Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Life Lately

How beautiful are these flowers the girls from work received last week.

I"m loving this quote in this season of life right now.

Sooo winter is here. It came so fast. We just had the best, most gorgeous fall weather and then had about an inch of snow last Sunday night. It was pretty, but not too fun to drive in.

How fun are our work stockings filled with treats?

We went to our church's Christmas show last weekend with my parents. It was a good show. The people are all so talented. 

I started drinking out of my Christmas mug and it makes me so happy. It's the little things.

We had breakfast catered from Bob Evans this week and it was such a treat. So. Good.

So that's life lately. 

Monday, December 5, 2016

Mondays with Manny

Manny loves this toy. He has had it it whole life and carries it around everywhere.

Friday, December 2, 2016

December Goals

The Christmas season is in full swing. I love the twinkling lights on the tree and seeing all the neighborhood lights as I walk Manny. And a new month means new goals. Lets see what I want to accomplish!

Follow Weight Watchers. I had great success following WW through the iTrackBites app before and am ready to get back into it. This is perfect for me too during the holiday because there is still room for indulgences, but it helps me eat more fruits and veggies.

Live in the moment. I find myself longing for summer. Summer is my favorite season, but I’m trying to find the greatness in winter. After such a beautiful fall it is tough to transition to coldness and gray but I’m determined to embrace it and LOVE IT. Love the twinkle lights. Listen to all the Christmas music. Enjoy the extra days off this month. Embrace the snow and cold and the beauty there can be found in it.

Move every day. I think I’m finally coming to terms that walking is my favorite way to work out and I don’t have to do some crazy intense exercise to feel good. If walking is my jam than let that be enough. And if I feel like than I’ll do intense exercise or try Barre or Yoga. But my goal this month is not to do a certain work out a certain number of days. Just to move every single day.

Read four books this month. I’m still on a reading kick and loving it. I just finished Turning the Tables by Teresa Guidice and LOVED it. So interesting! Can’t wait to share more in a book review coming soon!

So that is what I’m striving for accomplishing this month.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

November Goals Revisited

I am still in disbelief that November is over and the Christmas season is upon us. Life moves so fast! Lets see how I did with my November goals...

Complete Christmas shopping. I'm half done so that is a very good start. I hope to finish up by the first week of December.

Read four books. Check! I actually read FIVE! I read Beautiful Day by Elin Hilderbrand, Lifeguard by James Patterson, The Guest Cottage by Nancy Thayer, Along Came a Spider by James Patterson and Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin. Check out my book review here.

Unplug in the evenings. Check! This was not as hard as I expected it to be. I was reading some really great books so that definitely helped. It's funny how I struggled to read four books each month because I would mindlessly scroll Instagram and Facebook after dinner. Now that I make a point not to be on my phone when G gets home I have so much more time in my days! I easily read five books and don't even miss that time I had spent on social media. 

Unclutter one closet. Check! I actually cleaned every closet and drawer with G and it felt incredibly good. It was way overdue and I so appreciate the help! G was feeling the itch too. It has been almost a month and I've kept everything in its place and organized. Woohoo!

Savor the moment. I sure did. I made chili to embrace the season. Spent time with family and enjoyed leisurely time with them on Thanksgiving. Soaked up the conversations and all the gorgeous sunrises this month had to offer.

How did you do this month?

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Thanksgiving Weekend Recap

We had Thanksgiving at my parents' house this year. Eric, Jess, the kids, G and I came over a few hours early to celebrate my dad's birthday. It was fun spending time with everyone and just relaxing, eating appetizers and talking.

Jess and I drank beer out of these glasses from the restaurant my parents' had their very first date. How fun is that?!

Bennett was getting cranky so I played the Hamilton soundtrack for him and he LOVED it. He was just memorized by me as I sang along to the soundtrack. This went on for a good 45 minutes when I saw he was fighting sleep and I turned the soundtrack off and he fell fast asleep. So sweet. I got hours of sweet cuddle time with him. LOVE.

After he woke up I did a few puzzles with Ella and we cracked open this fun wine while extended family came over and we chatted, laughed and hung out.

Bennett was awake and happy! It was fun to see family I have not seen in a while and catch up.

Then we ate! My mom made the most beautiful turkey. We had green bean casserole, mac and cheese (Martha Stewart's Jess makes every year and it's the BEST!), mashed potatoes (with Borsin cheese, amaze!), cranberries and sweet potato casserole. Everything was so good!

Friday we drove up to Petoskey for a little getaway. We stopped at Barrel Back on Walloon Lake which is a gorgeous lake and also the lake Ernest Hemingway summered on. 

I had the chicken sandwich with pesto aioli, avocado bacon and a side of fries. It was nothing to write home about, but it was good. It actually tasted even better leftover, isn't that funny?

It was a rainy, cloudy day but Northern Michigan was still gorgeous.

We stopped at Walloon Lake Winery for a tasting. The owner was pouring the wine and I always love hearing the story of how a winery started. He started as a builder and actually built the winery from the ground up. He retired from building and already had the land and decided to grow grapes. He was planning on selling the grapes to wineries, but soon found out to make money you need to open a winery and sell your own grapes. So he called his sons to ask if they would go in on the winery with him and the rest is history. I really liked their dry red.

Then we went to check into our hotel. This has never happened, but I booked on Expedia and when we got to the hotel they didn't have our reservation! We ended up getting moved to a nicer room for the same rate at their sister hotel. Score! This was our view and it was so relaxing.

We walked around downtown Petoskey for a bit and then headed for drinks and dinner at Twisted Olive. The views of Lake Michigan were great. It was a tiny place and the service, food and drinks were all meh. We should have gone to our old favorite Palette

Saturday we did some exploring. We hiked a bit and enjoyed the gorgeousness that is Lake Michigan.

Lake Michigan is for lovers.

We headed to Charlevoix which is one of my favorite cities. We did some shopping at the cute shops.

Then we did a little wine tasting at Cherry Republic. 

The main reason we headed to Charlevoix was to eat lobster mac and cheese at Weathervane. It was the best mac and cheese of my life I ate two summers ago. Well, it is only a summer menu item so I'll have to head back next summer! We shared fish and chips and a brew on the water. Perfection.

Sunday we headed to City Park Grille for lunch. Hemingway used to write at this bar, how cool is that?!

We are such nerds, ha!

I had the fried zucchini because vacation tradition.

As we drove home I finally got my sunset. It was so cloudy this trip, but still so fun and relaxing.

And per tradition, we stopped at our favorite restaurant for dinner before we got home. Their gin and bear it martini is BOMB.

We shared the smoked salmon dip and it was seriously the best. I would get this again! Probably the best thing I ate all weekend. I did not make great food choices this weekend, but this was a good one! Such a fun, long weekend. The perfect balance of family time and quality time with G. 

And now we are ready for Christmas!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Mondays with Manny

Just a dog and his blanket. 

Friday, November 25, 2016

Book Review (Edition 2)

I am still on a kick of reading and making it a priority right now. I'm enjoying reading an hour or two each night before I go to bed. It's the best way to unwind for me and I think I sleep better because of it. Here is what I've read recently. If you have any recommendations I would love to hear them in the comments!

The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney looked interesting. I had heard mixed reviews about it so I was curious. I was engaged the first 100 pages or so and mildly curious about what happened. There are a lot of characters to keep track of and I wasn’t loving the book, but I was still interested so I kept plugging away. It was at about the 100 page mark where yet ANOTHER character was introduced that I lost interest completely. I could barely keep up with all the characters as it was and to add another put it over the top for me and I quit reading. You win some you lose some, right? Of course, I did read the last few pages just for closure, ha! Anyone else do that?

Beautiful Day by Elin Hilderbrand was another good one. I read it during a super warm week in October that felt like summer again which just makes the book even more enjoyable. I mean it is fun reading a summer beach read in summer weather, right? Hilderbrand does it again with another engaging book that I wanted to see how it ended. I was connected to the characters and enjoyed the fun, easy read.

The Lifeguard by James Patterson was my second book of his to read. I loved his first one so much so I had very high expectations for this one. It did not disappoint. I started it on a Saturday and could not put it down and ended up finishing it that same evening. So, yeah. I liked it, ha! It was suspenseful and fun and I could not wait to see how it ended!

The Guest Cottage by Nancy Thayer was recommended to those who love Elin Hilderbrand books and I heart Hilderbrand. Thayer has a similar style as Hilderbrand and her books are based in Nantucket as well. I love a good beach read and this fit the bill. It was interesting and a fun read. I like Hilderbrand books better, but it was a feel good book. It was a little long and seemed to drag, but I enjoyed it and would read another one.

Along Came a Spider by James Patterson is the first in his Alex Cross series. I had really high hopes for this book because I heard rave reviews on this series, but I was disappointed. I found the book a little too dark and the bad guy a little too evil. It was long and seemed to drag. I also had no trouble putting it down which was a first for me. Usually I can't stop reading his books (see above, ha!). I felt meh after reading it and even had nightmares so I'm going to take a little break from Patterson books for bit.

Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin was a good read. It is a lot of the same material she talks about in her podcast Happier, but it was a good reminder and fun to get a deeper dive on how to get better at habits. The information really is life changing and makes a lot of sense. Rubin does her research which I like. I plan to start implementing some of her tips to keep exercising. I highly recommend this book!

So that is what I'm reading lately. Have you read any good books lately?