First Class Puppy

When I go home next Tuesday I will be taking my little puppy Roscoe along for the ride. This will be his first time flying, and my first time flying with a pet - so I thought I'd see if any of you have some advice for our little adventure.

We are flying Virgin America on a 3.5 hour flight from LA to Chicago and my girlfriend is letting us borrow her Sherpa dog carrier so that Roscoe will have a nice cozy seat for the flight. I'm planning on giving him 9mg of Benadryll (which was reccomended by the vet) and a few bones for him too but what else do you think I will need to make this a seamless trip?

Have you ever flown with your pet before? How did it go?


Friday night book club....

My book club, we can't have meetings on a weekday.

We get far too rowdy.

And it's my turn to host these crazy girls!

June Gloom (apparently a popular Los Angeles saying) has finally left us and summer is in full bloom! There is no better way to celebrate than a fiesta themed event! 

Seven girls will be here at 6:30 and I'll be serving up the following:

 Chips, Guac, & Salas


A full service taco bar

and of course....lots of margs!

Saturday we'll be heading to the beach after some workouts and then on Sunday we are going to see Ben Harper at the Hollywood Bowl - and I'm seriously looking forward to both days!



All sorts of rambling thoughts

1. Isn't this ring dish the cutest thing ever? Such a great gift idea for a newly engaged friend, because I really didn't know what to do with my ring when I was putting on lotion, and now it's got a pretty little home on my bathroom counter.

2. I'm going home next Tuesday. HOME! I can't believe the last time I was in Chicago was March 19th. It's been the fastest and wildest four months that I've barely had time to realize what I'm missing. Thankfully, just before homesickness settles in, I'll be there.

3. Are you a Trader Joe's person? I've recently become obsessed - as has Joel, since consumer reports claimed that TJ's offers the best value - but....regardless...their food is bomb too. The turkey meatballs, salsa, and sweets are just a few of the reason's I've given up other grocery stores....but when I tried this, it really sealed the deal.


4. I am hosting our book club on Friday (a whole other post in itself!) and while I'm really excited to have lots of fun girls over, it does make me wish I had a few more things done in my house. Like more outdoor seating, paintings on the wall behind the dining table, some art for the guest room - and a fourth dining chair would be nice as well.

always need to keep this in mind

5. I'm really trying to watch the food and exercise in my life. I've been watching it for the last 2 weeks....writing down my food and trying to get in more exercise....and so far the scale hasn't changed. This week I'm incorporating a few more workouts and cutting out the weekday wine, so hopefully next Monday will show me some results. I mean.....come on now!


6. I just started this book and so far it's a huge win! I've been on a dry spell for the last month and I finally picked a winner. If you are looking for a light-hearted, funny, chick-lit beach read, I just made your day.

7. I also realized from reading this book that pregnancy will be very hard for me. Almost all of my favorite things have to be omitted when you are "knocked up" : sushi, hot baths, wine, coffee.....seems like a very long nine months.



Wedding Wednesday

Since we tackled the boys outfits last week, I figured it's due time to talk bridemaids dresses.

Again - I have a pretty good idea of the dresses I like, but I want to wait to select the venue which is happening next Thursday!

There are some many factors that go into selecting bridemaids dresses. Do you let your girls pick their own top? Do they have matching shoes? Do you do something special for the MOH?

1. Long and Formal

2. Short and Sweet

3. Unique & fun

When you are a bridemaid, what's most important to you? Cost? Look? Feel?


Weekend Report

The three hour nap that I had to take yesterday in the middle of the day was pretty good evidence that this past weekend did not dissapoint. 

In fact, I think it's a universal law that  when you start your weekend with magnum Veuve's it's bound to be a winner.

A girls weekend at a beautiful mansion in palm springs was the perfect way to spend a bachelorette party for my future sister-in-law.

On Friday, we took in the 105 degree weather, caught up on gossip magazines and lounged. There were 9 girls there and lots of cocktails which lead to hilarious topics of conversation and the occasionally incredibly inappropriate bachelorette games.

Saturday morning the hostess had a margarita machine delivered to the house before I even woke up - which meant that slushy margaritas were my breakfast, lunch, and dinner on Saturday.

We went downtown on Saturday night to get rowdy with lots of bar hopping and dares along the way. The biggest hit of the night was placing stickers on unsuspecting victims. 

And these were not your niece's Paul Frank stickers....

Overall it was a freaking blast and I couldn't even imagine gaining a better sister-in-law. I felt really lucky to be included in her weekend and it made me even more excited for a bachelorette party of my own!


Palm Springs getaway

This weekend I’m off to my future sister-in-law’s bachelorette party and I couldn’t be more excited. I love girls weekends, and any excuse to lay out, indulge, and dance is just fine by me.

We rented a big house in Palm Springs and I’m heading there today at my lunch hour!

It’s going to be hot, hot, hot…so I’m only bringing the necessities – swimsuits, sunscreen, and shades. Plus, some bridal magazines,  We were asked to bring snacks and drinks to share, so I’m bringing my 2 staples – caprese dip and cake batter blondies– along with a few bottles of red and white wine.

The boys will all be together on the bachelor party in Phoenix, where they will have the heat and…baseball games.

 Pretty sure we’re winning. 


Calling all book club members

If you have 5 or 10 minutes, this is a really good read. And a good excuse to not bail on your next meeting. Or, a an even better excuse to start a book club! Click here for 7 reasons why I, too, love my book club.
So true!


Wedding Wednesday

It's honestly surprising that I was able to pick one topic to touch on this Wednesday. We are at the infancy stages of planning this shin-dig, and there are already so many things I want to share and need advice on.

It is a bit of a slippery slope because I don't want to post anything that would give away surprises, so for now, I'll be touching on broader subjects. And speaking of broader....

This week's topic is one of my favorites......men! 

I love a man in formal attire - but I just can't decide which formal attire I like best!

1. Preppy

2. Formal

3. Classic

4. Trendy

I'll end up choosing based on the feel and atmosphere of the venue we choose (appointments are set for July 5th) and the colors - but until then.....what do you think?


Do Buffalo's actually have wings?

My Monday was spent doing all of the chores that I was supposed to tackle over the weekend. You know the drill; vet, groceries, bank, laundry, cleaning, etc....

Half-way though my heaping laundry pile, I sent Joel a picture of Roscoe laying on some of his t-shirts.

Apparently Joel didn't find the picture/situation all that funny.....but don't worry, I quickly put him in his place.

The dinner that I ended up cooking my needy (and not that funny) fiance was a huge hit. I found this recipe from my favorite website for dinner inspiration, SkinnyTaste.com, made a few modifications, and it turned out delicious.

It paired very nicely with a bottle of Hahn Cab
  • 1 1/2 cups broccoli slaw
  • 1/4 cup skinny blue cheese dressing
  • 1.25 lbs 93% lean ground turkey
  • 2/3 cup grated carrots (grate in food processor) 
  • 1/4 cup seasoned whole wheat breadcrumbs I used Panko
  • 1 clove garlic, grated 
  • 1 tbsp red onion, grated
  • 1/4 cup Franks Hot Sauce
  • salt and fresh pepper
  • oil spray
  • 5 slices reduced fat cheddar  I melted crumbled blue cheese on the turkey patty
  • 5 whole wheat burger buns (I used Martin's 100 calorie Potato Whole Wheat Buns)
 Servings: 5 • Size: 1 Burger • Old Points: 8 pts • Points+: 10 pts (8 pts no bun)
358 • Fat: 15 g • Protein: 38.3 g • Carb: 22.7 g • Fiber: 5.6 g • Sugar: 5.9

In a medium bowl combine broccoli slaw and skinny blue cheese dressing. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine ground turkey, carrots, breadcrumbs, garlic, onion, hot sauce, salt and pepper. Makes 5 equal patties, 5.5 oz each. Made 4 equal patties.

A very nice and summer spin on the usual turkey burger!


Say No to Drugs

Remember when I told you that I had broken out in hives early last week? Well, they ended up getting bad - covering my face, chest, and arms. 

After visiting my doctor, she told me to get on a schedule of Benadryl for the next 3-4 days. 

Let's just say for the last 3-4 days, I've been a hell of a lot like the girl in the picture. On Saturday I slept in til 11 and went to bed at 9. And during my awake hours I've felt foggy, drowsy, and lethargic. Walking my dog about 6 blocks was the best I could muster for my Saturday activities. 

Luckily I took my last dose last night and while I'm still feeling weird this morning, I'll hopefully be back to normal by tomorrow.


Real Men Wear Pink

Neither one of these studs is with me right now, and I realized, without either one of them, I'm just not whole.

On this Father's Day I'm feeling thankful for how I was raised, and the relationship I have with my dad , and how I want the father of my future children to be....because, my dad has shown me and my sisters the way...
  • My dad worked his ass off when we were kids. Hard enough to allow my mom to stay home and raise three girls. Hard enough to enjoy the perks of his hard work now that he and my mom are in their fifties - hard enough to provide a seamless life for his three daughters.
  • My dad made it very easy to talk about the bad stuff with him. When I failed my math quizzes in 5th grade, I would wake up early to get him to sign my papers without getting into too much trouble. That same approach carried on when we were in high school, college, and now adulthood.
  • My dad is the guy you want in your corner. He knows everyone....he knows how to get you in to places, and how to get you out too. His connections have gotten people jobs, gotten people out of jail (not me!!), and even gotten people to the best doctors that Chicago can provide, even when that's not enough.
he's also.....
  • the life of the party
  • a great dresser
  • a horrible driver
  • a loyal and true friend
  • an owner of a successful business
  • a wine guy (apple doesn't fall far)
  • a great husband 
  • and so much more....

I feel very, very blessed today to cheers my dad on this Father's Day. He's done good, and I love him so much.


Flying Solo

 My fiance is on work trip in Vegas (which sounds like an inappropriate oxymoron) leaving me, Roscoe, and Roscoe's girlfriend, Lucy flying solo this weekend.

We've had such non-stop weekends over the last month I'm secretly thrilled to have very, very little to do.

Over the past week, my friends and family have been so generous sending flowers, books, tips, wine, and my most favorite gift of all BRIDAL MAGAZINES!

I cannot wait to devour them!

The only legitimate plan I have is for tonight. I am going to go out with a fellow bride-to-be, and as she told me, I'm bringing a notebook! We snagged a reservation at the ever popular Brentwood  spot Tavern. It's frequented by Mr. Obama and Ms. Witherspoon (maybe even together) and I'm looking forward to all of the good food and advice - and hopefully a celeb spotting!
Speaking of food - since I'm a frequent restaurant goer, and now a bride-to-be, I have decided to cut out all bread/pasta/risotto/creamy dishes when dining out. There's already a lot of calories associated with eating at restaurants (like the wine) and I really don't need to be consuming a 1,200 calorie pasta dish. More on my bridal diet later....

Hopefully the rest of the weekend will be spent getting a hike in, some cleaning done, and maybe even a little Bridal Binder-ing.


Gifts ideas to make your life simple

I love to gift give.

 In fact, giving gifts gives me almost more joy than getting gifts myself! 

 Now, it's not that I just love the process of giving. While, of course I do, that's not what I'm referring to here. In all selfishness, I like to be known as a great gift giver. I like to shop, and find the perfect gift for the occasion.

I have fun coming up with gift themes and I figured I'd show you my favorite thoughtful and personal go-to ideas since, if your summer is anything like mine, gift giving is in full swing!

Bacheloertte Party (for the bride to be)
Hopefully, if you are attending someones bachelorette party, you have a pretty good idea of which gift set would be better for your soon to be Mrs.

A good rule of thumb: Any gift that is given at the bachelorette party should not be anywhere on the registry!
1.  Pick a location that is special to the bride and groom and make it come to life. Maybe where they met, or where they are marrying - there are so many ways to represent this now with Etsy that you can really get creative.

2. I love the idea of using the Bride's new monogram on anything! Think about what the bride would use or wear the most, and go from there.

3. My future sister-in-law is really hoping to up the cooking when she and Joel's brother tie the knot in July, so a gift like this is perfect - and makes cooking so much more fun. Signing the bottle in silver marker with a little note will make it extra special.

Father's Day
Dad's are so hard to shop for! When Father's Day comes around, I try to play on my dad's interests.

1. My Dad has the same pictures on his dresser and in his office that he has had up since 1993. So, obvious to say, it's due time he got some updated frames and photos.  This is the route I'll be taking this year and filling the frame with a picture of my sisters and I when they came to Cali to visit.
2. Wine Club memberships are always a safe bet for Dads. Plus, it's the gift that keeps on giving. And, if your dad is more of a beer guy - they've got an app for that too ;-)
3. A gift basket of his favorite things is sure not to disappoint. My dad loves to golf, so this was Father's Day Gift 2012 Runner Up. My other thought for my dad was a music box filled with new headphones, a few new CDS, an iTunes gift card, and some Pop Rocks.

Girlfriend's Birthday

I often think that the best gifts are those things that you would never buy for yourself!

1.  As my friends and I keep moving around the country we try to pop into each other's mailboxes as often as possible so a stationary set is the perfect gift for us.
2. As women in our twenties we are constantly on the go. Lots of traveling, hailing cabs, chatting on the phone, late night martinis - very Sex and the City, if you will, so a new luggage tag and cell phone case are always big hits in my circle.
3. Fun flips flops are a summer staple, but pairing them with a pedicure gift card really up's the ante. 

 In the end, it doesn't really matter how much money you spent - because if it's personal, thoughtful, and useful - it's perfect.


Wedding Wednesday: Organization

One of the main feelings I have been experiencing as a newly engaged woman is this sense of being out of control. It very well be that due to this large life change I need to up the milligrams on my anxiety meds (semi kidding), but it also may be the fact that there are about 24,000 things that need thinking about.

As "savvy" as I am with the computer, I'm very traditional when it comes to organization. I like things written out in plain sight. I like hand-written notes, I like hand-written journals (and apparently electronic journals as well seeing as I blog...but...to the point), hand-written budgets, filing cabinets, recipe books, etc. I just like the idea of having all of my common things in one nice, neat place.

Insert my wedding binder:

I thought about buying this really cute wedding planner from Erin Condren, but since my life planner has been collecting dust lately I decided to make my own. If I end up using it - great, it was free....and if I don't....it was still free.
I have all sorts of office supplies since I work from home, so I got creative and did some research. There are tons of free printables online  and before I knew it, I had a binder full of checklists and tips.

Most of the websites had the same recommendations for categories and I used page dividers to create separation. I tried keep the more frequently used sections closer to the front.


I also decided to use page covers for a lot of the printables. I had them handy, and it makes them spill proof (Wine-o here!!) and travel proof!

Now, obviously, I have been engaged for like a hot second, so who knows if this is everything, or anything, that I need - but it's nice to have my thoughts taking up space in one organized, place.

It just helps me sleep better.

Did you create a wedding binder during your engagement? What other sections should I be adding? Any tips?