Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Do you Fitbit?

     I hope everyone had an amazing weekend.  Just when I thought spring had arrived in Pittsburgh it snowed again last night.  This past weekend was laid back and we got some work done on the house and watched lots of March Madness. I don't love basketball, but I get super into my bracket.  It was so nice having a weekend with no set plans.


  A couple weeks ago I received a Fitbit Flex from DFH for my birthday. A few of my friends had them and loved them and said having it really motivated them to exercise. I am trying to be better about my workout routine start working out again and get toned for summer, ever since I turned 30 I have found it harder to maintain my weight, so I was hoping a Fitbit was just the push I needed. 

     If you are not familiar with the Fitbit it tracks your steps and you can compete with your friends as to who takes the most steps each day/ week/weekend.  It also monitors your sleep and you can add in the foods you eat each day. 

  So far I love mine and love how motivated the Fitbit makes me. Knowing I'm challenging my family and friends brings out my competitive side. I find myself parking further away from stores or using the bathroom two floors up at work just to get those extra steps.  I also have never been one to track calories so I have also really enjoyed that aspect. It really makes me realize how many calories are in some foods that I would eat without thinking about it. The weekends are especially bad, after a weekend of eating out and drinking it is shocking to see the calorie count, but it does make me want to work out more so I can continue to enjoy my weekend indulging in tasty foods and drinks.   

    Another thing I love about the Fitbit is you can set fitness goals for yourself and the app tells you how many calories you should be taking in and burning off in order to meet your goal.  I am hoping that my Fitbit will help me stay on track  so that I can be bikini ready by summer.

   Do you have a Fitbit?  Do you love it?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

My Weekend Update

Happy St. Patrick's Day!  I hope you are all wearing green and have plans for some corn beef and cabbage or maybe a Guinness tonight. 
   This past weekend was jam packed and super fun.  On Thursday night a few friends and I went to the Pittsburgh Winery to see the Mulligan Brother's play.  I had previously discussed how obsessed I was with their music after the first time I saw them, and I honestly think they keep getting better.  If you enjoy country/rock/bluegrass check them out!!  Everyone was up dancing throughout the show, so this was the best picture I could get.

    Our friends JLM and BHB came to visit us from New Jersey for the weekend and arrived late Thursday night.  Unfortunately I had to work during the day on Friday, but I met up with everyone for dinner at Carmella's Pints and Plates in the South Side.   I had the lobster roll and everyone else got the bbq duck tacos and no one was disappointed with their choice
       After dinner we took JLM and BHB up to Mt. Washington for a drink at the LeMont overlooking the city.  I always love taking visitors to Mt. Washington, the view of Pittsburgh is so unreal.  ( clearly the picture below does not do it justice). 

All of us at the Le Mont.  

  On Saturday we were lucky enough to grab some great seats to the Pens game.  Although JLM and BHB are Ranger's fans its always fun watching a hockey game in person especially when you are so close to the action.

Oh, hey boys!

    The rest of the day was spent exploring the city, we walked around the Strip District  and grabbed some Pittsburgh Popcorn and had a quick dinner at Roland's.  From there we went to the Arsenal Cider house for some delicious blueberry cider and then headed home for some drinks in the hot tub. 

     Such a great weekend. I am still exhausted. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

My Trader Joe's Haul

      A few weeks ago Megan from Fried Green Pickles did a blog post on her favorite items at Trader Joes. So many people commented about their favorite items and I learned about so many Trader Joe's products that I never came across before which is shocking considering I always check out the new items end cap at the store.   Anyways, that week I went to Trader Joe's and purchased a number of new food items based on others recommendations and now I have some new faves.   I wanted to share my favorites and hope you will share your favorites as well.

1. TJ garlic and herb pizza crust: I always have at least one of these in my freezer at all times.   DFH and I often make pizza on Friday nights when we are too tired to cook and they are great to have on hand for unexpected dinner guests 

2. Polenta: This is pre-cooked and a great side to keep in the fridge if you need something quick.  We often mash up the polenta to make a mash potatoes like substance for a healthier alternative.  

3. Roasted Seaweed Snack: I could eat a box of these a day. A great low-cal snack. 

4. Garlic Naan: So tasty!  Again we use these to make pizza on nights when we need a quick meal. Add tomato sauce, cheese and veggies and bake. (Can you tell we like quick meals and pizza?)

5. Turkey Meatballs: We use these for so many recipes including meatball sandwiches, we add them to homemade soups or serve them with marinara on their own, again another quick meal alternative. 

6 Sea Salt and Pepper Rice Crisps: Megan recommended these and she was so right they are the perfect healthy snack.  I like to add some laughing cow cheese to these crisps for an afternoon snack.

7. Quinoa Pasta: I haven't tried this yet, but I keep hearing how wonderful quinoa  is for you with all the protein and fiber.  I'm excited to try this healthier pasta. I love carbs so I'm always willing to give any healthier alternative a try.  

        Some of my other favorites are the roasted garlic hummus, roasted garlic salsa and the low fat ranch and parmesan dressing.  Another bonus of TJ's is that their vegetables are almost half the price of our local grocery store so I usually try and get most of my vegetables from Trader Joe's.  

I would love to hear your Trader Joe's faves!

Monday, March 9, 2015

To the Capital and Some Penguins

Last weekend ( As usual I am behind on my posts) I spent the weekend in DC visiting my friend Allie who was one of my sorority sisters in college. I always forget how much I love DC until I am there.  There are so many fantastic restaurants and neat areas to explore in and around the city.  Every time I visit I always say I need to get down there more often especially since it is (usually) less than a four hour drive from Pittsburgh. 

Friday night I arrived and Allie as usual had quite the spread of snacks and wine waiting for me. We spent the night drinking wine and catching up since I had not seen Allie since Christmas when she was in Pittsburgh. 

   On Saturday we got up and drove to Old Town Alexandria, VA outside of DC. I had never been to Alexandria before, but it is the most adorable town on the water and it is lined with boutiques and restaurants.  I didn't take any pictures of the city,but I pulled this one off of the Visit Alexandria VA webpage.

We had the best time exploring and stopped for lunch at The Wharf where we shared a shrimp and oyster po-boy sandwich.  

    There were so many great boutiques but my favorite was The Lucky Knot. We must have spent 45 minutes shopping in this Lilly, Southern Proper, Elizabeth McKay heaven.  It was a prepster's dream.  

I ended up picking up this oversized pearl necklace and lobster scarf.   You can also shop their boutique online.

    After exhausting ourselves at The Lucky Knot we came across Grape + Bean Wine bar and stopped in for a flight. 

  Once we were back in DC we drove around the monuments and came the across the prettiest sun set.  We decided to walk to the Jefferson Monument ( and get a few more steps in for Allie's Fit bit challenge). 

Allie and I were accidental twins all day in our matching winter toggle coats. 
After our walk we went back to Allie's and got ready for dinner.   When Allie lived in Pittsburgh we would always go out for Tapas.  It was our thing, so of course it was appropriate to pick a Tapas restaurant for dinner.  Allie took me to Estadio, a Spanish Tapas restaurant and the food did not disappoint.  We shared a bunch of small plates, and I did not have one thing I did not like.  It was also voted #23 of the top 100 restaurants in DC for 2015. 

     After dinner we met up with our friend Gillian.  The three of us were all in the same sorority in college so it was appropriate to take photos making three Sigmas with our hands.
On Sunday I woke up in DC to snow coming down pretty hard, I decided to get up and leave before it got worse.  The roads were horrible and my wipers kept freezing, it ended up taking me over five hours to get home. 
 DFH and I had Pens tickets for that night and I luckily made it back shortly before we needed to leave.

We had amazing seats that night, it is so fun watching the game from up close. 

It was such a fun and eventful weekend, I cannot wait to plan my next trip to DC.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Currently Lusting

Happy Hump Day readers!  My week has been filled with lots of work, a craft night with friends, and binge watching Parenthood.  DFH has been out of town since Saturday and I am excited to have him home tonight.    
There is something about spring being right around the corner ( or the start of every new season) that makes me want to shop.  Here are some of the items on the top of my shopping list.
How cute is this pineapple candle from Anthro?  I love that even after you burn through the candle it can still be used as d├ęcor.  I have been scouring our local TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and Home Goods searching for random items to style our living room book shelves and I think this guy is perfect, especially since I love pineapples and their hospitality symbolism.

I had come across Sift With Style's Etsy page through Instagram, and I fell in love with her gorgeous tassel necklaces.    I wrote this post last week and in the meantime I entered a giveaway to win a necklace through Simply Lauren Gray's blog and I won!!!  Katie of Sift with Style has been so generous in letting me pick a necklace of my choice.  I have spent way too much time on her Etsy page trying to pick the color scheme I want.  I know this necklace will become a staple for me this spring and summer.  I cannot wait to share it with you once I receive it.  In the meantime check out her Etsy page.
I am loving the casual rolled up jean look for spring.  These slate New Balance 420's would be perfect for running errands with rolled up jeans and a gingham button down.  How great is the coral stripe on the bottom?
           I had previously mentioned how fabulous my GiGi New York Teddie Tote is, and I am anxious to add another bag to my GiGi New York collection.  Right now they have so many bright colors to choose from I would love one of each of the Uber Clutch, but this salmon color is especially pretty.

What are your favorite items right now?

Friday, February 20, 2015

Lands End For The Win

    I have always been a huge fan of Lands End, but mostly for staple items.  Their website is one of the first places I check when I need new slippers, no-iron work shirts, or crewneck sweaters, but I certainly wouldn't think to check their site when I was on the search for more fashionable clothing items.  

    The other day I hopped over to their site to see if I could get any of said items on sale and instead came across a ton of great fashionable pieces that I want to add to my wardrobe ASAP.  Maybe they are trying to appeal to a new demographic or they have a new design team, but whatever they are doing is on point.  I will certainly be purchasing a few of these items.   What I love best about Lands End is almost everything can be personalized and they are almost always having a sale.  Right now you can get 25% off you Order with their friends and family sale.  Go check them out HERE now!

                                                         Ponte Keyhole Sheath Dress

In my opinion this dress is perfect to wear to a shower or add a blazer and it becomes a cute work outfit.
Women's Jacquard Shorts
Yes. I need these shorts.

3/4 length Supima Scallop Sweater
I am loving the scallops on this sweater.  This is perfect for spring or would look super cute with shorts on a cool summer night. 

Rope Border Nautical Scarf
I really don't need any more stripes in my life, but I don't think I can pass up this scarf.
Coated Canvas Large Shopped
This bag reminds me of the Barrington Gifts St. Anne Tote, but at a much lower price tag. 

Landmark Verona Shoulder Bag
I love the gold embossed monogram on this bag, similar to the GiGi New York Sasha Hobo, but for half the price. 
Have an amazing weekend!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Best ( simple) Zoodle Recipe

I know there has been a lot of buzz in the blog world about spiralizers and zoodles and I am just as obsessed as the next zoodle lover.    I feel like zoodles are the spaghetti squash of 2013.  I mean who doesn't love a low carb pasta alternative??      I actually bought the Veggetti ( The As Seen on TV version), mostly because I was impatient and wanted to try zoodles out immediately so I ran to my local Rite Aid.   Maybe the spiralizer works better, but so far I have been happy with my $8.99 Veggetti. 
   I wanted to share this recipe so that I will not forget it, but I also think the recipe is hearty enough that even the vegetable hating men in your life will enjoy it.
I used a combination of squash and zucchini since DFH doesn't love zucchini and I think the two combined gave the meal great flavor.  I wanted skinny noodles so I ( obviously) used the Veggetti on the thin noodle side.  I only used one large squash and 1 large zucchini, however I have since learned I need to use two of each to make enough for two. 

Once I had all my noodles I placed them in boiling water and cooked them for about 5 minutes ( until tender). 

Meanwhile in a saucepan I combined tomato sauce ( I used the Trader Joes Tomato Basil sauce), 1 lb. cut up cooked chicken, a pinch of red pepper flakes, fresh basil, 2 cloves of garlic, and salt and pepper to taste.  I cooked it on medium heat until the sauce began to bubble. 
     Place the zoodles in a bowl and top with sauce and chicken, add some parm cheese and enjoy!

     I was really happy with the way this recipe turned out.   Sometimes simple is best.  I think adding the chicken and using a tomato sauce with some added flavor is a great way to turn on any hater to the zoodle because it is a comforting flavor and the chicken makes the meal a little more hearty. 

   I am also a huge fan of simply adding olive oil, butter, parm cheese and garlic to my zoodles, however next time I think I may get crazy and try them out with some Asian flair.  I would love to hear your favorite zoodle recipe!