March 31, 2015

Clean Eating - #4weeksfit

We spent the first 21 days of March cleansing. We used the ideas from the book Crazy, Sexy Diet. I would not recommend making your husband do this in the future, because it's definitely geared for a female, but we made a few changes and it worked out just fine.

Our Cleanse Rules
1. No alcohol, no gluten, no animal products, no coffee and no processed sugar.
2. Meditate daily.
3. Dry Brush daily.
4. Hit our step goal or do 30 minutes of exercise daily.
5. Drink 70 oz of water daily (more for Justin.)
6. Drink your veggies every morning.
7. Don't beat yourself up. If you need to have one of the things in rule #1, just have one and enjoy every minute of it.

I made it a full 6 days following all the rules above.  I was traveling for work, so it was super hard.  I went to Trader Joe's as soon as I landed in Indy and stocked up. Getting stranded in the airport on my way home for 7 hours was the worst, but I made it.

Once I made it through a week, I was a horrible mean person and decided to make rule #7 above. Justin did much better and stuck through it the whole way with very few cheats.  I'm super happy that we did it. That book had tons of great information and we learned some good things.

My Happy Takeaways from our 21 Day Adventure:
1. Getting enough calories can be really difficult when you aren't eating crap. I felt like I was constantly eating and I loved every second of it.
2. Acai Bowls really are the shit. Believe everything you read, they are incredible.

3. Meditation is hard when your dogs want to play outside, but it's enjoyable.
4. Drinking the right amount of water really does make you feel better.
5. I struggle with vitamins. Isn't it enough if I eat the right food? I hate taking them.
6. Vegan cheese is gross. Justin didn't mind it, but I hated it. Sorry, but you just can't mess with cheese.
7. I love having a FitBit. I've been seeing both negative and positive posts about FitBits. I absolutely love it. We've each had one since August and we love them. On Saturday, we hit 30,000 steps in a day and it was very exciting for us.

I never hate being called a Champ.

Now, I will admit that since we finished our 21 days, we've enjoyed beers, brunches, pizza and cheese plates galore.  I haven't gained any weight back that I've lost and I've been super good about water, veggies for breakfast, dry brushing and eating better.  You can't be healthy if you aren't happy.

Linking up today with my friend, Erin, for the #4weeksfit recap. Owning it. Have you done cleanses before? Are you obsessed with Acai bowls like the rest of the blog world?

March 27, 2015

Friday Jibber Jabber

I don't remember where this idea came from originally, but it's Friday and it's a great day for a list.

5 Things I'm Planning on this Weekend

1. Checking a few more things off my spring cleaning list. Last weekend, I cleaned my mattress with baking soda and essential oils and I've decided that the internet knows everything.

2. Long walk with the pups. It was so nice to be outside with them last Sunday and we'll be making this a weekly tradition.

3. Library trip to return a few books and pick up a few new ones. If you guys could see our tiny town library, you'd love it.

4. Saturday brunch. Cocktails included.

5. Checking at least one thing off the NYC Bucket List.

4 Pictures from my Week

I'm doing participating in the #21dayphotochallenge and then in April, I'm going to join Helene in her Instagram challenge. Come follow me here on Instagram to see dog photos and my favorite buildings in NY and cocktails.

3 Things I Love on the Internet

1. This recipe for Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese - I need to try this ASAP.
2. So many Iceland articles on Afar. Can't stop. So excited.
3. Puppy pictures for the win. Thanks to websites like this one.

2 Things I Need to Buy

1. A Passport holder/book - preferably not the one pictured, but it made my laugh. Also, I don't want something that is super flashy, just simple and practical.
2. A rain coat - it concerns me that when I search women's rain coats, it breaks the categories down further into fashionable or waterproof. Why would I want a raincoat that isn't waterproof?

1 Song for the Weekend

Happy Friday!

March 26, 2015

Spring To-Do List

I love the changing of the seasons. So much anticipation for the first snow, the first 50 degree day, the Summer Solstice and the first leaves changing colors. It's a rainy day here, but it's supposed to be in the 60's and that means Spring has finally arrived. I didn't take the snowstorm last Friday too well, so I'm a little late posting this. 

1. See the Cherry Blossoms in Prospect Park.

2. Complete the rest of our NY City Walks. We'll be heading to Harlem, Brooklyn and Downtown for our upcoming Sunday Strolls.

3. Go to the Orchid Show at the NYBG (if anyone is interested, we are members and I have guest passes and I'm happy to share them.)

4. A quick Canada trip with J to Montreal. 

5. See the NY Mets play at Citi Field.

6. Enjoy a quick weekend trip back in the Twin Cities for a wedding and some family time. OK let's be real, the number one thing on my list is a good Midwest Bloody Mary.

7. Rent bikes and circle the island of Manhattan - or at least as much of it as my legs can handle.

8. Finish updating some pages on my blog and spring cleaning our apartment. 

9. Turn 30. Thanks to my 30 before 30 list, this feels like an accomplishment. Just need to wrap up a few more things.

10. And most importantly, go to Iceland. Obviously this is the highlight of this entire year.

What is on your list for the Spring? 

March 24, 2015

Why I Write a Blog

I always love a good back story. Where do you get your inspiration? What made you open your blogger account and write your own post? It's especially odd since I don't remember what made me first think that this was a good idea.

I've always liked writing and I think there's always been a part of me that has wanted to share things with people. In college, I wrote about some ridiculous memories and made my friends laugh because our inside jokes were posted on the internet where everyone could see them, but no one would ever really find them or care. It felt a little dangerous putting it all out there.

Once I got married, I wanted to capture our adventures. We were young when we got married and we both thought it was a little crazy that we were starting this adventure that very few of our friends were even discussing yet. I posted pictures of our road trips and a few family get togethers. I shared the website with a few friends and I quickly lost steam.

In 2012, I needed a writing spot for nonsense, funny stories, things happening in the world, just a place to write. I created a 30 before 30 list and while doing some research, I discovered a blog where the writer had documented her adventures to cross things off her list. Sadly, I don't remember which blog it was, but it was the first that I really read through.

Throughout that year, I got into a routine of posting some nights while sitting on the patio. I discovered Whitney, Taylor and a few others and started reading their daily stories. I realized how many people enjoyed this weird habit of writing in a strange little corner of the internet.

I remember getting my first comment ever from Bonnie and I was so excited. Someone was out there reading. What a crazy concept when you think about how big the internet is and how many things are available for you to read.

Throughout 2013 and 2014, I blogged regularly about life, our move, our travels.  I made some great friends over the internet and it was weird to admit to people at home. I told my blog friend, Heather, my secret of moving to NYC before I told anyone at home, because it was a safe secret with her and she had recently made a cross country move. We drank beers together in person in San Francisco and it became real to me how awesome an online community can be.

I feel like the last three months have been inconsistent for me. I let my routines change a little. I tried meditation, read more, exercised more than never and relaxed. I guess I needed a little introverted time. It's nice to do a little reset every once in a while - I think that's what winter is for with the short days and long, dark nights.

Spring is here now. I'm ready to get back into the swing of things. I want to update some things on this space. I turn 30 in 2 months. We have tons of awesome adventures planned (and obviously, I need a place to share them.) I have a bunch of drafts that I'm excited about.

I write this blog because:
 - I love this blog.
 - I love writing.
 - I love email exchanges with readers about books, movies, weather, etc.
 - I love scrolling through beautiful pictures and funny stories of others.
 - I love having an excuse to take ridiculous amounts of pictures.
 - I love the blogging community.
 - I love the people in my real life that read this blog and send me notes.
 - I love sharing stuff with the internet.
 - And hopefully all the free stuff I will someday receive (send it to me anytime)

Now tell me, why do you write? Why do you read? Do you think I'm a weirdo? Tell me about it.

March 20, 2015

Internet Favorites

I hope that someone is getting Spring weather today. I'm getting clouds and a snowstorm. I'm going to reminisce about OrlandoLake Tahoe, NY/NJ BeachesFort Myers or San Francisco... or even just the sunny days that I can sit on the pier.

Since I think I'm the one that jinxed myself by posting my favorite winter memories this week, I'm going to skip writing a post today and share with you some of my other favorite things around the internet this week.

Happy Weekend!

NYC has number of people on the streets asking for money and this article, from Everyday Feminism, was a great reminder of what you should do when you encounter one of them. Kindness and compassion are always an option.

I have found myself getting lost on Gone with the Wynns the last few nights and reading about their adventures.

Wine in a can is going to become more of a thing, according to this article from Wine Awesomeness. I love things in the can, so I'm a big fan. See? I even wrote a poem about it.

Are you a multitasking wizard?  Probably not. This post from the Greatist explains why you should stop multitasking and be more awesome at things.

Houzz shared this list of 12 fresh updates to get ready for Spring and it helped inspire me to get a new desk and maybe add a little color to our apartment.

I'm on a countdown now to our Iceland trip. My favorite thing to do is read through Unlocking Kiki for her Iceland tips, pictures and ideas. She posted about the 5 Tours You Won't Want to Miss and I immediately looked each one up online.

I know that everyone loves the Google doodles, but I found this list of 17 things you can do on Google and have been making my screen barrel roll for the last ten minutes. Enjoy.

World Water Day is this weekend, so don't take a shower Sunday and be aware of how much water you're using in your daily routine. You can read more about it on the UN Website.

Last, but not least, it's time for you to answer the question: do you prefer cheese or chocolate?

Happy shower free weekend everyone!

March 19, 2015

A Change of Scenery

Work trips for me happen fairly often. I leave my comfortable little apartment on the Hudson River to meet new people and share some knowledge all over the Midwest and the North. This past month, I spent a week in Omaha & Kansas City and then the following week in Indianapolis. I don't get much time to get out and do anything, especially that week in Indy when the temps were in the single digits the whole time.

I'm a person that enjoys my usual routines and finds comfort in them, but a change of scenery does good things for me too. It's nice to see new things and meet new people. I enjoy driving around little midwest towns that I've never seen before. I actually enjoy eating alone in restaurants and chatting with the bartenders.

It was definitely a change of scenery from New York City. Some people call the midwest a bunch of "fly-over states" but it is a great place to explore. Wonderful people, wonderful food and beautiful country. Now if only I can get back when it's a little warmer outside. Do you travel for work?

March 18, 2015

Winter Isn't So Bad

So many mornings in March, I wake up and hope that it is 60 degrees outside. I know I'm not alone. Last year, it rarely fell below 20 degrees and we were in love with the whole coastal winter thing. This year laughed in our faces with frigid wind and single digit temps for days. Instead of continuing the bitch session, I found some pictures of my favorite moments this winter. 

Dog park play time. We bought Lola a jacket from the dollar section. She hates it and requires that we pick her up the second she is done going to the bathroom, but it's still awesome.

Being members at the New York Botanical Garden. We had an escape with tropical temperatures that is only 20 minutes from our apartment. We also experienced our first Train Show and loved it. That is a MUST DO for the holidays in NYC.

Those days when the temperature was closer to 30 and you could be outside. We took full advantage of those days.

Like the morning we were running errands and the snow starting falling so we detoured into Central Park and walked the quiet paths of the ramble.

Building forts in our apartment when the weather was freezing and we couldn't stand to leave our house or change out of our pajamas.

Our annual trip to the mountains. Lake Placid was a dream and even though I was sick half the weekend, I had a blast and wish we could do it monthly in the winter.

And that fireplace... they just make winter seem cozy and comfortable.

So many brunches at new places. We had zero disappointments and will be returning to all our new favorites this spring to check out their outdoor options (which in the city usually means they open their windows.)

Museum days to wander inside and learn stuff. A highlight was our trip to the Queens Museum to see the New York City Panorama. It was so cool to get that perspective. I'm a lover of maps and directions and being able to see it all laid out was so cool.

Winter sunrises. The colors are just so much better and they almost make you forget how cold your face is and how little sunlight you get in the dead of winter.

New Year celebrations. This year we rang in the new year with friends in Hoboken. We also got to experience our first Chinese New Year celebration. I love a good glitter bomb as much as any fun person, so obviously I had a blast.

See? Winter wasn't all that bad. It's good to remind myself of that. Come November, I'll be so excited for snow again. What was your favorite winter moment this year? Tell me or share some pictures yourself. 

March 13, 2015

Thank You Notes Vol. 7

I hope your weekend involves some open windows and sunshine, because we are deserve a nice warm spring. March is one tricky lady though, so be careful. It's Friday and I have lots to be thankful for, so I'm going to take a cue from Jimmy Fallon.

Thank you Mom for actually sending us a thank you for our thank you card. I always see people joking about it, but you really did it.

Thank you Pineapples for making me feel like I'm on a tropical island whenever I consume you. Last week, you made up 80% of my lunch and it was fantastic. I might have to cheat on you soon with coconuts and mangos just to get the full island experience.

Thank you Gap for having a sale and having jeans in my size during a sale. I need a whole closet reboot and a new pair of jeans was a great place to start. Hopefully I'll know when to stop.

Thank you March for allowing me to open my windows and have some beautiful sunny weather. The salt was washed off the sidewalk, the snow is melted and spring is coming. Now, don't be a bitch and snow again, k? Thanks.

Thank you Instagram for photo challenges like this one. I love seeing people's interpretations of each prompt. Follow me here if you don't already.

Thank you FitBit for keeping me accountable to move more. Justin and I had a competition last week that got me over 10,000 steps daily. There should be no excuse to hitting that daily and now that the weather is nice, it's even easier.

Thank you USPS for taking weeks to deliver my friend's birthday gift. Because of your speedy service on hers, I've decided to use UPS for the other two March birthdays. I can't believe we are all turning 30 this year.

Thank you in advance to Star Wars, flowers, bubble baths, wine and Indian food for sponsoring this weekend.

Hope you take the time to write your thank yous. I'm off to figure out how we can top the nerdness of last weekend. May the force be with you.

March 11, 2015

Beating Airport Boredom

Long layovers, delayed flights, missed connections - they happen.  I used to have such bad anxiety about the whole idea of flying.  Since I started traveling more, I've gotten more comfortable with the whole idea.  You have to just make the best of your situation.  I recently have spent lots of time stuck in the airport, so I decided to share my tactics for keeping myself entertained.  

1. Find a local treat in a gift shop or a favorite restaurant to try with an airport location. Twitter will be your best friend for this. I recently tried Cheerwine for my first time in Charlotte and it did not disappoint (and if you're looking, it's located in the gift shop across from Bojangles in terminal B.)

2. Buy at least 3 travel magazines (I usually pick up Afar, Travel & Leisure and National Geographic Traveler) and then plot your next 15 trips and hope you win the lottery. In my dreamworld, I'm heading on an Arctic cruise, a Patagonia camping trip, a luxury beach trip to the Maldives and a road trip that hits all 48 states.

3. Pamper yourself with test bottles at the Body Shop. Oils, lotions, makeup - it's all fun. Try not to buy everything though because you may have to go through security on your way home and you don't want to throw it away. If you have time & money, check out the spas located at most airports now for a quick layover pedicure.

4. Find a restaurant that serves REAL food.  There are so much fast food options, but I enjoy having a sit down meal in a restaurant by myself.  Plus, they offer free refills and usually a seat next to an outlet. Win.

5. Read this list of the 12 types of people who should be banned from flying and then take in the people around you and guess if you'll be stuck next to one.

6. Play with the weird sand stuff at Brookstone. It's addictive and amazing, but if they let me play with it for free, why would I buy it?  If sand isn't your thing, they have tons of toys and gadgets to mess around with.

If none of those are keeping you entertained, just pick up your book and head to your gate and enjoy being trapped somewhere with yourself, your thoughts and a whole bunch of crabby strangers. So much travel coming up, maybe one of these days I'll actually wear shoes that require a shine - I love watching them work.

What do you do on layovers to entertain yourself? Or am I the only one that gets stranded monthly?

March 10, 2015

On the Bookshelf Vol. 1

One of the best perks of getting rid of cable is that I'm ahead of my reading goal for the year.  So far, I've finished 8 books and I'm finally starting to tackle my "to-read" list on Goodreads (we should be friends on Goodreads.)  I love seeing what other people are reading, so I figured I'd do the same and share with you.

Let's start with the 2 that I probably wouldn't recommend. 

I won't go into too much detail on these.  I read them, I finished them (which means I didn't hate them), but I wouldn't send you on a mission to pick them up and read them.  

The next 3 I liked and read quickly.  I would rank these 3-4 stars.  They are all authors that I had read in the past and will definitely read more of their books.  You know kind of what to expect and that is awesome sometimes.

Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty is about 3 triplets about to turn 33.  They are dealing with pregnancy, divorce, infidelity and all kinds of family drama.  The author writes from three different points of view, yet it's very easy to follow.  It's hard to believe that this was her first book.

How to Talk to a Widower by Jonathan Tropper is funny and sad at the same time.  Jonathan Tropper is a genius with crazy family drama (much like the book above).  He makes me laugh out loud at someone's awkwardly depressing life in a way that doesn't make me feel like a horrible person. It's magic, I tell ya. I will definitely read more of his books.  I love him.

My Fair Lazy by Jen Lancaster is another one of her ridiculous collection of life moments all wrapped up with a pretty cover.  I think I love her books so much because it's like reading a friend's blog and just laughing at the similarities to my life.  If you are interested, you should start with her book, Bitter is the New Black.  It's not a must read for everyone, but I love her books.

And finally, my 3 very favorites of the year so far...

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein is a book that all people should read. It was given to me as a gift last year by my friend's mom and I picked it up on Sunday and didn't put it down. I cried and laughed. It is all told from the perspective of the family dog who is quite the philosopher. The story will make you angry because the main character just can't catch a break and life just keeps taking a dump on him, but I loved it. I felt all the feels. It is definitely a book that I will read again in my life multiple times and will gift to others. I was actually surprised that there were people that didn't love it on my Goodreads page.

Yes Please by Amy Poehler left me wanting more of her. In my perfect world, Amy & Tina Fey would be my best friends and we would drink wine, eat good food and walk hand in hand down the streets of NYC. I would recommend actually picking up the book itself instead of the Kindle version. It has really nice paper and lots of fun pictures. Now I just need Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers to write books and I'll have my favorite people collection complete.

The Ship of Brides by Jojo Moyes was just recently published in the US for the first time. I bought it at the airport when I had forgotten my Kindle and I had no idea what the book was about. I was hooked instantly. It is not the most suspenseful story, but you get to the know the characters and love/hate them.

Life According to Steph

Now, I'm off to click through other people's list and add a whole bunch more books to my "to-read" list. I can't wait. Tell me - have you read these books? What did you think?

March 5, 2015


I am currently sitting in my hotel room in Indianapolis wrapping up another busy work week on the road.  I'm excited to head home soon and finally have my normal routine.  Here are some other things I'm currently doing...

Reading The Ship of Brides by JoJo Moyes.  I loved the first book I read by this author and when I needed something for the plane last week, I saw this and bought it without knowing anything about it. I'm about halfway in and very intrigued.

Watching There's Something About Mary on TV in my hotel room.

Listening to some jams from some awesome ladies.  I'm getting ready to start my Spring Spotify list, so let me know if you have any recommendations.  

Watching Friends on Netflix.  I didn't love Friends when it was on.  I think it was just everyone in my face all the time and I didn't like that.  Also, Ross makes me crazy.  I'm really liking it this time around, but I've only watched a few episodes, so we'll see.

Drinking water.  So much water.  

Planning our Iceland adventure.  I'm hoping to finalize our hotels this weekend.  We are less than 2 months away and I am so freaking excited.  This trip has been my dream for 2 years and it's finally happening.

Eating veggies, fruits and rice.  It's really hard to be on this cleanse when I'm traveling for work.  I usually love dining on my own in new cities and new restaurants, but it's too much temptation and it's freezing cold.  This was a pretty quiet work trip for me.

Trying not to think about cheese.  I just love it so much.

Excited about finally getting my library card in our town this weekend.  I have a list of books on my list to check on and I can't wait.  We also finally picked out a new desk situation that will hopefully save our dining room table from being covered in work papers.  The plan is to go and pick it up this weekend.  Fingers crossed.

Laughing at this video from the family I wish were my friends because they are awesome.  I'm ready for winter to be over.

Here's to hoping that this is the last winter storm of the year for everyone in the US.

March 2, 2015

1215 Steps

We completed the climb this weekend.  1215 steps in total in a little under 20 minutes.  I stopped at both rest stops and caught my breath - or at least attempted to.  Considering I didn't do anything to "train" for this event, I was pretty happy.  Plus, we raised over $2000.00 and the donations keep coming.  We are so incredibly grateful.

The event was organized really well.  I was really worried about being stuck on the stairs with hundreds of sweaty people, but we were released one at a time within our time slot.  The stairs were wide, clean and the perfect temperature.  They had lots of snacks and waters at the top and the bottom.  But the highlight was the view.  I love that view of the city - it's one of my favorites.

Our start time was before 7:00 AM and we had to get there early, so we were out the door by 5:30 AM.  The city is a pretty amazing place that early in the morning.  Rockefeller Center was quiet and empty and we had 6th Ave to ourselves on our way there.

We took our before picture and got lined up to make the climb.  I was anticipating at least 45 minutes in the stairwell.  I had no clue what normal was and I figured my legs would be crying about halfway up, but we just powered through and felt pretty good.  The trick is to chew gum or a hard candy because it is extremely dry in the stairwell.

And obviously we had to take a few pictures with our "first place medals" at the top before heading down to stuff our faces with bananas, granola bars and juice boxes.

We had epic naps when we got home and relaxed the remainder of the day.  

This was the perfect way to kick off our March.  We are starting a 21 day cleanse today (not to be confused with the 21 day fix.)  We have read the book Crazy, Sexy Diet and it has guidelines at the back for a 21 day cleanse for your body.  We are cutting out gluten, caffeine, dairy, animal products, alcohol and processed sugars as much as possible.  We are sticking with the 80/20 rule to allow ourselves some normalcy, but will be upping our vegetable intake and making lots of quinoa and rice dishes.

Being a girl that lives for a beer, a stick of cheese, coffee and cupcakes, this will be challenging, but we've been cutting things out over the last week to reduce the risk of headaches and crabbiness.  We aren't doing this as a weight loss challenge, in fact, we will be watching our calories closely to make sure that we are taking in as much as possible over the next few weeks.  Our goals are to feel good and reset a little bit.  I have no intention to make this my lifestyle in the future, but I'm excited to try some new foods and challenge myself a little bit.  What perfect timing to link up with one of my favorite bloggers, Erin.

Love, Fun & football