Work Attire and a Case of Missing Time

Ugh being back from San Francisco sucks! It was a crazy trip and I had a ton of fun. I promise I’ll give an overview of my packing and what activities I did shortly! But for now!

Making MelissaI confess that..

I am starting to try and make an editorial calendar. Something basic like on Monday we wear pink! Just kidding, I couldn’t resist. More like, on Mondays I will post something that is pinnable!

I haven’t seen one episode of the Bachelor yet! I’m slacking majorly. It’s all on my DVR though, so when my boyfriend is out for a doctor’s appointment tonight I promise to catch up!

I hate wearing slacks to work. I will happily wear dresses and skirts all winter into work.

I have also torn through at least five pairs of tights this winter ūüė•

I’m totally scared that February is going to fly by! There are tons of things that I’m doing in February and March that I am just not prepared for!

Bye lovelies!


Also don’t forget about the huge cash giveaway that I’m participating in! Go enter now before it ends!

New Year's Rocking Cash Giveaway

GIVEAWAY DETAILS

Prize: $500 (via Paypal)

Co-hosts: ¬†Jenn’s Blah Blah Blog¬†‚Äʬ†True Story Book Blog¬†‚ÄĘ Allisonleighann.¬†‚ÄĘ My Fashion On The Rox¬†‚ÄĘ Mae Amor¬†‚ÄĘ Bohemian Babushka¬†‚ÄĘ Finger Click Saver¬†‚ÄĘ The PinterTest Kitchen¬†‚ÄĘPolished Closets¬†‚ÄĘ Blog by Donna¬†‚ÄĘ Misadventures with Andi¬†‚ÄĘ Nicole to the Nines¬†‚ÄĘ Stacy’s Savings¬†‚ÄĘ OrangeMarigolds.com¬†‚ÄĘ Palmtrees and Happiness¬†‚ÄĘ My Starlight Blessings¬†‚ÄĘ Mommy on the Money

Giveaway organized by: Oh My Gosh Beck!

Rules: Use the Rafflecopter form to enter daily. Giveaway ends 1/31 and is open worldwide. Winner will be notified via email.

Are you a blogger who wants to participate in giveaways like these to grow your blog? Click here to find out how you can join a totally awesome group of bloggers!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Five Favorite TV Shows

Oh, hey Friday! I’m joining the Friday Fives linkup hosted by The Farmer’s Wife and September Farm! Here’s a quick list of my five favorite TV shows that I am super addicted to!

  1. Orange is the New Black on Netflix.¬†I’m pretty sure everyone has seen this, and if you haven’t, get into it right now! The best thing about Netflix shows is that as soon as a new season comes out they release every episode. Perfect Binge watching.
  2. Girls on HBO. Ahh, I am so excited it just started up this past week! I have to admit I find Lena Dunham’s character Hannah so so so annoying and dumb. She brings up some great situations that twenty-somethings get into, and some that any twenty-something would¬†never¬†get into. I also think¬†it is pretty much a more modern day, younger version of Sex and the City, albeit a lot less classy. See below.
  3. Game of Thrones on HBO.¬†I’ve always been kind of into the fantasy and medieval times thing, so I’m glad others are¬†finally¬†catching up with me. I definitely could¬†not get into the books which are in super tiny print and about 1000 pages. Nope. I also started watching the show which is expertly directly, has great visual FX, and amazing acting, so can anyone tell me why it would be worth it for me to read the books? There’s also tons of female empowerment in the show which I love.
  4. The Americans on FX.¬†This is one of the few shows my boyfriend and I can actually get together and watch. It has great character building, there’s always something surprising around the corner and the new season starts super soon!
  5. You’re the Worst on FXX. Haha, so I swear I do watch more than just FX and HBO. But these really are my top five that I have already pre-programmed into my DVR to automatically record! This is a pretty funny and short tv show that comes on in the evenings. Basically primarily about relationships, the dating scene, and partying. This one I would say is like a mix of twenty-somethings and thirty-somethings. Pretty funny¬†and I have a small crush on Chris Greer.

Do you share any of my favorite shows? What is pre-programmed into your DVR?

Oh, How I Love Group Fitness Classes

5k

In contrast to the photo above, I actually hate running. My boyfriend dragged me to a handful of 5k’s this summer and I ended up feeling dead after the summer with a serious shin splint in my left leg.

I’m also terrible at motivating myself. I listen to that devil on my shoulder that says, “You’re ten minutes away from a full half-hour, let’s just leave now.” or “I’m cramping and there’s absolutely no way to push through this.” or “I want pizza right now.” However, I love when people motivate me. One of my favorite things, and the only reason I pay for a gym membership, are the group fitness classes. In addition, getting fit and going to the gym at least three times a week is one of my resolutions. I successfully completed the resolution last week but definitely won’t complete this week due to a work trip ūüė¶

I’ve been an XSport Fitness member. I actually had a friend who worked as a trainer there and got me a corporate membership so I had no sign up fees and can cancel at anytime without having to pay out an entire year or any termination fees. I really like XSport more than any other gym I’ve been to in this area because they have tons of space, lots of brand new equipment, a pool, sauna, spa (which I was using when I used to tan), basketball courts, rock climbing walls, and more. In addition, you can always bring a guest with you for free which is super convenient if you have someone you like working out with.

Like I said previously, the main reason I go to a gym are the group fitness classes. I absolutely love them. I typically go to a range of a few different classes like Zumba, Body Pump, Cycle (aka Spinning, click the link to get to Sarah, my instructor’s, blog!), Boot Camp, Body Jam (recently has been replaced by Zumba), Insanity, and sometimes Pilates. Overall Zumba, Cycle, and Body Pump are my three favorites. Zumba gets your cardio really going! For a sixty-minute class I typically burn around 600-700 calories depending on the dance routine that my instructor takes us through. I also am learning how to have better rhythm which is always a plus. Body Pump¬†by Les Mills looks extremely intimidating. It took me forever to go to the class because everyone rushes to pick up at least 10 items to workout with, but almost every instructor I’ve had has been super helpful and will help you set up and tell you which weights you should use. It’s addicting once you start. See below for a sneak peek.

I know there are a lot of people who get self-conscious at group classes or would prefer to work at their own pace, but for me they are perfect. I like group fitness classes for a number of reasons:

  1. Group motivation and camaraderie.
  2. The instructor pushes you.
  3. They keep you on a regular schedule.
  4. You learn new exercise routines.
  5. The instructor teaches you proper posture and technique.
  6. Give you ample time to warm-up and stretch (a downfall in my individual workout routine.)
  7. You can be social and make friends!

Sorry for such a wordy post!

Do you prefer to workout in group classes, with a partner, or by yourself? What motivates you?

Winter Essentials

Someone loves the dusting we got today #hyperlapse #heelersofinstagram

A post shared by Alanna | Chicago Life & Food (@alannaandco) on

 

Snowboarding at Wisp

Winter is officially upon us. I got an email today saying that the wind chills tonight are going to feel like 0 degrees or negative 10 degrees! Yikes. For Northern Virginia, that is absolutely freezing!

Winter Essentials

  1. Blankets, blankets, and snuggies! I love blankets at any time of the year, but now it’s perfect because it’s extra cold. As dorky as snuggies are, they’re actually extremely convenient, especially when you’re blogging on your couch!
  2. Aveeno¬†hand lotion.¬†They’re not joking when they say it lasts through hand washing and for 24 hours. This is the only lotion that keeps my hands moisturized and prevents cracking during the winter. It’s also good for the workplace because it’s fragrance free.
  3. Anne Klein boots! I actually just got those for Christmas this year and they are perfect! They’re lightweight, waterproof, fur-lined, and have a great grip for ice and snow.
  4. Eos Lip Balm. They have tons of different flavors and they give you great coverage without feeling sticky or oily. My favorite is the mint flavor because it tingles!Eos Lip Balm
  5. Starbucks Chai Tea Lattes. This is life.

    Alamo?

    A post shared by Alanna | Chicago Life & Food (@alannaandco) on

What are your essentials for surviving the winter?

Slightly Late Hump Day Blog Confessions

I’ve been all messed-up this week since I usually only work from home on Thursdays, but I had a snow day and worked from home on Tuesday. So I’m using that as an excuse to post my hump day confessions one day late!

I confess that:

  • I just spent a day and a half redesigning the blog. The way the posts showed up as articles was really getting on my nerves. I also changed¬†a plain white background as suggested by Venus Trapped in Mars. I love her website and her tutorials so I decided she probably knows what she’s talking about with the white background deal.
  • I am obsessed with the new look of the blog, the new social media buttons, my about me widget, and MY own button that you can grab at the bottom!
  • I just sponsored my first blog for April. It’ll be a surprise who it is!
  • I’m having another giveaway¬†tomorrow! Check back for the details tomorrow.
  • I’m obsessed with blog link ups.
  • This will be the first week I’ve completed my resolution of “workout three times a week”. I’m going to Body Pump tonight. Les Mills for the win!
  • I watch MTV music videos every morning when I eat my breakfast!
  • I’ve danced with my dog every night this week. She loves it.

    "Yes, I can fit here," she says.

    A post shared by Alanna | Chicago Life & Food (@alannaandco) on

  • I’ve been playing Dragon Age Origins at every change I can steal my boyfriend away from the tv! #nerdalert. Notice the Xbox controller in the Instagram?
  • I haven’t worn make-up since Monday…whoops.Making Melissa

Thanks for checking out the new blog design! I hope you like it and please let me know if you notice anything wonky in the comments. Happy late hump day!

Review of 2014 Reading Challenge and 2015 Reading Challenge

For 2014, I challenged myself to read all the books of movies that were coming out in 2014. It was pretty entertaining, and then it was fun to compare the movies to the books when I saw them!

  1. The Monuments Men by Robert M. Edsel. I did like the book, however it was hard for me to really get into just because of how it was written. I actually preferred the movie over the book.
  2. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.¬†I haven’t actually seen the movie yet. I am such a cry baby that I refused to go to the theaters to see it. The book was good, but a quick YA read.
  3. The Giver by Lois Lowry. For some reason I never had to read this in middle or high school! I actually really liked it and was surprised by how similar it was to the City of Ember. The movie was really good!
  4. If I Stay by Gayle Forman. It was okay…pretty sad. Quick read, I feel like I might like the movie better but haven’t had a chance to see it yet.
  5. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.¬†One of my favorite books this year. I couldn’t put it down. The movie almost as good, but not quite. I’m pretty sure my boyfriend doesn’t want to marry me because of this movie now. Whoops!

  6. This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper.¬†For what the book is about it is hilariously written. I couldn’t stop laughing at parts. Also haven’t seen this movie either. I really need to get on watching these movies!
  7. Wild by Cheryl Strayed.¬†This just came out in theaters so I have an excuse for why I haven’t seen it yet. Very well written non-fiction and I’m not a big non-fiction person. A completely honest memoir that is humorous and suspenseful. Can’t wait to see Reese Witherspoon in this role.

  8. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. Wow, just wow. A must-read. Again, a true story that is heart-breaking and heart warming all at the same time. The movie was really good too.
  9. Serena by Ron Rash.¬†Intriguing book, there were parts that I had to go back and re-read. Movie is coming out in 2015 with Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper, so I’m sure they’re going to do a great job illustrating the book.
  10. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn. This was an amazing book too. This movie is actually going to come out in 2015. Flynn is a really dark writer, but just the way she write drags you deep into the character and the story. I highly suggest her books!
  11. Honorable Mention:¬†The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro. This actually came out in a series on Fx that my boyfriend and I watch. They did great, but I actually think season one covered the first and second book so there were things in the tv series I hadn’t read yet!

Lastly, I am joining the Modern Mrs Darcy 2015 Reading Challenge. The challenge is to read 12 different books in 12 months from 12 different genres. Considering that my reading goal for this year is 100 books, I think I can accomplish this pretty easily and it should be fun!

Modern Mrs Darcy Book ChallengeCurrently Reading: The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan. #1 book for 2015.

What did you think about the books that were made into movies this year? Were you able to read them before the movie came out?

Tuesday Talk Link-Up!

Tuesday Talk Link-Up!

Rememberlutions Jar

Okay, so I said my last post was going to be the last New Year’s post….but I lied. I had to post this because I’m proud of the fact I actually crafted something since being in a sorority and it’s really cute!rememberlutions mason jar craft

This is my one of New Years resolutions. I made this “Remember-lutions” jar. Decorate a mason jar to represent yourself & your life. But instead of saying I’m going to be healthier, diet more, workout more, etc…make it your goal this year to fill the jar with things you want to remember. Do thing that excite you, thrill you & make you happy. Then write it down & put it in the jar. At the end of your year you’ll have an entire jar filled with wonderful memories that you can open up on next New Years day.

Rememberlutions Jar

I also ended up getting a couple extra mason jars because apparently you can make tons and tons of crafts with them. I ended up making a cute candle jar with one of the other ones and I think I’ll try and craft the last one into a vase!Mason jar Candle Holder

H/T to Buzzfeed for the great idea!