five on friday!

Happy Friday, friends! I'm linking up for Five on Friday because is there really a better way to jump back into blogging when you've been MIA for two full months?

{one} yard pretties

Brian took the second part of his CFA exam last Saturday, so all of the little To Do lists that I've been adding to over his last few study months are now FRONT AND CENTER to get things checked off! First in line? Getting our yard in shape. We've stayed on top of mowing/weeding, but mulching and planting anything new took a backseat. Not anymore! I've been doing lots of Googling to see what grows best in our sun/shade yard, and these are a few of my favorite "inspirational" ideas for the front and back yards.

We need a new mailbox + a border - the snowplows took ours completely down last winter... as in we found out in the middle of our front yard (womp womp). I think this is so pretty and gives great curb appeal.

My big goal for the front of our house - hydrangeas and hostas. My goal this weekend is to rip everything out of our front bed from the current owners and start planting!

We have two unsightly LARGE trees in our front yard - I've already weeded and dug the perimeter, just need to plant the hostas to fill it in.

Building window boxes for the front window are the first item on Brian's to-do list. Our hosue is similar to this - white with navy shutters, and it looks just a tad too bare without something there. And I love how you can swap out the box filler for each season/holiday! I'm lucky to have a guy who enjoys projects like this as long as it means he gets to use his power tools. Fine by me, just make 'em look pretty!

{two} Bloodline

We now have mucho time available to relax in the evenings, and just started watching Bloodline last night. WE'RE HOOKED. We got two episodes in before it got too late, but I'm loving it. Although in my eyes, Coach Taylor can/will/could never do any wrong in my eyes, so it's lovely just to be able to watch him. 

{three} car shopping

After years of sharing a car and commuting together, we're finally making the move to find a car just for me... and I am SO excited! For the majority of the time that we've lived together, commuting together made sense - I'd drop Brian at the train in the morning, drive myself to work, pick him up at night and we'd drive home. Add in buying a house a solid 25 minute drive from my office/the train and having Molly at home waiting for us to let her out/feed her, and it's just gotten way too complicated. So, we're in the market for a second car. My must haves? An SUV (manageable, but roomy), decent on gas... and that's kind of it. Any suggestions? I'm currently loving the GMC Acadia, Nissan Rogue and Murano, and the Ford Edge.
come to mama!

{four} pasta? yes please!

Summer or not, this One Pot Creamy Chicken Marsala Pasta dish is on my "must make" list for the weekend. A little extra gym time to make up for it won't kill me!


The sole item on my bucket list right now is to see Hamilton. Tickets are outrageous (not to mention sold out), but Brian and I are both on every possible ticket list/alert out there to try and snag two. The soundtrack has been in the background of my life for the past several weeks, and I'm just pretty obsessed all around. It's such a phenomenon, and it's just the BEST phenomenon. Seriously, in the wake of so much negativity, this amazing Broadway musical came along and gave people something to feel excited about and invigorated by... that's kind of amazing. Articles like this have been written by a father who connected with his moody teenage daughter over Hamilton, Lincoln Park Zoo named a new baby camel Alexander Camelton... people can't help but get caught up in the magic. 

And I so know that I would cry if I did get the chance to see the show. Like, cry in the audience. Because I've cried at EVERY show I've seen on Broadway - I think it's a rite of passage and you just get so caught up the experience! Also? I will cry Sunday night when the cast performs on the Tony Awards, and I cried watching this because... perfection.

Have a fantastic weekend!

Weekend Recap | Parades and Precipitation

Y'all, guess what I woke up to this morning.

No, really. I promise - you're never gonna guess.

Keep in mind that it's March 21, the second day of SPRING.

Are you ready?

Isn't that just exactly what you picture when you envision the second day of spring? We got SNOW. A boatload of snow. Like enough for all of the schools in our area to be cancelled today. I still have work because my team is considered "essential staff," but we shall save that story for another day.

Regardless, last weekend we were working in the yard and planning our landscaping for the spring, and today we wake up with snow. I'm just glad we haven't actually planted anything yet because I'm thinking snow would trump any pretty flowers from sprouting up. Molly was also super confused this morning. I woke up to her sitting on the edge of our bed, staring out the window kind of like "What is this white stuff falling from the sky? I won't be able to track my squirrels!"

Anywho, they're saying the temps should be in the 40s by lunchtime and all of this should be melting, which is a plus. Bring on the sunny and warm springtime days! Plus I'm thinking there are lots of Easter activities around here this next week and snow will definitely put a damper on those plans!

Aside from that, our weekend was pretty lowkey. 

My company hosted a huge fundraiser on Saturday morning and my team assisted, which meant a report time of 6:45 a.m. Now, I'm usually at my BodyPump class at that time, but there's a big difference in being up for a gym class that early on Saturday, and being up and ready for the day by that time. BUT it was for a great cause, and everything went off without a hitch. Plus I was home with bagels and coffee by 10 a.m., so we still had the majority of our day to get stuff done. I took a quick nap then pulled my few little Easter things out to decorate (for a week, I know - whatever, I'M WORN OUT) while Brian ran a few errands, then we spent the afternoon browsing cars at a few dealerships.

I'm reaching the end of my rope with sharing a single car between us, so we've been looking for a second car for awhile now. I don't want to buy anything without being 100% in love with a car, but IT'S HARD, Y'ALL. How big is too big vs how small is so small we'll run out of room once we have babies? Cloth vs leather, dark vs almond interior? Which packages are essential and which aren't? Do we pick the car I love with not-so-great gas mileage (Brian would laugh at this because he's already nixed that option but I can't just throw in the towel yet!) or pick the car that I like that gets great mileage? Brian commutes on the train into the city for work, so I would be the one driving this car to my job, around for errands, if we take road trips, etc., so as annoying as it is, it would be driven a lot and I have to take that into account. I also think that my crack is new car smell because as I was sitting in the drivers seat and testing out the roominess of all of these lovelies, I would have taken one home right then. 'Tis the reason that my impulse-buying self married my econ "Let's evaluate and compare everything that we could possibly need to know before making a decision" man. Bless him for putting up with me. SO, while there's no rush, I'm hoping to have something by the summer - woo! 

We left the last dealership not fighting (progress!) then Brian went off to the driving range for a bit while I relaxed with Molly and caught up on my DVR shows. Honestly, it was one of those afternoons where the sun was streaming in the windows, the house was freshly cleaned, my favorite candle was burning and I had a stack of magazines to browse - it made me feel overwhelmingly content and happy and it was just the best little recharge moment to remind me that life is going pretty darn well right now. We took advantage of the nice evening and grilled for supper, then the early morning caught up to me and I was dozing on the couch by 8:45 p.m. Early to bed, early to rise...

Sunday morning I really really REALLY wanted to sleep in but we had to be at Brian's parents house by 11:30 a.m. for the annual St. Patrick's Day parade which meant I had to get myself to the grocery store, back home to prep the snacks I was taking, into the shower and ready to leave by 11:15. I dragged myself out of bed around 9:30, stopped for a quick coffee on my way, then did a Supermarket Sweep-style spin around the store. 

It was an act of God (and help from the husband) but we managed to get out the door with a few minutes to spare. The parade route runs in front of Brian's culdesac, so it's nice to be able to stay warm and inside until 5 minutes before the fun begins. It was COLD but still lots of fun, although at this stage in the game I'm way more interested in watching the little ones running around versus day drinking (#oldandowningit). This little town goes all out for this parade (lots and lots of Irish folk!) and I love the tradition of going each year! 

We wrapped up our Sunday with a solid afternoon nap at home with Molly, soup for supper, then I read for a bit while Brian studied.

All in all a great weekend to head into a busy work week ahead! Cheers to Monday, friends!

Confessional Thursday

I'm linking up with Jess today for Confessional Thursday!

I confess...

That I make Brian holiday surprises (Easter baskets, Christmas stockings, Halloween treats) just to reap the benefits and CANDY. Brian's Easter basket stash has been tucked away for a few weeks now... and I might have already dipped into one or four of the mini Reese's egg stash. #sorrynotsorry

That I'm trying to stick to eating carbs for breakfast OR lunch, and avoiding them at dinner. Dinner is easy but so far this week I've failed every day at the OR part earlier in the day.

That we're starting back up with training for Molly and as much as I'm looking forward to the end result, I'm dreading the process.

That I am a sucker for sale emails. It's not unusual for me to have items in my JCrew/JCrew Factory, Old Navy, Gap, Anthro and Nordstrom baskets at all times but rarely pull the trigger on actually buying something.

That even though we like our house now and that it's perfect for us, I could spend hours upon hours browsing my Pinterest boards and dreaming of building a custom home.

That I've been contemplating starting a round of Whole30 for the past... four months? I did it a few months before our wedding in 2014 and as hard as it was, it really made me stop and think about what I'm putting into my body and I felt amazing. But... wine. And pizza. And coffee with my salted caramel creamer and cheese. I didn't read the book the first time and think it will break the process down a little more for me if I read it with this round... we shall see. Until then, I'll have my glass of wine tonight thanksverymuch.

Happy Thursday, y'all! And remember...

Wednesday Ramblings

::: I've managed to get myself into a nice little morning routine lately, and I'm loving it! Mondays and Thursdays I let myself sleep until 5:45am, which gives me plenty of time to get ready, make/eat breakfast, and take care of Molly things before we leave at 7am. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, I'm up at 4am and at the gym when they open for my workout. I pack my lunch the night before and have a few outfit options in my mind, so once I'm home it's right into the normal routine and still out the door by 7! I'm pretty darn proud of myself - getting up that early is no easy feat, but it makes me feel SO much better throughout the day. I'm still going strong with weekend workouts too, but I have more flexibility based on what we have going on those days. 

I think a huge contributor to this whole routine is that I'm in bed and reading no later than 9pm each night, with lights out at 9:30pm. If I go any later than that, there's no way I'm waking up early. It's all (not shockingly) making such a big difference in my productivity throughout the day though - no better reason than that to keep at it!

::: I took the plunge this weekend and ordered a Hayden Reis tote for beach and pool days this summer. I've been lusting after one for the longest time, and they had a 20% discount applied to their sale items. This green and grey striped bag was calling my name, and once I added a pink monogram, it was perfection. I can't wait for it to be delivered... but I REALLY can't wait for that first warm, sunny beach day when I'll need it! I'll certainly share a pic once it comes!

::: The Pandora "Feel Good" station has been my jam lately. Just this morning, I've heard:

Float On - Modest Mouse 
Here Comes the Sun - The Beatles 
Imagine - John Lennon
Twist and Shout - The Beatles's like the British Invasion this morning but I am loooooving it.

::: Transitioning from winter clothes to spring outfits always stresses me out, especially when trying to figure out what to wear to the office. It's too early for spring dresses and skirts, but a lot of them are a bit too light and springy to wear in March without leggings or tights. Guess I'll be doing lots of layering between now and... June? Regardless, I can't wait for all of the spring colors!


::: I'm loving this list of reasons why a husband should love his wife's mom bun - it made me teary!

::: My parents gave me a Yeti tumbler for Christmas and it has changed my morning coffee game. I fell into a routine of buying a large iced coffee... every single morning, and not only was the coffee not good, but it was a waste of $3... again, every single day. So now I've been making my own coffee and this beauty is amazeballs. 

::: And on a final note, I'm going to need this for my office, stat.

Happy Wednesday, lovelies!

five on friday

This week has been one for the books, y'all. I am SO glad it's Friday! Am I the only one who feels like short weeks sometimes seem that much longer? Anywho, let's get to it!

{one} healthy is as healthy does
After a little too long of trying to convince myself that I've been living a healthy lifestyle, I faced the facts: while I do make good choices the majority of the time, there are a few too often "wind-down wines" after work, a cheat day often turns into a cheat day and a half, and I haven't been moving and active like I should be. I can truly feel it in my body and know that it's time to make changes. So, while I do still stick with My Fitness Pal to keep myself accountable on track, I'm making a conscious effort to get real, healthy foods back into my diet. I'm obsessed with my Fitbit but don't utilize it like I could, so I've readjusted my daily goals to realistic numbers and am aiming for "all green" days and getting in at least 30 minutes of movement every day, as well as 3-4 workouts each week. And STRETCHING. I'm excited to see what kind of improvements I start to feel over the next few weeks - this refresh is so, so needed!

{two} make a house a home
As much as I'd love for this not to be the case, not a single room in our house is completely, 100% "done." The guest room is close, as is our bedroom, but everything needs finishing touches - curtains, artwork, throws, lamps, decor. We're making it a point this weekend to go through each room and clean out the closets, throw out junk, fill big donation bags of clothes, and make a master list of what we want to do to each room. I think approaching it that way will keep me sane because I have a REAL bad habit of going to HomeGoods for couch throw pillows, seeing lamp/table/framed painting that could work in the guest bedroom/office/master bedroom... and leaving with a dog toy because I'm too overwhelmed to pull the trigger on anything else. So, let's hope this practice puts me crazy in its place.

{three} currently reading...
As a part of my whole mind/body reconnecting goal, I'm trying to put my phone down at night, turn the TV off, and read for a bit. I've noticed that even if I read for just 30 minutes, I sleep better (go figure, right?). And the sad thing is that I love to read. LOOOOVE. It's always been my favorite hobby. And when I took the train everyday into the city for work, I had two hours of uninterrupted reading time. Now the commute is better but my reading habits have seriously suffered. As an attempt to get back into the bookworm game, I'm currently reading two books: Brooklyn by Colm Toibin and Expecting Better by Emily Oster. 

Brooklyn needs my undivided attention to really get into it (it's on my Kindle, and I've found that it's harder for me to really get lost in a book on my Kindle, versus the printed book in my hand), but I'm enjoying the story so far. Description from Google: 

Hauntingly beautiful and heartbreaking, Colm Tóibín's sixth novel, Brooklyn, is set in Brooklyn and Ireland in the early 1950s, when one young woman crosses the ocean to make a new life for herself. 

And Expecting Better is honestly fantastic. While I'm not pregnant, I love all of the insight that the book offers, as well as the statistics and factual info to back it up, versus just reading "Don't drink coffee. It is bad for your baby," and I know this will come in handy when I am expecting. While it's a "pregnancy book" and geared towards a female audience, I truly think that Brian (the econ major) will enjoy reading it at some point as well. The statistics and research are really interesting-- promise!

{four} bff chrissy
Can I just say how much I stinking LOVE Chrissy Teigen? Girlfriend is gorgeous, hilarious, and keeps it real - about hating dieting but having to do it, marriage funnies, and how her dogs are treated like humans (not that I can relate to that at all...). Also? She loves to cook and eat (again, love her). She has a new cookbook coming out this month and I cannot wait! I've pre-ordered my own book and strongly encourage you all to do the same!  Her website, "So Delushious," is fantastic, and you can read all about her recipes and the book itself there.

{five} it's yo birthday!
Lastly, February is a big month of birthdays for my people!  Love them all so much! 

my sweet mama

our sweet, sassy, spitfire niece, Meredith

and my bestie, amanda! welcome to the 3-0 club, my dear

Happy Friday (and weekend) to each and every one of you!!

thoughts for thursday | a southern vacation

The husband and I have been talking about planning a trip for months now, and I think we're finally right on the cusp of actually booking it!  

We initially wanted to go somewhere beachy and warm (back to Cancun, Punta Cana, Bahamas, etc.) but then the Zika outbreak happened and I kind of panicked. While I'm not pregnant now, babies are certainly in our 5 year plan, and the whole "Do not travel here if pregnant or planning to become pregnant in the next 2 years" freaked me out. 

A girl can still daydream though...

excellence playa mujeres

el dorado casitas, riviera maya - our honeymoon resort! 

sandals antigua

So we've now decided on a little southern vacation. And as much as I'd love to be gearing up to sit on a beach and drink cocktails all day, this makes my little Texan heart so dang happy - here we come Charleston, Hilton Head and Savannah!

Our plan is to fly into Charleston early on a Tuesday, stay through Thursday morning, drive to Hilton Head for a couple of nights, and somewhere in there take a day trip to Savannah. I think it will be perfection and, most fun of all, I've finally started to make our little trip agenda! 

-places to eat-
My first move was to book dinner reservations at Husk and Halls Chophouse in Charleston - any other suggestions that may trump these two spots? I have a list a mile long of restaurants for breakfasts and lunches, but any insight on "this is the best food you may ever eat" spots would be GREATLY appreciated :)

-things to do-
I'm so excited to just kind of wander around the cities and soak in the southern charm, but I'm also all about having a plan. I definitely want to see Rainbow Row in Charleston and a walking tour or two. Brian wants to golf in HH so perhaps I'll just go along for the ride? There are also bicycling "adventures" everywhere. I mentioned that to Brian and his immediate response was "Can you ride a bike?" Perhaps I haven't shown my most athletic side over our years together...

Any "must see/do" places or things to do in Charleston/HH/Savannah that I should add to our list? 

-places to stay-
Zero things booked for this important piece of the puzzle. We briefly considered an Airbnb or VRBO but at the end of the day, I cook supper every night at home and keep our house clean, bed made, etc. but I certainly don't want to do all of that on vacation. So hotels/B&Bs it is! Any ideal areas to stay? I know we're all over the place, but if you have any specific spots that have rave reviews, I'd love to hear about them!

So, what am I missing? Fill me in, ladies!

And because I'm excited...


I love living in the northeast but I just can't help but think that the south was hit with a pretty stick, amiright?

So, am I being crazy? If you're in my similar shoes, would you be as paranoid about Zika as I'm feeling? 

weekend recap | valentine's day fun

I've been feeling the pull to get back into blogging, and what better way to kick this off than after a long Valentine weekend?! (update: I started writing this on Tuesday morning and just finished on Wednesday afternoon -- baby steps, people!)

Saturday morning had me up bright and early to head to the gym and do a quick round of grocery shopping, followed by a Panera breakfast with the husband. Brian ran a few errands while I straightened up around the house, and Molly did a lot of this:

Brian's afternoon was occupied by a few hours of studying (he passed the first part of the CFA exam with flying colors - woop! - so now it's on to prepping for CFA: Part 2 in June), so I decided to give him some peace and quiet for a few hours and headed out to get a fresh mani/pedi. We had dinner reservations that night (call me a party-pooper, but there are two nights I refuse to go out on the actual holiday - Valentine's Day and New Years Eve) so I came home, got prettied up and we actually managed to get a picture on our way out the door!

Sunday was one of those perfect days where you don't do much but relax at the end of the day feeling so completely content and happy-- it was perfection. We typically switch off who gets up first with Molly on weekend days and who gets to sleep in - since Sunday was my day, boogie-girl took a drive with me to get coffee (girlfriend loves riding co-pilot):

And yes, she is indeed wearing her monogrammed coat because what did we wake up to on Sunday morning? This craziness right here: 

NEGATIVE EIGHT DEGREES, PEOPLE. I love the cold but that mess was just... I mean, the card would hardly start. As I sat in the car to try and warm it up before driving, everything electric was moving in slow motion. I believe it's safe to say that I have never in my life experienced temperatures THAT cold.

We survived the freeze and made it home to make a perfectly corny heart-themed breakfast for two. I'm honestly pretty proud of this because I tried to make the heart-shaped bacon last year and legitimately turned it into charcoal. This year was a bit more successful!  Add french toast and strawberries, and we were two happy campers. 

It was way too cold to venture out anywhere, so we spent the rest of the day snuggled up- Brian studied while Molly and I watched sappy movies on the couch. We'd planned a delish dinner at home and  had a good time in the kitchen getting it all prepped and cooked-- how can you go wrong with wine and a cocktail to accompany you? It may not look the prettiest but goodness gracious, it was phenom, if I do say so myself: Prosciutto-Wrapped Boursin-Stuffed Chicken Breast, Creamy Mushroom Pasta, and Asparagus.


We've never really exchanged gifts on Valentine's Day, but always exchange cards, Brian always gives me the prettiest flowers, and he gets a big box of chocolates and a Reese's heart (or three, per his request). This little set-up has made me smile all week whenever I walk past it.

And I couldn't help but laugh when I looked up Sunday evening and this was my view - wearing slippers on separate couches, sipping cheap champs out of your crystal wedding flutes #marriedvalentinesday.

A good Valentine's Day, indeed.

In other news, my nephew turned FIVE on Friday!  When the heck did my Little Man turn into a big kid?  Ugh, time flies and he's not even mine! Love this kid so dang much.