May 22, 2013

Words for Wednesday


Via
Definitely been keeping the people of Oklahoma in my thoughts and prayers. What a terrible, terrible thing. But it is encouraging to hear so many stories of heorism and survival on the news, the people of Oklahoma are one strong bunch. The most common way I've heard to help is by donating to The Red Cross, they were some of the first responders had I read they had people on the ground helping the day it happened.

May 8, 2013

Words for Wednesday

 
 This weekend I’m running in my 7th annual Fifth Third Riverbank run! The years haven’t all been consecutive, but I love doing this run and try to make it as often as I could. Even when I lived in Chicago I would come home for the weekend just for the run. I do the 5k – which some years is no big deal and some years feels kind of hard! One of these times though I’m  going to do the 10k. I love all the excitement and having all the runners and cheering spectators around, it motivates me and helps keep me going through the run. The race is the largest 25k Road Race in the country, pretty cool.
 
We also have an unofficial tradition after every race, my family meets at a dive bar in town for bloody marys and usually end the morning with lunch at my favorite, Yesterdog.

Do you guys have any races planned for this Summer? I do like how training keeps me accountable and gives me a goal to work towards, I’m thinking about scheduling another run for the Summer so I don’t slack off on my running!

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April 30, 2013

How to Create an Easy Spring Flower Planter

It's finally Spring in Michigan! Hopefully it is where you are too. I'm always so anxious to plant flowers after a long, cold Winter. I put together a simple planter on our front porch -- it's been so nice looking out and seeing pretty pinks and yellows!

I always get inspiration from the planters that are professionally done. I used to love taking pictures of them in Chicago. You can see the 2011 Spring Sidewalk Planters here if you're looking for good ideas or look here for 2010 inspiration!

To fill any kind of planter, whether for Spring, Summer or Fall, I loosely use a type of "formula". 
(1) You'll want large, "showy" base flowers that are the main flowers in the planter and add height to the back
(2) Fillers, usually less expensive than your large base flowers, these add nice color and are small enough to fill in the open areas
(3) Trailer, this will spill over the sides and fronts of your planter and add a nice effect
(4) Last, you might add some very tall branches or a spike plant for a nice visual effect


For this Spring planter, since I'm in Michigan I selected hardy plants that can handle a little chill. The larger plants are Ranunculus, I love these! And a pretty pink Primrose. When you are selecting a Ranunculus plant, be sure to get one with lots of fresh buds that haven't bloomed yet. What you see is what you get with these flowers, unlike a pansy, for instance, they will not grow any new blooms so you want a plant that has plenty of new flowers left.



I used a very typical Spring flower, Pansies for the fillers and a Vinca vine for the trailer. Ivy is a great hardy option as well. I usually set most of the flowers in the pot and space them out properly to see how the design will work first, then go back and fill in with the dirt and actually plant them.


Almost done!



Last, I added in a few branches just to add some height and visual interest. Mine look a little wild, but I kind of like it! I clipped these from our yard, but if you don't have branches in a yard, you could pick up some great looking fake branches at Michaels.

So happy flowers and warmer weather are finally here! Have you guys done any Spring planting?

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April 24, 2013

Words for Wednesday


This quote was making the rounds last week in the wake of the bombing in Boston and I thought it was so appropriate. It can be really hard to find anything positive in this kind of tragedy, but sure enough there are so many stories of people helping each other. I heard there were runners who kept running straight to the nearest hospital to donate blood for the victims. Not to mention the random spectators who ran head first into the smoke and started helping people in anyway they could. And how about the courageous boat owner who stayed calm and called 911? I love hearing these kind of stories, it reminds me why America is so great. Saying lots of prayers for the people of Boston and the victims who have a long recovery ahead of them. #bostonstrong

April 18, 2013

Review & Results of the Dr. Oz 3 Day Cleanse

As promised, here's my review and tips on the Dr. Oz 3 Day Cleanse -- it wasn't overly difficult and it definitely provided results! My Sister and I decided to give the cleanse a try last week as a way to kick start our healthy eating efforts. Our goal wasn't to lose weight, just feel better in general and lose the bloat. The cleanse is supposed to remove toxins from your body and give a jump start to your metabolism  Sign me up! You can read all the details of the cleanse and get the recipes here
via
Dr. Oz estimates that you can do the cleanse on $16 dollars a day, unfortunately that wasn't quite the case for us. It was more like $25 per day. We didn't use all the coconut oil or almond butter we bought or all of the probiotic supplements, so if you had those items on hand your costs wouldn't be as much. But if you're like us you have to stock your pantry beforehand. Buying all the fresh produce, especially the berries, was the most expensive!
via

TIPS

* Unless it's the middle of Summer, you may find that purchasing all of the fruits frozen will be cheaper than fresh. We definitely saved money by going the frozen route for blueberries and raspberries.
* The breakfast shake was really pretty good, my least favorite was the lunch shake. I tried to limit the celery a little bit in that one because it was so overpowering. 
* The lime was also pretty strong in the lunch shake, so I reduced that by a little as well
* One good thing about the cleanse is you do not feel hungry. I wanted to crunch on real food pretty bad, but overall I didn't feel hungry. You can have your favorite shake again during the day as a snack, but I was never hungry enough to want it
* Enjoy the detox baths! It always felt like one of the best parts of the day. I may continue to do these periodically. The epson salts are supposed to draw out impurities and the lavender oil smells so good! 
RESULTS

I lost 7 pounds! And my stomach definitely felt flatter and all the bloat was gone. I was impressed with the results I got in just three days. My sister lost close to 5 pounds, we're definitely really pleased with our results.
Head over to 33 Shades of Green to see her take on the cleanse! I posted my starter guide with the shopping list from after Day 1, too. Let me know if you try this. Feel free to email if you have any questions.
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April 17, 2013

Words for Wednesday

Via
This has been a constant battle while I moved back to Michigan and anxiously searched for a job. I think for the most part I was able to stay pretty optimistic, but there were plenty of moments thinking I would never find anything. I'm happy to report that I got some good news today and received an awesome job offer!! I think the prayers and determination finally paid off. I'll be a working girl again in two weeks! Happy Wednesday everyone!

P.S. My sister and I survived the Dr. Oz Three Day Cleanse and got some pretty interesting results! We'll be sharing our review of the cleanse tomorrow.

April 8, 2013

Starting The Dr. Oz 3 Day Cleanse

Today is Day 1 on the Dr. Oz 3-Day Cleanse! I had pinned the information on this cleanse awhile back and my sister and I decided to give it a try this week. With all the eating I did for Easter and the lingering candy I can't seem to stop eating, I thought this would be the perfect time to jump-start a healthier eating kick. Not to mention, Sister and I only have 2 months left to be in tip-top shape for Italy!!
I'll be reviewing the cleanse and posting our results at the end in case any of you are looking to try it. I like how it seems very easy to follow and the directions are extremely specific so it would be very hard to mess it up! The cleanse involves 3 different shakes, vitamins/supplements and  a detox bath every night -- looking forward to that part! Before you start be sure to do a weigh-in and measure your waist and a few other areas, so you can track your results at the end.
Via
My sister and I will be back with our review of the cleanse and our results later this week!

Morning Detox Tea, not a bad way to start the day!

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April 4, 2013

Home Sweet Michigan

I'm officially a Michigan girl again! You might have read the update on my big sister's blog awhile back, but I wanted to make it official on here too. After 5+ years in Chicago, I had started to contemplate moving back to Michigan. Once my family started talking about building on Lake Michigan, I knew I wanted to be back here! I loved my time in Chicago and am thankful for all the good times and friends there, but it felt like the right time to move to Michigan.

I listed my condo on the market and it sold in 21 days!! That pushed my move date up quite a bit! My Realtor gave me a number of good tips for getting my house sale ready. I definitely think the updates I made and staging played a big part in how fast I sold, so I will have to do a blog post on it soon!
Moving day
 
I've been happy settling into Michigan so far, it's funny how quickly it felt like home again even though it was a complete 180 degree change. I went from hearing city sounds and ambulances every night to the sound of ducks quacking on the lake! Right now my sister and I are living on a little lake while we build the new house on Lake Michigan, we say we're in training for living on the "big lake"! It's so peaceful, I've slept like a baby every night since I've been home. And I'm definitely enjoying the view...



Luckily, the snow has finally melted and it's starting to feel like Spring around here now!

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April 3, 2013

Words for Wednesday

Sunrise image via

I love this song by fun. I'm sure the radio will eventually ruin it by overplaying, but for now I'm loving it. Carry on!

March 28, 2013

In the Kitchen: Hummingbird Cake

Notice anything different around here? I'm so excited to have my new blog design live! I feel like the design just got brought back into this century, fresh and clean now! The white background is so nice to see instead of my old, dark gray. If you need any blog design work done, be sure to visit Kayla, she's awesome! 

Now onto the food...I have a perfect Easter dessert to share with you! I made this for Easter last year and wanted to share before this weekend, although this would be perfect for any Spring gathering or party. They say Hummingbird Cake is supposedly so delicious it will even attract hummingbirds. I can attest that is was extremely delicious. Sweet, without being too heavy, which makes for a perfect Spring dessert. And it stayed nice and moist! You typically see these served with a cream cheese frosting, but I'm not a big cream cheese fan so I went with vanilla buttercream. Another frosting that would be perfect on this is Brown Butter.


INGREDIENTS:
(Recipe from Woman's Day Magazine, April 2009)
 - 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp each, baking soda and ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 large eggs
- 3/4 cup oil
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 can (8 oz) crushed pineapple in juice
- 2 cups mashed bananas (3-4 large bananas)
- 1 cup pecan pieces, finely chopped

For Vanilla Buttercream Frosting (makes 2.5 cups)
(Recipe from Savory Sweet Life)
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened but not melted (ideal texture should be like ice cream)
- 3-4 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tbs vanilla extract
- Up to 4 tablespoons milk or heavy cream


PREPARATION:
Adjust oven racks to divide in thirds and preheat to 350 degrees. Coat 3, 8x12 in. cake pans with cooking spray. Line bottoms with wax paper and spray wax paper
.
Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together in large bowl until well mixed.

In another large bowl, whisk eggs, oil, vanilla, crushed pineapple with juice, mashed banana and pecans until blended. It will smell delicious! Add this to the flour mixture and stir just until combined. Divide batter evenly among prepared cake pans. Bake for 30 minutes until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes.

Once cakes are cooled, begin preparing the frosting. Beat butter for a few minutes with the paddle attachment on a mixer. Add 3 cups of powdered sugar and turn your mixer on the lowest speed (so sugar doesn't go everywhere) until the sugar has been incorporated with the butter.

Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla extract, salt and 2 tablespoons of milk/cream and beat for 3 minutes. If frosting needs to be stiffer, add more sugar. On the otherhand, if you want to thin it out, add more of the cream/milk.

For the cake layers, be sure to flip them upside down when you place on the cake stand/plate so you will be frosting the most even, bottom side. Start with one layer and frost the top, then add another layer and do the same thing. One tip I have for frosting is to line the bottom of your cake stand or plate with wax paper so it is just under each of the cake edges. This way if the frosting gets all over, you can just pull away the wax paper and mess before serving. When frosting is complete, sprinkle flaked coconut over the top.



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March 13, 2013

Words for Wednesday


One of my friends posted this on Facebook and I loved it. This could be true for so many things but I was thinking of it in terms of working out. Commit to getting fit! I've got some work to do this week, only one workout done, so I've got to step my game up for the rest of the week and be committed. 

Happy Wednesday everyone!

February 20, 2013

Words for Wednesday

Via

LOVE this. If anyone's needing a little reassuring today, I hope you like this quote! Happy Wednesday :)

January 16, 2013

Words for Wednesday


In honor of Martin Luther King's birthday yesterday, I thought this was especially fitting -- and true. Happy Birthday, MLK!

P.S. Image is from Made Movement, a great designer discount site featuring ONLY products made in the USA! Love them.

January 9, 2013

Words for Wednesday

{Via}

I thought this was a great collection of inspiration for the New Year, I love every single one of these quotes. Thinking this might need to get printed out and posted on my bulletin board... Here's to 2013! 

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