Week 18 Bump Update

week 18

week 18
Week 18 Bump Update:

How far along are you? 18 weeks, 5 days

How big is baby?: According to The Bump app, Baby P is the size of a sweet potato(5.6 inches, 6.7 ounces).  Baby P can yawn, hiccup, swallow, twist, roll, punch & kick!

Symptoms:
-I’ve had super dry skin (which I always get every winter), compounded by the fact that my belly is growing!  I’ve tried the generic BioOil and wasn’t a fan, and Palmer’s Cocoa Butter seems to be helping.
-My skin has cleared up a bit (with some flare-ups here and there) and hair is definitely growing (finally!)  Got it trimmed with some fresh hi-low lights and it feels so great!
-Started to notice a sore lower back and feet by the end of the day…got particularly bad one day where I felt pain/numbness in my left foot…could be sciatica, but it sounds like perhaps a heel spur? Grrrreat. Stretching and foot inserts have been helping quite a bit, luckily.

Sleeping: Been having some weird dreams and not sleeping so great. Also trying to sleep on my sides, rather than my back.

Cravings/Aversions? I really want over easy “dippy” eggs. So dang good.  Also chocolate doughnuts. Salads. Pickles. French fries with ketchup.  But none of them together.

Fears:  Feeling like there is just so much to do and so little time!  Now through the end of the year is so busy with the holidays, and my baby list is getting longer by the minute!  Trying not to let it stress me out…

Miss Anything?  Running and working out like I did pre-pregnancy.  Totally worth it though!

Generally Feeling: Like myself!  Since my last bump update, I actually tried running again here and there (with doc’s ok, of course).  I miss everything about it and decided to go slow and listen to my body.  I feel SO much better working up a sweat, and I’m going nice and slow, trying out intervals like 5 min walk, 5 min run, etc.  Definitely got more energy back compared to the first trimester…SUCH a difference!

Looking Forward To:
-Feeling kicks now that Baby P is moving those muscles around!  But in the meantime, a friend loaned me her heart rate monitor…it’s so fun to be able to hear Baby P’s heartbeat whenever we want (if we can find it!)
-Mani/pedi before Thanksgiving to get some pampering time
-Gender reveal for my side of the family at Thanksgiving!

What I’ve Been Loving: Seeing T get so excited about the nursery, researching things for Baby P, prepping Izzy to be a good big sister, touching my tummy in the middle of the night, etc.  Warms my heart!

Maternity Clothes? I took advantage of pre-Black Friday sales at Old Navy (for cardmembers) and picked up a few activewear pieces and a couple pairs of pants. (Also, this post from a fellow prego blogger Alison at Long Distance Loving had some great tips on workout gear.)  Also splurged and got an adorable belted coat for a great price.  I freeze so easily and my North Face parka is getting tight to zip up so knew I had to make the investment. Look for my November clothing budget to post soon!

Boy or Girl: We have a super fun way to tell my side of the family at Thanksgiving.  Then, we will share with T’s side of the family at Christmas. Although we know the gender already, it’s fun to guess according to old wives tails, like ones used by this quiz by Tiny Prints.

Movement:  None yet, although the past few days I have felt a weird gurgle/stretching below my belly button.  I’m pretty sure it might have been a hint of a flutter!

What I did/got for baby: T and I visited Babies R’ Us over the weekend to start our registry. SO overwhelming!  We are huge Consumer Reports junkies and always check the latest ratings on baby gear, but there is just SO.MUCH.STUFF.  Needless to say, after a few hours there, we came home and took a nap.

Best moments of the week:
-Got to visit with tons of people the past couple weeks, including aunt/uncle, 3 cousins and several friends and old coworkers.  Love being able to enjoy that time with them!

See the other bump updates here: Week 16…and progress over the past two weeks:

17 to 18

Holiday Card Designs with Minted.com

minted.com baby holiday cards

In case you’ve missed the Christmas trees and songs blasting through the speakers at stores, it’s that time of year again!  Before we know it, December will be upon us, and for me, that means getting my holiday cards ready!

The past few years, I’ve gone the route of making photo holiday cards to send to friends and family (see last year’s here).  Every year, I seem to go with a different online shop, and this year, I’m excited to select a holiday card design from Minted.com!

What’s unique about Minted.com is that they discover innovative designs through ongoing  competitions from artists. Designers submit, and the Minted community votes to tell them what to sell.  No cookie cutter holiday card designs here!  These designs are exquisite and unique (and fully customizable)…just take a look at some of my favorites below.

Now the hard part, which design do I choose?!

Minted.com horizontal holiday cards
Hap-happiest time | Merry little chalkboard | Fruitcake | Fun Facts

Minted.com vertical holiday cards
Season’s favorites | Simple snapshots | We are family | Destination luggage tag

And then there are a few baby-themed ones I’m thinking about to feature the Baby P news front and center:

Minted.com baby holiday cards
Santa for the stork | Snowflake holiday ornament | Bright future

And now through Tuesday, get 15% off and free recipient addressing on holiday cards with HAPPYHOL15.  (Not ready to order quite yet?  Buy it now and upload photos later- no problem!)

Do you like receiving photo holiday cards?  What was the most memorable card you received?

Disclosure: Minted.com provided me with a credit in exchange for highlighting their products.  All opinions are my own.

Give Thanks with #PureBarreFamily! {Giveaway}

pure barre give thanks

pure barre give thanksNovember is a month to reflect and give thanks. The Pure Barre headquarters is thankful for all the Pure Barre Family! In that spirit, Pure Barre wants to ask you – what does ‘Pure Barre Family’ mean to you?

Now through November 27, follow @pure_barre on Instagram and share a picture using the hashtag #PureBarreFamily. You’ll be automatically entered to win a month of free classes for you and a friend or family member at the studio of your choice!When it comes to introducing us to your ‘Pure Barre Family,’ think creatively! Maybe it’s…

  • The friends who brought you to the barre for the first time.
  • The Pure Barre studio owners who empower and inspire you every day.
  • The teacher who pushes you through your final ten.
  • Your little ones or furry friends who get the best version of you since you took an hour for yourself to lift.tone.burn.

Make sure to check out their website for a live stream of photos posted with the #PureBarreFamily hashtag. Happy “Tucks-giving” to you and yours!

Disclosure: This post is powered by Pure Barre Deerfield.

PS- Have you entered the giveaway for a $160 SpaFinder gift card?  Do it now!

Third Thursday Threads: Fall Footwear

green hunter boots, black leggings, black and white marbled sweater, green necklace

First off, have you entered the giveaway for a $160 SpaFinder gift card?  Do it now!

green hunter boots, black leggings, black and white marbled sweater, green necklace
green hunter boots, black leggings, black and white marbled sweater, green necklace2
Bump status: 17 weeks

Sweater: Old Navy | Leggings: Motherhood Maternity | Watch: Kate Spade c/o Shopbop | Necklace: Old Navy (old)| Boots: Hunter | Socks: Hunter c/o Shopbop

When I think of fall footwear, my trusty old Hunter boots come to mind.  Add the fleece-lined socks and they are not only perfect to combat mud and rain, but super toasty for these arctic Chicago days! I went with an otherwise neutral color palette for the rest of my outfit and purposely matched my necklace to my boots.  I don’t do that often, but I was trying to do it to show my team spirit for the Green Bay Packers. Subtle, I know… :-)

What’s your go-to fall footwear?

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Linking up with Work Clothes, I Suppose | Mix and Match Fashion

KISS InstaWave Curler {Review}

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{First off, have you entered the giveaway for a $160 SpaFinder gift card?  Do it now!}

I’m always looking for fun ways to style my hair that involve curls.  (Don’t they say the girls with straight hair always want curly hair and visa versa?!)  Regardless, I’m always looking to try tools that can create curls but only if they are 1- quick and convenient and 2- foolproof.

I’ve got a drawer full of rollers, curling irons and other gadgets that promise to make beautiful beach wave curls.  But most of them either take forever to do or don’t produce the results I’m looking for.  When I heard about the KISS InstaWave, I had to give it a shot because it looked like it created curls very easily and didn’t take forever!

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A bit about the KISS Instawave: It is a fully automatic tangle-free curler that instantly creates beautiful, long-lasting curls—but it claims to be different than an average curling iron.  How?

  • It’s fully automatic tangle-free curler
  • It’s easy for anyone to use, from any angle, with any hand
  • It features a curl dial with left/right curl directions
  • It automatically shuts off after 90 minutes
  • It has two heat settings with a low/high switch
  • It retails for $59.99 and is sold at Target, Ulta or AmazonIMG_2589

But does it actually hold up to its claims?  I put it to the test…

First, I went to the KISS Instawave website and watched the video tutorials.  It looked SUPER easy to do!  I busted out the device and turned it on…it heated up quickly and was ready to go when the blue light turned on.

First, you take a 1 to 2 inch section of hair…

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Then you insert it into the device…I think the trick here is that you have to make sure the hair goes in between the barrel and the single black holder closest to it.

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Then, you use the left/right arrows and curl the hair in the direction you want and hold it for 8-10 seconds (depending on how tight a curl you want) before pulling the device out and releasing your hair.

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This took a lot of practice and was quite frustrating for me because the videos make it look so easy!  But my hair wouldn’t follow the outside prongs and be guided in—instead, it would wrap on the outside and fall loose, or pick up other random pieces along the way…and resulted in a curl like this:

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FAIL!  Super lame, right?  After several attempts like this, I decided to give up and come back again the next day and try it.  After reading and watching a few tutorials from other bloggers, I tried again and the results came out MUCH better:

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Not sure what I did differently to be honest, but on day one, I had just washed my hair and blow dried it, and on day two- I hadn’t done that…so perhaps that was helpful?  The tricky part really is getting your hair to rotate inside the four prongs so that it will curl properly.  Definitely takes some practice but I’m happy to report that it does work!  The KISS Instawave was nice in that I could use slightly larger sections of hair (making the process go quicker) and can get more of a beach wave look instead of tighter curls- which I prefer.

So there you have it!  Try out the KISSInstawave for yourself and get one at Target, Ulta or Amazon and let me know what you think compared to your other curling methods!

Disclosure: I received the KISS Instawave via my partnership with Brandbacker in exchange for a blog review.  All opinions are my own.

$160 SpaFinder Gift Card Giveaway!

$160 SpaFinder Gift Card Giveaway

As the holidays approach, life always seems to get a little crazy. And many of us forget to take a moment or two for ourselves. So not only as a thank you from me to you as a token of appreciation for your readership, but also as encouragement for you to give yourself a little TLC this holiday season, I’ve collaborated with several other bloggers to bring you a great giveaway for a $160 gift card to Spafinder. Among many other wellness initiatives, Spafinder offers gift cards that can be used at a network of over 70,000 spas and wellness retailers around the world. If you’re interested in taking a few moments of time for yourself, check out their network and enter the giveaway below for your chance to win the gift card!








Personal Planner Review

Personal Planner review

Personal Planner Review

I confess. I’m a huge office-supply freak.  I love new pens, notebooks- you name it.  But perhaps my favorite item of all is a planner.  I’m one of those gals that lives and breathes by her planner.  No digital calendars or notes for me- I’m a fan of pen and paper.  Needless to say, I always get excited as the calendar year starts wrapping up—it means I can start hunting around for a new planner!

Last year, I tried out the Erin Condren life planner for the first time (review here.)  It was definitely an improvement over the planners I would get from Target.  But there were a few things I realized I wasn’t digging about the life planner as the year went on: the detachable ruler wasn’t transparent so it would cover up a weekday in the weekly spread.  I also noticed I wasn’t using the morning/day/night boxes (rather, just inputting things that could be done at anytime).  And I wasn’t really using the monthly spread either—just got in the way for me.  The $50+ price tag just didn’t seem worth it to me at that point.

So for 2015, I set out to find a new planner and stumbled upon Personal Planner.  They offer a ton of customization options, and best yet- tax, shipping, accessories and customization is all included in the price! I thought I’d do a little Personal Planner review for you…let me know what you think!

The website is very straightforward, which helped me place my order quickly.  I went with the A5 for $39.95 (you can see the sizing compared to my cell phone below—much more compact that my 2014 planner!)  From there, you can edit the cover.  There are tons of colors, designs and text that you can add, or you can upload a photo of your own!  I went with one of their backgrounds and added my name and selected the color elastic closure I wanted and moved on:

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Then, you can customize the weekly layout by selecting a design theme across the spread, and also add boxes for daily details and fill the writing space at the bottom.  I went with blue polka dots on the spread, a daily workout log, and added boxes in the writing space for my top five “to-dos” for the week, as well as the week’s dinners.

You can even customize the layout of the week (vertical versus horizontal) and keep the space for each day as ruled, white space or a timetable!  LOVE all the choices—really makes it personalized!

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Next, you have the option to create an account and add personal dates.  I took the time to input that versus handwriting them in like I typically do every year and it’s so much more convenient!  Then, when I go to order next year, all the dates will be ready to go again!  The dates are also picked up on the yearly spreads at the back of the planner for quick reference.

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The back section of the planner also has three sections that you can customize.  I went with yearly overview pages and blank lined pages for random notes, gift ideas, books I want to read, races I want to run, etc.

With over 50 blank pages, I also decided to add my blogging editorial calendar to my personal planner so I only had to carry one notebook around.  SO much more convenient!

IMG_2559 The blog calendar I use is a free printable courtesy of LifeYourWay.net.

The planner also includes a clear plastic ruler and a clear sleeve to hold loose items.

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After I submitted my order, I had to wait a few weeks for it to be printed and shipped, but it didn’t take long!  So happy to have my planner now and start filling things out *nerd alert!*

I think it’s going to be much more helpful to me when 2015 comes around!  Get yours here.  Happy planning :-)

What do you look for in a planner? Favorite brand?

Disclosure: I received a free Personal Planner in exchange for a blog review.  All opinions are my own.

Classic Black and Cream

15 weeks: black and cream


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close up: black and cream
Bump Status: 15 Weeks

Top: Loft Outlet | Pants: Motherhood Maternity | Heels: Payless | Necklace: ? | Earrings: Target

When I saw this flowy  top in a classic black and cream color combo, I knew I had to get it.  It’s nice and roomy  but also has fun feminine features like the buttoned sleeves, tie back and gathered shoulder detail that make it less plain/boxy.  Plus, it goes with practically everything.

In fact, I liked it so much, I got it in dark blue (seen here).  Come on, you know you do the same thing!

And the pants….oh, the pants.  Can I get a “woo woo” for maternity pants?!  Why don’t people wear these all the time?!

Linking up with  Mix and Match Fashion

And for your viewing pleasure, an “I’m really excited” pose…

15 weeks: black and cream

Week 16 Bump Update

Bumpies 8-16

In an effort to help document my pregnancy, I’ve decided to do semi-regular “bump” updates.  Not necessarily a week by week thing, but maybe every other week?  We shall see!  But in the meantime, here is the first one!

week 16

Week 16 Bump Update:

How far along are you? 16 weeks, 5 days

How big is baby?: According to The Bump app, Baby P is the size of an avocado (4.6 inches, 3.5 ounces).  Baby P can hear, thanks to tiny bones forming in the ears, growing hair, lashes, eyebrows and taste buds!

Symptoms: Still feeling pretty tired…but I think it’s due to daylight savings time.  It’s dark out when I leave work…combine that with the cold (and soon enough- snow), and it just zaps my energy.  Happens every year but add that to being pregnant and I’m out!  Trying to find my sweet spot to get a workout in, now that the morning sickness has largely subsided– want to try to get it done first thing in the morning so I can relax on the couch when I get home!

Sleeping: A lot.  And pretty well thanks to the most wonderful present from T: a pregnancy pillow from Bump Nest!  That thing is AMAZING and I can only imagine how much it will help as I get bigger.

Cravings/Aversions? Still a fan of carbs and dairy.  In the first trimester, I wasn’t a fan of chicken, many fruits or veggies.  But thankfully that has passed, and I’m able to eat more of a healthy diet.  Really wanting to pack in more nutrients now that the sound of them doesn’t gross me out entirely.  And I just won a gift card to Door to Door Organics from Katie so I can’t wait to stock up on some fruits/veggies!

Fears:  I am feeling overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information out there. There is so much to know in order to care for a baby with schedules/routines, safety, breastfeeding…the list goes on!  But I’m trying to learn what I can from fellow mommas and sign up for classes through our hospital.  Hey, sometimes you learn by instinct too, right?!  

Miss Anything?  Running.  I made the decision to put a hold on running until Baby P arrives.  But I really do miss everything about it.  For now (and when I have the energy), I’m focusing on Tracey Anderson pregnancy DVDs, walks on the treadmill, and strength training.  My schedule hasn’t been too accommodating for Pure Barre classes, but I hope to go when I can!)

Generally Feeling: Contemplative.  I often find myself daydreaming about this miracle inside me.  Feel very blessed and grateful and praying for a healthy pregnancy and baby!

Looking Forward To: Seeing my bump “pop!”  Right now, it just looks like I ate too much haha.  Can’t wait to have that bump and feel kicks…I’ve heard that both should be coming in the next few weeks!

What I’ve Been Loving: All the love, well wishes and excitement from friends and family.  Baby P is already so loved…touches my heart!

Maternity Clothes? Can I just say…maternity pants are AMAZING!  Even right away, I noticed shifts in my body size and finally went shopping with my Mom over my birthday and picked up a few maternity items (see them here.)  On the list for this month: a winter coat (preferably with a tie-waist) and some workouts pants (eyeing these from Old Navy…love their regular ones!)

Boy or Girl: We do know the gender, but it’s a surprise!  At least until we tell our families.  Looking to do gender reveals for family at both Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Any ideas?!  

Movement:  None that I’m aware of yet!

What I did/got for baby: Started filling out a pregnancy/baby book to document these 9 months and beyond.  I really want to stay on top of it so I don’t forget things as the weeks go on!  The one I got has lots of cute (and funny) prompts so it’s not so open-ended, which I love.

Best moments of the week:
-T and I figured out a color scheme/layout for the nursery (thank you, Pinterest!)
-Baby P’s first Packer game versus the Bears…and wow, was it a good one!  GO PACK GO!

And here is my progress so far:

Bumpies 8-16

October 2014 Clothing Budget

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October 2014 clothing budget- maternity edition
For this month’s October 2014 clothing budget, I did quite a bit of spending.  I feel all of the pieces I got were warranted, since much of it included maternity wear!  I’ve been seeing a lot of capsule wardrobe recaps from bloggers, with one of my favorites being Kate from The Small Things Blog.  So if I can get my act together, I’d love to do a maternity themed capsule wardrobe…it makes so much sense!  Until then, here’s where my moolah went this month:

Oct clothing budget1
BOTTOMS
-Secret Fit Maternity Leggings (black and gray): $30
There was a buy one get one half off sale on all pants, and these are SO much more comfortable than regular leggings, believe it or not.
-Secret Fit Belly Bi-Stretch Suiting Baby Boot Maternity Pants (black and gray): $50
Again, on sale and a staple for work!
-Maternity Long Sleeve Tee Shirt Dress: $24.99
Classic dress than can be remixed in so many ways!

Oct clothing budget2
BASIC TOPS
-Maternity Tank Top: $12.99
Picked this up as a recommendation from a friend…love the longer torso.  Great for layering!  Will likely get more of these in the future…
-Maternity Long Sleeve Essential Tee: $14.99
I feel like a lot of my maternity wardrobe is blacks and white, so this is a nice pop of color for more casual days!
-Nursing Cami: $18.19
Got as part of a sale…haven’t worn yet but will definitely come in handy!

Oct clothing budget3
SWEATERS/BLOUSES
-Charcoal (and camel) tie-waist sweater via Sears: $50
I saw the camel colored one on a coworker of mine and was surprised when she told me she got it in the maternity section at Sears!  Super cute!  (I looked everywhere and couldn’t find a link for them, but they are in stores!)
-Blue and black/white blouses via Loft Outlet: $15
These tops aren’t maternity but are super flowy and roomy and will be great for work!  I went shopping with my Mom for my bday and she let me use her coupons and rewards to get these for super cheap!  Problem is- I already have some sort of oil-based stain right on the front of the blue one and it won’t come out!  Does anyone have tips/tricks that I can try?

Oct clothing budget4

NON-MATERNITY PIECES
-Long sleeve tunic sweater: $27.99
Nice long length, perfect with leggings for a casual day!  Lots of colors, too- I’m digging the burnt orange color!
-Evie Drawstring Funnel Neck Sweatshirt: $44 after Stitch Fix credit
Super comfortable and not form fitting.  Winner.
-The North Face K Jacket: $56
I’ve been oogling after this jacket for quite some time and saw a crazy sale at 6pm.com for over 70% off! (It’s last year’s design, but I like it better than this year’s design anyways!) Have been wearing it a lot and it defines my waist but it still roomy enough for the small bump I have going on at this point!

Oct clothing budget5
ACCESSORIES
-Maternity Footless Tights: $13.99
-Merona Maternity Tights: $8.40
-Black Booties: $35
-Cable knit beanie hat: $14.99

= $416.53 for October
–  $308 income earned
= 108.53

Yeah…a lot of shopping this month.  But to be fair, I needed this stuff so I would have something to wear without being uncomfortable…annnd it was my birthday this month, so I treated myself :-)

How did you do this month?  Favorite purchase you made this month?
Maternity pieces you got?  Suggestions on maternity winter coats?

To view my past clothing budgets, click here.

Linking up with Franish and Olives n’ Wine.

Enjoying a Little Me Time

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This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Weave Made Media® and PEOPLE®  and PEOPLE StyleWatch®, but all my opinions are my own. #weavemade #MeTimeMags http://my-disclosur.es/RgFrEH

With all the hustle & bustle of work, laundry, dishes and other chores during the week, I love to take a little time on the weekends to relax and recharge…especially before Baby P arrives!  But just recently, the hubs had some client dinners (and a business trip), so I took full advantage and scheduled in some “me time”!

One of the first things I like to do when I  get “me time” is to get in a good workout.  I feel so much better after I get in a good sweat session!

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Next step for some girly me time?  Magazines, of course!  I typically don’t buy magazines on the regular, so picking these up is a fun treat!

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I headed to Safeway and picked up the classic PEOPLE (featuring my style icon Kate Middleton…who is also due in April I might add!) and PEOPLE StyleWatch, which was a magazine I hadn’t read before.  I also saved $1 via the Just4U Safeway portal…which prompted me to buy a few more “me time” staples: chocolate, and the new Sally Hansen gel nail polish (no lamp required!)

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Of course, magazines are best enjoyed in bed…and if a nap happens, so be it! :-)

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I always love a good PEOPLE issue, which catches me up on the latest pop culture (I’m a junkie), but the PEOPLE StyleWatch was probably my favorite.  It was loaded with tons of style inspiration, from celebrities to fellow bloggers.  I dog-eared the section on coats…I’m loving the robe coats and think this might be a good option to get me through winter as my bump grows!

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And a gal has gotta indulge in a little snack.  One of my favorite indulgences is popcorn with M&Ms.  The sweet and the salty is so good!  (If you haven’t tried this combo- please go and do it now.  You’ll thank me.)  The M&M candy shell stays intact while the freshly popped popcorn heats up the chocolate inside so when you eat it, the chocolate explodes in your mouth.  Amazeballs.

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So tell me….what do you do when you get some “me time”?  What are your favorite magazines?

And remember- you can save $1 on one (1) participating magazine title PEOPLE, PEOPLE StyleWatch, Sunset, and InStyle available through the Just4U online portal at Safeway now through 11/20/14 (while supplies last).

5 Reasons I Love Pure Barre

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pure-barre-2Source

So here’s five for your Friday….Pure Barre style!  It’s 5 Reasons I Love Pure Barre!

1.  Just an inch!
Pure Barre is all about small isometric muscle movements.  No running, no burpees…just little movements that lengthen and define your muscles.  Such a nice change of pace from the workouts I’ve been doing literally my whole life!  Plus, you get to wear fun sticky socks for the workout, another nice change of pace from gym shoes!

2.  Better sore than sorry.
Those small movements will make you shake. For real. And if you’re not shaking in some of the exercises, you know you should be working harder. Once we are finished with a series, my legs feel like Jello.  But it’s good, because Pure Barre wants you to “embrace the shake” because “shaking means muscles changing.”

3. Beyond the barre
At Pure Barre, you don’t just come in for class and leave.  At my studio (and others), there is always something going on!  Whether it’s Wine Down Wednesday, Free Friend Friday or special promos like a class where you bring your guy or social media contests to win gear/classes, they always keep it fresh and inviting!

4.  Feeling the flow
So I’m a Type A person.  That said, I appreciate the flow of class: warm up, arms, thighs, seat, abs, cool down. Everyday. It’s doesn’t get boring though because you don’t know the specific exercises each class.  The instructors change it up daily to keep you muscles guessing!  Predictability, but not too much!

5.  Pump up the beats
When I’m tired or am not present mentally in class and then I hear some Usher start playing through the speakers, I get pumped and refocused.  (I could almost bust a move at the barre, but I don’t want to embarrass myself.)  Pure Barre is always set to such fun, upbeat music.  I don’t mind hearing Adam Levine or other fun pop music in the background while I’m working it at the barre.  In fact, I prefer it.

What do YOU love about Pure Barre?

Disclosure: Pure Barre Deerfield provides me with classes in exchange for blog promotion.  All opinions are my own.  I write about it because I love this workout, my local studio and the staff!

Whole Foods Blogger Cooking Class

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This past Sunday, I attended a blogger cooking class hosted by Katie from Live Half Full.  She organized with the folks over at Whole Foods Market Northbrook and it was such a blast!  I think I’ll let the photos do most of the talking, but I will say- it was a delicious and fun filled evening!

We started off with some drinks: fresh-pressed juices made by Whole Foods.  I LOVED the Eye Opener- tasty!

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Our instructors Robin and Sarah led us through the evening and were very knowledgeable and helpful!  They came up with a delicious, plant-based menu for us to prepare!

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We started preparing our dinner for the evening by making the dough for our whole wheat pasta noodles.  Super easy…except I managed to add in an egg white as opposed to the egg yolk–whoops.  #pregnancybrain  Luckily, we were able to salvage the dough.

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Then, while our dough was resting, we got started on a veggie-based marinara sauce.  My cooking partner Amy and I went to town chopping our veggies.

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This sauce was seriously amazing.  We browned onions and deglazed the pan by adding vegetable stock instead of oil before adding the rest of our veggies.  It smelled SO good and was loaded with nutrients!  At first, I wasn’t sure about having a chunky marinara sauce, but it was divine.  We also had the option to put the sauce in the blender, but I don’t think we wanted to wait any longer to devour it!

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After the sauce got to cookin, we started on dessert: a mixed berry cobbler.  It was sugar free, although Amy and I personalized ours a bit by adding some nuts and date sugar.

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After we had the cobbler in the oven, it was time to prepare our salads.  We were given a $20 gift card and were told we had 15 minutes to go into the store and shop for ingredients for our salads.  (I felt like a contestant straight out of Guy’s Grocery Games!)

We ended up adding pistachios and dried tart cherries from the bulk bins and got a variety of veggies from the salad bar too.

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When we went to check out, we barely hit $10 bucks, which was surprising to me because I always had the mentality that Whole Foods was super expensive, but turns out their prices on the items we got weren’t bad at all!

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Then, we prepared a super healthy avocado dressing using a Vitamix blender. (The Vitamix is seriously amazing, by the way.)  The dressing was super flavorful and actually contained nutritional yeast, which was something I had never had before.  But I read the nutrition info and it is great stuff!

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After that, we finished by making our noodles- my favorite part!  We used a pasta press to make linguini noodles.  I had never made noodles from scratch before and loved preparing it.

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Ta daa!  Noodles!  (Since they were fresh, they only took 90 seconds or so to cook.)  And honestly, I have never tasted better noodles in my life.  They were so much more filling and wholesome than the standard noodles I eat from a box. Now if I just had the time to make noodles from scratch every time….

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Then, at long last, we got to eat!

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Everything was delicious- it was hard to choose a favorite!  But I really, really like the pasta and marinara sauce.

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During our meal, we also saw two additional demos on how to make cocoa date truffles and fruit smoothies- both of which were delicious!

I had such a great time at Whole Foods Market in Northbrook and can’t wait to do another class in the future!  Perfect night out idea with friends, bloggers, significant other, etc.

Thanks to Sarah and Robin and to Katie for a wonderful Whole Foods Blogger Cooking Class! #WFMPlantProteinParty

Have you ever done a cooking class?

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Mizuno Wave Rider 18 Review

Mizuno Wave Rider 18 Review

The following “Mizuno Wave Rider 18 Review” post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Mizuno. All opinions are my own. #WaveRider18 #FitFluential

Mizuno Wave Rider 18 Review
I love fall weather.  Perfect for runs outside…not too hot/muggy, and not terribly cold (yet) either.  I always look forward to weekends when I can get outside and get to sweatin’! Lately, however, I’ve been taking to the treadmill as the sun goes down earlier.  By the time I get home from work, it’s already dark…so to the basement I go.  I pass the time with episodes of The Blacklist and Modern Family.  I’m also looking forward to next week when Top Chef Junior starts up!

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Now that I am out of the first trimester of pregnancy, I feel like my energy has gotten back to normal again.  Those first weeks didn’t involve a lot of workouts because I was either a- exhausted or b- feeling nauseous.  Luckily, both have subsided so I’m trying to get more motivated to get back into the swing of things!  Extra motivation for me recently have been these new kicks that showed up on my doorstep!

The Mizuno Wave Rider 18 just became available to purchase at the beginning of the month.

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I was super excited a few months back when I had the opportunity to review Mizuno’s new trail running shoe – the Wave Hayate – and now I’m even more pumped to try out their latest running shoe, made for neutral runners (like me!). After trying out two pairs now from Mizuno, I can honestly say I am a fan and would consider breaking my loyalty from my beloved Saucony shoes.

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A little about Mizuno Wave Rider 18:
Mizuno adopted the inspirational influence of the Japanese concept of “Hado,” the intrinsic vibrational life force energy that promotes powerful transformations. Hado is executed in the Wave Rider’s sleek, dynamic design relaying the power and kinetic energy of running, harnessing the transformative possibilities of every run.

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I love the Wave Rider 18 shoes for a few reasons – first of all, they are GORGEOUS!  I’m totally digging with the ombre black to white look. I had never really been a fan of black running shoes so was skeptical when I realized they were black.  However, that ombre effect and the teal accents makes it SO fashionable and makes your legs look even longer if you are wearing black leggings. The shoes are also very lightweight and comfortable. I put them on and have been walking 30-45 minutes on the daily and they fit like a dream.

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And here’s a little more about the Mizuno Wave Rider 18 from the website:
The new Wave Rider 18 provides the ideal balance of fit and performance, making it the choice for runners seeking a smooth ride in a sleek, lightweight daily running shoe. Mizuno’s patented Wave Technology® delivers maximum responsiveness and a harmonious feel, providing “just enough” support for your run. The Dynamotion® FitTM upper and a modified outsole pattern gives the shoe added durability and an improved underfoot feel.

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What is your favorite color for running shoes?  I say the brighter the better!

Some Big News…

Baby Announcement

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to notice I have been posting less. While many of you probably assumed I lost my “blogging mojo,” this is far from the case.

So I typically do my blogging in the morning before work.  But for the last three months, I have spent those moments either a- sleeping or b-trying not to vomit.  But I’m totally ok with it. Why? Because I’m pregnant!

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Tyler and I cannot wait to meet Baby {P} at the end of April! I shared this news with friends and family on my birthday, which was yesterday! I never thought I’d be this happy turning 29, but it truly looks like it will be the best year yet!  Woo hoooo!

Becoming a mother will be one of the most rewarding, challenging, and amazing experiences of my life. I’m still trying to decide how much of my pregnancy I’d like to share on the blog, but I do intend to share pieces of my journey with all of you.  For example, I made it through the first trimester, conquering extreme exhaustion, morning sickness (luckily just in the morning) and finding foods that actually sounded appetizing to me (mainly all things dairy and carbs).  Now, I’m starting to feel a little more like myself day by day as I start week 14.

Sharing this news with you is so refreshing–and I’m so happy we’re at the point where I can finally do it! I’ve got a long way to go, but I’m looking forward to every moment. We are so thrilled and blessed beyond measure…just a pile of love over here! Many thanks in advance for all of your love and support!

PS- check out this video that we made to share with our extended family.  It was such a hit!

PPS- Moms out there– any pregnancy advice for this newbie?!  I’m all ears!