Five on Friday: Prince Farming Edition

That’s right my friends. I’m dedicated my Five on Friday to the Bachelor. While I usually avoid trashy TV , I am not even embarrassed to admit how much I like this show.
1. I loved the fact that Chris’ sisters came and met the ladies to select their choice for the Cinderella-themed date with Prince Farming (sidenote: that was the best thing Ashley I. has ever said). Jade seemed like a perfect choice: from small town Nebraska, slightly shy, seemingly normal. Future Mrs. Soules right there! And then. And then. We find out this week that by “clothes model” she meant “no clothes model”. Turns out she has posed for Playboy. Here is the safe for work/your eyes version:

 I’m sure the sisters do not approve.
2. And what the eff happened to Kelsey? I thought she was a normal midwestern gal who was widowed too soon. I, in fact, even appreciated that she threw some love at Lake Michigan. Then she went crazytown. Calm down lady and just relax. You’re camping on a lake, not spending the day in prison.

3. As for Jillian, obviously she would win that race. No contest. She’s a beast.

But it was pretty clear she wasn’t going to get the rose from our friend Chris. I’m not quite sure why she played a really nasty version of Would You Rather on their date, but that maybe wasn’t her best move. That said, I’ll miss her and her blacked out butt.
4. This chick.

Why is she still there (besides for my amusement)? She pitched a fit that she was not asked to be on the princess date because everyone should know she is a princess, wore ridiculous folded down denim shorts, and then forced Chris into numerous conversations about her virginity. Dude, he gets it, you’re a virgin. It really isn’t that big a deal. Shut up.
5. I’ll miss this girlfriend the most.

I can’t even re-cap her conversation with Chris on the camping trip. It was nonsense. She told him she loved him. Then the next day when she didn’t get a rose she creeped out with a smile on her face and said she felt nothing. Insane. How amazing would it be if she was the next Bachelorette? Every episode would be so fun to watch. Producers, get on that.
My front runners:
Becca- The Other Virgin:

Pretty, appears normal, and is not being a total freak about the fact that she’s a virgin.
Carly, the cruise ship singer:

When she first stepped out of the limo in that twee pink dress carrying a kids karaoke machine and singing a song she made up about Chris, I wanted to kick her. But, despite her eyebrows, I really like her. She’s funny, down to earth and maybe would be okay living on a farm in Iowa based on her performance in Jimmy Kimmel’s amazing obstacle course.
Kaitlyn, the dance instructor:

I appreciate the fact that she is actually trying to have real conversations with Chris, as opposed to asking him ridiculous questions about what he wants in a future wife. It seems more organic. She’s also funny about the other girls in the house without being catty. If Chris doesn’t choose her, she’ll definitely be in the running for the next Bachelorette.
There is so much more I want to discuss, like all the lipstick, why the girls have not yet learned that they should not question why the Bachelor is keeping other girls around (I’m talking to you Britt) and why we haven’t seen one thing about Samantha. Who’s Samantha, you might be asking? Exactly.

Spiralize Me Skinny

I admit it, I jumped on the spiralizer bandwagon. Per the recommendation of a million bloggers, I bought the Paderno Spiral Vegetable Slicer. It wasn’t too expensive so I figured if I didn’t use it, it wouldn’t be a huge loss. With the start of my healthy eating and the elimination of dairy, this seemed a good time to purchase a kitchen accessory that encouraged me to eat my veggies. It’s basically like an upstanding mandoline, except I didn’t almost bleed to death each time I’ve used it.
So far, I’ve made three spiralizer recipes:
1.  Cucumber Noodles and Spicy Sesame Soy Dressing 

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This didn’t take long to make and was actually pretty tasty. I used an English cucumber because they have less seeds, but there were still a few noodles that were just a string of that mushy area around the seeds. Yuck. As cucumbers are very watery, this was a pretty messy meal to make as cucumber juice (?) gushed over my counter. The whole time I was eating this, I kept thinking, this sauce would be delicious…with actual noodles. I ate it for lunch and it definitely wasn’t enough. Next time I’d pair it with a protein, maybe the Asian Glazed Drumsticks I made last week.
2. Sweet potato fries
I used the larger blades for these so they were more “fry” like. I covered a cookie sheet in tinfoil, spread a little olive oil on it and the sweet potatoes, and seasoned with salt, pepper and Lawry’s seasoning salt. And…then I burnt the shit out of them. Twice. Hence, there are no after photos. That said, I still ate them and they were pretty delicious. Maybe if you paid attention to them instead of walking away, yours would turn out perfectly.  I had the oven set at 400* which was potentially a twitch too high. I will keep trying! I served this with Turkey meatloaf and brussels  sprouts for a (relatively) healthy dinner that my husband wouldn’t touch.
3. Shrimp Scampi Zoodles
I really really like saying “zoodles”. Say it out loud. Zoodles. See? You like saying it too. The texture of the zucchini was noodle-like and this was a satisfying dinner. The flavor was good, especially considering I didn’t add butter or parmesan thanks to baby’s dairy allergy and didn’t have parsley or lemon juice. Basically it was zucchini, shrimp, garlic and olive oil, and definitely something I would make again. I didn’t take a photo because my zoodles got brown when cooking and they looked ugly (as opposed to my other gorgeous food photos across this post). I’d like to try the zoodles again, maybe with meat sauce as a substitute for spaghetti or in an asian inspired dish.
Spiralizer Review: Worthy purchase, but a pain in the butt to clean. I fear for my fingers while I’m trying to clean all the veggie pieces out of the blades.

Five on Friday

1. Life as I know it may be over. There is a chance that E has a cow milk allergy, meaning this mama has to eliminate dairy from her diet. You guys, this is going to be the WORST! What will I eat? No seriously, what will I eat? The only plus side (minus not changing dirty diapers a million times a day) is that maybe I’ll lose weight faster? Please cross your fingers this is not the case.

2. In an attempt to clean up my diet, I’ve been cooking recipes from the new SkinnyTaste cookbook. I’ve followed Gina’s website for years and really do love her recipes. I appreciate that she always includes the Weight Watchers points and her portion sizes are generous. This week I made Baked Potato Soup, Asian Glazed Drumsticks and Shredded Brussels Sprout Salad. I of course added a bit of parmesan to the salad because I can’t have anything without cheese. I think next time I’d add some crumbled bacon as well for a different texture and a bit of saltiness, and you know, because it’s delicious. Check out my amazing food photography below.
3. My best friend from high school, a teacher and mom of two,  started a blog about the love of books and all things literacy. It is focused on children’s books and she has awesome recommendations as well as tips on how you can encourage your child through reading. I definitely suggest all you mamas check out The Petite Stag. Erin is currently running a giveaway that ends tomorrow so visit and enter today!  Also she knows how to put images and captions together, unlike me. Here is my gorgeous friend with her sweet baby girls.

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4. I finally fit into a pair of work pants this week. It was so exciting that I wore them two days in a row (before I spilled grilled cheese on them- no judgement please). As I work at different sites throughout the week there are times I recycle outfits. It’s fantastic because you don’t run into the same people and you don’t have to think about what you’re wearing. Today I ran into a snag in this glorious plan, as I realized the daycare people see me everyday. They probably just think I’m a total dirtbag. Whatever, if Kate can do it, so can I.

5. What is happening with Jillian’s butt on The Bachelor? Girl needs to put some pants on. That said, her leaping over the fence in one fell swoop to wrangle a pig was amazing.
My general thoughts on the season thus far:
  • So much head jewelry
  • Bring me more Ashley S. That girl is certifiable and I love it. Her crazy eyes make me laugh every time. 
  • I appreciate that the girls appear to like one another. The cattiness of other seasons makes me very uncomfortable and makes all women look stupid. Not that these chicks are representative of the population generally…
  • Chris is mighty cute but that laugh of his has gots to go.
  • The girl that wants to be a Kardashian is Krazy.  She would last 1 second on a farm in Iowa. Also, she’s a gross kisser.

Hot Mess Express (And I don’t mean The Bachelor)

You guys, since going back to work I look like a total nightmare. Honestly I have never been one of those girls that was really put together, but I generally wore a cute outfit, applied minimal make-up and at least blow-dried my bangs (because who has time for a full head of hair). Now, I look like this:
I sent this to my husband and he told me, "It's a bad angle". God bless him.
I sent this to my husband and he told me, “It’s a bad angle”. God bless him.
Yikes. The morning this photo was taken my make-up routine consisted of using a spitty q-tip to wipe the prior day’s mascara out from under my eyes (you do that too right?).  Also, I had not brushed my teeth. I have forgotten to do that at least three times since my maternity leave ended one month ago. The most disturbing thing is that I wasn’t even that bothered by it? Sorry colleagues!
I work in an industry that requires professional dress. Men typically wear suits and women are in heels and blazers. Considering I’ve been wearing black jeans on the regular as those are the only pants I fit into, I figure I need to step it up in other ways.
So, I made an appointment to get my hair cut. Of course my stylist was sick and I can’t reschedule for another week. I’ve gotten no-chip manicures, which make me feel and look good for 2+ weeks but then I don’t really have time to get them removed and I walk around looking this:
Alien hands.
Alien hands.
Real professional. I think I’m giving up on no-chips since in the end I look worse than I did before. Finally, I’ve decided to bite the very expensive bullet and get eyelash extensions. Guys, I know this sounds ridiculous. I really do. But I have a girlfriend who gets them done regularly and they look amazing! Lots of places offer a first timer discount so I got them done before I delivered Emma. My vain side wanted to look good in my post-delivery and first few day photos and Lord knows, I would not have the time or energy to put on make-up. Getting these guys on while 10 months pregnant was not ideal, but I felt so pretty!
Baby E's first full day. Look at my glorious lashes!
Baby E’s first full day. Look at my glorious lashes!
I took good care of them and they lasted about 6 weeks or so, and I really do think that is worth it. I made an appointment at a new place the week after next, because I’m super cheap and bought it on Gilt City. In all likelihood I will take advantage of all first time customer discounts at every single place in Chicago before I pay full price. I’ll take before and after photos to share and hopefully will no longer look like a total mess each and every day.
Spill. What is your beauty splurge- the one thing that makes you feel good about yourself that you’re willing to spend stupid money to get it?

Resolutions

I’m going to be real original here and post my resolutions for 2015. I’m hoping by writing them down and making them public, I’ll be more accountable. Or you keep me accountable. I could use the tough love.
NYE 2010.
NYE 2010. Photo taken by timer on camera perched precariously on top of an old school tv.
I think we’ve covered that my number one goal is to lose the baby weight! I hope to do that not only through Weight Watchers, but also getting my behind moving. I’d like to get back to my regular routine at Core Power Yoga and start running again. My goal this year is to do a few 5 and 10Ks, and either a half marathon or a sprint triathlon this fall. Tough lovers, that last one is a real stretch so don’t beat me up over it if I bail, ok?
Chicago Marathon 2008. And then I promptly stopped running for two years.
Chicago Marathon 2008. And then I promptly stopped running for two years.
Be more present. Both my husband and I have a default of being on our phones. Yes, I often get work emails after hours, but more likely I am scrolling through Instagram, looking at Facebook or refreshing UsWeekly. Real intelligent pursuits over here. I hope to turn my phone off more often when I get home and really be in the moment with my little family.
Eat dinner at the dining room table at least once a week. Yes, we are the people that eat dinner every night on the coffee table with our lazy bums parked on the couch. This really limits our conversation as the TV is usually on and we oftentimes rush through our meal rather than enjoying it. Also, it’s kind of gross.
Pick up the phone and call my friends. I have a wonderful group of girlfriends that are spread out across the country and the times we see one another are few and far between. We are all busy with work, kids, life, but rather than a quick text or e-mail, I want to pick up the phone and hear their voice. These friendships have sustained me for the last 17 years (WHAT? HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?) and I need to do a better job of nurturing them.
My bachelorette party. Sorry for posting photo of all of you in bikinis without your permission, but the visors won out.
My bachelorette party. Sorry for posting photo of all of you in bikinis without your permission, but the visors won out. Also, I look skinny.
Get a babysitter! Both our families live in other states so we don’t have the luxury of grandparents coming over to watch E. I am super nervous to leave our little one with a stranger, but know it’s important for my husband and I to reconnect. Gotta work on making baby #2 somehow, am I right? (If Tim reads this, he will kill me.)
Spend more time playing with Addie. Addie is our yellow lab and my first baby. She is the absolute best, and try as I might, she has been pushed aside a bit as we adjust to life with a baby. I’d like to give her some extra special love this year for being such a good big sister with lots of beach and park trips.
My little buddy on her 2nd birthday.
My little buddy on her 2nd birthday.
Blog once a week. Or at least post something once a week, even if it isn’t beautifully curated with lovely photos. Which leads me to my final resolution…
Take more pictures. Like real pictures, with a real camera. Not quick snaps with the iPhone. I have a Canon EOS 6D and I’d like to do a better job of using it more often and teaching myself some photography skills along the way.
What are your resolutions for the new year? Maybe teaching me how to input photos appropriately and determine caption font sizes? Geez.

A whole new bod.

I loved being pregnant. Yes, I could no longer wrangle my boobs, I had severe heartburn and by the end I literally had to grasp the headboard to pull myself out of bed to pee (5 times a night), but overall, I had a very easy pregnancy. It was amazing to see my body change and grow to accommodate my new little friend and wearing maternity clothes was amazing. If I could spend the rest of life rocking maxi dresses and paneled pants I would do it in a heartbeat. And let’s be serious, I’m still wearing those awesomely soft and long maternity tees.
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Baby shower day with that handsome man of mine.
I was so into my preggo bod that I kind of didn’t think about what it would look like after the baby was born. So I ate. I ate everything. Nightly root beer floats? Sure! Chips with lunch every day? Why not? ALL of the cheese? Bring to mama.  And so I gained 40 pounds. That’s right, FORTY! A pound  for each week of pregnancy, for those counting at home.
September 2013
September 2013
September 2014- 12 hours before delivery.

September 2014- 12 hours before delivery.

After baby E was born, I had that post-delivery squishy stomach, of course, but I realized I also had a massive butt and huge legs. WHAT? When did that happen? It didn’t help that while nursing, I consumed massive amounts of calories. That’s right friends, I gained weight in month two and three postpartum. Gross. It really hit me when I went back to work last month and literally did not fit into any of my clothes. One can only wear the same black wrap dress so many times before even male colleagues take note. As I sadly looked at all my cute pencil skirts and blouses (not sure my chest will ever fit in there again), I realized something needed to change. Thus, I have joined Weight Watchers! My first week I consumed pizza, fried chicken and numerous other naughty foods, so lets all just pretend that never happened.
I’m putting this out there to keep me accountable: I need to lose 17 pounds to get back to my pre-baby weight and 22 pounds to reach my goal weight. Yikes. If any of you are hoping to get in shape, either due to the after-effect of carrying and delivering a bundle of joy or just because it’s a new year, I’d love the support and conversation. It’s always easier when someone else is going through it with you. Now, if I could only halt our Friday night pizza delivery…but I think my husband would consider that grounds for divorce.

Here Goes Nothing!

My husband has been telling me to start a blog for years. He sees me follow blogs and make blogger friends through social media, all without a blog of my own. As we welcomed our daughter a few short months ago, with many friends and family across the map, I figure now is as good a time as any to document our new life. Thanks for coming along for the ride!