17 Getting to Know Me Things

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Happy Friday everyone! The amazing Brittany over at A Healthy Slice of Life posted this survey last week, and I just loved it. So here are 17 things you may (or may not) know about me!

What brings you the greatest joy?

The joking part of me wants to answer “Red Pandas”, but in truth the greatest joy comes from my fiance, my family and my friends. Oh, and of course my pups. Especially when the little one stretches out like this:

What are your vices?

Carbs. All the carbs. Especially pizza and pasta…oh, the deliciousness.

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What is on your nightstand?

Okay, here’s what is supposed to be on my nightstand: a book and my phone. What’s ACTUALLY on my nightstand is about 70,000 pieces of crap that get dropped there in lieu of the trash. Maybe I just need a trashcan in my room…hmmm…

Do you have a secret talent?

Ummmm…no? Honestly, if I am talented at something, I have the tendency to let EVERYBODY know about it lol.

What is your greatest indulgence?

I have 3 (insert sheepish grin): massages every other month, mani-pedis once a month and Starbucks coffee all the dang time.

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What should everybody try at least once in their lifetime?

See a show ON BROADWAY. Seriously, even people who “don’t like theatre” can be swayed by seeing a show in its HOME.

What makes you laugh?

This:

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What is one thing that people would be surprised to know about you?

I know sign language. I took lessons for 4 years when I was a kid and retained quite a bit of it.

What is on your bucket list?

Hug a sloth or a red panda. This NEEDS to happen!

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What is on your feet right now?

Just nail polish! I kick off shoes whenever possible!

How did you make your first dollar?

I started baby-sitting my cousins when I was 11 (the perks of being the oldest grandchild!).

What superstitions do you believe in?

Wishing on stars. I do it every day!

What items in your closet do you wear the most?

My jeans. If jeans ever go out of style, I’m in HUGE trouble.

What is the best gift you ever received?

This bad boy right here:

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What is on your liquor shelf?

All kinds of stuff. Rums, whiskeys, beer…C is totally in charge of that though.

What is on your kitchen counter?

Two coffee makers (the easy one and the better one lol), a knife block, a coffee cannister, a dish drainer, and the glasses that need to go in the dishwasher.

What would you never leave home without?

My phone. I am a quick responder to texts and calls, and well, you never know if a Pokemon is going to cross your path!

Linking up!

And don’t forget about the $300 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!

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Looking Back on Julys and a Giveaway!

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When I saw this post on Love, Fun and Football last week, I knew that Erin had come up with a great way to reminisce! At her encouragement, I decided to give it a try myself and look back at my past several Julys!

July 2009

My current MOH Leslie went to Germany and brought me back the most perfect present: Gummi Candies.

July 2010

My friends Lauren and Justin got married in Rhode Island, and our whole friend crew got together for this gem of a picture:

July 2011

My friends and I saw Wicked at the Kennedy Center. It was INCREDIBLE!!!

July 2012

C and I went on our first vacation together! We went to Vermont and Montreal with our friends Carson and Sveta. We loved the beautiful mountains (even though C had to talk me through my immense fear of going DOWN the steep mountain) and got to see an incredible fireworks festival in Montreal!

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July 2013

My aunt and cousin treated my mom and me to see The Book of Mormon at The Kennedy Center!

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July 2014

The pups and I spent our first full month living with C 🙂 Some of us settled in very quickly and comfortably 😉

July 2015

I covered a lot of theatre shows for DC Metro Theater Arts, which allowed me to spend a whole day in Georgetown. And while I was there, I ate this cupcake:

July 2016

Since I’m getting in “wedding shape,” I started my 100 Days of Exercise, which caps off right before the big day!

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What’s one of your favorite July memories?

You know what help to make some fun memories…a $300 Amazon gift card! Some awesome bloggers and I have gathered together to bring you one step closer to winning one! Enter the giveaway below!

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Prize: $300 Amazon Gift Card

Co-hosts: Coupons and Freebies Mom // Misadventures with Andi // SWEETHAUTE //  Splash of Teal // Jenns Blah Blah Blog // Pretty Thrifty // A Better Me // The Mommyhood Mentor® // Simone – Your Style Architect // Sweating Champagne // Fleek Week // Dorky’s Deals // Behind Blue Eyes // True Story Book Blog // A Wandering Vine // It Girl Accessories // A Noted Life // Casey At: Work, Home, Play //  Taffeta & Tulips // Surviving Mommy // Heartfully Heather // Style On The Side //  JUGGLING ACT MAMA // Blog by Donna // Smartysaver

Giveaway organized by: Oh My Gosh Beck!

Rules: Use the Rafflecopter form to enter daily. Giveaway ends 8/17 and is open worldwide. Winner will be notified via email.

Are you a blogger who wants to participate in giveaways like these to grow your blog? Click here to find out how you can join a totally awesome group of bloggers!

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Wedding Wednesday: Choosing the Bridesmaids’ Dresses

Happy Wedding Wednesday all! I’m linking up with Macy and Nikki, as per usual, and I’m talking about choosing the bridesmaids’ dresses!

To Travel & Beyond

 

Choosing bridesmaids’ dresses was not easy. I have a hard enough time choosing outfits for myself, but choosing something for 6 other people to wear seemed like an impossible task. Here were some of the issues that I came across:

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Size

I love my friends, but it would be so much easier if they were all the same size and height! Just kidding, of course. But seriously, my MOH is about 5 feet tall, and my tallest bridesmaid is 5′ 9″. So I needed a dress that would look good on those who are petite and those who are taller.

Color

The bane of my existence was finding a dress that is burgundy. It is unbelievable how many places claimed to have burgundy dresses, when it actuality they were purple or red.

Sleeves

Originally, my Pinterest board held a dream bridesmaid dress that was strapless. But then I realized that not all of my bridesmaid would be comfortable in a strapless gown, so I knew some sort of sleeve or strap would be necessary. Plus it’s going to be outside in the autumn, so the more covering, the better!

Material

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Since my dress is mostly lace, I want some sort of lace incorporated into my bridesmaids’ dresses. But remember how I said finding burgundy was impossible? Finding burgundy lace was even more impossible. I found one dress that I liked with which lace on top of burgundy, but that just looked weird.

After a great deal of searching, I found a dress for my girls! Since I’d like for it to be a surprise, I won’t say exactly which one. But I will tell you that it’s lace, has one should strap, is burgundy, and looks great on all of my bridesmaids!

Did you have trouble finding bridesmaids dresses?

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Tried and True Recipes from Pinterest

Tried and True Recipesfrom Pinterest

Happy Tuesday! Today, I want to tell you about some of the great recipes I’ve found on Pinterest. These aren’t just ones that I think look delicious–they are ones that I make on the regular. They taste great, and more importantly, they’re fiance-approved!

Pizza Bubbles from Pillsbury

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Yes, it is well-known that I love pizza, but this recipe calls for pizza with a different texture. The airy texture of the biscuits is a great treat, and I’m all for a dinner that only needs a few ingredients and not much prep time.

Chicken Taco Chili from Delectably Skinny

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Since starting Weight Watchers, I’ve learned that having a meal worth a ton of points at the end of the day is not the best for my weigh-ins. Luckily, this Chicken Taco Chili is low in WW points but still fills me up like a jumbo meal!

3-Ingredient Crock Pot Tacos from Frugal Foodie Mama

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I love Carrie from Frugal Foodie Mama SOOOO much for this recipe! I am a huge fan of tacos, but I’m even more of a fan of meals that can be made in a crockpot. Put the two together and voila! Lauren’s perfect dinner.

Crockpot Beer Chicken from Skinnypoints

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When your fiance brews his own beer, it’s only natural that you try to use it in your cooking (especially when he brews a batch that is WAY more than he expected). I made this Crockpot Beer Chicken with a side of rice and veggies, and everyone loved it

Do you have any tried and true recipes that you found on Pinterest? Feel free to share!

Linking up!

“Tutu

 

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10 Songs from my Workout Playlist

10 Songsfrom myWorkout Playlist

Happy Monday everyone! Need some new tunes to get your workout going? Today I’ll share some of my favorite songs from my Workout Playlist!

“Any Way You Want It/Lovin’ Touchin’ Squeezin’ Mash-Up” from Glee

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Yes, I was a fan of Glee (and you can admit that you were, too 😉 ). The particular competition where the Glee Club performs this mash-up is one of my favorites. Their performance has so much energy and spunk that it keeps me motivated when I’m trying to speed up during a run.

“Bang Bang” by Jessie J, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj

Bang Bang — Jessie J. ft. Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj from Kevinmeneses on Vimeo.

This is another upbeat tune that’ll speed up a run (especially Nicki’s part).

“Bye Bye Bye” by *NSYNC

N Sync – Bye Bye Bye (OFFICIAL VIDEO) from misael on Vimeo.

A little throwback never hurt anyone! In fact, while I’m running, I mentally perform the choreography. Dancing in my head is a lot less embarrassing than performing the moves in a bagel shop in college. Yes, that happened. I don’t know how I still have friends sometimes.

“Dark Horse” by Katy Perry and Juicy J

dark horse – katy perry full (lyric video) from belen on Vimeo.

This song isn’t exactly the most upbeat, but it does have a steady rhythm which really helps during longer runs.

“Geronimo” by Say Hey to Single Life

NBC’s Marry Me Promo | “Geronimo by Sheppard” from gyroe on Vimeo.

Okay, this song really does have a great beat for running, but I love it because it reminds me of the following video above.

“Good Morning, Good Day” from She Loves Me

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This is one of those songs that just brings a smile to my face. It has a great beat, and it is just so cheerful and lighthearted that I find myself grinning while running. Well, I’m grinning until the sweat drips into my eyes.

“Holy Grail” by Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake

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Because, you know, it’s Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake. Do I need more of an explanation?

“Girl Next Door” by Saving Jane

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Having a female-empowerment song is always helpful when you feel like you’re about to give up on a run.

“Marry You” from Glee

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Before getting engaged, the simple thought of a proposal would get me all giddy. This song inspired giddiness and therefore helped me keep running.

“Alexander Hamilton” from the Hamilton soundtrack

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This is my official “End of a Race” song. When the end is in sight and I’m totally exhausted, the cast singing about the greatness of AH just gives me that extra boost to the finish line. Also, the song gives me chills every single time.

What are some of the songs on your playlist?

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Five on Friday: The Rest of the Chicago Pics!

Happy Friday all! Since it’s the last day of the week, I thought I would wrap-up my Chicago trip with pics in this post!

Five on Friday-Chicago Wrap-Up

1. Doughnut Vault

I checked off another donut shop from my 101 in 1001 list by visiting the Doughnut Vault. Not only was their decor just adorable, but the chocolate glazed donut was delicious! My mom got an old-fashioned donut and definitely enjoyed the chocolate one more, too 😉

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2. The Bean!

As true Chicago tourists, Mom and I visited Millennium Park to see The Bean! It truly shows the skyline of the city in an incredible way. We probably took more pictures of The Bean than anything else.

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3. The Flowers

Gorgeous flowers line Chicago’s streets and populate their gardens! One of our Uber drivers said that a portion of the city’s taxes definitely go to beautification, and that’s very clear! As C’s mother is a huge fan of flowers and gardens, I sent her quite a few pictures throughout the weekend.

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4. The Beach!

Was I the only person who didn’t know that Chicago had a beach? The water was so turquoise that I thought we were in the Caribbean! A beach in the middle of a fantastic city…you’re doing it right, Chicago.

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5. Lincoln Park Zoo

If I’m on vacation and there is a nearby zoo, I’m absolutely going. It also helped that the Lincoln Park Zoo was on my 101 in 1001 list! The baby camel was just precious, and everyone laughed at the monkeys’ antics. I’m still getting over the fact that I didn’t know there were red pandas in the lion house, which we didn’t visit, since the lions were outside 🙁 🙁

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Linking up for Five on Friday!

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Giordano’s Pizza: The Pizza that Ruined Me Forever

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People call me “The Pizza Monster.” It’s true. It’s sad, but it’s true. This is because if given the option to have any food on the planet, I will choose pizza almost every time. Trying to fit pizza into a healthier has been difficult, but hey, it’s my favorite food, so I still eat it when I can.

When Mom and I were in Chicago over the weekend, my brother gave us one order, “Have stuffed pizza at Giordano’s.” Now, as a Chicago-pizza neophyte, I assumed he meant “stuffed crust.” I was super duper wrong! It was not stuffed crust–it was stuffed pizza!

First of all, it was deep dish pizza, as it needed in Chicago. I ordered plain cheese, as I am a traditionalist. My mom ordered veggie because that is her favorite. The pizza came out with the veggies and cheese inside and the sauce on top!

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As the Pizza Monster, I can say with the utmost certainty that this pizza is the very best pizza I have ever eaten. In fact, I do not know if any other pizza will ever be good enough for me. I already want to see if Giordano’s can deliver pizza to my house. Do they deliver by drone, or maybe by private jet?

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Have you ever eaten stuffed pizza? Linking up for:

ThoughtsforThursday

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Wedding Wednesday: Wedding at Navy Pier

Happy Wedding Wednesday folks! Time to link up with Macy and Nikki!

To Travel & Beyond

 

Today I’m taking a break from talking about my future wedding. Instead, I’m going to tell you about an amazing wedding that I witnessed while I was in Chicago. I told you it was Chicago week!

On our first day in Chicago, after gorging on the world’s most delicious pizza at Giordano’s (more on this tomorrow), Mom and I took an Uber over to the Navy Pier. This waterfront section of Chicago celebrates its 100th birthday this year! Mom and I loved standing at the edge of the pier at looking out onto the beautiful water.

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Mom and I wandered into different shops and then approached an area where we assumed had more shops. We were right, as there were more shops downstairs. We saw a very fancy McDonald’s, an IMAX movie theater and a cute pet supplies store. Yes, I bought presents for the pups 😉 However, what we experienced on the top floor blew our minds!

As we walked towards the entrance to what we later learned was the Crystal Gardens, a beautiful bride along with her groom, bridesmaids and groomsmen exited the door towards us! The bride looked back at her crew and asked, “What should we do first: the ferris wheel or the swings?” My jaw dropped. This was so fun! This newly-married bride was ready for carnival rides? Amazing!

Nope! I was wrong! As we entered the Crystal Gardens ballroom, Mom and I noticed that the staff was in the process of preparing the wedding. They weren’t hitched yet. They just wanted pictures on the carnival rides first! If it were me, I’d probably be a little frightened of messing up my dress or hair, but this bride still looked immaculate when we saw her a short time later.

And from these pictures, it looked like her wedding was going to be a beautiful event!

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Have you ever stumbled upon a wedding?

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Show Us Your Books: June to July

Happy Tuesday one and all! It’s time for another edition of “Show Us Your Books!”

Life According to Steph

 

This has been a busy month, reading-wise. I’ve been doing a lot of driving, which meant that audiobooks were definitely my friends. With 4 under my belt for the month, I can’t wait to dive into another book this week!

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews (4 out of 5 Stars)

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I didn’t expect to enjoy this book as much as I did. Andrews wrote the book in such a conversational format that it was PERFECT for an audiobook. I enjoyed the characters, the struggle and the twist at the end. Definitely give it a read, but I highly recommend the audiobook version.

 

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald (Did not finish)

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While I liked the premise of this book, and I tried several times to go back to it, it just didn’t fully catch my interest.

 

A Thousand Naked Strangers: A Paramedic’s Wild Ride to the Edge and Back by Kevin Hazzard (3 out of 5 Stars)

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I recommended this book to my book club, and they passed, so I thought, “Screw them!” and I read it on my own! As a fan of Grey’s Anatomy, I really enjoyed hearing about the different medical cases. While the book isn’t fascinating, it definitely kept my attention and left me wanting to hear more. It also gave me a whole new respect for paramedics, and the ones like Kevin Hazzard who truly go above and beyond to save lives.

 

How May We Hate You?: Notes from the Concierge Desk by Anna Drezen (1 out of 5 Stars)

*I was sent a copy of this book in return for an honest review from Blogging for Books.

I really really wanted to like this book. I was ready for a good laugh and could only imagine the hilarity that ensues from hotel guests. But it was only a little bit funny. I appreciate what the authors (who blog about their hotel concierge experiences) have gone through, but I really would have liked more of the real-life experiences and less of their jokey essays. You could avoid this one for sure, or at the very most just skim it.
Have you read any of these books? Is there anyone you’ve read lately that you’d recommend?

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Brunch at the 3 Arts Club Cafe in Restoration Hardware

Happy Monday one and all! I am still recovering from my fun-filled weekend in Chicago with my mom. But since it was so much fun, I’m dedicating all but one of this week’s posts to the Windy City. Today, however, I’m starting with one of the coolest places to have brunch: the 3 Arts Club Cafe in Restoration Hardware.

Brunch at 3 Arts Club Cafe at Restoration Hardware

Originally, I planned on checking another donut off of my 101 in 1001 list on Saturday morning. But then I saw Nikki’s Instagram post last week. I thought, “Oh, my mom and I have to eat brunch there.”

When our Uber pulled up to the beautiful building in the Gold Coast neighborhood of Chicago, there was a line already out the door. My face fell, thinking that our chances of dining there were sunk. Lucky for us, it was only because the cafe had not opened yet! We were quickly in line and then in our incredibly comfortable seats!

The 3 Arts Club Cafe is part of a Restoration Hardware Gallery. You have the option either before or after your meal to see many of the different furniture and decoration options that Restoration Hardware has to offer. I definitely fell in love with a chair while leaving RH. Sadly, though, it’ll just remain in my dreams for now.

Brunch is served in both a beautiful courtyard and a classy Wine Vault and Tasting Room. We were eying the courtyard at first but we seated in the Wine Vault/Tasting Room, which was ridiculous comfortable (not to mention gorgeous).

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With cups of coffee happily in hand, Mom and I scanned the menu and each chose to order the Local Yogurt. The chefs top the smooth yogurt with bananas and blueberries and honey and surround the yogurt with granola. It was soooo yummy, tasting both fresh and refreshing!

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A beautiful atmosphere, incredible food and a wonderfully attentive staff! Don’t miss brunch at the 3 Arts Club Cafe!

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