Lovely Weekend

I just couldn’t resist the pun : )


Happy Valentine’s Day!  I spent the weekend with the hubs.  We had a purposefully non eventful weekend and it was wonderful!  Saturday morning, we were up early for a workout.  Afterwards, we headed over to Geneva to stock up on spices from The Spice House and stopped for a sweet snack at All Chocolate Kitchen.


I thought we were just going to swing by and grab a warm drink, but when the BOY suggested we sit and enjoy a treat, I happily agreed!


I got an Affogato (dark chocolate sea salt gelato + espresso) and the BOY enjoyed a rich hot chocolate.  We split the most delicious cookie and pecan bar.


After that, we swung by a fun (and fancy) grocery store out in that direction to pick up dinner.  We spent the rest of Saturday hanging out at home before cracking open some Napa wine and playing games.


For dinner, we had crab cakes and scallops on the salt block with roasted broccoli.  We had leftovers from ACK for dessert and then played a few more rounds of yahtzee.  Cooper made himself at home on the table checking out dinner.



Sunday morning, I woke up and decided to have a lazy day!  The BOY and Cooper were only too happy to join me.  I read on the couch and then took a nap.  The BOY made chili in the crockpot for dinner.  We went out once to pick up Mediterranean for lunch and then came back to watch the disappointing Indiana game just as the snow started to fall.  I spent the afternoon cleaning up around the house and then laid back down to finish my book.  Ever since we got back from vacation, I have been a reading machine!


I attempted to make a dairy free chocolate mousse but accidently put the low fat coconut milk into the fridge last night so although the taste was yummy, my texture was off : (  Luckily, the BOY made some cookies and cream ice cream so we were not without sweets on Valentine’s Day!  And I plan to pick up the right coconut milk and will hopefully have a recipes to share with ya’ll soon.


Sunday night involves chili and a movie…we are thinking The Martian.  It has been so fun to hang out with my loves on Valentine’s day.  Hope you had a sweet weekend!

Grateful for 4 Days of Fun!

Friday morning, I drove myself to the gym thinking…the sun is shining, I have a 4 day weekend, and damn, I feel HAPPY!


And the happiness only continued throughout the weekend!!!

Friday, I drove straight from the gym to my parents for a quick shower.  I bumped into my old next door neighbor which was a pleasure.  Then, my mom, aunt, and I went to my very first dress fitting.  I brought like 8 pairs of shoes to try, no joke!  Afterwards, we had lunch and then went to the mall to shop (and buy more shoes!).

Friday night, the BOY and I had dinner in and I crashed EARLY.   I’m reading Big Little Lies and was happy to have time to dive in to it!  Saturday morning, we were up super early (for the second weekend in a row) for a gym workout.


The BOY has been joining me for my Saturday morning strength sessions and I love it.  He looks GREAT with his boxing gloves!


After the gym, we both enjoyed protein shakes before my mom, her BFF of 30+ years, and my aunt picked me up for a nail appointments.  Blue seemed to be the theme of the day.  Then we went into downtown Geneva for a day of shopping.


It was the perfect day to explore, lunch, and shop!


That night, the BOY and I hosted a super fun dinner!  He grilled up an amazing meal and we all had a fantastic evening, complete with homemade cookies and cream ice cream.  Yum!


Sunday morning, I woke up for the 8am yoga class.  The teacher is one of my faves and as she encouraged us to think about what we were grateful for, my mom, aunt, and favorite aunt (LOL!) came to mind. I felt so grateful for the fun and laughter of Saturday but I was also extremely grateful for the friends hosting my shower and celebrating this special day with me!


Sunday’s shower was special for so many reasons.  It was hosted by my (and my mom’s) friends of 30 years who have supported me and watched me grow.  It was unique and personal and full of selfies…ha ha!


And it was a wonderful reason to bring two families together to share in the excitement of our upcoming wedding (#61days to go)!


And I haven’t even mentioned the incredible food and desert.  For long time listeners readers, here’s your first peak at the BOY’s name : )


After all the weekend excitement, I decided I needed a quiet and easy Monday morning.  I cancelled my training session and slept in without an alarm.  I only made it until 8:30, but it was still nice.  Cooper joined me for some sweet cuddles before I climbed out of bed for breakfast and tea.  I fit in a quick 30 minute jog and then loaded up my bike for it’s appointment at the shop.  Then, I met my mom and favorite aunts for more shopping at the Home Goods.


Followed by lunch…


After that, it was back to my real life duties as I needed to hit up Costco and the grocery store for the week ahead.  Even getting stuck in the rain couldn’t ruin my good mood.  When I got back home, I had some cleaning, cooking, and thank you’s to do.  As I was sitting on the couch, I started to feel overheated.  When the BOY walked in, I had him confirm that the house did feel hot…REALLY HOT!  Turns out our air conditioner was broken.  Ugh!


Instead of cooking dinner, we decided to order Thai (the best!) and try to stay cool while watching the season finale of Orange is the New Black.  We got great news late when the fix it guy was able to easily get our air conditioner working again…at least for now.  I had the most wonderful few days full of excitement, love, and laughter!  Cheers to making more great memories in the weeks to come!

Crockpot Queen

Yesterday, my Google calendar was so packed, it didn’t all fit on the screen.


First thing…a phone conference with a potential Day Of wedding planner.  It is clear to me that I want someone else running the show that weekend and finding the right person and one that I can afford will take some effort.  At the same time, I got this week’s lunch into the crockpot.  I got a new crockpot yesterday (which has me super excited) but I didn’t have it cleaned and ready to go yet in the morning.  By the way, have you heard about the new wireless crockpot?  I will be registering for one FOR SURE and perhaps changing the title of my blog to Crockpot Queen : )  Crockpot brand if you’re listening…I’m happy to be a tester for you!!!


Next up, I was excited to get my sweat on for my weekly training session but had to wash up quickly to meet a DJ for a wedding interview.


Two and a half hours of music and lighting talk later, I was thoroughly overwhelmed and yet super excited for our wedding which is over a year away.  I had barely enough time to walk in the door and shower before my mom scooped me up (since I wasn’t ready she kept busy playing with her favorite kitty).  We drove out to Geneva to meet up with friends at All Chocolate Kitchen.


I have heard only amazing things about this place and was psyched to dig into my dark chocolate sea salt gelato.  It was unbelievably tasty!  And there are plenty more things for me to come back and try.  We had to eat and run to make my 4pm appointment to try on wedding dresses.  This appointment was way more successful than my first appointment and I found a few dresses that I liked but I’m still looking.  After dresses, I had one last appointment with another planner…Ahh!  It was a long day!

I had the BOY’s help in finishing up my crockpot meal, which turned out fantastic!   Needless to say, I crashed into bed last night.


Meal Planning 9/30/14

Tuesday: Taco Tuesday

Wednesday: BBQ Ribs and Veggies

Thursday: Dinner on the Go

Lunch: Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan Soup


Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan Soup

From Foxes Loves Lemons


3 garlic cloves, minced

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 can (14.5 ounces) crushed tomatoes (I used 28oz)

1/2 pound (raw) boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used 1#)

3 cups chicken broth

1/2 cup chopped white onion

1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more if you like it spicy!)

4 ounces (uncooked) dry whole wheat penne pasta


  1. In slow cooker, stir together garlic, bell pepper, crushed tomatoes, chicken, broth, onion, 1/3 cup cheese, basil, oregano and red pepper flakes. Cook on high 3-1/2 hours or on low 7 hours.
  2. Transfer chicken breasts to cutting board and coarsely shred; return to slow cooker. Stir in pasta. Cook on high 30 minutes longer or until pasta is cooked al dente.
  3. Serve garnished with extra Parmesan cheese and chopped basil or parsley.

*I think that you could add in spinach!


What do you think about a wireless crockpot?

I Heart Geneva

Thank you to everyone for your inspiring words about tomorrow’s half marathon!  I went today to pick up my packet and although I am not super excited about tomorrow’s race, I’m not that nervous either.  I’m sure it will all hit me tomorrow morning, but it makes me feel better to know that you’re cheering me on! 




The good news about packet pick up today…this adorable new race shirt.




And…I got to try on the Brooks Pure Cadence shoes that I have been eyeing online.  I took them for a spin on the treadmill and I was impressed with how comfortable they are.  They felt like they were made for my feet.  I didn’t buy them YET because they are $120 AND I really want the bright blue color.




After picking up my gear, I headed 10 minutes south to the lovely town of Geneva.  I don’t know what it is about Geneva, but I seriously love it there.  The tree lined streets are quaint and old fashioned with some unique shops, restaurants and art galleries.






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The landscaping along the roads is bright and colorful, and there are gorgeous paths along the river for biking and running.


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I had a few places that I wanted to go, and I found a few new shops to explore.


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My first stop was the Olive Mill, where I walked out with two new bottles of olive oil and some recipes.


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My next stop was Starbucks for a warm drink.  However, as I rounded the corner, I saw tucked behind the Starbucks a Great Harvest Bakery.




I used to live near a Great Harvest and fell in love in with a few of their breads.  I didn’t even know there was one in Geneva, but I was thrilled to sample a few breads and cookies.  This bread freezes well, and I was so excited to take this warm, fresh bread home for a sandwich (although I did grab a slice in the car first).


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The next stop was Starbucks for a Green Tea Soy Latte, and then I headed back down the street to do some more shopping.




I discovered an adorable gift shop, and of course this BACON sign caught my attention.  I knew the BOY would love it!  Maybe it can be a ‘Happy Finals’ gift at the end of the semester.



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I had to head back to the tea shop that I enjoyed so much last year.  The Black Mango is a favorite, and I went through it quickly.  I got an even bigger bag this year and got some good tips on tea brewing from the owner. This store ships coffee and tea, so check out their website.




My last stop was the Spice House to stock up on some of our favorite seasonings. 




Now that the BOY has discovered how good these spices are, they are disappearing quickly.






Finally, I headed home with my car stocked with goodies!




Check out my stash!







Geneva reminds me a little bit of Door County, Wisconsin, which is one of my favorite places to visit.  Speaking of Door County, the BOY and I are already planning our DC getaway for this summer.  I can’t wait!  I had a fabulous Saturday shopping and exploring, and the kitchen is restocked with some of my favorite breads, teas, and spices.  You can bet that I dove right into some kitchen baking with a cold glass of ice tea when I got home!  Tasty recipes to come…after tomorrow’s race!

No Alarm Saturday

Today began with 9 incredible uninterrupted hours of sleep!  For me, one of the benefits of a Sunday race, is a Saturday DAY OFF from training.  The BOY is right in the middle of second semester finals, and I am typically up bright and early for long runs, so we both appreciated the extra time in bed.  It was a treat to sleep in and not jump right out of bed.  The day before a race, I like to eat a carby breakfast, so I offered to make the BOY and I pancakes or french toast (I was dreaming about these pancakes).  But, he wanted a bowl of cereal. 

PB+ Cheerios = I can’t say that I blame him!




I went with a breakfast stirfry.




And inspired by a South Beach omelet that I had last weekend, I added in some avocado.  It added a warm and gooey element to the eggs, which I topped with salsa.


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What a great breakfast!  (Even with today’s To-Do list in the background).




The bad thing about not starting my day with a long run is that I don’t really know what to do with myself.  Since the BOY will be spending his entire day at the library, I’m on my own.  My plan…go pick up my packet for tomorrow (which is near Geneva) and play in this fun city.  It doesn’t look like it will be as nice of a day as the last time I was there, but I do need to stock up at The Spice House.



Not the most traditional Cinco De Mayo, but I am looking forward to it!



How are you spending your day?  Are you celebrating Cinco De Mayo?

If you are, I definitely recommend these Grilled Fajitas.




And this Black Bean and Corn Dip or Cream Cheese Corn Dip.





Are you watching the Derby?  This Fruit Salsa is a healthy and refreshing appetizer for the early races!




And for dessert, I recommend this Elegant Chocolate Mousse or a crowd pleasing Kahlua Cake.





If you are having a no alarm Saturday like me, then there will be tons of time to get working in the kitchen.  And, all of these recipes are super quick and easy to make!



One last suggestion for you Chicagoans out there.  Check out the Green Festival at Navy Pier this weekend!!!


Enjoy your Saturday!!!

Adventures in Geneva (Illinois)

The BOY took Monday off of work and we spent the afternoon exploring Geneva, IL.  I started my day with a brutal hill workout at Palatine’s Payton’s Hill.  My Trainer and I went out there for 8 hill repeats (running) up a long and steep hill.  It was a hard workout, but I felt strong afterwards.  Sadly, I didn’t get a picture of the actual hill that we ran.

I have only been to Geneva once.  It is an adorable city along the Fox River with little shops and restaurants.  It reminds me of a smaller Door Country which is probably why I enjoy it so much.  One benefit of living way out in Suburbia is that Geneva is only 35 minutes away!  They have great bike paths and next time I go, I will definitely bring my bike.

Unfortunately, many of the businesses are closed on Mondays.  Luckily, we found a little Mexican place with an outdoor patio where we enjoyed a tasty lunch and some good conversation.

The menu had a light section and it even had lighter, no-sugar added versions of my favorite Mexican drinks. I ordered a Skinny Mojito and the BOY ordered a Cadillac Margarita.

For lunch,  I ordered Fish Tacos with black bean, corn, and pico salsa and a side of guacamole.  The salsa was unbelievable and the flavors really complimented the tacos.  The guac was chunky and wonderful! If we weren’t walking around afterwards, I would have taken a big container to go.

After lunch, we walked around downtown exploring the unique stores and enjoying the beautiful weather.  We made sure to stop into the best store, THE SPICE HOUSE, for refills on my favorites and as always, I walked out with a few new flavors to try.

In the end, we discovered a quaint little tea shop and an oil and vinegar store.  We bought some new tea flavors (perfect for making iced tea this summer) and a garlic olive oil.  I picked up three new spices from The Spice House, and we took some chocolate dried cherry bark (as seen above) in all three flavors and caramels to go.

We had a fabulous day in Geneva!  I almost felt like we were back on vacation.  I am looking forward to visiting again this summer for some biking, eating, and there’s always time for more shopping!  I’m sure I’ll be needing refills on my spices and teas!