Baby shower for a friend (Part 2)

As you read yesterday, I threw a baby shower for two friends this past weekend. I decided to stick with their theme for the baby’s room, which is jungle, and get decorations to match. What better place to go for personalized, adorable jungle themed decorations than Etsy!

First, I searched for invitations. There were so many out there to choose from. They were all cute, but it was the wording of the final invitation that caught my attention.

Invitation Edited

Photo courtesy of shop owner.

Seriously though, how cute! Thanks to Designs by DVB for designing these adorable invitations. It was very easy to work with the shop owner. She responded to messages in a timely manner, and had the invitations ready to go and shopped in just a few days. The parents-to-be loved them and immediately placed their copy in the baby’s book.

Sticking with the jungle theme I found these adorable diaper cakes on Etsy that I decided to place around the room.

Diaper cakes 0

Photo courtesy of shop owner.

I messaged the store owner (Diapercake4Less) and quickly found out she would be closing her shop for a couple of weeks to celebrate her son’s birthday. No worries! There was plenty of time to get them ordered at the beginning of July and have them in time for the shower. To my amazement, when I contacted the shop owner on July 2 (per her instructions) she had already completed the diaper cakes! She informed me that she would send them out the following Monday, which she did, and I had should have them just a few days later, which I did. They were a perfect addition to the shower. I added the balloons to make them a little bigger since the room was so large (the rec room at my apartment complex was the venue).

Diaper cakes 1 Diaper cakes 2In addition to the diaper cakes I found this great banner on Etsy by NiuDesigns. The shop owner was wonderful to work with, and even though this was one of the last things I ordered for the shower it arrived in plenty of time. I positioned it on the gift table where everyone would see it as the parents opened up their gifts. Another great addition to the shower.

Its a boy bannerThe parents loved the sign, as well as the diaper cakes, and they couldn’t wait to take them home and incorporate them into the baby’s room.

One thing I didn’t take pictures of was “Wishes for the Baby” wall. I found a printable documents that guests could fill out for the baby. For example, one of the wishes said, “I hope you learn…” Guests filled these out and then hung them on ribbon using these adorable clothes pins on Etsy (TinyLittleCharms)

Tiny little charms clothes pins

Photo courtesy of shop owner.

I ordered the monkey, elephant, lion and giraffe. The parents loved this! They couldn’t wait to take them home and share the wishes with their little boy one day.

Thanks to The Party Stork for supplying the wishes cards, wild guesses card (when the baby will be born and how big he’ll be), and our two games (match the adult animal to the baby animal and old wives tales – does it predict a boy or a girl). They were both a hit!

Of course the most important question is, what was on the menu?! I put together a menu that was easy, and included mom-to-be’s favorite foods. I found theme matching food cards at The Storks Shop on Etsy that I put with each item so people knew what they were eating.

Appetizers: Hummus and veggies & Salsa and chips

Side dishes: BLT Pasta Salad (gluten and dairy free), Quinoa Salad with asparagus, sundried tomatoes and feta cheese & Fruit Salad

Main dishes: Hamburgers and Cheeseburgers, Chicken marinated in Italian dressing & Brats

Dessert: Funfeti cupcakes & a Candy Bar (Gummy Bears from Sprouts (best gummy bears), Jordan Almonds and Homemade Cookie Dough Bites)

I took pictures of some of the food, but got so distracted I didn’t get pictures of all the food.

SaladsDessert BarCandyI had a blast putting together this baby shower for my friends. It’s a lot of work prepping, cooking and setting up, but it’s something I love to do! I love planning parties and executing them. It makes it that much more enjoyable when it’s for family and friends. Here we are three days later and I’m still recovering. 🙂 At the end of the day, it was a blast and the parents-to-be were very pleased.

Baby Shower for a friend (part 1)

Note: This is a two-part blog.

This past weekend I threw a baby shower for two friends of mine. The father-to-be is best friend’s with my boyfriend, and the mom-to-be has become a friend of mine. A few months ago they were preparing to go to a doctor’s appointment to learn the gender of their baby. At first they wanted to know and share the news with friends at a baby gender reveal party (this is definitely a new trend), but then they changed their minds and decided they wanted to find out together with all their friends. Did I mention that I offered to bake the cake that revealed the gender? Oh the pressure to keep a secret – from everyone!

Two days before I moved into my new place and got the little piece of paper telling me whether or not my friend’s were having a boy or a girl, I had a really crazy dream. Let me preface by saying, I’ve had deja vu moments, but I’ve never had dreams where I’ve talked to someone who has passed or dreamt something that ends up coming true. Well, Wednesday night I went to bed and had the following dream – I’m in the kitchen baking a cake for the baby reveal party. As I start to fill the middle of the cake with frosting there is a knock on my door. I open the door to find the parents-to-be. The mom-to-be says, “Why are you filling that with blue frosting?” To which I replied, “It’s blue because you’re having a boy.” The mom-to-be asked how it was possible I knew they were having a boy since they hadn’t given me the piece of paper. I looked at her and said, “I just know!” I woke up not thinking much of it.

That Friday while I was moving the parents-to-be came over with the piece of paper inside a sealed envelope. After they handed it to me and left, I stood there staring at the envelope. I was nervous to open it! I knew they wanted a girl, and was hoping they wouldn’t be disappointed if the paper said boy. Well, I opened the envelope and the piece of paper read, “Baby Boy!” Ugh! My heart sank. For a brief moment I felt bad for them because I knew they wanted a girl. Then I quickly turned my attitude around and thought, the most important thing is that they have a healthy baby.

Saturday morning I woke up and baked the cake along with 2 dozen cupcakes with blue frosting in the center. Chocolate cake per the mom’s request and funfeti cupcakes for everyone else:

Chocolate cake before adding the frosting:

Cake before

Chocolate cake after the frosting is complete:

Cake after

Cupcakes with blue frosting!

Cupcakes with blue frosting

Here we are a few months later and we just celebrated the parents-to-be this past weekend with a shower. I had a fun time picking out invitations and decorations, along with planning the menu. The theme of the nursery is jungle – so that was theme for the baby shower. More to come tomorrow! 🙂

New Year, New Starts

Happy New Year! I know I’m late to the party (a week exactly), and I promise no excuses this year. Life is always going to be crazy and busy, and I just need to learn to make time to check in with all you during the week.

How is your new year going so far? Did you make your new year’s resolution or set goals for yourself? I have decided not set a resolution or goals because the last few years they have been the same; this year would have been no exception. Instead, I’m approaching each day as the new day that it is and setting goals for myself to complete that day. I have however, set some professional goals for myself, as I think this is extremely important to help me grow.

This week marks week 8 of Focus T25. I’m absolutely loving this program. Twenty-five minutes four days a week, and one 50-minute workout 1 day a week (two 25 minute workouts). That’s it! You really can’t go wrong.I’m feeling stronger and getting faster each day. I’ve even been successful with getting up in the morning and doing my workout first thing. Such a wonderful day to start the day. Here are some pictures from Days 22-24, Days 34-36:

Day 22 T25_1 Day 22 T25_2 Day 23 T25_1 Day 23 T25_2 Day 24 T25_1 Day 24 T25_2 Day 34 T25_1 Day 34 T25_2 Day 35 T25_1 Day 35 T25_2 Day 36 T25_1 Day 36 T25_2 Day 36 T25_3

Two and a half weeks and I’m done with Focus T25. I can’t believe it! I’ve already started planning ahead for what’s next. On January 27, I’m starting P90X3. It’s another 30 minute program, which is perfect for anyone’s schedule, and will be great while I’m on the road for work. Curious about T25 and P90X3? Send me a message! Currently, these programs Challenge Packs are on sale with over $90’s in savings. Check them out here: http://www.lstern412bbcoach.com and click “Shop”.

This week my focus has been on my eating. Yesterday started out promising with a good morning workout, a productive day at work, and a good plan of clean, healthy meals. The Central Market version of Pirates Booty and dinner were my downfalls. I finished the last third of the bag of “Pirates Booty” at lunch, and then for dinner I ate left over polenta (which had all kinds of cream and cheese in it), a piece of blue cheese, and some of the filling I made for the stuff acorn squash I had planned on eating for dinner. For dessert I had three caramel squares. Ugh, I felt so sick!

Today is a new day! Putting yesterday behind me and refusing to let it bring me down. This morning I did T25 Beta Upper Focus, which went really fast today. Breakfast consisted of 2 eggs, 2 egg whites, and broccoli scramble with 3 pieces of turkey bacon. Morning snack was Chocolate Shakeology with peaches. Lunch was stuffed acorn squash (black beans, quinoa, sweet potatoes, onions, and roasted tomatoes). Afternoon snack is going to be Chocolate Shakeology with cranberries and peaches.

Speaking of Shakeology, Beachbody is releasing a new Shakeology flavor – Strawberry! They currently have Tropical Strawberry, which is vegan. The new strawberry is regular like the Chocolate and Vanilla. I cannot wait to try it!

Cheers to the new year! 2014 will be a great year!

 

T25 Days 6-11 & Turkey Week Recap

Life has been a little crazy lately 🙂 I was home all last week working remotely, spending time with family, and breaking it down on the dance floor at my sister’s wedding. I had an exceptional week at home!!!

Before I do a “quick” recap I want to wish my incredible parents Happy 35th Anniversary! Thanks to their continuous love, support and guidance, I am the woman I am today. I’m so grateful to call them MY parents.

Happy Anniversary Dad and Mom

So, what did I eat last week? I’m proud to say I was good 90% of the week. I enjoyed a burger (no bun) and sweet potato fries one night, and then a lot of popcorn (left over from the wedding) on Sunday. Throughout the week though I had two eggs with an avocado, shakeology, and lentil-lime salad. I also enjoyed a delicata squash and a gluten-free “pizza” made on gluten-free bread (just one slice).

Clean Eating Turkey Week

Wednesday night my parents, brother, his girlfriend and I went out for sushi. It was SO good. My brother and dad taught my brother’s girlfriend how to use chopsticks. She’s left-handed and said she’s never been able to really use them properly. It was SUPER entertaining to watch.

Sushi Dinner

On Tuesday morning we woke up to this:

White Thanksgiving

I was happy as a clam; the rest of the family not. so. much. See my sister got married on Saturday and everyone was afraid the snow was going to delay people from getting to Pittsburgh. Thankfully the weather cleared up.

I kept up with my workouts for the week, although I didn’t take any pictures of my double workout on Friday. I was too focused on getting my workouts in and getting ready in time for the rehearsal dinner.

Day 6 of T25

T25 Day 6

Day 7 of T25

T25 Day 7

Day 8 T25

T25 Day 9

Wednesday marked the first night of Hanukkah, which meant that Hanukkah was going to fall on Thanksgiving. This won’t happen for another 70,000+ years. My parents found this Menurkey that marks the occasion. It came plain and my dad decided it needed a little color

Munerkey

Day 9 T25 – Turkey Day! I treated myself to Starbucks to enjoy with breakfast and the Macy’s Parade!

T25 Day 8

T25 Day 8_2

We had 34 people for Thanksgiving dinner. As if planning a wedding for my mom wasn’t enough, she cooked dinner for everyone and had gluten-free options, vegetarian options, and everything was nut free. My mom is SUPER woman. P.S. She found these napkins that said “Gobble Gobble N’at” (Pittsburghese)

Thanksgiving Dinner

Day 10 T25 – Forgot to take pictures

Day 11 T25 – Decided to get my workout in first thing before I headed back to Austin. I knew that I would be too tired from traveling once I got back to Austin. I was SO glad to get it done; it made traveling so much better.

T25 Day 11

All those workouts kept me sane throughout the week. With all that family around and my sister’s wedding, it was 25 minutes to myself. I must say though I think I burned more calories on the dance floor than I did in all my workouts combined; maybe. My mom KNOWS how to throw a party; I swear she missed her calling as a party planner. My sister looked GORGEOUS and everything about the wedding was fantastic! The ketubah signing & wedding ceremonies were very special and left several of us in happy tears. I was so honored to stand beside my sister and new brother-in-law as they exchanged vows. I’m beyond happy for these two and wish them many, many years of happiness together.

Wedding Pictures

Well, that’s all I have for now. Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day!

Happy Friday!

Keeping it short and sweet today. Happy Friday y’all! Hope everyone has an amazing weekend. Stay hydrated if you’re in TX; it’s going to be hot, hot, hot! I’ll fill you in on all the happenings on Monday. 🙂

happy friday balloons

Question: What are your plans for the weekend?

Testing 1, 2, 3

Is this thing on?

Hey there! Remember me? Miss me? Work has been ruling my life these last five days so unfortunately I wasn’t able to share with everyone what’s been happening. Let’s just right in….

Friday

Went to an Awesome Austin Happy Hour with some old friends and met some new friends. After happy hour I met some friends for a night cap (I had water since I was driving :-)).

Saturday

Up and at ’em early! Started my day with Chocolate shakeology and a nice bowl of berries.

Saturday Breakfast

After breakfast I loaded up the car. Road trip to Dallas with my co-worker for Southwest Foodservice Expo.

Road trip

ROAD TRIP! Nothing beats great company and great conversation on a road trip. Serious bonding time!

After setting up the booth my co-worker and I headed to CVS to pick up some supplies. To my EXCITEMENT, DELIGHT, SURPRISE, JOY, ETC. I discovered Uncle Julio’s across the street. I thought it was a Maryland/Virgina restaurant. WRONG. Saying I was excited is 110% an understatement.

Uncle Julios

Uncle Julio’s

Decorations

The decor

Margarita

Skinny Guava Rita. Hits the spot EVERY time!

Dinner

Fish tacos on corn tortillas for dinner. SO good.

We were highly entered sitting at the bar. Had a few good conversation with some people, and encountered one or two not so cool people. One guy actually tried to convince me that Dallas and Houston were nicer than Austin. OY!!! P.S. Uncle Julio’s is opening in Austin on July 15…I’ll be there for drinks so have a skinny guava rita ready for me Uncle Julio!

Sunday

Got up first thing in the morning and headed to the hotel gym. Ran into some old friends.

LiftingHello old friends!

Had a great strength training session before heading to the expo for the day. During the show we sampled pizzas, brownies and blondies, and talked to people about Smart Flour Foods and our products. It was a good, busy day.

photoThis was the set up for our booth. So colorful, right?

After a long day at the show we grabbed a bite and drinks.

Monday

Got up and worked out before heading to the expo.

BikingRecumbent bike

This is a good mode of cardio right now since I’m still waiting for the green light to get back to my regular routine. It was good to put some miles in on the bike.

After my workout it was back to the convention center for another day of sampling and chatting with people who came by the booth. All-in-all it was a great show. When it was over we broke down the booth and loaded up the cars. 3 hours back to Austin. I was on a mission to get back to see some of the hockey game. My friend who moved to Austin from Chicago is a Hawks fan. I promised her that I would watch the Stanley Cup games with her, but I keep going out of town. When I got back into town I sent her a message saying I was heading to The Tavern; she followed up with this:

Convo with MaryYep, that’s a great friend!

Congrats to her Blackhawks on winning the Stanley Cup. It was hilarious being in the bar surrounded by dozens of Hawks fans and watching them watch their team win.

Tuesday

All about catching up and moving things along. It was a good day. Really excited about the next projects I’m working on, and a little quiet time to work on those things that I had to set aside. Here’s to another amazing week in Austin and an amazing week ahead!

Question: Which city do you think is cooler: Austin, Houston or Dallas?

A Special Message to my Dad

I was fortunate enough this year to spend Father’s Day with my dad. I haven’t been home in almost 4 months, so I was grateful to be able to get in some quality family time. As I said for Mother’s Day, I truly believe every day we should honor our father’s or loved ones who took care of us. I don’t think we should set one day aside. They don’t just set one day aside to take care of us, so we shouldn’t just set aside one day. Every day we should be thankful for those things that they do for us and have given us.

I’m not sure I could ever put into words just how much my dad means to me. He has given me so much in my life, and continues to, but more importantly he has given so much to others. He is truly an inspiration and one of the wisest men I have ever met (not something I would admit to his face because I would never her the end of it). 🙂 My future husband has A LOT to live up to.

I continue learn about life and business from my dad. The knowledge is greater than anything I could ever read in a book or find on the internet. I feel so lucky to be in such a position. Thank you dad for instilling in me what it means to be a hard worker and to follow through on a promise. Thank you for all the lessons about finance and advice on how to handle life’s challenges. Thank you for supporting and encouraging me to follow my dreams. Even when things seemed impossible, but I was determine I could make it happen, you and mom always stood by myself. Thank you for all the life lessons and knowledge. I am where I am today because of your love and support.

LoveYouDad

My dad, me and my grandpa (his dad).

MeDadandGrandpa

My dad, sister and me.

DadErinandMe

My dad and me.

MeandDad1

Question: How did you spend Father’s Day?