Five on Friday: Oh hello there!

Sorry for the radio silence my friends. This lady was hit by the flu last week. Not only did I feel terrible, but it was awful to have to take two days off of work to just sleep. Thankfully, neither husband nor baby caught it. As an added bonus, I was able to lose a few pounds. Hooray! A quick Five on Friday for your enjoyment:
1. After much trial and error, we have a winner in the one piece swimsuit competition! I had pinned this suit last year and was so pleased it came back in stock. The top offers enough support, the tie at the waist makes it appear as if I do, in fact, have a waist, and most importantly, it does not give me stump legs. Dare I say I actually feel cute in it?
Anthropologie Suit
2. My husband was out of town last week for work, and I was on my own for the first time since the babe was born. I was a little nervous, but honestly, I do most of the evening bulk work anyway as he often works until after her bedtime. What was really hard to manage was the dog/baby combo! I prepped really well the night before to ensure my morning was smooth and was SO impressed with myself for having time for coffee, breakfast and playtime in the morning, dropping off both baby and dog to their respective daycares (Yep, my dog goes to daycare. We are THOSE people), and getting myself to the train on time while wearing make-up. Really I was sitting on the train patting myself on the back when I looked into my bag and realized I forgot my pumping equipment. Humbled by motherhood yet again. Thank goodness there is a Target downtown for emergencies.
3.  Thanks for all the voting for the Rent the Runway dresses for our annual gala! The sparkly dress was the clear winner and the one I ultimately chose. It was a little boobier than I would have liked, especially considering I sat with some nuns, but the fit was great and I felt pretty. I was slightly disappointed with the sizing, as I had utilized the chat feature to ask the RTR specialists if I should get a Regular or a Long, due to the reviews. The specialist said based on my height and measurements, regular would be fine, but it really was a smidge too short. I will definitely rent again though for future events, and imagine this won’t be a problem for cocktail dresses.  If you’re interested, here is a referral link:  Rent the Runway

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4. I have an embarrassing admission. I’m really into that Nick Jonas song, Jealous. I hate myself every time I sing along to it, but I can’t help it. I just looked up the video and it is terrible, so obviously included it for your viewing pleasure. Yikes.

5. It snowed here in glorious Chicago this morning. I’m 100% over the weather and cannot wait to get my buns to Florida and burn the heck out of this pale skin. Speaking of, I hope to have a guest blogger while I’m gone so you aren’t left high and dry yet again!

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Five on Friday: What I’m Reading, Drinking, Wearing, Eating & Doing

1. What I’m Eating:

Each year our condo building hosts a progressive dinner through our six units. The first session is predictably awkward, and typically everyone is drunk and happy by stop five. We’re doing small plates this year. I will most definitely be making bacon wrapped dates and either homemade pizzas (it is Pi Day after all) or Ina’s Roasted Shrimp Cocktail. Any other suggestions? I had thought about making BBQ sliders but I can’t find slider buns anywhere!
2. What I’m Drinking: My husband I got married at B.R. Cohn winery in Sonoma. Every time I’m at Trader Joe’s or a liquor store, I look to see if they carry our brand as I love to keep a bottle in the house. It’s a fun little memory every time we share a glass or two. Our fave is the  Silver Label Cabernet. It’s full, fruity and delicious.
3. What I’m Doing:
IMG_6988Our little friend is six months old today! I can hardly believe it. Seeing as she is celebrating half a year, we’ll be trying her first solid foods this weekend. While I’m excited to see her reaction, I’m a little sad as it means she is growing up and becoming a big kid. Fingers crossed she is a good eater like her mama and not picky as hell like her dad.
4. What I’m Reading:
Our book club selected “Girl on the Train” for our April read. I downloaded it on Thursday night and finished it on Saturday. It was a thriller and very “Gone Girl”, but an enjoyable, good quick read. I’ve just started Amy Poehler’s “Yes Please”. I have a major girl crush on Amy. She’s fiesty, funny, a graduate of my alma mater, and besties with Tina Fey. Minus divorcing Will Arnett, she has got the life!  I’m surprised how open she is, and am really liking it thus far.
5. What I’m Wearing:
Not a huge puffy coat, scarf, hat and gloves. Hooray! I did go sans tights earlier this week and it was a little aggressive. Also, I realized my bod doesn’t look as good in dresses without the slimming of my Spanx tights. Time to get in shape girl!

Fashion Plate

There are few things more depressing than bathing suit shopping. One of them is bathing suit shopping post-baby when you are extremely pale and flabby as hell. I tried on the three suits I purchased last week and they are NOT flattering. It’s unclear why one piece equals low grandma leg. I’m no designer, but I think we can agree that a higher leg cut makes your legs look better than something that cuts you off, resulting in tree trunk legs, which apparently is what I have. I won’t share photos with you because you may be eating, but trust me, it wasn’t pretty. My mom told me to look at Land’s End, because I’m 55 years old. Also, all of their “enhance” suits are $179! Seriously, Land’s End. Get over yourself. Any other recommendations for one piece suits? Maybe a tankini?

This is basically what I looked like.
In other fashion news, it’s gala season for the non-profit world. My organization is hosting their ball next Saturday and I have nothing to wear. I’m considering Rent the Runway and have narrowed it down to the following. There are a lot more amazing dresses but they are either not available next weekend OR they are too pricey for my taste. Please weigh-in and consider what would be most flattering to a post-baby body. Remember that I’m at a work event and as such, will be working all night, so I’ll need to be very comfortable.
Option 1:

Pretty color. Appears to be flattering? But too summery?
Option 2:

Too sparkly for working an event? I like that I’ll be able to wear a regular bra though.
Option 3:

Pretty, but potentially boring.
What say you?

Final Prince Farming Recap

I was sooooooo bored with this finale. I kept getting up to shove my face full of Oreos. (Again, notice no Weight Watchers updates?)
I know a lot of people are Team Whitney, but I just find her so annoying. Mostly it’s her voice,  but she is just so damn enthusiastic. It does NOT seem genuine at all. I mean, if you are going to pick up your life in Chicago, where you have a very successful career, and just move to the middle of nowhere Iowa to be with a guy you have known for two months no questions asked, something is wrong with you. Also, her lipstick shade is always off.

Am I right? Try a little color Whitney. 
Love Chris’ mom. I kinda want her to be my mother-in-law too. (Not to say anything against my real mother-in-law who is awesome!) But she just seems like a great lady.
I’m mad Chris dumped Becca. I really think the two of them had a fantastic connection, and if he gave her time, it would have worked out. That’s why this show is so ridiculous! There is not a two month timeline on marriage my friends. It’s a big decision. A little questioning and “being sure” is GOOD.
Whitney was so nervous at the proposal I thought she was going to pass out. Why the eff did she start talking immediately? She just talks non flipping stop. We get it, you love him. Shut your yapper. He didn’t really articulate why he wants to marry her, just that’s she’s perfect. Honestly, I think he wants to get married, it’s hard to meet people who will move to that godforsaken town and she is a sure thing. Done.

All in all, I liked this season because I genuinely think Chris  was a good guy. However, if I was one of the contestants I would feel TOTALLY gypped. Typically they get to stay in paradise for a week or two when they have their night in the fantasy suite, meet the family and then get proposed to on the beach. These two sadsacks had to freeze their tatas off in a barn in Iowa. I’d be writing a strongly worded letter to Chris Harrison if I was Becca.
After the Final Rose Thoughts: 
I still love Becca. She’s so damn normal. And pretty. And normal.
Whitney’s dress was way too short and I still don’t see their chemistry. And we get it, you two are going to have  babies (because there is nothing else to do in Arlington).  Smartest thing she did is not watch the season.  I’d be so pissed to hear my father-in-law say, “Whitney’s a sure thing, but I think he likes Becca”.  Yikes.
And now for my favorite!
Ashley S. is killing it with the outfits! Also her skin is gorgeous. I’ll have what she’s having (which is probably crazy pills).
Jimmy Kimmel was the best part of the season, for sure. When he brought out Juan Pablo the cow and Chris Harrison said “Eeeees ok”, I snorted. Also, remember this?

Two Bachelorettes? Weird. If the guys on their season had watched the show, they will obvi pick Kaitlyn because Britt is a hot mess.
 Battle of the duck lips? What is happening here? 
I may watch the first episode to see who the guys pick, but won’t get past that. But most importantly, how long to do you give Chris and Whitney? I say she lasts one winter on that farm and then she is outta there!

Five on Friday

1. I made my first Trader Joe’s trip in a while earlier this week to stock up on some frozen foods and grab some cheap flowers to spring up the house. Bunches of daffodils are $1.50! While strolling down the aisles, somehow a container of Dark Chocolate Almond Bark Thins jumped in my cart. They are delicious: creamy, crunchy, a little bit of salt. Delightful. You really feel satisfied after a little piece (but check back with me after the weekend to see if I have any left).
2. Seeing as we have a relatively new baby, our Friday and Saturday nights often consist of a quick dinner out with Em and a movie on the couch. We’ve been trying to watch all the Oscar Best Picture nominees and saw Whiplash last weekend. The movie was great, but guys, I have a serious crush on Miles Teller. He’s like 7 years younger than me and most likely a douche, but boy oh boy, I like what I see. He has scars on his chin which totally get me (my husband has one too!).

Kid Cudi, Nicholas D'Agosto, Miles Teller, and Matthew Rhys are...

He cleaned up real nice for the Oscars. And this is his date. So clearly I had a chance with him.
3. We are headed to Florida next month for a little family vacation. Emma has approximately 75 bathing suits, and I have zero. There is no way I’m putting this belly in a bikini so I am officially graduating to the one piece. #momproblems In my cart are the following two from Jcrew :

And one more from Old Navy that I cannot get a photo of for some reason. Basically it’s a black and white striped halter. I’ll do a review once I actually get a chance to try them on. But NO photos! I thought I would really go gangbusters on my diet for the next month but I just had chips with lunch so maybe not.
4. I think I want to get my bangs cut like Taylor Swift. I can feel your judgement already. But seriously, can I pull this off? (And yes, I follow T.Swift on insta).

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5. I’m super excited it is daylight savings time this weekend! It might be my third favorite holiday. Longer days mean spring is coming (despite the fact that it was 6* when I woke up this morning). That said, I’m wondering how it will impact E’s snoozing. She is on a great schedule of sleeping from 7:30pm-6:15/7am with a little snack around 4am. Fingers crossed my little girlfriend adjusts easily. Mama needs her beauty sleep. Like A LOT of beauty sleep.
Happy start of spring my friends!

Spicing Up the Dinner Table

I’m in a dinner rut. I feel like I make the same few meals day in and day out. Every day around 2pm, my husband and I  have the same conversation via text or e-mail:
Me: What do you want for dinner?
Tim: I don’t know. Whatever.
Me: I hate you.
Now that I’m dairy free, the regular meal rotation has gotten even smaller. I dug into my Pinterest boards the other day for some inspiration. I made two dinners this past week that were delicious, and my super picky eater husband even ate one of them, so I thought I’d share.
Seeing as it is still freezing, tonight I made Creamy White Bean Stew with Bacon. Creamy is a misnomer, as there is no cream in it, but it still tastes very rich. The recipe is from The Cozy Apron and pretty easy to make.

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Ingredients:
12 ounces apple smoked bacon, chopped into small pieces ( I used about 6 oz and just had regular Oscar Meyer Center Cut bacon- our personal fave)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter (Sorry Emma!)
1 onion, small dice (I only had half an onion and I think that is fine)
2 carrots, small dice
2 celery stalks, small dice
4 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
• Pinch or two sea salt
½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
6 (15 ounce) cans small white beans (or navy beans), drained and rinsed (This seemed like a lot, but I ended up using most of them)
4 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Preparation:
-She has you chop up your bacon and fry it in the Dutch oven or heavy pot. I baked my bacon in the oven because I didn’t want to sit next to the stove and watch it, as Emma was still awake. Pre-heat the oven to 400*, line a baking sheet with tinfoil, lay bacon so it isn’t touching and bake around 12-18 minutes depending on how crispy you like your bacon. Best part- no splatters so you don’t have to clean your stove top which is THE. WORST.
-Add bacon fat to the pot, along with the olive oil and the butter, and allow them to melt together; once melted and hot, add in the diced onion, carrots and celery, and allow them to soften and saute for about 5 minutes. Then add in the garlic,cook for a few minutes and  add in about 2/3 of the crumbled cooked bacon, as well as the Italian seasoning, the sea salt and the pepper, and the white beans, and stir to combine. Add in the chicken stock, stir, and allow the stew to gently simmer for about 40-45 minutes, partially covered with lid. About half way through the cooking process, mash the beans a little bit with a potato masher to thicken the stew. Finish the stew by adding in the chopped parsley, the lemon zest and the lemon juice. Garnish with the remaining crisped bacon.
I wouldn’t skip the parsley or lemon zest and juice as they really add a fresh flavor to the stew and finish it off nicely. Obvi the crumbled  bacon on top is delish. I plan to eat this for lunch for the rest of the week because Tim won’t touch it.
The second dinner I made was Baked Honey Garlic Chicken from Jo Cooks. Easy and healthy and Tim approved, which is really saying something!
BAKED HONEY GARLIC CHICKEN

Clearly not my food photography.
INGREDIENTS
  • 3 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1½ cups Panko breadcrumbs
  • sesame seeds, optional
  • fresh chopped parsley, optional
For Honey Garlic Sauce
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp Sriracha sauce (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
 INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil.
  2. Add the breadcrumbs to a shallow plate. Beat the eggs in another shallow plate.
  3. Season beaten eggs with salt and pepper. Add chicken to the eggs and toss to make sure each piece is fully coated in the egg mixture.
  4. Coat each piece of chicken with breadcrumbs and place on baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and slightly golden.
  5. While baking, mix all the sauce ingredients to a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then turn down the heat and cook for a couple more minutes stirring occasionally.
  6. Pour sauce over chicken and toss so that the chicken pieces are fully coated. If there’s left over sauce, use for dipping. Garnish with sesame seeds and parsley if preferred.
  7. Serve over rice and/or veggies. (Or just eat on a plate all by itself like I did.)

The Women Tell All

I know I haven’t written a Bachelor recap in over a month, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been plopping my ass on the couch for two hours every Monday night. Almost too much has happened for me to even reference, so I’ll just stick with last night’s (pretty boring) Women Tell All.
First of all, Carly got pretty blonde, eh? And yet…the brows are still commas. WHY?!
Brit is a hot mess. Girlfriend cannot stop crying. Get your shit together. Also, what is she wearing?
It looks like Salma Hayek’s Cesar’s waitress outfit in Fools Rush In…which I can’t find a photo of. What is the point of the internet if I can’t google image that?
Oh, Kelsey, Kelsey, Kelsey. “Isn’t my story amazing? It’s tragic. But amazing.” That woman is a wack job. There is no way you were really in love with Sanderson if you are willing to go on a reality show to meet a man less than two years after his death. I kind of love that some of the girls doubted that he even existed. Hilarious. Tim commented that she talks like a self help book, which is so on point! Can you imagine if she was the guidance counselor at your kids’ school? I would pull my child immediately.
 (David Moir/ABC)
Ashley S, you crazy bitch. I love you. She was by far the highlight of this season. I’m happy to know Chris Harrison agrees. And apparently now I’ll be watching Bachelor in Paradise to continue to watch her antics. P.S. Loved her dress! 
The Wild Mustang-I cringed YET AGAIN watching Jade show Chris the video of her “nude modeling”. Seriously, the last thing on earth I’d want to do is show someone a video of me naked, especially a boyfriend/potential husband. I loved Jade in the beginning, but she lost me after her giggling while showing the pics/video to Chris and learning about her “wild” personality. I just can’t get a read on her. I do think, however, that she would have been the best fit for Arlington, Iowa based on her background (minus the porn).
I’m sticking with my initial thought that Kaitlin will be the next bachelorette.  I definitely thought (hoped?) Chris would pick her over Whitney, who has the most annoying voice, oh my Lord! She’s nice and all, but a real snoozefest.
My favorite part of the whole night were the outtakes, especially Chris’ dolphin laugh.