FRIDAY FAVORITES #9: 11/21/2014

Happy Friday! I have a crazy, busy, exciting weekend ahead of me with some super fun wedding-related stuff on the horizon. As you all probably know by now, my favorite way to ring in Friday is by linking up with Heather at Housewife Glamour (thanks for hosting!) to share my favorites. Here's what I'm loving this week...

Dark Chocolate Peanut M&Ms. Just. so. good. My best friend and I always love to split the Tear & Share packs of the classic variation, but the dark chocolate takes this goodie to a whole new level. A handful of these is such a treat, and I love that the peanuts pack a bit of protein.

Kate Spade Bow Back Dress. I WISH I had somewhere to wear this. What a fun bridesmaid dress this would make...

Infinity Scarves. My ultimate weapon for "I'm SO lazy today but want to look somewhat chic." (I also own and love this version.)

4 Secrets To The Perfect Plank. (I've been using this mat for my plank challenge. It's so cushy... I love using it for stretching at home, too. I've held a two-and-a-half minute planks for the past two nights in a row and no, I can't believe it either.)

Forever 21 Sweaters. I love the sweater selection at Forever 21. I bought a really cute one there yesterday that I can't find online (of course). It's navy and sparkly with a sheer peekaboo back. The pieces are all comfy and well-priced. And while cashmere is always a worthwhile investment, it's definitely not the only way to stay warm - and stylish - in the winter.  

Halogen Cashmere Blend Beanie. This will work nicely with my new coat. :)

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

WEDDING WEDNESDAY II

A few more wedding links for you on this wonderful Wednesday!

Jumping on the bed on my best friend's wedding day. Can't wait to recreate this shot at mine!

A stunning wedding in Naples. I stayed at this resort with my grandparents as a kid and remember it so fondly.

Whether it's on your registry or Christmas list, here's a guide to picking the right Vitamix for you.

I could stare at Collette Dinnigan's bridal collection all. day. long.

I think I need this "ring dish" by one of my mom's favorite designers.

Cute thank you notes for engagement/shower gifts.

Fun to see all the different styles of real brides in Kendra Scott jewelry.

Something old.

Something new.

Something Borrowed.

Something blue.

Photo by Leigh Webber

HIIT IT! WITH DAPHNIE YANG

A few months ago, my friend and former running coach Daphnie Yang asked me to participate in a group photo shoot for her signature fitness class. HIIT IT! is a killer tabata-type workout that'll challenge every inch of your body and will leave you in a pile of sweat. It's amazing. If you're thinking of trying it, I can't recommend it enough. (She's also an all-around amazing person/personal trainer, if you're looking for one in the NYC area.)

Daphnie says: "HIIT IT!™ is a comprehensive and body-changing workout in a small class environment. You will burn up to 700 calories, blast fat, experience lean muscle growth, break through fitness plateaus, achieve personal bests, more easily perform daily activities and most importantly, have fun!"

Word.

I recently got the photos back and wanted to share a few of my favorites with you! As you'll see below, I'm no model, but this was a ton of fun to be a part of.

{Can you spot me? HA! #AlwaysInPrayer}

Many thanks to Daphnie for having me. Love you, friend! I can't wait to take another HIIT IT! class.

photos by DAG Photography

MIMM #3: WEEKEND HIGHLIGHTS

Happy Monday! It's a rainy, dreary one over here in NYC but I think it's going to be a great week so I'm in a good mood despite the gloomy skies. I'm linking up with Healthy Diva Eats to share the Marvelous In My Monday and Her Heartland Soul for her Weekend Snapshots link-up. Which is really a recap of the past few days. :)

- Paying bills. This sounds like a weird highlight, I realize, but one of my goals for this year/next year is to enter into marriage with zero personal debt. I'm not in the black yet, but I'm getting there, which is gratifying. My mom would be proud. :) (She loved to shop and spend, but she always worked hard, had near-perfect credit and was an excellent saver.)

- We opted for an early dinner out and a movie at home on Saturday night. We picked Jersey Boys, because I loved the Broadway show and was eager to see the film version. I have to say I was disappointed... the movie is really uneven and choppy. I wish they had provided subtitles of dates/places for many of the scenes - would've been much easier to follow. But the music is phenomenal and worth the watch alone. Of course the two songs that are my favorites/I was most looking forward to were the last two songs. And then they do a bonus performance while the credits roll, which is always a fun surprise.

- Brunch at The Smith with my fiancé & sister. That place is just so good. Bonus: gratis cocktail with any brunch entree. And not your standard watered down mimosa, either. 

- My new Nike Blazer High-Top Sneakers. Perfect for running around the city in fall/winter (when snow boots aren't required). I initially saw these online but loved them even more in the store. The burgundy color is much richer than the website leads on. It's my favorite shade for this time of year and the patent material gives it such a lovely sheen. I don't know, can sneakers be beautiful? Because these certainly are.

- I scored this cute striped turtleneck at Old Navy yesterday for ten bucks. It's like J.Crew's tissue version, but a third of the price. (Use code "CHEER" to get 35% off & free 2-day shipping today & tomorrow.)

- Father of The Bride on TV yesterday. My dad took me to see it in the theaters in the early nineties when I was just 5 or 6. When Steve Martin does the whole George Banks monologue at the beginning of the movie, my dad turned to me whispered "Doesn't he remind me of you?" and I've never forgotten that. As I've grown older the movie has meant more and more to me, and I can't get through it without crying. Now that I'm actually getting married, forget it. The scene when they're on the basketball court and it starts snowing came on and I had to turn the TV off. I was sobbing. (And putting on my makeup to get ready to head out, so crying in the moment was inconvenient.) Sad tears, bittersweet tears, and happy tears, too. And now I'm tearing up just writing this. Okay, I'm done!

What's marvelous in your Monday?

FRIDAY FAVORITES #8: 11/14/2014

Happy Friday! Today I'm linking up with Heather at Housewife Glamour to share what I've been loving this week.

Essie "Master Plan". I love natural, skin tone-colored polishes but the light beiges just feel a little too springy when the temps drop here in NYC. Essie describes this shade as a "soft mischievous grey" which is I think is just about the most delicious description ever. I'd describe it as the perfect fall neutral.

Burt's Bees Lip Gloss in Summer Twilight. This has a smooth, non-stick consistency. I love fancy, luxe lip glosses but it's nice to have some inexpensive alternatives. And despite the name, I think this is a great fall/winter color! 

Old Navy Rockstar Distressed Super Skinny Jeans. I don't know what it is, but in the past few years I've had an increasingly difficult time finding denim that fits. Recently I had to get rid of a few pairs of super expensive designer jeans I bought within the past year because they'd stretched out so much they wouldn't stay up anymore. I won't lie; when I bought my Rockstars last year, they also stretched out and I also had to get rid of them. BUT, I went down one size this year and now they fit better. (I'm not sure if Old Navy's sizing changed, but I know I haven't lost any weight. Last fall I bought this style in size 6; this year, I bought a size 4.) While I continue my search for the perfect jeans for my body type, I'm happy to live in this pair. I love the bright blue color (looks good with black) and the distressed detailing. They look great with both boots and flats and they didn't break the bank. 

MICHAEL Michael Kors 'Regina' Over The Knee Boot. I've been wanting OTK boots since last season, but I just can't quite get onboad with the price of Stuart Weitzman's 50/50 boots (beautiful as they are). I love how the rich suede texture and chunky heel on this MMK pair instantly dresses up leggings and a sweater tunic. And they're definitely comfortable enough. I wouldn't advise wearing these on a full day that you're going to be walking a lot, but if you live in a place that doesn't require a ton of foot travel... well, then, I envy you. 

Trina Turk Ali Wrap Coat. Every few winters, I invest in a warm dress coat. My dad surprised me with this one over the weekend (he picked it out!) and I'm just in love. The wrap front and fluted skirt feel so feminine and flattering. The Florida girl in me needs something to look forward to in the cold, and wearing this will certainly make the long frigid days more bearable. (Also love this similar style offered in more colors.)

How Much It Takes To Run Off Your Favorite Holiday Treat. Burn, baby, burn.

The Airport Vending Machine That Dispenses Natural Beauty Products. Making holiday travel slightly less painful.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

30 DAY PLANK CHALLENGE CHECK IN

So, anyone else doing the 30 Day Plank Challenge?

Anyone?

Bueller?

{Crickets.}

Just in case anyone is doing it, or is thinking about doing it, I wanted to check in with a quick update on my progress.

Today's a rest day (Day 13). I did my first 90-second hold yesterday. This time next week I'll be up to 150. 

Confession... There have been a few days where I've completely forgotten about this challenge, but then I make it up by doubling (or tripling) up my planks the following day. I'm all caught up now.

I'll be honest, when I first posted about this challenge, I was iffy that I'd ever be able to really hold a plank for 5 minutes. I am totally the girl who peters out during that crazy core section of barre class. Now the thigh and glutes sections, on the other hand... Good to go. I think I hold most of my strength in my lower body, and my abs are definitely weaker than I'd like to admit. But as I become more consistent with these planks, the end goal is beginning to feel more and more tangible.

I do my planks at night. We have a little routine. My fiancé sets my iPhone stopwatch and then we make mindless small talk. He asks me lots of questions to keep my mind off of the fact that my abs are shaking. (Okay... everything's shaking.) And when he says, "Okay, you're done," I always say, "Are you sure?" The time passes quickly and I am 100% more likely to stay in a plank longer if I have someone to talk to (and anything to talk about). My key to success Is the opposite of staying focused... But it works.

The one thing I wish I did is take a "before" photo on Day 1 to compare with an "after" photo on Day 30. Live and learn. I'm definitely planning to do another challenge in December, so I can be a bit more strategical that time around.

I know it seems silly; holding a plank for 5 minutes is hardly that special. But I like having a measurable goal to work towards, no matter how small or trivial. It keeps me motivated in all aspects of my life.

What have you challenged yourself to do lately?

WHAT I ATE WEDNESDAY #12: BACK IN THE SWING OF THINGS

Happy Wednesday, Ladies & Germs! We're back to our regularly scheduled programming after a brief hiatus. (Though I can't lie, pulling together that Wedding Wednesday post was way fun.)

For those of you who might be new (welcome!) or unfamiliar with this series, I dedicate my Wednesday posts on this blog to chronicling everything I ate the day before (Tuesday). It holds me accountable and makes me feel slightly more justified when I link up with Peas & Crayons and nosily poke around other WIAW blog posts. I just LOVE seeing what other people eat!

So let's get to it.

Breakfast was a bowl of oatmeal with half a banana, a handful of blueberries, a handful of raspberries and a sprinkle of brown sugar. I also had a glass of Starbucks Brewed to Personalize unsweetened iced coffee with a few almond milk ice cubes and a splash of almond milk.

My midmorning snack was the other half of that banana with a smear of Justin's Honey Peanut Butter.

I was SO hungry but the time lunch rolled around that I forgot to take a photo. The one above was taken a few months ago at the same restaurant and the meals basically look identical. Sorry for the stock pic sitch. Lunch was a goat cheese, spinach & butternut squash frittata with a mixed greens salad and iced tea.

After lunch, I wandered into Jacques Torres and picked up a few of these moustache lollipops. They're selling them in an effort to recognize Movember and bring attention to men's health. Dark chocolate for my Mister and white for me. (I was SO tempted by these chocolate-covered Cheerios, but I restrained myself.)

Late afternoon, I grabbed a green juice from Juice Generation. I had a 12oz "Get Ur Green On": kale, spinach, pineapple, apple & mint. Delish.

Dinner was our favorite chopped salad: romaine, garbanzo beans, mozzarella, salami, & turkey with mustard parmesan vinaigrette

I just had a small bowl, because I wasn't all that hungry. But here's the thing...

There's ALWAYS room for chocolate. 

Even when I'm not all that hungry, it's almost a guarantee that I'll be in the mood for dessert. I had a few bites of Truffle Trifecta ice cream, straight outta the carton. #Tuesday

That about wraps it up!

What are you eating today?