Category Archives: Healthy Living

Burrito Bowls for Three

Wheww this morning has been a bit hectic!  But I thought I would pop in real quick for a weekend update.


My friend, Julie, came over after work on Friday so we could work on creating Save the Dates for the wedding.  She has a degree in Interior Design and is very knowledgeable with Adobe Photoship and Illustrator so she was able to navigate around quite easily to create some super cute Save the Dates.

We ordered a pizza and drank a little wine while working away on the computer.  I am very pleased with the results!  Now we just have to get them printed and send ’em off!  I’ll share those later. 🙂


After Julie spent the night at our house, we headed to Wisconsin around noon on Saturday.  Our friend, Dom, turned 30 this weekend so they had a big surprise birthday party up at their lakehouse.  Around 7 pm, a big school bus full of friends and family headed to Alpine Valley to see the Zac Brown Band concert.

julie jess me zac brown band

zac brown band concert

Unfortunately, I forgot to pull out my camera nearly all night, but I can assure you, we had a blast!


While we were gone, my parents watched our sick little Mac who was still not feeling well when we got back on Sunday afternoon.  Dave and I took him to the vet to get him checked out and make sure he was alright.  The vet did some tests and found he had a little bacteria in his stomach so he prescribed some medicine and a chicken & rice diet for the next few days.

mac food prep

I cooked up some chicken breasts and mixed it with some already prepped rice to make Mac’s meals a bit easier for the week.

mac chicken and rice

Ironically, Dave and I had Chipotle for dinner, while Mac enjoyed his own version of a burrito bowl. 😉

sunday food prep

While prepping Mac’s food, I also whipped up some food for myself this week which helped me get out the door quickly this morning.  Pays off to plan ahead! 🙂


Food Prep & iPhone Weekend Recap

Happy Monday!

Food Prep Inspiration

I first wanted to highlight a fun little post over at The Lean Green Bean.  Lindsay hosts a food prep inspiration post on Sundays to share other bloggers’ healthy eats.  I know sometimes I get into a rut making the same foods over and over, so it’s great to take in some new ideas from other people.

Check out her post from yesterday.  You might even recognize someone! 😉

iPhone Weekend Recap

This past weekend was jam-packed and I loved every second of it!  Here are a few photos to recap:

white tree



mac dog parkflowers

bloody mary

mom dad mac walk


dad and mac


I also ventured out for my first wedding dress shopping trip, though I can’t share many details and of course, no photos.  Let’s just say, although I didn’t actually make any purchases, it was a very successful trip! 🙂


My Friend George

Meet my friend, George!

george foreman

This is probably the most basic George Foreman you can buy but I use it all the time.  I primarily cook several chicken breasts at a time to have on-hand throughout the week.  It does wonders for quick, easy prepping and makes it super easy to re-heat for lunch, or dinner or throw in a salad or wrap.

chicken george forman

I always buy a large bag of individually frozen chicken breasts from Costco.  The day before I’m ready to cook up a batch, I toss about 4 or 5 in a large ziploc bag to defrost overnight.

seasoned chicken breasts raw2

When I’m ready, I season the chicken with whatever combination of herbs and spices I’m feeling that day while my friend, George, is heating up.

george forman chicken2

Once he’s all nice and hot, I throw a couple of chicken breasts on (no oil needed!), close the lid and let them cook for a few minutes.

george forman chicken cooked 2

These ones in the picture are pretty thin and only took about 3-4 minutes to cook!  Thicker ones would obviously need another couple minutes or so.

See how easy that is?!  I mean, in a matter of about 10-15 minutes, you can have a chicken breast pre-cooked for every day of the week.  Burgers, pork chops, tilapia filets, etc also work great!

I feel like the George Foreman grill has diminished in popularity but he is still a favorite in my book!

Shamrock Shuffle 2013

How are you on this Monday morning?  Not sure why, but I’m actually feeling oddly great for a Monday so I’m going to roll with it.  Nothing beats starting the work week off on the right foot!

Shamrock Shuffle

shamrock shuffle 2013 shirt

Julie and I woke up early and ran the Shamrock Shuffle 8K downtown Chicago.

julie and i pre shamrock shuffle

It was an absolutely gorgeous day and we could not have asked for better weather!  Hovering right around 50 degrees with blue skies and the sun shining, ya just can’t beat that!

shamrock shuffle 2013 results

Both of us were very satisfied with our results!  I fully intended on using this 8k solely as a training run for the half marathon coming up in a little over a month (eeks!) and was not trying to hit any certain time, but yesterday marked a PR for me, so I was definitely a happy girl!

julie and i post shamrock shuffle

After the race, Julie and I took full advantage of our free beer ticket and enjoyed an ice cold beer at 10 am!  We deserved it. 😉

kt tape

You may have noticed the pink tape on my left leg.  Julie had some knee pain about a week ago from running so she picked up KT Tape from the Shamrock Shuffle Expo.  Basically, this tape is supposed to relieve pressure and increase circulation to speed up recovery from athletic injuries.  Although, I do not have any injuries currently, I have had issues with my IT band in the past and since I haven’t been running outside too much lately, I applied some tape for prevention reasons.  Who knows if it was because of the tape, but so far so good!  I think I’ll invest in some as the weeks wind down before the half marathon. Can’t hurt!

Sunday Night 

I spent the rest of the afternoon getting things ready for the week.

dog park

Of course not before taking Mac to the dog park!  Again, the weather was just too darn nice to go sit inside the house quite yet.  Apparently, everyone else had the same idea as there were probably 30 dogs at one point!  Mac was in doggie heaven.  😉

food preparation

Immediately upon walking in the door, Mac bee-lined it straight to the couch for some serious nappage (<– totally a word!), while I headed for the kitchen to prep some food for the week and Dave golfed.

Can’t tell you how good it feels to have a fridge full of healthy foods to make packing breakfasts, lunches and snacks this week a breeze!

Later in the evening, Dave and I met my parents and brother out for dinner at Tap House Grill – 3rd time in 1 week!.  My brother is in the Coast Guard living in Mississippi and he is home for a few weeks so it was nice to catch up!

Daily Dose of Green: Packed with Love

At the beginning of every month, I receive in the mail a nice, neat little box from Daily Dose of Green.


Inside contains multiple product samples from eco-friendly businesses.  Each month is a bit different so I get to try a variety of products from a range of companies.  I signed up back in December and have loved receiving all sorts of goodies!

So how does it work?  I’ll let the company do the speaking for this:

For only $15.00 a month we will mail you samples of natural, organic, green, Eco-friendly and vegan products to your door in attractive earth friendly packaging. You will have the pleasure of trying out an assortment of green products in the comfort of your own home.

What should you expect to receive in a box? Something different every month but we try to include an array of products,  everything from: skin care, hair care, makeup, all natural perfumes to herbal teas and vegan chocolates, to house hold products.  We even have products that your kids and pets will love!

All the boxes follow a theme depending on the specific month’s happenings.  For example, my first one in December was geared towards the holidays and included some eco-friendly gift wrapping supplies and other holiday products.  Additionally, there is a little card to explain the theme and what products to expect.

january ddg

January’s box focused on renewing your commitment to a green lifestyle in the New Year.

Jan Box Numbered

1.  Kelapo Coconut Oil

If you’ve been reading lately, you probably know my love for coconut oil/butter, but I especially loved using these portioned-out sample packets.  Since coconut oil can get kind of messy, it was easy to squeeze just the right amount into a pan without making a mess!

2.  Chocolate Chip Boulder Granola

Hand-crafted with all organic ingredients and very delicious!  Plus how can you go wrong with chocolate chips?

3.  Vanilla Sunwarrior Protein Powder

I actually already have a bag of this vanilla protein powder and love it!

4.  Olive This World Olive Oil*

5.  Dr. Cleangreen’s Hand Purifier

It comes in a convenient spray bottle instead of the normal gel and is sitting right near my kitchen sink for easy use.

6.  By Valenti Body Oil*

7.  Health Warrior Coconut Chia Bar

I was a little skeptical at first, but it was actually pretty tasty!  Chewy with a little crunch from the chia seeds and nice overall coconut flavor.

8.  Pet Naturals Shampoo & Conditioner*

*I haven’t had a chance to try out these products yet.

Packed with Love

feb card

February obviously had a love and romance theme flowing through the products and the card encouraged you to love yourself this month.

Feb Box Numbered

1.  Original Sprout Island Bliss Shampoo

2.  Poppy’s Naturally Clean Tub Teas

3.  Essence of Vali Massage and Bath Oil

4.  Nicobella Vegan Organic Dark Chocolate Truffles

5.  Nardo’s Natural Eye Defying Serum

6.  Eve Organics Liquid Lip Stick

7.  Sjaak’s Organic Chocolate Hearts

Unfortunately, there was confusion with my new address so I didn’t receive February until this week and haven’t had a chance to try any products yet but I’ll keep ya posted if I really love any of them!

Tips for Packing Your Lunch

Hope everyone had an excellent weekend!  Dave and I just got back last night from a super quick trip with his parents to Florida to check out some wedding venues.

plane takeoff

We woke up bright and early on Sunday morning and met Dave’s parents, along with the co-pilot at the DuPage Airport.


Dave’s dad flew us in his plane and it was my first experience in a personal jet like this.  I have to say I was a bit nervous at first, but he did a fantastic job!


We were able to watch the sunrise on the way there, and the sunset on the way home.  Very pretty!

hotel view

Floridas’ beaches are absolutely gorgeous!  We found a couple hotels/resorts we are interested in having our wedding but I’m keeping my lips sealed until we actually decide on THE place. 😉

Tips for Packing Your Lunch

Over the last several years, I have packed my breakfast, lunch and snacks nearly every single workday and I’ve come up with a few strategies for packing foods so they stay fresh and intact by the time you are ready to eat them.  Here are some tricks I’ve learned along the way:

1. Invest in a decent sized lunch box, ice packs, and reusable glass or plastic travel containers. (i.e. Gladware, Tupperware, etc.)

lunch tools

(Don’t mind my hideous lunch box.  I wore my old one out and bought this one because of it’s separate compartments.  And the other fabric options were way worse, trust me.)

Although my work has refrigerators on each floor, they are the small ones that you would use in your college dorm room and are supposed to store food for, ohh about 80 people.  Umm, I’d rather just keep my food at my desk than try to jam it in a mini-fridge, thank you very much!

2.  Pack food the night before.

As soon as I walk in the door from work, I unpack my lunchbox, put away my dirty dishes and generally start packing food for the following day.  Or sometimes, I’ll also pack while I’m cooking dinner.  Personally, once I sit down and relax in front of the TV after dinner, there is no way I will motivate myself to pack squat.  Same goes for the morning – I am way too tired and it wastes too much time to pack anything in the morning so a surefire way to make sure it gets done is to do it immediately when I get home.

3.  Make friends with leftovers.

I know some people are anti-leftovers, but for me when preparing lunches to bring to work, they are my best friend.  I generally try to cook more food for dinner than I plan on eating that night, and then while I am cleaning up dinner, I typically pack individual servings for the next couple of days.  That way I can grab it out of the fridge and warm it up for lunch or dinner fast, if necessary.

4.  Pack enough food.

Have you ever been at work, stuck in traffic, running errands, etc. and hunger strikes hard?  It’s at those times, you realize the vending machines and fast food restaurants can actually talk and are calling your name to come eat crappy, unhealthy food.  But if you’re prepared, your packed, healthy snacks have a much better chance at winning against that cheeseburger or snickers bar.

I always pack my breakfast, lunch and two snacks to eat throughout the day.  While I generally eat everything I bring, there are some days that I just don’t have as big of an appetite or are extremely busy, so I simply take them home with me and use for the next day.

5.  Pack almost anything you want.

No one wants a soggy sandwich or fruit turned brown so here are a few tips to keep food fresh:

Wraps & Sandwiches

In order to keep your wrap (or sandwich) from getting soggy, hold off on putting whatever condiment until you are ready to eat.

blackened chicken and guac wrap

Or spread your condiment over turkey slices (or whatever meat you choose) and wrap to enclose it all inside the turkey instead of letting it touch the wrap itself.  Similarly for sandwiches, spread between slices of turkey so it doesn’t touch the bread.

 turkey and hummus wrap

Also, wrap your wrap in aluminum foil.  Mine always get soggy in a ziplock bag.


Salads & Salad Dressing

Pour your salad dressing in the bottom of the container, then add a layer of whatever vegetable or ingredient will not get soggy.  (i.e. cucumbers, celery, chicken, etc.)


Apples & Avocados

You can still pre-cut these two items the night before, but pour some lemon juice all over to keep from browning.  For best results, keep in an airtight, sealed ziploc bag or container.



I frequently eat bananas with my yogurt, so I layer them on the bottom first and then add yogurt or other toppings to keep from browning.


This is about all I can think of right now, but do you have any suggestions or tips for packing your lunch? Please share, I would love to hear new ideas!


Although my face has never been horrible in terms of acne or excessive oil/dryness, I’ve still been pretty adamant about taking care of my skin. Since high school, I’ve been in the habit of washing it at least twice daily, using moisturizer, taking off my makeup before bed, etc.

But over the last few years, I’ve stepped up my skin care routine and habits by not tanning anymore, using sunscreen, and switching over to Arbonne skin products, thanks to my lovely friend from college, Kali! 🙂 Kali, among many things, is a stay-at-home mom who blogs over at Monty’s Mayhem about life with a toddler and a newborn, and also plays the role of an Arbonne rep.


Similar to the popular Avon and Mary Kay brands, Arbonne is a company offering a wide-range of premium skin-care products. The key difference is their commitment to being ‘green’ and providing products free of harmful ingredients. All of Arbonne’s skin products are vegan, have no animal products or by-products, and are never tested on animals. You can read about it more here.

Top 3 Favorite Arbonne Products

Ever since Kali has been an Arbonne rep, I have tried out quite a variety of their products. I’ll highlight my top 3 favorites.

#3 FC5 Hand Lotion


I love how thick this hand lotion is but it soaks up right away and doesn’t leave my hands greasy or oily.

#2 RE9 Advanced Set

Although I’m still fairly young and this is an anti-aging line, I choose to use it as more of a preventative skincare. I figure it’s better (and easier) to start preventing wrinkles now than try to fix them later!

RE9 Advanced Set

This set includes the Smoothing Facial Cleanser, Restorative Day Creme, Regenerating Toner, Intensive Renewal Serum, Corrective Eye Creme, and Night Repair Creme (my favorite in the set).

After I began using the set for a few weeks, my skin felt noticeably tighter. Guess it’s doing it’s job! 😉

#1 Makeup Primer

make up primer

By far, my all-time favorite product!! I rub a small amount of the primer all over my face after lotion and before my bare minerals. It leaves my face feeling INCREDIBLY soft. Other primers don’t even stand a chance, this stuff is the best!

Other Arbonne Products

FC5 Shampoo, Conditioner & Body Wash

FC5 Set

I love the smell of this FC5 line.

Makeup Brushes, Bronzer, Lip Gloss, Eye Shadow, Eye Liner


lip gloss

All quality products!

Chocolate Protein Shakes

Arbonne Protein Shake

These taste like really thick chocolate milk! Plus they are portable so it’s easy to grab on-the-go or after a workout.

Fit Chews

fit chew

Kali gave me a few of these chews to sample. They are supposed to reduce sugar cravings and control appetite. I think they taste similar to Tootsie rolls!

Acne Spot Treatment, Self Tanner, FC5 Deep Cleansing Mask

other products

Due to the nature of these products, I only use on occasion but again, good stuff!

I have yet to be disappointed by an Arbonne product so I highly recommend this company.