Sunday, September 30, 2012

Wedding Recap in Photos

Thanks for all your positive feedback on yesterday's post! Seems like we're all in the mood to get festive this fall. I bid you good luck in your endeavors to do so; please share any more fun fall ideas if they strike you!

And now, on to the good stuff. This weekend had been a long time coming, one I looked forward to for almost three years. Ever since my brother sat down next to me over Labor Day weekend 2009 and said, "So I've been dating this girl for a few weeks. She's really cool." I think part of me knew, right then, that she was The One.

And yesterday, they got married! I'll share more details this week, but let's be honest: you just want to see tons of pictures, right? Well, I am not one to disappoint, so enjoy!


With my mom's best friend (the best man's mom and the officiant's wife)

The rehearsal dinner:

My uncle insists that I post my appetizer plate (though I suppose I should note that Terry and I shared)

With my aunt

Giddy groom

My parents

The Wedding Day

The groom and groomsmen

Groom and my parents

The gorgeous bride

And her absolutely stunning dress

So beautiful!

With my cousin Chase (who caught the bouquet!)

And with my own hubby :-)

The bridal party!

Very cool DIY idea for table numbers 

With Pops

Delicious salad

Dad's speech

Ashley's dad's speech

One of my favorite photos that Terry captured

With the best man

Having fun!

The Newlywed Brunch

My handsome husband

Signing the marriage license

Another super cool DIY idea - tape the bills together and have the recipient pull them out in a long strand

Chris and Ashley bobbleheads!

A very special congratulations to the gorgeous couple. I'm so thrilled that my big brother found the girl of his dreams, and we are all so happy that Ashley is such a wonderful person. I'm especially glad to finally have a sister! It was a beautiful, fun weekend with a lot of love all around. 

Tomorrow (Monday), the happy couple are off on their honeymoon! Wishing you both a wonderful week of fun in the sun!

More to come about the wedding this week, along with some thoughts about starting October on a positive note. Have a great first day of the new month!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Festive Ideas for Fall

I guess it's becoming more and more apparent that autumn is my favorite season. At the very least, it's in the top four.

My definition of living a healthy life extends beyond exercise and nutrition. While those elements certainly contribute to a good health, I also know how important it is to live a well rounded life in order to truly achieve that state of optimal health. Here are some fun ways to get in the fall spirit this season while also exploring some good-for-you ways to stay healthy.

Go apple picking.
Get outside, try something new, and you know what they say about an apple a day.

Bake a healthy autumn dessert.

Take a walk and enjoy the changing colors.
If you live in an area without much change in season, you can still take advantage of the cooler weather (though in LA we may have to wait a few more weeks...)

Eat outdoors.
If, like me, you live in a still-warm region, take advantage of the last of the warm weather. Have a picnic, eat outdoors at restaurants, or just enjoy your appetizers on your porch/balcony/backyard.

Check out your local farmer's market for seasonal vegetables (hello, butternut squash!), and learn about what's in season. 

Go to a pumpkin patch.
Even if you aren't into carving the pumpkins, you can decorate with them, check out the haystack mazes, and get in the spirit of the season. But if you're into it, carving pumpkins can be fun for adults, too!

Decorate your house for fall.
Having a beautiful, calm space to come home to can keep you feeling calm as the holidays approach.

Attend a football game.
Check out a local high school, college, or professional game. Nothing beats some pre-game burgers on the grill and cheering for your favorite team.

Bust out that crock pot.
Nothing says fall like a comforting meal in the crock pot. We want to try a new crock pot chili recipe this autumn.

Host a gathering.
Perhaps a Halloween party, a Thanksgiving feast, a Friendsgiving, a Columbus Day get-together... Getting together with friends and family is a sure way to relax and laugh.

If you're of age, be sure to take time to vote! 

Celebrate Oktoberfest.
See if any local pubs or restaurants are observing Oktoberfest and join in the fun!

Enjoy a staycation. 
Instead of going away for a weekend, turn off your phone and computer and hole up inside for a day or two. Spend time reading, catching up on your favorite shows, or sleeping in. Taking time to reboot can make you feel refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of the season.

And hang out with your pets!

Or go on a weekend trip.
Find a B&B within driving distance and enjoy the area's hiking, eateries, and activities.

Enjoy your fall!

What are your favorite fall activities? Share below!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Back, Biceps, and Hills HIIT

Usually, when I leave work, I'm full of energy. My days tend to be packed with adrenaline, tons to do, and lots of running around. But in the five minutes between my work and Terry's work, all that energy just drains out of me. By the time I get to him, I suddenly feel tired and eager for a nap.

Today, no exception, I picked up my hardworking husband and hit that post-work wall. I was grumpy. But as we stopped at Trader Joe's, I realized it was probably because I didn't work out the previous day and hadn't worked out yet today. So I started mentally preparing for a sweat session and convinced myself that just 45 minutes of hard work in the gym would seriously change my mood.

Done and done.

Terry and I went to the gym together and tackled biceps and back for weights and then a very quick HIIT workout. We didn't have a lot of time, and I'm still feeling sorta-kinda-might-be-getting-sick, but I am thrilled that I got to work out today. We were still done, showered, and eating dinner by 7:30! Not bad at all.

Here's what we did:

And here are some eats for the day!

Breakfast: Banana, peanut butter, cinnamon, and honey "sandwich" with tea

Lunch (at 10:45, because I knew I wouldn't have time to microwave my lunch during lunch): leftover shepherd's pie from Monday night

Afternoon snack, around 3 pm: about 3/4 cup grapes, 1/2 cup carrots, and a small peach

Evening snack while cooking: about 10 woven wheats with Spinach & Kale dip from Trader Joe's

Dinner: pepperoni pasta! (We used green and red bell peppers, because that's what we had on hand) with cabernet

Dessert: pumpkin banana bread from yesterday, plus a handful of Pretzel M&Ms.

Check out the other WIAWs!

What's your favorite way to snap out of a grumpy mood?
Nothing beats a good workout for me, but a night out with friends does the trick, too!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fall Baking Begins

Greetings, friends. I hope this week is moving along swimmingly for you. Don't you love that word? Swimmingly. Let's at least hope the rest of the week does its thing without too much trouble (though it is only Tuesday...).

Upon my arrival home today, I could no longer ignore these:

or this:

Naturally, I took just a few minutes to search for recipes that include bananas and pumpkins. Skinnytaste's Pumpkin Banana Bread was the winning recipe!

You know I had to add some nuts (pecans and walnuts) and chocolate chips. (Hey, we're out of brownies and ice cream, so I needed a new dessert!)

The original plan was to hit up my yoga mat for a workout while the bread baked, but about 10 minutes in I lost interest and motivation. My throat was starting to hurt, too, and I'll be furious if I get sick! I've made it a month into school without getting sick, and I would love to keep that record going!

For dinner, in an effort to keep things super simple and allow me to get to sleep early, we scratched our original plans to make pepperoni pasta and opted for delivery sushi instead. Blah.

Turns out, that bread was a great idea.

Honestly, I couldn't taste too much of the pumpkin, but the banana flavor came through just fine. And the nuts and chocolate chips? I'm pretty brilliant when it comes to adding random (albeit unhealthy) bits in breads, cookies, or muffins.

Honestly, I am very good at following a recipe and perhaps making slight changes here and there, but I very rarely attempt to create a new baking recipe from scratch. Baking is a science! Even slight alterations can result in disaster. In my case, slight alterations will result in disaster. So I stick to other people's awesome creations and focus on cooking when I want to get experimental.

Here are some fall recipes I'm excited to try this year (baking and cooking):

Hmmm...lots of pumpkin in my future!

A few photos of our little guy to end the night:

Any fall recipes you recommend?