Making Memories!

I had such a fun weekend!  It was good for my soul after a busy work week.  Saturday morning I was up bright and early to head to Soldier Field.  Um, that’s 50 miles from where I live.  I thought about doing an AIRbnb or getting a hotel room closer on Friday night, but in the end, I decided I could just wake up early and I was on the road at 7:30 a.m.

I walked in honor of my SIL Laura, who is a breast cancer survivor, and in memory of my cousin Pam.  

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Weight Watchers sent me this super soft shirt and a head band to wear.  

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Traffic wasn’t too bad, and I was able to park in the Adler Planetariam parking lot which was maybe 1/4 mile away from the event for only $11.  I know my Mom is going to mention that my bangs need to be cut 😀

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The temps were in the low 60s and overcast.  They had live music, and people were dancing, it just made you feel good.

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So many different t-shirt designs and costumes. 

WALK

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I’ve actually never been to a Bears game or an event and Soldier Field before, so it was cool to walk around it.  I met a new friend Liz!  She’s a fellow Chicago Weight Watcher Ambassador.  She’s lost 100 pounds and just ran her second marathon, the Chicago Marathon, and beat her previous time by 45 minutes!  We’ve been following each other on social media, so again, it felt like meeting an old friend.

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Her boyfriend Brian joined us for the walk.  He’s a radio DJ at WKQX 101.1 here in Chicago.  The conversation flowed and before we knew it, the walk was over.

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If you are on Instagram, you should follow Liz, she’s super down to earth and glad that I can call her my new friend.

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As we neared the end of the walk, the clouds started to dissipate and it was a gorgous day.  That view though!

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I did a quick change of clothes at my sisters house, because I was having lunch with Nicole from PreventionRD!  

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We’ve “known” each other going on 8 years, when our blogs were mere babies.  In that time I think she’s moved at least twice, maybe three times, gotten married and had two gorgeous girls.  We both know so much about each other that we had no problem spending nearly 2 1/2 hours at lunch just gabbing away.  It was so great to finally meet you!  And glad that you swear like I do 😛

I told her about the amazing burger at The Little Gem, and it did not disappoint.  So flavorful, perfect patty to bun ratio and hand cut fries – amazeballs.

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Sunday morning I got Bizzy in My Kitchen – one of my favorite places to be, especially because it was chilly and rainy out.  I’ve got a couple ground turkey recipes lined up for later this week – I scored a 3 pound package of Jennie-O turkey breast for only $5.87!  For lunch today I am having honey sriracha turkey meatballs – that recipe will be on the blog tomorrow, and it’s a winner. 

My Mom sings in a choir called Sing to Live and its members are either breast cancer survivors and people who have been affected by cancer – my Mom sings in memory of our Dad.  It started out small and now it’s grown to about 80 people?  If you follow me on Instagram, check out my Instastory because I have some snipets of the music.  Music from the 60s – it was wonderful.

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We always go out to dinner afterwards.  Um, can I just mention it here that I drove 45 miles to go to the concert and my sister who is 1/2 a mile away didn’t go?!  Ha – just had to put that in there and remind everyone there is a reason that I am my Mom’s favorite child. 😀

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Altiro is a new restaurant to Oak Park – although this is their 4th location in the Chicagoland area – I think all the other ones are in Chicago.  My Mom and I happen to love small plates because that gives us a chance to try so many things.  We of course started with a cocktail – I had Sauvignon Blanc and my Mom had the red sangria.  My Mom’s sangria was delicious, but it was A LOT of ice for the price.

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Love you Momma!  I mean, come on – look at her smiling at her favorite child!

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We were both drawn to the trio of guacamole – only a couple things stood in our way – for me, THE ONIONS and for my Mom, the serrano peppers, she thought it might be too spicy.  We decided to give it a try – one was a mango salsa, another one was watermelon and the third was traditional.  We both decided that they all tasted the same, but delicious nonetheless.  And there were red onions in there, but they were chopped really fine, so it was all good.

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Each of the taco plates came with 4 mini tacos.  This picture below does not do these tacos any justice – these were Slagel Farms beef tacos with crispy shoestring potatoes, queso fresco and avocado.  The beef was so flavorful and tender and I loved the crunch of the potatoes.

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Next up were shrimp tacos with avocado, crema and a chipotle aoili – these were a bit too spicy for my Momma, but I loved it.  

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But the show stopper of the night, was this chicken poblano dish – it was super tender lightly breaded chicken over a poblano and corn rice that was so creamy it almost tasted like risotto, with crema and pom seeds.  We basically licked this plate clean.

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We would definitely go back, but it is a bit pricey – $40 per person with one drink, but I’d go back for this chicken dish and eat it all by myself next time.

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I have to give huge shout out to Louise! 


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She made this gorgeous wedding card for Hannah and Jacob – she is so talented!  If you ever need a special card, or holiday cards, she has a gorgeous Etsy store

And I have to give a shout out to my blog friend Julianne, we’ve “known” each other for years, she’s also diabetic so we are diabetes buddies.  She sent a gift card to Hannah and Jacob for their wedding and also sent me this Starbuck’s gift card – it’s one of my bucket list to make it to California one day and meet all my West Coast blog friends.  Thank you Julianne!

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So here we are at Monday again.  Even though it was a busy weekend, I did relax a bit, and feel rested to face my work week.  I decided no matter what work is on my desk that I am taking my lunch and other than the two days I am night secretary, leaving exactly at 5 p.m.  I figure if I actually type it out to the universe, it will actually happen!

Make it a great day!

Tacos, Beer and a Burger!

I get asked all the time if I am sick of taking the train to work because its so long.  Nope!  I write my blog on the way to work, listen to my music, and the hour train ride goes by really fast.  On the way home, I respond to emails, direct messages on Instagram, comments on the blog, and not gonna lie, usually spend at least twenty minutes of that train ride home to watch random shit on YouTube 😀

I also love the hustle and bustle of Chicago.  I love the contrast of where I live with no side walks or street lights, to all the noise and commotion of the city.

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Guess what?  I managed to eat my breakfast before 10 yesterday!  An egg white and broccoli slaw breakfast burrito (5 points for the tortilla, 1 for the egg whites, and 1 for the one ouce of Trader Joe’s lite mozzarella).  

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It was another gorgeous day in Chicago, but my sister sent me an email around 11 asking if we could go out to eat and just relax. She and I have both been so busy at our jobs, and I quickly said yes!  We went to Latinicity in Block 37 – I love that you can pick and choose anything you want from any food stall, then just pay at the end. 

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Um, do you see breaded on that menu?!  Still delish though, but I was expected grilled shrimp.

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I also got a bowl of chicken tortilla soup – I wish I knew what gave this soup the amber color and depth of flavor – so delicious (although I didn’t think it was spicy enough!) 😀

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My sister got the Milanesa Torta – crispy chicken, black bean puree, pickled peppers, chipotle aioli and avocado – yum!  It was great to just catch up, relax and eat some delicious food!

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Even though no one signed up for night secretary, I stayed to get some stuff off my desk – just a bunch of little stuff that was driving me nuts that it was still there, ya know?!   Even though I clocked out at 6:45, my next train isn’t until 7:30, which doesn’t get me home until 8:45.  I took advantage and walked around outside, then walked in the French Market in the train station, which is decked out in Halloween decorations.  #love

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Hey Jacky, have you been to Little Cheval??  I think its an outdoor bar too?  We should hit that up on the way home before it gets too cold. 

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Tia, I couldn’t help but think of you with all these decorations!

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I love this witch 😀

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I love Halloween – just wish I got trick or treaters!

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On the train ride home, I got a text from my Momma letting me know that she thought my butternut squash bolognese was so good!  I sent her home with some after Hannah and Jacob’s wedding because I had so much.  You can check out that recipe on my lastest blog post at The Chopping Block.  Show of hands how many of you remember that Corel dish pattern?!

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About 15 minutes to go before my train got into my station, Hannah called me and asked if I was hungry.  Why yes, yes I was.  While I had ground beef defrosted to make something with that, if Hannah or Jacob asks me out to dinner, I always say yes.  Was I tired? Yep.  Was I ready to get into my pajamas?  Yep.  But at 9:00 p.m. I met them for dinner!

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I had a beer on a school night – if Stella is on tap, always say yes.

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Hannah and Jacob love French Onion soup – where did I go wrong with that child?  Her nails still look on fleek though!

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If you go to a place that is known for their burgers, always say yes.  This is the mushroom Swiss burger – cooked medium rare.  My beer was 5 points and I ate half my burger for 10 points.  I saved my fries and will be making a breakfast frittata for dinner (and breakfast tomorrow) with the leftover fries.  Stay tuned 😀

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So good – while dinner was 15 points, but I only went over 4 for the day.  I enjoyed hanging out with Hannah and Jacob without the distraction of the t.v. (they like to eat dinner while watching t.v. – me?  I eat at my dining room table, even if I am by myself!) 😀

Um, I’ve got some great news!  I am finally going to meet Nicole from Prevention RD!!  She’ll be in town for a work conference and we are going to meet up on Saturday.  We’ve only been talking about getting together for about 5 years now – I started following her before she was even married, and now she’s got two adorable girls!   Can’t wait to meet you in person finally!

We made it to Thursday!  Another gorgeous day in Chicago #love – make it a great day!

The Perfect Day

It was the perfect day.  The weather was gorgeous.  Hannah and I did a Panera run in the morning and picked up the girl who was doing her makeup.  We were able to sit outside, sip on coffee and scones and I watched my daughter getting her makeup done on her wedding day.

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Jacob and his Mom spent the morning together running errands – yes, you read that correctly, because Jacob waited until the day of his wedding to buy a shirt and tie.  #love

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The morning was so leisurely, that all of a sudden it was like “it’s time to go!”  My Mom with her oldest grandchild on her wedding day!

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I love this picture below – love, love, love.  I can’t believe I took that with my iPhone!

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Remember how I told you that I barely took any pictures at the shower?  Hannah hired a girl from their coffee shop who is into photography to be our photographer for the day.  Did I mention that she’s 17 years old and had to ditch school?  Her parents didn’t seem to mind!  As her pictures start to trickle in, I’ll post a few a day – you’ll probably get sick of seeing wedding pictures after a week of this – #sorrynotsorry 😀

The man behind Jacob?  That’s their best friend Luis who flew in from Texas to be the ring bearer.  

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I wore a dress!  First time (well, I wore the same dress to the shower, and will probably wear it to my nieces wedding next month!) in a long time I’ve worn one.  I love that it was so nice out I didn’t even need a sweater.  On the far right are Jacob’s parents, and in the middle are his grandparents – his grandma’s liver cancer is back and she’s been through a couple weeks of radiation.  She’ll find out this Friday if it seems to be working or not.  So happy she was able to see her grandson get married!

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The something borrowed?  That pearl necklace – Tony gave it to my on my first birthday after we were married in March of 2001.  The same florist that did our centerpieces did Hannah’s bouquet – so gorgeous!

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I’ll be posting what the Judge said and the kids vows later this week.  I loved how even though they were getting married in a courthouse, the Judge made it super personable and poignant.  They had time before our dinner reservations to go to a preserve near our house and take more pictures – their photographer took over 1000!  I took this one below with my iPhone.  #love

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It literally could not have been a more great day.  After our dinner we had people over to our house, then we went to a bar for an hour.  We came home and ate wedding cake.  It was the perfect day.

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“Sometimes, reaching out and taking someone’s hand is the beginning of a journey.  At other times it is allowing another to take yours.  Nothing in this world compares to the comfort and security of having someone just hold your hand.”

A Letter to My Daughter on Her Wedding Day

Dear Hannah:

It seems like just yesterday that you were 2 1/2 and waking me up at 6:00 a.m. on a Saturday to watch a movie.  We must have had twenty movies to choose from (thanks to Poppy!) yet for nearly two years all you wanted to watch was The Little Mermaid.

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I blinked my eyes and it was time for you to go to first grade.  I remember having to catch my train to work and even though you’d been in day care since you your born, you creid and begged me not to leave.One of the hardest things I had to do that day was walk away when you were in tears yelling “Mom don’t leave me!”  I was thrilled when weeks later I got a note from your teacher in your backpack letting me know that you stopped crying by the time you hung up your coat.

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I blinked again and I was sitting in a full auditorium for the school talent show.  I watched you walk out onto the empty stage all by yourself in your jeans overalls to sing a Mariah Carey song.  You were amazing!

And then I met Tony and our lives took a different path.  I’ve always regretted that your biological father decided your life would be better without him in it – only to start a family a few years later and end up being a principal of a Catholic high school!  (and in case anyone was wondering – his wife and children don’t know that Hannah exists.  Could you imagine being married for twenty years and your spouse not telling you he had a child?! – another side note – Hannah follows his 18 year old daughter on Instagram – but that’s for another post!).

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I know you and Tony had a rocky relationship and he probably didn’t measure up to the father you wished he would have been for, but you put up with it because you knew I loved him.  I will forever be grateful to you for that considering our time together was so short.

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Was seemed like a minute later you walked in the door with your learners permit and were adamant about logging all of your 50 required hours.  I loved our road trip to Milwaukee so you could get in lots of highway driving.  To this day I think its hilarious that you insist on driving everywhere, even if it’s to Walmart or driving across country to Virginia!

And then you moved in with Jacob to Chicago.  While you were only 90 minutes away, I missed seeing your face everyday, but I was happy that Tony and I could enjoy an “empty nest” the last few years of his life.

Two weeks after Tony died I remember you called me to tell me that you and Jacob were engaged!  I was so happy for you, but I have to be honest, I was in the lowest possible place in my life, I had just lost not only my husband but my best friend too.  So much was changing so fast – it was like a was on a perpetual loop of a roller coaster and I wanted to get off but no one was paying attention to me.  This I do know – having you, Jacob and the dogs move in with me literally saved my life.  If I didn’t want to get up and live for me, I knew I could get up and make you guys pancakes and that helped me find purpose after losing my title of wife and caretaker.

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I wouldn’t trade these last almost three years of having you as my roommates.  Not only do I know that you are marrying your best friend, but I know how much he loves you and respects you and I could ask nothing more from my son-in-law.  So while your “happy ever after” may not look like it does in the movies, it does exist.  In the highs and lows of any marriage, as long as you continue to love each other, show gratitude, encourage one another, be patient, and Jacob – agree to at least one Walmart and/or Target shop per week!

So while I go between wanting you to be my baby forever, I am so excited about all the amazing things you’ll do in this life.  You are an amazingly independent woman, smart, funny and beautiful.  

I love you to the moon and back – Happy Wedding Day Hannah!

Love, Mom

Happy Wedding Eve!

I am having technical difficulty on the train this morning so this will be a quick post. And I am tired and will nap for 30 minutes after I hit publish.

Yesterday was bagel Wednesday – I always think of my blog friend Lori when I have bagel Wednesday 🤗


I can’t remember the brand of bagels I bought, but they are 6 points, making my breakfast 9 points and super filling.

Again work was non-stop. I have so many things on my desk that it’s a bit overwhelming, but I left for a 30 minute walk to keep my sanity.  A Target 🎯 run is always a good idea!


But quickly saw ALL the Halloween candy and got the hell out of that area stat.  I did buy this sauce though – so good and only 1 point for a tablespoon which was plenty.


My lunch was so good! 1/2 a twice baked potato that Hannah made (6) the last of the shrimp cocktail from the kadults shower (1) green beans with a drizzle of that sauce.


I got some interesting news at work yesterday.  I am being assigned a third attorney.  I can barely keep up with the two I have so not sure 🤔 how that’s going to work.  I worked until 8:15 last night and still have so much to do today. 

I will not work the morning of my daughters wedding so I am just going to power through as best I can and leave it at that.

I can’t believe tomorrow my baby is getting married tomorrow!! Be sure to follow my Instagram story tomorrow.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need a nap. Make it a great day!

A Change is Coming. . .

I was envy the hanging baskets that are in my towns downtown area.  They are all different and gorgeous.  If I bought one of those from a store I am confident I would kill it in a week.  God gives and he takes – I can cook, but I can’t take care of plants to save my life.  I am not really good at math either 😀

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It’s official – at 49 1/2 years old – I need . . . reading glasses.  I noticed in the last couple weeks I was having trouble seeing fine print, so I picked up a pair of glasses at my local thrift store for $1 to try them out.  And guess what?  Amazing!  I pretty much wore them all day and when I took them off, the font on my computer screen was blurry!

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Another busy day – I finally reheated my breakfast hash around 10:30.  Meal #3 from the beef roast I grilled on Sunday.  Three ounces beef (3), 5 ounces of baked potato diced (4), egg whites (1) all scrambled together and topped with spicy salsa and hot sauce.

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Thanks goodness for all that protein, because it kept me full for hours.  I worked straight through lunch and finally at 4:15 had 6 points worth of chips and salsa at my desk.

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I worked until 6, which means I caught the 6:25 train which got me home at 7:45.  I had about 15 minutes to kill in the train station, and if you watched my Instastory last night, you’d see that there is a giant market in my train station – with just about anything you can imagine:  Chinese food, the best homemade potato chips, gelato, CHEESE, Indian food, crepes, pizza. . . oh my!  Because by now I was REALLY hungry and I was ready to just get anything and not care “because I had the points.”   Cooler heads prevailed, and I bought a cheese stick and cut cantaloupe for my train ride home.

It was perfect and held me until I got home to make . . . tacos!  Meal #4 with my $20 sirloin tip roast.  Because this beef is still pretty rare, I didn’t bother cooking it prior to making my tacos – it warmed enough in the cooking of the tacos – still so tender!  Three corn tortillas (4), 3 ounces of beef (3) 1/2 ounce of cheese (2), romaine, cilantro and spicy salsa.

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Whenever I post my crunchy tacos, I know I’ll get at least half a dozen DM’s asking how I get crunchy tacos.  First, I use my cast iron skillet.  I don’t add any extra oil to the pan, but because I “store” my pan with vegetable oil so it doesn’t rust, there may be some residual oil in the pan.  I also microwave my corn tortillas for 30 seconds before filling so they don’t split.  And I use a shit ton of Pam.  Pretty sure that’s how Chef’s tell their staff how to cook “just use a shit ton of that.”

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Taco Tuesday is probably my favortie night of the week after party pizza Friday.

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A change is coming guys.  I’ve talked about Steve Weatherford on here before.  Former NFL player, father of almost 5 kids, and motivational speaker among other things.  I’ve been following him on Instagram for a while now, and I am always so impressed with how much he squeezes into each and every day.  He’s always got such a positive attitude and is grateful for all that he has.

This summer his family moved from New Jersey to California and for about four weeks he and his family ate out nearly every single meal.  Once they were unpacked and life had settled a bit, he went on what he calls a Metabolic Reset.  He ate his last In n Out burger, and got to business.  You can check out his YouTube page for more details.

Fast forward and now he’s offering the program for $29 dollars – the “lottery” was only open for an hour this past Saturday morning before the program was closed and I made it.  It starts on November 1 and I had to fill out a detailed questionnaire and as I write this, he and his team are custom planning a workout plan for me.  

I haven’t weighed into Weight Watchers for nearly three weeks.  I’ve eaten so much crap – cupcakes, cookies, chips – there is SO much junk food in my house right now.   While my WW meals are on fleek, it’s all the extra shit that is ending up in my mouth that has to stop.

But here is my declaration – it would totally be my inclination to just say “my new plan starts November 1!” and continue to eat like shit for the next two weeks.  But here is where I need to dig deep and refocus before the start of this next chapter.

I’ll still be counting points, but I may also do a calorie count as well – we will see when the time comes.  I have no excuses – no little kids, no husband who wants to watch four hours of t.v. at night – the only person I have to get on board is, well, ME!

All I know is that I think this will be the kick start of something great.  Now go make it a great day!

Ready, set, makeup!

A couple weeks ago I got a loot bag from Weight Watchers for their annual Project L.I.F.T. program – Live  Inspired, Fight Together for National Breast Cancer awareness.  It’s a callaboration between the American Cancer Society and Weight Watchers to help breast cancer survivors who may be tackling unexpected weight gain that can occur post-treatment. 

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Fellow Weight Watcher Ambassador Liz and I (who just ran the Chicago Marathon and beat her PR by 45 minutes!) and I will be walking the Chicago walk on October 21 in Grant Park.  You are more than welcome to walk with us Chicago peeps, otherwise I am accepting donations.  My original goal was $100, but now that I am up to $135 my new goal is $200.  You can find my donation page here.

It was another busy work day yesterday – I finally fixed this picky plate around 10:15.  2 points for the egg, 2 points for the ham, one point for the tablespoon of granola on my banana and one point for the Weight Watchers jalapeno cheese stick.

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When Hannah and I were thrifting on Friday, she found these super cute shoes.  I wore them all around the store, and they were comfy!   Um, not so much when I walked the 12 minutes from the train to my office yesterday.  By the time I sat down at my desk, I had blisters on the back of my heels. 🙁  So into the garbage they went!

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My sister had a work obligation, so I was on my own for my walk.  I strarted walking north on Clark are remembered about the Columbus Day parade – so much traffic because of the road closures.  It was 80 degrees at lunch!  (you’ll have to check out my Instastory for video of the parade).

When I got back to work, I heated up my butternut squash and beef chili.  I am having technical difficulty on the train today – my internet line keeps dropping so I am going to post the recipe for this tomorrow, but this is delicious.  Spicy, with a hint of sweetness from the squash.  Best part is that 1.5 cups is 6 smart points!

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I was going to stop by Xoco on the way back from my walk to get some chips and salsa to accessorize my lunch, but forgot they are closed on Mondays.  So I went to Walgreen’s and picked up these delicious snacks – holy balls are these delicious!  Still 4 points an ounce like most tortilla chips, but this had amazing flavor.  I tagged them on Instagram and I got a reply back that they will be having a food truck around Chicago later this month with all their different flavors.  

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I worked right up until 5:00 and then got the hockey puck out of there.  Since I have so much beef roast leftover from my grilling on Sunday, you’ll be seeing lots of beef recipes this week. #sorrynotsorry

I used Skinny Pastas rice shaped “pasta” to make this beef and veggie stirfry.  I made a quick stirfry sauce:  1 tablespoon sriracha, 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon ponzu sauce, 1 teaspoon soy sauce and a tablespoon of grated fresh ginger.  I had roasted some carrots over the weekend, and I just microwaved the green beans on fresh vegetables for a couple minutes, and this dinner was ready in less than 10 minutes.

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I had every intention of going to the gym last night, but when I got home Hannah’s friend Nicole was over doing a trial run of her makeup for her wedding on Friday.  We also were looking up hair styles as well, and before I knew it, it was 9:30 and I was getting tired.  I love this makeup though!

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And Hannah’s something borrowed?  That pearl necklace was the first birthday gift Tony gave me after we got married.  And the earring she’s wearing were given to me by Tony on our first wedding anniversary.  #love

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I have more pictures from the shower that were taken by other people!  Below on the left is Jacob’s Mom, and on the right is his cousin.

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And here is Jacob’s grandparents.  She took off her oxygen mask for this picture.  She started radiation treatment for liver cancer so we are in a waiting game for now to see how she responds to that.  Just so happy she’ll see her grandson get married to the love of his life 😀

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It’s supposed to rain at lunch today and my sister has another work obligation, so I may be walking the pedway todaty – we’ll see!

Happy Tuesday – make it a great day!