*October Loving*

If I could plan an almost perfect fall weekend, this past weekend would have been pretty darn close. We had a wedding, a baby shower, an at home date night, brunch, and family time! Lots of fun, family, friends, and yummy food!

Josh and I had Friday off of work due to a mandatory shutdown of our facility. Even though I was kind of frustrated we had to take our own PTO when it was mandatory, it worked out really well to have the day off. We slept in (I slept until 8 am…contact Guinness World Records, that is so late for me!), lounged around, and caught up on some of our tv shows. I was able to get all our meal prep done for the upcoming week as well. I love getting that off my list of things to do, it makes me feel so prepared for the week. I spent some time doing “girly” stuff like painting my nails, sipping on my pumpkin spice brulee tea, and watching Will & Grace. It was a wonderful relaxing, pampering afternoon before heading up to our friend Almitra’s wedding.  

We had to stop at Starbuck’s on the way up and it just isn’t a trip to Starbuck’s without a cake pop!

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Almitra and Tim got married at the Avon Wedding Barn, which was so very adorable! The wedding ceremony was held outside under a huge tree with leaves just starting to change colors for the fall. The ceremony was officiated by one of their close friends and was really sweet. I just love love. And weddings.

After the ceremony, we headed inside the barn for appetizers and drinks- veggies with ranch dressing and cheese spread and crackers (I ate so much cheese spread, I forgot how much I love it). We had some great friends to sit and catch up with while we waited for the wedding party to come in, which made it even better.   

For dinner, City Barbeque was the caterer. I stuffed myself with all the delicious food- corn pudding, green beans, pulled pork, brisket, and cornbread loaves. Several of our friends had told us to try City Barbeque out and I’m happy we finally got to. For dessert, we had mini cupcakes from Gigi’s Cupcakes. Naturally, Josh and I tried one of every flavor to see which we liked best. We had chocolate chip cookie dough, red velvet, wedding white, and chocolate to choose from. They were all really good (my faves were the cookie dough and wedding white) and the perfect size to feel like you indulged but didn’t overdo it.  

Saturday started with our usual lifting session at the gym followed by mobility and a great workout during class. The workout involved stations of rowing, toes to bar, shoulder to overhead, and rest. My favorite part was the rest haha just kidding (maybe)! When we got home, we ate lunch then it was time for me to get ready for my friend Brittany’s baby shower. I hadn’t seen Brittany for several months, so it was really nice to see her and spoil her and her baby boy! We had lots of yummy treats (pizza dip, queso, veggies, chocolate dipped pretzels, cake pops, and cake) and even played a few baby shower games. I know most people think shower games are extra cheesy, but I always enjoy playing them. I even won the word scramble game and got a prize- hand soap and the cutest pumpkin pot holder, oven mitt, and decorative towel!  

When I got home from the shower, Josh had dinner all ready for us. We had a yummy meal of chicken sausages, sauerkraut with apples, zucchini, onions, and green peppers. I snagged a few cake pops and pretzels from the baby shower, so we had some dessert too. We decided that wasn’t enough for dessert and we should probably make some snickerdoodles to make ice cream cookie sandwiches with. Josh found a great recipe for snickerdoodles and set about making them. The recipe was especially great because it only made 4 cookies…which saved us from feeling like we had to eat the whole several dozen a normal batch would make! We scooped Jeni’s Splendid Sweet Corn & Black Raspberries ice cream in between the warm out-of-the-oven cookies and it was amazing! We will definitely be making these again soon!

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Sunday morning was another slow going morning. We had breakfast, drank our hot tea, and watched tv. As we were finally getting ready for the day, Josh suggested we try out Toast on Market in New Albany for brunch. I’m always game for trying new places and this one had been on our list for a long time. We arrived around 11:30 which was quite possibly the busiest time ever. We put our name in and began our thirty-five minute wait for a table. When we finally were seated, I was really excited to order. I got one of the specials of the day- apple pie French toast with cheesy hash brown casserole. Josh ordered the drowned eggs. We also ordered a lemon soufflé pancake and a pumpkin spice pancake a la carte. I thought the apple pie filled French toast was the best of our dishes. Overall, the food was pretty good, but I was expecting more (I think we’ve been spoiled with places like Tupelo Honey, etc. on vacations). I would probably eat there again, but I’m definitely willing to try other places before going back.  

  

We headed home to pick up Rocko and go to my parents’ house for the afternoon. All of my siblings and their significant others were there to celebrate my brothers’ and my brother-in-law’s birthdays. My mom fixed lots and lots of food for us to snack on. We had green pepper jelly on cream cheese with Ritz crackers, sausage/cheese stuffed jalapeño poppers, and pumpkin fluff with graham crackers. We all got our fill of snacks and headed out to the garage to decorate pumpkins. Normally, we would carve pumpkins, but this year we all decided to try something new and paint them. I think they turned out pretty darn great! And they’ll last much longer than if we had carved them, hooray!

After we finished up with our pumpkins, it was dinner time! I wasn’t even hungry, but when it’s a home cooked meal from my momma that doesn’t matter lol. We had chicken and tilapia with onions and bell peppers (think fajita insides), deviled eggs, rice, beans, and my grandma’s homemade German potato salad (*drool*). And don’t forget dessert- funfetti cupcakes with rainbow chip icing, homemade sweet cream ice cream, and peanut butter rice krispies with chocolate ganache on top!  

There’s nothing like a weekend of celebrating love, babies, family, and food to rejuvenate your soul!

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down to eat.

This weekend was the end of our 3rd cut with RP (and the end of our first ever CF Ripcord Nutrition Challenge! Woohoo!). I can’t believe we’ve been following RP for almost a year and a half now! They just make it so simple with their templates telling me exactly how much food to eat for every meal and how to make adjustments depending on my training for the day. Following RP has improved my relationship with food so much. Growing up, I was always under the impression that carbs are bad for you, so I would try to avoid them if possible. Which was miserable because carbs are the most delicious. I also had a bad habit of really shorting myself on food, not so much starving myself, but really keeping my calories at a lower level than they needed to be. I was never overweight, but I was also never what I would consider in shape or fit. Thank God RP came into my life and taught me that I can eat carbs, carbs, and more carbs (and protein and fat too, of course) and be in the best shape I’ve ever been in. I now know how to fuel my body properly so that I can do my best in a workout, recover properly, and sleep better. And if I decide to treat myself to a guilty pleasure (Reese’s cups, Cake Bake Shop, Thai food, stop me before I ramble off an excessively long list of my fave foods), I no longer feel the guilt. I thoroughly enjoy whatever treat I’ve eaten and move forward, picking back up on the healthier choices for my next meal. With that being said, I ate ALL the food this weekend in celebration of being finished with our cut. We had the greatest “treat yo-self” weekend. Oh, Parks and Recreation, I sure do miss you…I know I can’t be the only one. Anyways, we had the greatest “treat yo-self” weekend and I don’t regret it for a second!

Josh made his best homemade deep dish pizza yet- flaky, buttery dough; the perfect amount of crunchy green peppers, onions, and mushrooms; my yummy homemade pizza sauce; tons of ooey gooey mozzarella cheese…and he made an extra batch of dough for homemade breadsticks sprinkled with Parmesan and mozzarella cheese. This man is after my heart, y’all!

I might have fallen asleep on the couch after eating that amazeballs pizza while Josh whipped up a homemade chocolate chip skillet cookie for two for dessert. We paired the cookie with the always scrumptious Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream (Middle West Whiskey and Pecans flavor this time- whiskey flavored ice cream with hints of butterscotch and honey, loaded with salty toasted pecans). For those of you that don’t already know, you can have pints of Jeni’s ice cream shipped right to your house! Do it! There is nothing quite like a warm-from-the-oven gooey melty chocolate chip cookie with that cold bite of silky smooth ice cream on top…it just makes my heart so happy.

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We capped off our date night feast by watching “The Big Sick”. I really enjoyed this movie- there was plenty of humor, it kept my interest piqued the whole time, and I got sucked into the real-life romance of Kumail Nanjiani and his girlfriend, Emily. Definitely recommend seeing this one when you’re in the mood for a romcom or really any time at all.

As luck would have it, we had leftovers from Saturday night, so we sat ourselves down for a Sunday “brunch” of deep dish pizza and breadsticks. If possible, the pizza was even better because it had time for all the flavors to meld overnight. *drool*                               

In keeping with the “treat yo-self” theme, we got the idea to make a trip up to the Cake Bake Shop for lunch. And by lunch, I really just mean dessert. We never make a trip there for anything other than dessert. We stopped at Starbucks on the way because Josh won a $5 gift card for filling out a survey and I got the cutest little hedgehog cake pop!

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We perused the menu and decided on the apple crumble cake for me, the peanut butter banana cream pie for Josh, and a peanut butter honey and jam sandwich cookie for us to share. Everything was beyond delicious. The apple crumble cake had layers of spice cake filled with caramel buttercream and caramel all topped with apple pie crumble. A dream cake for fall. The pie consisted of a peanut butter crust topped with sliced bananas, banana cream, fresh whipped cream, chopped peanuts, and a caramel drizzle. My favorite, however, was the peanut butter honey and jam sandwich cookie- there was the most delectable blackberry jam with honey and peanut butter buttercream sandwiched between two peanut butter cookies. I could have eaten spoonfuls of the blackberry jam all by itself. I’ll most definitely be making a trip back up for the blackberry cake smothered in that scrumptious blackberry jam.  

We’re adorbs…I’m biased. Whatever 😉

After all the dessert, we needed to get moving or I was going to fall asleep. Where better to walk around than the mall? We spent a few hours browsing through the stores, just spending time together with no pressure to be anywhere or do anything. It was lovely. When we left the mall, we found ourselves in a debate about whether to just go home or go eat somewhere. Eating somewhere won. The next question was, should we get Thai food or Cheesecake Factory nachos? Now, I love me some Thai food. And I’ve never had the nachos from Cheesecake Factory, but Josh has talked them up good since he ate them once Black Friday shopping several years ago. We pulled into the parking lot and flipped a coin to decide where to eat. Tails (Cheesecake Factory) it was. The nachos did not disappoint. The chips were extra crispy crunchy, covered in queso and shredded cheese, pico de gallo, sour cream, jalapenos, and spicy shredded chicken. I can see why Josh has had these on his mind for so long. We headed home after our day of eating to lounge on the couch and relax. This weekend was what I needed to reset after cutting for three months, just enjoying time with my husband, eating lots of yummy treats, and gearing myself up to maintain through and enjoy the holidays. Life is too short to be stressed about what to eat and worrying all the fun away. So, take a meal, a day, even a weekend if you’re so inclined, and treat yourself!

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when a moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore

OMG, I don’t know why I waited so long to start watching “Younger”! I am obsessed with this show! I started watching season 1 on Tuesday and I’ve binge watched up to season 3 episode 9 in the past 4 days…I can’t stop. The show follows Liza, a 40-year old divorced mother who can’t find work anywhere, so she decides to reinvent herself as a hot, single 26-year old and lands a job in a NY publishing house. The show is hilarious and has the most unexpected, ridiculous twists. I only have 3 more episodes until I’m all caught up. Season 4 doesn’t start until the end of June and I don’t know how I’ll ever handle waiting to watch them week by week as they air. OK, enough about my current TV obsession.

I love Saturdays so much. We get to “sleep in” until 6 before heading up to the gym for our lifting. We can take our time and just enjoy being at the gym, chatting between lifts, watching funny YouTube videos, and just having a good time. Even when it’s a bad day of lifting or I have no motivation, I love that I can count on my friends at the gym to be there for me. Saturday was definitely one of those days for me. Mobility and class were fine, but I had no motivation whatsoever to push myself like I normally would. The workout turned into more of an active recovery for me, which is just what I needed without even realizing it. You know the drill- after class, it was home to meal prep and do laundry, while Josh mowed the grass. Predictable, yes maybe, but we’ve got this adulting stuff down and the whole rest of the weekend to do whatever we want. #winning

CF Regionals this weekend covered the Meridian, Atlantic, and West regions. And it was another crazy couple of events and even more guys injured their pecs…ugh, I hate it for them. They put in so much time and hard work and with one rep, it all goes away. I know it’s just part of the risk any athlete takes, especially at the higher levels, but it still sucks for them. We decided to have a stay at home date night.

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For dinner, Josh made his homemade deep dish pizza. Let me just tell you about this amazing pizza…it’s better than any pizza you can get at a restaurant. Josh makes the crust from scratch which takes 2-3 hours of prep. It’s a lot of work, but so worth it. It is the most buttery, flaky, crunchy crust in the world after it’s baked. We topped the pizza with a layer of fresh mozzarella, homemade pizza sauce, green peppers, onions, mushrooms, and a ton of Asiago cheese that we grated ourselves. Perfect combination of gooey, melted cheese and crunchy veggies with that extra flaky, buttery crust. Makes me hungry again just thinking about it! For dessert, Josh made an oh so scrumptious, gooey chocolate chip skillet cookie topped with homemade Jeni’s vanilla bean ice cream (from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home cookbook) and chocolate peanut butter sauce. Hands down my favorite dessert we make. Really, is there anything better than a hot gooey cookie covered in melted ice cream?? Don’t bother thinking about it, there isn’t!       

    

We couldn’t leave Rocko out of the dessert fun, so he got his very own Frosty Paws pup cup (they’re made by Purina and can be found at Walmart). Love doesn’t begin to describe how he felt about his pup cup. He started off eating it in the kitchen, then the rotten pup picked it up in his mouth and carried it all the way back to our bedroom to finish eating it on the bed. His face was so cute all covered in “ice cream”.

After dinner, we found “Doctor Strange” on Netflix. I knew nothing about the movie going in and I was pleasantly surprised. Benedict Cumberbatch was wonderful in the movie, just enough snark and humor and seriousness to keep me interested. And I’ve always been a super huge fan of Rachel McAdams, so I loved her character. There were some amazing special effects and some really trippy scenes, almost like Inception on a lot of crazy drugs. I enjoyed it a lot and can’t wait to see how it ties in with other Marvel movies.