Monday, December 30, 2013

Wrapping up 2013 and ready for 2014!!

2013 is coming to an end and to me this year was defiantly not what I expected. So much has changed in the past year it is a little scary. I went back to my post on January 5, 2013 to review my goals for 2013. They were to magnify my goals from 2012. I planned to grow more spiritually/religiously, straight A' s for my MBA program, travel to three new places, run a half marathon, and sign up for warrior dash. Some of those goals were accomplished and others were altered. 

I did grow in my relationship with God but I have seen my faith get tested more this year than ever before. It really shows me how God can bring you through even the toughest of times. Jason and I had many financial blessings and were able to help others, as well as become better stewards for what God has given us. I am not perfect but I continue to grow and learn. Our bible study is doing well but even with that we know we need to grow. We will be having a pastor come to each session to teach us more about the word. I believe there is always room for improvement. If you stop learning or trying to become better than what is the point? I am grateful for what I have but I believe it is important to grow as a person. 

Regarding the MBA program it is going well. Had some bumps in the road this last month with having my personal life effect my schooling. Sometimes even when we try to remain strong our brain is telling our bodies a different story. I am finished with my first year but I hope to continue my education. 

I did not run a half marathon but I did run a relay marathon with some amazing women. I have signed up for the Cleveland 2014 10K run in in an effort to raise money for Huntington's Disease Society of America. The disease is genetic and runs on my husband's side of the family. You will see more of the organization this year as I hope to raise money for the cause. Click on the link below to learn more and donate to my page. The Fennells appreciate all your support.

GOALS for 2014

Depending on how the year goes I hope to enter the half marathon through Akron in addition to the 10K. This year I have defiantly noticed how far I can push myself with workouts and strength. I hope to continue this for 2014. I would like to participate in more runs and become and active member in HDSA. I want to continue my education and learn as much as possible. I want to live my the phrase...get over it! My husband has a great attitude when it comes to this and I hope to have it embedded in my brain by this year. I have also set career goals for myself and pray I have grace in favor in that adventure. Lastly I want to make more time for Jason and I to spend together. We had a very busy year with family, friends, school, and work. I would like us to spend more time with just us, I friend gave me this advice recently and I plan to run with it. 

Honestly this year has been very trying but so much fun at the same time. In our travels we went to 4 new places including Chicago, Clearwater, Cape Coral, and St. Pete's. We shared celebration in our friend
s having beautiful babies and welcoming a new family member to the Fennells. My brother in law proposed to his girlfriend and we all excited for the upcoming wedding. We became boaters and had an amazing summer meeting new people and making new traditions. We cannot wait to go back come April. Its like a vacation every weekend. We plan to use it as much as possible, just like this past summer. Let's just hope for better weather!!! No more hoodies in July :). There have been a mountain full of wonderful beginning this year. However I am ready for 2014 and to say good bye to 2013. I wish you and your family a Happy New Year and to have many blessings in the upcoming year. 

Love Nik 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

5Ks for a Cause

Last weekend the Rack Pack completed their 4th year for the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5K. We raised over $1,000 for the American Cancer Society. We walked in honor of survivors and people we have lost to breast cancer. Breast cancer awareness has come so far in the past decade between raising money for research, awareness coming from grass roots foundations to multi-million dollar corporations, people showing support to families and survivors, and now the Cleveland Clinic has found a vaccine for the cancer. All of this got me thinking..a lot of people say how bad it is these days with money and this I say your wrong. There are more people willing to help than do nothing. I see this everyday in my work place and through the amazing family and friends I have. Our team will do the walk next year but we won't stop there. After I completed the walk, I thought....look how much awareness is out there for breast cancer, there are so many other diseases that need this awareness and research brought to the forefront. One of those diseases that has hit home in recent months with our family is Huntington's.

Huntington's runs on my husband's side of the family, with the change in healthcare the family is now able to get tested without it being considered a preexisting condition and testing can be covered by insurance. Some members have decided this would be a good time to see if they have the gene. After researching more and more about HD I wanted to become more involved with Huntington's Disease Society of America. I have found that they have a local walk in Twinsburg every year. I will be on the committee for this walk and hope to recruit a great team to raise awareness, money towards research and support for families with Huntington's. I will be running for HDSA on my 10K and half marathon in the upcoming year. I hope through the runs and the walk we can bring more awareness of this disease and help others.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Homemadeish Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese with a Kick

This week I attempted a Pinterest challenge with recipes. I am constantly pinning things but have not had time to make them. I prepped this week, so I wanted to change things up. I felt like we were eating the same thing over and over. So I will be sharing our menu this week on what worked! So far so good!

Sunday we started off with homemadeish tomato soup and grilled cheese with a kick. I took the base of a Pinterest recipe, and made it my own. It came our very well and was half the time of the original recipe.

Tomato Soup:

1 Large can of condensed tomato soup
3/4 cup of chicken broth
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil
Pince of salt
1/2-1 tsp of fresh ground black pepper (depending on preference)
1/4 cup of heavy cream

Cook the can of soup for a couple of minutes, add heavy cream and stir. Allow to cook on low for 2-3 minutes, continue stirring and be sure not to burn the soup. Add in garlic, pepper, olive oil, and salt. Cook on low and stir as needed.

Grilled Cheese:

French Bread
Horseradish Cheese
Sharp Cheddar

Cut the bread, butter the outside pieces of the bread that will be on the skillet. Place the cheeses in the middle and flip once the sides have turned golden brown. It should look something like this:

Total Time: 35 minutes

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Push Yourself!

Hello everyone and welcome if you are new to reading my blog. I took a little few days off from blogging. I started my MBA program in January of this year and between work, school, our social and family life, I needed a breather. I can't complain as my weekends are always packed and full of fun! It makes for a busy busy schedule. I have to thank my husband for being amazing! He is helping me out around the house and making my life easier and less stressful! Thanks babe! Sooo...time to get back on track, today will be my Wellness Blog since I missed it on Monday.

How is everyone doing on their squat, stair or fitness challenge? A little update on my end: I am two days behind on the squat challenge. I have 200 squats to catch up on and I am hoping to be caught by Friday. The stair challenge is going well. I have only used the elevator a couple times at work since August 5. My fitness challenge is going good. I have portioned out my meals and stayed...mostly on track. The weekends make it hard but I noticed a few changes and even got a "looking good" from a friend. When other people notice, you know it is working. Sometimes we are so use to seeing ourselves everyday we don't notice the change. With that being said here is to Wellness Wednesday :)

I will be running a relay marathon with the Smith Sisters this September, if you don't know them you will learn more about them through this journal. Due to my new found love for boating my training for this marathon has been...weak! Angela, the eldest sister, decided we all needed some training and got us motivated on running a 5k every Thursday in August through the Bill Heideman Cross Country Series 2013. All the runs are trail runs and really test your skills. Well I did not do so well 36:35 on a 5K trail run. Not the best timing for me, so it motivated me to start a running program from now until the marathon. I tested it this morning and only did 2 miles because I had to go to work. I will need to allow more time in the morning to reach the 5 mile run level I will be completing at the event.

I decided to do interval training. I can already run but need to pick it up and extend my time with running straight through. Right now I am running 10 minutes walk 2 minutes (week 9). I have included a chart for those who are learning to run or want to extend their time. Just remember you can push your body farther than your mind. 

Beginning runner training plan

The feeling of accomplishment from achieving this kind of fitness is indescribable...well at least for me it is. I did not start becoming health conscience until I started working at the clinic. Wellness is part of the package there, and really no way around it. Some people complain but in the last 5 years I have never felt better.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Spot of the Week: Geneva on the Lake

How is everyone's squat challenge going? Day 3: 60 squats! I have to do 60 today and another 35 to make up from yesterday. I did not complete the set yesterday. As far as the stair was more productive when I parked on the 8th floor of a parking garage, but being on a surface lot I am only getting about 3-6 flights a day. Better than nothing, right?? Keep up the good work everyone! 

Geneva on the Lake! OMG what a great time I had this past weekend at my friend Bri's bachelorette party! We did the wine tour that is featured through the Lodge. There were 17 of us, not the tour has to be paid in advance (18.00). The tour only includes your rides to and from the wineries. Trust me you want to the DD, these places are paced pretty far apart. We didn't realize the Lodge (pick up location) was about 2 miles from the cottage we were staying at. With a little bit of charm we were able to have the drivers pick us up at the cottage, and with a little bit of tip money we were able to pretty much do whatever we wanted! We had a few pit stops along the way and the drivers were more than accommodating...two thumbs up for the Lodge Tour costumer service. We went to 3 wineries Chalet Debonne & Cellar Rats Brewery, South River Vineyard, and Winery on Spring Hill. 

First up Chalet Debonne & Cellar Rats Brewery: great view, limited selection of wines, and they offer food. They also have a brewery so if you want to bring your man and he is not a fan of wine, this would be a good place to start. I recommend starting here so you can grab a bit to eat before attempting the rest of the wineries. The wines were not my favorite here but the service was great and the size of the winery was nice, you didn't feel cramped and overall nice experience. 

Second, South River Vineyard: by far my favorite!! It is an old church turned into a winery. They have plenty of space and the views are breath taking. I wish we had more time at this least to see the sunset. They offer snacks at a reasonable price and the wines are very tasty! I will defiantly be going back. 

Third and final before we hit the strip (another tale for another time): Winery at Spring Hill: Live music, excellent service and tentative bar staff. They were a trip and defiantly made the bachelorette party feel welcome! This is where we completed most of our dare cards (bachelorette party game) and it was a blast!! The wines were good, I would not say it was an excellent selection but I did enjoy them and will be going back.   

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Tuesday Tips: How to Plan a Successful Bachelorette Party

With wedding season in full effect this may help some of you. Tuesday Tips will be about how to throw a successful bachelorette party. A little background on how a became an "expert" in this area was by having amazing friends and family that wanted me to be part of their special day. I keep all my bridesmaid dresses and I think I have a total of 15 dresses which I know is not much in comparison to some of you who should have stared in 27 dresses....but if you know me you know I love to plan any event and if I could be an event planner full time I would!!! Anyways the year of 2010 put my planning skills to the test when 3 of my closest friends got married in the same year and I was honored to be each one of theirs matron of honor. I had to be creative and make each one perfect for them while maintaining a budget so I picked up a book called The Bridesmaid Guide. This prior to Pinterest and it seemed all the online stuff was the same I had seen at every bachelorette party. The book offers great ideas and something you use as a base of planning.

Before you get to that first things first:

1. Get a guest list from the bride with phone numbers, emails, and addresses. The more information the better.

2. Ask the bride what she wants. Some don't care, others have it planned to a T. 

3. Send a save that date out via Facebook, email, and text. I have found this is effective for any person. I usually send this out 6-8 months in advanced. Most of these parties are in the summer so people are busy and you want to make sure the bride has all her friends and family there.

4. Start your planning so you can find the deals. I like to do a theme party depending on the girl, sometimes you can mix themes. I included some pics that maybe helpful in your planning. I will showcase some of them down the road. I have done others but these were defiantly more themed. 

5. Don't be afraid to ask other bridesmaids and guests to pitch in. I usually ask every to throw in 20 bucks towards the brides evening. It includes her stay at the hotel or house wherever you decide to stay, dinner for her and drinks, snacks for all, and any left over money should be used on the bride and her guests, i.e. rounds of shots.  

Scrapbook and Camo Goodie Bags for the Guests
(included late night snacks, water and advil)
A little spa treatment before hitting the town...check out your local vendors for free services.
Side note people should buy a little something for the person coming out.

Up close of the drink menus
Sex in the City themed party with drink menus

Each bride has a scrapbook made by
her nearest and dearest friends and family

All girls in black and Bride showcased in white, makes for fun pics

Monday, August 5, 2013

Move it Monday: Challenge Yourself

Health tip:  Drink 1oz of water for every 2lbs you weigh, daily. 

To I ask you to challenge yourself. Summer is coming to an end and that doesn't mean you have to put on the winter weight. This month I have 3 fitness challenges I am going to set for myself. I encourage you to do the same and we can share stories in the below comment section. First up a 30 day squat challenge, next taking stairs instead of elevators, and three start my new fitness/health challenge with a group of friends. 

Challenge one:

This butt needs a lift and squats is the best exercise (in my opinion) that tones and gets rid of cellulite. To speed up the process of cellulite removal invest in creams like Nivea firming lotion and gel. Every Monday I will report an update on how the challenges are going. If anyone would like to do this with me please comment below...Good Luck!! 

Challenge Two: Take the Stairs...walk it out! I have done this in the past and it truly works, great results when paired with other challenges. 

Challenge Three: 

Start and maintain fitness/health challenge with friends. I will post monthly pictures to hold myself accountable and post what workouts and eating habits I am taking in case you want to join in on the journey. First pics will be before (today) and after (end of August). 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Thursday Thoughts: Pay it Forward

A topic I wanted to touch on this week was giving back. So many times we see people donating to foreign countries and other areas that we may not be familiar with. Although I think that is great and we do have people within our own community that can use our help or even just paying it forward! The smallest things can make someone's day, like paying for the person's coffee behind you in the Starbucks line, or complimenting a co-worker or friend. I feel most people are quick to judge and have negative comments more than being positive and doing something constructive. This is something we have been discussing and recently my friend Mindy shared this video with us and it really puts things into perspective on how we can treat one another and pay it forward. Please watch the video and grab a tissue: Pay It Forward

In relation to this, about a year and half ago a few friends and I got together to start a bible study. We realized we all wanted to learn more about the word. Through our recent teachings we have come across the topics of love and paying it forward. All the ladies in the bible study tithe each month and we use that money to give back to local charities. One we do quarterly and will ask for anyone's help with is the East Cleveland's Men's Shelter. This is hosted by the red cross and River of Life Church, we volunteer with these great men and women to host a dinner for the men's shelter. The bible study group aka "Bible Babes" makes care packages for the men. Almost every time the items we receive are donated by local companies, such as toothbrushes and toothpastes from David Patton's Dentist Office in Solon, Ohio or Goldberg Companies who donated book bags and other handy items. The girls also buy throughout the quarter of items they think would be useful. If you would ever like to help with this please let me know. Some other local charities that could use help are The City Mission on 55th and Carnegie Ave and Laura's Home (located next door).

Most recently we were able to help the Ronald McDonald House in Cleveland, Ohio. We were able to buy all the items on the RMH wish list, minus the gift cards. If you are feeling generous please donate to any one of the houses. The Cleveland house tends to hit home for me. One reason is it is next to the Cleveland Clinic where I work, and two we had friends stay their over the winter while their twins were at the PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit), through prayer and wonderful doctors the twins left the hospital in complete perfect health. The Ronald McDonald House hosted the parents with a place to stay and meals. They offer support in anyway they can and have plenty of activites for children. Recently the CAVs donated to the computer room providing new computers, desks, chairs and remodeling of the area. The Cleveland RMH serves 4 hospitals in the area, Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals, Rainbows Babies and Children, and Metro. They are adding on 15 more rooms so I am sure they will need more help coming this fall. Please check them out and see if you can lend a helping hand....

This picture does not do it justice
because we are missing 6 other ladies

If you know of any local charities that need help, please comment below. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Move it Monday! Legs Legs Legs

A couple of weeks ago I put together random workouts from Pinterest  to see if they were a.) effective and b.) if I could do it. I paired up with my soon to be SIL and friend Mindy....I have to say what I liked about these workouts is you could go at your own pace. You do not have to be in training, you can have some experience or be a newbie. I am going to share a few of them through out the next month I hope that you get something out of them....just as we did. 

I found this workout on Pinterest  and thought....naaa this is way to easy to be effective or even feel like it is working....boy I was wrong. This needs to be part of your daily workout not just one part but it is very effective for removing bulky thighs, fat pockets, and toning up the inner thigh. No one wants to see their legs jiggle in shorts or skirts! We usually do this workout at the end, kind of as a cool down and toning method. Remember to measure yourself before and every week for about a month. Please share your results and let me know how it worked for you! Remember you have to actually do the exercises for them to work. YOU CAN DO IT!!!

From the original site:

"Two sets of legs are pictured, a fitness model with athletic muscle development and an editorial model with toned muscle development, because Awesome Legs works for all fitness levels. Don't be fooled by the simplicity of the movement, it is very effective and when done in proper form, you will feel the difference! Start with two sets and work up to three."

PHASE ICts 1-2Cts 3-4
(Starting Position)
On back with legs up; ankle knee
and hip should be in alignment
(you will feel stomach muscles
work too)
. Point toes and keep
pointed as hard as you
can throughout movement.
Right leg bends aiming foot
to fanny cheek each count.
Keep all leg muscles tight
on left leg.
Switch with left leg bending
aiming foot to fanny cheek
each count. Keep muscles
tight on right leg.

Cts 5-6-7-8
Switch R-L-R-L alternating legs each count.
It's very important to tighten all muscles on the
extended leg and keep both feet pointing those
toes as hard as you can.

PHASE IICts 1-2Cts 3-4
( Starting Position)
Same as Phase I but with
a flat foot. If advanced,
pull toes toward body
for even more "stretch".
It is important to keep
the muscles tight
throughout the movement
(you should feel it in your calves).
Right leg bends aiming heel to
fanny cheek each count.
Keep muscles tight on left leg.
Switch with left leg bending
aiming heel to fanny cheek each count. Keep muscles tight on right leg.

Cts 5-6-7-8Switch R-L-R-L alternating legs each count.
It's very important to tighten all muscles
on the extended leg and keep both feet
pointing those toes as hard as you can.

Phase III

Ct 1
Ct 2
With pointed toes, "roll-out" knees as far as you can with right heel in front of left foot and right toes facing side wall. Keep legs straight.Switch with left foot in
front of right and keep
egs straight. Maintain
"roll-out" throughout
entire movement.
Cts 3-4Cts 5-6
Switch back to Ct 1 position with right in front of left and hold 2 cts.Keep knees outward (concentrate
pushing out
) with ankles together
and right foot on top. Bend for cts
5-6 and extend back up for cts 7-8.
It is very important to slightly tuck
fanny and push knees outward as
you extend legs up (use ankles as
). Keep toes pointed at all

Phase IV

Ct 1Ct 2
With pointed toes, "roll-out"
knees as far as you can with
left heel in front of right foot
and left toes facing side wall.
Keep legs straight.

Switch with right foot in front of left
and keep legs straight.
Maintain "roll-out" throughout
entire movement.
Cts 3-4Cts 5-6
Switch back to Ct 1 position
with left in front of right and
hold 2 cts.
Keep knees outward (
concentrate pushing out)
with ankles together and
left foot on top. Bend for cts 5-6
and extend back up for cts 7-8.
It is very important to slightly
tuck fanny and push knees
outward as you extend legs
up (use ankles as leverage).
Keep toes pointed at all times.

Final Phase 

Repeat entire sequence I, II, III & IV.

You can do it!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Spot of the Week: Sand Bar/Blue Marlin in PIB (Christmas in July)

This summer has been so much fun my blogging has been left unattended. While chatting with a friend yesterday it made me want to start back up again. This time with a variety of information and things to look forward to through out the week. So I am kicking it off with Wednesday's Spot of Week, ranging from places in CLE and spots we have been to in our travels. First up Christmas in July 00000013!!

Christmas in July is this weekend and the spot to be is PIB! We have been up to the islands twice this year and I have found the best hang out in the July heat is the swim up bars! Be watchful of the ones who have not left the pool for hours :)

Although we enjoy PIB Resort/Blue Marlin it can get packed and a tad crazy. I guess it depends what atmosphere you are looking for. If you want a younger crowd with a great DJ (A-Dubb-my husband's hero) and cheap pitchers head to PIB resort. The swim up bar is called Blue Marlin but it is the same location. Helpful Hint: If you forgot towels just pick a room number, for example 203, and you will get free towels. The bar is fun and worth checking out. DJ A-Dubb also has competitions throughout the day that are pretty entertaining. Such as best belly flop, dance contest, booty shaking, etc. With the amount of booze people are drinking it makes for an interesting people watching session. 

The other spot that is a little more low key but just as fun is Sand Bar, they have a huge swim up bar and poll with water volleyball, a sandy volleyball court, cornhole, tiki bar, and full arcade. Plenty to do for all ages. They do allow kids in there during the day and they charge for the kidos since they are not drinking. I believe it is a $5-$10 cover. The only down side to this place is the DJ....they need someone in there with real equipment and people skills. I like that they do a throwback 90's tribute but it is good to mix it up. The drinks are great but bring cash, this goes for most PIB bars. The bartenders are not so organized when giving you your check.....and I am putting this nicely. 

Have a safe and happy Christmas in July!!!! Hope to see you at the BAY!!!!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Kelly's Island Strawberry Shots

Kelly's Island Strawberry Shots: AT BAG THE MOON

Easiest recipe in the world and always a crowd pleaser:

1-2 pints of strawberries
Bottle of Tequlia Rose
1 can of Whip Cream

Wash the strawberries and core out the center of the berry. 
Fill the center with tequila rose
top with whip cream

Easy as that....but eat quick because it can get messsyyyy!!!

Enjoy your summer!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Travel Tips 101

Summer is right around the corner and it is traveling time!!! Some of you know this about me and others don't but a big part of my job is to make travel arrangements and plan events. Not only from my job have I become savvy with traveling on a budget butttttt I love to travel!!! If I can get great prices for excellent vacations....I am in! In the past 3 years we have gone to Chicago, Nashville, Gatlinburg, Key West, Pittsburgh, PIB (more times than I can count), South Carolina (a few times), West Virginia, and more. If you have any tips please let me know I would love to get some new ideas!!!

Sign up at airfare watchdog. It will give you the option to track as many destinations as you would like. For example:


You will receive updates on the best flights. I currently have mine set for Nashville and Boston. Although sometimes the best flights are when I randomly check the web. is another great site, they will send you updated on all travel deals. The nice thing about Bookit is that you can put money down. You don't have to pay in full. 

Check your entertainment book, there is usually 20% off flights for expedia, airlines, and other travel sites. This is even more so with hotels. 


Pick a hotel and sign up for their rewards-it is free-you can get rewards each time you stay at a hotel. After you accumulate enough points you can stay free some nights. If you don't have enough points to cover the entire balance they will use whatever points you have and put it towards the room. Not bad when you were planning on traveling anyways! 

Savings tips
Gift cards:
When you know you are going on a trip, any extra money you come across go and get a gift card for the hotel you are staying at, you end up getting most of the rooms in gift cards and don't have that expense to worry about when you travel that week or weekend. Try to buy from Giant Eagle so you can save up on fuel perks. If you are driving to the destination you can use the fuel perks and save more money!

Start saving for your trip 6-9 months in advance if it is a big trip. This really helps when planning a vaca. This way most of the money is saved and you don't have to worry about your checking account while on vacation. I recommend for anything over 5 days 1200.00 bucks. Especially if you want to try new places and go on excursions. 

I don't use groupon trips but I know people that save and this is another great source of travel and savings. Make sure you do your research before booking. Check to make sure you can't get a better deal somewhere else and if the trip is worth the money. 

These are just a few things I do before booking any trips. I will share more as they come up. If you have any ideas to share please dooooo!!!