Baking, Shopping, and Good Food

I am most definitely linking up with Becky for Treat Yourself Tuesday today because I have been treating myself quite a bit lately.

This weekend I treated myself to time in the kitchen. I baked up a couple of loaves of gluten-free bread using brown rice flour and almond flour.

IMG_1335

And I made these amazing snack bars!

raw cocoa bars

I enjoyed a relaxing evening with two calming essential oils: gentle baby and lavender. I also treated myself to a couple new ones: ylang ylang which smells AMAZING and citronella to try diffusing when we are sitting out on the deck to help keep the skeeters away.

ylang ylang essential oil

On Saturday Dana and I treated ourselves to lunch at The Bulldog in Minneapolis. We were both in the mood for a good burger (typical these days) and Becky recommended this place for amazing burgers, so we thought we would go check it out.

the bulldog

Patty melt for me! So good!

the bulldog burger

I treated the babes to a new outfit from Target. It was on the clearance rack for $5 and I just couldn’t resist.

baby boy clothes

I also treated myself to some maternity clothes and some looser fitting regular clothes. Besides pants and shorts, I should be set for a while! I stocked up on dresses!

pinkblush

Last night I was treated by my brother as he cooked up an awesome stir-fry dinner for me and the fam! As much as I love to cook, I love it even more when someone else cooks for me!

stir fry

Thank you Becky for hosting the link-up!

How did YOU treat yourself this week?!

House and Fashion Updates

It’s Monday. Choose happy. I know it’s not always easy but do it. 🙂

happiness

This weekend was very productive around our house. We finished painting the basement! The next step will be putting in the baseboards and the door frames and then the carpet can go in! Eeee we are getting closer and closer to having a finished basement and it is so exciting!

We also bought flowers for our window flower boxes, a couple of plants, and vegetables for our garden. This year we are going with zucchini, three different tomatoes, sugar snap peas, and red bell pepper. Everything is planted so now we just wait a 2-3 months and hope for a bountiful year! Last year the weather wasn’t in our favor and our veggies didn’t do well at all. I have a feeling it will be a good year this year.

I wanted to let you all know that the dress and shirt I bought from Filly Flair fit perfectly and I will be keeping them. I’m wearing the dress to a wedding this summer and the shirt for kicking around. Yay for cute clothes!

filly flair top 2 filly flair dress

 

Now I just need to find a necklace to go with the dress. I really like how the mint one looks with the dress so I might be on the search for something similar. What do you think?

I still haven’t decided if I’m going to use Rent the Runway for a dress I need for a New York wedding that I’m going to in June. I’m actually learning towards not using it only because I have a girlfriend with a couple of really cute dresses that I could borrow plus I want to go to a couple more stores before deciding. The biggest issues I have with RTR is that 1. I don’t get to keep the dress afterwards (I LOVE dresses) and 2. I’m afraid I won’t like it or I won’t like how it fits and then I’ll be stuck with RTR store credit. IDK. I’m still up in the air about it but my guess is I will more than likely not use it right now. But thanks for helping me “shop” and giving me your opinions on the dresses. They really are adorable! I probably would have gone with this one:

rtr dress

 

 

Moose turned 6 years old on Saturday! We celebrated by giving him a little bite of steak and throwing the ball to him in the yard.

moose

 

Plus mother nature gave him beautiful weather all weekend. It was such a nice treat!

Alright, that’s all the updates I have for now.

I want to know… How was YOUR weekend? What were some highlights?

Dress Shopping

Hi my friends and fashionistas! Happy hump day!

Sooooo….I have a wedding to go to in a few weeks and I still need to find a dress. My lovely and stylish friend Becky has rented dresses from Rent the Runway in the past, and I absolutely love the dresses she has rented from them, so I thought I would look into it myself. Rent the Runway is a website where you can pay to rent designer dresses for 4-8 days.

I didn’t have a clue how much they would cost so I looked into it a bit and not only were the dresses incredibly affordable to rent (in the $40 price range for the ones I was looking at), there are so many adorable dresses to choose from!

Now, I don’t know for 100% sure that I’m going to go with this option, but if I do, I have a decision to make. I found a handful of dresses that I think are b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l! I wanted to see what you guys thought of them, and which one you think I should go with. I definitely have a couple of favorites, but I wanted to see what you all thought.

Check them out and comment below with the dress you like best for me!

1. Little Red Dress

rtr dress 5

2. Piece of Cake

rtr dress

3. Sharp Lines

rtr dress 4

4. Dance floor Diva

rtr dress 3

5. Cobalt Daisy

rtr dress 2

 

6. Sip of Rose

 

rtr dress 6

Aren’t these so pretty? I worry a little bit about the dresses not fitting right, but what’s nice is that they allow you to borrow two sizes so hopefully one would work out!

What do you all think?!

 

Thai Chicken Wrap and Adorable Clothes

Happy Friday! Yayyy!

It’s a Friday Favorites kind of day so I’m linkin’ up with my girl Katie!

Here are some of my favs from the week…

1. Lunch with my darling friend Courtney at Good Earth. I ordered the Thai chicken peanut wrap and really enjoyed it! Most of all though, I loved catching up with my Court. 🙂

good earth thai chicken wrap

2. Leftover French onion soup from the freezer. It’s one thing to enjoy a bowl of my favorite soup, but the ease of only have to take it out of the freezer and thaw in the microwave makes it that much more delightful.

french onion soup

3. These tacos.

baked beef tacos

4. This dress from Filly Flair.

filly flair dress

fillyflair.com

5. And this top from Filly Flair.

filly flair top 2

fillyflair.com

I ordered both of them online and really hope they fit. I should be getting them within the next few days. They have seriously so many adorable things and I wanted everything! Everything is so reasonably priced too!

6. Seeing the progress on our basement. We are in the process of finishing the basement and it is SO incredibly exciting! This is a project we have been wanting to take on since we moved in 3.5 years ago. Dana is a champ.

7. My family. There has been so much change and excitement going on in our family and I am so thrilled, proud and happy for everyone.

What are some of your favorites from this week?

Five Things Friday

Happy Friday!! I don’t know about you, but this week totally flew by for me. Another gloriously relaxing weekend is upon us, or at least for me!

Let’s kick this weekend off with a five random things Friday.

1. I actually cooked up a nice vegetarian meal last night! Hint: it involved spaghetti squash. The recipe will be up on the blog next week!

spaghetti squash

 

2. I thoroughly enjoyed our little early November snowfall we had this week. It was so light that most of it melted quickly and it didn’t mess up the roads and make for crazy traffic. It was just pretty and really got me into the holiday spirit!

first snow of the season

 

3. As much as I love my smoothies, now that the weather is permanently chilly, I am no longer wanting my cold smoothies in the morning as often. I’ve been into the two ingredient pancakes and hot oatmeal this week!

smoothie

 

oatmeal

 

4. On Tuesday I got together with my girlfriend Courtney at People’s Organic in Edina for a hot beverage and some major catch-up time. I got the morning elixir which was hot water, lots of fresh lemon juice, agave nectar, and sea salt. It made my mouth pucker the slightest but it was so enjoyable! I want to try to recreate it at home. As always, it was so great to be with Courtney. She is a ray of sunshine and such a good friend.

people's organic

5. I am completely in love with scarves. This is not a new thing. When fall rolls around I am thrilled to reach for my fun scarves and use them as accessories to my wardrobe. They are so cozy yet don’t make me feel claustrophobic like a turtle neck does. I might have to add some new scarves to my birthday list! 🙂

caroline melanie dana and melanie

 

Have an amazing weekend my friends! xoxo

Questions of the day:

1. What is your main squeeze breakfast these days?

2. What are you most looking forward to this weekend?

A Night Out With Bethenny Frankel

Now that it’s been a few days, I’ve had enough time to come down from cloud nine and process the greatness of what was my Wednesday night. Let’s back it up for a sec.

A few weeks ago I received an email from the Public Relations rep from the Bethenny TV show (which begins September 9th!). She explained that there was an exclusive cocktail party hosted by Bethenny Frankel called “Calling All My Girls” that is visiting eight cities around the United States, and it was going to be coming to Minneapolis in just a couple of weeks. She then proceeded to tell me she loved the content of my blog and thought that Bethenny’s audience would love it too. Then she invited me to be a VIP guest at the cocktail party!

I had to reread the email a few times and even google searched the sweet PR rep just to make sure this whole thing was legitimate. After some research I realized that it truly was for real. My adrenaline started racing and I quickly put together a response email.

The event was called, Calling All My Girls and it was an exclusive cocktail party for 150 ladies who wanted a night out with the girls and a chance to hang out with Bethenny and help celebrate her upcoming talk show called Bethenny. Of course I was going to attend!

For those of you who may not be too familiar with Bethenny Frankel…

She is a former natural food chef, in 2005 she was a contestant on Martha Stewart’s The Apprentice, and in 2008 she was selected for the reality show, The Real Housewives of New York. For personal reasons she left the show in 2011. Since then she has starred in a couple of her own reality TV shows, Bethenny Getting Married and Bethenny Ever After. She also established her own brand of lower calorie cocktails called Skinnygirl, which have been a total hit. She is a New York Time’s bestselling author and has come out with workout DVDs. To top it off, she has a beautiful little girl named Brynn who is obviously her pride and joy. Whewwww she is one busy woman!

Why people love her…

Bethenny is known as the TMI (two much information) Queen. She will say anything, she will say what she feels and doesn’t censor herself. She is completely open and honest and will answer any question that comes her way. She has a very motivated and driven work tactic that is highly admirable. She is real in the way she presents herself, and connects with her fans because of all of these reasons. She is sweet, funny, and absolutely beautiful, and I got to hang out with her!

Wednesday Night

I jumped on the chance to get all dolled up for a cocktail party hosted by Bethenny Frankel herself! To be honest, I had to google “cocktail party attire” because I really don’t frequent cocktail parties and had an idea of what to wear, but wanted to be sure.

I found this BCBG dress at Macy’s and got a killer deal on it! I truly think it was made for me–it fit like a glove and I loved it! I already had shoes to go with the dress (thanks Hales), a clutch (thanks Jeff and Ana) and just had to buy earrings and a bracelet.

bethenny event melanie cocktail dress

Upon arrival to the party we all had to sign in and get our access bracelets. Immediately cocktail waiters were coming around with Skinnygirl Moscato and champagne and the energy at the Union in Minneapolis was really electric.

bethenny skinny girl

I noticed that most of the women there had come with someone they knew and that is because the majority of the women there had won tickets to the party and were allowed to bring one guest. I didn’t even think to ask to bring a guest, so I showed up singular. This was fine with me though! I immediately noticed another blogger there (we wore special badges) and connected with her right away. I also found the woman that had emailed and invited me to the event, and she was so welcoming and kind. I felt at ease knowing I had already met two great people.

Bethenny

Eventually, we made our way up to the rooftop at the Union which was starting to fill up with people (this was a photo before the event hence the people-less rooftop).

Bethenny

On the rooftop we mingled with each other for an hour or so, munched on some seriously tasty appetizers, sipped on cocktails, and enjoyed the beautiful evening. Seriously the weather couldn’t have been more perfect.

bethenny event collage

skinny girl cucumber

They played a video of Bethenny talking about her life and growing up and where she is now, speaking about celebrating life, following our hearts, pursuing our dreams, and then she talked about her upcoming show. This is when reality started setting in that I was about to meet Bethenny!

As she made her grand entrance, we all went crazy! We were so excited to see her and she is just as beautiful, if not even more beautiful in person than she is on TV.

bethenny

She talked with us for a while, answered some “Ask Bethenny Anything Questions”,” played some games, and then introduced a handful of bachelors who would be mingling with the crowd for the evening.

bethenny bachelor

bethenny with bachelors

Next, we were called over in groups to get the chance to meet Bethenny and take a photo with her. When my group was called I was surprised that I wasn’t nervous–just excited. That’s the aura that she gives off though; just completely real. You feel like you’re hanging out with a girlfriend.

bethenny

On the right is a sweetheart I met named Lizzie! I also got to meet Lee who is a blogger at Fit Foodie Finds!

bethenny melanie and liz

I got to meet Bethenny! So exciting!

After we all got our turn meeting Bethenny, she came back to the stage to talk to us for a while longer and then finally had to say her good-bye’s. The event was from 6-9 and it flew by so quickly!

Before I forget to mention, the DJ at the event was incredible. Every song she played I would say “this is my song!” Just like my dress was made for me, I think she was my DJ.

Bethenny event DJ

I spent the majority of my evening with these two wonderful ladies: Jen and Erica. Erica blogs at Love.Baby.Life and Jen is a friend of hers. I was so happy to have met these girls. They were so genuine and fun!

Bethenny

At 9 pm, I decided I needed to head out; I’m not used to partying on a week night and had to work the next day. On our way out the door we were given a swag bag (yes!!). I peaked in it on the way home but was too exhausted to look entirely until the next day. In the bag: her brand new book Skinny Girl Solutions, Skinnygirl workout DVD, Skinnygirl Stevia and Monk Fruit Extract, Skinnygirl chocolate bar, Bethenny T-shirt, PurNaturals makeup, EOS chapstick (my new favorite!), and a really nice sturdy duffle bag. Amazing swag! IMG_3398

Talk about an adrenaline rush not only when I was at the event, but much of the time leading up to the event. I was wiped! It took me until Sunday to finally feel well-rested and back to normal. I obviously don’t get the opportunity to do things like this too often. Hanging out with the stars is exhausting, but so incredibly amazing! 😉

I feel so blessed to have had this opportunity and I so look forward to her upcoming show, Bethenny on September 9th!! You all should watch it too!

Have you ever met a celebrity?

The New Hairdo

First of all, I don’t think I ever knew that hairdo was actually a word spelled out just like that. I always thought it was two words, but the dictionary tells me it’s one. Huh, well I learned something today!

I realize it’s Tuesday and a weekend photo recap would have been more appropriate yesterday, but I was really needing to write about running yesterday, and I decided this post could wait. Plus, I wouldn’t have been able to show you my new hairdo yesterday, so it all worked out how it was supposed to.

I actually went out for another run after posting yesterday. It wasn’t as great as my Saturday run, but it still felt good to get out. I definitely notice myself breathing a little heavier than usual, but that will go away shortly.

I’m going to keep it short and sweet for you all today. Here is a recap of my weekend in a nutshell…

Party time on Saturday! I ate way too many treats and my body paid for it the next day.  There was about 5x the amount of food in this photo at the party. Lots of nummies. Such a fun time and the weather held up for a few hours before the clouds opened up into a downpour!

party food

Chilaquile brunch on Sunday at Uptown Cafeteria with Dana, Ted, and Annie. Great food, amazing company.

chilaquile uptown cafeteria

Monday breakfast: the yogurt bowl is back. Greek yogurt with banana, strawberries, and honey. Simple and delicious.

yogurt bowl

And the big wow moment from yesterday was chopping off a good five inches of my hair.

long hair short hair short hair

 

I still have bittersweet feelings towards my new do. I wasn’t really planning on cutting that much off, but I did pretty much give the stylist the go-ahead to do it. I am just shocked at how much she actually took off. I haven’t had my hair this short in a few years at least. I know it will be perfect for summer and I just need to get used to it still. It’ll grow on me…haha, no pun intended. It does feel good to have it all cleaned up!

That’s all I have for you all today. I hope you have a fantastic Tuesday. Find something to smile about today.

Feel Pretty Workout Gear

I couple of months ago, I noticed a fitness apparel company called Ellie, circulating in a couple of health and fitness blogs that I read. Each blog was featuring a workout outfit made by Ellie and every single outfit I saw was just so darn cute that I had to find out more about this company. I reached out to them, expressing my interest in their products and they were kind enough to send me an outfit to try out for myself! I even got to choose my outfit.

About Ellie

Ellie, is an online women’s fitness apparel company who believes workout gear can be not only functional, but also fashionable. They strategically plan out every detail from the stitching to the seam placement to the fabrics, to help ensure a flattering fit for all and that the clothing moves with you which enables you to get your best workout possible.

Ellie features a new fitness apparel collection each month. You can become a member of Ellie’s club and choose any two pieces each month for $49.95 (free shipping, priority access, and other perks associated with the club membership) or you can purchase items individually without having a membership.

I was so excited when I got the package from them in the mail and anxious to try the clothes on. Right away I noticed how comfortable the fabric was. It is soft and durable, and  thicker than some other workout gear I own. It keeps everything tucked in and makes me feel very “firm and stable.” However, after wearing the pants for a short amount of time, I noticed that they were a little bit too snug and started to feel uncomfortable around my waistline. I was pretty sure I needed the next size up. I contacted the representative from Ellie who was very quick to respond with a kind email telling me she would send the next size up right away. Shortly after, I received the mediums in the mail, put them on, and they fit perfectly!

I actually ended up doing two photo shoots of the outfit I chose; one from a while back, and one from more recently.

The outfit I chose was:

The Dark Matter Legging which has stitched panel detail that enhances the tone and shape of your legs.

  • Soft like cotton
  • Moisture wicking fabric
  • Water, wind and tear resistant
  • Flat seams for a chafe-free fit
  • Designed for: gym, yoga

Forget Me Not Pink Tank

  • Gives the feel of soft cotton with the advantages of modern fiber technology
  • High water and wind resistant, will last against wear and tear
  • Fabric stays true to size and holds shape with regular wear
  • designed for: gym
  • properties: chafe-resistant, breathable, four-way stretch
  • shelf bra: yes
  • support level: low

(Photo shoot #1)

ellie review ellie review

I wore this outfit during a low-impact yoga workout and did not wear a sports bra because it has a built-in shelf bra. This worked out fine because it was such a low-impact workout, however, if there were to be any type of jumping involved in my workout, I absolutely would have added in a sports bra and would have been happy with the support.

The pants stayed put the whole workout and were very comfy.

ellie review

The pants are incredibly comfortable and flattering and the waistband sits very comfortably slightly above my hip bones. I am super picky about my waistbands (they can’t be too tight!) but this one gets my approval. It doesn’t dig into my sides meaning no muffin top and no claustrophobia for me.

(Photo shoot #2)

ellie review

 

Unfortunately, since I began the Insanity workouts and have been working out inside in my warm home, I haven’t had the chance to wear these pants a whole lot. I prefer wearing shorts when I do those workouts because I sweat SO much. Also, since the weather is finally nice in Minnesota, I’m not needing to wear pants on outdoor runs. These pants will get plenty of use next winter, though! I know that for sure.

ellie review

Now let’s talk about the sexy tank. If you want to make an impression, this is your tank. It is beautiful. The fabric hugs you just right yet is loose enough that it doesn’t show every nook and cranny. As I mentioned, I will more than likely be wearing a sports bra with this tank although it does have a built-in shelf bra (this may be enough for some people) because I need a little extra support.

ellie review

The pink tank rests on my hips, and stayed in place as I went for a long walk. It really brightened my mood just by wearing it. I feel good in this top and love how feminine it is!

ellie review   ellie review ellie review

I’m not one to really care about what I wear when I workout. My outfit doesn’t even need to match, but it absolutely must be comfortable. However, I do enjoy cute workout clothes. I mean really, who doesn’t? I’m super excited that this outfit is not only adorable, but it is so comfortable too.

Not only do I get my mood boosted from the endorphins after a workout, but I get the added kick of a cute outfit too! Win-win. 😉

Ellie has so many other items that I’m itching to try. Their prices are reasonable—less than Lululemon, but more than Target. Ha, that’s quite the price range right? They really do use quality fabric like they say, and I have a feeling this outfit is going to last a very long time.

Get 20% Off Ellie Gear!

So here’s the deal, because of my interest and excitement about this company, I am now am ambassador for them! If you go to Ellie’s website by clicking on my referral link here: 20% Off Ellie Apparel! you can get 20% off your Ellie clothing order. Or, if you just want to browse the site and learn more about the products and the company, that’s great too!

I also get points towards more Ellie gear myself if you click on over via my referral link! 🙂 Thank you ahead of time!!

If you do order Ellie gear, let me know once you get it so I can hear about how much you love it.

HAPPY SHOPPING!

Question of the day: What are the biggest factors that go into choosing your workout clothes (ie: comfort, price, style, etc.)?

Disclaimer:  Ellie provided me with free clothing to review; however, the opinions on the products are my own.

Go Green Tropical Smoothie

HAAAPPPY GOOD FRIDAY! This week really flew by for me and I’m not complaining about it one bit.

melanie

 

We are going to have one VERY relaxing Easter weekend! We already celebrated Easter with Dana’s family last weekend, so this weekend we will be celebrating with my family on Sunday. Tonight we have zero plans, and tomorrow we are going to do some spring cleaning! Yes, I’m excited about it. I’m hoping it’ll be nice enough that we can open the windows and let the “winter air” out of the house.

I’ve been loving my new NutriBullet. I whipped up another smoothie and have been having fun mixing in different veggies and finding combinations that keep my taste buds intrigued Yesterday’s was a tropical-ish smoothie.

smoothie

Go Green Tropical Smoothie

  • 1 cup pineapple
  • 1 small-medium ripe banana
  • 2 small celery sticks
  • 1 big handful of kale
  • almond milk**—as much or as little as you would like to reach desired consistency
  • aloe vera juice (optional)

**Coconut milk would be a GREAT substitute.

A little lunch action…mixed greens with tomato, guacamole, and an over-easy egg alongside a leftover almond biscuit and a juicy apple. Perfectly satisfying.

egg over a salad

In the afternoon I snacked on some walnuts and raisins to give me a quick energy boost.

Afternoon Workout

I pulled up YouTube on our Apple TV and flipped through some workouts and found the ToneItUp girls arm workout. I completed their arm workout and then went right into Insanity’s cardio abs routine. After that I headed down to the treadmill and cranked out a half hour walk. I felt a little guilty that I didn’t take the pup out for a walk outside, but it is SO muddy and I just didn’t feel like dealing with that yesterday. Sorry Mooser. Maybe next time.

Dinner

I roasted a large handful of Brussels Sprouts in the oven with olive oil, salt and pepper. While those roasted, I cooked a couple of mini turkey patties on the stove, along with sauteed onions and mushrooms. Once everything was done cooking, I plated up the sprouts, then the turkey patties, onions, and mushrooms, and I finished the dish off with some shredded cheddar and monterey jack cheese.

I ate a couple spoonfuls of cooked quinoa while I waited for this to come together.

veggies and turkey burger

veggies and turkey burger

Talk about taking a trip to flavor town! The only seasonings I used in this whole dish were salt, pepper, and olive oil, but the foods all took on their natural flavors and it tasted absolutely delicious.

I spent the evening sobbing over  watching Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. I read these books a long long time ago, and watched the movies, but it has been so long. Oh how I love a good chick flick! For an evening snack I had a handful of dates with pb; definitely my biggest weakness lately.

Okey dokey, I’m off for the day! I hope you all have a fantastic Good Friday!

Do you celebrate Easter? Do you have any fun plans this weekend?

An Overdue Appointment

I had one of those mornings where it seemed like everything I was trying to do was taking me double the amount of time. Seriously everything from doing my hair to deciding what to wear… I was just a mess! I even had to pack my breakfast “to-go” because I didn’t have enough time to eat at home. I did however have time for this…

Which is a good thing. My coffee is very important to me in the morning. It is such a comfort to me to sip on a hot cup of coffee with fat- free hazelnut creamer and stevia first thing in the morning.

My to-go breakfast was one you have seen before. Fresh blueberries, strawberries, banana with Greek yogurt sweetened with honey. Creamy and fruity deliciousness as always.

************

Fast forward to dinner because lunch was boring.

For dinner I had some veggies on the mind (what’s new, right?). Just like breakfast, and lunch actually too, dinner needed to be fast. I threw together a salad with mixed greens, shredded chicken, black beans, cheddar cheese,  and topped it with a little barbecue sauce and lite honey mustard. Oh, and corn. Can’t forget the corn! I also snacked on some sugar snap peas.

The reason I had to hurry through dinner was because I had an appointment to get to. An appointment at the Hair Salon!  Wahoo! It has been five months since my hair has been touched which is a little too long for my liking. Here are the before and after photos.

Before

After!

It is very blond and will take me a little time to get used to, but I like it! I kept it long but cleaned up the ends and added some layers and bangs. Now I am off to hang with Dana for a bit before bed. I am extremely tired. Good night!