Thursday, October 23, 2014

{Old School Blogging} Favorite Things

Is it just me or does it seem hardly possible that there is only one weekend left in October?  The last couple months have just flown by; which is why I was surprised last week when I saw that it was time again for Old School Blogging with Elaine and Krystyn.  At least this was a happy kind of surprise!

This month is all about a few of our favorite things…so let’s get started:

Favorite Sit Down Restaurant – Oh there are too many to choose just one!  For an easy and relaxing dinner with just the four of us, we like to go to Lures Bar and Grille.  It’s more bar than restaurant with a constantly changing tap list; but they have a bucket of toys that kids can ‘borrow’ during the meal.  Whoever thought of this – thank you!  I can’t tell you how much whining we’ve heard about being bored with crayons at restaurants.  Other people’s toys are always just so much more fun.

Lures_Restaurant_Kids
T showing off some toys at Lures a few years ago.

If we want really incredible food and a nicer atmosphere, we like to go to The Brewer’s Art in Baltimore.  They don’t have a kid’s menu, but we’ve been known to pack dinner for the kiddos just so we could eat here. Is it obvious to you yet that we value good wine and beer lists just as much as the food?

Favorite Cookie – I’m with Elaine on this one.  Warm, gooey chocolate chip cookies just can’t be beat.  Soft, with no nuts please.  (Side note:  Something Swanky is currently doing a weekly series to find the best chocolate chip cookie recipe, and I am fascinated)

Chocolate-Chip-Cookies2

Bath Product Scent – I don’t mind a mild coconut scent, but mostly bath scents just give me a headache.

T.V. Show – House, MD was probably one of my all-time favorite shows.  Can we bring him back, please?  These days it’s all about Big Bang Theory and whatever we’re watching over Amazon Prime Streaming.

Flower/Plant – Hydrangeas and peonies from my garden are always a favorite; but when I can get them, I love the wild, but sweet ranunculus.

Pink-White-Ranunculus

Bad-for-me-Snack – Aside from chocolate chip cookies?  Brownies, if I’m in the right mood.  And something in me just can’t resist candy corn in the Fall…but we have a one-bag-per-year limit in this household.

Magazines – Never been much of a magazine reader, but we did have gifted subscriptions to Bon Apetit and Food and Wine that I enjoyed for a long time.

Eating-Bon-Apetit_
Hobby – Between work, blogging and the kids, there’s hardly time for sleep let alone another hobby!  I suppose you could say that cooking is sort of a hobby.  I’m always trying new recipes (and should really share them more often, shouldn’t I?)

HolidayChristmas!

Hampden-MD-2011

Girls Night Out Activity – I don’t even remember the last time I had one of those!  I’d be happy just getting a pedicure at a spa that serves champagne.

Date Night – My absolute favorite date nights are when we either splurge for a really nice dinner or go somewhere to do some tasting.  (Hey, we just did that!)


What are some of your favorite things?

Old School Blogging


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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

{Weigh in Wednesday} Week 95

It’s Weigh In Wednesday … which means it’s time for another installment in my roller coaster ride of losing weight without following fad diets.  After 20 years of yo-yo dieting, I decided to focus on getting healthy the right way.  There are a lot of ups and downs, and it’s a painfully slow journey; but this isn’t only about the scale, it’s about real life.

WIW95_

Thoughts: This feels like the longest plateau ever.  All of my stats (weight, inches, fat %) have been fluctuating within the same range for 6 weeks now.  The most frustrating part is that I recently made some positive steps to really improve overall health:  I gave up soda, increased the intensity and length of my workouts and started making my own homemade salad dressing.

My biggest downfall is the weekend.  And Fall is just full of weekend activities…weekend activities full of food, beer and wine.  But are 10 pounds or a few extra inches worth giving up some of my favorite things…especially when I’m already limiting those items?

How I am Winning this Week: Variety baby!  I love my jogging workouts…and I’m seeing positive evidence that I’m getting better at it.  But my hips are aching a bit more than necessary, so I changed things up a bit this week and hopped on the rowing machine yesterday.

Areas of improvement: No matter how good I am during the week, it’s hard to stay healthy during the last third of the year.  This past weekend was Okto-bear-fest at the Maryland Zoo.  It’s one of our favorite fall events.  I had probably the equivalent of three beers…which for me just might be post-graduate record.  At least it also included a lot of walking.

Workout Log:

Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
Sunday
Monday
Tuesday
Workouts


Elliptical
Strength

Jogging Intervals
Rowing


How I feel: Bummed and frustrated.   (and feeling a bit like a broken record on that last one)

Would you rather lose the weight or keep enjoying your favorite foods and drinks?



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Monday, October 20, 2014

{Our Anniversary} Craft Brews and Gastropubs

A little over 8 years ago I woke up anxious, excited and ready to get the day moving.  At 2 o’clock in the afternoon, I walked down the aisle of a beautiful church in my hometown, and promised to spend the rest of my life with my best friend.

I’m lucky to have met someone who understands me so well, and who still knows how to
make me laugh.

Exchanging-Vows_Catholic
The Husband and I hadn’t been on a date night for a few months; so we decided to trek down to Richmond, take advantage of free babysitting from my parents, and celebrate our anniversary Saturday night in the town where we got married. 

Our first stop was for an evening Mass, which may seem strange to some.  But there’s nothing better to make you appreciate church than not having to shush a child every few minutes.  And when the priest started his homily talking about weddings and marriage I gave the husband’s hand a squeeze and was grateful to have started the night off right.
Hardywood_Park_Brewery
After the serious stuff was over, it was time to celebrate!  The Husband has wanted to visit Hardywood Brewery in Richmond for well over a year now, and Saturday turned out to be the perfect day to visit.  The Brewery was having a release party for their new Imperial Stout – Trickery.  Being there with a plastic beer cup in hand watching a live band was a bit of a throwback to the college days, but was definitely a lot of fun.

I had both the Singel and the Hands on Saison; and the Husband had the Trickery, the Pumpkin Ale and the RVA IPA.  I’m no beer connoisseur, but I really enjoyed both of my pours.  They were almost exactly what I like in a beer – easy drinking without being bland
Hardywood_Brewery_Singel
The Trickery was pretty much the exact opposite of what I was drinking.  It was thick, dark and flavorful, but the 13.5% alcohol content was well masked.  The Husband enjoyed it quite a bit, but felt it would go best with a meal.  The Pumpkin Ale was better than most – not too sweet, but with a good balance of spice.  The Husband didn’t say much about the RVA IPA, but we left with a bottle to take home, so I would say he liked it.

Hardywood-Concert

Next we went to dinner at the Magpie; which was conveniently around the corner.  In the last few years Richmond has had a renaissance of sorts with small restaurants opening up in restored shops and homes.  The Magpie is located in an area I never would have considered safe when I was growing up in the area.  But I felt very comfortable there on Saturday.
Sincann_Glass_Stopper
I wish I’d taken pictures of our meal, but honestly the Husband and I were enjoying a night of conversation and good wine.  But I will say that the restaurant was full of surprises at every turn.  First up was that our bottle of Pinot Noir actually came with a glass bottle stopper.  Such a fun surprise!

My favorite part of the meal was our appetizer: brussel sprouts with balsamic and manchego.  You can bet I’ll be trying to recreate this recipe at home.  The Husband loved his main course of braised rabbit and couldn’t stop raving about his acorn squash crème brulee with sage. 

Acorn-Squash-Creme-Brulee
Thankfully it doesn’t take long to get anywhere in Richmond and we were back at my parent’s house in no time, though I think we would have gladly gone out to enjoy some more nightlife if we’d had the energy!

Do you like to try creative food pairings?
What is your favorite local restaurant?

Read More:  Our Relationship:  A Food Based Memoir, A Last Minute Wedding Surprise

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Friday, October 17, 2014

{Friday Five}

Party-of-the-WeekCornucopia of Blessings
Cornucopia of Blessings by RSVP by Cynthia via Catch My Party

Recipe-of-the-Week
Crispy Smashed Potatoes
Crispy Smashed Potatoes at Oh She Glows

Craft-of-the-Week
Embroidery-Hoop-Pumpkins
Embroidery Hoop Pumpkins at A Diamond in the Stuff

Home-Design-of-the-Week
Songbirds Room
Little Girl’s Bedroom at Grey House Harbor


Random-Link-of-the-Week
How to Remove Clutter from a Challenging Photo
Removing Clutter from a Photo at I Heart Faces



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