Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Favorite Christmas Songs

I just love the holiday season. I'm really trying to just soak it all in and enjoy it and one of the ways I want to do that is to enjoy all the great Christmas music. There is some really awesome Christmas music out there so I thought I would share a few of my favorites.

Carrie Underwood's version of O Holy Night. Just when I didn't think I could love her more she covers my all time favorite Christmas song. I get goosebumps every time. A close second is NSYNC's version. Their a capella version is how I convinced G NYNC had talent.

Pentatonix's version of Mary Did You Know? So amazing!!! A capella and Christmas music = pure joy.

Baby It's Cold Outside from the Elf soundtrack with Zoey Deschanel is AMAZING. Which reminds me, I need to watch Elf soon!

All I want for Christmas is You by Mariah Carey is a classic. CLASSIC.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays by NSYNC is just one of the greats. It instantly puts me in the Christmas spirit.

Silent Night isn't one of my favorite holiday songs,  but I love me some Kelly Clarkston and Reba McIntyre. There was an opening scene in one of the Jaws movies where a guy gets killed by Jaws and Silent Night is being sung in the background. So the song always makes me think of killer sharks. But! This version almost makes me forget about that and just enjoy the song.

What are you favorite Christmas songs?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Ten for Tuesday

1. I'm not sure what is cuter: How adorable Manny looks in his Christmas sweater or how much he enjoys wearing it. 

2. My girlfriend and I are working on winter wreaths. The finished product will look like this (I hope). It turns out wrapping yarn around balls is time consuming, but it is also really relaxing. This project is going to take a lot longer than one night, but it is going to look so good.

3. In the meantime I put my yarn balls in a vase and it makes a pretty centerpiece.

4. My girlfriend's fireplace looks straight out of a magazine, right?! I love it.

5. We went to dinner at a friends house and after dinner we build this gingerbread house. Pretty! We ran out of frosting and started eating the candy, but I think it turned out pretty well. 

6. We hosted friends last week and it was fun to use my new wine decanter from my brother and SIL. So fancayyyy.It really is the little things that make me happy.

7. We went to an Elf themed Christmas party Saturday night my girlfriend, Kate, was hosting.  Above is her boyfriend dressed as an Elf on the Shelf. Uncanny, right?!

8. It was a really fun party. We met a lot of really cool people. Lost terribly at beer pong. And played a rousing good game of White Elephant. We walked away with Saugatuck beer and these awesome Clark Griswald shot glasses. G couldn't wait to put them in the bar.

9. I think I have a problem. Bath and Body Works had a deal last week that all their candles were $8 (originally $22!!) so a few coworkers and I headed over and stocked up. Not only was I saving $14 a candle, I also had a 20% coupon so I ended up saving $80! I call that a win. I think my new favorite scent is the Champagne Toast, it smells so good. The sparkly cover candle is Wine Down and that is a close second favorite.

10. I mean seriously, is he not the cutest in his little sweater? Now that I know Manny loves to wear this sweater I can invest in some more pieces for him. I never thought I would be one of those people to dress their dog, but Manny gets cold since he has short hair and I think the sweater helps. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Friday, December 12, 2014

Fit Friday!


The stats this week: 

Pounds Lost: 1 pound
To Go: 45 to go
Total Lost: 10 pounds

The scale moved again and I hit the ten pound mark. WOOHOO! 

My workouts this week:

Sunday - Biggest Loser Yoga
Monday - Walk an hour on lunch and 30  minutes with Manny
Tuesday - T25 Speed 2.0 and walk 30 minutes with Manny
Wednesday - Walk an hour on lunch and 30  minutes with Manny
Thursday - Walk 30 minute walk with Manny
Friday  - T25 Rip't Circuit and 30 minute walk with Manny
Saturday - Pilates

My leg hasn't hurt in over a week so Tuesday I did T25 and jumped for the first time in five weeks and it felt wonderful. Also? So much harder to do those workouts. I felt so uncoordinated. It will definitely take some time to get back into it, but I'm so glad I'm fully healed.

Eats this week:

My new favorite coffee. Obsessed.

Garlic hummus and TJ's multigrain crackers is a perfect snack.

I'm obsessed with this Christmas wine glass. So festive! I want one!

We went to our friends last week and she made pulled pork sandwiches with potatoes and carrots on the side. Super delicious! 

Tacos!! A favorite around these parts.

Pizza. We usually get pizza at least once a weekend and it makes a nice lunch with a side of veggies.

Ginger salad with soup is also a great lunch.

Tostadas! We went to our friends Wednesday night (Hi Brit!!) and she made these killer beef tostadas. So good. 

How are you all doing?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Thanksgiving Week Recap

I took the Friday before and the week of Thanksgiving off and it was glorious. I usually take time off at Christmas, but thought it would be a nice change to take time in November when the weather was a bit better. Well, jokes on me because we had end of December weather. Temps in the teens and snow. Regardless, it was still a lovely time and the weather started warming up by the end of the week.

G didn't have time off until Thursday so the first few days were spent meal and work out planning, reading, drinking copious amounts of coffee, cleaning, organizing and working out. It was amazing. Manny got long walks every day and barely spent a minute in his crate. It was so nice. That dog sleeps a lot though, sheesh! 

On Wednesday I went to a doctor's appointment and then I got to have lunch with my mom. I ran a few errands and then once G was done with work we decorated for Christmas. I almost made it until after Thanksgiving! I was itching to decorate since November 1st, but G wouldn't let me. He finally caved the day before Thanksgiving. Muahahaha ;) I just love our house at Christmastime. 

Thanksgiving morning I started my Crock Pot Mac and Cheese. Last year my mac and cheese curdled so I was super nervous about it happening again. I scoured the internet on how to avoid it and found using full fat everything helped prevent curdling. I chose this recipe because Sarah struggled with curdling mac and cheese too and found that the recipe that didn't have it happen. SOLD. It turned out really good too if I do say so myself. And spoiler alert! It didn't curdle.

While the mac and cheese cooked I read and drank coffee. It was nice and relaxing. Then we got ready, packed up all our food and headed to my brother and SIL's for dinner. It was a really nice, relaxing Thanksgiving with just immediate family. We watched the Lions play and hung out with the sweetest little peanut, Ella! She just loves music so much so I played her some songs and had a little dance party. She does the cutest little kicking when music comes on that she likes. I die. It's the cutest thing you ever saw.

Brad! My brother was in town so it was fun to see him and catch up on his life. Also,he dominates in Heads Up! Accents category and can pretty much sound like anyone. It was hilarious.

Also? Parts taking selfies. I love my parents.

It was my SIL's first Thanksgiving she hosted and you would have never known it. She was a rock star! She was cool, calm and collected. The food was amazing. I mean, look at that beautiful bird?!

I'm kind of a picky eater and not in to a lot of Thanksgiving food so my plate was quite plain - mac and cheese, turkey, mashed potatoes and kale. BUT my sister made green bean casserole and kale bacon stuffing that were both hits! I told you she rocked it out this year! We were spoiled.

After dinner everyone had pumpkin pie and mini caramel cheesecake. Then we moved back over to the living room and played a few rousing rounds of Heads Up! which is my new favorite game now. I'm terrible at it, but I loved it. I laughed so hard. 

It was just such a nice relaxing day with my favorites. We talked. Laughed a lot. Ate good food. Can't beat that!

Friday G and I started season five of Dexter. I feel it got a lot darker and I'm having a harder time getting into it, but of course I'm obsessed so I'll keep watching. The acting on this show is just insanely good. Love it. It was a nice relaxing day watching our show, walking Manny, doing a little online shopping and I made chili with the leftover turkey.

Friday was my dad's birthday so on Saturday G and I went to my parents to celebrate. All of my dad's side of the family was over so it was nice to see everyone again. My mom made this pretty amazing bottle cap beer for him. It was a Guinness chocolate flavored cake.

With the Guinness chocolate theme she made this mug of Guinness beer cake or as we joked, my dad's smash cake. She did such a good job! We ate yummy appetizers, hung out with family and gave my dad gifts. After the party G and I went to Trader Joe's to grocery shop and then headed home.

Sunday we slept in (last day, sad!), went to church, grabbed lunch and had a nice lazy afternoon. G watched sports and I read most of the way. I started meal planning for the week and it was a just nice day at home. I love just being home. 

The whole time off was a great mixture of relaxation, family time, vacation time, time at home, and it was just perfection. If only it didn't go so fast, but even that didn't feel like it went too fast. I feel I really maximized my time off and just enjoyed the moment. It was the perfect amount of time off and I was ready to get back into my normal routine. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Petoskey Weekend Getaway Part 2

You can catch part one here. Saturday morning we slept in, ate breakfast in the hotel and then went for a drive to see all the pretty houses. There were so many gorgeous, humongous houses to see! I was surprised by how many houses were boarded up because they were just SUMMER homes. Crazy! What do these people do for a living?! I would like to know. I want to come back in the summer and see these houses in all their glory. And the yachts. I've heard there are many yachts in this town. LOVE. I want to live here.

We found a park and bundled up and took a walk. This is Little Traverse Bay. Not frozen yet, woohoo!

I just couldn't get over the waves. It looked like Myrtle Beach with those white caps!

It was a very scenic walk. We had the gorgeous views of the water on our right and pretty, old houses on our left. 

After all that house gawking and walking we were hungry. We went to my favorite place of the whole trip, City Park Grill.

So, as you know I like to read. I like architecture and I like beer. Well this bar was built in the 1800’s, illegally sold alcohol during prohibition (awesome little speak easy), Earnest Hemingway lived on Lake Walloon in the summers and frequented this bar just adding to an insane amount of history to this place. 

It’s a really old bar with an amazing atmosphere (original ceiling tiles, incredible bar with intricate detail in every inch of the wood, perfectly restored building…the works). 

This bar was owned by a guy named Frank back in the day who actually hung himself in the basement and people joke that it’s ‘haunted’ by Frank to this day. I don’t believe that of course, however Shorts had this really good beer they named ‘Hanging Frank’ after this bar / that owner. They had a lot of backlash about the name of the beer (its offensive, even more so – the label!) so they renamed it ControversiALE (bahaha, so funny how they play on words). So basically I walked in this place and just melted. 

G of course ordered a ControversiALE to drink. 

I got this cinnamon, coriander beer that was so good.

 G got a burger and I got their Short's beer battered fish 'n chips. So good! 

After our meal our waiter said we could get a tour of the basement. OF COURSE YES! I overheard kids talking about how scary the basement was because mediums believed Frank was actually murdered down there. I didn't think the basement was that creepy at all, though our waiter would not go near where they believe the murder took place. I loved seeing the remnants of the tunnels and hidden stair case used to smuggle the booze in. So cool! The picture above is of one of the tunnels that is now blocked off due to a fire. It's so cool to see that history and know an actual speak easy was here back in the day. I'm pretty sure you get immensely smarter just walking through the front door of this place. Such a fun experience!

We heard good things about Roast and Toast so we headed there afterwards. It is such a cute little coffee shop with tons of model boats on the wall and ceramic cups on the entrance. I got the Cinnamon Toast Latte and it was amazing. We drank our coffee and walked around and explored the different shops. We went to an awesome spice shop and met the sweetest puppies, talked to the owner and walked out with a Coffee BBQ spice and curry powder. There were so many cute shops. I love window shopping on vacation. They had this store called The Man Cave which I'm sure made G's day. We also stumbled upon a winery and did a tasting, bought a bottle of port and talked to the guy that worked there.

He said we definitely needed to go across the street and check out Pallet Bistro so we went there afterwards for a drink.

The views at Pallet were awesome! We were told to ask for the corner window table and the view was perfect!

G got a chocolate peppermint martini and I had the caramel apple martini. They were both really good. It was fun to just talk about our day, our favorite parts of vacation and just relax and enjoy the view.

It was almost dinner time and we were beat. We saw great reviews on Yelp for this Thai restaurant so we grabbed it to go and headed back to the hotel. We watched movies, ate Thai food and relaxed. It was such a fun day!

We slept in Sunday, ate breakfast at the hotel and then headed to our friend's house to grab Manny. G's friend watched Manny while we were gone and it was so nice to know he was in good hands. Manny was pretty spoiled and I'm sure misses that fenced yard, ha! 

It was a great weekend away. I highly recommend Petoskey if you're ever in Michigan. It's a gem of a city and I loved it!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Petoskey Weekend Getaway

The weekend before Thanksgiving G and I went on a little getaway. We both already had that Friday off because of my annual ophthalmology appointment (you can read why here) so we thought it would be fun to turn the three day weekend into a vacation. Everything was so expensive so we put the idea off UNTIL I saw a Groupon for Apple Tree Inn in Petoskey. My coworkers had just raved about how cool Petoskey was so I really wanted to explore a new city and this deal was a steal and the dates worked with what we wanted so I booked it. We booked this far in advance so we had been looking forward to it!

Friday, Nov. 21st finally came! My ophthalmology appointment was at 7:00 a.m. and was an hour away. That calls for a Venti Starbucks! We grabbed coffee and headed to the appointment. It went great, four years later and no additional tears and my sight is better than ever. Praise the Lord! I do have a freckle on me eye (I know! Weird!) so I have to see a specialist about that, but it's not urgent and it's probably nothing. 

We were on the road by 8:00 a.m. which isn't bad at all! We drove about an hour and then stopped for breakfast. We found a Big Apple Bagel and ate (skinny tip: I took off the top bagel halves and ate the sandwich open faced. Still delicious and probably saved about 200 calories!) before making the final three hours of our trip.

I called the hotel when we were about 15 minutes away to see if we could get early check in. We could!! The hotel was super cute and clean. Couldn't complain about our view either, isn't that pretty?! We unpacked, explored the hotel and then headed the mile it took to get to downtown Petoskey.

We ate at Chandler's and I'm obsessed with their cute outdoor area. It would be so fun eat out here in the summer.

Being on vacation calls for champagne! 

G got a rum drink.

As I said on Instagram, truffle fries and pesto aioli are my love language. OMG so good.

We also shared this grilled cheese sandwich that was pretty amazing. I never would have thought to put feta on a grilled cheese but it MADE it. We also shared some Guinness Chili that was quite delicious as well. It was a fun experience. It's a tiny little place and it just feels so cozy and warm. I loved it! Highly recommend!

Chandler's is attached to the Symmonds General Store (worth a walk through!) right downtown. We toured the wine cellar and there were THOUSANDS of bottles to look at which was fun. I loved this chandelier that was made of corks.

I also enjoyed this sign, ha!

We walked around the city a bit after that. It is a bigger city than I expected and I just loved all the cute little shops. Then we stopped in Beards Brewery. It SUCH a cool tiny little brew pub. It feels like a coffee shop, but instead of coffee you order beers. It's small, but has really good beers.  It’s in this weird building where you feel like you’re walking down an indoor alley and at the end are some store fronts and one of them is the brewery. They had indoor seating and ‘outdoor’ (but not really, because you’re inside the weird alley thing) seating. The beer was really good – I ordered an ale which was really good. Garth ordered an IPA titled Holy Diver because of the name. I don't know the song, but he played it for me. It reminded him of his child hood. We sat in the 'outdoor' area and sipped our beer and watched the owner brew the beer. Good beer and good entertainment!

We walked back to our car and headed back to our hotel to relax. We were pretty wiped out so we ordered BC Pizza for dinner, watched a movie and were asleep by nine. Party animals!

Well, this got long. Part two coming tomorrow!!