Awesome Wave

Happy Saturday, friends!

What a week this was!  I really am over the cold, snowy environment surrounding me.  Even though I’ve never really been comfortable in a bikini – I’m CRAVING bikini weather.  I seriously sit in my heated yoga classes and pretend it is sunny and warm.  My body is definitely craving some homemade vitamin D and when it is literally below zero degrees out or snowing CONSTANTLY, I’m not getting even a tiny bit of it.  At least my boys have fun with their shovels:

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Like everything in my life, I hit waves.  Waves of lazy periods (well in my book lazy, other people see me go go go), then focused waves of awesome.  Right now, I’m on a awesome wave.  I’ve majorly cleaned up eats and have been focusing on getting my heart rate up in some shape or form at least once a day.  It’s a cycle that I need to have not only for myself but for my family.  I want Evan to have lots of healthy home cooked meals, and I want to experiment more with food.  Something that helps me stay on track is reading.  I load my kindle with books on health and fitness, meditation and yoga – even though some sit unread for days and days because I’m knees deep in some novel or catching up on Mob Wives and Scandal (I know, I know… ) I feel like life is all about balance.  However, when I feed my soul with those books, even though every fiber of my being knows how to eat and live well, it reminds me to keep on track. When I eat clean and sweat I’m happier much happier, and isn’t that what life is about?  That said, I’m really enjoying Cameron Diaz’s The Body Book right now.  It is an easy, lighthearted read that I think would actually be really great for a teenager or someone just getting into a clean healthy lifestyle it is just presented in a way that is not overwhelming and is packed with info (although she uses soy as an example of something to switch out for milk, I’m not a soy fan at all).  When I finish up the book I’d like to do a review ;-) – Something that I live by is eating with color.  LOTS of color.  Vibrant color.  No iceberg lettuce, give me the super green kale and spinach and crispy romaine please!  I mean not only are these so good for you but they are so pretty *insert heart eyes*:

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My mom recently bought a vitamix.  I’ve talked about it before and I’ll talk about it again:  I want one so bad! I have a high powered blender and like the reviews here I’m not a fan.  It is bigger and louder than my mom’s shiny new vitamix and more importantly it does not work as well. So I’m saving for my own.  I know they are pricey but I’ve only heard awesome reviews from the basic to the fancy.  Plus, Hector is sick of seeing lulu bags at the doorstep (not that they would ever go away forever, just maybe a little less frequent).

Are you hitting winter slum?  Are you busting through?  I went shopping today at target and they had GARDEN stuff out!  I’m ready to feed the need to get my hands in the dirt and do some gardening and RUN OUTSIDE!!!  So stoked for this.

Off to cuddle with the napping baby, followed by a run on the dreadmill treadmill;)

 

 

Eating, my journey.

Boom. Week from the crazy life, has hit the weekend.  There are so many things I want to blog about.  New favs, hitting the gym, changing routines, events, family… But time isn’t always my friend and before I know it I’m like HUH it is Feb. what?!  Well, I know it is winter time, and actually I’m over it, yet Chicago just keeps slapping us with, “WAKE up friends, snow, and lots of below zero days… you can handle it… You are Chicagoians”

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Anywho, one thing I want to discuss is eating and things we are loving right now and my journey with eating.  Several years ago I took a nutrition class.  It changed my life.  Had I taken this class early in my college experience and not as a final prerec, I honestly would have likely become a dietitian, personal trainer and worked on opening a fitness/heath/Mind Body wellness center.  Who knows maybe I still will!  Possibilities in life are endless if you work hard and reach out and grab them.  When I took the class I immediately jumped on the health food train.  I was all about eating things good for my body and my body thanked me!  I felt good, dropped weight (about 30lbs), kept it off, and started training hard.   Knowledge is power and even though the media is very health centered (not always in the best ways…) it can be a very overwhelming and a major information overload.  Different things work for different people, but I do not think you can ever go wrong with drinking TONS of water, getting in green tea, and eating clean.  Those are my simple rules.  Eat clean, drink water and sweat as often as you can.

Even though I ate clean, I was also a crazy calorie counter.  When I say crazy, I mean it.  My whole life was encompassed by counting my calories and obsessing about food.  This clearly was not mentally healthy.  I looked great, and felt great physically but I had a lot of brain fights:

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Then I got prego!

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Being pregnant (after lots of weeks not being able to eat ANYTHING) made me throw out calorie counting and just focus on healthy eats.  100% I contribute this to a healthy, mostly happy pregnancy.  I gained 23lbs and felt great and never counted a calorie.  I had fat days, days when I was like this is the worst thing on the planet…  Days where I was so over it but when I look back I had no aches and pains that come with gaining too much weight (I also have a great build for carrying btw, small frames I’m sure are diff, but this about MY journey).  When I was done being prego, I started breastfeeding and once again, told myself I would NOT count calories.  This was so much easier said then done.  Even though the scale said I didn’t have much to loose, and everyone told me I looked great… I did not feel great.  I felt soft and smushy even though I worked out throughout my pregnancy.  The calorie demons were sneaking in, but I fought them as best I could because I knew  I couldn’t provide nutrition for my little guy if I restricted my calorie intake and so started our six months of exclusive breastfeeding and zero calorie counting journey.  After he was 6 months, and I decided to keep up the relationship but also knew he was  getting other forms of nutrition, the thought of calorie counting crossed my mind once again but I decided not to and this time it wasn’t as hard of a decision.  I was working out, my clothes fit and I stayed away from the mental things that would force me to want to calorie count, mainly the scale.  That scale, I tell you… I think it hurts more then it helps on a weightloss journey but that is a story for another blog.  That six months helped me realize how much I respected my body.  It gave me my perfect healthy baby and recovered beautifully.  Over my pregnant/new mom year I finally gained a respect for not only being healthy physically but mentally. I respected my body more for all it had done and I need to treat my brain with the same respect.  I want to bring up my new family with a healthy relationship with food because as much as I wanted to deny it for so long, I didn’t have a healthy perspective when it came to food.  Six weeks post baby, right before the doctor’s appointment:

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Finally a year and a half later, I can tell you I don’t count calories.  I still look at labels and calories are visible, but because I eat clean, most of my daily eats DO NOT have a nutrition label.  They are what they are: apples, eggs, greens…  Physically speaking, once again, I feel better when I eat right.  I have cheat days and I eat mayo.  I have crazy heath days and take vitamins.  I keep it simple, don’t beat myself up when I have a French fry or a slice of French bread.  But I do always prefer the whole grains, they fill you and keep you going.  Part of my food journey is experimenting with getting in as much fresh produce as I can. With that said, Hector and I have jumped on the juicing/smoothie bandwagon again.  My father was always into juicing and I was always into smoothies.  My dad likely bought the 1st Jucieman machine ever made and worked a few to machine heaven.   We are not a juice family in the sense of apple juice or Capri sun or any of that crap.  Never have been, I will not buy it and Evan will never get it from my hands but I will offer him carrot and beet juice or his favorite green drink: kale, apple, spinach, pineapple, celery, and lemon.

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With everything in life… eating is a journey and I’m finally at a good place with my habits.  My body journey is also always evolving but I make sure to get in yoga, weights and cardio. Even if weight lifting these days is sometimes just tossing around my 27lb baby.

Happy Saturday!  Off to prep for a black tie event tonight and wrap some special birthday gifts for a super special little man in my life. EEK! need a card!!

Love,

Jen

xo

Visions, Sugarplums and Garland OH MY!

Happy Holidays, friends!  I hope everyone had a very MERRY CHRISTMAS.  I know we did!  Lots of love, cookies, celebrating and wrapping paper – all last minute of course!

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Evan was a BLAST this year for Christmas.  Everything was “Wow” and “eeeee” when he was opening his gifts.  So much different from our sweet itty 6 month old last year:DSC_1006

Both perfection, in their own special way.  I feel so blessed.  – My wonderful husband let me go to a holiday yoga class at our local CorePower studio.  It was the perfect end to an amazing morning.  It was warm, filled with great energy and a great instructor – there isn’t anything else I could have asked for.

We spent the rest of the holiday with lots of family, ate too many cookies and enjoyed my mom’s awesome spread!  Cannolis, shrimpies, crab dip, Polish goodies – the works.

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We also went light hunting.  We LOVE Christmas lights and were able to see some really sweet displays in our neighborhood:

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Finally, we cuddled with our sweet little dude.  He was so amazing, as always.  I am blown away by him, everyday.  The perfect gift to our family <3

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Hope your Christmas was amazing!  Back later with a New Years post! <3

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On. The. Go.

Life has really been exactly the way it should be: completely nutzo but in the best way possible.  I mean I get to come home to this:

IMG_1828 IMG_1829My main men and well… Evan’s wild mane that I couldn’t love any more than I do.  He is still the light of our lives. <3

The past week has been extremely busy.  Work, play, bed. That has been the routine and the weather is definitely changing.  I find myself layering and it reminds me a of a few things: well FALL of coure, new wardrobe, shopping and birthdays.

followed by a meltdown

followed by a meltdown

New lulu from the hubby! <3

New lulu from the hubby! <3

I'm still not feeling the best, so don't mind my disheveled look lo;

I’m still not feeling the best, so don’t mind my disheveled look 

(some love from last year) -

THis year I have a very different life.  New job, new home, new loves, a new happy grateful outlook on my life… Everything feels like it is right where it should be.

Today my life consisted of a run, a cuddle date, a coffee date, a swim date, a yoga date and a dinner date with two of the best parents in the world:

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Yoga with Lou was nothing short of amazing.  I really wanted to go to C2 because I wanted more of a workout but Hot Power Fusion hit the spot.  I focused on my intention (being more confident) and hit everything.  I also went on a very short run this morning and Evan clinged to me like no other in his freezing swim class.  We both walked out of there with purple lips and chattering teeth.

Also, how much am I loving my swiftly (above) and my practice freely tank?  Love. Them.

IMG_1582 IMG_1584 IMG_1585Family walks when I force Hector out of the house are a lot of fun too.  I mean look at these sunsets that are beautiful pictures that do not even SCRATCH the surface of just how amazing they really were.

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I’m literally falling asleep writing this but just wanted to update on a few positive things. Synopsis:

  • Momma, yoga/run time
  • love
  • beautiful sunsets
  • life
  • Evan
  • Hector
  • Friends
  • Green tea

 

 

Saturday Loves

Hello, friends.  Happy Saturday!

The weather in Chicago went from summertime to full fall in 3 seconds:

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So we grabbed some hearty mums to mark the occasion that look beautiful now but my mom reports the flowers will die and they will be big green blobs haha. Ah well I’ll remember them like the above.

Last Saturday we enjoyed coffee on the deck with amazing warm air and someone only needed to be half dressed:

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Today we are inside frantically closing windows with long sleeves, pants and socks on! My how things can change in a week.

Evan has officially started swim lessons.  He is an Aqua Baby!  We have lessons every Saturday and he LOVES it so far.  He is a little charmer who likes to kick and splash and wants to stay in the water even when his teeth are chattering and his lips are a funny shade of purple.

I’ve gotten way better about taking my own time; going to the gym, going for a short run or walk and visiting one of my favorite places on earth the yoga studio:

IMG_1704[1]Needless to say I’m more grounded and centered and happy.  Yoga is blissful.

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Also… It’s back!  Pumpkin spice lattes!  I have an SBux in my building at work… Talk about danger zone.  The way to have it is a grande nonfat 1 pump no whip extra foam… one of my favorite things about fall.  It is clearly only a treat but reminds me fall is in the air <3  (My go-to at Starbucks is a Venti Zen, just ask Susie).  My sister posted those amazingly appropriate photo to my page:

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(if you know the source let me know for credits!!)

A few more random things about the end of summer… HOT BEVERAGES – My hubs and I are still obsessed with Blue Max:

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Mocha for him, green tea for me (how awesome is that lil teapot!?)… A scone to share.  I get the lean scramble (um yum) and share my sweet potatoes and fruit with Evan while Hector enjoys his chorizo eggs Benedict (Huevous Benedictos).  They just posted to their facebook page that they have a pumpkin spiced latte… guess who will be trying that tomorrow morning?!<<<<<<<<<this girl! (I’ll have to sneak in an AM run and treat myself)

My plants have survived the summer including these crazy herbs.  Next year I’ll have to learn how to “harvest” them – the lemon balm took over and I need to look up ways to use it:

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Can you believe the last time I updated you I thought they were outta control and they looked like this:

DSC_0674Next year I’ll know to skip the lemon balm or put it in a smaller pot.  They look well manicured above. <3

I’m also still deciding on switching out my camera or updating the lens, any ideas?  I have the Nikon D3000 – and am really unsure if I want to just switch it out for a Canon.

Well today is packed!  Off to Costco, some cleaning/organizing, Target, swim, gym, yoga (free C1!) and a wine night with a very special lady.

What things are you loving about the change of season?  I’m feeling extra energized!  It is that or the opc3 and my b vitamins! haha

 

 

 

Making House, Home.

Happy long weekend, everyone!

While I sit on my bed listening to my sweet baby hum himself to sleep in his room (right next door)… I’m pouring over all the different projects I want to do to my home. RIGHT. NOW. haha

I’m ready to run to World Market and re-do everything in my home… I’m in love with their inspiration photos:

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that rug on top of the larger jute rug… Brilliant. All things in good time I suppose.

Today the seasonal organization bug hit me and I woke up early to get a few things done since we have a pretty packed day.  I have a feeling I will be heading to the store to pick up some items I really shouldn’t due to the pictures above.  I need to win the HGTV lotto or something… Ever since we bought this house I’ve been obsessed with home improvement projects that are outside our spending zone but when you own a home you want things perfect and I feel there is so much to do around here to make it perfect.  Yesterday we picked up this little guy:

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He was $5.00 at Lowes, we are naming him Ralph and hope to nurse him back to health.  First step, new pot and fresh fertilized soil.  Luckily the weather is still pretty nice so he might make a patio appearance until the weather gets too cold. Ralph likes lots of sun and warm weather.  He does not like to sit in water, he likes his soil moist and never dry.

It is amazing what a few fresh plants can do to a space.

Another random note; yesterday my boys and I ventured out for some outstanding coffee at our favorite weekend stop, the Blue Max:

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Evan sat in his own patio chair and was so well behaved.  I hit the toddler jackpot.  He sat down, read his book and played with his caterpillar while eating roasted sweet potatoes and some of my spinach omelet.  There was a sweet little girl who just turned 2 at the table next to ours and he just sat there and flirted with her… My little charmer.

We went shopping to our usual spots Whole Foods, Target and Costco.  While at Costco we came across:

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*GASP* CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS!  Now, I’m such a HUGE FAN of Christmas time.  I feel like there is a natural magic in the air, pop in The Santa Clause and I’m a kid again thinking about the North Pole… But GEEZ!  Isn’t it early?!  It isn’t even Labor Day!  Hector and I are looking so forward to this Christmas with the new house; last year we had a fake tree and were not sure if we were closing on a house or not.  We were in a weird place as a new family unsure of what the future held. Spending was tight because we had all those house expenses that creep up when you buy:  prepaid insurance, inspection, appraisal, etc. Plus we were recovering from me taking unpaid time off work for maternity leave.

Needless to say, we are looking forward to all the holidays this year but feel like Costco is reminding us too quickly that they are approaching!  It is hard to believe that at this exact time last year Hector and I were just chatting on how maybe we should start house hunting thinking that a year from then we would start making serious offers and here we are now… in our home. It is so amazing.  Where we are today is so amazing, my whole family is within walking distance.  I feel like we have rekindled our family relationships and feel like we are all in such a good place:

IMG_1334 IMG_1335 IMG_1432 IMG_1458Sure there are stresses to owning a house, but right now I feel so blessed.  This place is now home where we enjoy dinner in our backyard:

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and put together fab little meals in our kitchen:

IMG_1513It is where we chat about our futures, relive our many amazing memories, and daydream about adding to our little family:

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I’ve never been in a better place mentally.  I think it is a product of those around me, (My amazing friends -you all are so inspiring, my phenomenal family) and taking better care of myself.  Pretty sure these B vitamins (the Bliss Kit!) are also doing some amazing things! But we will chat about that later.

So after this random blog; what makes your house home?  We are always burning fun scents in the house typically in line with the seasons (except my lavender scents that burn year round, it is my absolute FAVORITE) – we are starting to fill the house with more pictures too which makes it feel homey.  I feel like the minute things go on the wall it feels like we are here to stay.

Off to do many projects with the mom.  Be back later!

 

 

 

What we are up to in JUNE!

Hello blog world!

What are we up to as of late?!

Lots! – New Nephew!!! – Gardening madhouse – work, work, work – running after baby – running on that tredmill – enjoying life… You know the norm.

I’ve mentioned before that the previous owner of our home was an avid gardner.  She has some awesome plants… and amazing roses.  Last week I took a bunch of shots of the amazing flowers in my yard and was going to write a post on how I have been you-tubing how to take care of these things (I’m doing well in some areas, not so well in others) – and I was going to share our farmer’s market trip then BAM I misplaced my memory card *cue sad trombone, and worlds smallest violin* I’m hoping to find and share those pics, but who knows! Darn SD card, you have no idea how hard it is for me to loose pictures… it is like losing a piece of me.  So today I ventured out to find a few cute things, and a bunch of upkeep I need to get to…

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My orgeno, lemon balm and thyme is just insanely happy.  Can’t you tell?  Here is a before and after:

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:D *happy dance*

This weekend is father’s day – Hector’s first since our amazing little man has blessed us with his precense.  What is Evan up to lately?

Growing like a weed, standing on his own and taking baby steps… YEP! Baby. Steps.  Walking is right around the corner maybe for is 11 month birthday.

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I cannot believe that I took the picture above almost 6 months ago, where has my itty bitty baby gone?

Today we are going to try to get too many things done… so wish us luck.

Be back with more pictures of my love bugs and some workout updates!

xoxo