Nature Box – June Edition

Happy Friday!!

Can you believe we are already HALFWAY through June?  Ughh I feel like summer has barely even begun, thanks to the less-than-desirable weather lately.  Hopefully, this just means a later start to winter this year and no snow until mid-December.  One can only hope!

Nature Box – June

Although I received my June box at nearly 2 weeks ago, I have been so crazy busy and just haven’t had the opportunity to taste-test all my monthly goodies.

nature box june

Too busy to eat?  Never thought that was possible. 😉

nature box june 2

But I finally opened up all the bags and dug in!

nature box june items 1

If you’ve never heard of Nature Box before, it’s a subscription service that sends 5 different healthy snacks at the beginning of every month.

nature box june items 2

This June box is my 3rd one and I’ve been enjoying sampling unique health(ier) snacks without having to buy a ginormous bag!  Just the right amount to satisfy a snacky mood. 🙂

nautre box june card

The company sends a card detailing each item and offers suggestions of how to enjoy your snacks.  The theme for June is “Picnic Season”.

Cherry Ganache Granola

nature box june cherry ganache granola

This was my breakfast this morning.  A yogurt bowl with all kinds of goodies – blueberries & bananas (on the bottom), Greek yogurt, sunflower butter, and the Cherry Ganache Granola.  It was very tasty with the big plump dried cherries and whole roasted almonds mixed in with the crunchy granola clusters.

Peanut Butter Nom Noms

nature box june peanut butter nom noms

These are soft little cookies made with oats and peanut butter with chocolate chunks.  It tasted like an oatmeal raisin cookie (minus the raisins) as the base but with a hint of peanut butter and giant melty chunks of chocolate.  Delish!

Salsa Spiced Nut Mix

nature box june salsa spiced nut mix

Just a hint of zesty flavor coating a cashews and almonds, plus a crunchy corn-type chip.

BBQ Kettle Kernels

nature mix june bbq kettle kernels

Love these things!  I believe they are the similar to the roasted kettle kernels (but with a BBQ spin on ’em) from April’s box which I adored!  They remind me of those half-popped popcorn kernels at the bottom of the bowl. 🙂

And of course, Mr. Mac had to photobomb my picture!

Guacamole Bites

nature box june guacamole bites

These were good, but not my favorite.  They tasted like your typical corn chip (aka Frito, etc.) but with a tangy flavoring.  I mean, they were definitely yummy but I’m not the biggest fan of Frito-type snacks and I was hoping for more of a ‘guacamole’ emphasis.


Have a fabulous weekend!


Third Time’s A Charm

It was touch and go there for a little bit with the weather, but we made it to my wedding dress appointment last night at the Crystal Bride!

crystal bride

Rain or shine (aka heavy thunderstorms and tornado sirens.) Sure didn’t stop us! 🙂

mom me crystal bride

A few weeks ago, I ended up going by myself to a last minute appointment at the Crystal Bride to try on dresses.  I thought I found “the one” but I needed some moral support before I went through with any purchases.  Last night was my follow-up appointment and I brought along a few extra pairs of eyes for a second opinion.

annie me katie crystal bride

I had 3 different dresses narrowed down from last time and modeled them for my judges, saving my personal favorite for last.

And the vote was unanimous, so I said, “Yes to the dress!!!”

crystal bride champagne

Woohoo! A little bubbly to celebrate!

Check it off the list! 😉

Adult By Day, Kid By Night

Hey there!

I took the day off work yesterday to get some major school work done for my online class.  My procrastination finally crept up on me and I realized I need to get my butt in gear.  Like for real this time.

scrambled eggs feta avocado cholula

I woke up bright and early and made myself a nice big bowl of scrambled eggs for some brain fuel.  My favorite mix of avocado, feta cheese, and hot sauce.

After working away for several hours, I finally got up to the point to take one of two exams and I somehow squeezed out a 98%!  Although I still have another exam and a paper to complete, I feel the biggest weight off my shoulders just to know that I’ve finally made somewhat of a dent in the class.  Wheww!

Sky High Sports

Around 2pm, I took a much needed break to meet some coworkers at Sky High Sports.

sky high trampoline

It is a facility located in Niles, IL with lots of giant trampolines to jump on and have fun!

sky high trampoline 2

One of my coworkers, who has been to this trampoline park before, saw a coupon deal on Living Social and invited several of us to go since it is pretty close to our work.

sky high group

I was a little skeptical at first but we had a blast for the entire 2 hours!

foam pit rachel flip

In addition to the normal trampoline area, there is a section to jump in a giant foam pit.

foam pit lauren flip

The kid came out in all of us and we were all doing flips into the pit.

dodgeball 2

Another trampoline area was set up for dodgeball.


As you can see, we were playing with kids averaging maybe 12 years old.  But that didn’t stop us and the kids enjoyed kicking our butts!  (I promise, we weren’t the ONLY adults 😉 )

sky high csf group

All of us had an absolute blast and were talking about going back again sometime!  Great place for kids…maybe even better for adults! 😉

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! 🙂

A Few Wedding Updates

Last night, Dave and I had originally planned to go out for dinner and watch the Blackhawks game, but we had a sick little puppy to take care of.  😦

mac sick 2

I’ll spare you the details, but let’s just say there has been an abundance of potty breaks over the last 24 hours.

mac sick

We quickly changed plans to tend to our sick patient and ended up grilling a fabulous dinner of grilled chicken breast and corn on the cob.  There was, of course, plenty of cuddling involved last night… nothing like a little TLC to help ease the pain! 🙂

Wedding Updates

1.  I had an appointment to try on wedding dresses at a local bridal shop, Crystal Bride, in Geneva last week.  There is good news and bad news.

Bad news:  the appointment was all very last minute so I ended up going by myself.

Good news:  I may have found THE dress!!!

Unfortunately, I can’t release any details, except that it’s white or ivory, full length and even has a train.  Can you picture it? 😉

2.  I have been emailing back and forth with a lady who provides makeup & hair services.  She was recommended by Dave’s cousin’s wife’s friend (<–got that?) who also had her wedding at the Sandpearl.  She is free the weekend of our wedding so we’re just finalizing the details!

3.  Dave has been in contact with the band that, if all works out, will be playing at our reception.  We heard them at a friend’s wedding last October (?) down in New Orleans and absolutely loved all the music they played!  It also looks like they are open during that weekend so again, we are just working on figuring out logistics since the band members will have to travel to Clearwater.

4.  As I had mentioned before, my dad took a bunch of photos of Dave and I last weekend to use for our Save the Dates.  I had seen a few engagement pics on Pinterest that included the couple’s pet(s), so my dad and I thought it would be a great idea to throw Mac in some of the photos…

Dave And Lauren and MAC_DSC6275

…and that was maybe the “best” one.

Mac was probably the most uncooperative pup ever and less than 5 minutes into it, we realized it just wasn’t going to happen.  Looking back, I honesty don’t know what we were thinking!  We both should’ve remembered from previous experiences that Mac does not make the best photography subject.  Oh well! 😉

Next up on my wedding list of things to do is create/send save-the-dates and find a photographer and videographer!

Cooking Scrapbook – Mom & Lauren’s Tostada

Based on my past history of delayed flights, I was all worried about being delayed again last night.  Turns out, we completed our audit earlier than expected and I was able to switch to an earlier flight for free and I was able to get home nearly 3 hours early.  Score! 🙂

Having been gone for several days, I knew I didn’t have too much in the fridge for dinner so I resorted to an all-time favorite.


The easiest tostada ever!  My mom and I used to make these for lunch quite often when I lived at home.

tostada 2

We are convinced there is a touch of Mexican blood in us somewhere.  Both of us love Mexican! A longgggg time ago, I remember Taco Bell being ‘our spot’ when my brother and dad weren’t around for dinner.

tostada 3

I know, Taco Bell isn’t exactly the best Mexican food out there, but there was something about those little dates together eating our shared love for tostadas and bean burritos… definitely a cherished memory! 🙂

So when we weren’t at Taco Bell, we often assembled these tasty little tostadas and so, for obvious reasons, they made the cut in the Family Secrets section of the cooking scrapbook.

mom and lauren's easy microwave mexican tostada

mom & lauren's tostada recipe





Spread salsa, black beans, corn and shredded cheese over a tortilla.

tostada layers

Microwave until cheese is melted and top with lettuce, tomatoes, and hot sauce (optional for you, not optional for me! 😉 )

tostada 5

Easy as 1-2-3!

Note:  since the tostada is heated in the microwave, the tortilla does not get crispy, so it is a knife-and-fork kinda meal.  I would not recommend trying to pick it up!

WIAW #19: Addicted

Halfway through the week!

I’m definitely looking forward to going home tonight.  The forecast seems promising so far in both Louisville and Chicago.  I’ve had between 2-5 hour delays in my last 4 audits sooo I’m really hoping things stay on schedule!

What I Ate Wednesday

Since it’s Wednesday, it’s time for another WIAW post.  If you’re not familiar, you can read about it here.


After a nice and sweaty Crossfit session, I grabbed something to eat from the little coffee shop at the hotel while I got ready for the day.

iced coffee banana barney butter

Iced latte and a banana, plus a packet of Barney Butter almond butter I brought along in my suitcase.  I normally drink my coffee sans cream or sugar so the latte was a nice change!  Creamy and delicious 🙂

hotel breakfast

Once I was showered and ready, I headed down to the hotel restaurant for a real breakfast.  Omelet with mushrooms, green peppers, and onions, homestyle potatoes, and biscuits.


After working for a few hours, my coworkers and I broke for lunch.

panera thai chicken salad

And I was happy the group decided on my favorite, Panera!  Same as usual – thai chopped chicken salad and whole wheat baguette on the side.  Plus that delicious new Hibuscus iced tea I had last time on my audit.

Afternoon Snack

By the time we got back to the hotel, each of us went back to our rooms to regroup for about an hour or so before meeting back up for dinner.

yogurt apple nut mix

I played some games on my iPad while snacking on this yogurt apple nut mix

handful of yogurt mix

Butter toffee peanuts, yogurt raisins, honey roast sesame sticks, honey peanuts, almonds, and dried apples.

fairway solitaire

Sooo lets get back to the games I was playing on my iPad… my friends, Darcy and Lauren, recommended this game, Fairway Solitaire.  They warned me it was addicting and were they ever serious!?  I’ve been playing it every spare minute on this trip!

photo (1)

It’s also maddening!  This little gopher laughs at you when you play poorly! But I still can’t stop!


Finally, I took a break and met up with the other two for dinner.  We headed to the Fourth Street area of downtown Louisville and settled on another brewery called Gordon Biersch.

mediterranean chicken gordon biersch

I ordered the Mediterranean Chicken entree, consisting of grilled chicken breast with a bruschetta topping, a side of sauteed veggies and jasmine rice.  It was quite tasty!

Bedtime Snack

planters heart healthy mix

Back at the hotel, I continued playing Fairway Solitare and sometime in the midst of my games, I was hungry again so I snacked on some mixed nuts.  I played this maddening game until I physically couldn’t keep my eyes open and called it a night!  Can we say addicted??


Have a great rest of the day!