Archive | July, 2014

Trade It Up Tuesday: Warp Speed

29 Jul

I don’t know about you guys but to me it seems like time is absolutely flying by right now. There is always something going on and whenever I think there is a little window of time to relax, something else comes up. I’m really not complaining though because my work days have also been going by very quickly which makes me feel like I’m getting to the FUN all that sooner. Here are a few things that I would/would not trade from this past weekend.

But really Natasha, I could not agree more!

I would not trade… attending Glastonbury’s Irish festival both Friday and Saturday night. The Irish fest is always such a fun time and Friday night I was able to spend time with Jenna, Alex and Dan while Saturday night I met up with Dave and Melissa. I tried to limit my spending while there so Friday night I enjoyed a Guinness and Saturday night I was starving after my workout so I had a baked potato which was exactly what I had been craving. The music was great and it was fun to see everyone dancing and enjoying themselves.

This isn't really true but it's so funny! Source: Google

This isn’t really true but it’s so funny! Source: Google

I would trade… how totally exhausted I have been lately. To touch on what Caitlin had mentioned last week about slowing down a little bit, I feel like I have been going SO non-stop that I am always tired. I honestly can’t find much to cut out from my schedule since everything has been important or has been events that I have wanted to attend. Friday night was the worst night as far as my energy level because after the Irish Fest, we went and had a quick drink at the Diamond and I came home and totally crashed as soon as my head hit the pillow. I think I really just need to try to get to bed earlier when I know there are busy days coming up.

I would not trade… an amazing day and the Connecticut Wine Fest on Sunday in Goshen, CT. I had been seeing a lot of hype on Facebook about this event and I knew I really wanted to attend. It definitely lived up to my expectations and I was able to try a ton of different wines from local vineyards that we had yet to visit. We also enjoyed some yummy grilled pizza (trying this at home ASAP!) as well as apple fritters that Dan had to have as soon as he saw them. There were definitely a lot of laughs had between Dan and I (more from me since he had to drive) and it was so great to be able to get away for a few hours and spend some one-on-one time with him.

We HAD to stop at Haight Brown for some of my favorite Honey Nut Apple wine

We HAD to stop at Haight Brown for some of my favorite Honey Nut Apple wine

I would not trade… my Saturday night walks that I have been getting in after work. The past two working Saturdays, Dan was not around when I got out of work so I used that time to get in about a three mile walk each time. It has been so helpful to be able to spend time alone to clear my head and enjoy some fresh air. I was also able to catch sunsets both times which made the walks entirely worth it.

As you can tell, there are definitely more things I would not trade even though I seem to be in a little bit of a complaining mood. I am going to try my very best to get a solid eight hours of sleep tonight so that I can stop feeling like my head is in the clouds. Have a happy Tuesday! 

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WIAW: The Actual What I Ate Wednesday

23 Jul

I figured that I would post a real WIAW post reviewing what I ate for each of my meals on Tuesday since I have never actually done a whole day’s worth of eats before. Also, it happened to be my Tuesday off so I had the time to make some very yummy meals for myself.

Breakfast:

Some of that truffle ketchup went on my eggs too... sooo good!

Some of that truffle ketchup went on my eggs too… sooo good!

I have been craving eggs like crazy lately and we had three eggs left to use up before they went bad so I decided to make myself an omelet. This omelet was stuffed and included a few cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, a handful of spinach, and about half a tablespoon of wasabi chive goat cheese. It was so delicious and it was definitely the wasabi chive goat cheese from the farmer’s market that brought the omelet from good to amazing. I cannot get enough of that stuff!

Lunch:

Yes all of yesterday's meals were eaten on Styrofoam plates because it was way too hot to do dishes

Yes all of yesterday’s meals were eaten on Styrofoam plates because it was way too hot to do dishes

I ate a very late breakfast (11:00am) after my workout so I figured it would be more of a brunch that would hold me over until close to dinner but by 12:30 I was starving again. I had purchased some pre-made chicken salad from Whole Foods the night before so I decided to use the rest of that for a sandwich. I used the Arnold’s whole wheat sandwich thins along with a slice of American cheese, spinach, a few sliced dill pickles, and the chicken salad. This was also very yummy and provided me with the fuel that my body was craving after a tough morning workout. The pickles were the wild card on this one since I usually forget to put them on but they gave the sandwich a tangy flavor that really made it different.

Dinner:

My favorite ever.

My favorite ever.

I had planned that Dan would grill us some cheeseburgers since we had some frozen burgers that needed to be cooked. Cheeseburgers are honestly one of my favorite meals and I would eat them multiple times a week if they were even a little bit more nutritionally friendly. Again, we used the Arnold’s sandwich thins along with American cheese, spinach, a tomato from the farmer’s market (YUM), avocado slices, and I put some Dijon mustard and truffle aioli on mine as well. We also sautéed some fresh zucchini and squash from the farmer’s market as well. These burgers were AMAZING and definitely filled my craving. I cannot tell you enough how much I am obsessed with Stonewall Kitchen’s truffle aioli. I know that it is not at all healthy (it’s basically truffle mayo) but I definitely use it in moderation as much as possible if that makes any sense. The good thing is that it has such a strong flavor that it only takes a very small amount to get that truffle flavor. It was a wonderful meal and I’m lucky that my fiancée is so good at grilling!

Marvelous Monday: Well That Flew By

21 Jul

That weekend was the quickest weekend I can ever remember! I crammed so much good stuff into what seemed like such a short period of time.

so much marvelous!

so much marvelous!

Marvelous is… Friday’s dinner at Bricco with Dan’s parents. We haven’t spent much time with his parents lately because we have been so busy so it was really nice to have quality time with them. There was a long wait but it was worth it. We started with a cheese plate and I had the Kale salad with a soft cooked egg added to it (DUH). It was so yummy and I had been craving a salad for days so it definitely hit the spot.

Bad lighting but you get the idea :)

Bad lighting but you get the idea 🙂

I had the leftovers for breakfast the next morning with another egg on top. I'm kind of obsessed.

I had the leftovers for breakfast the next morning with another egg on top. I’m kind of obsessed.

Marvelous is… a brief trip to Arrigoni winery on Saturday for a tasting. I was able to fit in the trip that I had mentioned wanting to do on Friday and it was so great. The place was packed but we grabbed two spots and ended up trying all 13 wines that they were offering. My favorite was definitely the wine that tasted like maple syrup (yes I said maple syrup) which was like breakfast in a glass aka AMAZING.

Arrigoni is such a cute place

Arrigoni is such a cute place

Marvelous is… Alex’s birthday celebration on Saturday night. It was truly a great night with friends and delicious food and I definitely enjoyed some yummy wine. I had a little bit of a headache yesterday morning when I woke up but it was totally worth it because it was an awesome night.

I made the Bacon Bacon dip in the bread bowl which was so good. And that taco dip was AMAZING!

I made the Bacon Bacon dip in the bread bowl which was so good. And that taco dip was AMAZING!

Marvelous is… a visit to the Coventry farmer’s market yesterday afternoon with Dan and Kevin. It was a beautiful day and after helping Alex clean up from the party, we headed over there and I was able to stock up on a few things that I was running out of, including Pure Love granola and some wasabi chive goat cheese that I can’t wait to enjoy with tonight’s dinner. We were craving junk food so we each got a grilled cheese from the Caseus Cheese truck, Mine had guacamole on it and it was perfection.

There should also be a sign that says "best hangover food" :)

There should also be a sign that says “best hangover food” 🙂

It looks so simple but it was so wonderful.

It looks so simple but it was so wonderful.

Marvelous is… a heavenly Sunday night dinner at home. I picked up some shrimp while grocery shopping on Saturday since it was on sale and we were trying to decide how to cook it for dinner so I looked through my recipes on Pinterest and found one for Skinny Bang Bang shrimp on The Cookie Rookie similar to the dish from Bonefish Grill. It was so easy and so delicious. The sauce basically consisted of plain greek yogurt, sweet chili sauce, and sriracha. We grilled the shrimp on kabobs and had loaded baked potatoes to go with them. It was one of the best dinners we have made in a long time.

I wish I could eat this meal every single night.

I wish I could eat this meal every single night.

As you can tell, it was a weekend packed to the brim with SO much fun and I wish I could do it all over again. I hope everyone has a great week!

Five Things Friday: Party Time

18 Jul

Happy Friday! This week kind of flew by but I am so happy it’s Friday because it’s my weekend off! Here are some random thoughts from this past week and about this coming weekend as well.

1. I am SO looking forward to tomorrow night because it is Alex’s infamous birthday celebration! Her parties are always so much fun and its so great to get all of our friends together. There will be delicious food, drinks, and a bonfire and I’m sure plenty of laughs and shenanigans too 🙂

We have homemade Kahlua and I really want to try this!

We have homemade Kahlua and I really want to try this!

2. I have been enjoying some delicious dinners this week. My favorite meal would have to be a tie between the pasta dinner we enjoyed on Tuesday and the Chipotle burrito bowl I picked up on the way home from work last night. The pasta dinner consisted of veggie pasta, tomato & onion sauce, garlic chicken sauce, goat cheese, and a poached egg on top for added protein. The egg really put that meal over the edge and made it completely amazing.

I basically put an egg on everything now.

I basically put an egg on everything now.

I definitely destroyed that thing.

I definitely destroyed that thing.

3. In addition to the great meals, I have also had some awesome workouts. I am in love with my Polar FT4 Fitness Heart Rate Monitor that Alex and Dan got me for my birthday. It is SO cool to be able to see exactly how many calories I am burning and my average/peak heart rate. It really has motivated me to work out more frequently and really push myself harder. This weeks workouts have consisted of mostly elliptical sessions but I have also thrown in some stairmaster and dance sessions as well to give myself some variety. This morning’s workout was the best because I combined a 1 mile run on the treadmill, 10 minutes on the stairmaster, and 15 minutes on the elliptical. It was killer but I felt great afterwards.

Starting out Friday with a great workout is the best feeling ever.

Starting out Friday with a great workout is the best feeling ever.

4. Even though I am looking forward to a lot of time with our friends this weekend, I have also planned out some one-on-one time for Dan and I. I’m hoping that we wake up early enough on Saturday to go grocery shopping, cook for Alex’s party, get a workout in, and still have some time to spare. I really want to make a trip out to Arrigoni Winery in Portland so we can re-taste their wines (we went once a long time ago) and hopefully pick up a bottle to bring to Alex’s party.

5. I am really hoping to make it to the Farmer’s Market in Coventry on Sunday. I am running low on my favorite Pure Love granola that I have been putting in my yogurt every morning and I want to see if there is a bigger variety of veggies in season than the last time we went. It’s supposed to be beautiful out this weekend so I’m excited to soak up the sun!

Have a fabulous weekend!

My Very First Newport Trip!

15 Jul

Although I could have included my recap of my Newport trip in a Marvelous Monday post, it was such a wonderful experience that I wanted to write a whole post just on the trip. I was so excited for this trip because Caitlin had posted so many great things about her experience in Newport for 4th of July that I knew it would be an amazing time.

I went to Newport on Sunday with my friends Carlee and Kaitlin to celebrate Carlee’s 25th birthday! We left from Kaitlin’s parent’s house bright and early at 8am to get a good start on the day.

All ready to hit the road!

All ready to hit the road!

We had to be in Newport before 11:00 to make it to our Lighthouses & Mimosas cruise that we had planned as a birthday surprise for Carlee. We arrived a little after 10:00 and we parked and walked around for a bit before heading over to the docks where our boat, The Rum Runner II, was docked.

Our boat, Rum Runner II (very appropriately named)

Our boat, Rum Runner II (very appropriately named)

This cruise was such a blast and I can’t wait to bring Dan and Alex back to do it again so they can experience it! It was 90 minutes long and we were able to see five different light houses along with many of the amazing waterfront mansions.

The lighthouses were so cool!

The lighthouses were so cool!

The $25 ticket also included unlimited mimosas which were passed around in pitchers. We each had at least three of them so we definitely had our money’s worth! 🙂 The tour guides on the boat were great and we all learned a lot of Newport history.

Cheers!

Cheers!

After the cruise we were starving and Carlee and Kaitlin had already picked our lunch spot, The Brick Alley Pub & Restaurant, which was a place that they had both been to before and loved. Brick Alley had such a cool and unique vibe and I’m so glad we went there. The food was AMAZING too. I started off with a Newport Storm Rhode Island Blueberry beer which actually had blueberries floating in it so needless to say it was delicious and very refreshing.

I want one right now!

I want one right now!

For my meal, I decided on the Lobstacado which was an open-faced English muffin topped with cold lobster salad and sliced avocado and toasted with muenster cheese melted on top. This was insanely delicious and I want to recreate it at home as soon as possible. The lobster salad was so fresh and it went perfectly with the avocado (why didn’t I think of that?). It came with a side and I decided on a side salad which actually had quite a variety of veggies and I went with ranch dressing because I had a serious craving for it.

So much delicious

So much delicious

After lunch, we walked around and did some shopping. I purchased a very comfy coral sweatshirt, a couple of birthday gifts for friends, a Newport shirt for Dan, and my favorite purchase which was a lobster Tervis cup which I am actually drinking out of as I type this 🙂 We also met up with our friends Mike and Daniela who were there to celebrate Daniela’s birthday.

I am obsessed with lobster everything

I am obsessed with lobster everything

I wanted to take many more pictures than I actually did but my phone battery died about halfway through the day so until we got in the car to leave, I couldn’t get very many pictures. Although I did get a picture of a Newport fire truck for Dan which made him happy.

Yes I was the weirdo standing in the middle of the street taking this picture

Yes I was the weirdo standing in the middle of the street taking this picture

We wanted to head home a little early to try and avoid the traffic but we had decided ahead of time to stop at a vineyard on the way home because we love ALL the wine. Kaitlin pulled into Newport Vineyards and I immediately fell in love. Carlee and I did a tasting and it was wonderful. They had so many different wines to choose from that it was almost overwhelming! This just means that I have to go back many more times to try everything 😉

I love that glass, so cute!

I love that glass, so cute!

It was such a great day spent with two people that I absolutely adore. We bonded so much and it was just so great to be able to relax and enjoy a day without any real plan in mind.

 

Trade It Up Tuesday!: Weekend Recap

8 Jul

I apologize for not posting yesterday but after one of the busiest weekends ever, I just couldn’t find the time to post. Plus I figured that I have never done a “Trade It Up Tuesday” post before so I felt that recapping the weekend with one of those would be perfect.

I would not trade… the amazing birthday party that I had on Thursday night! It was truly so wonderful to be surrounded by ALL of my friends and Dan’s parents (and my Dad even made an appearance!). The night was full of great food and laughs and silly drunken antics (of course). Dan’s parents were so generous to let me have the party there and they even provided the burgers and hot dogs also. I got so many great gifts including many many bottles of wine (YAY!). I wish I could relive that night again and then I am reminded that our wedding is my chance to do that and I am SO excited for that!

I LOVE ice cream cake

I LOVE ice cream cake

I would trade… not getting in any workouts since Wednesday. To be completely honest, I kind of knew in the back of my head that I wouldn’t have time to work out. I also found that I didn’t really want to work out either. I really wanted to make the most of the extra time I had to spend with Dan and our friends. However, I still am kind of disappointed in myself that I didn’t put forth more of an effort to get some exercise. The only thing I can really say is that next time I have a long weekend, I plan on trying a little bit harder to squeeze in some exercise, even if it doesn’t involve going to the gym.

I would not trade… all of the yummy food I enjoyed this weekend! In addition to all of the yumminess at my party, we also enjoyed a 4th of July lunch at Red Robin (birthday burger!), dinner at Chowder Pot (lobster time!), and a Sunday dinner at Vito’s after the beach. I’m going to refrain from elaborating on our less than stellar experience at Windjammer’s in Rhode Island on Sunday because the service was really poor and the portions were very small for the prices we paid. It was honestly my dream come true weekend food-wise as I don’t think I have ever enjoyed that many favorite foods at once.

Royal Red Robin burger.. everything is better with an egg on it

Royal Red Robin burger.. everything is better with an egg on it

My first baked stuffed lobster.. even more amazing than steamed!

My first baked stuffed lobster.. even more amazing than steamed!

I would not trade… a fantastic Saturday cookout at Dan’s uncle’s house in Massachusetts. The house was gorgeous and it was a perfect day to spend outside. I loved bonding with my future family and there were many Cosmo’s (and then laughs) enjoyed. After the cookout we picked up Alex and headed to the Harrington’s house for a cookout which was so nice 🙂 We ended the night with the Manchester fireworks which were awesome just as they are every year.

Can I go back right now?

Can I go back right now?

My favorite fireworks

My favorite fireworks

I would not trade… a fabulous beach day on Sunday with Dan, Alex, Kevin, Robbie, and Melissa. It was a beautiful day and I’m so glad Melissa was able to meet up with us for some sun and lunch. We also ran into our friends Kaitlin and Quentin and we all took a nap in the sun right outside of their beach house after lunch. All in all, it was the perfect end to one of the best weekends I have ever had. I am so lucky to have such great people in my life who make every single day seem better than the last.

Dan, Robbie, and Kevy :)

Dan, Robbie, and Kevy 🙂

Pond House Grille: Birthday Celebrations Part 1

3 Jul

Happy “Friday” everyone! I’m sure everyone is very excited (as am I) for the long 4th of July weekend. It couldn’t be any more perfect that the holiday falls on a Friday. Yesterday was actually my “Friday” since I took today off because today is MY BIRTHDAY! Alright, it’s not really thaaat exciting but I’m 25 now and it’s my last big milestone birthday for a while so I’m going to fully enjoy it. I left work a little early last night so that Dan and I could go to happy hour since I am never able to go due to my work hours and it also seemed like an excellent way to kick off my birthday celebrations. I chose Pond House Grille in Glastonbury because they have a great happy hour special of “Buy 1 appetizer, get 1 for a penny“. I had decided before we went that we would split four different appetizers.

We started with drinks and I chose the happy hour Pinot Noir and I have no idea who makes this wine but it was delicious! Usually happy hour wines are not as tasty as a more expensive wine but this was wonderful.

Water is never too far away :)

Water is never too far away 🙂

The first appetizer (and my favorite) were the bacon wrapped scallops which were coated with a maple glaze. I could have eaten a million of these! The maple glaze really just made them out of this world and I will definitely be ordering these again.

I want these right now. In massive amounts.

I want these right now. In massive amounts.

The next dish was the mini crab cakes. These were so mini and presented very well. They were probably my least favorite only due to the fact that I like crab cakes with more crab meat and less fried breading. I know that with the size of these it was really hard to capture the true essence of a crab cake. They were delicious and the tandoori aioli that each one was sitting in was very tasty.

The cutest little crab cakes ever.

The cutest little crab cakes ever.

My second favorite dish had to be the potato croquettes. It was actually Dan’s idea to order these which completely surprised me since he usually doesn’t suggest items that he hasn’t had before. I am SO glad he did though because these were little fried balls of potato perfection. They were served with a smoked Gouda fondue and I wish I had more things to dip in there because that fondue was amazing and I would have eaten it with a spoon if that was at all appropriate.

I want to dip ALL the things into that fondue.

I want to dip ALL the things into that fondue.

Dan’s favorite appetizer was the chicken quesadilla and I was not surprised at all. We had tried this once before when we were at Pond House for dinner with Alex. He loved how flavorful the quesadilla was and the fact that it wasn’t just a normal quesadilla with only chicken and cheese but it included roasted red peppers and caramelized onions which really helped to enhance the flavor. The guacamole is so delicious that I wish I could have eaten that with a spoon as well. All of the other dishes were also smaller in size and this was really the thing that turned the appetizers into dinner so that we were satisfied for the rest of the night.

These were filled with greatness.

These were filled with greatness.

I had been eyeing some infusions that I had seen sitting on the bar and I had to ask the bartender about them. On a side note, our bartender Mike was so helpful and answered all of my ridiculous questions about different drinks. He also gave us a sample of the Onyx moonshine infused with vanilla and pineapple. I absolutely loved this pairing and I immediate told Dan that we should split a glass of that as our “dessert” since it was definitely sweet enough to be counted as dessert. Mike then gave us a great tip in that if you want to drink just one type of alcohol with nothing mixed in, it is better to order it as a martini versus on the rocks because the martini serving is 3 oz and on the rocks would only be 2 oz and they would both be the same price. This infusion was sweet and reminded me of being in the Caribbean on our cruise. I can’t wait to try more Onyx infusions that different restaurants have to offer.

My first Onyx experience with many more to come.

My first Onyx experience with many more to come.

Overall, this was a great start to my birthday weekend and the food and drinks were amazing and the service was superb.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday!