Thursdays Thoughts

Thoughts for Thursday 

Yesterday, April wrote a post on which type of blogs are most appealing.  I've never been one for professional blogs (although I really, really enjoy reading Cupcakes and Cashmere) but lately, some of my favorite real life blogs have gotten a little out of control with the constant affiliate links for things they want to buy (or want you to buy) and that gets old for me, week after week after week. All the Nordstrom Sale picks became such overkill, and I absolutely hate it when a bunch of bloggers clearly got the same opportunity from a vendor and talk about their unanimous love for it.
This is ME! I still think it's funny to see it on Pinterest :) Photo by @Anna Sawin Photography 
I like real real life bloggers. I'm not super drawn to fancy photoshop collages or perfectly staged modeling shoots, in fact, the blogs I check everyday are far from that. I like to know what people eat during the day, what they have on their DVR, what they wore out on girls night, and their weekly pregnancy updates because I find it fascinating how other people live their lives authentically. Just my two cents, but I'd love to hear yours.

My beloved Nook crashed and died this week. It won't hold a charge and now it won't even turn on. I've been without it for a week and I already miss my nightly reading. I'm scared that Barnes and Noble might not stick around for years to come, so I decided to get a kindle and a new Jonathon Adler case for it.

My workouts this last month have been harder than I've ever trained in my life, I think. Runs, hikes, boot camp, and yoga 2x/week and I feel like a bona fide athlete. I've been taking epsom salt baths every night to help with my soreness, and yesterday after my run I had to ice my foot. It makes me laugh, but I really hope that in combo with my no-carbs I'll see some legit results.
Prove Yourself Wrong, 24 Fitness Mantras More Motivating Than Tony Horton on Crack
With all of those workouts I think I've had a little shift in my self discipline too. I'm finding it easier to tell myself no, and stick to it (like no wine on Mondays or Tuesdays), and in contrast, when I tell myself yes (like, you are running up that damn hill), I'm actually doing it. It feels nice to have a little bit of self control
I can do it!
I'm sorry but I really like Kim and Kroy. They're pretty insane, but they're so sweet and absolutely hilarious to watch.

I'm so excited because I have another trip planned to Chicago over Labor Day weekend for my cousin's wedding. It makes it much easier being so far away when I have trips to see my family every 6-8 weeks. My parents have decided to build a new house in our same neighborhood so I really want to soak in these next few trips home.

Home is where the heart is — one cliche that is absolutely true.


30 Day No Carb Living

Well, the scale has made it clear to me that it's time for another break with the good stuff.


So, I'm back on the pre-wedding "diet" and kicking all of the white stuff out of my mouth. No more tortillas, bread, pasta, crackers, chips, cookies, or anything else that is white, soft, gooe-y and fattening.

It worked last year, and I need to give it another go. My first goal is to go cold-turkey until I'm back in Chicago over Labor Day.

Until then, I'm going to try and keep a tight record here, and at home, of my meals and choices so that I can come back and look at these posts when I feel like I'm in a slump.

This week, dinners will be as follows:

Monday - Chicken Kale Ceaser

I make this salad every week. It's cooked chicken, fresh kale, crushed pecans, quinoa, avocado and Parmesan cheese w/ ceaser dressing. 

Tea Time with Tess: Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Oven Fajitas // make a big batch to enjoy throughout the week, great to take to work too
Thursday - Salmon Burgers (no bun for me) and Corn Salad 
You have to try these skinny mini salmon burgers out for dinner one night Roasted Mexican Street Corn Salad - A crunchy and spicy salad with just a bit of creaminess. Can be served warm or cold.

Cauliflower Pizza and it's actually good

Saturday - Grilled Brats (no bun for me) and Cucumber Salad
Grilled Beer Brats. Perfect for Father’s Day BBQ.Who needs lettuce? This Greek salad is fresh and crisp – the perfect, light summer salad!
For breakfast, I either do eggs with avocado or fruit with peanut butter. Lunches are either a bunch of small snacks (yogurt, hard boiled egg, apples, and nuts) or leftovers. Lots of coffee throughout the day, sometimes wine at night, and a few pieces of dark chocolate at the end of the night are my vices that I'm not parting with.

Giving up carbs works for me, because while it's not fun, I don't feel like too deprived. I can swap carbs with something equally as delicious. I love crackers and cheese, but almonds and cheese do the trick too....so little swaps like that really help me me not feel like I'm "dieting".


Weekend Report

Babies and booze and selfie practice sum this weekend pretty nicely.

Friday night we ordered pizza, opened a good bottle of wine and watched a few recorded episodes of Anthony Bourdain's Layover - which is one of the few shows that Joel and I both really enjoy. 

The other thing I worked on was getting used to my new glasses. I ordered new prescription glasses from Warby Parker and it's taken me almost a full week to be able to wear them for more than 30 minutes.

I only wear my glasses at night or on the weekends, but I'm going to try and rock them a little more often. 

Saturday morning I took the hardest yoga class I've ever taken and got totally sold by the girls at CorePower. They talked me into buying an unlimited package for this month, so I'm going to try and get to yoga at least twice every week. 

After errands we had a very special guest join us for our Saturday night activities.

My girlfriend Shelby needed a sitter, so Joel and I spent our evening with Tucker. He was so good, and it was really fun to have a little baby hang out with us for the entire night. It's also an interesting peek to see how Roscoe will do with a baby one day. 


 Roscoe has met Tucker many times before, but this was the longest one on one time they've had together. Roscoe is very protective and didn't leave Tucker's side for long - even watched him from the window when Joel was grilling.

And, not that I'm surprised, but Joel was so sweet with Tucker - and he was actually excited by my offer to babysit! 

There really isn't anything better than watching your husband with babies. 

Joel and I are still enjoying being selfish with our lives, but it was fun to play pretend parents for the night. And Tucker makes for a very adorable selfie accessory.

As soon as Tucker left, Joel and I made Moscow Mules to celebrate being good babysitters - and not having babies of our own. 

To solidify that we are truly in baby season with our friends and family - Sunday we had a couple's baby shower for my cousin Cole and his wife Brianna. 

I wore a new silk Madewell dress but I felt bad wearing black to a baby shower. Is that a major faux paus? 

Cole and Brianna are expecting their first baby on October 24th -the same due date as my sister-in-law Corie, so October is going to be one for the books around here!

The shower was book themed, and the hosts did a great job incorporating fun book-y games to keep everyone involved.


When we got home, we took it very easy (pretty sure I clocked 2,000 steps on my Fitbit...whoops), had a little wine and got ready for the week ahead.  

We don't have a lot planned besides a little tennis (and now yoga), dinner with friends, and time at the office. 

Here's to a happy week!


Friday 5

My mood, energy, and overall zest for life have been allllllllll over the friggen board lately. It's been incredibly obnoxious - and quite frankly exhausting. Myself is exhausting myself. I'm getting plenty of exercise and water, so I'm going to tweak a few other things and hopefully right this wrong as quickly as possible here.

I know like every day is national something, but yesterday was national tequila day - which is my all time favorite. My "drink drink" is tequila on the rocks with a lotta lime. People are surprised when I order it, but it's so clean, light and doesn't come with a hangover the way white wine or sugar-y cocktails do. These are my favorites...

 Casamigos Tequila Blanco 100% Agave Blanco

I've seen a lot of other bloggers talk about how excited they are for Fall and I am right there with you all. I cannot wait for the sounds of college football to fill my living room; starting lighting my favorite pumpkin candles; and start prepping for my first hosted Thanksgiving dinner BUT I'm refusing to let myself let the summer slip by without enjoying it.

It took me 4 months to buy this dang necklace and now I cant.stop. It literally goes with everything - instantly pulls together my outfit and always gets lots of compliments. I'm kind of annoyed I waited so long, and kind of bummed that I don't have like 6 different colors.

And while we are talking about products, have you switched over to the Meyer's line yet? Just do it. The hand soap (Geranium is my favorite flavor) is magical, the dish soap is better than anything I've ever used, and the counter top spray doesn't make you nervous that you are spraying straight up poison onto surface you are eating. The prices are pretty comparable to cleaning supplies (although I use these more so I'm refilling more quickly) but I think they do an all around way better job.

I'm ready for this weekend and fresh slate. 
Until Monday....


Work Wear

Work It Girl
I've been totally blanking on snapping my work-wear outfits, but I'm determined to get back in the habit. I love going back throughout the year and seeing what's being worn in my closet - and whats not.

It's funny because when I look back at all of the "work wear" posts from just this year, I see a defined pattern of what I wear week in and week out. I clearly know what I like - ankle pants, navy blue, and solid shirts, and patterned bottoms.

Anyways, here's last weeks round up. 

Cynthia Rowley dress, J.crew cardigan, Ivanka Trump heels, Kendra Scott necklace

Loft top & skirt, TB wedges, Kendra Scott earrings

Jcrew top and pants, Loft necklace, Ivanka Trump heels

Thursday - worked from home
 old top, tj.maxx, loft jeans, ralph lauren sandals

Friday- worked from home 
Top from local shop, Loft shorts, TB sandals


Cauliflower Pizza and it's actually good

I tried to make a cauliflower pizza crust about a year ago and it went ALL kinds of wrong. Not only was it a mess - and a time suck - it scared me away from using cauliflower all together.

Thankfully my girlfriend Kristin convinced me to try hers at the dinner party she hosted on Friday and I am now a believer.

And an addict.

Kristin used Paula Deen's recipe as a base, made some alterations, and came up with perfection. 

Fair warning - it's time consuming (a solid hour until dinner time), but it's so, so worth it for 100% guilt free pizza

The goods

 I found everything at Trader Joes 

1 head of cauliflower florets
Chicken sausage - I used 2 for the pizza
Pizza Sauce
1 egg
2 cups Shredded Cheese
Fresh Basil
Olive Oil spray
Crushed Garlic, Salt & Pepper, and Oregano

**This serves about 2-3 people as a main dish**


1. Blend florets until grainy and mashed 

2. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper and then spray the heck out of it. Then spray it again.

4. Microwave your cauliflower mash - with a splash or two of water - for 7 minutes 

5. Stick the hot cauliflower into the freezer to cool for 10 minutes. Once it's fully cooled, mix together 1 cup of cheese, 1 egg,  garlic, salt, pepper, and 3 full tablespoons of oregano
 6. Mix together and form a large square over the parchment paper. Bake in the oven for 15-20 until golden and crisped.

7. After it's crisped, add your toppings; tomato sauce, fresh basil, sliced chicken sausage, cheese, garlic, oregano (again), salt and pepper. Bake for another 15 minutes.

 Let it cool - cut in squares - and enjoy as many pieces as you damn well please. 


This dish won't disappoint - even cauliflower haters will enjoy.