Archive | October, 2014

Five Favorite Workouts

29 Oct

Although some people enjoy Wednesdays, I think that they are kind of annoying. They are a tease that you are still pretty close to Monday and far enough away from Friday that you can’t really get excited about it yet. My favorite day is Thursday because the end is actually in sight, unless of course I have to work that Saturday and then the end of the week feels like it is never in sight. Well that’s enough ranting for today so let’s get on to the meat of this post. My current five favorite workouts all involve some form of cardio but I like to incorporate strength training into my workout too which is pretty new for me.

True story bro

True story bro

  • My current favorite workout is the elliptical for 45+/- minutes followed by weights at the gym. I enjoy this especially in the morning because all it involves is driving my sleepy self to the gym and getting on that machine. By the time I’m done with that I’m usually awake enough to put together some type of repertoire of weight training, my favorite being bicep curls.
Those are some elliptical and weights calories right there

Those are some elliptical and weights calories right there

  • If I’m not making it to the gym in the morning or if I’m working out late at night, my go-to workout has been Jillian Michael’s Kickboxing Fastfix. I have mentioned it in previous posts but it is a serious full body workout and I love it. There are three 20 minute circuits and I usually do two of those on any given night. It definitely leaves me sweating and its easy enough to complete in an apartment’s living room.
  • When I’m feeling particularly ambitious, I like to pull out Dan’s set of Insanity DVDs and do the Pure Cardio workout. It’s different from the rest of the Insanity workouts in that it doesn’t involve too much repetition which is boring to me and it is also very quick and definitely gets the job done.
That is NOT a joke

That is NOT a joke

  • If I’m at the gym but I have more time than to just do the elliptical, I like to do a mixture of running and the Stairmaster. I try to complete a mile or so on the treadmill which helps to warm me up and then I move on to the Stairmaster which is my nemesis but I find that it makes me sweat like nothing else. My legs are literally shaking by the end and I have only recently been able to get up to 30 minutes on it but it is one of the most effective workouts I have done.
This was such a proud moment for me

This was such a proud moment for me

  • Lastly, if I’m feeling tired but I still want to get my heart rate up I LOVE to go on a walk around town. I usually try to complete around three miles and I will go alone or with Dan but there is nothing like taking in the scenery and getting some fresh air. I follow my walks up with some abs and arms work at home.
There is nothing more peaceful to me than this view :)

There is nothing more peaceful to me than this view 🙂

That is all for today guys and I hope you all have a great hump day!

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MIMM: Back in Action!

27 Oct

Happy Monday! I’m actually not too displeased that it’s Monday since I was feeling under the weather pretty much all of last week. I had an awful sore throat and a fever a couple of nights but I finally started to feel better on Friday. This is why I didn’t post anything last week since every moment not spent at work was spent on the couch with a blanket and a cup of tea. I’m excited to share with you guys a few marvelous things that happened this weekend 🙂

Link it up!

Link it up!

Marvelous is… a low key Friday night spent partially at home and then at the Diamond for a glass of wine. I was feeling pretty well but knew a dinner at home all cozy on the couch would be better than a crazy night out. A little later in the evening, we decided to go out for a drink with a few of our friends and it was the perfect end to a relaxing evening.

ALL the selfies

ALL the selfies

Marvelous is… saying yes to the dress on Saturday! I went to David’s Bridal with my aunt, grandma, Dan’s mom and sister, Alex, Melissa, Carlee, Jenna, and Natasha. It was my third time trying on dresses there and the third time was definitely the charm! I ended up picking a dress that was unlike anything on my original list of favorites but it is so beautiful and I can’t wait for my wedding day to be able to wear it again! After dress shopping, we all went out for lunch at Market Grille in Manchester, where I enjoyed a delicious cobb salad with lobster and a blackberry moonshine mojito made with Ripe juice and Onyx moonshine which was SO good that I will definitely be ordering mojitos more often.

Mmmm

Mmmm

This salad was everything and more

This salad was everything and more

Marvelous is… making it to the farmers market for the last Sunday of the season. I ended up going by myself but it was great to be able to walk around (although it was chilly) and browse through all of the vendors. I purchased some red onions, Adirondack red potatoes (they are pink inside!), and kale and I only spent $6 total which was the best part.

As you can tell by the hoods, it was freezing

As you can tell by the hoods, it was freezing

Marvelous is… a Sunday afternoon and evening spent at home with Dan. We were both tired and there were at least five shows that we needed to watch on our DVR so we spent a few hours on the couch just relaxing. We did get off of our lazy butts to make Caitlin’s Meatball Bake although I did cheat a little and used turkey meatballs since Dan is a huge fan of those. This meal was so hearty and filling and it was perfect for a chilly Sunday dinner. Thank you Cait!

Next time I'm going to double the cheese on top

Next time I’m going to double the cheese on top

I paired the meatballs with a side of Brussels (duh) and homemade mac and cheese from the previous night

I paired the meatballs with a side of Brussels (duh) and homemade mac and cheese from the previous night

A cozy Sunday night in catching up on How to Get Away With Murder is perfection

A cozy Sunday night in catching up on How to Get Away With Murder is perfection

Alrighty, time to get ready for work! I hope you all have a fabulous Monday!

Five Things Friday: More Fall, More Happy

17 Oct

Happy Friday!! I know that I haven’t posted at all in the last week but to be completely honest, I have been SO tired and very busy this week too. There have also been very few workouts this week so I’m just going to chalk this week up as an overall loss and move on.

1. I have discovered a new vegetable that I am loving, the leek. Last Friday, Dan and I went to dinner at Barcelona Wine Bar and one of the tapas we ordered were leeks and they were amazing. I honestly don’t think I have ever tried them before but the way that Barcelona prepared them, they were salty and garlicky and perfect. I’m on a mission to find a recipe so that I can prepare them at home too!

I kind of ate this whole thing by myself

I kind of ate this whole thing by myself

2. Spontaneous plans are the best kind of plans. Last night, Dan and I had dinner cooking in the crockpot when his parents texted us to meet them at 2 Hopewell in South Glastonbury for dinner. I had been wanting to try this restaurant forever so we decided to freeze some of the food that was cooking and save the rest for tonight’s dinner. I am SO glad we did because I enjoyed a fabulous mixed beets salad that included avocado, mozzarella, tomatoes, and a beet jam which was out of this world. I can’t wait to go back and try more of their menu items!

Colorado Lemongrass martini = pretty and delish

Colorado Lemongrass martini = pretty and delish

This salad was literally the perfect size

This salad was literally the perfect size

3. I am still on a total fall-loving kick and I am not sorry about it. I am loving the cozy clothes and the fact that I get to use my crockpot all the time. I have been using it at least once a week and last night we made a loaded baked potato soup from Cooking Classy which I did not take any pictures of the finished product because it looks like gross baby food but it obviously tastes amazing.

This is the before when it still looked good

This is the before when it still looked good

4. Our other dinners this week were pretty delicious too! My two particular favorites were the store bought frozen pizza that Dan jazzed up with two over easy eggs and the Trader Joe’s turkey burgers topped with pepper jack cheese and jalapeños (Dan’s idea and so amazing). I have not had a bad food item from Trader Joe’s and I highly recommend those turkey burgers as they are the first turkey burgers I have eaten that have made me forget that I’m not eating a real burger.

Obviously had to pair it with a salad with ranch

Obviously had to pair it with a salad with ranch

I could eat this every single night

I could eat this every single night

5. Tomorrow we are headed to Dan’s cousins wedding in Rhode Island. It will be so beautiful and I can’t wait to eat all the food and dance the night away. I bought a new dress which I am pretty excited to wear and for once I know I will be comfy in my dress throughout the night.

I'm so excited to finally have a hi-low dress!

I’m so excited to finally have a hi-low dress!

I hope you all have a fabulous and fun weekend! 🙂

Five Things Friday: Free Things

10 Oct

Happy Friday! I have the next five Saturdays off in a row so I will be fully enjoying every single one of those Fridays. Today’s post is full of random thoughts so let’s get to it!

1. Free pizza is the best pizza. On Wednesday night, Dan and I made a trip out to Frank Pepe’s pizzeria in West Hartford to get our free pizza to celebrate their one year anniversary. I had found out about the promotion on twitter and I love their pizza so it couldn’t have been more perfect. We split a medium mushroom and broccoli pizza and there were enough leftovers for Thursday’s lunch for both of us. It was an inexpensive and unexpected evening out that we both really enjoyed.

For the record, I love carbs

For the record, I love carbs

2. I am absolutely loving my fall TV shows! We watch a lot of shows, including Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, Bones, Chicago Fire, Chicago PD, Revenge and a new show, How to Get Away with Murder. It has been very hard to keep up with the shows since we are so busy but it gives us an excuse to relax and spend some quality time together at home. Out of all of the shows I would have to say that Scandal is my favorite since we binge-watched it on Netflix leading up to this season and I’m kind of obsessed with the characters.

The struggle is real #toomanyshows

The struggle is real #toomanyshows

3. Today officially marks one year until our wedding! I am very excited and nervous about all of the planning that we have to do but we have the best support team of friends and family to help us out so I know that I have nothing to worry about. Our engagement photos are this coming Tuesday and we are venturing out this weekend to pick out what we will wear.

4. In celebration of one year until our wedding, we are going to Barcelona Wine Bar again tonight for dinner. Let’s be honest, I will look for any reason to celebrate and Barcelona posted on their Instagram that their Brussels sprouts are back on their menu so it makes for a perfect excuse to head over there again. I’m hoping that our friends Erica and Jon will be able to meet us there for an after dinner drink once Erica gets out of work so we can catch up with them too!

I will probably order five servings of these

I will probably order five servings of these

5. I have a love-hate relationship with Jillian Michaels. It has been impossible for me to get up to go to the gym in the morning any day this week so I have resorted to a few at-home workouts with her Kickboxing Fast-Fix video. I really love kickboxing and her videos really make me work. There are three 20 minute circuits (upper body, lower body, and abs) and I usually do two of the three on any given day.  The workouts were extremely difficult when I started but they have become easier and I find that I am really pushing myself harder and harder each time I do them. That being said, I have been waking up SO sore from them too which is the “hate” part of the love-hate relationship. I hate being sore but I love the feeling of knowing the soreness is a result of a great workout. Does anyone else ever feel this way?

ecards really describe life very well

ecards really describe life very well

I hope everyone is able to get out this weekend and enjoy the fall weather!

Marvelous Monday: Excitement!

6 Oct

Oh well, Monday is here again! But at least I have a few marvelous things to tell you about this past weekend. It was short but sweet since it was a “working Saturday” but I was able to fit in more fun stuff during what was left of the weekend than I normally do.

Link it up!

Link it up!

Marvelous is… trying two new-to-me restaurants this weekend! I have been craving pizza forever so on Friday night we used a restaurant.com gift certificate for Lena’s First and Last Pizzeria in Hartford. We decided on the margherita pizza (with bacon added of course) which was very basic but it was SO delicious. I enjoyed how simple the pizza was because it made it easier to enjoy the freshness of the ingredients such as the huge slices of tomato. The pizza also lasted us for two nights of dinners so that was perfect also.

so much garlic goodness

so much garlic goodness

The other restaurant I was finally able to try was Market Grille in Manchester! A few of the girls and myself stopped in for lunch after some wedding dress browsing on Sunday afternoon. I had been menu-stalking the place for months so I had my heart set on the “everything but the kitchen sink” chopped salad which definitely hit the spot. I’m admittedly often too lazy to throw together a salad with that many amazing components so I’m always happy to order one when I’m out to eat. We also split the dark chocolate tiramisu and the chocolate chip cookies for dessert which were obviously yummy too.

This salad had everything in it!

This salad had everything in it!

Eating the salad justified these heavenly desserts

Eating the salad justified these heavenly desserts

Marvelous is… spending Saturday night hanging out at our apartment with Robbie, Jenna and Alex. I got out of work and was in need of a night of relaxation and that is exactly what I got 🙂 We watched part of the movie Clueless (no shame – I love that movie) and played a few rounds of Scene-It on the Xbox 360. It was a great night of doing basically nothing with some of my favorite people.

This movie makes me laugh every single time Source: Google images

This movie makes me laugh every single time
Source: Google images

Marvelous is… how freaking excited I am starting to get about our wedding! I have obviously been excited this whole time but now that it is almost exactly a year away, I can’t stop thinking about planning and all of the fun stuff that will be coming up. Sunday afternoon was spent with a couple of my girls browsing wedding dresses to basically figure out the styles that I like so that I’m not completely stressed when I do my big official outing with my family and my girls. It was very successful and the rest of the afternoon/evening was spent excitedly discussing other little details about the big day. I can’t wait!

I'm not really like this I promise

I’m not really like this I promise

That is all for this Monday and I hope that everyone has a wonderful start to the week!

Barcelona Wine Bar, Part Dos

2 Oct

Happy Thursday guys! I can’t believe it’s already October and there is almost one year until our wedding (AHH!). Tuesday was my day off and as I had mentioned, Dan and I had decided to go out to dinner at Barcelona Wine Bar to celebrate one year of being engaged. I had definitely built up huge expectations leading up to this visit and he was not disappointed. I found out that they do an amazing happy hour with $5 glasses of wine and tapas that are $2/$3 so it couldn’t have been more perfect.

We arrived and were promptly seated at a table with a great view of the entire restaurant. I had my mind on a glass of red wine and I decided on a 2012 Ochoa Tempranillo which was my first taste of Spanish wine and I loved it. It had a spicy kick that hit right after the initial sip and I love when wine can play with my senses like that. Dan enjoyed a Narragansett draft which he doesn’t get to have very often so he was happy with his choice.

I love red wine :)

I love red wine 🙂

The waitress brought out the bread and olive oil right away and I wasn’t even able to get a picture because we devoured it so quickly. I’m really not usually a bread person since it fills me up but there is something about Barcelona’s bread that makes me not be able to resist.

The first two tapas we were served were the potato tortilla and the spinach chickpea cazuela. I traveled to Spain in high school and I ate real Spanish tortilla many times while there and this was so authentic! It brought me back some very happy memories of dining outside with my classmates in Spain. It was Dan’s idea to order the cazuela which surprised me but I was so happy he did. It was flavorful and fresh but so simple at the same time. I would definitely order it again and I want to try to make something similar at home too!

Spanish tortilla

Spanish tortilla

Spinach chickpea cazuela

Spinach chickpea cazuela

The next tapas to arrive at our table were the gambas al ajillo (shrimp) and the albondigas (meatballs). I only had one of the shrimp since I had sampled those previously at Natasha’s bachelorette and they were just as delicious as I had remembered. I LOVED the meatballs more than I can even explain. Most restaurants do not put enough effort into their meatballs and they just never seem to have enough flavor but these were absolutely amazing. They were big enough that they had to be cut in half and the flavor reminded me of a homemade meatball that my Grandma would make. These tasted like they were homemade and made with love (corny, yes, but so true).

These little guys were amazing

These little guys were amazing

Albondigas

Albondigas

The chicken empanadas were next and I picked these because I knew Dan would love them (and he definitely did). They had just the right amount of spice and when mixed with the avocado puree provided on the side, it was an absolute explosion of flavor. The cool, creamy nature of the avocado went perfectly with the spicy kick of the chicken. I wish I could even try to make these at home but I know they wouldn’t even come close 😉

Chicken empanadas

Chicken empanadas

So much delicious

So much delicious

Coincidentally, my favorite tapa by far was the last one we were served and I am very glad because I love ending my meal with the best bites. It was the coca del dia which was a flatbread of some sort topped with truffled goat cheese and arugula. Now for those of you who have been reading for a while, you know that I LOVE truffle anything and goat cheese is most definitely my favorite kind of cheese so this dish was a home run for me. I can’t really even describe the flavors other than to say that it was a mixture of my favorite things in one dish and I think that whomever at Barcelona came up with that tapa is a complete genius.

It's like they knew I was coming

It’s like they knew I was coming

It was a fantastic meal and I am so happy that I was finally able to share my favorite restaurant with Dan. There are still SO many dishes that I can’t wait to try at Barcelona so I know that we will be back very soon!