Friday Favorites: Cold(er) Weather Edition

Happy Friday friends!  The HIGH here in Indianapolis is only 35 degrees!!!  Brrrr!!!!  I’ll be bundling my little people Christmas Story-style for sure!  That said, I thought I’d do a “Cold(er) Weather” edition of my Friday Favorites since “it’s here” and I don’t see another day above 50 degrees over the next week!

FASHION:  I have a few items I’ll share here!  It’s possible, too, that I’ve mentioned one or many of these in the past, but a refresher is always good, right?  1.  I’m obsessed with my North Face coat.  Since I substitute teach at my kid’s school, this coat was ESSENTIAL for recess duty & winter in general!  It’s SO warm, doesn’t feel bulky & actually looks super cute!  And, in terms of North Face prices, I think this style is pretty affordable! _1019718782.  If you’ve been reading this blog for a while now, you know that I am a FIRM believer in a Hunter boot investment!  They are PERFECT for wet AND cold weather (with special Hunter socks)!  I’ve had mine for YEARS and have only just this year considered replacing them with a new pair!  They are so durable & practical!  I looooove them!  Not to mention, you have to love the fun color selection!  I mean, you know I stick with my basics, but if you’re much more color adventurous than me, you’ll have so much fun picking out a pair or pairs! How cute are these in black glitter?  I could do that…..     _1020501003.  While my style remains pretty basic for cold weather, I have added a few new favorite sweaters to my closet this year.  Have you heard of the Dreamers by debut sweaters?  I’ve shared a few pics on Instagram of this sweater since we sell it at the boutique.  Truly, it’s amazing!  The softest, comfiest sweater EVER!  I love the V-neck style AND the fact that it’s a little oversized so that you can pull it off with leggings!  This brand also makes the same incredibly soft cardigans!  What’s funny about these sweaters is that they are popping up EVERYWHERE!  I’ve seen them on so many boutique sites I follow & most recently Nordstrom picked them up!  The boutique got a shipment on Wednesday & by the time I left yesterday at 3:15 they were almost completely sold out!  It’s a craze! Here I’m sporting my favorite beige with a dark grey bralette (both from State of Grace boutique of course)!!!  23316529_10214836093600031_4400543589217636205_nFOODIE:  I LOVE making soup(s) once the weather starts getting cooler!  They are so easy, versatile and HEALTHY!!!  My “go to’s” are always chicken noodle (made with rotisserie chicken and gluten-free noodles), chicken tortilla (pretty sure my recipe changes every time I make it), minestrone and stuffed pepper.  Here’s a link to the incredibly EASY and delicious stuffed pepper soup.  I typically prepare the rice on the side for my kiddos!  stuffed-pepper-soup-srgbFAMILY:  Last year we took the kiddies to Chicago over fall break & although we FROZE, it’ll always be one of my favorite little getaways.  We had SO MUCH FUN & my kids totally fell in love with the city.  Growing up we traveled to Chicago often since my Dad had a showroom at the Merchandise Mart.  We enjoyed amazing meals, shopping, and what kid doesn’t love staying in hotels?  Such great memories!  I hope we can get back up there (even in this cold weather) this year so that we can enjoy some of the holiday decorations (and do some Christmas shopping)!  Recommendations?  Shake Shack, Eataly (probably my fave in Chicago – for real), American Girl, Navy Pier (if it’s not too cold), Stan’s Donuts, Garrett’s (famous) popcorn, Lego Store,  Michigan Avenue, Museum of Science & Industry,  and Lou Malnati’s. IMG_8534

FUN:  We trek around the neighborhood in our golf cart (frequently).  Whether it’s to pick up a kid from a friend’s house or to visit with family friends, we love being able to hop in the cart instead of the car.  The hubs has weather-proofed our cart with a cover (purchased on Amazon, of course) AND heater!  Now, give me my North Face, Uggs & a warm cocktail & I’m set!  Just like summer, but without the shorts and glass of Chardonnay!  IMG_9068

That’s it for this chilly Friday!  I hope everyone enjoys their weekend bundled up with family!  We put our Christmas decorations up last weekend, but have yet to decorate the tree!  Maybe we’ll get around to doing that this weekend!  My kiddies are already SO excited for the upcoming holiday season!  They are so festive!

xoxo Jamie


Why Not Try It? Tuesday

I think I had mentioned how I REALLY got out of the swing of things in the kitchen over the last 3 months, right?  Like there was a lot of really random eating going on here, not unhealthy really, just RANDOM.  Thankfully my hubby jumped in on several occasions and wowed us with his skills in the kitchen because I was not earning any gold stars!  It’s funny how stress has a way of messing with the stuff you normally LOVE to do, and actually even tries to make it feel like a chore or another burden.  That said, I’m ending my cooking rut NOW.  With the holidays around the corner (yay!), I’m back on Pinterest & checking in with my favorite Instagram foodie bloggers for inspiration!  I’m tired of my “random” cooking ways!  In an effort to kick off the week on a healthy note, I made chicken burrito bowls last night for dinner & they received rave reviews from the family!  I looked a ton of recipes on Pinterest for inspiration, then just ended making up my own combo of “bowl items.”  

Chicken Burrito Bowls

1 lb. of chicken breast strips

2 cups of long grain rice, cooked

1 can of black beans, drained

1 can of corn, drained

1 can of diced tomatoes with chiles, drained

1/2 red onion, chopped

cilantro, to taste – chopped

1/2 avocado, diced

juice of 1 lime

cheese of choice – shredded Mexican blend, cotija, etc.

sour cream


Trader Joe’s Chile Lime Seasoning /Garlic / Salt + Pepper


First off, if you haven’t tried Trader Joe’s Chile Lime Seasoning Blend, RUSH to your nearest TJ’s to pick it up!  I use it weekly!!!  It has the best combo of spices which are perfect for both Tex Mex and Mexican dishes!  It’s SO good!Here’s what I did:  1.  Cut chicken breast strips into bite size pieces & put into bowl with olive oil and a generous couple of shakes of the Chile Lime Seasoning.  Set aside to marinade.  2.  Prepare rice according to directions.  (Cauliflower rice would be a GREAT alternative to brown or long grain rice).  3. Combine black beans, corn, tomatoes, red onion, diced avocado and chopped fresh cilantro.  Drizzle combo with olive oil, more glorious TJ’s chile lime seasoning, juice of 1 lime, salt, pepper & garlic powder.  Set aside.  4.  Put chicken into skillet & cook until done.  5.  Assemble “bowls” by starting with rice, then topping with chicken, tomato/corn/beans mixture and any/all additional toppings listed.  Enjoy!  You seriously can’t mess these up!  The topping possibilities are endless!  My kiddies enjoyed tortilla chips on the side, too, of course!

The leftovers from this are incredible – lunches for days!  Also, here are some links to more “bowl” style recipes I will be trying:

Spicy Shrimp Burrito Bowls

Teriyaki Chicken Bowls

Cuban Chicken Bowls

Chicken Shawarma with Quinoa Bowls

Turkey Taco Burrito Bowls

Have a great bowl recipe?  Send it my way!  I’d love to try it!

xoxo – Jamie


“Things You Might Not Know About Me” Monday


Okay, I vowed to get back to my blogging ways, and what better way than to re-introduce myself (by sharing a bunch of random things)?  Who knows, maybe we share the same loves / hates?  Let’s chat about ’em if we do!

To get us started, here are the basics:  I’m Jamie – wife to Chris, mommy to Maguire (Mac) and Parker (Rosie).  We live on the Northside of Indianapolis (but dream about South Florida constantly).  My hubby is a hard working regional sales manager in the commercial & industrial filtration industry, an avid golfer & lover of anything related to fishing and Florida.  I work part time as a substitute teacher at my kiddies school and 1x a week at a local clothing boutique owned by two girlfriends.  I love fitness (currently obsessed with barre classes), (healthy) food & cooking, family, friends and Florida (see a trend here?)!  Mac, our first born, is a smarty pants, an amazingly talented golfer and basically the coolest 9 year old around.  Parker is our beautiful, high energy comedian who loves ballet, gymnastics, slime & Snapchat!  These are my people – they are my entire life: Now, 20 random facts you might not  know:

  1. I lived in California (Beverly Hills) for 1 year before I moved home & met Chris at my “welcome home” party.
  2. I went to a small private college in Southern Indiana called Hanover College.  I started out wanting to be pre med, but since that required passing Chemistry, I switched to Business!
  3. While I LOVE fitness and eating healthy, I do have two vices I absolutely REFUSE to give up (and I’m okay with):  coffee creamer (like the really fake, sugary, chemically kind) & wine (Chardonnay in warm temps & Pinot Noir in cooler temps).  Sorry, no one is taking them away.
  4. Wearing bright colors makes me cringe.  My closet is full of black, gray, beige, dark green, blush, white……and camo.
  5. I love attending professional golf tournaments & I love Tiger Woods even more.  Sorry, not sorry.  I mean, have you been within 3 feet of him?  If not, get back to me with your opinion once you have been!
  6. I also have an appreciation for exotic cars – thanks to my Dad & my husband.  Too bad I’m stuck with a mom ride (for now)… to love my Highlander!
  7. Naples, Florida is my favorite city – I would live there in a heartbeat.  It’s a close second to any beachy city in Southern California.
  8. I wear makeup to the gym.  Always have, always will.  Ask my college friendsies.  I’m sure they remember me on the treadmill running for hours on end with my lipstick, eyeliner and mascara!
  9. My mom and I are best friends.  She is the very best person I know.
  10. Christmas is my favorite season / holiday & Christmas Blend coffee from Starbucks is THE BEST.
  11. I don’t have a single decorating gene in my body.  I love fashion, but don’t take me in a HomeGoods.  It’s waaay too overwhelming.
  12. I’ve been in a “very serious” long distance relationship with basically a younger version of myself for over 9 years now.  My girlfriend Price is the younger sister I never had, but one of my dearest friends.  I can (and do) tell her EVERYTHING.
  13. While I love cars, I HATE driving!  I have a serious road rage problem & like to keep inside my bubble.
  14. My absolute favorite lunch spot in Indy is Café Patachou where I always order the same:  1/2 chopped cobb with tomato artichoke soup.
  15. If I had to pick ONE type of food to eat the rest of my life & it would be calorie free I would pick pizza, of course.
  16. I LOVE coffee….like MUST HAVE IT as soon as I wake up every morning.
  17. I’m a morning person.
  18. I never attended church regularly UNTIL I was introduced to itown church 5 years ago.  It’s been life-changing.
  19. I can get totally side-tracked by watching Instastories, but am too scared to do one myself!
  20. I turn 40 in less than 2 weeks.

Phew….there’s 20.  More to come!


xoxo – Jamie



Back To Business: Friday Favorites

First off, I’d like to thank all of you for all of your sweet comments about my “Phone Calls & Footsteps” post.  I’m truly blessed to have such an amazing support system.  For those of you who bravely reached out to me, sharing your own “dark season” stories – I’m so touched.  It’s so easy to get caught up in ONLY what we “see” on social media.  Sure, we managed to “look” like we had everything together for the past 3 months, but isn’t it almost refreshing to now KNOW otherwise?  Gosh it felt good to be vulnerable and REAL.  So, thank you from the very bottom of my heart!!!  I’m so excited to be MOVING FORWARD & can’t wait to get back to sharing here on the blog!  It’s been WAY too long!!!

Let’s start with some Friday Favorites, shall we?  Heck I should just name this blog Friday Faves considering it’s about the only thing I’ve been posting for a while!  Hmmm….let me think on that……

FAMILY:  If you are local (and have young kids), I highly recommend making the effort to get to the Headless Horseman festivities at Conner Prairie.  As you might know, we attempted to go over Fall Break & literally turned around as soon as we got into the parking lot because it was so crazy, and our hayride for the Headless Horseman wouldn’t be until AFTER 11pm!  We went back last Saturday & were able to get right in and on the 7pm ride, and it was perfect!  The kiddies also loved the huge corn maze & various other activities they had around the village.  My tips for attending next year are:  1.  Don’t go on a Thursday or Sunday.  Those are “Member” days & season ticket holders for Conner Prairie get in for free.  2.  Don’t go during Fall Break because everyone who didn’t go somewhere for fall break will be there.  3.  GO when the weather is kind of iffy – bundle up & you’ll be just fine!  4.  Buy your tickets in advance online.  5.  Gates open at 6, so try to arrive (and wait in line….yuck) by 5:30 or even earlier.  6.  There is a ticket swap inside the gates, so if you DO get on a super early or super late hay ride, chances are there is someone who is willing to swap with you!  7.  Dress warmly & pull out your Hunter boots if it’s been cold/rainy.  8.  Enjoy!  It’s such a fun seasonal event for the family!!!

FASHION/FACE:  I picked up THIS olive off the shoulder waffle knit with dolman sleeves yesterday at State of Grace.  It’s AMAZING (and comes in 2 other colors – gray & mauve)!!!  You can wear it covering both shoulders as more of a cowl neck, but here I’m sporting it with a charcoal bralette (also from State of Grace, of course).  I sized up (to a medium) in this so that I could pull it down over my bum with leggings!  Oh, also – in this pic I’m wearing the most perfect pair of jeans!  They are KanCan brand, the mid-rise distressed & they fit like a glove!  You wouldn’t believe how many women I’ve introduced these wonderful jeans to – they are seriously THAT good (and….at under $50, you can’t beat the price)!!!  Hurry in to State of Grace for these gems too!  IMG_3337 I also had to add FACE to this section because I FINALLY tried IT Cosmetics!  I had been reading such rave reviews from fellow bloggers about various products by It & after seeing a few pics of myself, I felt like I needed to bring in the “big guns” to deal with under eye darkness & uneven skin tone.  I mean, as I told a girlfriend – I AM almost 40.  Sooo, into Sephora I went & out I walked with IT’s Bye Bye Under Eye and two samples of their famous Your Skin But Better CC Cream (I couldn’t decide between the “illuminating” or “matte”).  I was shocked by what a huge difference these two products made to my skin!  It was glorious!  I HIGHLY recommend these products – both are skin-changing.  I can’t wait to try more It products (and will share my reviews here)!  cc_cream_wcap_us_medium_main-min_1 byebyeundereye_main_5

FOODIE:  Last weekend I made the most delicious Sunday dinner (if I do say so myself)!  The hubby was heading out of town for the entire week, so I wanted to make something nice before he was off!  I decided on a roast chicken because I also wanted mashed potatoes & the two just go hand in hand, right?  When I was recipe searching I knew JUST the lady to consult for a really great roast chicken recipe – my bestie Ina Garten!  If you know Ina at all, you also know that every Friday night she makes roast chicken for her husband Jeffrey (yes, I DVR her shows & watch them while I cook, so I know lots about those two)!  I picked her “perfect roast chicken” recipe & it was just that…..perfect!  The house smelled amazing within minutes of popping it in the oven.  Such a perfect Sunday dinner!  Here’s a link to the recipe: & a peek at what mine looked like:We had mashed potatoes, corn (something we don’t have often, but the kids and hubby LOVE) and green beans alongside this amazing chicken!  Oh, a glass of my new favorite red blend, too – it’s 19 Crimes “The Uprising” & it’s SO good!  Pick some up ASAP!  It’s red wine weather, you know!

FITNESS / FUN:  Today was one of those “best days” -!!!  My girlfriend Tracy and I were able to take the day off together & just do a bunch of things we enjoy.  We started with a barre class at our fave studio (B Present Fishers), swung into the little brow salon we frequent for much-needed threading (I literally apologized to the gal for the state of mine – that’s how overdue I was), hit up our fave brunch spot (Café Patachou) for coffee, a MUCH-needed (and deserved) mimosa & just the best brunchie eats around.  After that deliciousness, we browsed through our local Nordstrom Rack & both started Christmas shopping for the kiddies (suuuuuch good deals on Under Armour for our boys & Zella Girls for the gals).  Then, as if that wasn’t already good enough, we strolled through Trader Joes and The Fresh Market for some “essentials” (coffee, hummus, cauliflower crust, wine, etc.)  Of course we laughed and eye-rolled though the day & had an absolute blast!  It was AWESOME – thank you Jesus!  Seriously – so good, so needed.

As I start to get back on track with my blogging, feel free to suggest what types of content you’d like to see more of  here – I’m open to any/all suggestions!  I feel like I used to share so many MORE recipes, but took a small hiatus from the kitchen for a bit.  Honestly, my hubby made the most amazing things for us over the last couple of months – filet with béarnaise and asparagus for our anniversary, these incredible tuna, cucumber and avocado stacks with spicy sriracha aioli, and these super yummy teriyaki flank steak skewers!  Seriously – he killed it in the kitchen!  I need to get my cooking groove back badly!  Maybe with the holidays being around the corner it’ll help?  Let’s hope!  That said, let me know what YOU want to see/read about here!

Hope everyone has a GREAT weekend!  Thanks again for all of your love & support!

xoxo – Jamie


Phone Calls & Footsteps…..

I’ve imagined myself writing this post for 3 months now….the title, what I’d say, how I’d feel writing it, and the tears that would flow while writing.  As some of you may have noticed, I took a temporary hiatus from blogging, and quite honestly “real life.”  In short, and without a lot of detail, – – upon return from our truly BLISSFUL 3 week vacation in Naples, my husband lost his job.  Goodbye 20 years of blood, sweat & tears… was over.  Were we shocked?  Well……not entirely due to the circumstances.  I mean, you might even say my husband felt a great sense of relief (again, for many reasons).  So, as a good wifey, I started out optimistic, supportive & hopeful. I put my happy face on, gave resume advice, researched jobs in his field and even kept myself open to relocation (to Florida).

As time went on, you could say my sense of optimism started waning….I knew we were entering one of those dark seasons….I felt it.  As we dealt with interviews, recruiters, and uncertainty I could feel the life being sucked out of me.  I was sinking and grasping for God’s hand – praying constantly while KNOWING and REPEATING to myself “This too, shall pass.”  It just had to pass.  Week after week, I’d listen for Chris’ phone to ring – hopeful the news on the other end would be delivering the answer to our prayers.  I’d wait to hear footsteps coming up or down the stairs to tell me the “good news.”  While I had confided in a small group of close friends, I found myself starting to avoid those that were closest to me for fear that I’d break in front of them.  This was NOT ME.  My fuse at home got shorter and shorter….my fear of the unknown started swallowing me.  All of the “what if’s” consumed my thoughts.  I’d lay in bed at night praying & fighting off those dark “worst case scenario” thoughts.  As time went by, the severance stopped & let’s just say “shit got real.”  One of these opportunities HAD to work out.  Time was NOT on our side, but you know who was, right?

Almost out of no where Chris got “the call” we had been waiting for – THE role he had gone into the “job search” seeking, the one that is PERFECT for him, was now HIS.  (While this certainly didn’t happen overnight, the interview/offer process WAS put on the fast track, for a large company, due to Chris’ knowledge and expertise in his industry.)  THIS WAS IT!  Our prayers had been answered!  We could STAY here in Indiana with our family AND the hubs would be taking on an incredible role with a very large, established company!  This too, HAD passed – I could see the dark clouds clearing…I could feel the weight being lifted off BOTH of our shoulders.  We are so thankful for friends and family who prayed for us and stuck by our side during this season.  Goodness it was rough, but we made it!  This weekend at church I will YET AGAIN thank itown’s “prayer team” for another prayer ANSWERED!  Week after week I’ve included my husband & his job search in their “prayer requests,” just like I had in the past for several other very “close to me” matters, KNOWING that those prayers would eventually be answered.  I’m adding this one to the long list!  Prayer works friends….it works.

Again, thank you FRIENDS and FAMILY for your support during this season.  As we (happily) adjust to a new normal with Chris’ new position which will most likely include lots of travel, I hope to slowly get back to sharing real life on here.

For any of you going through a similar “dark season” – I’m praying for you.  Keep your chin up & keep your faith VERY first!

xoxo – Jamie

P.S.  As many of you ALSO know, I’ve mixed a few things up in my life during this “interesting” time!  1.  I joined a new gym & totally changed up my fitness routine.  B Present Studio has been such a HUGE blessing – between the amazing instructors AND incredible ladies I’ve met, I just KNOW that God, once again, had this all planned.  There were days I’d show up to class filled with anxiety and leave with a renewed sense of peace and hope. My girls at B Present are life-giving, supportive, AMAZING women.  I cannot thank all of you enough!!!!   2.  In addition to my weekly “subbing” at my kid’s school, I started working 1 day a week at a lovely boutique owned by two beautiful friends – State of Grace.  If you know me, you also know that I LOVE fashion, clothes and shopping.  When I learned that my friend (and barre instructor) was going to be opening this boutique super close to our house, I knew I wanted to help out!  Soooo, what started as doing a little modeling of their clothing has turned into such a fun job for me!  I look forward to spending my Thursdays at State of Grace!  Not to mention – they have the CUTEST clothes!  Heaven!!!!  Fishers friends – come see me!

P.P.S.  A huge thank you to my husband….my best friend, my partner in crime, everything.  Your patience, level headedness and optimism are such admirable traits.  You are so smart, so talented & I just know this is your time to SHINE.  This is what we’ve been waiting (and praying for).  Thank you for putting up with me, comforting me and carrying US through this.  We love you so much & are SO proud of you!!!!

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……

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, 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… know me.