friday favorites – november 7.

Happy Friday! Red cups are being used at Starbucks, I witnessed my first snow shower while in Chicago last week and I’ve officially moved my summer shoes into the closet – November is here! Hope you are all ready for the sparkle that these next few months will bring … apart from the cold, this is one of my favorite times of the year!

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Favorite Dinner Party: A few weeks ago, my mom hosted a CLUE-themed dinner party and she didn’t stop the detail train at any expense! When we arrived we didn’t know what to expect, then we saw this amazing table-scape and knew a fun night was ahead. The menu was amazing, as always, because my mom houses the spirit of every chef inside of her and even surprised us with costumes. The men were Colonel Mustard, Mr. Green and Professor Plum, while the ladies were Ms. Scarlett, Mrs. Peacock and Ms. White. Even Cali had an outfit waiting for her – the police chief of course! So much fun!

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Favorite Thing to Look Forward to: Oh I don’t want to wish days away, but I am SO excited for 2015 to roll around so I can use my new Day Designer! If you haven’t checked out Whitney English’s Etsy store while the planners are for sale, do so! I believe they are doing a limited release again on November 24th and they go fast. LOVE.

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Favorite Night Out: Girls Night Out of course! Spill the Wine in Uptown hosted a Sip N Shop event this week and it was such a blast. Who doesn’t love to have a glass of wine while nibbling on really good cheese, shopping local boutiques, meeting new people, and laughing hysterically with girlfriends!? Oh yea, and then we even let Kisa Boutique give us temporary tattoos, which made me feel a lot more edgy than I am. HA!

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Favorite Photo:

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Favorite Recipe: Chicken Teriyaki – serves 2

Ingredients: 3 cleaned and trimmed chicken breasts, diced into quarter-sized cubes, 1 bag of mixed Stir Fry veggies (I love Trader Joe’s kind)), ½ bag frozen broccoli, 1 quarter sized piece of ginger, 1 garlic clove, 1 can (about 1 cup) of 100% pineapple juice and 1/3 c. liquid aminos (coconut or regular), rice or quinoa cooked as desired

Steps: Take a sauce pan and add your pineapple juice, aminos, whole, peeled garlic clove and chunk of peeled ginger. Turn to low and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring every few minutes as it thickens. While that’s cooking, add some coconut or olive oil to another larger pan and cook up your chicken. This will cook fast since they are cut into smaller pieces. Once they are cooked, set aside and make sure there is still about 1-2 tbsp of oil in the pan. Then add your frozen veggies, cover, and sauté on medium for about 10 minutes, or until soft. Once done, remove your garlic and ginger clove and add the sauce and chicken to the veggies. Saute for another 1-2 minutes to combine the flavors. Serve hot by itself or over rice/quiona. Enjoy! (Josh doesn’t love stir fry in general but LOVES this recipe!)

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Favorite Package: I came home from Chicago to this amazing package from my friend Natasha. She surprised us with so many great goodies and it was such a kind and generous ‘thank you’ gesture for coordinating the Mug Exchange. She didn’t need to do it at all and I love how delicious my house has been smelling thanks to this candle! Thanks again Natasha!!!

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And my dear friend Bridget was cleaning out her Thirty One inventory and sent me over these two beautiful goodies! A new cooler bag and ADORABLE navy and white striped crossbody purse. I LOVE THEM BOTH! B, you’re too good to me!

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Favorite Cheerleader: This little Halloween Rah Rah Ruff girl of course! (She had already taken out her pig tails by the time by camera came out. Boo!)

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Favorite Funnies:

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See you on Sunday for a TTC update! Until next time! XOX!

friday favorites – october 24.

Happy Friday! I know, it’s almost Saturday, but better late than never right? For all my new followers, hello!!!! Thanks for stopping in and reading. You guys are the best! A brief recap about Friday’s – Friday’s are the day I step away from “traditional” blog posts and post my favorites from the last week. Anything goes! So without further ado, here we go!

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(Oh yea, and I like Harry Potter)

Favorite Moment: Jason Mraz. State Theater. Him singing, me grinning. Thanks to all the excitement in getting tickets to see his first show in San Diego, Josh and I completely missed the boat to purchase tickets for his Minneapolis show. No worries, we would just buy some off Craigslist. But what happens when NO ONE is selling tickets on Craigslist, Ebay or StubHub? Panic sets in. We had a set budget for the tickets thanks to birthday money that I set aside and knew nothing about scalping tickets, but that’s what we would have to do.

Let’s just say the nerves set in when we were standing outside the theater for 45 minutes and not one scalper had even one ticket, much less two. We were eyeing up the other couples who were pacing like us. Josh went into beast mode, talking with everyone he could and getting to know the scalpers like they were long lost relatives. Me? Well, the stress of it all made me fall into the role of photographer. Yes, that’s right. I just walked around looking for people who were trying to take selfies of themselves in front of the theater and offered to take it for them. (Oh yes, and I fully committed. I was in the street, trying to get their best angles, being careful with the lighting. One group shot even had me pulling out 7 phones from my pocket to get one for each of them. Jason Mraz concerts are no joking matter.)

Well, the great news is 13 minutes before the show started, Josh swooped in on the one scalper who was purchasing a pair of tickets and bam, we were in. My adrenaline at that point was HIGH. Josh came through! The guy always does. :)

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Best moment of the concert? Jason Mraz singing Eurythmics song Sweet Dreams. This happens to be one of my favorite songs ever (for no particular reason) and as soon as he hit that first acoustic note, well, let’s just say my jaw was on the floor and I was teary and giggling and having the best night ever. SO FUN.

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Favorite Quote: We need to stop the ‘when and then’ mentality.” –Christine Caine

Have you ever (like me) said something like this? When I have a child, then I will be content. When I make more money, then I will be able to be more generous. When I get a new job, then I will finally feel appreciated. You can fill it in with whatever you want. However, the point is simple – we are in the now, not the when. We control our attitudes and contentment, not our circumstances.

Favorite Picture: Our sweet nieces came over for a movie night and goodness, did we have fun! Homemade pizza’s were made (FYI Aldi’s has a great gluten free pizza crust baking mix!), pajama’s were slipped in to, giggles were shared and, well, silly faces were made. Seriously, so cute right?

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Favorite Flashback: Trolls. Who remembers them!? The antique store we strolled through last weekend was full of them and they brought back so many childhood memories!

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Favorite Pinterest Pin: I spotted this sweater on Pinterest earlier this week and have to find something like it! How cute is it!? Of course it was posted a few years ago and so I will never find this exact one, but if you ever find anything similar, let me know.

Favorite Package: Guess whose TTC Mug Exchange package arrived!?!? MINE! Jessah sent me this special package, complete with the most adorable mug ever. I adore its size and have already broken it in with some tea. This was such a fun exchange and I absolutely love this part when everyone starts getting their package. (I just sent mine out today!) Did you miss out on it? Don’t worry, we will do another exchange after the holidays. :)

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Favorite Funnies: Ah, now my favorite part. Here’s a few things that made me laugh this week. Hope they make you giggle too!

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Friday Favorites may or may not happen next week due to my trip but we will see if I can break from all the fun and get them out. Have a great weekend friends!

friday favorites – october 17.

Fall is in full swing here in Minnesota and the colors that the leaves are turning make me giddy. I am tempted daily to pull over on the shoulder of the road to snap pictures of the kaleidoscope of nature. I feel like the tree in front of our house is getting redder and redder each day and I always smile as I pass by the front windows.

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Okay, enough blabbing. Let’s talk about Friday Favorites! Much of this last week was lived in Savannah, Georgia while on vacation with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law and boy, did we have fun!! Doesn’t this picture say it all?

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Take a peek into our very fun week with the favorites below.

Favorite Way to See the City: By trolley! I absolutely love the Old Town Trolley line and have seen several cities sitting on one of their benches. The windows are open, the tour is narrated, you can hop-on and hop-off all day and you get a cool map. I mean, come on, who doesn’t love a good map? Ding ding! We learned so much about Savannah this way.

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Favorite Photo: The trees in Savannah are just gorgeous. Big and drape-y and rich with history. I can’t help but wonder what these trees have seen.

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Favorite Meet-Up: While in Savannah, I got to meet TWO gorgeous friends of mine that I met through social media. Karen drove up from Jacksonsville, a whopping 140+ miles to meet for coffee and I am incredibly grateful she made that long drive. Karen has been a true gift to me over the last several months and our friendship and connection is such a blessing. Not a day passes where I don’t talk to this sweet girl and getting to meet in person over salads, mimosas, and coffee was so much fun!!!! Love you Karen!

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And then last minute, I got to meet with up with another friend, Erica and her husband Pat. Erica is such a sweetheart, has been a beautiful source of encouragement to me and her growing baby bump is a testimony to God’s faithfulness. I am so thankful for the unique friendships that can form and loved spending time with this sweet lady too!

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Favorite Coffee Shop: If you are ever in the Savannah area, go to Gallery Espresso! What a fantastic little coffee shop – super eclectic and inviting with fantastic drinks. I may have drank a few too many cups of espresso here but when you find something this delicious, drink on.

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Favorite Breakfast: This trip was all about splurging. We found a great little café, Goosefeathers Café, that offered gluten free bagels (praises!). Team that up with deliciousness like lox, tomatoes, cucumbers, bean sprouts, capers and a hot americano, and you have one very happy Chelsea.

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Favorite Lunch: Gryphon Tea Room. Hands down. This adorable tea room is decorated with tons of old books and laced in traditional features like piano music and scones but also offered contemporary options like iced thai coffee (delicious!) and chai pot de crème. I loved the salmon salad I got but everything we tried was delicious. A win!

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Favorite Dinner: 45 Bistro. I could purr just thinking about it right now. We shared 3 unique and delicious salads – caprese, a modern greek salad, and a beet salad. And then the main course came – espresso rubbed ribeyes. We decided to share 2 of them between the 3 of us and boy, are we glad we did. They were HUGE and delicious and topped with a mushroom medley, asparagus and served over a whipped mashed potato. One of the best steaks I have ever had. My mouth is watering as I type this!

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Favorite Square: Savannah is made up around 22 squares – little parks essentially, most in honor of a person or historical event and many contain a monument or statues or tribute. They are all unique and so beautiful! We loved all we saw, but this one, Chippewa Square, is the one where the Forrest Gump bus stop scene was filmed. Life is like a box of chocolates …

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Favorite Must-See: Our trolley driver recommended we stop at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist and while we are not Catholic, there is something so beautiful and historical about grand cathedrals like this one. The inside was beautifully constructed, the stain glass was colorful and the beautiful stories of the Bible the carvings told were powerful.

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There was a place in the front where you could light a votive candle in prayer and it was overwhelming to imagine all of the prayers that were prayed in there. Once lit, the candles continue to burn carrying on the prayers that were said. I am so thankful for a God who hears each and every one of our prayers and cares so deeply about us.

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Favorite Haunted Adventure: Apparently Savannah is the most haunted city in America and while I don’t believe there are thousands of angry spirits strolling the city streets, I do love a good dramatic spooky tale. I somewhat forcibly talked the fam into hopping on a Ghosts and the Graveyard trolley to hear the stories about Savannah and enjoyed laughing at the alleged tales. I am certain everyone enjoyed it as much as me.

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Favorite Fur-Sighting: While walking through a park, we saw this woman walking all her dogs and their new 8 week old puppies. They were adorable little balls of fur and I was so happy sitting and petting them! Too bad I couldn’t have snuck one home for Cali. (Actually, I don’t think she would have liked that very much.)

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So that was Savannah in a nutshell! It was a blast and now I am home, unwinding from the whirlwind of traveling. A few favorites since I have been back:

Favorite Gas Price: Oh how it feels so good to be under $3.00/gallon.

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Semi-Favorite New Do: Cali desperately needed a new haircut but I am afraid she lost a little too much. HA! Poor thing looks robbed of her locks. This mama keeps reminding myself that it will grow back.

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Favorite Thoughtful Gestures: All the texts and pictures we received of your candles burning on Wednesday night. I could post a million of these pictures, but truly, thank you for everyone who thought of us and our babies and all of the loved ones others have lost. What a beautiful night.

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Favorite Funnies: Last but not least!

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Have a great weekend! All of the Mug Exchange emails have been sent out so if you haven’t received your package assignment, please email me ASAP! Happy shopping!

friday favorites – october 10.

I must admit, as you read this I am on vacation and the “publish at ___:____” feature of WordPress is taking over. Friday Favorites this week will be short and sweet but still up, so enjoy!

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Favorite Outfit: I got to whip out these bad boys for date night last weekend since I knew my hunter hubby would love a bit of camo. They were so comfy and only cost $4 on clearance at Old Navy. Score!

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Favorite Quote: I recently decided to take an opportunity to temporarily job share a position at the hospital I work at when the maternity leave I am covering is done (which it was as of last Wednesday). I have to admit, the motivating factor for taking this job is financial and I have been feeling a bit frustrated that infertility treatments cost what they do, making this decision necessary if we look to pursue anything in the future (more on that another day). It won’t be more than 6 months and only a few days a week, but still, isn’t something I am bouncing off the walls with excitement about doing (even though the company, position and colleagues are so great). It will be a change for our family and increase the busy-ness of my already busy life so I am still processing what this will look like. All in all though, I think it will be good and I love being with my old friends/colleagues again. Anyways, I was talking to my sister about it and she said these words to me: You never know the eternal impact these few short months will have. It’s a part of your journey and story now and it won’t be wasted.”

I love that. I love how she managed to take this change and wove it into the big picture of my life. I am trying to embrace this opportunity completely. I truly am grateful for the chance to save more money for whatever lies ahead, even if the pity-party side of my brain whines that it shouldn’t be this hard or expensive to have a family.

Favorite Accessory: Right now it’s all about these little silver hair clips! I love being able to swoop my hair up with them as I style it in the morning. They are super cheap at Target/Walmart and are far more indestructible than the plastic clips that I always seem to drop and have shatter. A win!

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Favorite Thing I am Looking Forward to: I am heading into the Chicagoland area the last week of October and am SO excited to visit with friends, family and attend the StoryLine Conference at Willow Creek Community Church! (Are you heading to that too? Let me know!) Okay, and I may be a little excited about the food too … Not sure how a gluten free Portillo’s trip is gonna work, but trust me, I will make it happen! This could be dangerous …

Favorite Moment: Josh and I were able to sneak off to our family’s cabin for Saturday – Sunday trip and loved spending some quality time with his parents. We played lots and lots of card games, shared some favorite childhood memories with one another and caught up on life. The sunset was beautiful on Saturday night (far more stunning than this picture does justice) and even though the weekend was extremely chilly, it was so refreshing.

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Favorite Photo: This one is all about Cali’s face. I fell asleep in the car on the way up to the cabin and Cali came over to hang out on the pillow while I snoozed. She loves to balance on her back legs and Josh snapped this picture of her chilling on me. I thoroughly cracked up at her little face when I woke up and saw it. She is so adorable! (And desperately in need of a hair cut….)

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Favorite Funnies: Can’t end Friday Favorites without the Funnies! Enjoy!

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See you next week!

If you haven’t already signed up for the Mug Exchange and want to, make sure to have your email to me by Monday, October 13th! See this post for all the details.

friday favorites – october 3.

Another Friday on the books! Is it mind boggling to anyone else that somehow it’s OCTOBER already? I feel like this entire year has slipped through my fingertips. Excluding today, we have 12 Fridays left in 2014. Gulp. Let’s make the most of them! Okay, without further ado ….

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Favorite Honor: Guess who is the Featured Blogger for the month over on FertileThoughts.com!? This girl! For those who aren’t familiar with Fertile Thoughts, get familiar. This site is the world’s largest social networking site focusing on fertility and infertility and provides education, support and resources for people building their families. If you could support me and check out this link to see my feature (plus a mini post) and their page, that would be awesome. A big welcome to anyone checking out my blog as a result of this feature as well, thanks for stopping by!  (Feel free to share it too using the link: http://www.fertilethoughts.com/fertile-thoughts-blogger-month-chelsea) Jump into the forum boards and connect with me too!

Favorite Celebration: Josh’s grandma turned 80 this Saturday and I loved that we were able to gather as a family and celebrate her! She is one of the strongest, toughest grandma’s around and when she says a book made her cry, you know you better plan a trip to Costco for Kleenex before you open the first page. We love you Grandma Jones! Here’s to many, many more birthdays!

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birthday tierras are a must at a party, right?

birthday tierras are a must at a party, right?

Favorite Thing I’m Looking Forward to: My trip to Savannah with Josh’s mom and sister-in-law is finally almost here! I can’t wait to peruse the south with my fake southern accent and take in all of the history and beauty Georgia has to offer. (I also get to sneak in a lunch date with a dear friend and I can’t wait for that!). Any last Savannah must-see’s? Make sure to send them my way!

Favorite Quote: “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” -Charles R. Swindoll

I heard this quote during a podcast by Craig Groeschel (Part 1 – Contentment) this week and loved how true it is. I often find myself wanting to blame my circumstances on my attitude – I’m tired/stressed/hungry/pms-ing/acting this way because … you get the excuses. However it’s our reactions that alter how our day goes. When I respond short and snippy with Josh long enough, his attitude begins to match mine and then we waste an evening where we are just off kilter and quiet. I hate those kinds of nights! (And this totally happened last week so I am preaching to myself here!)

I usually have really good excuses too. I mean, trials and hardships make it sooooo easy as a back-up reason, but I have to remind myself that life is made up of the up’s and down’s. There’s a quote that says all of us are either in a storm, just coming out of a storm, or headed for a storm. Comforting, right? But because we live a world that’s messy and imperfect and can’t always be a highlight reel, it’s our choices, our attitudes and our decisions to embrace what comes our way and make the best of it that alters our daily realities. Yea, we may shed tears along the way and fail at trying, (me!), but we are still trying and I believe that the more we flex that muscle, the better we will get at managing our reactions.

Favorite Launch: Our next infertility exchange launched last Sunday (see all the details here!) and the response has been overwhelmingly exciting! In the last few days we have had almost 200 women sign-up and I anticipate many more to come until it closes on the 13th. I love this community! (And yes, anyone who is in any stage of infertility, including those waiting for a baby, pregnant with a baby, holding a baby, adopting a baby, (you get the point), is invited and welcome to participate. Check out the post for everything you need to know.)

Favorite Hallmark Moment: No, really, this is a moment that actually happened AT Hallmark. I was browsing cards on Tuesday when the word ‘infertility’ caught my eye. Hallmark actually has a card – okay, just one card, but still, a card – that offers words of encouragement for those suffering with infertility. I felt like fist pumping in the aisle but Kenny G was playing overhead and it just didn’t seem appropriate. But in all seriousness, it’s encouragement that keeps us going and the thought that Hallmark recognizes this as ‘card worthy’ makes me happy.

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Favorite “First”: The Starbucks a mile from my house just opened this week! *insert flashing caution signals here* It is dangerously en route to nearly all of my commitments and even has a drive thru. Cheers to endless caffeinated possibilities! Hehe!

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Favorite Flashback: Okay, so you all know I love Harry Potter, right? Well the movie theater nearby is rerunning ALL of the Harry Potter movies in their reserved theaters for $5 a ticket. SCORE! Courtney and I had a sister-date this week and saw Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone on the big screen. We relived the 2001 acting skills and movie quality and loved every minute of it.

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Favorite Funnies: Gah, I love all of these and nearly cried from laughing while saving them. Enjoy and hope that this dose of laughter brightens your Friday.

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Have a great weekend! Until next time …

friday favorites – september 26.

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Happy Friday! Man, I didn’t post Friday Favorites last week due to the Community Post (which received so much awesome feedback – I am so glad you loved it too!) and now my Friday Favorite list is 16 pages long. Well, not really, but close. I will try to trim and be as succinct as possible. You know how well that works for me, HA!

Favorite Accomplishment and Proud Wife Moment: Josh and I, along with my sister and one of my best friends Jana signed up for a 10-week fitness challenge last July through a local workout center (FXB) and finished our 10-weeks this last Saturday. Not only did we all accomplish it and feel great about our results, but my hubby ended up WINNING the challenge for the men and took home the $1,000 prize and champ title! Way to go Josh! Between the two of us we lost 37 pounds, 36 inches in our chest, waist, hips, arms and legs and crushed our sit-up and push-up per-minute challenges. (This man did 73 push-ups in a minute! And somehow I went from 0 push-ups – yes, zero – to 45. I’ll take it!)  I managed to not only run a mile (twice) but shaved over 2 minutes off of my time. (Okay so it was 2 minutes and 2 seconds, but still …). Either way, I am super proud of Josh and us girls and am excited to continue the 6 days a week program and build on our results. So of course, let us take some selfies.

these are all post-workouts so ignore the sweat.

these are all post-workouts so ignore the sweat.

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Favorite Starbucks Drink: I miss lattes, wahhhhh. But that being said, I LOVE getting an unsweetened iced coffee and adding a splash of half and half and then tons of cinnamon. Yes, powdered cinnamon! (Don’t get this confused and ask for their cinnamon syrup, which is delicious, but defeats the point.) Powdered cinnamon doesn’t dissolve and beware, it does take a few minutes of stirring before you can get it to disperse throughout, but it adds a delicious flavor and has great health benefits. It regulates blood sugar, slows the rate at which the stomach empties after meals, reduces LDL cholesterol, is highly anti-inflammatory and reduces cytokines linked to arthritic pain, reduces chronic inflammation linked with neurological disorders, reduces the proliferation of cancer cells, improves brain activity AND it contains a natural chemical called cinnamaldehyde, which studies show increases the hormone progesterone in woman. Oh goodness, I could continue but I won’t. But seriously, just adding a teaspoon to your drink is a great thing! Delicious!

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Favorite Quote: I was in a bit of a funk the other day and my friend Jana sent me this. So perfect.

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Favorite Dramatic Moment: For once it doesn’t involve me. HA! We have been having some strange weather here in Minnesota lately – 50 degrees one day and then this weekend, back to the 80’s. I flipped on my fireplace a week or two ago briefly and my dramatic dog wandered over to her bed and passed out. It made me laugh and goodness, doesn’t she look so comfy and cozy?

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Favorite TV Moment: Um, 2 of them. 1) DERRICK WINNING BIG BROTHER!! (And Frankie not placing in the top 3 for America’s Favorite Player) and 2) alllllll of the fall tv shows which are making their way back to my DVR box. Parenthood, Grey’s, Vampire Diaries? I’m a happy girl.

Favorite Selfies: Can I even have this section? Well, I am anyways. Here are some of my favorite pictures with my hubby and sister.

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Favorite Funnies: Here we go!!

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What happens on a humid day

What happens on a humid day

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Hope you have a fabulous weekend friends!

friday favorites – september 12.

As I type this it’s currently – wait for it – 55º outside with an overnight low of 37º. Wah wah. I am afraid summer ended pretty abruptly for us midwesterners. My allergies are looking forward to the near freeze but I feel like my open toed fall shoes are not going to get a good season in. I’m not complaining though. I do love that we get to experience all four seasons and fall is one of my favorites. So bring it on!

Alright, let’s jump in to the Friday Favorite fun! (Triple F? FFF? F x 3? None of these? Ha!)

Favorite Moment: Josh and I got to have a fun date with my nieces Scarlett (3) and Kinsely (2) on Saturday and we had SUCH a wonderful time. These little girls are hysterical, so loving and funny and so well behaved – it’s evident their parents have done an amazing job raising them so far. (Shout out to Joe and Monica!) We packed the day full of activities – starting with a treasure hunt and hidden clues (leading to the final prize in the oven, which the girls thought was so funny), spent time on the driveway painting pictures, had a surprise stop from the ice cream man (which as an uncle and aunt, we couldn’t pass up), played water ball tag, made button picture frames (and they both picked out Cali as the photo they wanted featured which melted my little fur-mama heart), had a tea party and tickle fight, and then attempted to dance like Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum as we watched Alice in Wonderland. We were tired afterwards but goodness, our hearts were full!

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Favorite Recipe: We tried a great recipe this week, one that I found on a Whole30 page (IG @ Whole30Recipes). (But then I added parmesan cheese because I love cheese. Whoops!). It was delicious – give it a try!

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(I wasn’t planning on putting this picture on the blog so excuse it’s unedittedness and uncenteredness, ha. Real life here peeps)

Cashew-Almond Crusted Tilapia Salad with Lemon-Pepper Ranch

Tilapia Prep: In a food processor (or Magic Bullet!), blend until fine: – 3/4C cashews – 3/4C almonds – 1 tsp ea. of chili powder, paprika, salt & pepper. Transfer to a shallow dish. In another dish, whisk 1 egg and 2T water .Rinse and pat dry 4 tilapia fillets. (I think any white fish would be yummy!) Dip in egg and then crumb mixture. Transfer to baking dish or parchment lined baking sheet. Bake at 400 for 25 minutes. (Always check the doneness of your fish, it should be white and flakey. Thicker fillets may need a few extra minutes and I took a thinner one out at 20 minutes.)

Salad: – Bed of mixed greens (I love butter lettuce and Trader Joe’s now has it bagged!) – a Thinly sliced red onion (in the recipe but I didn’t have one handy) – Tomato chunks (hiding in this picture of mine apparently) – and tons of Mini Cucumber slices (and parmesan cheese if you don’t mind the little bit of dairy)

Dressing: Whisk: – 2T homemade mayo (I’ll be honest, I used Hellman’s while is not Whole30 compliant) – Juice of 1/2 lemon – 1 tsp EVOO – Dash of: cayenne, paprika & cracked pepper.

{note: I sliced the tilapia after it was baked.}

Favorite Picture: Hands down, this adorable one of my niece Scarlett on her first day of Pre-K. Her smile! Oh my word, my heart melted. She can’t possibly be preschool aged! Gulp!

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Favorite Thing I’m Looking Forward to: Damien Rice’s new album! He hasn’t had a new cd come out since 2006 and his new album that is supposed to drop on November 11th. Love his stuff.

Favorite Tradition: Every year, on the first fall-like day, my sister and I sneak away to Starbucks and celebrate the new season with our first Pumpkin Spice Latte. Now, I have been trying to watch carbs and sugars so this year I rang in the season with a kiddie sized, no whip breve PSL, however, I believe that diets are all about balance and that one kiddie sized PSL wasn’t going to kill me. Traditions and new memories are so special and I am glad I splurged. :) Cheers!

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Favorite Quote: “I am always available to you. Once you have trusted Me as your Savior, I never distance Myself from you. Sometimes you may feel distant from Me. Recognize that as feeling; do not confuse it with reality. The Bible is full of My promises to be with you always.” –Jesus Calling-

I loved this section from Jesus Calling this week. If you knew me at all, you know that I am a very feelings-based person. This was such a great reminder for me that even when I don’t FEEL like I am being heard, or He is present, that doesn’t mean I am not and He is not. It brings us back to basing our faith off of His Word and His character. I had an ah-ha moment last night at small group when I was sharing with my group how I just want some sort of feeling or affirmation that He is hearing us, and then I flipped to a page in my book that I highlighted (and clearly forgot), that said “Is it possible that when we are not getting the affirmation or confirmation that we desire, it’s because God doesn’t want our faith to rest in affirmation we can feel? In these times could it be that He’s at work on a deeper level, teaching us to rely on His character rather than our performance?”  (Steven Furtick) I felt immediately convicted that I need to spend less time analyzing my feelings and spend more time trusting His character and Word.

Favorite Funnies: Apparently I was hard to impress this week because hardly any funnies cracked me up! So there are only a few this week – as always, if you have something to share with me, send it over via email! (Check out the Contact page). Enjoy!

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As always, hope you have an awesome weekend. Thanks for reading today. :)

friday favorites – september 5.

Another week is behind us … let’s jump right in!

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Favorite New Home Decoration: My brother-in-law and sister-in-law got me this awesome pillow for my birthday and it’s now made its home comfy inside my library. Seriously, loving the texture of the material and it makes me giggle whenever I see it. Whooo hoooo! (And while Cali jumped up on the chair herself, I totally pulled a Ross when rapping to get her to look at me. HA!)

Favorite Relief Method: Am I the only one STRUGGLING with allergies right now? Man, I don’t remember them being this bad before! I have small spurts of great moments and then other moments of complete and utter sneezy, snotty, pink-eyey-looking hotness. Yikes. I am keeping my go-to’s well stocked and should have bought stock in Kleenex before August hit. Next year.

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Favorite Pens: I love all the back to school aisles. Like, to the point where I can’t pass them up and just wander down touching all the new folders, binders and notebooks. I am a little jealous of all the kids who get to use their new supplies this week. I loved strategically picking out which color notebook I wanted for what class, there always was some sort of rational to the color system. Blue …. hmmm …. blue like water, water like H2O, H20 like elements, elements like a periodic table, ah blue is for chemistry. See, it makes total sense. Anyways, I couldn’t pass up the Target aisles without picking up a new pack of my all time favorite pens – Pilot G-2 – but NOT just any kind, it has to be the Ultra Fine 0.38 kind. They are so perfect. I needed them for Bible Study okay??

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Favorite New Couple: Yes, we have had a few things going on in the celebrity world this last week or two (I am ignoring Brad and Angelina, I still miss him with Jennifer Aniston) – but this new couple takes the cake…my sister and her new boyf! Yay! Sorry men, this amazing lady is off the market. Ahhh, gotta love observing this first season of a relationship, so sweet.

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Favorite Planning Sesh: Alright readers, another vacation is in the works – Savannah, Georgia! Every year I am blessed to be able to sneak away for a few days with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law for a girls trip and I can’t wait for this next one! We were able to meet last night and go through the travel books and scribble down ideas and itineraries, however, we still need your help! Do you have a restaurant or MUST-SEE place in Savannah? Send it my way!

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Favorite Article: This. Go read it. I am so guilty of thinking really warm and fuzzy things about my friends, how much I appreciate them, value them, and grateful for them, but there can be such a communicate breakdown sometimes! Do they know how much I love them? Are my actions speaking what my brain is saying? Shauna nailed this post – READ!

Favorite IG Picture: I follow this account on Instagram and loved this photo and verse they shared this week. One of my faves!

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Favorite Funnies: Here you go! I was in stitches preparing these for this post. Enjoy and have a great weekend friends!

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friday favorites – august 29.

Friday Favorites after 2 of the busiest and funnest weeks of the summer? Nearly impossible. Instead of the normal format, I am going to share some of my favorite moments through photos and captions. Then next week I will be back with some regular posts and more of the usual! Enjoy!

Favorite Movie-Watching Experience: In San Diego, Josh and I got to watch Disney’s Planes on top of the historic aircraft carrier USS Midway. Being on the ocean with the breeze and a firework show in the background was truly spectacular!

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Favorite experience with ocean animals: Yes, this one is a stretch. But we had a BLAST at SeaWorld!! I got to pet dolphins, I cried at a few of the shows (I am way overly emotional when I am excited), we laughed, I rode a ride – all in all, it was so much fun.

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Favorite Sunset shot: Sunsetting over the ocean as we took the ferry back from Coronado. Gorgeous.

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Favorite Historic Moment: Josh and I rode on the world’s oldest wooden roller coaster at Mission Beach. A little clanky, but so. much. fun.

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Favorite food on vacation: Ceviche and fish tacos. We ate our weight in them. Oh and Iced teas. YUM!

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Favorite Concert: Ahhhhh, you guys, seriously. The Jason Mraz concert was one of the top 10 favorite moments in my LIFE. The music, the theater, the energy, the songs …. I was a little nervous I would pass out before I could enjoy it all. Music speaks to me like no other creative force and great music (especially acoustic music for me) is such a raw, beautiful place. Love.

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my super excited face.

my super excited face.

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Favorite Challenge: Josh and I decided to take a 14-mile guided bike tour all around Coronado and I have to admit, I was a little (okay a lot) nervous going into it! We were the only two signed up for that time slot and had a great guide who we could pedal and chat with. It ended up being a breeze to accomplish and we got to see the island from all angles. Such a blast!

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Yes, we wore helmets. They are just not pictured here. :)

Favorite New Treat: Lemon Basil gelato for the win.

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Favorite Get-Together: The Minnesota State Fair of course! Check out some of my favorite pictures from the night.

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Me and my Mom :)

Me and my Mom :)

Me and my Sis

Me and my Sis

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Love my girlfriends!

Favorite Views: The beaches and cliffs in La Jolla were just gorgeous. None of these pictures will do them any justice!

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Favorite Summer Finale: Pretty Little Liars anyone? Oh my goodness! Anyone with a good theory, let me know immediately.

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One of the only clues I caught - totally not the right hair!

One of the only clues I caught – totally not the right hair!

Me the last 3 minutes.

Me the last 3 minutes.

Favorite Back to School Photo: Why it’s Cali of course! Who remembers always wearing the wrong type of clothing the first day? I swear I always wanted to wear my new fall clothes and sweat my face off the first day. Cali is no exception with her GAP hoodie. :)

Waiting patiently for the school bus.

Waiting patiently for the school bus.

Favorite Birthday Celebrations: I had so much fun celebrating my birthday this year! Thanks to everyone who made it SO special. There are no words.

My adorable nieces made me painted birdhouses. So cute!

My adorable nieces made me painted birdhouses. So cute! Thanks to my mother-in-law for hosting a great dinner party for me!

Josh decorated my car for me - and my birthday selfie was bombed with Cali. Ah, real life.

Josh decorated my car for me hence the balloon – and my birthday selfie was bombed with Cali kisses. Ah, real life.

My mom handcrafted 3 of my favorite mini desserts in little shotglasses. These look so much bigger than they really were. :)

My mom handcrafted 3 of my favorite mini desserts in little shotglasses. These look so much bigger than they really were. :)

My girlfriends took me out for dinner and spoiled me rotten. I am so blessed.

My girlfriends took me out for dinner and spoiled me rotten. I am so blessed.

I got so many great gifts, but I especially love this necklace my cousin Brittany got me. The bar has the roman numerals on there for

I got so many great gifts, but I especially love this necklace my cousin Brittany got me. The bar has the roman numerals on there for Josh’s and my anniversary. Love!

No funnies this week (whomp whomp), but don’t worry, all will be back to normal next week. Thanks for reading and letting me document my life on here! XO!

Elevator selfie!

Elevator selfie!

 

friday favorites – august 15.

Happy Friday friends! Does summer seem to be flying by for anyone else? Granted, I love so many things about fall, but as a Minnesotan, I savor every drop of summer I can! If anyone participates in the #FridayIntroductions on instagram with @jessaconnolly and @thetinytwig, you would have seen that last week’s question prompt was asking ‘what are you looking forward to about fall?’. This question made me excited to answer as my brain started spinning about the upcoming ROUTINE that would soon be established, the scarves and boots and sweaters to be pulled out, the pumpkin spice lattes and apple ciders to be consumed and the apple scented EVERYTHING to be set up around my house. I love the freedom and flexibility that summer offers, but I am also ready to get settled into new fall Bible studies and patterns. So I will continue to enjoy these last few summer days while they last, knowing that good things are ahead as well.

Ok, let’s jump into Friday Favorites!

Favorite Crop: My mother-in-law has a garden at our family cabin and the zucchini plants are going nuts! We were sent home this weekend with these beauties and have enjoyed zucchini noodles, zucchini breads, zucchini sautés, zucchini soups and many other zucchini snacks. Delish! (And yes, I managed to find a great gluten, dairy and sugar free zucchini bread recipe – I still want to tweak the recipe a bit before I share, but according to my sister, it was one of the “best things she’s eaten in a long time.” The drama runs thick in our family folks.)

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The fork is there for size comparison … yes, they are HUGE!

Favorite Meal: Can you go wrong with kebobs in the summer? When asking for chicken recipes, one reader suggested kebobs and it has sounded so yummy ever since. We threw some chicken and steak on skewers, added tons of fresh veggies on others and even diced up a pineapple too. The overall flavor created in 15-20 minutes on a hot grill was perfection. This is what summers are all about!

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Favorite Things I’m Looking Forward to: Um, is it childish to say my birthday? The big day is next Tuesday, the 19th, and I just love everything that has to do with birthdays. I love the parties, the celebrations, the excuse to get together with friends and family, the note that fill my mailbox, the affirmative words that are given over Facebook and Instagram … it has nothing to do with presents and everything to do with feeling so loved. So I get to celebrate turning 29 and spending it with people I care deeply about. WIN!

Oh yea, and there’s this little trip to San Diego we are taking soon too that is making my heart beat faster and my smile spread bigger. I can’t wait!

Favorite Surprise: My dear friends Marilyn and Danielle showered me with surprise love this week. I was so thankful for their kind thinking-of-you gifts and encouraging words that filled the cards. Check out my new Alex and Ani anchor bracelet – inspired by Hebrews 6:18-19 “… So we who have found safety with Him are greatly encouraged to hold firmly to the hope placed before us. We have this hope as an anchor for our lives…”

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Plus all these fun goodies!

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A notebook? Tea? Colored pencils? Hair ties that sparkle? These girls know me well. I am so blessed!

Favorite Photo: A tie – it’s either this one of Cali and her auntie Bella, who both were waiting for the chipmunks to appear at the cabin this weekend (“Ummm, where are they?”) and this casual attempt at a selfie with Cali. Her face cracks me up – she CLEARLY has no interest in taking selfies with her mom. She is 8 after all.

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Favorite Award: I recently was nominated by three fellow bloggers for a Very Inspiring Blogger Award! Thank you Mel, Elisha and Alexandria for this nomination – you all inspire me and I feel thankful to be on the receiving end of this. You ladies are awesome and I’d nominate you back if it wasn’t counter productive!

Here’s how the award works:

1.Thank and link the amazing person(s) who nominated you. 

http://thereisahigherhope.blogspot.com/

http://waitingforbabybird.com/

http://inallthings828.wordpress.com/

2.List the rules and display the award.

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3. Share seven facts about yourself. I will make these quick facts for the sake of your reading time …

1) I am the oldest child of 2, separated by a little over 4 years from my younger sister Courtney. I am wired so consistently with oldest-child traits that it’s a little scary.

2) When I am stressing and driving, I find listening to the radio on ‘scan’ to be incredibly soothing. I have no idea why.

3) I prefer paper planners to electronic planners but have to keep up with both since my husband relies on our shared iPhone calendar. (But really, nothing beats the beauty and simplicity of paper and pen.)

4) If I had to chose any cheese in the world to be my favorite, it would be, without a doubt, feta. The delicious briney Greek kind. I literally could add feta to anything. If only it had no calories…

5) I still haven’t updated my iPhone software to iOS 7. It might have to do with my resistance to change. But because of that, I can’t update about half my apps or use FaceTime anymore. Oh well, I am perfectly happy with my little phone.

6) Daisies are my favorite flower. In the words of Meg Ryan in You’ve Got Mail “”They’re so friendly. Don’t you think that daisies are the friendliest flowers?” I wish my house could be filled with them.

7) As a child I dreamed about getting the chance to speak at large conferences. Every convention I went to, I sent up a prayer that someday, I could be that person making speaking and impact. Who knows what’s ahead for me – it’s still a giant passion!

And lastly, I get to nominate some others who have inspired me! Without further ado … meet Caroline, who’s faith and heart for the Lord inspires me daily (subscribe to her blog and receive awesome verse-of-the-week posts each Monday!), Charity – who trusts the Lord with such steadfastness that it makes my heart swell (and also bakes amazing cookies), Anna, a real-life friend who has seen her share of pain after losing her first born daughter and yet still shines with beautiful faith and authenticity, and Justine, who’s raw posts and words of hope, recovery and struggle lifts my spirits. Thanks ladies for being a light to all who cross paths with you. Keep writing and know I will keep reading! (Feel free to keep the award going by following the above steps and passing along the nomination love!)

Favorite Funnies:

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Have a great weekend friends!