One Month on the Tone It Up Bikini Series Program 2017

Hello Hello!

I’m currently sitting in Avalon, NJ while Graham takes a nap and Brooks enjoys a little quiet time. It was a little bit of a crazy week, packing up for a few weeks at the beach, add in a little phone trouble {which ended in a expensive replacement} and here we are! BUT I have been trying to get this post published all week because I really wanted to check in and share with you my progress and thoughts one month on the plan!

To get caught up on my previous posts:

On Starting the Tone It Up Bikini Series 2017

One Week with the Tone It Up Girls

// pink sneakers   / sunglasses

So here’s what’s been going on the past month – I’ve made some big changes to my diet and exercise routine, and it’s been amazing. Just starting this program has given me the jump start I needed to change things up and get back on track.

Sometimes you just need to commit to something and let that be your motivation to change it up.

Side Note: The Tone It Up Bikini Series is FREE – you can pay for the nutrition program to get a diet program with meals + a shopping list all laid out for you or you can follow along doing the workouts + meals your own way!

In terms of exercise – I have a new love for everything. I’ve been doing more HIIT workouts, circuit training, abs + arms  and overall body conditioning that ever before – and it’s been amazing.

I joined up at my local gym and have been taking 4-5 classes a week. I found a instructor I really enjoy and it’s been fun and inspiring to get up and go to class most days during the week. I’ve been changing it up so much I’ve been so sore – and it hurts so good!

I’ve also been doing most of my workouts first thing in the morning – 6:30 am classes are my new favorites. I am more ready, willing and able to workout in the morning – its nice to get it done first thing and then I feel awesome all day. I have done a few nighttime classes, but usually by the end of the day I’m exhausted and hungry – not a great mix for a great sweat session if I don’t need to!

Also a seriously good ropes + medicine ball class will SERIOUSLY wake you up in the morning like nothing else.

On the food front – I’ve been sticking to the lean, clean + green part of the Tone It Up diet about 90% of the time. I went away for 3 days in Hershey, PA for a blogger event, so I didn’t have as much control over my meals during that weekend {but it was} My new favorite meal is a Tahini vegetable tray at dinner and I’m finding smoothies + juices to be my go-to breakfasts and snacks, which are awesome for a mom on the go. I’m not hungry and I don’t feel deprived at all. If I want a snack I have some fruit or some hummus + veggies and I feel good about that.

Aside from my Hershey trip, I spent a week in Sarasota Florida this month {more on that trip later!} but even being away from home spending the week with another Tone It Up girl {Hi Kelly!} we were able to support each other and make good decisions all week. Sure, we enjoyed ourselves, but we worked out every day and earned our glasses of rosé!

// Original Mouseketeer Shirts  {on sale!}

And I learned something important on my trip – while I love running, I don’t think my body loves it {or needs it} as much as it needs other things. I ran 15+ miles – 5 miles 3x in Florida, because it was my main source of cardio during nap time for the week. I really enjoy my runs, but I’m finding out that my body is responding more to other forms of exercise.

Side Note: All of my Florida runs were done in 90*+ heat 

So I’m not saying I’m never going to run again, but I’m happy to be more self aware of the changes I want to make to my body and my lifestyle and how wanting to get to my goal might mean trying more variety of workouts and less running. I’m ready to shake things up!

And let’s talk actual progress – obviously, from cutting out dairy, carbs and most sugar, you will have results. I have before pictures, I’m not ready to share the after pictures, because I’m still working on it all and have another month left of the program, but I’m really happy with the direction things are going.

This is the longest time I’ve been committed to a lifestyle program like this – at first the 2 months was a little scary, but it’s been nice to see progress, feel the change and really make the alterations to my lifestyle for it all to work. I feel really good about where I am right now, something I haven’t felt for a while – and for that alone I’m proud! I’m excited to see what the next month brings!

Let me know if you have any specific questions for me about Tone It Up – I’d be happy to answer them and share in my next post!

// swimsuit 

What’s the longest diet + exercise program you’ve ever been a part of? I’d love to hear about it! 

All Star Craft Beer + Wine Festival at Citizens Bank Park 2017

This past weekend as an anniversary treat, I decided to surprise the hubs with tickets to the All Star Craft Beer + Wine Festival at Citizens Bank Park!

{yes, I will accept the Wife of the Year award, happily}

What is the All Star Craft Beer + Wine Festival you might ask? Well, if you hadn’t heard about it, it’s because this was the first year they did it! How cool is that?

This past Saturday, Citizens Bank Park was the host for Philadelphia’s largest and most well attended craft beer and wine festival ever.

Charles and I spent the afternoon wandering around the ballpark sampling {and wine, and spirits!} from all over the world.

outfit details: OTK boots {50% off!} / relaxed scoop tee {only $5 on sale!}/  skirt {similar} / slinky duster {use code “herlittledogtoo” to get 20% off your first order of ANYTHING!}

Other entertainment included a live band and a DJ as we were enjoying the day. It was SUCH a smart way to use Citizens Bank Park while the Phillies had an away game. The game was on the big screen and their home field was getting great use!

Another really fun part of this day was everyone who came had a opportunity to experience the ballpark like never before by being able to walk the bases and get a professional photo in The Phillies dugout! We should have done that the second we walked in the door because the lines for it was really long and we preferred to sample all the fun beers – but that was a nice little perk to the tickets! 

Another amazing bonus was that for each ticket to the Beer and Wine Festival came with 2 tickets to a Phillies game at CBP during the 2017 season ($76 value!) So we get to go back for another game too! Sweet deal.

It was a really fun, relaxing {kid-free} Saturday afternoon. We were able to enjoy the ballpark, enjoy all the yummy beers and have a nice little afternoon date together. If you have a beer lover in your life, definitely add this to your radar to get tickets for next year because it was really well done and a lot of fun. We will be back for sure!

What’s the best beer or wine festival you’ve ever been too? I’d love to hear about it! 

If you are bummed you missed the Craft Beer + Wine Festival, join me at the Philadelphia Restaurant Festival, which is sure to be an amazing time too!

Happy Half Dozen – Our 6 Year Wedding Anniversary

Cheers to 6 Years!

Today is our wedding anniversary! 6 Years ago today we were walking down the aisle and dancing the night away as newlyweds! And today we are changing diapers, wiping runny noses and dealing with threenager drama.

Funny how things change! Ha!

But I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve loved how we’ve spent the past 6 years going on lots of trips, enjoying our first home, living life with our two babes and having tons of fun along the way.

Did you know that the 6 year wedding anniversary gift is sugar! So naturally, I had to make my way over to Federal Donuts this morning to pickup a half dozen donuts to celebrate.

It just had to be done. Fancy Donut Flavors: Good Coffee / Cherry Pie / Blueberry Pancake / Burnt Caramel + Churro {x2}

In honor of our anniversary and the fact that I just love to look back at our wedding pictures, I wanted to share with you a few fun wedding related posts I’ve put together through the years.

Here are some of my most popular:

#1 – That time I Cut + Dyed my wedding dress {black} and I’ve worn it to a few weddings and events! Seriously, this is one of my most popular posts of all time, check it out!

#2 Did you know I preserved my wedding day bouquet and I get to see it on my wall every day. This was a lot of fun!

#3 Another fun act – How I turned my mom’s wedding dress into Brooks + Graham’s christening gown.


I’ve mentioned before that my wedding posts were a little all over the place – because after we got married we went on a two week honeymoon to Greece & Turkey  {you can read all about it here, about halfway down}. But If you want to catch up on some of my wedding posts, here are a few of my favorites:

Cheers to Six Years, and many more!


all wedding + engagement photos were shot by April Ziegler Photograpy

Day 3 in Hershey, PA – the Hotel Hershey, The Circular, The Chocolate Lab at Hershey Story, Hershey Gardens and The Chocolate Spa

So I hope you’ve enjoyed following along with my 3-Day weekend in Hershey, PA posts! I had a absolute blast while I was there and it’s been fun reminiscing and sharing all the amazing things I did while I was there with you!

Check out Day 1 + Day 2 here.

I’m here to wrap up the weekend with you, but we had another busy Sunday in Hershey! We started off with a visit + a tour of the Hotel Hershey

This world class hotel is absolutely gorgeous, inside and out.

It is a historical landmark and the hotel itself overlooks Hershey, Pa – which is really cool. It has spectacular views of the area on a clear day and the inside is just as breathtaking.

It is inspired by Cuba, which I will share more with you on that later, but the fountain lobby is a really beautiful space to experience.

But before our tour of the hotel, we had to have breakfast at The Circular  – which is a award winning restaurant that was inspired by Milton Hershey’s idea that there should be no bad seat at any restaurant, hence the circular space – no corners!

Our group was able to experience the Sunday brunch, which was a real treat. The food, the service, the atmosphere was top notch!

And did I mention everything was delicious? Because it totally was. Especially the cinnamon buns, seriously – life changing.

After we were seriously stuffed from brunch it was time to tour the hotel. We were able to see some of the special rooms and areas in the hotel that give it so much history.

And it is very easy to see the Cuban inspiration throughout. Milton Hershey had a love for Cuba and even built a town about 30 miles from Havana – called Hershey, Cuba. There he built modern utilities, schools, health clinics and subsidized housing for his sugar mill workers.

Hershey, Cuba is mostly gone now, except for the name – but it’s nice to be in the middle off this gorgeous room and think of all the history it has seen over the years.

On our tour we also got to see the newly renovated Iberian Lounge. If you go there, be sure to ask the bartended about this special painting – it moves!

And a quick peak in one of the gorgeous guest rooms. Check out the love for Hershey, Cuba in the top left photo!

After exploring the Hotel Hershey, we made our way to the Chocolate Lab at the Hershey Story. Here we got to learn all about chocolate, had a tasting of chocolate {which is about as amazing as it sounds} and even made our own personalized chocolate bar!

They do a variety of programs at the Chocolate Lab including different interactive activities. For groups, depending on the ages of the kids they can create something that works for you!

I made my chocolate with 3 different flavors – red pepper, cinnamon and cacao nibs. It was fun to go through the process and learn about the production and experimentation that goes into creating new flavor combinations and it was nice to leave with a personalized treat!

After the Chocolate Lab it was time to head on over to Hershey Gardens. I was very excited to see the Conservatory, Butterfly Atrium and Children’s Gardens!

If you are a guest of the Hotel Hershey then you have access to the gardens, which is located on the Hotel property!

On the day we visited, it was a little rainy outside so we didn’t get to enjoy much of the actual gardens, but we were able to enjoy the indoor Butterfly Atrium.

Obviously, the experience with the butterflies was a beautiful one. It was lovely to be able to see them up close and personal.

After our time with the butterflies, it was time for our last stop of the weekend, which worked out very nicely because it was the sweetest + most relaxing stop – The Chocolate Spa at Hotel Hershey.

I had been looking forward to this ALLLLLL weekend!

The spa itself is so big and so amazing. There are multiple relaxation rooms throughout the two floors of the spa – including a restaurant which you can go to in your robe and is only available for spa guests!

I was treated to the Sweet Feet treatment, which was the ultimate chocolate experience for my feet! After all the walking around we did all weekend, it was nice to sit back and enjoy a glorious pedicure – which came with a chocolate sugar exfoliation, chocolate mask for the feet, intensive moisturizing treatment, and nourishing chocolate massage.

I enjoyed every single minute of that pedicure. I totally want to come back to the Hotel Hershey for a weekend, take my mom and sit in the  chocolate spa for a few days! Sounds like heaven, right?

So there you have it – my 3 day weekend in Hershey, PA. I did a little bit of pretty much everything and each experience was fantastic. I can’t wait to come back with my family and share Hershey with them and make even more amazing memories in this sweet little part of Pennsylvania!

Thanks to everyone in Hershey for a great weekend! I’ll be back!

I participated in the Sweet Welcome 2017 event. My time in Hershey, PA was hosted by Hershey, but as always, all opinions are my own.  

Day 2 in Hershey, PA – Hershey Grill, Hersheypark Camping Resort, Hersheypark, Zoo America + the Hershey Bears

So much fun sharing Day 1 {of my 3 Day weekend} in Hershey, PA with you, but I was seriously JUST getting started. After a busy Friday afternoon/evening, we woke up early and headed to the Hershey Grill to fuel up for the day.

A little Blood Orange Mimosa and the S’Mores French Toast to get things moving!

After we were all fed, we made our way to the HersheyPark Camping Resort to check it out.

I haven’t been to a camping ground area since I was little, but I can say that myself and our entire group was seriously impressed. This was way more than camping, this was HersheyPark camping – the sweetest kind!

Here you can bring your tent or RV, or rent a cabin, and enjoy the year-round natural beauty of Hershey – Cabin rentals start from $99 and campsite rentals start at $39 – crazy affordable, right? And if you rent a cabin {which is what I would do!} they range from basic features, such as electric and Heat/AC, to deluxe accommodations like indoor plumbing and a full kitchen. One we got to see was SO gorgeous on the inside, had everything you would easily sleep a large family+!

I would love to come back to the Camping Resort with my littles. Would be so easy and fun with friends or family – put the littles down and then enjoy outside time by the fire with a glass of wine! Sounds nice, right? Camping Resort guests also get the best price on HersheyPark tickets too!

Speaking of Hersheypark – that’s where we headed to next!

Unfortunately it was sort of a rainy day that we went, which was a bit of a bummer, but that’s nothing a little Fast Pass can’t fix!

Since I was kid-free, I got to ride some roller coasters, something I haven’t done in YEARS! It was a little crazy and a lot of fun.

I road Great Bear, sooperdooperLooper, Lighting Racer, Laff Trakk – maybe more, I can’t remember. They were all so much fun and a little rain didn’t slow me down at all!

I have been to Hersheypark a few times in my life. We had come up here when I was a kid in school and my family visited Hershey as well. It was a little nostalgic being in the park solo and I’m excited for when I can bring my family back to experience the fun!

And I had to share that new to Hersheypark this year is the Triple Tower – which you get to pick your thrill -> Kisses, Reese’s or Hershey. The first of its kind in the US and each tower has it’s own surprises! Really fun and really HIGH!

After a few hours in Hersheypark it was time to head over to ZooAmerica for a behind-the-scenes After Hours Tour of the zoo.

ZooAmerica is a 11-acre, walk-thru zoo adjacent to Hersheypark in Hershey, PA. It is open year round and here you can learn about more than 200 animals from five regions of North America. All the animals in ZooAmerica are native to North America – which I thought was really cool – and many are rescued, endangered or being rehabilitated and cared for.

On this tour we got to get up-close and personal with some of the animals in the zoo. One of my favorites was Luna, the Screech Owl, how precious is she? It was really cool that I was able to hold her.

Along with Yoda the Alligator.

The next part of this tour was a visit to the Animal Health Center, which is where we got to see this amazing x-ray of two snakes who lived together for 8 years and the one snake at the rattlesnake he was living with. Crazy, right?

Next up, I was able to feed the otters, which was really fun. They were very excited about the snack!

I think my favorite moment at ZooAmerica would have to be feeding Butch the Black Bear. Check out my Instagram post for th video, but it was a bit of a thrill to be so close to such a large animal, and feeding him.

Check out those claws. 

It was an amazing experience for sure.

If you are in Hershey,PA be sure to check out the Zoo America After Hours Tour. I highly recommend it! Say Hi to Butch for me if you go!

And the final stop on our journey for day 2 in Hershey is to see the Hershey Bears at the Giant Center!

The team was competing in the playoffs while we were there and we were treated to tickets to watch the game in the Hershey Suite! And during our time in Hershey, I learned that the people of Hershey LOVE the Bears, so getting to go to a game was part of the immersion experience.

We even got a visit from Coco the Bear!

Another super fun, jam-packed, sweet day in Hershey. Can’t wait to share Day 3 with you! Stay tuned!

I participated in the Sweet Welcome 2017 event. My time in Hershey, PA was hosted by Hershey, but as always, all opinions are my own.

A 3-Day Weekend in Hershey, PA – Fire & Grain Restaurant, Hershey Trolley Works and Hershey’s Water Works at Hershey Lodge

If you follow along with me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram {especially Instagram!} you will know that last weekend I spent a long weekend in Hershey, PA {WITHOUT the littles!}

<cue the choir of Angels>

Ok, so ASIDE from being super pumped for a little weekend away {I totally needed it} I was BEYOND excited to be selected as one of the bloggers to participate in the Sweet Welcome 2017 event hosted by Hershey!

So yes, Friday – Sunday a weekend all to myself in the Sweetest Place on Earth – sounds pretty amazing right?

We did SO MUCH that I totally have to break it all down into separate posts. I was very impressed with all the variety of things that Hershey, PA has to offer for friends, families, girls getaways and more reasons to enjoy a sweet weekend. 

We started our weekend off with a preview of the brand new restaurant – Fire and Grain. It just opened last week, is located right inside the Hershey Lodge and

The food is delicious, the drinks are creative and the vibe inside the restaurant is really fun.

Executive Chef Tom Moran was there to talk us through the restaurant, the menu and give us an idea of what diners can expect. I was loving learning about all the local and regional ingredients used to create the menu. 

And aside from the Chocolate Martini {pictured above and yes, it DOES live up to the hype} if I could have one of these s’mores jars delivered to me everyday, that would be fantastic.


Even better than you can imagine it would be, totally not Tone It Up approved and I loved every bite anyway.


After we were wined and dined it was time for us all to board a trolley for a Hershey Trolley Works Tour. This tour was really special because it included chocolate tasting {yum}, sightseeing and historical entertainment through America’s Sweetest Town.

It was a great way to get a feel for the area and get introduced to the town of Hershey, PA!

Also, we had a trolley at our wedding, so trolleys have a special place in my heart.

The trolley tour covers the inspiring story of Milton Hershey and the main sites of the town of Hershey (the original chocolate factory, Mr. Hershey’s birthplace, his home Highpoint Mansion, Chocolate Avenue, the Hershey Kiss Streetlights, HersheyPark, and Milton Hershey School).

Fun Fact: The Milton Hershey School is a private philanthropic (pre-K through 12) boarding school in Hershey, Pennsylvania. It was founded and funded by Milton Hershey and his wife, Catherine. The school currently serves more than 2,000 students. A member of CORE: Coalition for Residential Education, it is the largest residential education program in the US. 

I was so impressed to learn so much about this school on the tour, it seems like such a great program! And I was even more excited to learn that anytime you purchase anything Hershey, a portion of proceeds goes directly to fund the school. How cool is that?

On the trolley tour we also learned chocolate facts, and were treated to some snacks as well, because – Hershey.

And check out that gorgeous {a little foggy} view of Hershey Park – more on that later – but throughout the weekend I continued to be impressed by the little town of Hershey and all it has to offer.

This is where you will start to realize the amount of chocolate we had on this trip. What am I there 3 hours at this point and already – chocolate martini, s’mores jar, Reese’s peanut butter cup, Kisses {not pictured but I won’t lie} and now stepping off the trolley a Hershey Bar.

Because, Hershey.

I love it. And obviously, I ate it.

After our trolley tour it was time for a tour of the Hershey’s Water Works at Hershey Lodge, where we were staying for the weekend! I don’t know about you, but I had NO IDEA that Hershey had such a sweet indoor pool complex. It was really impressive and perfect for the littles!

The Water Works is an exclusive and complimentary amenity for  overnight guests at Hershey Lodge! The pool complex features  30,000 square feet of splashing good times featuring Twizzlers Twists water slides and Reese’s Water Walk {shown below}! It also has some really fun interactive water features including the zero entry pool, sand castle spray zone, lighthouse tipping bucket, basketball hoops, and more!

I was really impressed with the activities for the variety of ages for kids. Both my boys would have an amazing time in this space and they would be so happy! I can’t wait to bring them back

And also in the Water Works there is a gorgeous gym, arcade area and even a game room for any kid who wants a little break from the pool. This new space was well thought out and really cool. 

After our tour it was time to eat again! This time we went to The ForeBay, also located in the Hershey Lodge.

Since everyone was still pretty full from dinner #1 at Fire & Grain and all.the.chocolate on the Trolley Tour we just stuck to drinks and some lights appetizers while our group chatted about our day and what we were excited about for the next 2 days! 

I can’t wait to share with you all the fun we had on Day 2 and Day 3!

Stay tuned for more Sweet Fun!

Have you ever been to Hershey, PA? If so – I’d love to hear what you did! And If not – I’d love to know what you would want to do!

I participated in the Sweet Welcome 2017 event. My time in Hershey, PA was hosted by Hershey, but as always, all opinions are my own.  

Who Runs the World? Moms.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms, mamas-to-be, fur-moms, anyone hoping to one day be a mom and all mom figures anywhere and everywhere! I hope everyone had an amazing Mother’s Day weekend!

Side Note: Is a weekend long enough to celebrate all the amazingness that is a MOM ? I don’t think so.

We mamas need AT LEAST a month! 

For this Mother’s Day I decided to treat myself to a little photo session with the boys during the peak of the cherry blossoms in Philadelphia. It’s always been something I’ve wanted to do so it was really nice to enjoy a beautiful day outside in the city, with beautiful blooms and with these beautiful babes.

The boys are both such at fun ages and it was really nice to capture them in this shoot. Plus it was nice to not be the one behind the camera with the littles and get a little mama + babes action.

Outfit details: floral top / jeans {similar} / block heels {on sale}/

Covet necklaces / Bungalow Hoops

 photo creditAshley Ringelberg Photography

Aside from getting some great photos of me with my boys, we got some amazing shots that really capture Brooks + Graham’s personalities at 20 months and 3.5 – really fun ages for sure!

So I wanted to share with you my favorite mothers day pictures from this year on today’s Day after Mother’s Day. Check them out!

I hope you had a great weekend and have a great week!

 photo creditAshley Ringelberg Photography

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