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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Costco Favorites

Hey all!

So, happy Thursday! As promised in my earlier post, I'm sharing some of my Costco favorites today.  Now, I'm a fairly newbie Costco shopper.  I've only been a member for a year, but it has only taken that long for me to become one of those "I got it at Costco" people.

I can sing its praises all day, but let's just cut to the chase.  So, here they are!

1. Kirkland brand Five Cheese Tortellini

Oh man, what an awesome one to kick off this list with.  These are THE BEST tortellini I've ever had. They come in two packs, so I usually throw the other in the freezer.  Brown some turkey sausage, throw in some artichoke hearts and pasta sauce, and BOOM! dinner is done!

2. Kirkland brand Red Grapefruit

George and I eat at least one of these a day.  There is some sugar in these, but to me, just the amount to make it not super sour without really sweet.  Does that make sense?  Doesn't need to...just trust me and buy these.

3. Newman's Special Blend- Extra Bold

These are George's favorite K cups, and you can buy 160 of them for around $83.  That breaks down to a little under 52 cents/cup.  You just can't beat the price.

4. Dodoni Feta

George and I go through a lot of feta. I love to make big salads, so feta is being used often.  (It is also delicious on BBQ chicken, who knew?)  The key to buying a large quantity of feta is to make sure that it is in brine.  Once you get past the "ick, cheese water bath factor", you'll love it because it stays fresh and delicious for much longer.

5. Kirkland brand Extra virgin olive oil

George and I have two different olive oils that we use.  There's the kind that his parents buy in Greek town in Chicago by the giant tin-full.  I use this for cooking and keep it in a dispenser by the stove.  When we have bread and olive oil or caprese salads, I break out the good stuff.  The newer your olive oil (the most recent the olives were harvested), the spicier and better for you it is.  More antioxidants or something.  Anyways...long story short, you can buy a bunch of expensive olive oils at Fresh Market, or you can get this EVOO at Costco for an AWESOME price.  It's also verrry delicious.

6. Restaurant Gift cards

If there is a restaurant that you know you're going to go to, grab some of these gift cards.  For example, George and I go to Old Chicago a lot with his brother, my SIL, and niece and nephews.  We know that  we would spend money there anyways.  You can buy $100 worth of gift cards for $80.  It's pretty awesome.  Many of the gift cards they sell work at multiple restaurants as well.

7.  Cranberry Almond Chicken Salad 

I usually try to stay away from chicken and tuna salads due to the mayo content.  I'm also kind of lazy and don't want to chop stuff to put into it.  So, I jumped on these individual chicken salad cups when I saw that they were made with low fat Greek yogurt.  It's super delicious, and I love to eat it with bread or dip pretzels in it.

8. Fage Individual Yogurts

George and I go through these like crazy.  I'd get lucky if I could find them for $1 a piece at the grocery store, and that was only when they were on sale.  The combo pack has 4 flavors, and I think it breaks down to around 80 cents per yogurt.

9. Kirkland Workout Clothing

I don't know what the material is that they use for their dry fit stuff, but it is so soft.  I love their tanks and the long sleeve half zips.  I haven't tried their pants and capris, but maybe soon.

10. Veggie Patch Spinach and Chickepea Patties

Ok, I know at first glance, these probably look nasty, but they are SO GOOD.  They have a little bit of a curry flavor, but also good texture.  They're so easy, you just pop them in the microwave.  I like to put them over a big salad with veggies for a meatless Monday dinner.

11. Costco Hotdog & Drink Combo

Last, but not least....the cherry on top.  The $1.50 hotdog and drink combo.  I freakin' love hotdogs, and I'm not ashamed to put it out there.  Costco has some of the best 'dogs I've ever had, and I can't think of a better reward for power-pushing that giant cart around the store.

Alright, those are my favorites.  Show me some love and pin this button? :)

What are some of yours?

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Coming Up on Beauty and the Greek

Hey guys!

I'm still alive.  I've been majorly slacking on the blog lately.  Part of me wants to say that it's because I've been busy, but the other part is because I haven't had a ton to say.

I do have some posts planned out, so I thought I'd give you all a sneak peek of what's to come.

1.)  Greek Yogurt Banana Bread

I forgot to take a picture of the end product, so my banana bread ends up looking a lot like this.
I came across a few recipes for banana bread and kind of combined them all.  The only downside is that there is a good amount of butter in it, but you can't go healthy in ALL aspects.

2.) Costco Favorites

Ever since I've moved to Peoria, and I've lost my Super Target (*sheds tear), I've grown even fonder of Costco.  Totally separate from my "Favorite Things," I've compiled a list of items that are pretty awesome from Costco.

3.) July Favorite Things

This is something that you had to have seen coming.  First week day of every month, Ally and I host our "Favorite Things" linkup.  Make sure to join in on July 1st!

4.) Running Update

My runs have been pretty sporadic compared to last year, but I'm ok with that.  Now that Steamboat is over, I need to figure out what my next race will be.  Should I keep training for shorter distances, or go for a half?  Hopefully I'll have it all figured out by the time I publish this post, ha!

5.) Job Update

So I STILL don't have my Illinois nursing license yet.  The whole process is ending up taking much longer than I had originally thought.  I've kind of stumbled upon a part time job, and I'm thinking that I'll really love it.  More details to come.

That's all I have for now!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Steamboat Classic Race Recap

Hey all!

Hope everyone had a wonderful Father's Day weekend and start to your week.  I had my parents and aunt in town, and we had a wonderfully relaxing weekend.

On Saturday, my dad, aunt and I ran in the Steamboat Classic 4 miler.  (Poor G is still injured, so he had to watch from the sidelines with my mom).  It is apparently known as the "World's fastest 4 miles." There is also a 15k race known as "Illinois toughest 15k," so I definitely feel good about my choice to do the 4 miler.

What's really cool about this race, is that elite athletes travel from all over the country to set PRs.  The winner did it in 18:08, and I was ummm.....right behind him.

The weather was beyond perfect.  It was about 60 degrees and partly cloudy when it all started at 7:00.  The start was very crowded, so I can't imagine being packed in like sardines on an 80 degree day. 

I ran with Liz and Kay Lynn, some family from George's side.  We did a few Saturday runs on the trail near my house to train.  It's awesome to have some running companions to talk to.  (When I run with Gracie, she's usually too interested in the wildlife to talk much. :D)

Like I said earlier, the start was very crowded and kind of frustrating.  I felt like I was bobbing and weaving for the first mile and a half.  Thankfully, Liz was a pro at darting through the crowd, and I just followed her.

I knew that this race definitely wasn't going to be a PR for me, but that's ok.  My main goal was to go out there and enjoy running a shorter distance race.  The course was flat, and the last quarter mile was downhill, so I'm pretty sure I was running with a smile on my face.  My official time was 36:10.

As much as I'd like to get back into running longer distances, I'm not sure that I have the time or the motivation.  Maybe I'll do a half in the fall, but just doing small 5ks here and there is just fine with me.

My furry running partner would also probably agree that shorter distances are a little more fun right now. :)

That's all I have for today.

Do any of you have any races coming up?
Which distance do you prefer?

Thursday, June 12, 2014

What I've Been Up To

Wow, so I feel like I haven't posted in forever.  Lately, I feel like life has slowed down a bit, so I don't have as much to post about.  I was going through some phone pictures earlier and came across some good ones.

So, here are my "Thoughts for Thursday" phone dump post.


So, I signed up for another race.  This one coming up is called the Steamboat Classic, and it's actually a pretty big race.  Apparently, it is the world's fastest 4 miler, tons of elite runners are drawn to it in hopes of a PR.

For me, I'm thinking that there's no way I'll get a PR.  I've been just running on and off and not really "training."  I'm going to have fun, and not think about my time.  My family will be in town for Father's day too!  So excited!


If you follow me on Instagram (beautyandthegreek), you saw that we got sod!  Finally!

Thank goodness we got an irrigation system.  We've been watering nonstop, and I can't imagine moving a sprinkler around for 10 hours a day.  (Yes, I do feel guilty for wasting water)

Gracie was LOVING her new lawn.  I have a video of her going wild on my Instagram.  She is so happy to have a yard, and I am so happy that I don't have to take her to a vacant patch of grass to potty.


So G and I are super psyched that we have some family moving into our neighborhood.  I went to Amish country with them to help pick out their cabinets.  (It's seriously like deja vu from last year).  There's a DELICIOUSly unhealthy restaurant in Arthur, Illinois called Yoders.  The picture is of "Amish peanut butter."  Check out those low-cal ingredients.  I forgot to mention that they serve it on white bread.


I pretty much died and went to heaven when interior design goddess, Joanna Gaines, took the time to comment on my Instagram AND tell me I have beautiful style.  To me, that is like the Michael Jordan saying that you have a nice jump shot... or whatever.  Just, pinch me.

Man Crush:

I took this picture when George wasn't looking the other day.  I mean, he's just precious. 

Alright guys, that's all I have for now.  Thanks to Annie and Natalie for hosting!

Thoughts for Thursday

Monday, June 2, 2014

June Favorite Things

Hey all!  It's June, which means summer, which means I'm ecstatic.  I LOVE summer.  I love the warm mornings and early runs, I love hot, sunny days, and I also love drinking on my deck in the evenings. It's all awesome.  But enough about how much summer rocks, let's get to my favorites for June.

1. Fixer Upper on HGTV watch it here

I just recently stumbled upon this show, and I'm in love.  First of all, I want to look and dress like Joanna Gaines.  Secondly, this show makes me want to move to Texas and live on a farm.  Thirdly, what they do with some of these super crappy houses is AMAZING. Nothing about this show is cheesy or has manufactured drama, they cut to the chase and show you how they work their magic.  Seriously, go check it out. Did I mention I have a girl crush on Joanna Gaines?

2. Target Racerback Tank Buy it here

If you've seen any of my other favorite things, you know I'm a sucker for cheap, cotton items of clothing from Target.  These tanks are my favorite to dress up with a statement necklace or even wear while running.  I have a lot of them, but for $10 a piece, you can afford to stock up.

3.) Suave Moroccan Infusions Argan Styling Oil buy it here

I've been straightening my hair a lot more often, so I need something to keep my ends from looking fried.  I like this stuff because you work it into your ends while it's wet, and it dries super soft and silky with no greasy residue.  It's also super cheap.

4.) Dyson DC 44 Buy it here

Oh my word... I can't even express how much I love this vacuum.  George and I had a Miele, which was AWESOME for carpet, but it definitely lacked for hard surfaces.  This vacuum is so easy.  You take it off of the wall charger, and there's no cord to deal with.  It comes with tons of attachments for stairs, furniture, and of course, floors.  I got mine at Costco, and we've been very happy together. :)

5.) Military Hat Buy it here

My SIL has a business that embroiders anything and everything you can imagine.  You name it, they'll monogram it.  I've never been much of a hat person (I have a pin head).  Most baseball caps have a bill that is too long and look silly on me.  This is the first hat I've found that actually looks decent.  I love to just throw it on when my hair is a mess and I have no makeup on.  Check out their Facebook page on the "buy it here" link, and check out all they do.

6.) Gordmans Check them out here

Peoria doesn't have a Home Goods, which is pretty sad, BUT...they do have a Gordmans.  I haven't really looked into their clothing, but they have awesome stuff for the house.  Tons of "decorative accents," small furniture, lamps, etc.  If you're looking for some Pottery Barn style decor, you can find it there with some digging.

7.) Stiegl Grapefruit Radler Check it out here

Alcoholic grapefruit soda-beer.  Need I say more?  It's so delicious, so refreshing, and it has a fairly low alcohol content.  For me, that's a good thing.  #Imalightweight

8.) Arahova Greek Yogurt Cheesecakes

These are little individual cheesecakes that are the perfect dessert without feeling terrible about yourself.  I found them at Costco.  They come in a variety pack of blackberry lemoncello, carmel pecan, and raspberry dark chocolate.  I mean, they're pretty delicious.

That's all for now!  Link up below!