Happy Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day! I hope everyone’s day has been filled with great time with friends, family and some relaxation. Kevin and I had a productive weekend at home. It was nice to work on the house and do some final trip planning for our upcoming time in Europe.


Kevin leaves for New York and London next weekend for three weeks for work before I join him in London. I am not looking forward to him leaving for so long, but I am excited about our Europe trip! We will be visiting London, Barcelona, Paris and Prague. We are so excited to see our best friends Mike and Samantha in London, as they will be visiting at the same time!

I want to acknowledge all of those who have served and sacrificed for our country as we remember what Memorial Day is really about. I am so appreciative of all of those who given up so much for our freedom. I hope you all have a great day and rest of the week!

– A –

 

 

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Stress-Free Holidays

Hi all! We hope you had a great weekend and are enjoying the time leading up the holidays! This time of year can be very busy with holiday events and Christmas shopping on top of completing weekly duties. We wanted to share some ways to de-stress in order to make the most of the holiday season!

  1. Keep a schedule & to-do lists– A great way to keep track of work, school, and holidays events is to keep a planner or agenda and update it weekly. It is a good idea to look at your planner while having your coffee in the morning to see what you have to do that day and in the upcoming week.
  2. Stay on top of your workouts- Many people use the holidays as an excuse to stop working out because they are too busy. We find that keeping our normal workout routine helps keep our stress levels down so we are more productive throughout the day. Having a workout buddy and scheduling workouts ahead of time (even penciling them in your planner) will help you stay on track!
  3. Online shopping- We generally stay away from the mall especially as it gets closer to Christmas. While it can be fun to go shopping a time or two at the mall to get in the Christmas spirit, we do most of our Christmas shopping online to avoid the lines and crowds. Presents delivered right to your door, what more can you ask for?
  4. Meditation – It is important to find times to purify your mind, especially when things get busy and stressful before the holidays. Think of it like showering or working out. It is essential to take time to get in touch with yourself and find peace during a stressful day. One meditation app we like is Mindspace. It is a 10 minute guided meditation that reminds you that meditation is not about pushing away your thoughts but more about being at peace with them. Try scheduling 10 minutes into your morning or night time routine!
  5. Remember to enjoy the season – It is easy to forget the meaning of the season when it feels like there are a bunch of to-dos that come along with it. Remember to enjoy time with family and friends and let the little things go. Looking back you will be much more likely to remember the great times you had with the ones you care about most.

Happy Holidays!

– A & M – 

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Happy Monday and Happy December! This year has flown by, I can’t believe the holidays are already here!

I had so much fun decorating my place for Christmas. I wanted to keep the decorations more neutral, but added some pops of color and plaid. I swapped out simple things like pictures in my gallery wall and mugs hanging above my coffee bar to help make the main living spaces festive. Special thanks to my mom who came over and helped me decorate!

I hope everyone is enjoying this busy and joyful time of year!

– M –

Ode to Dad

Hello everyone! Happy Father’s Day to all the amazing dads out there, you are much appreciated! 


While we were unable to celebrate in person on Father’s Day with our dad, we wanted to dedicate this post to him. Our dad is always happy, full of energy, one of the most loving and caring people we know. We have learned so many things from him including, but not limited too: be “stickler tough,” always follow your dreams, never give up, start strong and finish stronger, and make the most out of every day. He likes to celebrate each day even if there isn’t a special occasion. 

Growing up, he never missed a dance recital or pom competition (he actually got pretty into them). And he coached many of our soccer and basketball teams. He is the best at motivational pep talks and never fails to deliver one before we have tests, interviews, or big events. He enjoys taking our family on vacations and spending quality time with family and friends. He also is very active and enjoys running and golfing in his free time. 

We are so lucky to call him our dad! He truly is one of a kind and we are thankful for all that he does for us. We love you so much dad! Hope you had a relaxing weekend! 

– A & M –

Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Monday! We hope everyone had a lovely weekend and had time to thank the special mothers in their lives. Happy Mother’s Day to all of the moms out there!

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We wanted to dedicate today’s post to our amazing mom. To us, she is not only a mother and role model, but she is our best friend. We love to spend time with her and know that she is always there for us no matter what. She helps us celebrate our accomplishments and is there for us through our disappointments. Our mom works as a preschool teacher and makes a positive impact on her students every day. We love to hear funny stories about what her students say and how she forms special bonds with each one. She has always puts others before herself in both her professional and personal life and will drop everything to help her family and friends. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, attending Michigan State games, and spending time with family. Our mom is very crafty and makes the most amazing baked good (cookies are her specialty). The list of her amazing qualities goes on and on! We are so lucky to have such a selfless, hard-working, and loving mother.

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Thank you mom for everything you do for us! We hope you had a relaxing, enjoyable weekend. We love you so much!

-A & M-

Valentine’s Day DIY Gift Ideas

With Valentine’s Day coming up next weekend I wanted to share some last-minute gift ideas with you guys. These gifts are inexpensive and are hand-crafted which makes them even more meaningful. And I promise they are easy to make! I have personally given all of these as gifts (mostly to Nick) over the years and I find that it is fun to make something for your loved one that the enjoy too. You will notice that these gifts are all food or drink related (based on Nick’s likes) and some are a bit cheesy, but that’s what Valentine’s Day is all about! So without further ado…

Edible Treats

1. “You Float My Boat”

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Nick and I both share a love for ice cream and when I saw this printable on Pinterest (my forever inspiration), I knew this would be a perfect gift for him. I included root beer, vanilla ice cream, and fun curly straws (along with a new swimsuit and Reese’s peanut butter cups because he’s spoiled). I put the goodies in a basket I already had at home and finished it off with ribbon and the printable. Ta-da!

2. Heart Krispies

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I decided to make these fun rice crispy treats as part of Nick’s Valentine’s Day gift one year. I made regular rice crispy treats (I use the Rice Krispies cereal recipe), but instead of making them squares I cut them into hearts using a heart-shaped cookie cutter. I inserted popsicle sticks and dipped them into melted chocolate adding festive sprinkles afterwards. I placed the treats in a vase with tissue paper to create a man-friendly bouquet of sorts.

2. Sweet Sayings

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Okay, this gift wasn’t for Nick, but I thought it would be perfect for Valentine’s Day since it is packed with yummy candy. I made this for my Grandma’s 90th birthday and she loved it! This is a gift you can personalize with whatever sayings and candy you want based on the recipient. I also added some stickers to fill in any white space leftover. Make sure to use a study poster board that can hold up the weight of the candy.

Drinking Goodies

1. Drink Coasters

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This was my most recent creation. I chose a couple of Nick’s favorite beers and bought a case of each so that I could use the wording on both sides for the coasters (I gave him the beer in a bucket to go with the coasters). I bought white tiles at Home Depot and felt and Mod Podge at Hobby Lobby. I cut the cardboard and felt to the size of the tiles. Then, I used Mod Podge to adhere felt to bottom of each tile. Once dry, I placed the cardboard on top of tile and used Mod Podge to coat. I let it dry for 15 minutes before applying one or two more coats. You can also use a gloss spray on top, I just used several coats of Mod Podge. He uses them all the time at his apartment, score!

2. Favorite Drink Kit

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Nick is a big fan of rum and coke so I loved the idea of making a drink and chaser kit. This is another gift that can be personalized based on your honey’s favorite drink. I tied the rum onto the Pepsi along with some cute straws (holla Target dollar section!) with twine I had at home. I added a cute little “Cheers!” sign to finish it off.

3. “To the Moon and Back”

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Okay you caught me, another Pinterest inspired gift… I can’t help myself! One of Nick’s favorite beer is Blue Moon so I just added some extra words to personalize it, easy right? I used construction paper for the backing to the words. I also tied a balloon to the beer for some extra fun. Sometimes a hand-made gift doesn’t have to be complicated!

Alright, that is enough cheesiness for one day. I am currently exploring options for Valentine’s Day gifts this year. Please comment with any ideas or favorites of your own! Happy Valentine’s Day everyone, enjoy the love this weekend!

– M –

Holiday Mania

Happy Monday everyone. Only eleven days until Christmas! This weekend Kevin and I attended two holiday parties. It was a great weekend of celebrations, but I’m a little tired from all of the fun. 🙂

Every holiday season brings holiday parties galore, shopping for gifts and endless amounts of food and holiday treats that are hard to resist. Personally I love the holidays, but I find myself so busy that it’s often hard to really enjoy the season. And of course there’s delicious food at all the parties that makes it so difficult not to derail from my usual diet.

My rule of thumb for controlling what I eat at holiday parties is allowing myself to splurge a little.  For example, I might treat myself to cookie after dinner, but skip the bread.  For me, I like to allow myself one treat a day, but otherwise stick to my normal diet. For times where I indulge a little too much, I make sure to hit the gym extra hard the next day. It’s definitely difficult to stay on track during the holidays, but allowing yourself to indulge here and there while mostly making good food and exercise choices is key.

Through all of the craziness, I try to keep my regular workout schedule, working out 5-6 times per week. Here’s an example of a 20 minute workout that targets the whole body in short amount of time. No excuses on not being able to fit this into your busy holiday schedule!

Easy 20 minute holiday workout (3 sets of each):

  • 12 squats with a kettle bell
  • 12 burpees with a jump at the top of each one
  • 60 second forearm plank
  • 12 lunges
  • 12 bicep curls with weight bar

This year I decided to think about my New Year resolutions including my health and fitness goals in November and December  instead of waiting until January. This way I can finish out the year strong (as my dad would say). I’ve also found that writing down my goals makes me more accountable and more likely to achieve them. I’ve also already set my goals for 2016, and encourage everyone to do the same. I hope everyone enjoys the next few weeks of celebrations and time with family and friends!

– A –

Gift Giving Guide

Hi everyone! We hope you had a family, friend, and food-filled Thanksgiving weekend! Amanda and Kevin spent Thanksgiving in Arizona and then went on a  weekend trip to Beverly Hills. Meghan had Thanksgiving dinner with family between work shifts then rooted the Spartans on to a victory on Saturday. Go green!

Now that Thanksgiving is over, let the holiday decorating and shopping commence! We want to share holiday gifting tips as well as some of our favorite gifts to give this season.

Gift Giving Tips

  1. Use Social Media- One of the best ways to get an idea for what people really want is to use social media for hints. Pinterest is our favorite site to use as you can see clothes, jewelry, and home decor that people are wishing for. They will sure be surprised when they open it and most likely say “How did you know I wanted this?”
  2. Know Their Interests- Based on a person’s hobbies and likes, you can buy them the perfect gift. For example, for someone who is active you could get them a Fitbit or new headphones. You could also put together a gift basket based on a theme such as their favorite sports team or cozy treats with books, a candle, and a blanket (and wine?).  This way you know they will use the gift and enjoy it!
  3. If All Else Fails, Go for the Gift Card-  While a gift card is not the most personal gift, it can definitely come in handy when you are out of ideas. Getting a gift card that shows you know the person well helps such as a gift card to their favorite restaurant or coffee shop. SpaFinder is a great gift card as the person can choose a fitness class or spa in their area to use it on.

Meg’s Picks

  1. Candle– I bought this candle for my mom after smelling it burning in my Pure Barre studio. My mom and I both love it as it has a spa-like essence. A great gift for any lady in your life!togetheratheart_gifts
  2. Blanket Scarf– I purchased my first blanket scarf this fall and I think I am obsessed! I have also seen a lot of other people rocking them as well! Comfy, functional, and adorable- you can’t go wrong! togetheratheart_gifts
  3. Headphones– I use these headphones to work out and love that they have good sound quality and also stay in your ear when you are doing cardio. They come in lots of fun colors too!togetheratheart_gifts

Amanda’s Picks

  1.  Jewlery – I have a few people on my shopping list who are collecting charm bracelets like the Alex and Ani bracelets. It’s fun to be able to buy them a charm that’s meaningful to your relationship or something that person enjoys such as a collegiate football charm.togetheratheart_gifts
  2.  Functional socks – Now that I’ve been hiking and outdoors more often I’ve leanred the importance of good quality socks. My Dad and husband and obsessed with Fits socks. They claim they are so comfortable and breath well in any climate. Great stocking stuffer ideas!togetheratheart_gifts
  3. Experiences – My favorite gift to give someone is something we can do together. My husband and I get my in-laws a one night stay in downtown Detroit every year, where we all get to enjoy a night at their favorite Greek restaurant and do a little gambling. It’s a great way to all spend time together, and something they prefer over a physical gift.

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Enjoy the beginning of this magical, exciting season! Talk to you soon!

– A & M –

Thanksgiving Inspired Side

Happy Thanksgiving week! I was inspired last night to make a healthy Thanksgiving side for dinner. I love Thanksgiving food especially the yummy mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and stuffing, but we all know how many calories a typical Thanksgiving dinner can be.  Why not switch out one of those high calorie side dishes a healthier alternative? This delicious roasted brussels sprouts and squash with dried cranberries and dijon vinaigrette dish is the perfect festive yet healthy side dish.

Ingredients:

  • 1 small butternut squash cut into 3/4 inch chunks
  • 1 1lb brussels sprouts, stems trimmed and cut in half
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt (I used truffle salt)
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries

Vinaigrette:

  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • A pinch of of salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees fahrenheit
  •  Place the butternut squash chunks and halved brussel sprouts on a baking sheet
  • Sprinkle them with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss with your hands to ensure they are covered equally.
  • Roast the vegetables for 20 minutes, tossing them gently 2-3 times
  • Add the cranberries for the last five minutes of baking
  • A few minutes before the vegetables finish, start preparing the vinaigrette
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the red wine vinegar and dijon mustard
  • Slowly pour in the olive oil and, quickly whisking all three ingredients together
  • Add salt and pepper to taste
  • When the vegetables are done, place them in a large bowl and toss with the vinaigrette before serving
  • Enjoy at room temperature or chilled

Have a great holiday week everyone and enjoy some pumpkin pie! Just make sure you have a fun workout planned for the next day to burn off those yummy treats!

– A – 

It’s Fall Ya’ll! 

Happy October! This year is flying by. I love how festive this time of year is. Before we know it, the holiday season is going to be here. While a lot of people decorate for Christmas, there are also super cute decorations for fall. I wanted to share some fall decorating ideas with you all that are affordable and adorable, enjoy!

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Most of the decorations are from Michael’s, Kroger, and Target (hello dollar section!). With great sales and coupons, my mom and I saved big bucks on our fall decor. Since we didn’t put up Halloween or Thanksgiving decorations specifically, our house is all set until Christmas sneaks up on us. I hope you’re all enjoying the crisp fall weather, changing leaves, and of course pumpkin spice everything. Comment if you want more details on the decorations above or want to share some ideas of your own. Talk to you all soon!

– M –