Tuesday, February 9, 2016

New Workout Direction

Howdy!  Since I shared a few recipes yesterday, I thought sideline New Recipe Tuesday and instead talk about something other than food.  (I know, booo)

How about working out?  (Eh, booo … nah, just kidding)

So you probably know that I’ve been hopping on and off the workout train for a while now.  I just can’t seem to get motivated to stick with a workout plan right now.  I don’t know why, and it’s driving me crazy because I really want to get back to a normal, few days a week workout routine, because I miss it.  I think the reason why I can’t find it in me to stick with it is a mix of boredom, and not having a set routine that I can rely on each day.  (and the weather – I hate hate hate when it’s cold)

I toyed with starting a program that I could follow that told me, every day, what workout to do and for how long.  But when I thought about embarking on T25 or Insanity again I just wanted to cry.  Yes, they are fabulous workout programs where I see major results, but I just can’t.  It’s too much.  And then I toyed with just sucking it up and getting back outside and running, but it’s freakin cold outside!  (I know, just tell me to shut my mouth about “cold”)

So I did a little bit of research around the interwebs about fitness websites like Grokker and Fit Fusion, and I found Daily Burn.  

Daily Burn is a site that provides you access to hundreds of fitness programs from trainers you know (like Bob Harper – love him!).  They offer pretty much any type of workout you want – crazy cardio, yoga, pilates, targeted strength training, etc etc.  And they were offering a free month, so I decided, “what the hell, it’s free!”

It was easy to start my free trial – they asked a series of questions about my fitness level and goals, and they took my answers and recommended a training program to focus on.  At first I labeled myself as “Advanced – Challenge me don’t hold back!” and they recommended a P90X-style type of program from Bob.  I was like “oh no no, that’s too much” and scaled back my answer to “Intermediate – I have some workout experience” – which is sort of an understatement, but given the fact that I’m not doing anything now, it’s probably the most accurate.  Anyway, the program they recommended was Daily Burn 365, which is their live series.  (If you can’t catch it live, you can replay it when it’s convenient for you) 

This actually got me a little bit excited.  I don’t know what the workouts entail, and that seems to be motivating me.  I’m actually a little bit excited about working out, because of the unknown.  Weird, right?

I perused the site and noticed that they had all kinds of really cool looking workouts that I wanted to try, so I decided to craft my own schedule for the first week, just to see the variety they provided.  Here’s what I decided on for this week.

Monday - IntelliBurn Tabata Transformation 
20 seconds “on”, 10 seconds “off” for 38 minutes – I can do anything for 20 seconds

Tuesday – Introduction to Pilates
I love and miss regular Pilates classes, so I’m starting over at the ground level.  

Wednesday – Daily Burn 365 
A mix of cardio and strength for 30-ish minutes, and it’s live so you feel like you’re in a class with real people, not actors.

Thursday – Introduction to Pilates 
Again, because I want to make this a routine and get good again.

Friday – Blackfire ABC 
Which I may live to regret, that’s the hard one, we’ll see.

Saturday – Break from Daily Burn to run 4 miles 
I have another race!  Aaaah!

Sunday – Pilates Classic 1 
The next step in the Pilates series.

Having a new, different workout each day of the week has kept me interested (so far, it is only Tuesday, haha).  I’ve gotten up both yesterday and today excited to see what my workout was.  It’s kind of awesome.

Monday’s workout was tough.  Tabata is high intensity interval training, so it’s a rigorous move for 20 seconds and then a rest period for 10, repeated 6 times.  This particular workout we did a good workout, a squat challenge and then started the tabata portion which consisted of 5 exercises repeated tabata-style 6 times.   The moves were different that stuff I normally do, which I liked, and it was tough.  Today I am FEELING it. 

Today was Pilates, and I was instantly in love with Andrea Speir.  She reminded me so much of my Pilates instructor from many moons ago (when I used to go religiously at my gym).  It brought me back and it gave me a fantastic workout, which I’m hoping will help me with my lower back issues I’ve been having lately.  Stronger core = less back stress.  Win! 

All in all, I am very much enjoying Daily Burn.  It’s gotten me excited about working out – something I haven’t felt in a while.  So there’s a lot to be said about variety.  Here’s hoping I can keep it up.

And just a disclaimer:  Daily Burn has no idea I am talking about them and I am not being compensated at all for this (I wish I was). 

How about you … Do you subscribe to any fitness sites?  

Monday, February 8, 2016

Super Bowl Eats

Hello!  Happy “day after Super Bowl” Monday!  This should be a work holiday, shouldn’t it? 

Although Hubs and I aren’t really that into football or Super Bowl, we love to eat like we’re big fans.  We always make fun stuff on Super Bowl (read: dips, chips) and this year was no exception.  But, we steered away from our usual cheesy dips (ie, cream cheese sausage dip or queso) and made some new-to-use dishes that were a hit. 

First on the menu – Sweet Hawaiian Crockpot Chicken.

I had some chicken thighs in the fridge that I needed to cook.  I really wanted to make chicken nachos with them (I always gravitate towards cheesy nacho-y things), but Hubs found this recipe on Facebook that sounded good.  In the crock pot mix 1 cup of pineapple juice, half a cup of brown sugar and 1/3 cup of soy sauce.  Stir it around, add your chicken – 2 lbs of it.  I used thighs, but the recipe called for tenderloins.  Chicken is chicken to me.  Turn on the crock pot and let it hang out for 6-8 hours.  Done.

(it doesn't look appetizing, but it was)

The verdict:  It was just okay.  I expected the chicken to be a little more flavorful.  I think the amount of water that cooked out of the chicken thighs may have diluted the marinade a bit.  Overall it was fine, but next time I would like to figure out how to make the taste a little stronger.

As a side item – because you must have side items for Super Bowl – we made garlic, parmesan potato wedges.  No, they don’t really go with “Hawaiian chicken”, but I’m a firm believer that potato wedges can go with anything.  This is another Tasty recipe Hubs found on Facebook that sounded too good to not try out.  They were super easy, here’s what I did.

Cut two large potatoes into wedges.  Coat with olive oil and half a cup of parmesan cheese. 

In a separate bowl mix a teaspoon of the following – Italian seasoning, garlic powder, paprika – and then salt to taste.  Mix together and dip the potatoes into the mixture.  Line up on a baking sheet skin side down.

Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes. 

Now, some of my wedges were thinner and smaller than the others, so those sort of burnt to a crisp.  The key here is to make your wedges fairly meaty so that they don’t burn.  The big wedges were excellent, the smaller ones, not so much. 

And then dip them in ranch or ketchup or whatever you dip fries in.  Or nothing at all.  They were great just plain as well.

(they all look burnt, but they weren't - that's just the seasoning)
Overall, we did good on the food.  The game was pretty good (again, we don’t really watch football, so it was just meh), the half time show was great.  The Beyonce/Bruno dance off was fabulous!  

And today I'm rocking the Coldplay playlist on Spotify because I haven't really been into them since Viva la Vida (circa 2008).  Their stuff got much more "dance-y" through the years. 

And there weren’t any commercials that sang to me this year.  The only ones I can really recalling enjoying were the one with Kevin Hart where he was tracking the guy dating his daughter (not sure what it was for) and the one with Helen Mirren talking about how people who drive drunk are horrible “pillocks.”  Funny.  And true! 

The rest of our weekend was low key.  It rained from morning til night on Saturday, so we stayed indoors and did lots and lots of puzzles – Jillian’s new favorite thing to do.  Sunday was sunny, but uber cold, so we stayed indoors again and just ran around the house a bunch and did more puzzles.  Or rather, the same four puzzles over and over and over again.  

And you’re all caught up!  Hope your Monday is great!

How about you … What did you eat for Super Bowl last night?

Friday, February 5, 2016

Friday Five - February 5

Aaaand it's Friday again. Not complaining  at all, but geez, time flies. 

Here's five things from this week... 

Stitch Fix
I haven't gotten a Stitch Fix in a while so I was excited when my box arrived last weekend. And then I opened my box and was like "meh." I got three tops, a dress and a pair of jeans. 

The tops were not my cup of tea at all and the dress was, um, terrible. After trying on a bunch of duds I was feeling less than confident that the jeans would be the one piece that would work for me. I mean, hello, finding pants that fit the way I like is a feat in and of itself. Well, amazingly, they were a perfect fit. (I don't have a picture, unfortunately) Comfy, a nice dark navy color and a boot cut (!!). They were awesome, and the only item I bought this time around. So it wasn't a total bust. 

I finally broke down and subscribed for Birchbox! Got my first one this week and wheee! What fun it is to get tiny little beauty products!! Some of the stuff I am sure I won't use (i.e., black liquid eyeliner - that just scares the bejeezus out of me), but the other stuff was pretty darn cool! 

Jordyn has a song on a movie soundtrack! 
Last week Hubs was looking at his iTunes and somewhere it showed recommendations of songs he might like based on his past purchases. And the song was one by Jordyn Kane (my step daughter) featured on the soundtrack for the new movie Fifty Shades of Black called Alive. We were like "what the what?!", promptly listened to it (it's awesome) and then sent her a billion text messages. So cool! She wrote and sang the song and it's pretty awesome, and is actually featured in the movie a couple of times! (However Jordyn did say it was like the worst movie ever, haha) how cool is that though? I am so freakin proud! She moved to LA to pursue her dreams and she's really doing it. It's just amazing.  Amazing!!

New hair? 
Is it weird that I took a screen shot of a random person I follow on Instagram as hair inspiration? She had just gotten her hair cut and it was super cute and made me want to cut mine. So now I walk around with a picture of this person on my phone and I don't feel creepy at all. And no I'm not sharing the picture of her here, just in case someone knows her. Hehe. But cute hair! 

New glasses
I got new glasses! After two years with my other pair, it was high time for some new frames. I did some research on the best places to buy glasses and Costco was the number one place to buy frames that don't break the bank. So I went! I got an eye exam and then perused the frames and found a pair that I absolutely loved. 

Of course they had to be the $150 Escada frames (so much for getting super cheap glasses), but whatever, I loved them so much. And overall these glasses cost me about $100 less than my old pair, and the frames on those were only $80 (do the math there, it's crazy how much all those "extras" cost at other places). Anyway, I'm super duper happy with my new glasses. Yay!

And that's it! Have a super Friday and a super Super Bowl weekend!! 

How about you ... Any good Super Bowl plans (or recipes)? 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

New Recipe Tuesday (on Wednesday)

Oopsie.  I got a little busy yesterday and never got this up.  So here’s New Recipe Tuesday ... on Wednesday! 

Last week I made a new-to-me dish in the crock pot that I found somewhere on the interwebs … Crock Pot Monogolian Beef.  Sounds good right?  Here’s how it came together…

First, I cut a 1 lb flank steak diagonally against the grain into strips.  The recipe calls for 2.5 lbs, so I just decreased everything accordingly.  

Once all cut, I placed it in a freezer bag and added enough corn starch to cover all strips, sealed the bag and shook it up so that all of the meat was covered. 

Then, into the crock pot I added minced garlic, chili flakes, brown sugar, grated ginger (this was new to me), olive oil, water and soy sauce.  (see recipe link below for measurements)

Sorry, these pictures are horrible.

This was my first foray into ginger.  I had to Google how/if you peel it and all that jazz, but I got there.  In the end I think I added too much ginger to the mix because it was way ginger-y, and apparently I’m not the biggest fan of ginger.  Ah well.

Next, add the steak to the crock pot and coat with the sauce.

Cook on high for 2-3 hours (I did 3 hours) and then add shredded carrots and cook another 30 minutes.

And that’s it!  Plate it up over some rice and yum!

The verdict:  I really liked the texture of the beef. I’ve never done flank steak in the crock pot before, so I really enjoyed how tender it was.  Like I said, I wasn’t a super fan of the strong ginger taste, so next time I will either add less, or eliminate it altogether.  But overall, great dish that I will likely make again!  

Here's the link to the recipe if you're interested!

Monday, February 1, 2016

First of the Month Push

Happy February 1st!  I cannot believe it’s February already. 

This morning I had set my alarm to get up and work out.  But when I went to bed last night I was totally not feeling the whole “wake up early and workout” thing.  I was all prepared – had my clothes set out, all of my gear, etc – but I kind of knew that when the alarm went off I probably would not get up and go.  If I’m not excited to get up and work out when I go to sleep at night, chances are I’m not going to get up.  I’m in an exercise funk and I can’t get out.

So this morning my alarm went off at 6:15 and I hit snooze once, twice, three times.  And then I rolled over and thought about the fact that it was the first of a new month.  A clean slate, if you will.  It’s also a Monday, you’re never supposed to skip a Monday (although I think I skipped all four of them in January).  If I can’t change my ways on a Monday and the first of a new month, when am I going to change my ways?  Argh.  After all of this thinking and mental tug of war in my head, I was awake and then it was kind of like, “OK, just get up and do something.”  So I did.  Thank God for that "first of the month" push.

Gah, it’s ridiculous what I have to go through to get up and do something that’s good for me and makes me feel great. 

Because it was uber dark outside (still, at like 6:45), I decided to forego my outdoors workout (because apparently I’m scared of the dark?) and just go upstairs and do some Pinterest workouts. After scouring my Workouts page I decided on a 20 minute Living Room Workout:

Along with my go-to standing abs workout (which is really good for my lower back problems lately) and my go-to arm workout which is simply:

10 bent over rows
10 lateral raises
10 bicep curls
10 tricep kickbacks
10 upright rows
10 push ups

Easy peasy.  And a great way to “ease” back into that workout thang, I guess.  Not that I need “easing” – I just need to hit it hard and do it because it’s time.  And I’m not a wuss. 

Oh, and have I mentioned that I need to be “bathing suit acceptable” by March 2nd?  Yeah, I do.  Hubs and I are going on a cruise (more on this later)!  I am excited, but yikes, not excited about getting into a bikini.  Spray tan here I come! 

Anyway…  This is all on the heels of a less than stellar showing at my 5K this past weekend.  If you remember, this is my second 5K in the last two weekends, and I ran it because I wanted the cute shirt and race bling (medal).  Bad idea.  I so wasn’t into it.  I got there and thought, “I’m walking this one.”  I did my intervals the first mile and then just walked and enjoyed the scenery.  I don’t feel bad about it, but meh. 

At least I got a medal.  My next race in the series is on the 13th (so I have a one week reprieve from races) and it’s a 4 miler, so yikes, I need to get on it! 

And there ya have it - February is my month of getting back on some kind of track.  Go go go!

How about you … How do you get back on track after a hiatus from working out?

Friday, January 29, 2016

Friday Five - January 29

Happy Friday!  After two straight days of rain and general miserableness over here, it is finally a little bit sunny and dry.  And it looks like the weekend should be pretty nice as well.  No huge plans – I have a 5K tomorrow and then we have lunch plans on Sunday, those are our only definitive plans. 

Here’s the Friday Five!

WWE Royal Rumble
Hubs and I had a fun outing on Sunday night.  We had tickets to one of the WWE’s biggest events: the Royal Rumble.  Live WWE events are so much fun.  I know that sounds silly, but they are.  There’s music, pyrotechnics, crazy fans, and then of course the ridiculously muscular athletes in spandex. Our seats were wicked close, so we had primo views of the athletes walking out, and we were literally a stone’s throw from the pyrotechnics, which made me just a little nervous. 

It was just so much fun, I can’t really explain it, so I won’t try. 

New iPod
For Christmas, Hubs got me a new 64GB iPod Touch.  Well, no, he gave me his old, unused, still fresh in the box 64 GB iPod Touch, while he got an even larger one.  Either way, it’s new to me and much appreciated, because mine is on its last leg.  

Over the weekend I turned it on and attempted to get all of my music from my old iPod onto my new iPod.  I’m pretty sure it worked because I’ve been jamming out to iPod tunes all week.  It’s been a while since I listened to my iPod on shuffle and man, do I have some gems on there!  I’ve had many moments this week where a song would come on and I’d either squeal in delight or be like “awwww yeah!”  Example, Jessica Simpson’s “A Public Affair.”  C’mon, don’t tell me you don’t secretly enjoy this song.  Remember the video with her and Christina Applegate and Eva Longoria roller skating?  Do you think they’re really friends?  Anyway, I love my new iPod.  Or my new hand me down iPod. 

PS - I just watched that video (couldn't get it to load here, but it's on YouTube).  It just makes me happy.

Just Jillian
No not my Jillian, Jillian Michaels.  And namely her new show on E!, Just Jillian.  It chronicles her life as a trainer, business owner, partner and mom.  It’s funny and intriguing to get a peek of her life.  I just love her.  I would never want to train with her or work for her (yikes), but watching her on TV again is fun.  So fun I actually checked out her podcast (The Jillian Michaels Show) and I’m enjoying it!  Yay Jillian Michaels.

American Idol
Is anyone watching American Idol anymore?  American Idol has been a huge part of our lives.  Hubs and I actually met during the first season of Idol, and the show was actually a large source of our conversations in the beginning.  Aww.  And then of course Jordyn (my step-daughter) auditioned for Idol in 2011, and made it to Hollywood.  Oh, that was probably one of the greatest experiences ever. 

Let’s take a walk down memory lane, shall we?  Jordyn auditioned in 2011 in Houston and made it past the first couple rounds of auditions and I’ll never forget when she called us and said “I’m auditioning in front of the judges!”  We had said that if she made it to the judges (back then it was J-Lo, Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson) we’d make the trip out to be there.  So we got the call on Saturday night and by Sunday we had rented a van and were driving with my in-laws and Jordyn’s mom’s parents (yeah we’re one big happy family) on a road trip to Galveston, TX.  Seriously, I still to this day look at that trip as such a fun, fond memory.  We had such a blast.  And then standing there with Ryan Seacrest while Jordyn auditioned, waiting to hear if she got the golden ticket, OMG, it still brings tears to my eyes (I’m a real sap).  When she came out with her ticket to Hollywood we went nuts and I cried (thank God they didn’t put that on TV).  Such fun!  She didn't make it past Hollywood, or on TV for that matter, but who cares, the experience itself was enough.  Awesome.

Anyway… sorry for that little memory trip.  We didn’t watch Idol at all last season, but we decided that we had to watch it this year, since it’s the last season.  And damn, it’s good this season!  We’re only at the audition part, but wow, there is some great talent and I immensely enjoy Harry Connick Jr.  He is so fun and adorable.  But yeah, American Idol is awesome. 

I’ve only mentioned it like 30 times this week, but I’m running in another 5K this weekend.  That’s two weekends in a row if you’re keeping track.  Ask me how many times I have ran/walked since last week’s race.  Zero!  I am really having a hard time getting up and getting motivated and I’m really starting to get pissed at myself.  Next week things change.  This week I fixed my eating habits, next week I fix my exercise habits.  I will get back on track. 

And with that, I’m outta here.  Have a fab Friday and an equally fab weekend! 

How about you … American Idol – yay or nay?  Anyone watching Just Jillian?  Did anyone catch the Royal Rumble? (hehe)

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Truths and Confessions

So I have had some thoughts floating around my head lately and thought I'd craft them into a post I call Truths and Confessions. Intriguing huh? (Note: It's really not that exciting or intriguing)

Truth: Eating healthy(ier) is not that bad
This week I haven't been eating all the food. Lately I've been eating anything and everything (mostly of the unhealthy variety) and I just didn't really care. Fruit? What's that? Water? No, I prefer Diet Coke. Chips? Yes please! Over the weekend I put on a pair of jeans, ones that are never tight or uncomfortable, and they were, yep, tight and uncomfortable. No bueno! So I decided to adopt healthier habits - lots of water, fruit in place of salty snacks and mindless eating, and home cooked meals. Yes I have cooked every day this week. And ya know what? It's not hard and I feel so much better! I haven't tried my jeans on but I'd be willing to bet that they fit better today than they did three days ago. Not eating shit really works!! 

Confession: I signed up for the Lady Track Shack 5K this weekend for the cute shirt and medal 
I did! When I picked up my race packet last week for the Park Ave. 5.2K they had the Lady Track Shack shirt and medal on display and it was cuuuute. So much that there were several women admiring it saying that they wanted to run the race just to get the shirt. So now I don't feel so bad about my confession. Don't get me wrong I'm looking forward to the race too, and the fact that it benefits breast cancer awareness, but I'm a sucker for a pink v-neck race tee. 

Truth: I'm not fast 
Duh, I think we all know that I'm not a fast runner by any means. I jokingly posted this on Instagram after the race on Saturday. 

(sorry, had to cut off Baymax's head to get it all in)

I absolutely love that Track Shack commented saying I had a 5.2K PR (personal record). I had to laugh because me and PR do not belong in the same sentence. But they are right, this was a 5.2K PR, probably because it was my first and only 5.2K. Go me! 

Confession: I only take the stairs at work when going downstairs
OK this is only partly true. I sit on the 4th floor and my computer bag, no lie, is 30 lbs (I have a giant 17 inch monitor laptop that I cart back and forth to the office), so hoofing up four flights with that leaves me gasping for breath. It's sort of embarrassing. So my rule is to take the elevator up when I am taking my bag upstairs, but use the stairs every other time. I'm not sure why I told you that. 

And that's all.  

How about you ... Wanna share a confession or truth?

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

New Recipe Tuesday

Hey hey!  Another Tuesday recipe for you.  Isn’t this recipe stuff exciting? 

So, it’s been super cold here lately (well, for Florida) and even though today was warmer (high of 70!) I was in the mood for a meal that was warm and cozy – chili.  I usually only make chili when it’s cold out, because it just seems like a warm, cozy comfort food.

Up until a couple of years ago, I wasn’t a chili fan at all.  My mom-in-law made a chili mac recipe that I just fell in love with, and it’s so incredibly easy.  It only has 4 ingredients, I mean, hello! 

And full disclosure, this isn't a new-to-me recipe, I actually have two new-to-me recipes on the schedule for this week (so stay tuned!) but I had to use this turkey meat tonight, or else. So... 

Chili-O Mac!

Take some ground beef or turkey or chicken (I used turkey because I’m trying to eat a little healthier this week) and brown it up in a larger pot that you can add to (you’re going to make all of your chili in this pot). 

Once that’s all cooked up and drained, add a can of kidney beans and the magic ingredient: 

A packet of French's Chili-O seasoning. Why mess with separate herbs and spices, it's all in here! (I'm a simple girl)

Stir it all up and then add enough tomato juice to make it all juicy (I usually use ¾ of a bottle of tomato juice).  If you like real soupy chili, use the whole bottle.  I don’t, so I don’t use as much. 

Stir it all up, put a lid on it and let it simmer for about 15 minutes. 

While that’s simmering up, cook some mac.  You can do spaghetti, bow ties, penne, whatever you like.  Since it’s Chili-O MAC, I do elbow macaroni.  And since, again, I’m trying to be a little bit good, I did Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Veggie Bows. (I hope they're good)

And then dump half the bag on the counter because you've got butter fingers. 

Clean up while it cooks. No wine for me this week. 

When it's all done and ready to go you put some pasta in a bowl, ladle on lots and lots of chili and top with cheese. 

And let that cheese melt and form a fortress of cheesy goodness over the top. I can't eat it unless it's all melty. 

And that's it! So easy and so delish!  

How about you ... What are you cooking this week?

Monday, January 25, 2016

Park Avenue 5K

Hello! Happy Monday! 

Despite running a 5K on Saturday morning, this weekend was a super duper lazy one. It was so cold outside, we opted to stay warm indoors and just hang at home for a majority of the weekend. It was nice! 

Saturday morning I got up uber early and ran the Seasons 52 Park Avenue 5.2K.  See how they did that? It was frigid outside, 40s and so very windy -  which gave it that whole "wind chill factor" thing, that I'm not super familiar with. 

I layered up, found my Mickey Mouse beanie hat and drove out to Winter Park. 

After standing around only a short while, the race began and I was off. Since I haven't done anything (and I mean anything) since the 10K, I decided to just stick to what I was comfortable with - 2/2 intervals and no expectations whatsoever. 

It went great! Like the 10K, I stuck to all of my intervals, so when my app told me to run, I ran. And when it told me to walk, I walked. And I stuck to it the whole race. Small victories, that's all I'm going for in races. 

All in all great race, albeit cold. So great, in fact, that I promptly signed up for another race next weekend - the Lady Track Shack 5K, a race that isn't part of the fanatic running series. So that's kind of exciting. Gotta keep up some kind of momentum, and if it's by doing a bunch of races, so be it. 

The rest of the day we did a bunch of cleaning and organizing - junk drawers, underneath my sink. Seriously, I have an inordinate amount of products under my sink ... half used shampoos, lotions, face products, you name it. I've vowed to not buy anything new for a while and just "shop under my sink." Craziness. 

And that's about it! I'll get into our Sunday shenanigans (namely Royal Rumble, hee) later this week. Have a great Monday! 

How about you ... How cold was your weekend? 

Friday, January 22, 2016

Friday Five - January 22

Hello!  It’s Friday again.  I can’t believe that.  Time is flying by way too quickly.  We have some fun stuff on tap for this weekend, so that is exciting. 

OK, enough awkward chatter, here’ the Friday Five.

1.  I have a 5K tomorrow
Yeah, I haven’t put one foot in front of the other in a running motion since the 10K (er, like three weeks ago – I suck), so this should be fun.  This 5K is part of the Track Shack Fanatic running series I signed up for last summer, so it sort of snuck up on me.  There weren’t any runs in November and December, so now I’m back at it.  I have this 5K, a 4-miler in February and a 10K in March.  Guess I’d better get on the shtick, huh?  All that said, I am actually looking forward to this run.  It’s in downtown Winter Park, an area I really like running in and it’s going to be uber cold.  Not entirely looking forward to freezing my buns off, but at least I know what I am going to wear – my outfit from last year’s Princess 10K.  Bam.

2.  Royal Rumble
It’s no secret that Hubs and I enjoy a little sports entertainment in the form of WWE wrestling.  It’s fine.  This weekend we have tickets to one of the WWEs biggest events, the Royal Rumble (their biggest, their “Super Bowl” is Wrestlemania in April, which we went to a few years ago when it was in Orlando.)

Throwback to 2008.  Wrestlemania 24 in Orlando at the Citrus Bowl.  Kim Kardashian was there.  That was before she was a thing.  And Hubs had brown hair.  Wow.  Hehe.

Anywho, WWE events are super fun.  They’re loud, there’s pyrotechnics and music and scantily clad men, it’s just fun all around.  I am really looking forward to it.  Yep.

3.  Total Divas is back!
On the same wavelength, the new season of Total Divas is back on E! 

I love this show.  It’s so dumb, but it’s so fun to see WWE Divas’ lives outside of the ring.  Not sure how much is real or scripted (I mean, Nikki and John’s relationship, I hope to God it’s better than what is portrayed on the show.  He seems like such a douche on the show), but it’s all kinds of entertaining.  And they all make me want to get up and work out and get a spray tan.  Love this show.

4.  It’s cold!
I know people in other areas of the country do not want to hear me complain about Florida’s cold snap, but we’ve had highs in the 50s this week and lows in the 30s and 40s and I am already tired of it.  It’s cold!!!  All year long we have hot weather and we dream of cooler weather, but then when it gets cold, we just want the warmth back.  Such is life. But I had to wear a coat and a scarf yesterday morning.  Ugh.

5.  Spotify
You know my love for Spotify is real because I talk about it all the time.  Today during work I was listening to my library on shuffle and some fun Disney tunes came up that just made me happy. 

The Haunted Mansion music, the music played in the ride Pirates of the Caribbean, it just made me want to skip out on work and go to Magic Kingdom.  Love Spotify.

And, just because I forgot to include it in my birthday party post, here is a fun picture that I snapped of some more d├ęcor from the party.  Hehe.  Fun with a party hat.

And that’s it!  I hope you’re off to a great start on this Friday.  Enjoy your weekend!

How about you … Any WWE fans?  Any Total Divas watchers? 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Jillian’s "Under the Big Top” 3rd Birthday Party

Last Wednesday we celebrated Jillian’s 3rd birthday, and on Sunday we partied it up and celebrated her birthday with friends and family.  

Every December, while everyone is stressing about holiday shopping and everything Christmas, I am stressing about all of that AND what the heck I’m going to do for Jillian’s birthday, which is dangerously close to the holidays.

This year (or, I guess last year) as of December 18th, I had no clue what I was going to do - house party or go somewhere, what will the theme be, what will the kids do, etc etc.  I knew I needed to get the invites out soon after Christmas, so I needed to get on the ball and at least start looking at invitations on my favorite go-to place for invitations, holiday cards, etc: Vistaprint.  

I love Vistaprint because they have a million different options for invites, cards, etc.  And they are cheap and there’s usually a coupon or a Groupon where you can get an obscene amount of stuff for a little amount of money.  And no, I’m not being compensated to say this, I just really like Vistaprint.  

Anywho...  I went to Vistaprint and went to birthday invitations and started looking.  I quickly found one that sparked my interest and literally started the wheels in my head turning.  

A circus theme!  How fun would that be?  Oh the ideas, the food choices, the decor!  I quickly went over to Pinterest and typed in “circus themed kids birthday” and now I wish I hadn’t because OMG, there was so much amazingness and I wanted to do it all.  And I did.

My inspiration (just a small piece of the inspiration that I found on Pinterest, but this got the wheels turning):

So over the next few weeks I planned out menu, decor, games, favor bags, etc.  Amazon.com was my best friend as was the dollar store to make my visions come alive.  

Menu:  Since it was a circus theme I wanted to do circus/carnival food, so we had corn dogs, boxes of popcorn, soft pretzels, chips, popcorn chicken (for those who aren’t hot dog fans) and some fruit for balance.

For sweets I had little boxes of animal crackers, marshmallow “dumbbells” and cupcakes.  Super bummed I didn't take any pics of the sweets presentation. I'm trying to see if someone else did. If yes, I will share later 

Yum yum yum.  The food was a hit.

Decor:  Circuses and carnivals are synonymous with red and white stripes, so this was my color palette.  I knew I had to have a big top in our dining room, so that was an undertaking that I wasn’t sure how we were going to make a reality, but thankfully my in-laws did.  We made it work with 12 dollar store plastic tablecloths in red and white, a hula hoop and some fishing wire.  I’m still astounded by how awesome it turned out.

The big top is staying up in our dining room as long as possible.  I’m shooting for Valentine’s Day.

And then balloons.  Oh, the balloons.  I found the cutest red and white polka dot balloons on Amazon and bought a helium tank so that we could have them floating.  It was balloon heaven.

Games:  I wanted to do something with the kids because we had a wide range of ages and I didn’t want anyone to be bored.  Jillian was one of the youngest, so she really wasn’t into the games, but the others loved them.  We did old fashioned party/carnival games like the ball toss, ring toss and pin the nose on the clown.  They were all a hit!  

Favor bags:  The kids favor bags were probably my favorite thing to do.  I got plain white gift bags at the dollar store (2 for $1) and found a cute circus graphic online (yay Pinterest for free printables!) and glued it onto the bags.  Then I stuffed them with fun carnival fare like cotton candy, a box of Barnum Animal Crackers, Cracker Jack, bubbles, a crazy straw, circus stickers, a clown nose and a cute note from Jillian.  And then I tied one of the helium balloons to their bag as they left (because we had a zillion).  So cute and fun to do!  

All in all the party was a hit.  Everyone had fun and oohed and aahed over the decor and theme.  Despite getting most of the party stuff inexpensively through Amazon and at the dollar store I still ended up spending an obscene amount of money on this party.  But it was all worth it.  I never thought I’d have it in my to put on a full blown, fully detailed “Pinterest” party, but I did and it was great!  Although, I will probably never go that full out again.  Party plannin’ ain’t easy!