Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Vacay Day 2: A Fort

Tuesday morning we got up and ready as *quickly as a 4 month old allows!!  I had fun {like I do every morning} picking out a cute outfit for her to wear.

OOTD: Head to toe---Target
 Of course baby and daddy were all set to go before mommy even showered, so they went off to explore the hotel surroundings.  They came back with a map so we could see where we wanted to go for the day.


We decided to stop and eat a quick breakfast at Cafe Vero---it was perfect!! You can't go wrong with a pretty Vanilla Latte.

After breakfast we just hopped in the Tahoe and started driving...not really sure where we were going or what we were doing.  I started googling on my phone "what to do in ADK" and Fort Ticonderoga wasn't too far, so we decided we'd venture out to go see what that was all about.

Joe pulled over to snap a few pictures of this Beaver Dam.

Once we arrived to the Fort, it was rather windy and a bit chilly.  We attempted to do a "guided tour" but lil miss didn't want to listen to the nice young man's spiel.  So we went back to the car, fed, changed and then decided to grab a bite to eat ourselves at the cafe.  After that we headed back outside and got to explore.

It was really quite cool, if you are into American History.

It overlooks Lake Champlain.  Such a gorgeous view.

Standing there, where so many men have stood before, I kept getting these 'chills'.  It's hard to describe, but I've felt it before when I went to Versailles; it's this radiating energy that just encompasses your soul.  I love it.  I wanted to be no where else but there, in that moment, with my little family.

Baby Brooke slept most of our tour...a little old man said she won't remember it; then his wife replied, "Neither will I."  Too cute.

On the way out Joe bought some old-fashioned candy.

The chocolate was pretty good!  It had faint tastes of spices...funny log looking thing.

That night we got back to the hotel, relaxed, and Joe picked up ribs...seriously the easiest way to dine with a four-month old.  She played on her play-mat and sat in her swing.  We ate like piggies and enjoyed every little bite.

note my attempt at 'healthy' with the broccoli haha

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Lake George

While I am still trying to settle back into the 'norm' and get my house back into shape, I cannot help but want to capture every fun little moment we had our our first family vacation.  It wasn't like any other vacation we have ever taken.  There was no Bellagio, with a gorgeous room with a view of the breathtaking water-fountain-show.  There weren't Dune Buggy rides through the island of St. Martin.  No ATV rides through rainforests on St. Croix.  No swimming with Turtles in Barbados or St. Thomas.   No shopping on Rodeo Drive. There wasn't a crazy plane ride or train ride to Amsterdam, Paris or Rome.  While we loved all of these extravagant travels, we decided to take a less ambitious tour of a place not too far from us; Lake George.

It's tucked in the ADK mountains and such an adorable little place!! We visited right before it 'came to life,' as it was a sleepy little town.  The shops and restaurants were making preparations for the beginning of tourist season.

Honestly though?  I loved seeing it quiet, still, and in an odd way got a kick out of seeing how hard everyone was working to bring it to life.  Flowers were being planted, outdoor patios set up, freshly painted road lines, grass being rolled down, grass being mowed... I'm only sad that I won't see it hustling and bustling just yet!  I can totally picture us in a few more years {and another child, or two} and visiting with friends.  It's a place where you can tell how much fun children have; go-cart races, tons of mini-golf, video arcades, ice cream shops galore!!  It's like out of a movie...or at least that is what I picture it to be.  For now, I am happy it wasn't so busy; I can see how insanely chaotic it most likely gets.  It was our first venture away from home, and our little one was so well-behaved!  [The only problem now, is that lack of 2+ hour car rides, this one is not used to napping in a still, quiet bed!!]

On the way there we stopped at Saratoga Springs and ate lunch. Such an uppity little town that is!! There were tons of cute shops and restaurants.  We walked a little bit, and tired lil Miss out once more and hopped back into the Tahoe and off we went.

We arrived into town around 5pm or so, and checked into our hotel.  We stayed at the Holiday Inn Resort--{link here} a perfect place for families! It was very kid friendly, even though we were one of like 5 people staying there at the time.  We walked down to the town, and down to the water where we got a few beautiful shots of the lake.

I have no idea why these are stretchy?! Hub's new iPhone 5?!
They look totally normal on my computer until I put them on the blog.

Brooke's First Vacation

We walked back up the hill to our hotel and were rather hungry, especially since we kept getting whiffs of this delicious smoked BBQ smell.   Being in the off season, there weren't a ton of places open.  As most of you readers know, we are rather picky about food, where we eat etc.  So, while our stomachs were growling, we got into the truck looking for a place to dine.

We drove by this place and I saw that it was indeed lit up and open for business!  Well, this is the back of it actually, where we parked.

I ordered a starter salad and it was less than the freshest greens I've seen, so I was little nervous...but once our entrees came out {RIBS} we loved every single bite!! 

Lesson learned, just don't try to order fresh veggies at a Rib joint.  Just go with what they serve best!!  We enjoyed these smoked ribs so much, well, my husband enjoyed these ribs so much, he insisted on getting take out from here the next two nights as well.  I could only take so much BBQ and ribs, but he was in Rib heaven.

The smoker

My baby daddy!

We headed back to the hotel and just relaxed a bit and got up early the next day for an exciting day full of new adventures. 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Quick Hello!

We're baaaaaaaaaaack!! 

The three of us had a ball on our first little "family vacation."  We ventured up to Lake George and its surrounding areas.  I'll re-cap our week, but I just wanted to share a quick video on one of our road trips and a few cute pics.
First Nigh at  Dinner

Traveling with a 4 month old certainly makes for a different style vacation.  Little miss was awesome in the car and only got a tad cranky here and there.  Overall we'd say that it was a HUGE success!

The views were spectacular and it was so nice to get out of town and take in such beauty in nature.

Lake George: on the boardwalk

And one of our many silly little videos we took to capture our first vacation, as a family.

We still have the next three days as a family, so we are going to soak up as much family time as possible. Happy weekend!!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Date Night & Sunday Fun

Let's talk about the importance of "Date Night," shall we?

Some of us work long, hard hours in an office.  Some of us travel in cars, or by planes to make that money honey.  Some of us labor in classrooms, hoping that a single word of what we talk about sticks with maybe just one child.  Some of us have uptight bosses, angry co-workers, and window-less cubicles.   And some of us wipe dirty bums, clean boogies out of noses, read books, administer tummy time, and cater to every whimper, every cry, every odd little noise that comes out of this precious and teeny human being.

And just like every other job; mama needs a break!

I used to get mad at my friends with children who didn't take date nights. I couldn't fathom why they wouldn't make themselves a priority and just go out. Alone. SANS KIDS! Well, news flash; it's not always that easy.

Hubs and I have gone out a total of 4 times without our baby girl.  Two date nights, a night out for my brother's 21st limo birthday and last night.

Not bad considering Brooke is only 4 months old, but holy cow I almost didn't feel like getting all dolled up and going out {because what's the point, I'm "just a mom" now}.  Well, shame on me!!

Dress/st. martin//shoes/Lucky Brand from VS//Jacket/ON Maternity {yes}

While it's still a tad difficult to dress my post-partum self, I'm just trying to make the most of it and wear what I feel confident in.  A great pair of shoes {comfy and cute!} and fancy makeup usually helps. 

My sister and her friend got here and I poured myself a giant glass of Pinot and ran up the stairs.  I figured the faster I got ready, the more time hubby and I could enjoy his two-seater and our night out, just the two of us.  

not sure why the photo is stretching like that...

I am pretty sure by the glow on my face, it was much needed. Our last 'date night' alone was in March.  April came and went by far too quickly!  But let me just tell you, I have not laughed so hard, and had such a wonderful time with my best friend, my husband, in so long.  Each time we sneak out of the house together for a few precious hours, we feel more connected, stronger and so much happier.  It's crazy how important it is to take that time and re-kindle that amazing spark that was ignited years ago.  I love him so much and every date night, I always feel like Cinderella, who got to go to her ball.   We wanted to see The Great Gatsby but the timing was not working out for "dinner and a movie" so we decided to do dinner instead.

We went to the same restaurant we dined at in March; Char and started with some bubbly!

Gotta love the champs!

I got the Beet Salad as an appetizer...

While I appreciated the spin with the mozzarella cheese, it was rather bland.  It also had a few pieces of prosciutto, some red quinoa, a couple leaves of arugula, oil & balsamic vinegar.  In this case, I would have preferred goat cheese, as it just adds a little more flavor.  Just my culinary opinion because it really matters to you, I'm sure.

I also ordered a giant cheeseburger {seriously, the size of my head!} I forgot to snap a photo and I only could eat half.  I enjoyed the sauteed mushrooms; we'll be adding those to our own homemade sirloin burgers next time around.

After dinner we drove around with the windows down singing/rapping our favorite Jay-Z songs.  After that we stopped by our friends' house for a little bit, and headed home.

Sunday we attended a friend's baby "sprinkle" as they're expecting another baby girl!  It was a gorgeous day and it was so nice to be outside with Brooke.

She was excited to be sporting her cute new sandals, hat & romper!!

 Brooke's first "outside swing" experience!!

All tuckered out!

Hubs has this WHOLE week off...and little miss B and I get him all to ourselves; we are lucky, lucky ladies.

Friday, May 17, 2013

13 Personal Questions

I love blogging and I know it's mostly because I love to write.  I also love connecting with a bunch of awesome women who share similar interests that I do.  I also have been getting into Vlogs more and one of my favorite vloggers is Anna Saccone.  I was just googling random questions for bloggers and hers popped up. She did it back in 2011, but I figured it'd be nice to share some more information about me.

I know that with a baby, a lot of things can be pushed to the back burner.  However, writing really makes me happy so I want to make more efforts in doing so!!  I also want my readers to always learn more about me, since I'm not "just a mommy" and there is so much that makes me, me!

Feel free to copy/share these questions and let me know! I'd love to learn more about you too. 

13 Personal Questions:

1.  What do you order at Starbucks?
Hands down, my favorite drink is a grande Soy Vanilla Latte. 
If it's the holiday season, I'll order a pumpkin spice or peppermint mocha too!
Speaking of, where were these cute cups this year?!
pardon the crappy nails haha
2. What is one thing in your closet that you cannot live without?
A good pair of jeans!! Even while I was super prego, I still rocked my panel-skinny jeans.  Buying an 'in-between pair' a few sizes bigger also made me feel so much better, and I assure you, there will be much to celebrate when I shimmy back into my favorite pair of Sevens.

3.  What's one thing most people don't know about you?
Hmmm...maybe that I have my Master's Degree?  I taught English for 8 years, and now I am so lucky to be able to stay home and raise our daughter.  It's funny because if I think about it, I went to school a long freakin time to become a teacher, and when I got my Master's I didn't make a big deal of it.  High school graduation I had a huge party; College my family came out and I walked in the ceremony, ya-de-ya-da...but for my Master's I simply worked my tail off while teaching full time and just got my degree in the mail one NBD.  Joe took me out to a nice dinner, but that was really it.  I am happy for all I accomplished with my education, but I am much happier being able to raise my daughter and teach her as much as I can before she's off in school.
4.  What is one thing you want to do before you die?
I really want to go back to Europe and visit my husband's relatives in Italy.  With his job, he can't take off more than a week, {or two like we did for a special circumstance aka our honeymoon}
I could go for some authentic Italian food right about now...

I have always wanted to "live" in another country for a bit...ya know, more than just vacation.  I really would love to see Australia, Japan, England, Spain, Germany....

5.  What's one food you cannot live without?
Mexican!! I try so hard to sneak it into our menu each week; I don't think hubby minds?? I love anything from a good old fashion taco, to enchiladas, burritos, I even just made Mexican stuffed shells--AMAZING.

6.  What is one quote you live your life by?
It's simple:
Be Happy.
When I first met Joe, I was rather negative and bogged down with my full time job, grad school (and its debt), owning a house, a fairly recent divorced set of parents, a drug-addicted sister,  and a bunch of crappy ex-boyfriend baggage!! He slowly but surely, taught me that life is all about what you make of it.  It's not supposed to be so hard all the time.  Yes, bad things happen, but it's how you handle it that is what life is all about.  I quickly learned to stop getting so involved in everyone else's drama and just focus on me, him, and us.  I've learned to accept that I cannot change anyone {including my sister} and that I don't have to let anyone bring me down.  Happiness is our birthright.  Joe almost died at 21 because of Crohn's disease, so he really is someone who takes life lightly most of the time.  He cannot stress because it makes him sick.  When I start to become all "Debbie Downer" and "oh woe is me" he reminds me of how good we have it.  And he's right.  I truly believe a positive mental attitude will help you get through most things.  (Like this annoying ringing in my ear--if I focus on how much I hate it, it seems to get worse; if I try to look at the bright-side: I'm not deaf and I can hear things very well still, it doesn't seem so bad.)
I am so grateful this man came into my life!!

7.  What do you like and dislike about the (You Tube) Community?
I'll insert my opinion more about blogging, since that's more of my forte; however it's all the same and it's probably pretty obvious.  I love love love the connections I can make with other people.  I don't have many new mommy friends, so it's so cool to see how others manage their days etc.  I also appreciate the support when I'm feeling down or the encouragement when I'm on the right track!

I obviously dislike negative people and nasty behavior.  Fortunately I haven't had to deal with much, as I try my best to steer clear of mean bloggers.  If I don't like what I'm reading, I just hit the "x" button and I don't leave mean spirited comments.  I am so busy with my life, when I do have time, why waste it on negativity?? It does boggle my mind that so many people do have the time to leave awful comments on both blogs and on You have nothing better to do?! Crazy.

8.  What's your #1 song on your iPhone/iPod?
Well, currently I am loving "#thatPOWER" {get my workout on}
And "Get Your Shine On" is another one of my faves at the moment.

9.  What kind of style would you describe yourself as having?
Classic with pops of trend?   It's tricky at the moment, as I'm still in the process of shedding the baby weight.  I believe in not spending a fortune on trends, but rather investing in good classic pieces.  
//Maxi dress from Target last year//sleeveless cardi Charlottle Russe two years ago

10.  Favorite number?
11.  Two hobbies?
I love to write [blog] and I love to cook/bake. Both of which I need to 'up my ante' here...
12.  Two Pet Peeves?
People who can't drive; okay, or more like people who are Texting while driving; STOP please.
Rude or Fake people.  It's a tie. Where have all the manners gone?  Sad, sad. 

13.  Guilty pleasure?
Real Housewives of wherever.  I don't watch much TV, but I love those stupid shows!!
And everyone here knows mama loves her white wine!!
Pinot Grigio
Any other questions for me?! 

Again, feel free to copy/share these questions and let me know! 
I'd love to learn more about you too. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Operation Lose Baby Weight--Progress

Since I just updated all about Brooke at Four Months...I figured I should tell you a little more about me! I know my blog has turned more "baby" but for obvious reasons, I just can't help it! I really feel like the more I write, the more I am apt to figure things out...and will not lie, I love the support of you my dear blog friends, real life friends, and family who read this silly little space of internet land that I call "my own."  

I'm happy to say that I am doing much better today than I was a month this post here.
I love my little family
 So at Four Months Post-partum, I can say that my hair is driving me nuts!! I am shedding and losing it everywhere!! Seriously, I found a strand in the freezer...and my poor husband found a long blonde piece in his eggs.  It's awful and last Friday I was ready to chop it, but my awesome hairdresser reassured me that this happens to 50% of women, and I just happen to be in that lucky 50 that experience this.  I think it was a tad traumatic as I have A LOT of hair and it's super thick, so now it seems like all of it is falling out, when really I know it's not.  I got a trim and I'm much happier, but daaaaaaaaaaaaayyyuuum. It sucks.

Moving on. 

What doesn't suck?  My body! Like I briefly stated in the last post, I am feeling so much stronger and better about myself.  I need a belt with my "in between pants" now!! Why? Well I attribute it to a lot of things really...

Smarter Snacking:
I have never been one to eat "3 square meals a day".  I love food and I am a snacker.  So, I  really have to be aware of what I'm putting into my mouth during these 'snack sessions.'  If I'm hungry, I am trying to reach for non-processed foods.  It's hard I know; the first few hazy newborn months, granola bars and Gatorade were my easy go-to items.

Now I stop and take time to juice.  I don't do it every day, but I do try to squeeze a few in during the week.

To be honest, I've been on a smoothie kick and so I've been enjoying those:

And my latest addiction addition, enter Shakeology.

I got a weeks worth to sample from Jen at Get Fit Couture as she was running a contest.  I decided to enter, to try out these shakes and also get my booty in gear.  I don't know how many pounds I can literally shed in one week while still nursing, but I figured it was worth a shot.

I had to take a picture of my feet on a scale with my starting weight and send it in on Monday....oy!!

Well I'm on day 4 and I am feeling great!! I'm not stepping on the scale again until I have to, but like I said I'm feeling stronger and healthier every day. I like the option of these Shakeos because sometimes after a workout I don't want just a juice or smoothie and these definitely offer something more!

I poured 1 cup of almond milk, some ice and half a banana in a blender and it seriously tastes like a frosty or a milkshake....OK it does taste a tad healthier, but it is really yummy!

I know the price can be an issue when looking at these shakes, but like Jen said, it's about $5 a serving...that is the price of a latte at the Bux!! Well, actually it's cheaper I think.  But I would say that you will definitely get a better bang for your five bucks if you enjoy a Shakeo instead of a fatty or calorie ridden latte.

Priorities.  Just sayin.

I'll do another post at the end of my "biggest loser" contest and let you all know how much I actually lost!!

Jen also got my sister all set up, so we can purchase these yummy shakeos from her!!

Other snack ideas:
Cheese stick & almonds
Carrots & hummus
Can of organic green beans
Apple & nut butter
Homemade protein bars

Breakfast- it's pretty standard:
1 egg
2 pieces of whole wheat toast or wheat bagel

Lunch - varies whatever I decide to make for hubs and I.  I will usually try to make a big salad or I will make a green juice and have some small portion of whatever meal I make for Joe.

Dinner- Not dieting--but I always have the salad or veggie consume 3/4 of my huge Food Network plate and then some sort of protein {steak, chicken, shrimp, pork} and a little carb.

I try not to eat after dinner, but if I am really hungry, I do listen to my body and maybe have a bowl of cereal or some fruit.

Limiting sweets.  I just don't keep them in the house or bake them right now.  If my husband wants them, he gets the bakery cookies at the grocery cookies and I may sneak a bite, but I am really trying to just say no!  I do have dark chocolate I may have a square if I'm feeling the need for a sweet.  Usually I'll go for a glass of vino instead though!

I know I can eat more veggies and should, I need to be better about that.

Working out
 My goal was to just move every day.  I am doing pretty freaking awesome at that I must say!! What does this mean to me?  It means go for walks with the dogs.  Take a walk with Brooke.  Jump on the elliptical for 30 minutes while baby naps. Do tri-cep dips on the end of my bed or 50 squats while I'm getting ready/putting my makeup on.

I am loving the Tone It Up workouts because they're quick and convenient; but they're not too easy!

After enough begging, my husband got me an elliptical!! I am loving the convenience and it is a NO JOKE cardio sesh.  Even hubs has jumped on it a few times, so yay for good heart health!

We purchased it off of Craigslist--seriously a smart investment. I don't know if the guy even ever used it, but we scored a great deal and I am loving what it's doing for my legs!

I tried this workout but I was not quite ready for the intensity...

Get outside!!

Staying Motivated:   
There will be people who really truly push you to be a better you, and there will be those who tell you you look fine the way you are.  What I appreciate most is support of me, wanting to be the BEST version of me I can be.  I don't want to be bigger than my pre-pregnancy weight, post baby.

To be blunt, my husband married a confident and happy size 6 woman.  I will take a size 8 at my 5'8 frame, but I loved how I felt at my wedding weight.  That is what I owe myself and quite frankly him to be! He has never said anything about being bigger, but I want to be healthier and feel like the girl he married.  Maybe sizes aren't the best way to explain this, but if I'm not content with myself at my current weight, getting back to where I was feeling best is the only rationale I have.  

Instagram is a great way I've connected with other women striving for good health.  Seeing others workout and their progress surely makes me want to be able to do the same.  I also text good friends and we try to push each other to just squeeze in another workout.

I have played the "breastfeeding card" long enough, and that is no excuse to not get up and move my booty!! Just because I'm nursing doesn't mean I can't exercise and eat healthier.  I'm not one of those women who can eat cookies and cake and nurse away all my baby weight---it just wasn't happening folks!! Sure I lost more than half at first, but these last 15 pounds I'm working for.  

Get some new music with fun beats and sweat to some tunes!!  If you don't want to pay for it, simply go to Pandora and put in "Today's Hits" 

 Read all about it!!  Buy magazines that will give you new ideas and ways to improve your health.

And then of course the teacher/craft lover in me decided to take it one step further and my current project:

An Inspiration Board--
You have to be mentally strong in order to achieve your dreams.  If you've ever read or watched The Secret you'll know the importance of creating visuals to get to your desired results.  

Clearly it's not finished, but I keep finding motivating phrases and I'm looking for pictures of what I hope to be.  {Quite frankly I'm waiting for a VS catalog--I usually get tons and lately I haven't gotten any?! There's always pure motivation in those stinkin things...}

While I'm not following the TIU series to a "T" I am implementing suggestions such as this one...I bought a cute little journal and I try to jot down my workouts that I did or hope to do... some entries are long and wordy and others are short like this....
 I also write down my feelings and sometimes even what I ate so I can keep a tab of how I felt when I ate certain foods... For me it's easier than typing into an iphone. I've tried all that, but I am a visual person and if I literally hand write things down, I digest them better.  It's also handy to have a notepad for things like Brooke's sleeping schedule/eating and it's all in one place to flip through.  As much as I share on the blog, there are still things that sometimes I just want to write out and not really tell anyone...I love it!!

My biggest motivation like I've said before, is my daughter.  She's gonna be running around and wanting to play all day.  I want to be strong and have lots of energy to keep up with her!!  And of course a sibling I hope, but not yet...maybe in another year or so!

I want her to grow up knowing what it means to be healthy.  I don't want her to ever fear being fat or worry about being skinny enough.  I know all too well the pressure young girls face with weight issues, and I promise I will always be the best role model for her.  Eat healthy foods, stay active, and be confident.  No crash diets, no stupid pills, no 'fat talk'.  I know she will look to me first for what it means to be a healthy woman.  I owe it to her to show her the way.