Cross Country Skiing to Maroon Bells

Back in January 2015 we drove home to Chicago from California for the holidays. On our way back out West, we stopped in Colorado and visited one of our favorites places, Maroon Bells in Aspen. It had been years since we last visited for the first time, back in 2012 or 2013 on one of our road trips.

So we were really excited to go back and visit in a different season. We asked around how we could get in to see the mountains and they said either through snowmobile (which was not cheap to rent) or cross country skiing. We are both snowboarders so this was our first time cross country skiing. It was a great workout and took quite a while for us to get to the mountain. We started early in the morning and finished by mid afternoon. IMG_5418

It was gorgeous and sunny out and we couldn’t ask for better weather. IMG_5416

We brought snacks and had little picnics when we got hungry. The mountain didn’t seem that far but it was a couple of miles. We kept saying, “we’re almost there, we’re almost there.”


It was absolutely beautiful to see the mountain covered with snow. I love how harsh the lines on the mountain are.


The last time we were here it was cloudy and drizzling and we could barely see the mountain.


Had to get in our jumping pic. IMG_5467

We decided to walk down to get closer to the mountain and had to trudge through some pretty deep snow. IMG_5483IMG_5494-2IMG_5495-2

Oh Maroon Bells, we love you. IMG_5485


Friday Favorites!

Another week has gone by and August is officially half over! How that happened so quickly, I have no idea.

But I am so excited because next week on Thursday after work, I’m heading up to Alaska for an extended weekend to visit Dave! He is currently up there working on Season 2 of The Last Alaskans. #proudgirlfriend 🙂 I’ve never been to Alaska and I’m so excited to see it in all its summertime glory! Hopefully we won’t see any bears in Denali.

This weekend we are having a going away party for one of our roommates who is heading to Arizona at the end of this month and I plan to relax and catch up on some things. Can’t wait to hear what you are all planning to do this weekend. Happy Friday friends!

the-new-youFound this list this week about I’m always curious to see what makes the list!superfoods


This week Giuliana stepped down as the main E! New anchor after 14 years and Bill wrote her the sweetest letter. They are such a great couple and a great example of what a marriage should be. Love them! gty_rancic_lb_150514_16x9_992

Fun fact: last year while I was training for my first full marathon in Santa Monica, I literally ran into Bill Rancic and he couldn’t have been nicer. We grew up in neighboring towns and he’s a good ole Midwest boy and was so friendly!  br


I kind of adore Reese Witherspoon. She is the epitome of a Southern lady and I just love her style and wholesomeness. She recently did an interview with Southern Living Magazine and talked about how no one is parenting perfectly and how women are all doing the best they can. And although I’m not a parent  yet, I totally relate that that no one is perfect! reese-witherspoon-1-600x800THE NEW YOU(3)

People Magazine posted an article about healthy beach snacks and even though summer is winding down, we can always use reminders of healthy snacks that aren’t oreos and potato chips. (Though who doesn’t love those?!)



Karastase is offering a free download of a book of braids! With lots of fun ways to style braids for all different occasions.  My hair is currently a little past my shoulders, not ideal for braiding length, but I’m sure I could get away with a shorter braid. For the last two years I’ve grown my hair out and donated it to Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths program and I’m currently in the growing it out stage. 🙂Main-Header-1000x378-No-Copy



Friday has become the day of the link ups. Here are the wonderful women I’m linking up with each week: Hill Collection and Running 4 Cupcakes




Friday Favorites: Bachelorette, Hiking, & Vacations

Another week has gone by and we’re officially about to be in August! Having lived in California for the last 2 years, I am seriously missing the fall weather and change of seasons and getting to wear boots! But with our impending move to Seattle this fall, I’m getting really excited! We still have a few months but I’m eagerly anticipating it.

What fun things are you all up to this weekend? Can’t wait to catch up with you all in the link ups!THE NEW YOUCall me a sucker, but I love these two together. I hope they will make it and be one of the Bachelor franchise success stories. Look how happy they are. I love love and am rooting for these lovebirds.


And I love that Jimmy Kimmel made them promise to marry each other or at least be together a year or pay him $1,000. 🙂

the-new-you1On Tuesday of this week, I was featured on my friend Molly’s blog Colors of Life about my love of hiking. (Thanks again for asking me Molly!)

Here is one of my favorite photos from a hike Dave and I did last July in Zion in the Narrows. I’ll blog about that hike this upcoming Thursday.

julie-hiking3THE NEW YOU(2)One of my favorite weekends so far this year happened in mid July when we went back home to Chicago for an extended weekend. It involved ice cream, a wedding, a half marathon, an architecture boat tour with my parents and a BBQ with a few of our closest friends.

071915 Julie's Half Marathon & House-13THE NEW YOU(3)This week US Weekly posted an article with pictures of the cast of Full House and their instagrams. It’s getting me so excited for Fuller House next year on Netflix! Bring it on. It was such a staple growing up in my house and I’m excited so much of the original cast is coming back. I can’t wait to see how they do it!jsfhfive10On Tuesday the team at Lauren Conrad came up with a list of their Top 10 Vacation Destinations. I am a lover of travel and am always interested to hear where other people enjoy going on their vacations. It makes me want to create a list of my own!


Friday has become the day of the link ups. Here are the wonderful women I’m linking up with each week:

 A Little Bit of Everything BlogGrace and Love Blog, and Momfessionals


National’s Girlfriend Day August 1st

I know that the majority of my readers are women and I love that because I’m a total girl’s girl. I love and adore my girlfriends and am a huge supporter of my real life (and now new blogging friends!) National Girlfriend’s Day was recently brought to my attention from an awareness campaign by Oscar Insurance, which is on Saturday August 1st! This day acts as a conversation starter to remind women to take care of their health and to schedule the necessary check-ups.

We, as women, tend to overbook ourselves and take care of everyone else, but ourselves. But it’s so important to make sure we are taken care of, and have some me time, before we can really be of service to anyone else.

Oscar Insurance created this adorable infographic to remind us all of when we should be getting things checked out to stay on schedule and be aware of our health. If you’re in the NY or NJ market, you can also check out Oscar as they have many health insurance services that allow making these appointments even easier.

Part of being an adult is taking care of yourself and being up to date with your health. Trust me, I hate needles and going to doctor, but it’s part of life and I’d much rather know what’s going on with my body and health than to leave it all to chance.

Of course part of being healthy is being active and eating well. Whether you’re a runner, a hiker, biker, after dinner walker, whatever it is you do, just remember to get off your butts and do whatever works for you and your schedule.

One of my favorite parts of the blogging community is reading about other blogger’s healthy recipes they share. I also love the idea of signing up for a 5k or a workout class with your friends. Because everything is more fun when you have someone to do it with you. And working out can mean so many different things, you don’t have to belong to a gym. You can go to free yoga classes at Lululemon, you can join or start a mommy stroller group, you can do a few exercises in between commercials, ride bikes on the weekend or to work, go kayaking, or go for a run. There are so many different ways you can add in activities that are great workouts.

Oscar Girlfriends Day

Linking up today with:


Chicago Trip Part 2

Yesterday I blogged about the first part of our trip and the half marathon. Today I’m wrapping up the Chicago trip.

Saturday- The main reason we came home this trip was for the wedding of my cousin Cindy which was on this Saturday. There were two ceremonies in the morning and afternoon, one was Lutheran and the other was a Hindu ceremony which was so elaborate and gorgeous.

BHVYyMFEjJ40zpN0wvktEL7MOPe61kssTR_Wh0n1WyM=w662-h882-noWe had some downtown in between the 10:30 ceremony and the 2:30 ceremony so Dave and I went to lunch in one of our favorite spots in LaGrange, Prasino’s. My friend from junior high happened to be in the neighborhood so she was able to stop by and we got to catch up. She’s one of my oldest friends (that I’ve know the longest, not age wise old, hah!) and I’m so glad we keep in touch. Last year when I moved to California she came to visit me in Santa Monica and we went on the Warner Bros Studio tour and it was awesome!

C713jq78tM-pQ0fhETY6QY2gxWBkNv3nVRpuZFpNcFM=w662-h882-noI got this Mediterranean platter and it was delicious and perfect finger foods.

tywKLTf1BJ9b4ZtWqI1Zuh321YJPblDGRlOQ3q43Dtk=w662-h882-noAlso in the downtown area, they have these new book donation boxes which I thought was so cute!


-Br2tDoOc2H4dFh0hlPWWAf2KnnILxGtjLmcGMiEiqA=w662-h882-noAfter lunch, we stopped by Dave’s parents and hung out with them for a little before going back to my house and picking up my dad and step mom to head to the reception, which was so pretty!

zHg45KMquTB9xZOHIGO-BT0c212vYMUIW4cMmvGSQQk=w662-h882-noHere’s the 4 of us outside taking a quick pic. They are 3 of the most important people in my life, my dad, step mom and Dave. It was SO much fun to go to this wedding together. We all danced and ate the wedding cake (more great pre half marathon food choices) and made wonderful memories together.

Don’t let my dad’s sweet smile fool you, he dances like nobody’s watching and I so wish I had filmed it. He has always been a great dancer and it’s always fun to see him enjoying himself. Seeing him dance and do the twist, was worth it for me to buy the plane ticket home! Hah 🙂 I’m a big ole daddy’s girl. We’ve always been really close and I’m so thankful for our relationship.

wG65NAG0nniqgi4LnMmPrz2II7yJ-SmoYpGr3I3RCBI=w662-h882-noThe day was full of love, laughter, traditions, and dancing and I’m so happy we could be there to celebrate with the happy couple!

On the way home we stopped by the grocery store to buy bananas and wheat bread (my pre race fuel) and ran into our friend Ryan’s mom. That is one of the things I miss the most when I’m home. Running into people I’ve known for years and/or my friend’s parents.  It’s a sign of long friendships, which aren’t always easy to come by when you move a lot and are always trying to make new friends like Dave and I. In the last 3 years we’ve lived in Washington DC, Chicago, Santa Monica, and now Orange County, and we’re moving this fall to Seattle. (Gotta explore and do it now while we don’t have kids yet, or a mortgage to pay!)

I was in bed by about 11pm and gathered all my things for race day before sleeping.

Sunday- This day was one of my favorite days so far this year. It was jam packed with awesomeness and so much fun!

071915 Julie's Half Marathon & House-18I talked about the half marathon yesterday, which started our morning, then afterwards my dad, step mom, and Dave and I went to eat at one of our favorite diners in the city, Eleven City Diner. We used to go here all the time in college and it’s always fun to go back.

37432c9bf1e8c9ece87d38b6cc1ee417I had the turkey slides with a side of my new medal 🙂

lbIay_2dt67BRBpD_1NJHnEK-8NNSrRL9GIAsJeM6zc=w662-h882-noAfter brunch we took an Uber down to the Chicago River and got dropped off by the Chicago Theater. We walked down by the river walk which is so peaceful and pretty.

NH4-gFx4xXRZxd-g_Sax503zgEdGErncZrlpkfC5o_Q=w662-h882-noWe took the Wendella Boat Tour which was so awesome. I learned a lot about the architecture of Chicago, stuff I’d never heard before. I’d highly recommend going on this or any architecture tour. It was beautiful and very informative and it was cheap, only $19 for a 45 minute tour, totally worth it!

93AEgzvpoJoPAQTA2aLprCKt9CoSmD6cSvIrYrlzeCg=w662-h882-noI’ve lived in Chicago my whole life minus the last 3 years and I’m still always amazed and taken aback by this city’s beauty. The architecture is amazing, so pretty and there’s so much to do and there’s such history there.071915 Julie's Half Marathon & House-53

071915 Julie's Half Marathon & House-51

071915 Julie's Half Marathon & House-55Chicago was recently voted 2nd best skyline after Hong Kong by some magazine I can’t remember which, I want to say Forbes. But I can’t argue with that. ZUBlj0pJ1Tg-ek2uVbACYtmFXkR-pb5QzyMG87bts_k=w1176-h882-noI feel like a broken record but I’m telling you Chicago is a gorgeous, gorgeous city. But I will also tell you that as amazing as summers are, the winters can be brutal. But at least you get to fully experience all 4 seasons.

After the architecture tour, we stopped to grab some coffee and sat looking at this view.071915 Julie's Half Marathon & House-59Then we walked down the famous Michigan Avenue where they have lots of upscale shopping, and went to the Water Tower Place, which is a mall, near the John Hancock building.

CT11DGbvNgHGBN3Xo5eiLh8651fewdvdbkSxmvoHzjo=w662-h882-noWe also stopped in the actual Water Tower, which is one of the only buildings they survived the Great Chicago fire.

071915 Julie's Half Marathon & House-64We took another Uber back to our car, my parents took off for home, and Dave and I went to Trader Joe’s to grab some food for Ryan’s BBQ later that night. Found this little guy near Eleven City Diner. I love graffiti/street art!

qdfdpqrEoJYiKGxs0QojElp6YZRph3LF0Gvi-ciQcSI=w1176-h882-noWe drove to Melissa’s place and I showered and we car pooled over to Ryan’s. It was so nice of Ryan to host a little gathering for us and our friends. He went all out, made kabobs, fresh squeezed lemonade and cous cous. It was so nice to catch up and see our friends.

Being home is the best feeling and makes me oh so happy. What are your favorite Chicago hang outs?

Chicago Rock n Roll Half Marathon July 2015

Happy Monday friends! Over the weekend I decided to update the blog layout a little, what do you guys think? And secondly, thanks to one of Mattie’s post I decided to join BlogLovin’ it’s so genius to have all the blogs you read in one place. I’m so new to it, I’d love any tips you guys have. You can follow us here or by clicking on our bloglovin’ graphic on the sidebar.

Last week I went home to Chicago for a few days from Thursday July 16-Monday July 20th. Later this week I’ll do a full recap of the trip, but I thought I’d start with the half marathon I ran on Sunday with one of my best friends. This was our second time running the half marathon, last time we did it was July 2013. Since then we’ve also run a full marathon in Hawaii last December (something I still have to blog about!)

The race started at 6:30am but I woke up at 4am because my cousin Zack and running coach, told me to eat two pieces of toast and a banana 3 hours before the race to give my stomach time to digest. So I was up at the crack of dawn while it was still dark out. Dave drove over to my parent’s house at 5:15am and we took off for downtown. The streets were blocked off but we luckily found parking in a lot for $30 for all day.

For those of you who know Chicago, or are just curious, here is the route we took.halfWe started walking over to Grant Park and met up with Melissa (one of my best friends who ran the half with me) and her boyfriend Nico. We all went to the bathroom before the race started and started walking over the starting line. I took a before picture with my dad and stepmom. I was born and raised in Illinois and we are Chicago Bears fans but my dad loves wearing jerseys and just happened to pick a Green Bay Packers jersey today, made me laugh. He said he felt some people giving him looks. 🙂

Like I said, I ran a half and a full marathon before, but this one was special to me because my parents came to support me and it meant a lot! 071915 Julie's Half Marathon & House-2Here we are around 6:30am waiting for the start line. It was already a little humid at this point. For those of you who don’t know, when you sign up, you predict your finish time and then they put your in corrals (like a cow) and you wait in the group to start. So the crazies who finish in an hour/hour and a half start way ahead of us normal folk. This time and in 2013, it took about a half hour to get to the actual starting line because it’s literally thousands of people running. 22,000 this year to be exact.

Another thing to notice is on our shoes, we have little red tags. That tracks our time when we hit certain check points and logs our final time.

071915 Julie's Half Marathon & House-6My boyfriend Dave is a cinematographer/camera operator/director of photography who works on TV for major networks like Discovery, Animal Planet, and National Geographic, so it’s pretty awesome to have my own personal photographer for the race. 🙂 His pictures are always amazing but this one has got to be my favorite! I need to frame this one. I love the Chicago theater sign and this picture just makes me happy.

071915 Julie's Half Marathon & House-13Most races I do I usually spot a few people dressed up, this guy was dressed as Elvis obviously, but the crazier thing to me is that he’s not wearing any shoes! That has gotta hurt.

071915 Julie's Half Marathon & House-15I know I say it all the time, but come on, Chicago is gorgeous!

071915 Julie's Half Marathon & House-22Our blurry action shot, check out those guns (not really!)

071915 Julie's Half Marathon & House-30The first 7 miles we felt great. We were talking almost the entire time, which is new to me since I train by myself. It was so nice to catch up and take in the streets of Chicago. Made me miss home a lot more actually. But then it started to get hot and really humid. We really looked forward to the water stations. We had to stop and make a bathroom break, which took about 10 or 15 minutes! Which got added to our time. And of course a few feet ahead of us was a whole row of porta potties. (We waited in line for two.)

There was a section of the race where we overlapped and had to turn a corner. It was really fun and motivating to high five the other runners and encourage one another to finish strong. That’s always one of my favorite parts of the race day environment. How positive and supportive everyone is. 🙂 I keep telling myself one of these days I’m going to go to a half or a full marathon and just cheer on random strangers.

I also started to get stomach cramps toward the end like around mile 11, so we had to walk a little (which I didn’t do for the first half) anyways even though it got a little hot towards the end we were SO happy to be done and finished strong sprinting in. My favorite way to finish a race!

071915 Julie's Half Marathon & House-32I also love the runner swag we get at the finish line. They had bananas, chocolate milk, beer, bagels, and popsicles!

Because I had my phone on me the entire time, I was able to text Dave and my parents my whereabouts so we had no trouble meeting up at the end of the race. And that’s also how Dave was able to catch us at so many different points throughout the race. We met up 4 different times, it was so motivating and uplifting to see him. 🙂

Here is our after picture with my shiny new medal and the Buckingham Fountain in full effect.

071915 Julie's Half Marathon & House-37Melissa and I have been best friends for 10 years this August. We met our freshmen year in college and have been close ever since despite me moving to Washington DC and California. She’s been my running buddy through the 5k Color Run, the 2013 Chicago Rock n Roll Half Marathon, 2014 Honolulu Marathon, and now the 2015 Chicago Rock n Roll Half Marathon. We volunteered for the Chicago Marathon while we were in college years ago and ever since then wanted to finish a full marathon and now we have. It’s been an awesome journey running with her and whether we retire our running shoes or run again next year is still to be determined. 🙂


071915 Julie's Half Marathon & House-40For all you fellow runners in the blogging world, you know what the high of running and finishing a major race feels like.

For people who want to run a half or a full or some distance in between for the first time, YOU CAN DO IT! Just stick to a training plan and be consistent. And I’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have, leave me a comment

And for people who don’t like to run and think we are crazy, we probably are. 🙂


And for Monday I’m linking up with: Meghan @ Champagne + Suburbs, RunningnReading, Marvelous in My Monday and



Friday Favorites!

Because I flew in from Chicago Monday night, this week has flown by for me. Can’t believe it’s already Friday! So excited for this weekend. My little sister is in town from Chicago to hang out before she goes back to school in mid August so we’ve got some fun things planned for the weekend. What are you all up to this weekend?

the-new-youThis week I found two articles that were really sweet, sad, and inspirational.

Texas Girl Born with Rare Bone Disorder Raises $11,000 on Her Birthday for the Hospital That Helped Her Walk. You can read more about it here.



New York Couple Adopts Dying Friend’s Four Daughters. People Magazine did an article about them you can read about here. They also have a fundraising page you can donate to.

d862df2a-e0d2-4d2f-b932-f7c5fb462df9_profileTHE NEW YOU(2)Prince George turned 2 this week! I am such a sucker for anything royal. I mean just look how happy that sweet boy is. This is such a precious moment captured and I am officially obsessed.


THE NEW YOU(3)I had the best time at the Men Tell All Taping two weeks ago. I finally did my recap yesterday.

me +my friendfiveThis week I also participated in the List of 10 things I love and hate after I was tagged by Emily. Quick recap I love reading, playing tennis, and am a sucker for rom coms. I hate being late or rushed, clutter, and getting my blood drawn.

0973c21b26cff02884470cb1f045bef5Next week, I’ll share my trip back home and my half marathon experience! See you all next week!


Friday has become the day of the link ups. Here are the wonderful women I’m linking up with each week:

 A Little Bit of Everything BlogGrace and Love Blog, and Momfessionals

A Short Guide to a Long Life by David B. Agus


A Short Guide to a Long Life by David B. Agus is as the title states, a quick read with really important information to elongate your life. The chapters are super short but informative. He goes over what to do, what avoid and doctor’s orders. (He is a medical doctor.) Some of his tips are as simple as smiling and stretching, to inquiring about statins if you’re over the hill and avoiding vitamins and supplements.

In the last section of the book called doctor’s orders he offers lists of top 10 things to do in cold season, causes of death, and top actions to reduce your risk for illness. He also offers a list of things you should be checking about yourselves and preventative steps to take by the decade.

I read the book in one day, it’s super quick and loaded with info in simple easy to understand terms.