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Love & Marriage…Love & Marriage…

8 Jun

With our wedding day quickly approaching (50 days!), all the little details seem to be overflowing my brain.  Chairs, decorations, transportation, hotels…there’s a lot of stuff to do for a wedding! 

When I find myself thinking too much about what flowers to use, how in the world we’ll blow up our balloons when there’s a helium shortage (for reals, there’s such a thing going on, people!!), or how many cute little raffia fans to buy for the hot weather, I take a few moments and pause.  I start to think about how many people keep telling us how excited they are for our big day.  The people who are making the effort to go a VERY long way up to our wedding location, take time off of work, and really really want to be a part of our wedding.  I get teary-eyed even thinking of how much love will be flowing in the days leading up to, and at the day of our wedding.  My bridal shower last weekend was evidence of the beautiful emotions people shared with one another, and with my wonderful fiance.  Tears will flow during our wedding weekend as they did at the shower, and they will be tears of pure joy and complete happiness.  Happiness for finding the person I want to spend the rest of my life with.  Happiness for sharing our wedding with the people we love.  Happiness for our loved ones showing how much THEY love us together.  Happiness for all the fun we will have celebrating our marriage.  We are SO looking forward to our families and friends all joining together to form a great big super family!   

I also take a step back from the planning, and think about the wonderful man I am going to marry.  He makes me smile, makes me laugh (while teasing me about my silly sounding giggle),  dances with me, cooks with me, takes care of me,  holds me when I need to be held.  When babysitting recently, I was with the baby upstairs in his room.  The door was closed, and I thought we were just two kids hangin’ out playing with our Playskool Barn.  Me telling him what a great job he was doing stacking his blocks, and then eventually humming and singing to put him in the sleepy time zone.  I came downstairs an hour after heading up, to find my fiance in the living room.  He gave me a hug and said, “I could hear you on the monitor the whole time you were up there…you’re going to make a great mom some day.”  **insert warm fuzzy feelings** That man of mine is a real keeper.

This is some of what love and marriage is made of


pureMUSCLE aka “jello arms”

1 Feb

Back to the gym this morning for one of my favorite classes, pureMUSCLE.  Love it! It’s taught by the same instructor who does ABSolute Strength.  She’s so positive and helpful, great fast music.  Gotta love the positivity at 6am, considering I hauled my butt outta bed before 5am, to get to the gym in the suburbs by my office on time.  Ohhhh, the discipline, right?? ha!


Enjoy this muscular workout that will tighten and tone for a lean body. This resistance class uses barbells and hand weights and is a great counterbalance to all other muscle conditioning classes and is perfect for all levels

 But HOLY cow!  That’s some intense arm work!! Today, we only used hand weights, but we’ve used the body bar in previous classes.  I think we did at least 8 sets each of shoulders, biceps, triceps, laterals, and then got right into lunges, then finished up with ab work.  By the way, doing squats with your legs far out to the sides, toes pointed out, while raising off your heels=purePAIN.  Maybe that’s what the class should be called instead of pureMUSCLE??  But then again, I probably wouldn’t have taken it if that was the case.  Good call on that one smarties.

Since this is the year of Halle Berry thighs, I’m thinking it should also be the year of Michelle Obama arms??  What do you think? Yes? Do you have other suggestions for a better arm role model?


 All I have to say, is that as long as you keep those dang pictures of scary Madonna arms away from my line of vision, I think I’ll live a much happier life.  Ugh!  Seriously?? What is her deal?!? And who told her that was a good look to go for?

So, I’m loving my classes and can defiitely feel myself getting stronger and stronger every day. Just pretty please…do not ask me to reach for something on the top shelf of the cupboard for you today? Mmmmkay?? Thanks! 😉

2012…time to get going!

19 Jan

January is for the start of a fresh healthy new year, but it took a bit to get back into the swing of things…

I was out of the gym for about a month, from mid-December to mid-January.  Not cool.  I injured myself at the gym in the middle of December by straining muscles around my ribs…while stretching!!!  What!?! Who does that??  Ugh.   Such a dork.  It hurt to move for days. No bueno.  I was really starting to get into my new workout routine and fun classes, and then WAM!  No gym for me.  Soooooo, time for healing my injury lead into my vacation for Christmas and New Years, and then a week in Portland for work.  All adding up to a month off from the gym.  I realized I really missed how I had started to feel back in December from taking my new classes.  I was feeling stronger and healthier, and then it was gone.  Poof!  I  topped it off with eating sweets and decadent food at the holidays and a few (many maybe??) celebratory cocktails, hey it was the holidays. 

Cut to last week, my first week back at the office in almost three weeks.  Finally got my booty back into the gym, and it felt DAMN good!  Ooooh boy!  Loved to be back at the gym! I missed that adrenaline!   After a week back at the gym, I decided I was ready to get back into my class routine and headed to 6am ABSolute Strength class this Monday. 

ABSolute Strength

High repetition, high-intensity endurance oriented strength training designed to train the core, legs & upper body. Highly effective abdominal training exercises and compound muscle movements for a lean look, incredible posture and a great sense of physical and mental strength.

The class works biceps, triceps, abs, core, quads, glutes, and I was squatting and lunging my little booty away with weights on my shoulders.  It was a great way to start off my week.  I was feeling strong, getting thru all the reps, feeling the burn. The teacher plays great upbeat music and is super helpful to everyone during the class.   She even called me out in class to say I had beautiful form!  BONUS!  🙂  I got a good stretch after class and then went to make my way down the stairs to the locker room.  Now, let me tell you something…whoever decided the womens locker room should be THREE flights down from the main workout area, must have been some type of crazy torturer.  I mean, THREE??  Come on!!  I took my first step down and nearly collapsed in the stairwell.  My legs were jello from all those lunges and squats!  I had to hold onto the railing for dear life as I very slowly creeped down the three flights of stairs, hoping nobody had to rush past me and laugh at my weak little legs. I even laughed at loud at myself!  But I kept thinking…if this is what it takes to be just thiiiiiiis much closer to getting sexy thighs like Halle Berry and rock some cutoffs, I’ll take the pain.

Let’s DO this 2012!!!

Weekend shenanigans

1 Aug

Another beautiful weekend in Chicago!  A bit warm, with temperatures in the low 90s, but definitely gorgeous out.  Now that the humidity is gone, its much more tolerable. 

My super nice boss let me go home a bit early on Friday, which meant I got home by 3:30pm, and had an hour to sit out and relax in the sun on our back deck.  Ahhhhh!  Heaven!   Michael got home from work and we decided to whip up an easy and health chicken stiry fry.  Organic, free-range chicken, yellow peppers, broccoli, and brown rice with sweet chili sauce.  Delish!

I even had a couple Skinny Girl Margaritas to top it off.  They are so tasty!  And not too much of a calorie waster to boot! Only 100 calories for a full 4 oz. serving, all natural ingredients, no preservatives or artificial colors, lightly sweetened with agave nectar and made with premium Blue Agave clear Tequila

Michael and I started out our Saturday with a trip to the Lincoln Park Farmers Market. 

Soooooo many beautiful flowers, fruits, veggies, crepes, cheese, meat.  YUM!  We decided to stick with some fresh veggies on this trip: green pepper, zucchini, cucumber, broccoli, and green beans.  I haven’t been a fan of the green bean, but I’m willing to give ’em a shot.  I’ve heard fresh veggies are way better than canned, and I’m hoping to do away with my mushy, over-cooked, smelly green bean thoughts in my head from my elementary cafeteria school days.  They already look much better than I could hope!

We headed to Bakin’ & Eggs for brunch, and got to use our Groupon. 

I LOVE Groupons, btw.  So fun to try out new places for usually half the price, and in this case, go back to a place I love.  It’s a large open room, with brick walls, and lots of tables, with a close feel between them.  Hopefully you like your neighbor you end up sitting next to!  It doesn’t hurt that this place has turqoise walls and a super fun vibe.  Adorable! 

I opted for the Whole Grain Granola Pancakes with berry compote.  So healthy of me, right?? 😉 

Michael worked on “broadening his horizons” (insert BIIIIIG wide arm gesture) and ordered the breakfast burritto, which included jalapeno bacon in it (!) and a side of cheesey grits.  He definitely liked it, but it might have been a bit too savory for him.  He’s gonna try the sweet breakfast next time.

Saturday afternoon we headed out to the burbs to spend the evening with Michael’s dad and stepmom.  They took us to a great spot in Geneva, Bien Trucha, an extremely popular Mexican restaurant due to its exposure on Check Please!  The restaurant opens at 5pm for dinner, but people start lining up around 4:15 to wait in line to get a table!  This is in little ol’ Geneva, mind you.  It was a steamy 92 degrees or so, and we got in line around 4:40, with about 30 people in front of us.  The restaurant only has 13 tables inside, and a long bar with seating.  They also had an outdoor patio with tables for dinner.  We waited in line, and got to our seats around 5:20.  Lucky us, we got to sit outside!  They had a long communal high-top table for us, which was fun.  They even had lively Mexican techno/dance type music playing! 🙂  I caught one of my faves, “Pump Up the Jam” by Technotronic, but the Spanish version! Ummm,what!?!  Yes please! Loved it!  We had fresh guacamole, which I’m always a sucker for.  We had the morita, serrano, habanero salsa sampler, which had varying levels of HOTness.  I really liked the serrano flavor.  We also tried their special of the day shrimp ceviche with strawberries, cucumbers, cilantro, and jalapeno peppers.  The strawberries gave it a great sweetness with the hot spices and cucumbers.  The tacos were the main event for us, and we decided to order four different types, since the’re kind of small and come 4 to an order.  They’re served on a wooden plank ,which is fun.  We tried shark, breaded tilapia, pork, and chicken.  The shark taco was by FAR the best of the bunch in my opinion.  So tasty! I only caught a picture of one lonely shark taco, since everything was so delicious, we scooped it all up right away to devour!

 I highly recommend this restaurant if you’re in the Geneva area.

We finished off the evening at Old Towne Pub & Eatery.  Michael got his free XRT swag fix, with a t-shirt and matching sweatband.  What, headbands aren’t cool??  I think they are.  Especially when it’s on that lovely head of his.  Aren’t we cute?? 🙂

What a delicious day we had Saturday! 🙂

Hello world!

28 Jul

Hi!  I’m Carisa, a 30-something mid-western gal born and raised, currently living in Chicago with my wonderful boyfriend Michael.  This blog is going to be all about my new journey I’ve started.  I am moving away from being a non-active, tv-watching, fast food eating, novice in the kitchen,  to my goal of being a happy,  healthy, active, lover of new recipes kinda girl.  I’m trying out new types of exercise, new foods, new ways of cooking, and figuring  out what works for me along the way.  I’ll probably throw in tidbits on daily life with my boyfriend, my family, and all the fun stuff I do in Chicago. I’m planning on posting pictures of yummy home-cooked meals, exericse I try out, and all kinds of fun new gadgets I’m hoping to try in the kitchen.  I’ll use this blog to help me work towards my goals and share with my friends and family how my journey is progressing.  Here goes nothin!! 🙂