Sunday at Sea

We woke up today and hooooly hotness! The Florida heat is back in full swing.

Though I wish there was some sort of chill in the air so it felt more Christmasy, it was perfect weather for a boat ride! My dad suggested taking the boat out and docking in Tampa for lunch at a restaurant on the water called The Hula Bay Club.

Sadie is a huge fan of boat rides and was by my dad’s side the entire time he was prepping the boat for our adventure.

Sadie at Sea

Dad, Ryan and Sadie on the Boat

It was hot in the sun, but when the boat got movin’ it was chilly! My sister and I bundled up in lots of towels to keep warm on our way to and from the restaurant on the boat.

Lunch was delicious! I ordered clams but we all shared and were impressed with the food.

As we were waiting for our check my mom spotted two dolphins in the water! We jumped up and watched them splash around and hunt fish. Since the water was pretty clear we were even able to see one catch a fish which was pretty neat!


I love days on the boat and it was definitely a treat to be on the water in the middle of December!

Breakfast and Jazzercise

I was anxious to tell ya about our day on the water, so let’s back up to breakfast!

Cheerios and Kashi Go Lean

Sometimes ya just want cereal! In this mix was Honey Nut Cheerios and Kashi Go Lean. It was crunchy and oh-so-sweet. I had another bowl, too. 🙂

After breakfast my mom and I went to Jazzercise, a 60-minute aerobic workout class. My mom goes regularly and I love the energy and upbeat atmosphere of the classes so I like to go along when I’m home visiting and get the chance.

Once we arrived back home, Ryan and I snacked on an apple with peanut butter (yum!) before our boating adventure.

Apple and PB


Before heading back for Orlando tonight Ryan and I enjoyed one last homecooked meal! We had spaghetti with marinara and chicken sausage and it was g-o-o-d! Unfortunately my pictures were icky and since I didn’t post pics from last night’s feast, I’ll share those instead.  Sound good?

Last night my mom made a seafood-based dinner with peel-and-eat shrimp and crab cakes.

Crab Cakes

Her homemade crab cakes are the best.

The Spread

I helped by making a veggie stir fry and fruit salad.

Fruit Salad

Ryan got in on the action and peeled several clementines for the fruit salad.

So Helpful

Dinner was filling and fueled us up for a meeting with a potential wedding photographer.

Wedding Photographer Meeting

Our meeting with a potential wedding photographer went really well last night. I fell in love with her and think her style of photography is gorgeous and natural and really seems to capture emotions.

Unfortunately the money is a bit of an issue because her prices are over our budget. I’m trying to figure out where I can cut corners in other areas to make this one work. Any suggestions???

I really appreciate all of your wedding feedback. It seems like many of you agree that the photographer is one of the most important elements of the big day, so I want to feel confident and comfortable with the person we select. We’ll see!

I hope everyone had a great weekend. I’m tired and hope to be in bed a little early tonight.

My Insides Are Burning

Have you ever taken such a huge gulp of a hot beverage that it seems like you can honestly feel the liquid travel down your body?

That happened to me twice this morning. I think it’s because the free coffee I picked up from the gym was so tasty. Who can resist gulping Barnie’s hazelnut coffee mixed with cinnamon butter cookie coffee? Not me, apparently.

As a result, my insides are on fi-ah!


Breakfast was on the cooler side. I enjoyed a cup of Chobani Greek yogurt topped with a cup of Cheerios. Nice and simple.

Easy 'n' Creamy

Friday's Breakfast

I like to put my Greek yogurt in the freezer for 30 – 45 min. before I eat it. I think it makes it thicker and even creamier. Two good things in my book!

Healthy Thanksgiving Desserts

Yesterday when I posted my latest Examiner article about which desserts pack a major calorie punch on Thanksgiving, I started Googling healthy recipes for Thanksgiving desserts.

I love the Hungry Girl Web site for the creative recipes and healthier spins on high calorie dishes. I printed out two recipes I’d like to make for Thanksgiving this year:

Vanilla Creme Pumpkin Cheesecake

Pump It Up Pumpkin Pie

(In case you missed it, click here to read my latest Examiner article. )

Four Thanksgivings???

Tonight my gym is hosting a healthy Thanksgiving dinner. Ryan and I are thinking about attending and that would mean I will be experiencing four Thanksgiving meals this year.

1. Tonight:  Gym Thanksgiving dinner

2. Sunday: Thanksgiving potluck party with friends

3. Monday: Work potluck Thanksgiving lunch

4. Thursday: Actual Thanksgiving dinner

If I post pictures of myself and you notice I’m sporting a beak and a gobbler it’s because I’ve officially turned into a turkey.

Actually, chances are if I’d turn into anything it would either be a big bowl of stuffing or a slice of pumpkin pie.

If you were to morph into a Thanksgiving dish, what would you turn into?

(P.S. Is the the text showing up really small for you guys today? Anyone with WordPress know how to fix this???)

Wedding Dress Blast from the Past

Last night Ryan and I arrived in St. Pete by 6 p.m. to meet my parents and one of my dad’s colleagues at the St. Petersburg Yacht Club to check out the facility as a potential wedding venue.

We enjoyed touring the various ballrooms before sitting in the lounge to enjoy some cocktails. Fun! The Yacht Club is definitely a gorgeous facility and we have some thinkin’ to do!

When we came home we all enjoyed several bowls of hot homemade chicken soup with sweet corn and edamame and a frozen pizza (forgot to snap a pic of my two slices… oops!).


Homemade Soup

Mom’s Wedding Dress

When I first walked in the door to my parent’s house I immediately saw my mom’s beautiful wedding gown hanging up. She brought it out of storage because my mom, sister and I are all heading out to try on dresses today! Exciting!

 After dinner my sister zipped me up in the gown and I did a lil’ fashion show in my mother’s dress. It actually fit, which was neat!

wedding dress mom

In My Mom's Wedding Dress

mom's wedding dress

Modelin' the Dress

wedding pose

Ta Da!

My dad is convinced I need to wear this on my big day. 🙂 He’s so cute because he always talks about how perfect my mom’s dress was and how gorgeous she looked.

Unfortunately I’m not sure that the turtleneck and long sleeves are Florida-appropriate. 😉  

I’m excited to see some dresses today! YAY!

Breakfast and a Morning Run

This morning I woke up at 6 a.m. This is after going to bed at 2 a.m. My mom, sister and I always seem to stay up late talking whenever we get together! I just couldn’t seem to sleep in because I was excited for the day.

I decided to make the best of the gorgeous weather and leashed up Sadie for a fast 5-mile run. I LOVE running when the weather is cool because it doesn’t feel nearly as difficult. It’s great! I was truckin’ the whole time and Sadie was lovin’ life.

When I got home I made an awesome breakfast. I prepared a fruit, yogurt and granola parfait, topped with whipped cream.


Breakfast Parfait

I layered Yoplait cherry pie yogurt, Oikos blueberry yogurt, raspberries, blueberries, granola and Honey Nut Cheerios to make my pretty lil’ parfait. It was delish!


After breakfast and a much-needed shower, my mom, sister, Ryan and I headed off to meet with a potential wedding photographer.   

julie mom leslie

The Ladies

Ryan and I needed two attempts to get a decent picture…

ryan julie 2

Take One

ryan julie

Take Two

The photographers we met with were two young girls who were very sweet but so far have only taken portrait pictures and have never shot a wedding. I love their style though because they capture moments and emotion in their images. I’m just not sure if we want to take such a huge leap of faith with photographers with no wedding experience. We’ll just haveta see!

Now we’re off for my FIRST attempt at trying on wedding dresses! I’m actually a little nervous but so excited! We have about a million different pictures torn out of magazines or printed off the internet to bring in as references. Let the madness begin!

Pink Breakfast

“Paaay-ink.” Apparently that’s what I would reply with when asked my favorite color when I was younger. I also referred to crayons as crowns (remember that one, Kristen?). Fortunately I now know how to properly refer to the color pink and the coloring utensils.

My breakfast today was a beautiful bowl of paaay-ink mush! My younger self would be delighted.

Last night I made some more cranberry relish (yes, I already polished off my first batch), and plopped a bunch on top of my Greek yogurt.

yogurt cranberry relish

Yogurt and Cranberry Relish

After stirring it in, my yogurt was transformed into a lovely pastel pink bowl of creaminess.

stirred up

Pretty 'n' Pink

I added a half a cup of Cheerios to the mix for some whole grains and crunch. Gosh, I sure do love those lil’ o’s.

cheerios and yogurt

Cheerios and Cranberry Yogurt

topped with cheerios

Topped Off

I served my big bowl of pink with a hot tumbler full of my gym’s free coffee. Today’s flavor combo was Barnie’s hazelnut and French vanilla. Perfect for a crisp morning.

friday breakfast

Friday's Breakfast

I loved my super-girly, super-pink breakfast!

Workout and a Cosmo Realization

This morning I woke up to a dog that was spooning me and breathing like she was having an asthma attack. How romantic! Sadie was allowed in the bed last night because it was chilly in our apartment and we didn’t want our little munchkin to be cold (she’s spoiled, we know).

Waking up to a cuddly pup put a smile on my face and I headed out to el gym for a BodyPump class and 25 minutes of light cardio on the elliptical.

While I was cardioing, I read the latest issue of Cosmo. I must say I think that magazine is garbage. I received a free subscription to the mag and feel like I need to read it before leaving it on the gym’s magazine rack (why, I’m really not sure).


The Latest Issue of Cosmo Magazine

Every time I flip through an issue, I am amazed at the advice and quantity of crap (eek!) I find. I wonder how many girls actually take this advice seriously. I love asking Ryan about the “different ways to wow your man” only to see him roll his eyes and say “I swear Julie, if you ever did that I’d smack you.” (Disclaimer: He would never actually smack me. And don’t worry, because if he did Sadie would eat him.)

It’s amazing how magazines that were once so special can lose their luster. I thought Cosmo was the coolest when I was in high school even though I wasn’t allowed to have a subscription. Now… not so much.

Sometimes these realizations make me feel like I’m getting older. I remember seeing my mom and dad watch the news. I’d think to myself, “That’s so boring! Why would you voluntarily watch that?” Home Improvement and Full House were much more entertaining! Now I actually watch the news. I think 24 may be the new 65.


After aging myself about 500 years at the gym, I came home to shower and pack for our trip to St. Pete this weekend.

sadie and julie

Me and My Packin' Partner

(Doesn’t Sadie look so feeble in this picture!?)

Sadie was a terrible fantastic packin’ partner. I love how she’d jump on every item of clothing I’d add to my duffel bag and put her paws on my shoulders for hug breaks every two minutes. It was greeeeat and really helped my productivity. 😉 (Sense the sarcasm.)

I think Sadie knows what my bright blue duffel means because she was acting mighty frisky this morning. She’s ready for a weekend in St. Pete with my family! She adores my parents and my sister and freaks out every time we pull into the driveway at their house. Fortunately they’re all Sadie-obsessed too. I’m ready for the weekend to begin!

Four C’s Breakfast

Today’s breakfast was a 4-C super meal: cocoa Cheerio cottage cheese! I could really get crazy and add in “crunchy” and “creamy” but let’s not take it too far. 😉

The base for my mornin’ meal was no salt added cottage cheese (terrible on it’s own, but delicious when blended) blended with sweetener and cocoa powder.

cocoa cheese pre blended

Pre-Blended Cocoa Cottage Cheese

cocoa cottage cheese

Blended Chocolate Bowl

I used about a tablespoon of cocoa powder in this mix, so it was super chocolatey. Just the way I like it!

I then added a cup of Cheerios to the mix for some whole grains and that crunch I adore.


The One and Only Cheerios

cocoa cottage cheerios

Four "C" Delight

Creamy, crunchy and filling. Agreat Wednesday breakfast.


I have been attending BodyPump classes Monday, Wednesday and Fridays for a while now. I usually try to trade out one day of the class for my own total-body weight routine to keep my body guessing, but I was enjoying the Pump so much that I haven’t done that in a while.

Enter: this morning! After 25 minutes of light cardio on the elliptical (while browsing through The Popcorn Factory’s holiday catalog and salivating at every item), I hit the weight room for a total-body weight routine. My workout today looked like this:

  • Step ups: 30 lbs., 15 reps per leg, 3 sets
  • Shoulder raises: 20 lbs., 15 reps, 3 sets
  • Deadlifts: 60 lbs. 15 reps, 3 sets
  • Bicep curls: 30 lbs., 15 reps, 3 sets
  • Tricep extensions: 20 lbs., 15 reps, 3 sets
  • Side bends: 30 lbs., 15 reps each side, 3 sets
  • Hamstring exercise ball curls: Body weight, 20 reps, 3 sets
  • Abdominal work
  • Leg extensions: 40 lbs., 15 reps, 3 sets

(Note: The weight listed is the total amount of weight used. For instance in the Bicep curls, I used a total of 30 lbs. with 15 lb. dumbbells in each hand.)

It felt good to change it up a bit!

What’s your favorite body part to work out in the gym?

My favorite is probably my shoulders or my abs. I really don’t like working out legs! Ughhh.