My Mom Taught Me How To Be Sexy

As I was sweeping and mopping the floors this morning it hit me - this is what sexy is all about. And then I started thinking about my mom and how she is the root of what I know to be sexy in my life [these sweeping sessions are deep I tell you]. Sexy isn't what media shoves down our throat - barely there clothing, fake eye lashes and tiny little bodies everywhere..it's real woman doing real things. It's not just about our bodies, it's about our brains. It's not about how much we have, it's about how hard we worked to get it. It's about strength, generosity and so much more than the latest filtered selfie.

As my mom turns 60 tomorrow I wanted to reflect on this great woman and how she taught me to be the sexiest woman that I can be...all by doing the things I watched [and continue to watch] her do. So here we have it, sexiness according to the life of a 60 year old.

1. You want it - you work for it. Laziness is not sexy my friends, hard work is. Because she learned from an early age that nothing comes for free [a realization that our generation is struggling with big time] she worked hard to provide a life for her family that she would be proud of. My mom didn't just teach for 35 years, she was also the high school athletic director when us girls were young, coached many of our sports teams, kept her yard one of the best on the block by mowing and pulling all of the weeds herself, and the list goes on and on. Since being retired for 5 years I asked the other day if she has taken a nap yet - she hasn't. Don't count on handouts, be the cause of your success. 

2. A clean house is a happy house. Growing up our house was pretty much always spotless, everything had its place, our windows were washed several times a week [the woman is a window Nazi] and we never had to feel like we were living in chaos thanks to her. Because of this, I have grown to admire and appreciate the hard work that it takes to keep a house clean. It keeps me sane - it keeps my husband sane. Get those mops out ladies, you're men will take note ;) 

3. Sweat, don't glisten. For the past 29 years of my life, I can't remember a day that my mom didn't get at least a 30 minute workout in which is both awesome and insane. Every morning she would be dripping sweat from a hard workout, even when we were on vacation. Watching her dedication to her health has inspired me to try to be fit and strong. Unfortunately she succeeds way more at this than I, however I am so grateful she taught me to not just strive to be skinny but to be strong. 

4. Be financially smart. I love when women don't just leave it to their significant other to take care of the checking account. My mom has always had a strong sense of their financials, set goals to become debt free [something my parents became at age 28, what?!], helps make investment decisions and so on. Watching this growing up made me keenly aware of how important it is to have a handle on your money and how to save [and spend it] wisely. A financially responsible woman - super sexy. 

5. Love beyond yourself. My mom has never skipped a beat when it comes to being there for her family and friends. Constantly she is giving of herself to those of us who demand her time, energy, focus, etc. I witnessed this growing up, continue to notice it as we get older with both us and her little grandchildren and now with her own parents as they age. When you have somebody in your life who would drop everything for you in an instant, you know you are lucky. Be that person for somebody else.

6. Open up your world by going out and seeing the world. My mom is the queen of traveling and I couldn't be more fortunate that she has instilled a love of adventure in myself. There is nothing better than experiencing new sights, new sounds, new experiences, meeting new people, eating different food, etc. A well traveled woman is something to be admired - don't stay in your own little box, get out and experience life. 

7. Have fun but keep it classy. My parents are fun - like really fun. I always say they are way cooler than Shawn and I are and have way more social plans than we could ever dream of having. My mom knows how to have a good time but she also knows how to keep things in control. A glass of wine every day? Absolutely. A bottle of wine hourly? No thanks. In the words of my father - "everything in moderation". I am grateful for this lesson as it's allowed me to remember every night of fun I've ever had.

8. Quitting is easy, choose the hard. My mom taught high school for a long [long] time and it wasn't always easy or fun - however, she kept at it because it was a commitment that she had made. I have never watched my mom quit something [other than her diet coke addiction]. While there is something to be said about changing your situation there is also something to be said about sticking something out. 

9. Respect your elders [and your youngers]. My parents didn't just love us as children, they respected and trusted us. Because my sister and I felt that respect and trust, we wanted to respect them right back. Respecting and obeying your elders [whether it be parents, bosses, etc] is a very attractive quality in a human and something we should always be mindful of. Thank you mom for showing me exactly what it means to respect those in her life, both younger and older. This is one of the greatest things you have ever taught.

10. Value your voice and use it wisely. In other words, don't be a pansy who sits on the sidelines and allows others to belittle you or walk all over you. If you have an opinion, speak it with love. If you don't agree with somebody, explain why with grace. We were given a brain, ears, eyes, and a mouth for a reason - use them but use them wisely. Stand your ground while allowing others to stand theirs.

11. When all else fails, dye your hair - get your nails done - throw on some great fitting jeans and dive head first into some much needed retail therapy. 

Happy birthday mom - thank you for being the epitome of sexy and for teaching Chelsea and I how to be strong and happy women. You are the most incredible mother and our family couldn't be luckier to have you leading us alongside dad. Love you so much - sixty has never looked better.  Now go get a little crazy and celebrate all that you are, you deserve it.



Dinners That You Need To Eat

Before I begin, I need to fully disclose that this post is not sponsored in any way shape or form and I am not being compensated to rave about this service that we use and love. Carry on now.

It has been a few months now since my husband and I have been turning to HelloFresh for all of our dinner needs. It all started when I received an email from one of my friends with a link to sign up for a box and receive $40 off [want the same link - awesome, click here and use the code 6MSFUD]. I thought, well what the heck - of course I'll try it once and see what I really think about this healthy gourmet stuff showing up right to my doorstep. I've had major success with my other favorite door service, Stitch Fix, so I thought it was worth a shot. And so I signed up - and we loved it - and we haven't stopped ordering it since.

For those of you who don't know what this service it is - allow me to explain. HelloFresh is a weekly meal delivery service that arrives at your doorstep. It contains 3 meals for the week [which you choose] containing the freshest of ingredients in the right portion amount ready for you to cook up and eat.

Here's what I love about HelloFresh:

1. You get to choose which 3 meals out of their listed 5 that you want every time you order. Both my mom and sister tried this service and they didn't realize you could select which meals you wanted. Keep in mind that they offer a veggie box or a classic box [which is the one we receive] and every week those two boxes offer 5 different meals. You get to go in the week ahead and select which 3 you would like. For instance, I am not a seafood eater so I can always choose to leave the fish out of our box.

2. You have complete control over your account, meaning you can skip any week that you want to skip. Even though we have been receiving HelloFresh for months, we haven't received a box every single week. If we are going to be out of town, I don't care for the week's selection of meals, or whatever it may be - I simply click skip and move on!

3. The meals are absolutely delicious [seriously, fine dining quality] and offer plenty of food. We receive the box for 2 people [they do offer boxes for 4] but I would say we could usually feed at least 3, sometimes 4 people with our meals meaning leftovers!

4. It has me cooking fresh, healthy, delicious meals that I would have never made otherwise. Some of our favorite dinners have come from HelloFresh. I feel so creative in the kitchen all of a sudden.

5. You still have to cut all of the veggies, cook the meat, etc. I love this because that time in the kitchen is so therapeutic to me. While sometimes yes, it would be nice to throw in the already cut-up onions if I was in hurry, but more times than not cutting up those onions relaxes me [minus the whole tears running down my face thing].

6. All meals can typically be made in 30 minutes or less!

7. They are sure to impress on Instagram - I mean, do you think I would know how to make food look this pretty on my own? Think again.

From prosciutto wrapped chicken, steak with mango slaw, smoky adobo chicken tacos, stuffed peppers with quinoa, etc - it's all been fabulous. 

If you would like to try HelloFresh for yourself - save yourself $40 off your first box by using the code 6MSFUD. The regular price for the box of 2 is $69 [meaning you'll get it for $29 when you try it] for the week which is a little pricey, but I figure it saves money and time going to the grocery store and buying a weeks worth of meals [which we haven't done in months, crazy]. 

HelloFresh, we love you. Thank you for making me look like a genius in the kitchen. Without you, I would be knee deep in macaroni and cheese every night of the week. 

Oh wait, maybe I don't love this service... 



Life Through A New Lens

I did it. I bit the blog investing bullet and bought a new camera for myself and this space. Over the past several months I had found myself in a photo taking rut - always counting on my trusty iPhone to capture the latest and greatest. While this is convenient and all, I feel like my blog has been slacking in the non-already posted to IG photo department. It's time to bring back some fresh photos to this space and kick those grainy not properly sized phone photos to the curb.

It all started last Tuesday when I found myself looking at things on Amazon [my husband and I have deemed Amazon our largest monthly bill recently, move over mortgage - amazon prime is coming through] and I found the one. The new and improved Sony a6000. Already using a Sony camera I knew that my current lenses would work just fine with the new one and knowing that tax write-offs are necessary, I took the plunge. Needless to say I'm now knee deep in this thing snapping every freaking thing I can think of. The fact that it just sends all of my photos wirelessly over to my phone in the matter of seconds is like riding a unicorn through a lavender field. I'm absolutely in love which explains the 30+ photos you are about to see from my weekend. Sorry not sorry.

Lets start with the most important thing from the last few days - donuts.

Once here, now gone. It's okay guys, I workout. 

Moving on to Friday evening - it all started out calm and peaceful as I sipped on a glass of wine at home and Shawn buried himself into his beloved airplane flying game on his iPad [because we are 12]. 
Really I just included this photo because that vein thing he has going on looks sexy and yumm...

But before you knew it we were transplanted to a local restaurant slurping down habanero watermelon martinis celebrating my mom's 60th birthday. More on that superhero later.

Upon leaving the restaurant we stumbled upon a large elk that my dad grew fond of immediately. 

A few family photos later with our new pet and we were off to our house to come back and peacefully eat cake in celebration of my mother. Or so we thought. 

It turns out when you get family together who has had a couple of cocktails, turn on some 70's music [twist and shout anybody] and people who just genuinely like to have fun - a two hour sweat induced giggle sesh dance party goes down in your kitchen.

Even Maggie got in the action from time to time. It was one of the most random but fun evenings I have had in a very long time. Cheers to 60th birthday parties yo.

After a few Advil Saturday morning we were fixed up and ready to head out to Notre Dame to get our tailgate on and tailgate is what we did.

You know what's better than making guacamole off the bed of a truck? Eating it. And so that's what we did - we ate and then we ate some more. To get some exercise in we walked to the stadium to watch court side [or field side, whatever that thing is that boys in pads run around on]. Unfortunately I wasn't the most decorated fan in the house as shamrock head wins. 

Long story short, the Irish pulled out another victory and I devoured nachos and cheese. The Irish and I, we like to keep a good routine going. 

Sunday rolled around and our little captain begged to take us out on a boat ride so we obliged.

One beer and an almost nap later, it was time to get down with my grandpa for his 88th birthday. You know what goes well with birthday parties? Birthday hats. Especially burgundy ones from Target.

During the party my little niece kept referencing the bowl of peanuts sitting in the middle of the dining room table as "grandpa's nuts" so that was fun. I will forever be 14.

These nut loving family members of mine are sure something. And by something I mean special.

Speaking of special, the weekend drew to an end with this incredible sunset where literally the skies were on fire. We turned up Ed Sheeran's "I See Fire" and I let my eyes fill with tears as I watched the skies illuminate and the memories from this fun filled weekend fill my mind. These are the days, I tell you what.

And then, after the skies stopped burning - we got really mad and sad that this whole weekend thing was officially over. I drowned my sorrow in a new york strip steak and called it a night.

And that my friends, is my life through a new lens. 



A Look Back At The Summer Of 2015

And just like that the crying emoji is in full swing as summer is officially over. With the start of fall today I thought it would be fun to look back at the memories that were created over the past 93 days. This was our first summer on the water in our new[ish] house and we certainly took advantage as much as possible. Between the early morning coffee induced boat rides, mid-day jet ski rides where Shawn threatened to throw me off the back countless times [which never happened because he knows I would punch him in the throat and nuts], to the evening sunset cruises with Maggie on my lap chewing away on her bone there is a lot to be thankful for. We feel right at home here and couldn't be enjoying our decision to move to the river more. Before I get into all of the moments that I never want to forget, go ahead and press play below. We compiled our favorite songs that were on repeat out on the boat - the playlist that will forever live as the summer of 2015. Enjoy ;)

Lets start with the very first boat ride - I had just gotten home from Arizona and the boat had been delivered while I was away just patiently waiting in the backyard to get out and experience it. I remember looking around, hands up in the air and exclaiming over and over to Shawn "this is our life now! I mean how cool is this..we get to do this any freaking time we want to!" It was a spectacular first boat ride :)

I must also pay tribute to the one time that I took the kayak out. It was just long enough to finish the beer and then back in I went. It turns out when you can sit on a boat not working your arm muscles, you choose the boat. In theory the kayaks were a good idea - until we realized we are lazy. 

And then there is the beloved jet ski - the one piece of motorized water equipment that I am allowed to be in control of. I may or may not get out on the high seas, throw it into high gear and then sing "kick the dust up" while whipping around. You wanna feel free? Get on a jet ski. 

Another discovered "this is awesome" thing would be this bridge not too far off from our house. It turns out that when under it you can blast your favorite tunes and it turns into your very own amphitheater concert. I would be at work texting Shawn, "concert tonight?" and waaaa-la a concert would happen that night. A lot of fist pounding happened under this bridge. Unfortunately no other type of pounding went down if you know what I mean. Hi mom!

I also don't want to forget about the time when we decided to set off on a Saturday adventure to trek to a small town a couple of hours away via boat - turns out we got a fourth of the way there and found ourselves literally in a pile of trees. It was straight out of a movie scene - I was laughing, he was cussing and the radio was playing some song about not worrying. Needless to say we made a u-turn and came straight back home. 

 the calm before the storm...

Ahhhh, the beloved fourth of July. We spent it with the craziest cats we knew to spend it with - my parents. Patriotic Popsicles and many rum and diets were consumed. Festive little things we are. 

The rest of the summer was spent hosting the best of the best of friends....

And family, both young...

and old..

Drinking anything that fit into my hand...

and dogs that fit on my lap..

I can't even recall the number of sunsets we watched but I do know that every one seemed more magical than the night before. 

It was a fabulous summer and one that I never want to forget. This whole water thing, well I kinda dig it. 

In closing, I gotta say thank you to the captain who made it all happen....without you I would be stranded on land with nothing to do but drink beer on a lawn chair. It doesn't hurt that you're kinda hot too. Lets do it again next year shall we?