The weekend is here! Hooray! I am so pumped for this weekend for a number of reasons: 1.) I have a day-date planned for me and Ryan for Saturday 2.) My mom is coming in town later this evening 3.) I’m off to Vermont for the first time ever on Sunday for a super-short blog trip! Lots of fun stuff goin’ on over here and I’ll be sure to bring you along for the ride.

But now it’s time to dive into our usual Friday business: Things I’m Loving Friday! Below you will find a short roundup of things that are making me smile today and, as always, I’d love for you to join in and share a little bit about something that is making you smile in the comments section of this post as well.

I hope you all have the best weekend!

Things I’m Loving Friday

food photo backgrounds

I briefly mentioned my new food photo backgrounds on the blog last week but they are amazing! I was feeling a little uninspired by food photography lately and, as it turn out, adding some fun new photo backgrounds to my collection was exactly what I needed to look forward to snapping food photos again. I browsed Etsy for options and stumbled upon Ink & Elm’s shop and had a bit of a field day as I added four new backdrops to my cart. (FYI, they have a buy 3 get 1 free deal.) I tend to gravitate toward clean, white backgrounds but with the fall and winter months here, I wanted some bolder, moodier backgrounds and have really enjoyed toying around with richer blues and textured backgrounds. Definitely check out their shop if you need some inexpensive but high-quality photo backgrounds for products, food, etc.

  • Celebrating Ryan’s Birthday

Happy Birthday Ryan Cake Whole Foods

Ryan’s birthday was yesterday and we had a fun little celebration at home once he was off work for the day! Chase and I made “Happy Birthday” signs and decorated and we all ate birthday cake while Ryan opened his presents after dinner. In keeping with our love for experience-based gifts, I planned a date for tomorrow with him (I’ll be sure to recap it next week!) and another short weekend getaway since we loved the two days we spent in Hilton Head so much. Weekday birthdays can feel a little rushed sometimes but this was a good one!

  • 1000 Rep Workout 

burn boot camp 1000 rep workout

Yesterday morning I headed out to the 6:30 a.m. class at Burn Boot Camp to work up a sweat before the craziness of the day set in. Whiteboard workouts are some of my favorites because they allow me to go at my own pace and make me feel victorious as I complete various exercises down the board. Thursday’s workout was a core + agility workout (aka core + balance + cardio) and I made sure to snap a picture of the whiteboard before I left because I liked this one a lot! The only two exercises I would’ve preferred to go away were the one-legged burpees (ughhhh) but other than that, this workout challenged me without making me want to throw in the towel every second.

In case you want to give a similar workout a try, here are some high-rep workouts I’ve shared in the past: 1000 Rep Workout / 500 Rep Workout / 50 Rep Workout (plus Part Two and Part Three)

  • Mom’s Night Out

moms night out girlfriends

I got together with some of my closest girlfriends for dinner earlier this week and it was so nice to relax and connect with friends without our little ones interrupting us every 2.5 seconds. I love, love, love our play dates but there’s nothing like a night of unwinding, laughing and completely relaxing with girlfriends when you feel like you are fully present. We had the dinner on the books for a couple of weeks and ended up morphing the meal into a surprise birthday dinner with balloons and a group gift for Danielle who seemed shocked so I’d consider it a success! (And thanks for the pic, Danielle!)

cookie chips

I bought these crispy cookie chips at The Fresh Market earlier this week when I thought they would work well in a recipe I was creating. Unfortunately they didn’t hold up in the recipe but I had no problem snacking away on the cookie chips because they were so light and crunchy. They were chocolaty but not overly sweet and the punch of sea salt was a fantastic addition. Keep these on your radar if you like super thin, crispy cookies!

  • Around the Web

Food: Shrimp Curry Noodle Bowls (I made this last night with chicken thighs and it was fantastic!!) / Bacon Brussels Sprouts Fried Rice / Sweet Potato Brownies

Fitness: Stair Circuit Scorcher / Resistance Band Glute Workout

Columbus Day Weekend Sales: Extra 20% off at Macy’s with code STYLE (Lots of great moto jackets for fall) / Extra 20% off at Pottery Barn and Pottery Barn Kids with code FRIENDS (If you need a baby gift, we received this stroller blanket from Pottery Barn Kids for Chase at LOVE it. So soft and cozy and the perfect size.) / Extra 40% off at LOFT (Love this gorgeously simple shirttail sweater)

  • Friday Flashbacks

Pumpkin Spice Bark (This pumpkin spice bark combines coconut oil, pumpkin puree, vanilla almond butter and festive fall flavors for a sweet treat that only tastes indulgent!)

Easy Pumpkin Spice Bark

Spooky Circuit Workout (I named this circuit the “Spooky Circuit Workout” to be a little festive back in 2012 even thought there’s nothing inherently spooky about this workout… unless burpees freak you out, which I fully understand.)

Halloween Workout

Question of the Day

What is one thing that is making you smile this week?

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