party people!

That's right, in August I am being sent to a 4-day work conference in Chicagoland and I couldn't be more excited to get out of dodge with my co-workers. And due to working for such a great organization, they're letting me stick around for several days so Adam can join me for a mini vacay.

We've spent the last 6 month or so adulting (aka: saving that moola), so this will be a fun getaway to let loose and indulge in a little urban adventure. I've had such a travel bug lately, so I couldn't be more thankful to have the time to explore.


The last time I was in Chicago was about 5 years ago before we were married. We took the train from KC to meet up with my sister-in-law and brother-in-law for a fun long weekend, and it was such a blast. Just look... we were babies.






So anyway, I am thrilled to go see the best of what Chicago has to offer. I'd like to revisit some of my favorite places from last trip - Millenium Park, Bucktown, Navy Pier, etc. - as well as discover some new hidden gems.

Luckily, my good blog friend Jess at 26 and Not Counting just spent the last weekend in Chicago, and judging by her Instagram photos I know she will have some incredible suggestions. That girl knows how to find the best of the best, and maybe you do too!

So I'd love to ask for any fun recommendations for...

Fun things to do? 
Places to stay (preferably any hotel, since we have points)? 
Restaurants? 
Rooftop drink spots?
Shops? 
Day trips? 
Seasonal activities? 

As always, I have already started my Chicago Trip board over on my Pinterest page... my favorite way to plan a trip. Can't wait to add your suggestions!


Thanks in advance!

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