Archive | March, 2014

Marvelous Monday!

31 Mar

I can’t believe how quickly this weekend flew by! That always seems to be the case on the weekends when I don’t have to work since they are filled with ALL the fun. This weekend was no exception as it was packed with great food, fun, and friends!

Marvelous is… my UConn Huskies making it to the Final Four! Friday and Sunday’s games were clearly the highlight of my weekend. For dinner Friday night we had some leftover pizza with a salad that we ordered from Giovanni’s. A couple of our friends also came over and we watched UConn defeat Iowa State and then we headed over to the Diamond for some drinks. The next game was on Sunday afternoon and since we had dinner plans with Dan’s parents later, we invited them over to watch the game. The game was exciting and I am beyond excited that my Huskies have made it to the Final Four!

I love the emotion in the picture! Source: courant.com

I love the emotion in the picture! Source: courant.com

Marvelous is… Alex’s Lia Sophia party on Saturday night! Alex hosted the party at her mom’s house in Tolland, CT so I drove myself and a few of my girlfriends up there (about a 30 min drive). I knew it would be so much fun since Alex throws the BEST parties and I love spending time with her mom. Our Lia Sophia advisor Denise is becoming a great friend to us since we have had SO many parties (and more to come!). I ordered two pairs of earrings and a necklace that I have had my eye on for a while now. The food was out of this world and I definitely ate way too much. I brought Tastefully Simple’s Garlic Garlic dip and others brought appetizers like Beer Dip, Skinny Taco Dip, cheese pinwheels, and so much other stuff that I can’t even remember! It was a great night and so much fun to spend time with my ladies.

Jasmine necklace.. so pretty!

Jasmine necklace.. so pretty!

 

Marvelous is… spending some quality time with Dan during the day on Saturday. We both woke up pretty early and decided to get in a quick Saturday morning workout. We actually went to his gym and he added me to his membership (2 people for $10/month!) so now I belong to my gym (Cardio Express) as well as his gym. His gym is right around the corner from us and that will hopefully help to motivate me to go in the morning before work. I love my gym but its farther away and I can’t always get there when I want. After the gym we had plans to finally go see the movie Divergent. This movie was much better than I expected and it followed the book completely. Dan enjoyed it as well and it was just really good to get some time together out and about since he is starting a class for the fire department this week so that means a lot less time together for the next couple of months.

Oh ya know, just a normal Friday night selfie... weirdos!

Oh ya know, just a normal Friday night selfie… weirdos!

Well that’s all for this Monday. I hope everyone has a great week!

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Workout Review: Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred

27 Mar

I figured since I did say that this blog would include posts about fitness that I should give you a mini review on my most recent workout routine. I don’t usually stick to a particular workout routine for too long because I get bored easily and then I quit all together. The only time that I stick with the same routine is if I start to see results and I’m happy to report that this is one of those occasions!

30 Day Shred

30 Day Shred

I have been doing Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred for the past week and although it’s early I have definitely noticed some results. My stamina has improved only after a few days and I am able to get through the whole 20 minute workout without stopping for a break. My lower body is definitely feeling the heat and I am very sore every morning but its definitely the good kind of sore! I have discovered muscles in my legs that I didn’t know were even there and my shoulders are already starting to show some definition. The only part which is showing only a little improvement are my abs/stomach but that always seems to be the last muscle group to show up to the party anyways.

The workout itself is a three level system, working from the easiest to the hardest. Since it’s called the 30 Day Shred, they say that you should do each level for 10 days to see the best results. I think I will do just that and hopefully I will see some great results in 30 days (just in time for my cruise!). The level one video starts with a brief warm-up of various arm movements and jumping jacks. It then goes right into the first circuit (no breaks!) and each circuit (there are three) is three minutes strength training (with hand weights), two minutes of cardio, and one minute of abs. The strength training involves exercises such as lunges, squats, and chest presses. The cardio portion is jumping jacks, butt kicks, punches, and jump roping (my least favorite). The abs involve different variations of crunches. I do have to say that I HATE the lunges even though I feel those the most, which is probably why I hate them! I use 2.5lb weights but I have always been a weakling when it comes to hand weights so most of you could probably get by with 5 lb weights.

Jillian and her forever-smiling girls, Anita and Natalie

 

I would definitely recommend this workout to anyone who is pressed for time but really wants to see results right away in order to stay motivated.

Marvelous Monday: Relaxation

24 Mar

There are a lot of marvelous things to report about this past weekend and most of them involve time spent on the couch (which is always marvelous!) This weekend included a lot of unexpected relaxation and quality time with Dan. I definitely LOVED it!

Marvelous is…  a dinner at City Steam in Hartford with Dan and my coworkers. We went out to celebrate a few of my coworkers promotions to different jobs within the company and it was an excellent meal. I had the Cobb salad which included all of the normal fixings of a cobb salad but it had gorgonzola vinaigrette which was unexpected and delicious! We left Hartford after dinner and one drink as to avoid drinking too much and not being able to drive. Once we got home, we headed over to the Diamond which is our usual Friday night spot for some shenanigans with our friends.

City Steam Cobb Salad! Yum!

City Steam Cobb Salad! Yum!

Marvelous is… taking a “mental health day” on Saturday and staying home from work. I haven’t used much vacation time this year at all and work was SO busy this past week. I woke up exhausted on Saturday morning (partially from my late night out- oops!) and all I wanted to do was put my PJs back on and lay on the couch all day. That is exactly what I did. I hadn’t actually ever called out before in the almost three years I have been working there so I had to ask a coworker how to do it! Dan and I spent the day relaxing and we watched “White House Down” as well as a LOT of March Madness basketball.

Marvelous is… a tasty dinner from Whole Foods on Saturday night! We decided to venture out from our relaxation day to get something yummy for dinner. We decided on salmon marinated in Italian dressing, steamed mussels, Brussels sprouts (of course), and baked sweet potatoes. We also built our own six pack where we each chose three new beers that we wanted to try. Dinner was wonderful and in my opinion, there is nothing better than quality time spent cooking with Dan. The night ended with another UConn win which made it a perfect Saturday! Go Huskies!

Healthy and delicious!

Healthy and delicious!

Marvelous is… a difficult but successful workout on Sunday followed by a nap and dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings. The workout was Jillian Michael’s Banish Fat and Boost Metabolism and man, was it hard! I’m telling you guys, she does not mess around when it comes to her workouts. I’m glad I did it though because it excused my lazy afternoon nap and a delicious (but definitely not healthy) dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings. A new location just recently opened up in nearby Wethersfield and we had a leftover Christmas gift card to use so we met Alex there for dinner.

Love these two! :)

Love these two! 🙂

Dan and I both started off with a Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy which was so refreshing and delicious and it made me wish for summer that much more.

Perfection in a glass

Perfection in a glass

Alex and I split the Garden Crasher appetizer which was a bunch of veggies and some pita bread with hummus and cucumber dip for dipping. I have definitely been craving ALL the veggies lately so when I saw this I knew I had to order it. It was perfect and filling enough that I didn’t stuff myself the rest of the meal.

ALL the veggies!

ALL the veggies!

For my entrée I did the 10-piece boneless wings split into two flavors, bourbon honey mustard and spicy garlic. I definitely liked the bourbon honey mustard better while the spicy garlic had the heat but I really didn’t detect much garlic flavor at all. The bourbon honey mustard was full of flavor and I recommend it to anyone looking for wings other than the standard buffalo variety. Dinner was so much fun and it was a great way to end the weekend!

Bourbon Honey Mustard and Spicy Garlic wings

Bourbon Honey Mustard and Spicy Garlic wings

Did you get to relax this weekend?

Do you ever feel like you need a “mental health day” to decompress and relax?

WIAW- Rooftop 120

19 Mar

I know I’m a little late on this review but I knew it was perfect for a “What I Ate Wednesday” post. Last Thursday evening, I dined at Rooftop 120 in Glastonbury’s Eric Town Square with one of my closest friends, Carlee. We were celebrating her new job at the company where I work, The Hartford. I usually have a few regular places in town where we go for dinner but I figured a new job called for a fancy (and new-to-me) place.

The restaurant wasn’t too busy for a Thursday evening and we settled into two seats at the bar. There was live music playing (I have no idea who it was- sorry!) and it was the perfect setting for a celebration. We knew that drinks were definitely in order so we looked over the drink menu (SO many great options) and made our decisions. I decided on a Black Raspberry flavored sparkler which was basically Prosecco mixed with black raspberry puree. There were fresh raspberries on the bottom too!

Rooftop 120 Blackberry Sparkler

Rooftop 120 Blackberry Sparkler

Carlee had a tougher time deciding and our bartender Jenna recommended the White Grape Moscato martini which was Skyy Moscato Grape vodka mixed with white cranberry juice. This was also garnished with fresh grapes. The drinks were both so refreshing and delicious and I can’t wait to go back to try the MANY other drink options.

Rooftop White Grape Moscato Martini

Rooftop White Grape Moscato Martini

Carlee and I had both looked at the menu online prior to our arrival so our choices for food were pretty quick. I chose to go with a spinach salad and I added ahi tuna to that. I also got a side of truffle fries because I have been OBSESSED with all things truffle lately. Carlee (who is a self-proclaimed picky eater) got the margarita flatbread. My salad included local goat cheese, roasted red peppers, spinach, ahi tuna, and balsamic vinaigrette. It was SO tasty and the perfect portion for my level of hunger. This was only my second experience with ahi tuna and it was melt-in-your-mouth delicious. The truffle fries were good, although they were nothing different from the truffle fries that I always get when I go to Plan B (which happens to be located just below Rooftop!). Carlee said that she enjoyed her flatbread as well and that the garlic flavor definitely stood out and made it different from other flatbreads she has had.

Spinach salad with ahi tuna

Spinach salad with ahi tuna

Our waitress (she was also the bartender) Jenna was so helpful and charismatic. We were unsure if we were going to get dessert at that point but she had us sold when she mentioned the deep-friend double-stuffed Oreos! These were definitely the highlight of the evening. I look forward to them every year at the local Big E state fair in Springfield, Mass and this was just such a special treat. They were perfectly fried and lightly covered with powdered sugar with a side of milk to dip them in (and you better believe I did just that!). This was Carlee’s first experience with deep-fried Oreos and she was in awe of how amazing they were.

BEST part of the meal! So amazing!

BEST part of the meal! So amazing!

I would definitely recommend Rooftop 120 to anyone who is looking for a great cocktail in a fun setting. While the meal was a little pricey for a weekly kind of meal, it is definitely somewhere I can see myself going for a special occasion or when I’m looking for a place to go for drinks with the girls.

Have you ever dined at a rooftop bar?

Would you have liked our meal selections?

Marvelous Monday

17 Mar

I hope everyone had a great weekend! Mine definitely flew by but that is because it was filled with so many marvelous things!

Marvelous is… a Friday night sushi dinner at Min Ghung! Dan, Alex, and I decided we were all craving sushi so we picked Min Ghung which has always been a favorite sushi spot of mine in Glastonbury. We each ordered three fabulous rolls and my favorite was actual the most basic one I ordered, the Spicy Scallop roll. It was so flavorful and it was something I had never tried before. It was great to catch up on the previous weeks events with a quiet dinner before we all went out to the noisy bar for drinks.

The presentation was amazing.. and it was so yummy!

The presentation was amazing.. and it was so yummy!

Marvelous is… the St. Patrick’s Day parade on Saturday! It was my first time there and let me tell you, it was quite an experience. There were so many people expected to go that we parked in East Hartford and walked across the bridge and went straight to Black Eyed Sally’s for our first beer of the day. We found a great spot right there and watched the parade. There were so many interesting drunk people to watch (I mean it is St. Patty’s Day) and I can’t wait to go again next year.

Dan with our beer of choice for the day, Guinness!

Dan with our beer of choice for the day, Guinness!

Our friend Tyler spotted us from Engine 32!

Our friend Tyler spotted us from Engine 32!

Marvelous is… a Sunday visit to two local vineyards followed by a St. Patrick’s Day feast at Dan’s grandparents house. We planned to finish up the Connecticut Winter Wine Trail with our awesome friends Brian and Natasha by going to Jerram Winery in  New Hartford, CT. The wine at Jerram was delicious and we were having so much fun that we spontaneously decided to visit another nearby winery recommended to us by a mutual friend called Connecticut Valley Winery. The wines at CT Valley were the best that any of us has EVER had. There was seriously not a single bad wine on that list. That made it so hard to decide which wines to buy but I am SO glad we decided to go there and I know we will be making a trip back there this summer to enjoy some more wine. The location was also beautiful and it would be a perfect place to sit outside on a summer day and have a picnic with some of their wine. On the way back from the vineyard, Brian and Natasha dropped us off at Dan’s grandparents house in Avon, CT where we enjoyed a delicious meal of corned beef cabbage, roasted potatoes, cole slaw, and pineapple with Dan’s grandparents, parents, sister, brother-in-law, and niece. It was such a perfect way to end an amazing weekend!

Corned beef, roasted potatoes, and cole slaw! Yum!

Corned beef, roasted potatoes, and cole slaw! Yum!

Are there any local wineries that you would recommend?

How did you celebrate St. Patty’s Day?

Five (Random) Things Friday

14 Mar

TGIF! I am SO happy it is finally Friday! I figured I would hit you guys with five random things so here goes nothing.

  • I won the Color Me Rad giveaway from For Love of Carrots. YAY! I have never run a 5k before and I’m so excited that this will be my first one. I signed Dan up to run it with me (happy early bday to him ha) and a few other friends are running it so it should be a lot of fun. I’m a little bit nervous about how slow I’m going to be since I haven’t run since the end of fall but I have some time to prepare since the race is on April 26th. Hopefully the weather warms up a little bit before then so I can actually run outside to prepare. Fingers crossed!

  • I’m attending a Tastefully Simple party at Natasha’s house tomorrow night. This should be fun since everyone has been hosting Lia Sophia parties lately and this will be a nice change from that. Plus, I love food (duh) and I am definitely planning on spending a lot of money and getting some new recipes!
  • I went to Rooftop 120 last night for dinner with one of my best (and oldest) friends Carlee to celebrate her new job! I will be doing a full review of the meal in a later post since there is a lot to report but it was so delicious. It was even better to be able to catch up with her and just have some genuine girl time to vent about things and also discuss my wedding plans. She has several friends who are currently engaged so she has lots of helpful tips for me whenever I see her. Good food and even better company is always a perfect night for me!
Carlee and I :)

Carlee and I 🙂

  • In celebration of St. Patrick’s Day this coming Monday, Dan and I will be attending a “Kegs and Eggs” party tomorrow morning at our friend Sarah’s house. We are making mashed potatoes in the crock pot and I know Sarah is cooking up some tasty corned beef so it should be a great time! I’m not sure how I feel about drinking first thing in the morning (especially since we are going out tonight too) but I’m sure it will be fun. We also plan on going to the Hartford St. Patrick’s Day parade after which I have never attended so I’m SO pumped for that. I love parades and it should be very interesting to see those who will have been drinking since the wee hours of the morning.
  • I just ordered the tickets today (pay day $$$) for the Rascal Flatts concert on May 31st. We are big country music fans and this was such a fun concert to attend last year. Tailgating is one of my favorite activities and since a huge group of our friends are going, it will definitely be a great day! I just hope it won’t have rained the entire week leading up to the concert because the hill was insanely muddy last year and drunkenly trying to navigate through that mud was not a fun time.
The guys at last years Rascal concert!

The guys at last years Rascal concert!

 Alrighty, that’s enough randomness for one Friday. I hope everyone has a fun weekend filled with great food and St. Patrick’s Day celebrations!

WIAW- What I Ate Wednesday!

12 Mar

Happy hump day! I hope everyone is having a great week so far. I decided to take today off (had a floating holiday I had to use) so this is definitely a good week for me. I figured today I would just tell you guys about a few foods that I am currently loving.

Brussels Sprouts

I had never liked (or really even properly tried) Brussels sprouts before and ever since reading about them on Caitlin’s blog I decided I had to have them. I started making them for my fiancée and I and man, they are SO yummy! Usually we have been just sautéing them with minced garlic and mushrooms (if we have them) but last week I decided to roast them in the oven with a splash of balsamic and OMG they were to die for! Last week I also included them in a power bowl (also kudos to Cait for that idea!) with some sundried tomato chicken sausage and that was one of the healthiest and most filling dinners I can ever remember having. I am definitely planning on including the baby cabbages in our menu at least once a week.

Powerbowl with chicken sausage and brussels

Powerbowl with chicken sausage and brussels

Sauteed baby cabbages with mushrooms and garlic, made by Dan

Sauteed baby cabbages with mushrooms and garlic, made by Dan

Larabars

I discovered Larabars on one of my frequent Whole Foods trips (another new obsession) and I knew I had to try them when I saw flavors like blueberry muffin, chocolate brownie, etc so I bought a couple of them. So far I have tried the blueberry muffin, cookie dough, and peanut butter & jelly flavors and let me just tell you, they are so tasty. My favorite is definitely the cookie dough and I still can’t figure out how they can just use fruits and nuts to make it taste just like raw cookie dough! I recommend them to anyone who is looking for a flavorful and healthy snack.

So tasty... this one was enjoy as a midday snack at work!

So tasty… this one was enjoyed as a midday snack at work!

Creamy Greek Yogurt Mac and Cheese

I’m not even sure how I found this recipe for healthy mac and cheese from Cooking ala Mel but I’m SO glad I did. I love mac and cheese but I have been really making a conscious effort to eat healthier therefore I figured that cutting out comfort foods like mac and cheese would have to be part of that. Boy was I wrong! This recipe is so easy to make and it is actually one of the best versions of mac and cheese I have ever had. It’s basically whole wheat elbow pasta, spinach, plain greek yogurt, cheddar cheese, and some garlic and onion powder. Dan even enjoyed it which means that its definitely a keeper!

Creamy Greek Yogurt Mac and Cheese... ignore my super dirty counter!

Creamy Greek Yogurt Mac and Cheese… ignore my super dirty counter!

Well I’m off to jump in the shower after my great day-off workout! Have a happy hump day!