March 30, 2016

Trixie Flipboard Review

One of my favorite things in life is buying Zuzu treats and toys. Not only does she go crazy excited for new things but it keeps her out of mischief for a while which Brian and I loove. The latest toy I bought her was the level two strategy game by Trixie. I didn't buy level one because one review stated, "unless your dog is disabled, start with level two" and I obeyed.

We didn't do any of the training things the guide suggested before letting Zuzu try out the game. We also filled the game with her dog food which is maybe why she seemed more interested in the little cups than finding the food. She did manage to find all of the food in about four minutes on her very first try:

The next few days we tried again, this time with some yummy smelling treats. This is Zuzu on about day five. She finds all the treats pretty quickly though she still doesn't exactly have the hang of the levers. She just randomly paws and nudges at the thing until the lid lifts and she is able to get to the treat. 

The puzzle is well made and I appreciate the rubberized bottom though it's still easy for her to move it around. It's fun to watch Zuzu use her brain, but it's disappointing it doesn't take much time for her to find all the treats. (She would chew on the cups forever though if we let her.) The game was only about $17 so I don't feel like I wasted a ton of money though I'm not sure how much more use we will get from it.  Maybe it will be a nice distraction for when she gets bored and starts to grumble at us to play, but she does need to be supervised while playing with it so it's not a toy that gives us any free time. It is fun to watch her play with it though.

I would give the Trixie toy a 2.5 out of 5 stars.  

March 27, 2016

Happiness Diary #10

It's a new week! 

Every day I share:
1) A random photo of the day
2) Something I ate that was delicious (Is this getting tired?)
3) A meaningful event that happened or a task I was happy to accomplish
4) Something I was grateful for or that made me happy

 Saturday (3/19/16)

1) Photo: I am currently painting this cabinet in the half bathroom. The inside will be white and the outside a dark teal color that I'm still a bit unsure about...
2) I love eating edamame from the shell and I ate a whole package at dinner. I love a good protein filled veggie.
3) Today I went to ACE hardware, painted (thrice), worked out, took Zuzu on a walk in the woods with Brian and am now getting a foot rub on the couch. We are watching Out Cold, a movie Brian watched in the theaters when he was a junior in high school. On Rotten Tomatoes the audience gives it an 84% and the critics give it an 8%.  Brian loves it. Me, not so much. 
4) I am grateful for having time to do home projects. 

1) Photo: Yes I make Brian take awkward pictures of me for my blog. Here I am holding all of our shopping bags while outlet shopping!
2) I ate some Girl Scout cookies we recently received from a neighbor girl.  They were good though I've realized I'm kind of over Samoas... 
3) There were lots of fun dogs at the dog park AND I got to talk to my mom for a while which was nice. Luckily Brian was there to keep an eye on Zuzu while I tried to hide from the wind. We then made a trip to the outlet mall and found some fun stuff and later Brian and I had our first family meeting using the Cozi app and we have our week pretty well planned out. I also meal planned and prepped for my breakfasts and lunches for the week. Busy day!
4) It's spring! Need I say more. 
1) Photo: Brian doing bicep curls with the dog. 
2) I made shrimp and chickpea pasta with edamame pasta and it was good though could have used more garlic!3) I went on a run/walk on the four mile loop around our house today. I want to eventually get back to enjoying running again.
4) I am so grateful for my health and ability to sleep through the night. For many of my friends with kids those things would be a luxury!


1) Photo: I always get a popcorn refill for the ride home from the movies. (If we haven't already used our one free refil!)
2) The popcorn. Always. 3) Brian and I are implementing Tuesday date night. We will probably alternate going to a movie and going out to eat because we love doing both and it will help to stretch the monies.  For our first date night we went to see Deadpool which we have been wanting to see for a while. It kept me entertained the entire time so I give it a thumbs up.
4) It always makes me happy to look forward to fun things which is a great reason to plan date nights besides spending time with B. :)


1) Photo: Zuzu sleeping in the hallway. I took this photo coming up from the lower level. Zuzu was so sleepy last night she didn't bother me in the workshop!
2) New discovery: D&W and Family Fare carry kimchi in their produce section! It's made locally and is so tasty it may just earn a permanent staple spot in our fridge. 
3) On Wednesdays my goal is to do something around the house when Brian goes to tennis. Today I worked on doing some more painting of the bathroom cabinet. I want to get it done by Friday because we are having company over and right now the bathroom is a mess.
4) I am grateful for very enjoyable days at work.



1) Photo: Well it's painted! I'm still questioning the color and the doors are wonky but it'll have to do for now!
2) We made some Caribbean jerk marinated chicken with quinoa and asparagus for dinner tonight which was pretty good. I'm just proud to be making dinners on a semi regular basis.
3) We have officially had Zuzu for one year! (Well we got her last year on the 22nd.) This past year with her has been, for the most part, wonderful! She makes me smile every day and as she gets older she just gets better and better.
4) I am grateful we decided to get a puppy a year ago. Life would be boring and lonely and sad without her. Haha.


1) Photo: Brian sent me this picture while I was at work. Its our niece playing with Zuzu and Zuzu loving it!
2) Crab crab crab crab crab.
3) Another week has gone by and I'm pretty sure this is my tenth happiness diary! That is 70 days of being mindful and finding something to be happy about. Crazy. Today was great because not only is it Friday but we had Crab Fest 2016! More on that later!
4) I am grateful for my ability to prepare and multitask like nobody's business. Today made me feel like I could be a successful sous chef. Hah!

March 19, 2016

Happiness Diary #9

Welcome to a new week! 

Every day I share:
1) A random photo of the day (a bit Zuzu heavy this week)
Something I ate that was delicious
3) A meaningful event that happened or a task I was happy to accomplish
4) Something I was grateful for or that made me happy

 Saturday (3/12/16)

1) Photo: Most of my candy is being banished to the basement because I haven't been very smart with my consumption lately. Fireballs are still being stored within arms reach though. 😀
2) My favorite meal today was my lunch of butternut squash ravioli. 
3) I did some painting in the office! I needed to do some trim touch ups and we actually want to get a new gallon of better quality paint and go over the dark grey color because it didn't turn out the way we hoped. Hopefully that will solve our issues and hopefully we will get this office finished within the next five years. Ha.  
4) I am grateful for a laid back weekend work day and the opportunity to get some work done on my molecular exam.


1) Photo: Zuzu the ferocious ant killer. She goes after those things but doesn't usually eat them, they just get stuck in her beard.
2) I ate...nothing remarkably great but I finished up eating the eggs I boiled a few days ago for breakfast. Always a great source of protein in the mornings. 
3) I worked my full day even when it would have been super easy to go home early. I'm not about to waste my PTO like that though. 
4) I am grateful for a big basement to run Zuzu ragged when it's been raining outside all day. 


1) Photo: The (very informative) volunteer packet I received from the social worker for Big Brothers Big Sisters. 
2) NA (Not going to force it anymore if there is Nothing Amazing to report in the food category.)
3) I interviewed with a social worker from BBBS today! She came over to our house (since the house would have to be inspected for safety anyway) and it went really well! It will probably take around a month to get matched which is awesome since it took Brian nine months to get matched when he lived in Mason.
4) I'm grateful I got in a run today even though it wasn't the best, at least I got out there!


1) Photo: Zuzu wishing she was playing with the neighbors. 
2) I ate the cheddar lentil loops from my last NatureBox which is one of my favorite snacks from the company. 
3) I've been having terrible PMS lately and did a little research and decided to get some calcium supplements. My current vitamins have only 12% calcium so I probably do need more. Hopefully it makes a difference!
4) I grateful for being able to go to bed early. 


1) Photo: Zuzu is an oval. 
2) I ate a dinner of taco seasoned ground turkey, black beans and the most ripe and perfect avocado ever. Too lazy to make quinoa and the lettuce went bad but it was still a satisfying meal. 
3) I went to bed with a very tidy house tonight. Go me.
4) An instrument is down at work which stinks but it's giving me a surprise day off tomorrow!!! I'm so excited to enjoy a day at home and grateful to have enough PTO to take a day off without worry. The power of positive thinking is real, people! 


1) Photo: Trying to take a nap on the couch. Between the uncomfortable pillow, basketball on TV and Brian making a bunch of work calls five feet away it didn't really happen but I do love my Z snuggles.
2) I ate Hobnobs for the first time and love them!!
3) I believe I made the most out of my surprise day off. I did many things on my to do list and I still have the weekend to do everything else. :)
4) I'm grateful and happy I didn't waste the day away. 


1) Photo: I originally took this photo because I wanted to save the workout on my phone but since it was the only photo I took today I thought I'd post it. My leg WOD (workout of the day)! Not an exciting photo but the workout gets me every time. 👍
2) I ate a HUGE amount of air popped popcorn with toppings while watching Redboxed Spectre tonight and it was very enjoyable. Along with salad and beef jerky it was my dinner. "Classic Faith," as Brian would say about my random eating habits.
3) I practiced being present and positive as much as I could today which always makes for a challenging but interesting day. When I found myself not thinking that way, accepting what I was feeling instead of feeling guilty or frustrated was key to getting back to good-something I've known about but never actually practiced until now!
4) I am grateful and looking forward to the weekend.  It's going to be chilly but I'm hoping I get some outside time with Brian and Zuzu!

March 12, 2016

Happiness Diary #8

Welcome to another week! 

Every day I share:
1) A random photo of the day
Something I ate that was delicious
3) A meaningful event that happened or a task I was happy to accomplish
4) Something I was grateful for or that made me happy


 Saturday (3/5/16)

1) Photo: Zuzu looking older and wiser than her one year.
2) I made some air popped popcorn and added some coconut oil, popcorn salt and nutritional yeast for my favorite eats of the day. Yum!
3) I did a new challenging step and leg workout today and it was tough. I probably had to stop ten times between messing up the choreography and trying to catch my breath but I got through it!
4) I am grateful for having a perfectly behaved and clean Zuzu today thanks to a visit to the park and a puppy shower. 


1) Photo: Playing Pass the Pigs!
2) I had an indulgent day of eating but my favorite thing was probably the kettle cooked rippled chips we had with dinner. 
3) Brian and I had his family over for dinner and game night, hopefully the first of many!
4) I am grateful for my health. Poor Brian is sick with a cold for the third time since living in our house. I am lucky to not have gotten sick once. 



1) Photo: I set up our humidifier for Brian who has a cold and a pretty bad cough. (I forgot to take a photo of something more interesting today so this is what we get.) 
2) Heidi left us some chocolate raspberry pie (flourless, I think) yesterday and though I'm not a huge fan of chocolate and dont like fudge, I looove this very fudgy and chocolatey pie. 
3) I received an email from Big Brothers Big Sisters requesting to set up an interview! Things are in motion!
4) I am grateful for walks in 60 degree weather. 


1) Photo: The cookie I received at the church where we voted. 
2) I had potstickers for dinner and they were my favorite food of the day. (Sorry cookie.)
3) It was another dog park day for Zuzu and the doggy crew was awesome! I'm always happy when Zuzu gets to play with friendly and active dogs.
4) I am grateful for my motivation and dedication to working out. I might not eat the healthiest but it's relatively easy staying active.


1) Photo: I made some pretty amazing (if I do say so myself) banana oat muffins. (I was about to leave for a walk in case you wondered about the coat.) 
2) The muffins were my favorite thing I ate today. I highly recommend this recipeIt uses coconut oil for the fat and maple syrup for the sweet. So good. 
3) I want to take control of eating healthy so I made a food plan and went shopping after work. I have six boiled eggs in the fridge now. It's something!
4) I am grateful for the means to buy all the healthy groceries I desire. 


1) Photo: Brian sent me this picture today saying Zuzu keeps whining at the office door because our cleaning lady was talking on her phone. Usually Zuzu will just be sleeping at that time. First world problems.
2) Chicken pesto pasta for dinner tonight. Kirkland brand pesto is legit! It's my favorite store bought pesto for sure.
3) I didn't work out yesterday and still didn't feel like it today so I took another day off. Sometimes you just have to listen into your body!
4) I am grateful and looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow. 



1) Photo: I received more snacks today! ❤️
2) Brian brought me some Thai takeout on his way home from tennis and it was SO GOOD!!!!
3) I went running for the first time in forever. I only did a slow three miles with some walking but my (previously injured) foot felt decent so I'm happy!
4) I am grateful for a beautiful sunny and 60 degree day off work. 

March 11, 2016

Game Night

On Sunday, Brian and I had his parents and Jamie and Gretchen and the kids over for dinner and games. I took a few snaps from the Pass the Pigs game but Heidi and I also played Chutes and Ladders with the kids and the adults played Mexican Train dominos as well. Apparently I wasn't in a very photo taking mood that day but at least I managed to take a few! 

We wanted something easy for dinner since our time was limited so we bought some munchies, croissant sandwiches and Cesear salad from Costco and Jamie and Gretchen brought rice crispy treats for dessert. I think we all had a good time (I know I did!) and I'm thinking we should definitely schedule semi-regular game nights from now on! 

March 6, 2016

Happiness Diary #7

Another week has gone by!

Every day I share:
1) A random photo of the day
2) Something I ate that was delicious
3) A meaningful event that happened or a task I was happy to accomplish
4) Something I was grateful for or that made me happy

 Saturday (2/27/16)


1) Photo: Boyd, my favorite Vizsla
2) Sara's baked ziti was delish and better than any I have ever made. I must learn her ways. 
3) We made tentative plans for a game night with Brian's family next Sunday. I don't think we've ever had one before. Should be fun!
4) I am grateful for anyone who is willing to dogsit Zuzu! She can be a handful!


1) Photo: Tessa, me and Tiffany at Frederik Meijer Garden.
2) The three of us had Indian food for lunch and it was SO flavorful and delicious! I need to eat Indian food more often. 

3) I had such a good time at Meijer gardens. It was busy but it was still fun and the gardens outside were so pretty and peaceful.
4) I am grateful for new experiences with friends. 



1) Photo: Shopping at Costco
2) I was so hungry after work I skipped half of my yoga video to eat some eggs on toast and it totally hit the spot. 3) Even though I was feeling tired (I woke up at 4:30 today) I still walked Zuzu and worked out and went grocery shopping at Costco and D&W and afterward put everything away and cleaned the kitchen and I was still able to be in bed at 8. 😄
4) I am grateful for food in the fridge!


1) Photo: We caught the odometer on our Subaru at 130,000 miles! I hope it's alive for another 130K more. Ha. 
2) Brian insisted on buying a big bag of dark chocolate covered almonds from Costco and we tried them today and luckily for us (though maybe not our bellies) we love them. It's always a risk when you buy things in bulk at Costco when you've never tried them before.
3) We shoveled tonight, probably the deepest snow we've had so far and hopefully the last of the season! I actually enjoy shoveling but I kind of tweaked my knee and Brian's back gets really tight so we might be investing in a snow blower next year...apparently we are getting too old for this.
4) I am grateful that as much as I like shoveling I never have to do the entire driveway by myself! 

1) Photo: Birthday balloons for Beth!
2) I haven't had Quest bars in a while but I bought two boxes and ate a cookies and cream bar this morning. How I've missed thee. 
3) I made my friend and coworker Beth a little candy bag with her favorite candies for her birthday and another coworker bought her birthday balloons. It's nice to have coworkers you care about and coworkers who care about others!
4) I am grateful for being able to say yes to an opportunity that would scare me in the past but I now know doing what scares me makes me stronger. More on this later.


1) Photo: Playing Zuzu in the middle. She loves chasing her toy as we throw it back and forth and it really tires her out which is great. We probably do this at least five times a week.
2) I am trying to go a few days with minimal sugar because I've been feeling sluggish and blah lately and I always feel more clear headed when I cut back on the sweets. It's ok though because I can still eat delicious things like cucumber and brie sandwiches!
3) I am beginning to realize when there is something new in my life or I have a new idea about something I am bound to lose a few hours of sleep over it. I would like for this not to happen but for now I am just trying to just accept it and let it go.
4) I am so happy it is Friday tomorrow and I only have to work a few hours in the afternoon, score!

1) Photo: So much for the low sugar plan.
2) Every single meal I ate were leftovers! Egg and veggies, taco/quinoa salad and my favorite: shrimp and farro stir fry. Way to cook this week, me!
3) I worked 230-830 today and while it was not fun working late on a Friday night, (especially when I was hoping to get out around six) my morning was productive and enjoyable and now it's the weekend!!
4) I am grateful for events that keep life from getting too monotonous.

March 1, 2016

Weekend Highlights

Brian and I had a semi-busy schedule planned this past weekend and the first thing on the list for Saturday was wearing out Zuzu. I took her on a 30 minute walk in the morning and afterward Brian and I took her to the dog park. There weren't many dogs there but Z got a great workout bounding through the deep snow. 

Gretchen and Jamie agreed to watch Zuzu for the day so after the dog park we went home and cleaned her up a bit before dropping her off at their house. Then Brian and I were off to see our friends Ben and Courtney (who live on the east side of the state) at Mike and Sara's house in Lansing.  We were only planning on being gone from 12:00-6:00 and I'm sure Zuzu would have been fine being at home alone but Brian thought it would be a fun field trip for everyone this way. (Though I'm sure Jamie and Gretchen didn't think so. 😁) 

We got to Mike and Sara's around 1:30 and hung out with everyone and got to play with Ben and Courtney's super cute two year old twins. Sara made delicious baked ziti for lunch which we had salad and garlic bread and then ate monster cookies for dessert. Yum!

Brian and I left around 5:00 and picked up Zuzu (who hadn't slept at all) and then headed home to chill until bed.
Sunday morning I woke up early so I would have enough time to work out before getting ready to meet the girls. 

(It's pretty difficult getting ready with a cavapoo on your lap but we do the best we can.) 

It was Kirsten's idea to go bowling but we decided to hold off because she had to stay home with her (three!) kids who were sick and couldn't join. 😟 

Instead, Tessa, Tiffany and I decided to go to Frederik Meijer Gardens. I had never been inside before (except for Art Prize) so I was super excited to check it out.  It was beautiful and sunny outside and even though there was about a foot of snow on the ground the temperature was almost 60 degrees which made it the perfect winter day to visit the gardens.  Apparently everyone else thought so too as the place was packed with tons of people and kids and girl and boy scout troops.  We were still able to get through all of the greenhouses which were very beautiful.  

In the largest greenhouse the butterflies had started to hatch and a few of them were flying around which was pretty cool. 

After the greenhouses we decided to go outside and cool down a little (the main greenhouse is kept at 85 degrees and 70 percent humidity so I was definitely warm). We walked around the Japanese garden, which I'm sure is much more beautiful in the spring/summer, but it was still fun to see and all the ponds made it feel very peaceful.

We walked around the sculptures next which were also pretty cool. I really enjoy looking at art and this was like walking through a mini Art Prize.  

By the time we had gone through the sculptures we were starving. We decided to forgo the café on the premises and go out for Indian food instead. (Don't worry Kirsten, we wouldn't have gone there if you were with us. 😀)  I haven't had Indian food very often but I remember enjoying it and after the buffet at Bombay Cuisine I am a certified Indian food lover. I probably could have eaten three plates but capped it at one and left feeling pleasantly full. 

The rest of the day I spent being lazy with Brian and Zuzu (who didn't really wake up until 630 that evening, puppy hangovers are the best!) and getting ready for another long week of work.  Weekends are so short but I had a great one so I won't complain!