Monday, January 31, 2011

Weekend Recap

This weekend was special. Somehow, some way, I had both Saturday and Sunday off. I think that happens about 3 times during the seasons, and it was totally unexpected!

The boy and I got a ton done on Saturday, so Sunday was dedicated to little projects we've been meaning to get to, relaxing, and enjoying time with the pupster.

To start, my favorite part of Sunday morning- the paper, a chai latte (here's how I make them at home), and my new favorite Chobani yogurt: Black Cherry!

I could read Sunday ads every day of the week haha

Since I had a little extra time, I hit up Target and Marshalls. What better way to fight the winter blues than some springy accessories?

These are screaming for bare legs and pink toes

Don't you wish this was a dress and not just an apron?

Today, I hit the ground running. With this week's forecast being ICE (ice baby haha), I'm not sure it's going to slow down a bit! Here's to hoping*

Love is in the air!

Happy Monday everyone!

This morning has kicked me in the butt. So to recover, I'm celebrating all things heart filled and lovey. Yes, it's 14 days till Valentine's Day. A commercial holiday, but it's my mom's FAVORITE. She decorates the house (including the bathroom), and it's like a pink and red hued Easter in the morning. Her love for all things amorous has rubbed off on me over the years too. I don't expect lavish gifts or a big event from the boy (we are making dinner at home and something sweet under $20)- but I love love giving pretty gifts. Especially to my momma and little sister!
Adorable coral flats

Pretty enough to wear to the table

Something fun and cuddly!

A sweet, delicate charm

A bag to carry stories around in

Make her sparkle and glow

Cold nights require cozy sheets

Friday, January 28, 2011

Snow Day!

I hope everyone in the north east has dug their cars out and can safely travel now! We got hit with around 10 inches Wednesday into Thursday. Since Delaware thinks snow plows are a novel idea, I'm surprised we're getting around without too many issues right now.

The good/GREAT thing about the snow? SNOW DAYS! I got lucky and had 2 (one early dismissal and one full out snow day), and I used them to their fullest. Snow hikes with Riley and the boy, lots of shoveling and car cleaning, drunk lunches with friends, fuzzy blankets and lots of home cooked winter meals. 

Here are a few shots of our winter hike along the river...

I will bend, but not break

my favorites :)

For dinner, I made 2 of the boy's favorite things: black beans and brussel sprouts. ok, I know, weird combo. Actually, it's a VERY dangerous combo (hehe)- but it was delicious!

I never thought I'd like brussel sprouts- but my mom turned me on to the trendy idea of roasting them with lots of salt and pepper. I used Ina Garten's recipe found here. {my alterations look like this}
Fresh cut sprouts! The finished product disappeared quickly :)


  • 1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts {for 2, I use a 10 oz pkg}
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt{or more!!}
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut off the brown ends of the Brussels sprouts and pull off any yellow outer leaves {I like to halve mine}. Mix them in a bowl with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour them on a sheet pan and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Shake the pan from time to time to brown the sprouts evenly. Sprinkle with more kosher salt ( I like these salty like French fries){me too!!}, and serve immediately.

The black beans are insanely easy to make, and muy delicioso! Unfortunately, they go faster than Speedy Gonzalas. I have to remember to take a picture next time for the blog! I'll save that recipe for later :)

They're calling for more snow today... hopefully only a little. My shoulders are sore from clearing off the cars! Stay warm!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

bragging rights

I have the best boyfriend ever. Yup. I just went there.

Ever have one of those mornings that just drains you- and the rest of your day? That was this morning for me. I couldn't find a pair of glasses (more on that later). Sales associates were rude. Target didn't have socks and my feet were cold (ok, not a huge deal in retrospect).

Then the rest of the day was lame.

BUT. I came home after work and the boy had made me dinner. And not just any dinner- a junky, feel better now dinner :) Complete with mozzarella sticks, pizza, a salad and LARGE glass of wine.

So yes, I have the best boyfriend ever. Love*

doesn't that picture just make you hungry?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Lunch Break! Lean Cuisine Thai Style Noodles with Chicken

I try to bring my lunch to work more days than not, but I run into two obstacles: not enough time and boring food.

To combat the boring urge, I seek out yummy "hot meal" alternatives every time I am at the grocery store. Sometimes, it's a new soup. Other days I find a frozen entree that looks interesting. I try to keep it healthy, while remembering I need to be full and satisfied.

First up: Lean Cuisine's Thai Style Noodles with Chicken

From the "Spa Cuisine" line, this meal is described as being "Roasted chicken, whole wheat noodles, green beans & carrots in a creamy chili peanut sauce"

Looks decent on the box, no?

Nutrition information provided by Lean Cuisine

Since nothing comes out as pretty as it looks on the box, here's what I got:

Overall, not bad. There was an adequate amount of chicken provided and it was tender- not chewy. I like my pasta al dente, but finding that in frozen noodles is a daunting task. The whole wheat noodles weren't soggy, more of a soft texture. A pleasant surprise was the amount of veggies provided and their quality. They added a little bit of crunch (primarily the carrots) and were a highlight of the meal.

The claim that this is a "chili peanut sauce" was a little misleading. I was thinking I could get a nice little kick from the added chilis. It was more like the kick you get from a mild salsa. Still, the sauce had a nice flavor that avoided the cloying aftertaste of some Asian inspired meals. It was a bit thick and overpowering at times as well- although they did mention it was "creamy"!

For $2 on sale at the local Target- this one may visit my freezer again. To mix it up and add more texture, I paired it with some sliced cucumbers and a handful of Goldfish pretzel snacks on the side.

What's your favorite quick lunch?

A little Hanky Panky to start the week!

Happy Monday!

I just read a tweet that got me SUPER excited on an otherwise freezing Monday Morning:

The signature lace bikinis are marked down 50% to only $13.50!  Use luckydaily1 at checkout for the discount.

For those of you who haven't tried out Hanky Panky's amazing line- this is the perfect opportunity! Be warned though- once you try them, you may never go back. My friend's sister works for the company, and last year I became a convert. Every cut and style is majorly comfortable with the cuteness factor to boot!

In the signature lace bikini, I have the vivid coral and sapphire on my radar. If you're a "No VPL!" kinda gal, check out the original and low rise signature lace thongs. I promise- they are a world above the "Lacie" over at VS and hold up amazingly. One size fits all shouldn't worry you in the least here. They fit everyone from my itty bitty figure skating friend up to the curviest of ladies.

Happy shopping!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

She's all grown up!

Riley turns one today! I can't believe I've had this little fur ball in my life for over 9 months now. She's taken over and makes us so happy every day (even if she does eat stuff).

It's my birthday, pay attention to me!

She's celebrated the big day so far with a scoop of vanilla ice cream after breakfast, lots of long walks, chowing down on 2 pairs of my underwear, belly rubs, and a good cuddle session with the boy. Tonight, she'll get her gifts (2 toys- one she can destroy, the other will hopefully last for a bit) and more belly rubs than she'll know what to do with.

Happiness is a warm puppy.  ~Charles M. Schulz

Under Armour Women's Heat Gear Rib Tank

More than anything, I prefer doing workouts in sleeveless shirts and tanks. No, it's not "sun's out, guns out" time (haha check out my little arms!), but I prefer having an unrestricted range of motion during yoga, etc.

My second purchase that I am reviewing is the Under Armour Rib Tank from UA's heat gear line. Ready for a few more awkward mirror photo shoots?!

UA Rib Tank- Fits close to the body

From the front!
Fit- UA categorizes this tank as Fitted: "A specialized fit that's not tight, but designed to be very close to the body without the constriction of compression." It's definitely closer to the body (and less forgiving) than Nike's fitted category. The body is cut long again- hitting below the hip. Sorry-it's a little hard to tell since I'm wearing black yoga pants in the picture! The arm holes are cut high, but don't rub, and the low scoop neck is modest while giving a good range of motion. I was wearing a bright blue sports bra and it was completely covered! This tank has a slight racer back cut that allows you to stay covered, but again gives you a great range of motion.

Back View from UA's store

This is a tank and a tank alone with no shelf bra built in. I find this to be a bonus because I hate "double layering" and having 2 bands of elastic around my ribcage. It just feels bulky.

Performance- There's a lot to love about this tank. The Heat Gear material from UA is soft and silky, and this time it's in a unique ribbed texture. Picking this one up off the rack, it looked like it was a cotton "beater", but it couldn't be farther! Something you can't see well on UA's site or in my pictures is the placement of "strategic vents" along the lateral aspect of the back panel. The vents worked well. I stayed cool and comfortable throughout the cardio and core workout I did. One drawback: the long torso bunched up during my cardio routine. Since the body is fitted, it reacted to my body's movements on the elliptical. I felt a little awkward tugging at the hem every few minutes.

Style- In black, this tank looks badass. I felt a little bit like a YMCA ninja coming into the fitness center haha. Since I am early on in my fitness routine, I don't think I would get this in any bright colors until I am fully confident with my body. The indigo and teal colors available truly show every lump and bump due to the close fit. As mentioned before, the tank is cut well to give you range of motion, but still covers you up. Personally, I don't like showing cleavage while doing planks (or the stares you get from the old guys on the bike). That being said, the close cut gave me a little "ooh, I look good" confidence boost.

Value- At under $20, I like it! UA Heat Gear material last a long time and maintains its shape PLUS provides SPF 30+. A great tank for your indoor fitness pursuits and an easy transition to playing outdoors come summer.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Nike Pro Combat Fitted V-Neck Review

Keeping in line with my New Year's Resolutions, the boy and I recently joined a nearby gym and got to work! It feels really good to get moving on a regular basis again, but what didn't feel good was a sweaty tshirt 15 minutes into my cardio routine. Something I've learned about myself over the years: if it doesn't feel good, I won't be motivated to do it. I'm not saying I don't love the burn of an amazing workout! I just don't like having chafed armpits from icky cotton.

So, to keep myself motivated and back in the fitness mindset, I went shopping (surprise!). My goal: find a few shirts and tanks that fit my performance wear needs.  First up, the Nike Pro Combat Fitted V Neck.

Nike Pro Combat Fitted V Neck in Red Plum

Awkward iPhone photo shoot in my mirror!

Fit- I bought my Nike standard medium. This is a great top for long torsoed girls out there. The length hit right below my hip. The term "fitted" can scare people off- especially at the beginning of a new fitness routine! Not to fear. The cut skims the body but is not "tight" by any means. If you prefer the discreteness of a standard tshirt cut, but want something more feminine, this is it. The v neckline and length of the short sleeves  are also pluses in my opinion. When doing core, I sometimes feel constricted by crew necks. This v neck isn't too low, but allows for a great range of motion.

Performance-  The DriFit material and flat seaming on this tee are phenomenal! I didn't experience any chafing under the arms (even with sleeves tucked in), or along the sides. Since the shirt has only light contact with the body cut, it naturally helps minimize hot spots, but the seaming around the neck was comfortable throughout my workout. The long length helped the shirt stay in place through both cardio and yoga workouts. A pet peeve of mine is having my tshirt bunched up around my armpits during down dog. Not with this shirt! It stayed in place (without being tight!) through sun salutations, planks to down dog series, and Riley trying to help me perfect my up dog (by laying toys across my back haha).  

The DriFit lived up to it's name (as always), but did have a small drawback: it stinks after awhile. This is pretty standard with performance fabrics and can be treated with the right detergents, but it certainly isn't glamorous or chic haha.

The only other con with this top- don't wear it in a cold gym if you don't have the proper sports bra. Another standard issue many** run into with performance fabrics is a little bit of "nippage" exposure, and this shirt is no exception. Since it is a tee with no built in bra liner, you're on your own here. 

**and by many, I mean me. ha.

Style-  Yes. It is very important to look cute when working out. Ha ok, not really- but you should feel good about what you're wearing!
The colors at my local sporting goods store were the red plum and royal you see here along with heather gray, safety yellow, and an electric mango. More can be found online. Each shirt has a contrast piping on the v neckline, a cute touch in my opinion.

Overall, I felt good and ready to work out when I put the Nike Pro Combat shirt on for the first time. Always a good sign!

Value- At only $25 a shirt (and lot's of coupons available online!), this shirt is a great value for how versatile and comfortable it can be. I will probably pick up more colors once the temperature rises and the new colorways roll out for spring. (I found a few colors for even less on Nike's site, but the sizes are limited).

note: I am not the best photographer. I am not even really a GOOD photographer. Hopefully, I'll get better, but thanks for not laughing at me too much!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Slushy Streets: I need to rant.

the roads and I feel about the same today
I usually try to keep my posts and thoughts positive...but I'm simply overwhelmed this morning. With the snow and ice, we got a 2 hour delay! Perfect, I'll be able to work on my HUGE project with an even bigger deadline.

Except that the dog won't stop barking. And eating things (like bills, my W2 form, and gift certificates). And barking again. 3 walks through the sleet and freezing rain...she's still barking. Look in the mirror- ugh, what is my hair DOING?

I walk into the kitchen because it sounds like the faucet is on. Surprise! It's not on, but the window sprung a leak. A big leak. Almost as big as that project that should have been started a half hour ago. Half a dozen towels, a barking dog, and 2 phone calls to my Daddy, it's under control. My blood pressure isn't.

So now I'm hiding in a coffee shop down the street. A large chai latte and my laptop. I'll take another few minutes to refocus my energy-and then on to that project that's now 2 hours behind.

Thanks for letting me get that off my chest. Up next- I've done a few reviews on performance wear! I have to take pictures still, but they should be up and running by tomorrow (and they are FABULOUSLY positive)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Post Workout Beauty Routine: Hair

I think one of the hardest parts of getting to the gym is planning a block of time out in your schedule. Are you a morning person? A lunch break cardio girl? After work spin class junkie? For me, I prefer the morning to mid day workout since my workday extends a bit later than most.

But then there's the dilemma- I look gross.

Yup- scheduling a time to work out isn't hard, it's the workout THEN get re-dressed and primped time issue that I struggle with.

I don't think I'm the only one here- so I want to share my "post workout beauty routine" and maybe get some extra tips and tricks along the way!

Everyone swears by dry shampoo. I can't stand it. I'm pretty sure my hair reacts to just seeing the can out on the falls limp, gets greasier, and looks like I haven't washed in weeks. Maybe I'm doing it wrong? Help!

I have 2 tactics here. If I had a moderate mid day workout with not too much sweat (rare), I spray my roots with hairspray, flip my head over, and dry upside down. The alcohol base sucks out the sweat, I get lift, and I swear it doesn't smell bad either. From there, I style it up or if I'm REALLY lucky, leave it down.

If I've had a great workout and look the part, my only option is to shower. Ugh. Since the time it takes to shower cuts down on virtually all other aspects of getting ready, I need to make my hair routine quick and dirty. Introducing my wet hair best friend: MoroccanOil. A dime sized amount of this argan infused serum makes my hair super soft and cuts airdrying time in half.

get it here

Afterward, I do a fishtail braid to keep my locks out of the way and looking office ready. I used to think it would be impossible to braid my hair this way, but I found an easy tutorial through BellaSugar and practiced on both wet and dry hair over a weekend. The result: a braid that looks complex, takes minutes, and can be made business appropriate or casual based on precision.

Do you struggle with the post workout clean up? What works best for you? 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Spring Wishlist

It's freezing, I've worn every sweater I own, and I want to go shopping.

So I look around online and notice a disturbing trend- everything I like is for warm weather! Please note, I live in the north east. There is 6 inches of snow outside :(

The good news, I have a ton of pretty things to look forward to! Gauzy dresses, chunky strappy sandals, and good times out on my little red deck. Just looking at these items makes me feel a little warmer :)

Blurred Shapes Dress, $168
Orchid Grey Dress | Mod Retro Vintage Dresses |, $54
Seychelles Filigree Heel, $98
Marguerite leather wedges - J.Crew (toffee), $165
Nine West: New Arrivals > Stylin, Ships 4/26 - color block, $89
Jen Loves Kev Dress, $45 > Ecote Strappy Sandal, $28
Women's Merona® Maribel Peep-Toe Wedges - Blush : Target, $27

The only item I've actually seen in stores are the blush toned Target wedges. I was tempted to take them home today since they are a perfect balance of girly and comfortable, but again- I couldn't validate it with all the snow. Even tights can't save a perfectly pink pair of peeptoes right now! I am getting ready to pull the trigger on the Modcloth Jen loves Kev dress though. I adore Jen's blog and how she styles herself every day. The dress is gorgeously feminine, but has humor with the fox print! I'd definitely wear it out to fussy brunches just to lighten the mood :)

What's on your wishlist right now? Are you still in love with winter's cozy layers or are you ready to put the tights away for good?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Here comes the snow! They're calling for 5-8 inches, so I'm preparing myself for a snowday...fingers crossed! Things on my to do list: shovel the walkway, take Riley down to the river, finish a bottle of red with Kemi, continue to decorate/organize my dressing room, and spend a few hours catching up on reality tv :) I nest during snow days- I love cozy layers, endless amounts of hot tea, and wrapping myself in multiple blankets. The easy way to dress is in the boy's sweatpants and a huge fleece- but I try to keep myself moderately presentable!

I could live in this cardigan all winter. It's oversized, wool, and makes wearing leggings acceptable. For snow hikes, I throw on my Merrels, but Hunter boots are perfect for shoveling snow and walking the puppy through the slushy city streets. 

Do you have a winter uniform? If you're in the north east, stay warm and safe!

Monday, January 10, 2011

even though I'm a Penn Stater forever..

War Damn Eagle!

The boy went to Auburn- so there's a lot of orange and blue going on in this house tonight. Black beans and rice are on the stove, the Auburn chip helmet is out, and I'm in my gear...because I lost this year's bet :( The upside- the boy got me some VERY nice Under Armour stuff for Christmas.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The family jewels on display

This is for my friend, Kemi. I went over to her adorable apartment last night to battle with the internet company, armed with some charm and a bottle of red. After completing my conquest (free installation? Thank you!), we toasted to victory and started talking about this and that. Somehow, we got to the topic of jewelry and she showed me her fantastic collection of rings, necklaces, and bracelets...all hidden away in a plastic box :(

It's something many girls struggle with. How do a keep my baubles safe and stored away without forgetting what I have? Since I'm in the process of decorating my own little dressing area (oooh, more on that soon!), I scoped out a few organization options for Kemi that I think will fit her style, keep things safe, and display her gorgeous collection like it should be!

First- bowls. The boy has come to terms that I love pretty bowls. Our kitchen is overflowing with them, all shapes and sizes. Of course, you can never have too many! I think small bowls are the perfect vessel to store chunky rings, pins, and the like.

Glass Jewelry Dish from Urban Outfitters

I have a slight obsession with ikat. This little bowl is perfection!
Ikat mini bowl from Anthropologie

Inside out bowl from Anthropologie

For longer necklaces, I love two separate options: Wall hooks and mounted decorative knobs.

This first jewelry rack is fantastic because it not only will keep delicate chains untangled, but you can hook earrings onto the lattice work.

Lattice Jewlery Hooks from Urban Outfitters

A series of hooks does the same. To customize this affordable but boring option, I would break out some spraypaint and go to town. 

Expandable hooks from Target

Choosing a series of decorative knobs is a favorite of mine. This can be hard for renters (big holes=small security deposit return), but I think mounting them on a strip of stained or painted wood to make a custom jewelry rack is a great alternative. Even better, find some reclaimed wood for a rustic feel!

I love these from World Market, they play off the mini ikat bowl perfectly without being matchy.

Ceramic Floral Knobs (set of 4) from World Market

Aged Zinnia Knob from Anthropologie
Granita Knob from Anthropologie
The options are endless, but I think a few of these would fit great into the vintage feel of Kemi's walk up.  

How do you keep your jewelry accessible and safe?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Changing the way I look at food

I was looking through my refrigerator and pantry yesterday and got a familiar pang. "There's nothing to eat. Let's go grab dinner." Immediately, I stopped myself. The shelves were packed! The freezer stocked! So what was my problem?

I need to change the way I look at food.

My friend, Kara over at And Here I Am, does an amazing job with this. She shared her holiday detox with everyone and I thought it was great. Just not for me. Not now.  After a few tweets involving lots of capital letters and DEVON!, I realized I need to do something. I'm not much of one for a cleanse, but I definitely need to step it up.

Step one last night was reorganizing the pantry. Grains at eye level, snacks down low/harder to spot. Beans together and easy to reach. Chips (my vice) on the top shelf where I have to wear 4" heels to reach. Out went the old Halloween Candy and I made a list of staples to add: more quinoa, steel cut oats, sweet potatoes, and a new variety of grab and go bars (love Luna and Kind bars!).

Next- the Fridge. Why wasn't I finding anything? Because we had processed foods and processed foods alone. Partly because we held a few gatherings over the holidays- so there were leftover frozen hors d'oeuvres and dips galore. Mostly because I was tired of cooking last grocery trip, so I stocked up on Trader Joe's Orange Chicken and Tyson chicken strips.

Again came the organizing and the lists. Sauces and dips together (tossing the ones that made my butt bigger looking at them), cleaning out the produce and deli drawers, tossing the last of the boxed margarita mix.... Off to the store to buy REAL food. Bananas, cherries, apples, brussel sprouts (love! and will share a recipe soon). More Greek yogurt. A treat or two, because a balanced diet means moderation. 

Today- I woke up excited for breakfast! (Chobani plain 0% with fresh cherries!) I packed myself a bag with snacks and a healthy lunch. I knew what I wanted! The only downside is that work didn't agree with me and I had to wait until nearly 3 to eat my meal (with interruptions), but I still felt good about my choices.

Last but not least, I started using Livestrong's Daily Plate application both online and on my iPhone. I used Daily Plate for several months as my food log, but stopped when my healthy habits fell apart. I'm back now. Daily Plate is easy to use, has a huge data base of generic and brand name foods, and also allows you to log your fitness goals.

How do you keep yourself on the right track? Do you detox and love it? To keep myself committed, I am looking forward to posting a few recipes in the future and also incorporate more wellness topics into my content. What do you want to hear about in the new year?