Friday, June 28, 2013

Five on Friday: A Link-up!

  Hey there! It's Friiiiiiday!
  You  know the drill!
 
  - ONE - My new bracelet from J.Crew Factory Outlet arrived this week and I am obsessed! I scored this pretty gold & crystal link bracelet on sale for $21 online! Want one? Find it {here}!
- TWO - After giving up on the 6 month wait list at the library, I decided to purchase The Happiness Project for the beach. So far it is definitely living up to the hype!
- THREE - Coffee in bed every morning for the past 2 months.
I guess Matt still thinks he needs to campaign for "hubby of the year" {which clearly he won with the surprise Michael Kors watch last month}, but every morning he has been going to a 5:30 am F3 workout and swings by Bruegger's Coffee on the way home to pick up a cup of French Toast coffee. By the time he gets home I am checking my instagram  just getting out of bed to a hot magical cup of joe.
 PS - Am I the only one who thinks preparing the coffee pot before I go to bed for the next morning is the worst chore ever? Seriously, I'd rather clean our toilet every day. I hate making the coffee. Tell me I'm not alone.
 
- FOUR - Since Matt and I are trying to slim down for our summer vacation we've been packing in the protein for dinner. I usually have all of these foods in my house on a weekly basis since they are all my favorites so this dinner is easy to pull together. It also happens to be super cheap - like $3 for two plates of food. Win win. 
 {Seasoned black beans, avocado, egg whites with fresh salsa & roasted sweet potatoes}

- FIVE - I am absolutely addicted to Starbuck's Passion Tea. This week Starbuck's was offering half off drinks between 3-5 pm so Mel and I made sure to take advantage of the deal every single day with a venti sized tea.
  Wanna join  Darci, April, Natasha and I on the Friday fun? You can link-up on any of our four blogs every Friday! All you have to do is...

1.)  Write  your post about five things you're lovin' this week (or any five things you want to share!).
2.)  Share the logo above on your blog and link back.
3.)  Link-up at the bottom of the post so some new readers can check out your five things and say hello!
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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Grilled Pesto Shrimp Salad



  We've become obsessed with grilling things lately. Last night we combined several Pinterest recipes into one and came out with an amazing Grilled Pesto Shrimp Salad. And it looks like we have a lot of shrimp meals in our future because I stocked up at the Teeter when I found fresh peeled shrimp is on sale for $5.99 lb!
Grilled Pesto Shrimp Salad
Adapted from Gimme Some Oven & Skinny Taste

Salad Ingredients:
2 ears of sweet corn, shaved off the cob
3 strips of bacon, cooked & diced {I used bacon bits}
1/2 lb. large shrimp, peeled
4 cups chopped Romaine lettuce
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese {optional}
Skewers
    Buttermilk Pesto Dressing Ingredients: 
    1/2 cup buttermilk 
    1/2 cup Greek yogurt {plain}
    1/4 cup pesto, homemade or store bought
    1 Tbsp garlic, minced
    1 Tbsp. lemon juice
    pinch of salt and pepper, to taste

Marinate shrimp in pesto for 20 minutes {or longer}. If using wood skewers, soak for approximately 20 minutes in water. Meanwhile make the salad dressing by whisking together all ingredients until blended. Set aside. Assemble your salads by tossing together the Romaine, corn, bacon, shrimp and avocado. Thread shrimp on skewers and place on hot grill and cook until shrimp turns pink on the bottom, about 3-4 minutes; turn and continue cooking until shrimp is opaque and cooked through, about 3-4 minutes. Top salad with shrimp, drizzle with dressing and serve

Using some of the leftover grilled shrimp, I recreated my favorite shrimp wrap {from Leroy Fox} for our lunches today! Matt's gonna be so surprised when he opens his lunch to find the usual PBJ replaced with this amazing wrap.
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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

30 Minute Summer Butt Elliptical Challenge

If you are anything like me, your most productive time at the gym is the first 7 minutes on the elliptical. After that, it all goes down hill, especially if I've forgotten to bring my Us Weekly or my headphones. And since it is bikini season and I just so happen to have multiple beach vacations this summer, I decided it was time to get serious about my gym attendance. So on the days I go during lunch, I try and squeeze in 30 minutes of cardio, followed by a 10 minute arm workout (below).
 
I've found that unless I have a workout prepared for the day, I will just jump on the elliptical or treadmill and stare at the timer for 30 minutes. So I've been scouring the internet for good elliptical and treadmill HIIT workouts and found a few that looked interesting, combined and tweaked them into my new 30 Minute Summer Butt Elliptical Workout!
The colors designate which area of the legs & booty you're workin. 

Blue = Glutes
Red = Hamstring & Glutes
Green = Calves, Hamstring & Glutes
Purple = Hamstring & Glutes
 
I am quite proud of this crazy HIIT challenge I put together and it is definitely harder than it looks. Plus it keeps you super busy and distracted since you are constantly changing the settings on the machine. I couldn't even read a magazine during this workout but the time flew by!

After that, if I am still motivated, I love doing this quick 10 Minute Arm Workout by Fit Sugar.
{CLICK HERE for "Sexy Sculpted Arms"}

And just like that, you've crammed in a meaningful 40 minute workout! 
Now it's your turn! Fill me in on how you keep your workouts fun and challenging? I need variety!
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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

2013 Beachfest

Well, we survived beachfest {aka family vacation} in Cocoa Beach, FL. We jammed in so much in just 3 short days that I feel like I need a vacation from vacation! Whew!
As soon as I got home, mom and I ran to the store and bought all of the important food items for the trip. You know, like tequila and cookie cake.
Then we rewarded ourselves with mani/pedis.
First vacation meal? A Mexican feast, followed by a food coma.
 The next morning we woke up, had coffee and everyone piled in the car for Cocoa Beach.
 Our first stop in Cocoa Beach was Grandpa's favorite place - Grills Seafood Deck & Tiki Bar. No joke, we ate {and drank} here each day while on vacation, some days we even came twice. Grandpa refuses to go anywhere else. Plus he is a celebrity here - all the waitresses love him and expect him at the same time each day. They even have his order memorized - Fish Tacos with a Whiskey & Diet Coke. Famous.
{Brother, Sister, Me, Husband, Bro-in-Law}
 {Cheers}
 We also rented Scoot Coups which was hilarious, dangerous and super fun all at the same time.
 
 {seesters} 
 
We had perfect beach weather all weekend. We were so lucky!
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Friday, June 21, 2013

Five on Friday: A Link-up!

Bring on the sunscreen, vacations, bright nail polish, summer dresses and floppy hats - it's the first official day of SUMMER! I am so ready for summertime!
 

 Before we get down to business... a big congratulations to fellow Five on Firday host Natasha, on the arrival of Miss Carson! Couldn't be happier for your family of four!
  On to the Five!

- ONE - Ohhhh myyy gooodness. The semi-annual Bath & Body Works sale is going on right now! Earlier this week I stocked up on $5 aromatherapy bubble bath {regularly $13}, $3 hand soaps {regularly $5.50}, $5 mini candles {regularly $10} and $10 three-wick candles {regularly $20}!
  Saved $55.50!!
- TWO - Ever since we brought our lemon tree outside for the summer it has been growing like crazy!! Contrary to all of the reviews and tips I read, this tree is thriving in all of our recent downpours and summer heat! Grow little tree, grow!
 

Also, after I wrote {this post} about my obsession with our new lemon tree, a few of you asked where you could find one. Recently I've seen them stocked at Home Depot for $20!!
 
 - THREE - I cut my hair off! Well, four inches off anyway. I am loving my new short hair for summer and am super happy with how healthy and voluminous my hair feels.
- FOUR - I am dying to make this fruit pizza. OH MY GOODNESS it looks delicious!!!
Fruit Pizza
 
2 pkgs. packaged sugar cookie dough
8 oz. cream cheese (Istrawberry whipped cream cheese)
1 lime
 strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, bananas, kiwi, mandarin oranges


Press cookie dough into a sheet pan, and use a rolling pin to roll flat. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes until lightly brown. Let cool. Mix cream cheese with juice from one lime. Spread on cooled cookie crust. Slice fruits and place in rows on top of cream cheese layer.

- FIVE - If you follow me on Instagram you know that I am celebrating the first day of summer on the coast of the Sunshine State in a big floppy hat this weekend for a mini family beach vacation!
  Wanna join  Darci, April, Natasha and I on the Friday fun? You can link-up on any of our four blogs every Friday! All you have to do is...
1.)  Write  your post about five things you're lovin' this week (or any five things you want to share!).
2.)  Share the logo above on your blog and link back.
3.)  Link-up at the bottom of the post so some new readers can check out your five things and say hello!

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Dunkaroo Dip: A Lunchbox Snack Throwback

Recently I have been dying to go back to my 3rd grade snack days with some good old dunkaroo dip! Rivaling Gushers and the chocolate filled koalas, Dunkaroos were definitely a top 5 elementary school lunchbox snack. Oh the cafeteria memories!
 I quickly found the perfect opportunity to make this over the weekend for a birthday party we were invited to. Accompanying our delicious dunking snack? Animal cookies and lots of fruit {not pictured}.
Dunkaroo Dip

1 box (18 oz) Funfetti cake mix
1 1/2 cup plain or vanilla yogurt
2 cups Cool Whip
1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl until completely combined and there are no more lumps. Chill in refrigerator for one hour (keeps up to three days or can be frozen).  Serve with animal crackers, teddy grahams/graham crackers, or Nilla Wafers for an easy dessert. 
 
Note: You can also substitute fat-free Cool Whip and/or yogurt for lower calories.
I added lots of additional sprinkles. After all, it was a birthday celebration we were going to.
Unlike the original Dunkaroos, I ensured there was a more fair ratio of frosting to cookies. There is nothing more frustrating than running out of frosting with a full plate of cookies!
What was your favorite lunchbox snack?
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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Cherry Beergaritas

I've received a lot of emails about the Cherry Beergaritas we served at our Summer Soiree. I have to say, this is probably one of the very best cocktails I've ever had and it's super easy to make. 

I wish I could take the credit for creating this recipe, but I originally pinned it a long time ago from The Blond Cook and it's been on my "cocktails to make" list forever. So here it is...


Simple, right? Just be careful - these are deliciously dangerous!
Cherry Beergaritas
From The Blond Cook 
 
    (1) 12 ounce can frozen limeade concentrate
    12 ounces cherry flavored soda
    (1) 12 ounce bottle of your favorite beer (I used Corona Light)
    12 ounces of your favorite tequila
    Kosher salt, for rimming glass
    Lime for garnish
    Cherries for garnish

    Rub lime wedge around rim of each glass; dip in kosher salt.
    In a large pitcher, mix all ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon to combine.
    Serve over ice (if desired) in cute cups & garnish with a lime wedge & cherry.
Cheers!
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