happy happy

Happy happy Friday!  What a whirlwind of a week this has been with Monday being Labor Day and yesterday being Rosh Hashanah.  For those of you who don’t know, Rosh Hashanah is a holiday to celebrate the Jewish New Year.  My parents hosted dinner on Wednesday night and mid-dinner Jonny received a phone call from his brother who had just proposed!  And she said yes!

becca robbie

Itz extra awesome because Jonny proposed to me on Rosh Hashanah five years ago!  We’re excited to welcome Becca into the Itzko family and I can’t believe that all THREE of my brothers will be planning their upcoming weddings!  My older brother got engaged in March, my little brother got engaged in April, and now my brother-in-law is engaged!  Robbie and Becca are coming to St. Louis this weekend, so we’ll get to celebrate their engagement.  And of course talk wedding details.  Well, Becca and I will.

My mom always sets a beautiful table and this year’s holiday was no different.

rosh hashana

I didn’t take any pictures of the food, but it was quite the delicious spread per usual.  There was lots of happiness as there always is when our family gets together.  Big thanks to my wonderful parents for hosting the evening and who not only show a great deal of love for each other, but truly have an unconditional love for all of us, as well.

mom dad

Even though family events are pretty busy and a lot of time is spent running after all the little rug rats, my mom, sister, and I always find a moment or two to snap a selfie!

mom steph

And don’t tell the others, but I’m totally my dad’s favorite…

dad

I promise Jonny was there even though we didn’t get any pictures of us two together.  However, his best little buddy is our niece sweet Audrey Rose, so I’ll show you a picture of her instead because she’s just too stinkin’ cute!

audrey

What makes you happy happy?

PB&J Smoothie

Happy Labor Day to those in the US who hopefully have the day off work!  Three-day weekends are always fun and this one was no exception.  Before I give you the details of our time off, I’m sharing one of my favorite smoothies from the Colourful Palate Smoothie Challenge from August.  Full recap tomorrow with all thirty-one recipes, but today is one of my favorites – the PB&J Smoothie!

PB&J smoothie

Itz a grown up version of the traditional PBJ sandwich in smoothie form.

PB&J Smoothie

~makes one large smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 apple
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 – 1 cup strawberries
  • 1 cup vanilla almond milk
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon chia or flax seed (optional)

Directions:

  1. Slice fruit.
  2. Add ingredients to blender.
  3. Blend until smooth.

Oh baby, itz a good one!  You could even add one scoop of vanilla protein powder for an added protein boost.  This will definitely be repeated time and time again for me.

Like I told you on Friday, Jonny and I had a wedding to attend over the weekend.  Itz a close family friend of Jonny’s, so we were graciously invited to the rehearsal dinner as well as the wedding.  The rehearsal dinner was held at the Missouri History Museum which was a really neat venue.

jonny me1

If you’re wondering, of course my dress is from my sister’s closet per usual.  And clearly our outfits are coordinated.  I have no shame when it comes to that.  🙂

The actual wedding was at the Palladium which is also a really awesome venue.  The couple used our same wedding planner (Simcha’s Events), wedding band (Griffin & the Gargoyles), and wedding florist (Festive Atmospheres), so it was fun to see some of the similar details from our special day almost three years ago.  Simcha makes everything run so smoothly, the band keeps everyone on the dance floor all night long, and Frankie does a beautiful job with the flowers.  They’re all the best of the best and put together a fabulous event last night.

flowers

The appetizers were delicious (hello, mini Kobe sliders!) and we sampled some of everything, so I wasn’t even super hungry by the time dinner rolled around.  They had three stations which included a carving station, a Mediterranean station, and a sushi station.  And a cupcake station for dessert!  Plus, Fredbird made an appearance as they’re huge Cardinals fans, so that was fun, too.  I didn’t snap pictures of all the great food or small details, but of course I did get one good shot of me and Jonno.

Jonny me

Maybe next time Jon-Jon will look at the camera!  😉

Since we both have the day off today, we plan on relaxing by the pool and enjoying our time off work together.  Quite the marvelous Labor Day, if you ask me!

What are you up to today?  Any fun Labor Day plans from the weekend or today?

Love Day

Happy LOVE day!  Itz such a happy holiday that’s filled with LOVE!

LOVE for your husband.

jonny me

LOVE for your crazy awesome family.

Oh to be back in Mexico…

LOVE for this BELLA NutriPro Juicer that arrived at my door yesterday.  (CAN.NOT.WAIT.TO.USE!)

Nutripro Juicer

LOVE for yourself.

love yourself

LOVE for your furbaby.

Zoey valentine

LOVE for your body because itz the only one you’ve got.

bikram 1

LOVE for all of you.  Happy Valentine’s Day!

Another Marvelous Green Giveaway

I have lots of marvelous things to catch you up on and hopefully you had a marvelous weekend.  Monday is Marvelous in my Monday with the one and only Diva Katie!

Marvelous thing #1:  Itz my parents’ 34th wedding anniversary today!

They have always been and always will be unbelievable role models for me and Jonny.

Marvelous thing #2:  I wrote a guest post for Healthy Living Blogs.

The article listed just some of the reasons why I am super stoked to attend the Healthy Living Summit and why itz meant to be.  Read the full post here.

Marvelous thing #3: FitFluential featured me on their FitFluential Friday: This is what FitFluential looks like.  Check it out here!

Marvelous thing #4:  My mom surprised me with another beautiful headband and feather earrings!

Aren’t they both gorgeous??  Love them!!

Marvelous thing #5:  Green Kid Crafts ~ earth friendly creativity ~

Marvelous thing #6:  Doing Green Kid Crafts with my nephews, Jacob & Jackson.

Finished wind chime, of course, was hung up right away!

Each Green Kid Craft comes neatly packaged together and easy to follow instructions.

Jackson – not included in Green Kid Crafts

The crafts require minimal adult help and truly foster creativity as kids have the choice of how they will decorate whatever craft they are making.

Each craft is a guaranteed masterpiece and a guaranteed happy pirate kiddo!

Marvelous thing #7: Green Kid Crafts will give one lucky Itz Linz reader a 1-month subscription to Green Kid Crafts!  Some quick facts about Green Kid Crafts from their website:

Enjoy earth-friendly, monthly projects that spark creativity and cultivate respect and love for the environment. With Green Kid Crafts, you no longer have to scramble for craft ideas and supplies to entertain your children. Suitable for kids ages 3-8, three of our craft projects come straight to your door every month.
  • Our crafts are open-ended so that small kids can practice basic crafting skills while older kids can get more sophisticated with their projects.
  • Kids receive at least 3 different craft projects once a month.
  • Each project kit includes everything needed to complete the craft (you just supply glue, markers, and/or scissors).
  • Our craft projects follow the international calendar to generate global awareness.
  • We provide instructions that are intended as a jumping-off point for kids.
  • We use varied craft techniques to challenge creativity, develop new skills, and extend into creative play.

Here is how to enter this giveaway: Visit the website (www.greenkidcrafts.com) and leave a comment with what kind of craft project you would like to see next! *MANDATORY*

Additional entry:

  • Follow Itz Linz on Twitter and tweet, “@ItzLinz is giving away a 1-month subscription to #GreenKidCrafts! Enter here and go green: http://wp.me/p264zq-Gt” and leave a comment here telling me you did so.

Be sure to become a fan of Itz Linz on Facebook and Green Kid Crafts on Facebook!  This giveaway will be open until Friday, July 20th at 9:00 pm CST.  A winner will be randomly drawn and announced on Saturday, July 21st, so be sure to check back as the winner will have 48 hours to contact me (or another winner will be selected).

*Disclaimer: Besides the Green Kid Craft box I received and the fun Jacob, Jackson, and I had together, I was not compensated for this post.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Happy Mother’s Day!

So the Cardinals, sadly, did not kick butt last night, but I sure got my butt kicked this morning!  I took a bootcamp style group exercise class which is a combination of strength training, cardio, intervals, and tons of core work.  I used to do the class every Sunday, but then fell out of the habit.  Today was more challenging than ever and I sweated buckets, my heart rate skyrocketed, and my muscles burned.  Just what I love!

Let’s move on to the highlight of today: Mother’s Day!  I will not go on and on about how wonderful and amazing the women in my life are because most of you probably don’t know them and if you do know them then I won’t be telling you anything new.  But I definitely want to recognize all of the incredible moms out there while giving my beautiful mother and grandmother a shoutout.

This picture won a look-alike contest last Mother’s Day!  I strive to be like these two people everyday and I hope that when I start my own family, I am able to instill just some of the morals and characteristics that they have done in me.  It is an understatement to call them amazing, but for lack of better words I will.  Not only are they gorgeous, but they’re intelligent, compassionate, and two of the most caring people I know.  I love you, Mama and Mom!

My sister, Stephanie, is very deserving of this Mother’s Day, as well.  She is just three years deep into being a momma, but she’s already rocking it – like she does in every other area of her life.

 How gorgeous is her family?? Among other things, Stephanie is a photographer, blogger, seester, friend, wife, and mother.  I can’t wait for all of her hand-me-downs advice when it’s my turn because she’s definitely doing it right.

I’m also incredibly blessed to call Jonny’s family my own.  A special wish of a Happy Mother’s Day goes out to my mother-in-law, Nancy, and Jonny’s two grandmothers.

My mother-in-law, me, and my mom at my bridal shower in 2010.

 Confession: Jonny spoils me.  All the time.  Ever since I have known him, he has gotten me Mother’s Day gifts from Zoey.  Despite my effort of telling him no gifts this year (and every year), he didn’t listen.  Not that I’m complaining about this Lululemon beauty:

Jonny justified it by saying that it wasn’t for Mother’s Day; it was a congratulations present for becoming a FitFluential Ambassador and I need to make sure to look the part.  Seriously, how sweet is he?  (I say that even when he doesn’t buy me goodies!)

While today is all about honoring the moms, it’s a special day for my daddy-o, too.  Itz his birthday!  Happy birthday, Dad, from your favorite child!

It does seem appropriate that I get to celebrate my mom and dad today.  Both of them mean the world to me and I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today without them.  Nor would the rest of my family.  I know I brag on my family a lot, but itz cause we got a lot goin’ on…

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!  Happy birthday, Dad!  I love you both with all my heart!

For all the mommas out there: May your Mother’s Day be filled with all the happiness you deserve! xoxo

50 Years of Love

This weekend has been dedicated to Jonny’s grandparents’ 50th anniversary.  Family has flown in.  It has been a full weekend, night and day, of family time celebrating 50 amazing years of two of the people who started the Itzkowitz family.

Daddy Bob & Grandma Adelaide

We started the day with brunch at First Watch, one of my personal favorite breakfast/lunch spots.  A couple of the girls and I went to get manicures right before, but it took longer than expected and we ended up arriving 30 minutes late!  Major fail, especially on such an important day.  Daddy Bob had Jonny text me saying, “Get your bucket over here!”

I felt stumped on what to get them as a gift (and as usual, Jonny was of no help 🙂 ).  Chanukah was just a month ago and we had gotten them gift certificates on numerous occasions.  Since we got married recently, we have also gifted many picture frames and photographs.  I needed something new.  I needed something meaningful.  So what did I do?

I turned to Pinterest.  I am not a member or follower or fan or friend or whatever it is called on Pinterest.  I am not crafty whatsoever, so I thought Pinterest would be no use to me, but I was out of options and decided to take a gander.  I searched “50th anniversary present” and a ton of things popped up.  One thing in particular caught my eye as I remembered seeing it on Julie’s blog a few months back.  As I studied what it would entail, I knew it would be something my not-so-crafty self could tackle.

January 21, 1962

Part of the gift required me to learn a bit more about Daddy Bob and Grandma Adelaide’s relationship and how it all began.  Daddy Bob is very tech-savvy, so I began with an e-mail asking how and where he met Grandma Adelaide.  He responded, but I knew it would be all the better hearing the story from him directly, so I gave him a ring.  After a couple of hearing-aid malfunctions, we finally connected on the phone and he told me the story of how he met his bride.

The Beautiful Bride

In 1961, Daddy Bob was a traveling salesman covering over 30,000 miles each year.  When he was in town, a friend asked him to go on a blind date with a new lady in town (recently moved to St. Louis from Arkansas) and another couple.  Daddy Bob had absolutely no desire to go out to dinner since he spent the majority of his dinners on the road out at restaurants.  However, he did comply and it ended up being “the smartest thing [he] ever did.”  He said her southern drawl is what really “did it.”  Four months later they married!

the gift

The bottom of the frame has the names of the specific places in gold lettering, but for privacy reasons I cropped them out.

The place they went on their blind date was a restaurant in Belleville, Illinois.  Daddy Bob told me that the building was 150 years old and the original use was for horses.  Eventually, it turned into a restaurant called the Carriage House.  (Great memory, Daddy Bob!)  On January 21, 1962, they married and 50 years later they are still going strong!

back of frame

The big celebratory dinner was held at Bristol Seafood Grill, a family favorite.  Daddy Bob gave us the most heartfelt speech that left us all in tears.  He talked about the many years they have spent together and the happiness they shared.  He told us how Grandma Adelaide is his rock and all the great advice she has given him.  He reminded us to take care of our spouses.  He talked about true love and how they complimented each other so perfectly.  “She is fast and furious and I am slow and careful.”

All in all, it was a fabulous weekend spent with family.  We are grateful to have such strong role models in our lives.  We wish the entire family lived in St. Louis, but cherish our visits when they do happen.  Someday in the far away future, Jonny and I will grow old and celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary.  But for now… we’ll enjoy the next 49 years day by day. 🙂