Friday Favorites!!!

Is it just me, or does it feel like we had a full work/school week?  Were we really off for Labor Day?  Oh well….we made it to Friday & that’s all that matters, right?  Our holiday weekend flew by & we definitely enjoyed plenty of family, friends & food!  Pretty typical!  We’re experiencing some amazing fall-like temps here in the Midwest this week & I’m loving that you can basically step out in just about anything (clothes-wise) and be comfy!  I love 60-70 degree weather!

With a busy couple of weeks ahead of us (2 mini trips in 2 totally different parts of the US in a matter of 7 days — eeek!), I wanted to make sure I got a Friday Faves post out because I DO have several “favorites” to share with you!

FITNESS:  (I realized I cannot do without my barre classes & will be back for another month….or forever.)  Last night I joined up with a group of girlfriends for a special 1 hour barre class at a local winery here in the Fishers-area – Daniel’s VineyardWho knew this little gem existed?  The vineyard & winery were gorgeous!  I felt like I had left Fishers & was flown directly to Santa Barbara!  What a gorgeous, hidden property!  Class was an intense 1 hour, but the huge room where we did class was GORGEOUS – a perfect space for wedding receptions & parties Fishers friends! After B Present owner, Tammy Weisweaver, had succeeded in kicking our booties (completely), we were dismissed out on to a gorgeous balcony outside of the banquet room for wine – yay!  While the workout was great & much needed, the girlfriend time + wine therapy was pretty top notch too!  I’m so thankful I’ve 1.  Been successful in converting my girlfriend Tracy to a lover of barre and 2.  Have met this amazing group of women – all thanks to barre!  I’m pretty sure our laughs carried across the vineyard last night!  Thanks so much for putting such a fun event together B Present Studio!  Let’s do it again (soon)!   Fishers friends – you MUST check Daniel’s Vineyard out!  They have tons of upcoming events (and wine slushies)!  Cheers!

FOODIE:  I’ve definitely shared my love of Halo Top on the blog before, but did you know I have a new favorite flavor?  I scored the limited edition PUMPKIN PIE at our local Fresh Thyme today!  Hello!  I’m such a sucker for ANYTHING pumpkin, and this flavor does NOT disappoint!  I popped the lid off as soon as I got home & gave it a try, of course!  The bonus?  ALL Halo Top is “buy one, get one free” at FT!  If that isn’t the deal of the century, I don’t know what is!  Hurry out & scoop this flavor up friends! 

FASHION:  If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you know that I have two friends who are opening a boutique here in Fishers – State of Grace Boutique.  A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to help them out with some pics sporting a selection of what they will be offering in their boutique.  Yep, I had a little “preview” & let me tell you, these gals have picked out some AMAZING things!From yummy fall cardigans, comfy dresses, booties, to perfect fitting denim, this boutique is going to be “the place” to pop in & walk out with an amazing fall wardrobe!  They plan on having their Grand Opening on September 16th & will be open that day from 10am – 7pm!  Another “must check out” my Fishers friends!  Don’t be surprised, too, if you see a familiar face there too!  I’m SO excited for these ladies!  (Be sure to follow State of Grace Fishers on Instagram!)

FAMILY/FUN:  First up on our “2 mini trips in 7 days” list is our annual trek to the BMW Championship!  Chris and I have been attending this golf tournament together for the last 4 years!  This year the tournament is back in one of our favorite Midwestern cities – Lake Forest, IL!  This will be our 3rd visit to Lake Forest & I cannot wait!  It is the PERFECT, dreamy, beautiful Midwestern city!  Plus, get this, temps are predicted to be in the glorious low 70’s!  It doesn’t get any better than 70 and sunny for a day on the course!  Not to mention, BMW certainly goes ALL OUT when it comes to patrons attending this tournament – – – you’ve gotta love perks, right?  Hoping for a cute (black)hat this year!  (Too bad my man Tiger won’t be there……)

I hope everyone has a GREAT Friday, into an even better weekend!  I’m gearing up for a crazy 2 weeks, but I’m feeling really good about all that’s to come!!!  Stay tuned for updates from beautiful Lake Forest next week!  I’m telling you, that city is just lovely!  As for the trip after that one?  You’ll find out soon enough….

xoxo – Jamie

P.S.  We are praying for everyone in Florida – stay safe friends!  I’m begging Irma to steer clear of our happy place……

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My “Month of Barre”

It’s hard to believe that today was my “last day” of my “month of barre!”  To say I enjoyed this new (to me) format would be a total understatement.  Once a heavy-lifting-only snob who would roll my eyes at the suggestion of “barre workouts,” you can officially call me a convertYep, I said it.  In the 5 weeks I’ve been doing barre classes – pretty much exclusively (5-6 classes per week), I can honestly say that I can both SEE changes physically (hello abs, booty, arms, legs…everything!) and FEEL changes mentally/emotionally.  I started these barre classes at the very beginning of a pretty tricky personal storm & for those of you who know me well, you know this “storm” hasn’t quite passed.  That said I’m a huge believer in all things happening for a reason & I’m convinced that God knew what I needed physically AND emotionally….it wasn’t more heavy lifting, it was B Present Studio & barre classes.  I’ll give you 3 reasons why:

  1.  The instructors:  If you’ve been to B Present, you also know about their amazing team of instructors, lead by fearless owner Tammy Weisweaver.  These ladies are such gifts – each with different words of wisdom, encouragement & stories.  Yes, they TALK throughout the entire class (again, something new to me).  You wouldn’t believe the “real talk” we’re blessed to hear.  I definitely leave class feeling a little less “crazy” and maybe not like I’m the only one struggling through an uncomfortable time.  I also leave feeling a little more optimistic – like, hey, I got this – the storm WILL pass, or my problems really aren’t THAT bad.  Like I always tell my kids “Hey, it could be worse!”  That’s truth.
  2. The workouts:  B Present offers 3 different barre workout formats (all total body):  Barre Beautiful (60 minutes) – more of a “traditional” barre class –  low impact, yet high intensity + high reps, Barre Bootcamp (60 minutes) – high impact thanks to 2 “cardio” bursts plus high intensity + high rep moves, and Barre Basics (45 minutes) – a “starting point” to barre moves, but nothing short of intense & total body “changing.”  Of course I’ve taken all 3 of these formats and while Barre Beautiful is probably my personal favorite (as a cardio-hater), I know how beneficial both Barre Bootcamp and Barre Basics are as well.  I left each of these formats feeling like I had gotten a TOTAL body workout – we hit every muscle group & those muscles FELT it on to the next (and the next) day!  I probably laughed when I saw that 3lb weights were part of the “toys” we were to use in classes – that was, until I actually USED those 3lb weights and felt just how HEAVY they can quickly feel when you are doing about a million reps!  Other (deathly) toys used are circle bands, long bands & balls.  I’m definitely fearful of the circle band – it causes immediate pain & agony, but is OH so GOOD for those glutes!  Another thing about these workouts that is a breath of fresh air to me is the fact that I actually LOOK FORWARD to coming to class.  Yep, no dread when it comes to barre classes.  I had started grumbling about my workouts before barre, so this was a sure sign that I was in the right place!  Done with a class – and, already looking forward to the next one!  YES!!!!! 
  3. The “gals” / community:  I need to start this segment out with a HUGE thank you to my girlfriend Libby.  Shortly after my surgery back in December I met up with Libby for a brunch & she suggested that I ease back into exercising with barre classes.  I admit I was definitely interested (even then I knew I needed a change), but at the same time I was a liiiiiitle intimidated by trying a studio that was established & probably already had its own little “community” of women.  I would tell Libby I’d join her, but then never follow through UNTIL news of B Present opening.  For some reason the fact that B Present was brand spanking new, made it a little more comfortable for me to “try.”  So, when Libby decided to make the “switch” & try B Present, I went with her…..and then brought more friends (including my mom – who LOVED it), reconnected with a few old ones & made new ones.  B Present is thriving with a huge community of AMAZING & STRONG women!  New to barre?  No way you’d feel intimidated about trying here.  Even when I can’t wrangle a workout buddy to join me, I’ve had no issues attending a class “by myself” because I know that there will be someone I either already know or might meet for the first time there.  Group fitness is where it’s at – always.  Why workout (or eye roll) alone?

(I know that some of you are reading this thinking – is she going to quit after her month?  Why just 1 month if she loves it so much?  Taking our “storm” into consideration, I have to hold out – sadly.  There are many things that are “up in the air” for us right now & making a commitment to just about anything (unfortunately) is impossible.  I’m looking forward to B Present’s Wine & Barre event next Thursday (9/7) at Daniel’s Vineyard & then their Grand Opening weekend workouts on Saturday (9/9).  Those will have to carry me over until I can decide when & how to move forward.  I mean, the storm will eventually pass, right?  Until then….you know I’ll be moving this booty in some way or another.  Exercise therapy is the real deal, friends!)

Fishers friends – If you’re craving a new workout format that you WON’T DREAD, one you’ll actually leave feeling REFRESHED both physically and mentally afterwards – be sure to check B Present Studio out!  You will NOT be sorry!

xoxo – Jamie

 

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!!!  Okay, I swore I’d be better about blogging once the kids went back to school & have failed miserably….already!   Life here at our house has been crazier & more stressful than normal and I’m trying to “deal.”  Please bear with me/us…..

That said, I DO have a few favorites to share this week….

  1.  FASHION (1 of 2):  How cute are these shoes?  If you know me, you also know that I pretty much live in things that are black, white, gray, beige, denim, blush and olive.  In fact, pretty much any other “color” scares the crap out of me!  On any given day, you are bound to find me in a gray tank (of some sort), beige cardigan & denim.  My other staple combo is a black tank, grey or blush cardi & denim.  That said, these shoes would be a PERFECT addition to my fall wardrobe – they’d go with EVERYTHING (I wear)!  Plus, they’d be perfect for working at school!  I sure hope they’re comfy!  Fellow bloggers, as well as Nordstrom’s site, say to “size up,” so I’m doing just that!(2 of 2) – Also loving this twist hem top by Bobeau!  I have something similar from Jane.com, but I have a feeling this one is much more lightweight & would be perfect transitioning into fall (worn with denim & the above mentioned shoes)!  I actually tried this on a few weeks ago (when it wasn’t on sale), and it DOES run a little big, so def. size down! 
  2. FITNESS:  It’s hard to believe that I’m moving into week 3 of my “month of barre!”  I’m still loving the classes I’m taking at the new studio (B Present)!  These classes definitely challenge me AND allow me to focus on areas I knew needed a little extra “help” (mainly my midsection…abs/core).  Do I miss lifting heavy weights?  Yep, I kind of do – I admit it.  In barre the weights are 3lbs & usually END UP feeling like 10lbs by the end of a set of exercises, but I DO miss some good old 15lb bicep curls and heavy weighted squats.  It’s hard to say what I’ll continue to do once my month is “up.”  Until then, however, I will definitely keep on enjoying how barre has challenged me AND changed me.  Not to mention, the instructors (or “bartenders”) at B Present have been AMAZING!  What an incredible group of women supporting women!  This week I took 5 classes & my goodness I was feeling it today!  If you’re interested in giving B Present a whirl, they are still offering incredible grand opening specials – you should REALLY take advantage of them!!!
  3. Foodie:  Did you guys see the pic of my sheet pan nachos on Tuesday evening?  See, I had originally planned on having a “Taco Tuesday,” but when I took an inventory on our taco supplies, I realized we were missing shells!  Whoops!  No problem, though – I whipped those ingredients into quick & easy TURKEY sheet pan nachos!  Probably not the HEALTHIEST sheet pan meal I could have made for our family, but I DID make my kiddies eat carrots and applesauce with it!  The hubs and I had our own side with some extra fixings (as you can see from the pic above).  All you need to do to make this QUICK and EASY snack and/or meal is:  1.  Brown lean turkey with fresh garlic & taco seasoning (I used Trader Joe’s Chili Lime Seasoning with some extra chili powder & cumin).  2.  Spread tortilla chips of your choice on a sheet pan.  3.  Top with the ground turkey.  4.  Add any shredded cheese that floats your boat (we used Colby Jack & Mexican Blend).  Make sure you use plenty!  5.  Add chopped tomatoes, black olives, jalapenos, red onion and fresh cilantro.  6.  Bake at 400 until cheese melts and starts to brown.  7.  Enjoy!  We served ours with sides of sour cream and salsa for dipping. 
  4. Fun / Family:  I went back to substitute teaching at my kiddie’s school this week!  My first day back was a 1/2 day in kindergarten & I had forgotten how much I enjoy being at school!  Wow!  It was a blast!  Now, don’t get me wrong, new kindy friends are definitely challenging, but I swear it’s the great people I get to work with and be around that makes it all worth it!  My kids are blessed with a building FULL of fabulous teachers!  Not to mention, I always go home with some really entertaining stories to share with my hubby!  He just can’t even imagine doing what I do – !!  Every day is certainly VERY different!  Subbing has allowed me to stick close to my kids, make my own “work” schedule AND really feel like I am in the know about what is going on at their school.  I think I’d be totally clueless if I wasn’t at school so much!  I’d hate that!  So here’s to another entertaining year of elementary school! 

With that….it’s time to start our Friday Night Pizza prep here – Luke Bryan is playing & it’s about time for a glass of wine!  I hope everyone has a GREAT weekend!  More next week….

xoxo – Jamie

Friday Favorites

TGIF – !!  It’s hard to believe that next week at this time my kiddies will be back at school!  They return on Wednesday & I think we all have mixed feelings about it!  Parker is going to have a heck of a time waking up before 9am & Mac is going to struggle with me bugging him about fixing his hair every day!  And, as far as how I feel about school starting – – I just hate how quickly the year seems to go once they are back in school!  Before we know it, December will roll around & not only does that mean Christmas, but Mac will hit double digits this year!  I can’t even believe he’ll be 10!

I hope you all caught my post about how I’m changing up my workouts?  Yep, I’m loving the barre classes I’ve been taking at B Present Studio!  They are kicking my booty & they are just so different from what I’m used to!  I love that!  Today I’m bringing along two friends AND one of my favorite workout partners – my mom!  She’s been curious about barre classes & I just know she’ll love this type of format as well!  Yay!  If there is one thing I’m good at, it’s getting others to join me for workouts – group fitness is where its at people!

Ready for some Friday Favorites?  I’m literally coming up with these as I type this post, so here we go:

  1. FASHION/MAKEUP:   NYX Butter Gloss in Angel Food Cake:  I’ve finally discovered the PERFECT not-too-pink, but more-pink-than-rose-colored gloss!  I’ve been on this color search forever (lame, but true)!  I had read about butter gloss via another blog I follow (Lunchpails & Lipstick), but when I couldn’t locate the color they suggested (Strawberry), I went with Angel Food Cake & was thrilled with my choice!  Butter gloss is amazing – not sticky at all, and has a great longevity on your lips!  Hurry to Target to scoop a few up because it is under $5! 
  2. FITNESSAthleta Chi Tanks  The Chi is by far one of my favorite workout tanks!  I’m really set in my ways about workout tanks & one requirement is that they MUST be racerback!  The Chi is a great basic racerback & now comes in a few different variations, all of which I love!  They are lightweight, and what I love most about them?  They never “look” sweaty!  I’ve worn the Chi for every type of workout format I’ve done & it always “works” great! 
  3. FOODIEThe Fresh Market’s Little Big Meal  You guys know we LOVE TFM!  It’s definitely a treat for me to shop at TFM & I definitely don’t pick up ALL of my groceries there!  We do, however, take advantage of their great specials!  Their Little Big Meal is a GREAT one for families!  Every week they advertise a new LBM — basically an entire meal, set to serve 4 people for only $25!  I don’t know about you, but I think it’s nearly impossible to spend less than $25 on a meal for a family of 4 anymore – – especially when the ingredients are coming from TFM!  THIS meal is genius!  I’ve seen “bowl” LBMs, lettuce wraps, gourmet burgers, stir fry, pasta meals, and our FAVORITE so far has been the kabobs!  I mean…it comes with ALL of this:  4 meat kabobs, 4 veggie kabobs, pita, Mediterranean pasta salad AND a pint of Talenti gelato!  Throw in a bottle of Replica Wine’s Misbehavin’ & you have yourself a GREAT dinner!  Definitely make sure you sign up for updates from your local Fresh Market so that you can be in the know about the week’s LBM!  Enjoy!
  4. FAMILY / FUN (1 of 2):  Did you know that our family loves to fish?  I grew up fishing, so a perfect summer night at our house is enjoying dinner & then hopping on the golf cart to head out to one of the ponds on one of the two golf course(s) in our neighborhood area!   Mac probably has the least patience for fishing (and well all know that fishing takes a lot of patience), but Chris is thrilled that Parker has taken to fishing so much!  She loves hopping on the cart with her Daddy & heading out to throw a few lines in the water!  Of course, our preference would be salt water, but we’ll take what we can get for now!  (2 of 2):  We finally tried a new ice cream shop in our town – Crave Ice Cream Social!  When we found out they were selling our favorite homemade popsicles – Nicey Treat (also local – just south of us in Broad Ripple), we knew we needed to go check this place out!  It was SO cute!  And, not only do they serve up frozen treats – they also have a coffee bar and plenty of homemade bakery!  Genius!  Mary & Parker enjoyed chocolate & chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream in dipped chocolate cones with sprinkles, while my mom and I had Key Lime Pie Nicey Treat popsicles (literally tasted like key lime pie on a stick – YUM)!  Everything was DELICIOUS!  We can’t wait to go back & try more!  If you are in the Fishers/Geist-area, I highly recommend Crave!  Take your kiddies & check it out! 

That’s about it!  I’ve been up since 4:30 with my mind racing this morning, sooo I have a load of laundry going & am on my 2nd cup of coffee!  My mom and I are making a much-needed trip to Costco to start stocking up on school lunchbox-stuff for the kiddies after class this morning!  Maybe next week I’ll compile a list of “new” ideas I have for school lunches this year?  I’m feeling inspired since both kids are slowly but surely trying new things & liking MORE than just their usual sandwich, bag of baked chips and a squeezy applesauce!  Thank goodness!

Stay tuned & have a GREAT weekend!  I’m def. looking forward to those cooler temps here in the Midwest AND celebrating both my sister-in-law’s birthday AND my parent’s 40th anniversary!

xoxo – Jamie

Workout Wednesday: CHANGE IT UP + My Month of Barre

I’m a FIRM believer in changing up your workouts….frequently.  In fact, I just made a huge change to my routine by taking a break from my usual Les Mills group fitness classes (including Body Pump + Body Step) & committing to a solid month of intense barre classes.  If you know anything about these types of group fitness classes, you also know how DIFFERENT they are!  It’s a BIG change!  As I’ve mentioned MANY times since last December, I haven’t quite fallen back in love with heavy weight lifting.  I know….shocking!  I took some time away, then had that lovely hernia surgery (the hernia a direct result of heavy lifting in some capacity) & I haven’t quite gotten back into it.  That said, I do believe weight lifting is 100% beneficial for women & trust me, these arms NEED weights, but maybe just not as heavy as I was lifting pre-surgeries.  Fast forward to that AWESOME new barre studio (B Present Studio) that opened in our town & feeling like I needed to change a few things workout-wise, and it just happened to be perfect timing!  A break from what had become routine, and a new beginning with a form of exercise I am STILL getting used to!

In fact, want to hear some of my initial thoughts about barre class?   Here you go:

  1.  Who KNEW I’d sweat so much?  Seriously,  I cruised into my first barre boot camp class with a light pink tank, only to quickly realize that black is essential in order to mask all the sweat!  Lesson learned!
  2. Group fitness, is group fitness no matter what type of exercise format you are doing.  It’s magical, inspiring & really the ONLY way I can push myself through a killer workout.  I’ve met some awesome gals in these new classes & the instructors have all been top notch!
  3. 3lb. weights can cause severe pain….that is, when you do about 1,000 reps while squeezing, squatting, tucking…..!!!!  Ouch!  My triceps have never been more sore!
  4. There IS cardio in barre…..there are burpees too!  I guess I’m not escaping those!
  5. I’ve definitely had sore abdominal muscles, but it’s rare that I can say my entire midsection is sore.  Barre has definitely allowed me to focus (more) on rebuilding my core (after hernia surgery).  If I’m left up to doing abs & core work at home, I will only do it sporadically – and probably half-assed.
  6. I guess I’ll work my calves.  Truthfully this is an area I NEVER work – no calf raises, etc.  It’s impossible NOT to in barre – I mean, try standing on  your toes & not feeling a burn in your calves.  Not possible!  Now as long as I’m just toning & not making those babies bigger, I’m cool with that.
  7. If it’s possible for leg muscles to swell and rebel?  That’s exactly what mine did after my first 7 barre classes…in a row.  I went to put my ever-faithful (and great fitting) white jeans on for church during the tail end of my barre marathon and good lordy they felt tight!  Now, I’ve worn the same jeans since & had little trouble, soooooo seriously….I think my muscles were super confused.
  8. I had to drag out my ancient Lululemon yoga mat.  I need a new mat desperately…..
  9. I love wearing flip flops to class!  No shoes necessary for these workouts!
  10. B Present Studio is located in close proximity to Starbucks….always a huge bonus if you can grab coffee after class, right?  The only way this situation could get BETTER is if there was a Patachou nearby!  Then, we’d be golden!

Stay tuned for more updates on my “month of barre” & if you’re in the Fishers-area, come join me for a class!  I promise you’ll discover muscles you never knew you had!

xoxo – Jamie

P.S.  While I have committed to my month of barre, I will also continue to include some weight lifting at home, walking + running because…..you know me.

Friday Faves

Wow, this week flew by!  It’s hard to believe that my little people will be back to school in just over 1 week!  Summer, thanks to our LOVELY Florida vacation, seemed to go by so fast!

I’d like to thank many of you who reached out to me personally after my post from last week.  Goodness it was a tough one, but after a lot of praying, I can honestly say that my attitude is coming around!  I’m definitely not feeling as “down in the dumps” as I did last week, thankfully!  I’ll share what’s going on at some point, but for now, just know that your kind words and prayers have meant so much!  Keep them coming!

That all said, are you ready for some Friday Faves?  I DO have a few for you:

Fun/Family:  The kids and I took a road trip to Cincinnati with my mom (Mimi) on Tuesday.  Mimi had never visited the (awesome) Cincinnati Zoo, so we decided it was time to change that!  We LOVE the Cincinnati Zoo & have been there 3 times now!  It is beautiful, HUGE and super affordable for families!  Not to mention, their gorilla exhibit is top notch!  I could watch those incredible creatures for hours!  They are amazing!  We geared up for big crowds since summer vacation was winding down & the weather was AWESOME on Tuesday.  Honestly, though, despite longer than normal lines of people waiting for tickets, it really wasn’t too bad!  We were able to park in the zoo lot (once it was so crowded we had to park in the neighborhood around the zoo which was quite scary to say the least), and there was never an issue getting “in” to see the animals at each exhibit!  It was an AWESOME day!  We stayed the night in nearby Covington, KY, rested our legs & enjoyed a great BBQ dinner before all crawling into bed to watch Shark Week!  The next day we hit the outlet mall on our way home & scooped up some great “back to school” stuff for the kiddies!  A huge thanks to my mom (who drove the entire time) – she is just the BEST road trip buddy! 

Foodie:  If you are anything like us you grill out almost EVERY SINGLE NIGHT during the summer months!  Well, as summer has started to wind down, I’ve gotten lazy with my salad making & have taken to just throwing EVERYTHING (as in every VEGGIE) together in a foil packet & also putting it directly on the grill!  The veggie foil packet has become my “go to” side for most of our meals because it is SO versatile!  For instance, have a few veggies in your crisper?  Why not toss them in a bowl, add a little olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic & fresh basil?  Dump that lovely mixture onto a few sheets of foil, make a “packet” and place directly on the grill?  Seriously it’s FOOL PROOF!  Our last (served with grilled pork medallions) consisted of:  green pepper, red pepper, orange pepper, russet potato, red onion, zucchini & fresh garlic + basil.  It was delicious & just SO easy!  I highly recommend!!!   

FASHION:  I received a few messages about the tank I was wearing in my pic with the kiddies at the zoo this week & my goodness, I’m glad you all asked because it’s been my fave “basic” purchase of the season! It’s from Nordstrom RackMelrose & Market brand & it’s simple, soft & flattering (all racer back tanks are if you ask me).  I’d love to scoop up a few more – specifically in my fave colors:  white & gray (since I already own black)!  Hit the link above to check it out, or visit your nearest Rack!  This brand is so affordable!

Fitness:  This may be a little foodie, a little fitness, but have you tried the Halo Top copycat at Kroger?  You guys know that we LOVE Halo Top at our house, but if it isn’t on sale, I definitely don’t buy it!  I just can’t justify spending $6 on a tiiiiiny pint of ice cream!  The answer?  Simple Truth’s  Low Cow!!!!!   We are so thankful to Kroger for creating this copycat!  At UNDER $4, with similar ingredients & calories – it is a GEM!  I HIGHLY recommend you rush to your nearest Kroger & pick up a few flavor options!  Our first was Sea Salt Carmel & it was delicious!  Go ahead, treat yourself!  (I’ve been known to eat this for lunch on occasion!)  Way to go Kroger! 

That’s about it for now – – – I’ll be compiling other “faves” over the next week to share, so stay tuned!  The weather is supposed to be gorgeous here in Indy through the weekend, so today I hope to take my boxful of Anniversary Sale returns back to Nordstrom…..hit Trader Joe’s & then accomplish a bunch around the house the rest of the weekend!  Fingers crossed!  We always go into the weekend with such good intentions!

Happy Friday!!!

xoxo – Jamie

Rainy Day Friday Faves

I’m not going to lie, it’s been a TOUGH week here.  I may go into more detail at some point, but for now…just know that much.  I’m praying for patience, understanding & a better attitude.  Enough said.  Moving on to my Friday Faves – – like in the title, it’s a (very) rainy day here!  When I left class at 6am, it was during a torrential downpour!  As if I wasn’t soaked enough from the barre bootcamp class I had just taken (which was a total booty kicking)!!!

I used to list my faves according to categories, which seems like a good idea to start going back to since there are some Fridays where I sit here racking my brain trying to figure out what I’d deem a “fave” for the week!  Sooo…we’ll use:  Fashion, Fitness, Foodie & Fun/Family.

Fashion:  Havaiana Flip Flops

I don’t know about you, but as soon as temps are over 70, I’m pulling out my flip flops & pretty much wear them on repeat until fall temps bring boots season!!  My fave flip flop?  My Havaianas!  They are so comfy, come in a ton of fun prints AND last forever!  In fact, I bought my favorite pair (a cute camo print with gold) 2 summers ago & they are still in perfect shape!  I’ve always found cute prints & styles at my Nordstrom Rack (for less, of course!) FitnessGroup Fitness / New Things / Workout Buddies

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ll go ahead and say it again because this week I’ve been especially blessed with the accountability that goes along with group fitness AND having good workout buddies!  While I CAN workout on my own & do a pretty decent job of making myself stick to 5+ days of exercise each week, I’d PREFER to workout WITH friends and fellow fitness lovers!  There’s just something so much more motivating when you exercise WITH someone and/or a group!  I’ve continued to try different classes at the new barre studio here in Fishers (B Present) & have thankfully had several friends who have helped hold me accountable by joining me for workouts….even at 5am!  With how tough this week has been, I know that if I hadn’t worked out (and crawled in bed for the entire day…like I felt like doing), I would be a lot worse off!  So, keep those workout buddies who motivate you CLOSE!  They are so important!  Foodie:

We were lucky enough to enjoy a midweek dinner at Ruth’s Chris with Chris’ parents this week.  It was a belated birthday dinner for both Chris and his mom.  My kiddies have been steak lovers since they were old enough to chew, so they certainly enjoyed the amazing meal we had!  I mean, how can you beat their filet?  You really can’t.  In addition to the delicious filet, we also had calamari (Mac’s favorite), lobster voodoo (reminded us of Bonefish’s famous Bang Bang Shrimp!), chopped salad, Cesar salad & of course….(Parker’s favorite) dessert (Chocolate Duo for the kiddies)!!!  It was a great meal, as always & quite a treat!!!Fun / FamilySummer Rocks at itown Church & Tumbling Camp

The kiddies kicked off this week with two “camps!”  They both participated in our church’s annual kid’s conference called Summer Rocks AND Parker had a tumbling camp from Monday through Thursday!  They both had a BLAST at Summer Rocks (while we enjoyed a few evenings to ourselves) & Parker LOVED tumbling camp!  The tumbling camp ended with water day AND a super cute “show” done by the girls to show off what they had done at camp!  I’m not sure about you, but camps are the only way to survive summer vacation!  Also, I can predict that our little tumbler will take full advantage of not having to wake up early this morning – – the 8am wake up call was tough on her all week!  Haha!  That girl certainly loves her beauty sleep!  Sooo, that’s about it — I’d appreciate any prayers and positive thoughts sent our way in the upcoming weeks!  I know this is all part of a greater plan, not particularly OUR plan, but we’ll remain faithful & hopeful (or try our best to at least)!!!  Hope everyone has a GREAT weekend!  More coming your way next week!

xoxo – Jamie

Friday Faves

I spent most of the day yesterday thinking it was Friday!  In fact, when I was headed to ballet with the kids I had my mom on the phone & I started complaining about all of the “annoying Friday late afternoon traffic.”  To which, my mom was quick to correct & inform me that it was only Thursday!  Whoops!  Summertime!  My concept of time & the days of the week has gotten really screwy!

That said – how about a few Friday Favorites?  It’s been a while!

It’s a 10 Miracle Leave In Conditioner with Keratin:  I forget…have I mentioned my “hair crisis” on the blog yet?  If not, a quick refresher – – in May I noticed that my hair was looking awfully thin & damaged.  I rushed out and bought a few products to try to fix the problem (which I quickly just associated with using both a curling iron & blow dryer).  The coconut oil treatment seemed to help with the breakage, but my hair continued to thin out  My stylist was quick to remind me that I had undergone 2 surgeries (with anesthesia) in a 6 month period.  She said that people notice that they shed hair a few months after surgery, so this was most likely my problem.  I stuck with my Biolage shampoo & conditioner, and even bought the regular It’s a 10 Leave In Conditioner, but it still continued to thin (and scare me).  While on vacation I changed things up & bought the It’s a 10 WITH Keratin AND incorporated Biotin vitamins into my daily routine.  I can’t tell you how QUICKLY this turned things around!  My hair felt back to almost normal almost immediately!  It’s a 10 was SUCH a lifesaver!  I used it religiously now & can’t tell you how much better my hair looks & feels.  I can finally wear it straight again & it doesn’t look like a thin, broken mess!  Thank you, thank you It’s a 10!!!!   Replica Wines:  Misbehaved  It’s no secret that I enjoy drinking wine – in fact, I come from a family of wine lovers!  While we were on vacation the hubs was at The Fresh Market picking up dinner, and while he was there they were doing a wine tasting featuring Replica Wines.  He picked up the Misbehaved version for me as it was supposed to be JUST like Meiomi Pinot Noir (which is SO good).  The bonus?  Of course it has a lower price point!  I couldn’t believe how much it tasted like the Meiomi!  We’ve continued to purchase this variation here at our local Fresh Market & I can’t wait to try a few of the others!  I think the Scapegoat might be my next purchase – it’s a “replica” of Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio….then Label Envy which is like another favorite of ours – La Crema Pinot Noir!!!  Gosh, let’s be honest – I just need to try them all!  Hurry to your local Fresh Market fellow wine lovers!  Rodan + Fields Reverse Brightening Regimen:  Several years ago I sold Rodan + Fields products & loved them!  The Reverse regimen helped whip my skin into shape & I always knew if I ran into trouble with uneven tone, or those darn sun spots that I could pick this treatment up & it would clear things up quickly.  Well, while in Florida I noticed that I was starting to develop some splotchy brown spots on my forehead and one along my jawline.  That darn sun!  Thankfully I have a good friend who sells R+F & I sent her a desperate text about needing to make sure I came home to Reverse at my doorstep to get rid of these spots (and whip my skin back into shape again)!  Luckily the system was 20% off WITH R+F’s new Lash Boost product, so I hopped on it!  I started using the regimen as soon as I got it & I swear I saw changes in my skin just 4 days into using it!  It’s amazing!  Stay tuned, too, for my review on the Lash Boost!  I have heard great things about what this “lash boosting” product does for other people, but I’m a tough critic with my SUPER stick straight lashes!  We’ll see!  I hope it works miracles!  Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Picks:  I decided against doing a separate post about the sale & my picks.  I will, however, give you a little sampling of some of my favorite items (that may have made their way into my shopping cart):

  1.  Hinge Tie Front Pullover
  2. PST by Project Social T The Blonde Cold Shoulder Sweatshirt (I mean, how could I resist this?)
  3. Socialite Off The Shoulder Sweatshirt
  4. Zella Live In High Waist Leggings (a staple item)
  5. Articles of Society Mya Skinny Jeans

Again, a small sampling of some of my fave items from the sale!  If you were an Anniversary Sale shopper – I’m curious, what did you scoop up?

Hope everyone has a GREAT Friday evening!  We are changing things up a bit here tonight & doing steak fajitas instead of our usual Friday Night Pizza!  We had a fun “cousin slumber party” at my brother & sister-in-law’s house last night where we did pizza there, sooooo Mexican night we shall have tonight!

I mean….how cute are these munchkins? 

xoxo – Jamie

Mid-Week Mumbling….

Hola!  I think I’m slowly starting to pull myself out of my post vacation depression….like at a snail’s pace, but still I’m feeling better than I did on Monday of this week!  That’s improvement people!  Also, just so you know, PTD (post travel depression) is a real thing.  Vacation was euphoric – carefree, worry-free & stress-free.  Coming home, on the other hand, was back to reality which is the very opposite of all of those “free” words I just used.  Boo.

That all said, I’m trying to keep the 3 of us busy until school starts in a few weeks!  Here’s a little glimpse of what we’ve been up to & what we’ll continue to be up to here:

  1.  Spending time with friends + family.  We met up with my dear friend Tracy & her kiddos yesterday for lunch after not seeing them in WEEKS!  As much as I adore Tracy, our kids also have the best time together, so it was super fun (despite the power going out mid-lunch-purchase at McAllisters)!  Also, my bestie and her family just moved a bit closer to us, so I hope to get some quality time in with her, plus see what they’re doing in their new house!  I know it’s going to be amazing!
  2.  More swim lessons, ballet lessons, golf lessons & camps.  Yep, all of that.  We’re continuing swim into August as the kids improve on their stroke technique (and diving) – – not to mention, we have the very BEST swim instructors ever!  Park is continuing with her ballet lessons & heads to tumbling camp next week (that plus our church’s VBS called Summer Rocks).  Mac will continue with his private golf lessons PLUS I’m going to throw in a camp the last week of the month!  He continues to improve & amaze us with his talent, of course! 
  3. New fitness classes – changing things up!  What I’ve realized after undergoing 2 surgeries (both requiring several weeks of no exercise, then restricted exercise & moderation), is that my body actually CHANGED.  While (thankfully) I didn’t gain a ton of weight (like I thought I would – haha!), my body leaned out a bit.  I’m realizing that maybe I was doing “too much” before & scaling back a bit gave my body a little break/refresh.  In order to maybe stick with the “lean” trend, I’m trying to change my fitness routine up a bit!  While I still LOVE weight lifting, I’ve scaled back on how heavy I lift & focus more on the depth and quality/quantity of exercises.  Also, I shared this morning that I tried a new barre studio that just opened here in Fishers – B Present.  I have a friend who has been taking barre classes for a while & I kept promising her that I’d join one time.  Well, I knew this studio was opening & when I heard that same friend had enjoyed the first couple of classes she had taken there, I just had to give it a whirl!  It seemed like the perfect time!  Wow, I loved the Barre Boot Camp we sweated through this morning at 5am!  It was a fantastic & challenging workout – combining both barre work AND cardio bursts!  I know I’m going to feel it tomorrow (new exercises always get me) & I cannot wait to try a few more classes at the new studio.  They are offering GREAT Grand Opening specials, so if you live in the Fishers area of Indy, definitely pop in and check this new studio out! 
  4.  The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale!  I know, I know…you’ve read about a million blog & Instagram posts about the big annual Nordstrom Sale.  I know you know the deal, too….it starts early for Nordstrom cardholders (like tomorrow….early access) & then opens to the public in 2 weeks.  It’s a GREAT sale & I love waking up early the day the early access starts just to check things out!  I definitely look for a few items – my fave Zella Live In leggings (I really do LIVE in these once the weather gets colder here – best leggings ever!) new boots and/or booties for fall, winter coats for both kiddies (great deals on The North Face), Uggs for Parker (I have my eye on a pair from the Anniversary Sale catalog – they are brown with what looks like gingham bows up the back), Nike running shoes (always a pair or two on sale that are super cute), cardigans, and other random items that would be great for fall weather!  It’s such a fun sale!  If you’re shopping it like I will be, CHEERS!  Enjoy! 

So, really….that’s what’s going on here!  Tomorrow night the kids and I are looking forward to a “cousin slumber party!”  My brother is out of town, so my sister-in-law & I are getting together (with all 4 kiddies) to make pizza, drink wine & just spend some quality sister time together!  We can’t wait!  It’s going to be so much fun!

I’m sure I’ll add more posts as I recover from my PTD, so stay tuned…..I’ll be up shopping the big sale tomorrow & will def. have to share my picks!

xoxo – Jamie

Naples 2017 – Best Vacation Award Winner!

We are back from our highly anticipated  LONG family vacation in Naples, Florida & it was truly everything we had hoped for & more!  I didn’t take my laptop along with me, but definitely did a great job of documenting our trip via Instagram, so I hope you follow me over there?  If not, definitely be sure to like @coffeeandcartwheels so that we can connect!  I love, love, love Instagram (like more than Facebook anymore)!

So you might remember that the kids and I flew out to meet my mom in Naples as she was already there with her cousin.  It was Mimi, the kids and me for the first two weeks of our vacation & then my hubby was able to meet us down for the final week.  The plan worked just perfectly – we had an easy flight into Fort Myers on Tuesday the 14th & it’s safe to say that the kiddies fell in love with our condo (which was a family friend’s & we are oh so grateful for use of it) upon first sight! Mac had been to this particular condo twice before (when he was 6 months & then again when he was 1.5 yrs), but Parker had never been!  How could you NOT love this incredible view? I mean, this is from our balcony!!!  THIS VIEW every morning, everyday, every night!  Just incredible!  Our condo is one of the only beachfront condos with (easy) beach access – as in the pool deck view was the ocean/beach.  It was a two step drop down to the beach from the pool deck area & that makes this condo EXTRA special!  The kids went between swimming in the pool & ocean ALL DAY LONG!  They were so busy & truly swam their little hearts out daily!  We took a few excursions while Mimi was with us – one to the outlet malls which were located just south of the Ft. Myers airport (rainy day trip) & then another down to the Everglades for an airboat ride / alligator watching!  I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Parker was truly impressed with the airboat ride, but Mac and I loved it!  It was amazing how fast those boats go & how swift they can turn & even go over marshy areas!  Plus, seeing the gators out and about in their natural habitat was pretty incredible!  (There are many different airboat companies south of Naples, but we chose Wooten’s because it also had a cool animal sanctuary to check out!  We highly recommend this company!  Our airboat tour guide (Marco) was awesome & so much fun!  In addition to all of our swimming, pooling & beach exploring we also ATE amazingly too!  I can honestly say that I didn’t have a single meal I didn’t absolutely love while in Florida!  Between picking up fresh food to prepare in our condo (I mean, why not with that view, right?) or going out – we had some incredible food!  A few of our fave restaurants?  There are several:

  1.  Tommy Bahama (a MUST in Naples):  We ate here on our second night in Naples & despite getting seated super late, we had the BEST service & the most delicious meals.  They have a GREAT kids menu which is always nice to see & you know you MUST have their famous coconut shrimp as an appetizer, right?  My mom and I both had the blue crab salad, which was amazing!  I know I have a pic of it somewhere, but it’s currently lost in the hundreds of photos I snapped!
  2. Cosmos Pizza (another MUST):  We first tried Cosmos upon recommendation back when we were first in Naples with Maguire (2008), we went back again in 2009 & haven’t had it since!  It was a MUST during this trip, especially since you guys know we REQUIRE pizza on Friday nights, right?  We ordered carry out both times during our trip & were so happy each time – the hubs went with their Supreme & I did the Quattro Stagioni (with ham, artichoke hearts, and olives).  The second round we added the Antipasto salad & it also did not disappoint!
  3. The Turtle Club:  Chris and I enjoyed a date night while my mom was still in town!  We hit the Ritz Carlton for drinks and appetizers, then walked down the beach to the Turtle Club for an amazing (but very late) dinner! We couldn’t pass up their signature “Oysters Turtlefeller”….and lots of Miraval Rose’
  4. The Dock at Crayton Cove:  Have I mentioned that my hubby has a talent for picking out great restaurants?  We wanted a place to take the kiddies that was waterfront, but kid-friendly.  The Dock was perfect & overlooks beautiful Naples Bay!  The kids meals came in Bento boxes, which was super cute! The hubs had black grouper in key lime butter sauce & I had a seafood Louie salad with homemade “Louie” dressing.  Both were delicious!  We’ll definitely return!
  5. Tacos & Tequila Cantina:  The hubs had visited Tacos & Tequila during his last golf trip down to Naples / Bonita Springs, so he knew this would be a fun place to take the kiddies!  I mean, who doesn’t love tacos (and tequila)?  It was a fun, laid back atmosphere & the food was great!  The hubs and I split the fajita trio & we could barely finish it! 

In addition to eating out, like I said earlier – we also ate in often & enjoyed the amazing view from the condo’s balcony!  We took advantage of some amazing things from The Fresh Market, Trader Joe’s AND also visited the Third Street South Farmer’s Market to pick up the most amazing fresh crab cakes!  The market itself is SO cute & actually located just behind Tommy Bahama.  There are all sorts of gourmet and fresh vendors – fruits, veggies, breads, olive oils, olives, fresh eggs, coffees, salsas, etc.  My favorite foodie vendor there is The Bowl which serves made to order acai bowls!  They are amazing!  During our first visit I enjoyed the Key West Bowl (Açaí, pineapple, mango, banana, coconut; topped with Granola, strawberries, banana, coconut shreds, honey) and for our last visit I had the AB&J (Açaí, blueberries, strawberries, banana, almond butter, almond milk; topped with Granola, blueberries, banana, hemp hearts, coconut shreds, honey).  So good!  The rest of the fam enjoyed fresh bagel breakfast sammies, of course!  So, when we weren’t eating (and drinking), we were enjoying the beach AND pool.  Like I mentioned earlier, the kids swam almost constantly from the time we got to Florida.  Once the hubs arrived he picked up a bunch of fishing gear for his week!  We had so much fun watching him!  I loved that he was up early enjoying one of his favorite past times!  Evenings on the beach were amazing (and better for fishing)!  Once the sun would go down, we’d just chill on the beach.  It was gorgeous!  I mean….those views, that sunset!  Could it get better than that?  I’m at home day dreaming about it right now!  It truly was a perfect family vacation.  We are SO grateful we were able to spend that time together.  We’ll cherish the memories we made forever!  God is SO good!

Until we meet again Naples…..please let it be sooner, rather than later!  We love you!

xoxo – Jamie

P.S.  Did I workout on vacation?  I’m proud to say HECK YES – I hit the gym, ran on the beach or walked 14 out of 19 days we were on vacation!  I’m proud of that!  Sure, some workouts weren’t as intense as I know they would be at home, but it was vacation!  I kept pretty “on schedule” with my fitness and food just because I knew it would make me such a better mom, wife, daughter if I did!  Haha!  Not to mention….this mama DID rock a lot of super cute one piece suits!  Mom-suits rock!  P.P.S  Did we shop?  Again – of course, but nothing too crazy!  My suitcase was heavy enough COMING to Florida – I didn’t need to add more weight to it!  We hit my favorite outdoor shopping area (Waterside Shops) when the hubby was in town & had a really great morning browsing!  Naturally we had to check out that Nordstrom & it was wonderful!  It was just too bad it wasn’t during Early Access to the Anniversary Sale!  Parker loved browsing through the Lilly Pulitzer store & picked out the cutest romper for herself!  She’s an amazing little shopper!  She knows exactly what she likes!  We also checked out the Nordstrom Rack in another super cute outdoor shopping area – Mercato Shops.  It was 2 floors & really a fabulous Rack!  The kids enjoyed browsing the tiny stores at Tin City too!  I remember loving them when I was younger as well!  Downtown Naples also has great shopping, but we stuck close to Tommy Bahama & the stores that surrounded it!  We didn’t want to get too carried away dragging the kids around into store after store!  I’m sure we missed some great little shops here and there!  There’s always next time!

P.P.P.S  We dove RIGHT into the 4th of July festivities as soon as we returned from vacation!  I think that definitely made our return easier because the past couple of days have been filled with friends, great food, and amazing fireworks!  I think next week is going to be a tough one!  No celebrations???