Short and Sweet

Well hello! I hope everyone is having a fantastic Sunday. Ours has been pretty productive! I have lots of photos to share.

Starting with lunch yesterday. I threw together a fruity salad. In the mix:

  • mixed greens
  • strawberries
  • grapes
  • walnuts
  • feta cheese

The salad was topped with this gem of a balsamic vinegar. I was inspired while out in California by all of the tasty balsamic vinegar combinations, and spotted this one at Target, so I thought I would give it a go. It is Strawberry Basil by Archer Farms and it is really good!

I had to scarf down lunch, because apparently no matter how much time I give myself to get ready, I am almost always getting ready down to the very last minute.

After lunch, I headed off to a friend’s baby shower. She is due in April and looking great! It was great to see all of the ladies.

For dinner we met up with Dana’s mom and dad for dinner. It was a celebration for Sue and Dana’s birthdays, which are both coming up this week! We met at bd’s Mongolian Grill which has create-your-our own stir fry.

I opted to go for the vegetarian option today, but they do have a great assortment of meats if you would rather go that route: beef, chicken, turkey, crab, shrimp, scallops, etc.

Here is my bowl o’ veggies (and one lonely egg) before I brought it to the stir-fry men. I chose a teriyaki soy sauce blend with a little bit of garlic.

In the stir-fry mix: zucchini, broccoli, baby corn, water chestnuts, carrots, edamame, mushrooms, onions, bean sprouts, and an egg. I think that was everything in there. Oh, and sugar snap peas maybe. It was very delicious and so healthy. I felt just comfortably satisfied after I was finished.

We had a great time as always! After dinner we headed home to our big man who was very happy to see us. He was in need of a little attention.

This morning began with pb2 toast with banana alongside some coffee and coupon cutting.

Later I headed over to mom and dad’s and went for a walk with the little dog and my mama.

Although it was only about 26° out, there was no wind and the sun was out so it felt pretty nice. Aren’t they adorable?

This afternoon Dana and I ran a few more errands including some birthday boy shopping. Now we are home for the night, and contemplating having a fire in the fireplace. I have dinner simmering away in the crock pot and can’t wait to share this recipe with you tomorrow.

I hope you had a wonderful weekend. That was the short and sweet version of mine. 🙂 Have a cozy night!

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Jam-Packed Fun

Yay for Hump Day! We are half way through the work week! Alright, I hope you aren’t sick of this yet because I am almost done filling you in on the California trip.

Day #3: Sunday morning began with an awesome breakfast on the beach at The Beachcomber Cafe which is located on the same beach that we walked on the previous day, Crystal Cove. Brandon had made reservations for us a couple of days in advance because it is such a popular place. Even with reservations we still had to wait about 10 minutes, which was obviously no big deal. We are on the beach after all, so nothing is a big deal and we had a beautiful ocean view to gaze at while we waited.

It was a little chilly oceanside this morning, but we were  nice and cozy inside the restaurant. The restaurant is fairly open, but they do have a screen up to keep out some unwanted birdies and block a little bit of the wind. They also had heat lamps and even blankets! We all ordered coffee right away as we waited for our food.

Brandon, Will, and Dana

And then this piece of heaven was delivered to me. Macadamia nut pancakes with coconut syrup. I was a happy camper.

Next stop was the Farmer’s Market. This was my second trip to heaven of the day. Not only did they have an abundance of fresh produce, they also had so many great samples out! Not that I really needed more food at this point, but this was such a great opportunity for me to try a few new things. I tried persimmons and pommelos for the first time,  and sampled a cara cara orange, fresh raspberry, and really great flavored balsamic vinegar. They also had a bunch of veggies of course, bread from a local bakery, and more.

They had a handful of food trucks parked there which are becoming so popular! We didn’t get the whole food truck experience this time but we were at least able to walk by them and see what they look like. I know Dana has eaten at a food truck here in MN, but I haven’t yet, so it was fun for me to see them.

After the farmer’s market, we headed to Balboa Island which is a sweet little town in Newport beach. We walked the sidewalks and saw some very interesting homes. Each home had so much personality. One house could have a completely modern look, where the next has a Tuscan look, and then the next a standard all-American looking home with a white picket fence. I loved seeing all of these homes and seeing all of the beautiful landscaping in their “yards.”

We sat by the beach for a while and soaked up the feeling of the warm sun on our skin. I miss that feeling! It’s been since October or so since I’ve felt the wonderful warm sun like that.

Across the way from us is what I believe to be the actual “island.” You can take a ferry over to the other side where they have a ferris wheel, restaurants, a large beach and more. We decided not to do that this time.

We had another island to get to. Fashion Island! Fashion Island is an outdoor mall in Orange County which offers a variety of designer stores and specialty boutiques. We did a lot of window shopping and people watching. I didn’t end up buying anything while I was there, and I realized while I was there that I am really not very fashionable. I have always known that I am not a “fashionista”, but it really hit me as I was looking at the clothing designs in these shops, not liking anything I saw, and knowing that these were considered fashionable items, how much I was lacking in the style department. Oh well! I guess everyone will have to accept me for who I am, sweatpants and all. 🙂

On our way to fashion island, we made a pit-stop at a local cafe for a quick bite to eat. I was in serious need of veggies, so I decided on the cobb salad piled high with lettuce, sprouts, tomato, cucumber, egg, and turkey and ham.

It was healthy and fresh, and helped me replenish my vegetable status for the day. After we walked around the shops for a while, I was exhausted, and really wanted to just go back to Brandon’s and relax. Considering I was the lead decision maker this weekend (kidding), we headed back home to relax. Dana and I packed up our stuff, and showered and then the men got to making dinner a few hours later.

For dinner, we decided just to make fajitas at home. I was getting a little tired of eating out at restaurants and I think everyone else was too. It was a good executive decision. Take a look at Chef Dana in action. He cooks, he cleans, I am one lucky woman!

In no time, these healthy delicious fajitas were ready to enjoy.

We spent the rest of the evening watching the Oscar’s and hanging out. It was pretty neat watching the Oscar’s knowing that we were so close to the action, and because we had seen some of the outside setup on Friday when we were in Hollywood! Alas, it was time to head to the airport for our red-eye flight. We were hoping to spot some celebrities heading home after the Oscar’s, but we had no such luck. I was however able to do some quick exercises while we waited for our flight. I looked like a fool, but I did lunges, tricep dips, and even threw a few burpees in there. I was “that” girl at the airport. Like I said, like me for who I am, sweatpants and lunges at the airport, and all. 😉

We were kind of tired and I was completely slap happy at this point. Two flights, and one layover including one almost missed plane, and we were home.

Thanks for letting me relive my California trip with you all! I had such a great time as you can tell. We had a jam packed trip full of great food, friends, and wonderful sights. Dalynn, once again thank you for hanging out with us and letting us stay with you Friday, and Brandon thank you for being so great to us and showing us around! I hope to see you both again soon!

Can’t wait for our next Vaca! Back to reality for now and back to getting my diet and exercise routine on track again!

Have a great day!

Continue Reading Jam-Packed Fun

Roll Out the Red Carpet

Hello friends! How was everyone’s weekend? We just got in after our red eye flight home from California. It is cold here! I was hoping it would magically turn warm while I was gone and we would jump right into Spring. A girl can dream. Anyway, I have lots to update you with so I figure I will have to do this in stages otherwise it will be too overwhelming for me. Here we go!

Friday morning we flew (on first class!) into Los Angeles, California with one layover in Dallas. The flights were smooth, I read some of my book, Women’s Health Magazine, watched an episode of Whitney, and ate pretty good food! We ate breakfast and lunch on the plane. Carb city for breakfast. Out of this schmorgousboard of food I ate the bagel and the berries, and saved the banana for a mid-morning snack.

I also made sure to keep chugging my water throughout the flights. It is so easy to get dehydrated on flights and I almost always feel pretty nasty after a flight. I always bring my big CamelBak water bottle and just fill it up once I get past security (since you can’t have more than 3 oz of liquids). It works well and helps me keep track of how much water I am drinking. Plus, it saves me from having to spend $2 or whatever it is for bottled water and more eco-friendly too.

A few hours later it was time for lunch which began with warmed mixed nuts. Num! My favorites were the pistachios for sure.

Next the main course which was a grilled chicken salad which had some type of sauce on it that tasted like salsa but I’m not 100% sure what it was. Anyway, mixed greens with grilled chicken, jicama, tomato, black beans, corn, and blue cheese crumbles. Yup, on the airplane. American Airlines did a good job! On the side was tortilla strips to go on the salad which I vetoed, and Stacy’s pita chips with Tribe hummus. It just kept getting better and better; so healthified!

A tiny bit of a torturous moment was after lunch, there was a waft of a scent of warm cookies that floated by us. We both looked at eachother and said “ah man, cookies.” We did not give in even though they smelt wonderful. That was temptation #1 of the trip.

When we arrived to LAX airport we headed to pick up our rental car from Avis. We didn’t know what car we would be getting, we just knew it would be small because that is what we requested. We get to the front desk and the clerk says, “would you guys be okay with a Mustang?” Really? Haha. Was not expecting that but, why not!

And there she is. The silver bullet (not to be confused with Coors Light). Once we found the 405 we headed out towards Hollywood area. It was beautiful outside when we arrived; about 65° at the airport, and as we headed towards Hollywood the temp crept all the way up to 86°! It was a crazy temperature change. We headed to Griffith Park which overlooks the city and gives you a great view of the Hollywood sign. They also had a visitor’s center which was perty.

I was loving the feeling of sun on my skin. I could have laid down right on that sidewalk and taken a nap. Besides the warmth of the sun, it was also so nice to see green everywhere! Back home in Minnesota it is pretty gray and dull right now. I soaked up the views and we headed out to meet up with our friend, Dalynn who lives in Hollywood. She lives just a couple of minutes away from the Kodak theater and we stayed at her apartment the first night.

I am so upset I didn’t get a picture of Dalynn for this post! I couldn’t believe it! We met up and headed to a bar to relax for a bit with a couple of her friends. On our way to the bar we walked down the street to the area where the Oscar’s were going to be taking place two days from then (last night). Although most of it was blocked off it was still neat to see the area where all the stars would be and to imagine them filing in on the red carpet in their Prada, Gucci, what have you.

I was imagining Brad Pitt and George Clooney looking so studly in their Armani suits smiling for the millions of fans. Very neat!

For dinner this first night we headed to a Mexican restaurant called Loteria Grill. I ordered the Burrito Calabacitas which is made up of zucchini and roasted corn succotash, salsa verde, onion, cilantro, queso fresco, and beans and rice.

Oh geez, good thing I was hungry! That thing was mammoth-sized! Dana had shrimp tacos and Dalynn had the Chilaquiles. Everyone loved their food. After dinner we kicked around what we wanted to do. Dana and I were exhausted from our 3:30 am wake-up call that morning and were hardly functioning at this point so we actually decided to call it an early night and were sleeping by 9:30 pm. Yup, in Hollywood. We are pretty crazy aren’t we?! I mean really, we need to settle down because we are getting ridiculous. 😉 I was so happy to sleep. I wanted to be well-rested so I could be fully re-energized for the next days ahead!

So there you have it. Day Numero Uno. It was awesome! Dalynn, it was so great to see you and thank you again for letting us stay at your place! Hope you can make it back to MN in the near future.


Random off subject note: We did not make it into Grandma’s Half Marathon lottery. We are pretty disappointed but there is nothing we can do about it so we are thinking it happened for a reason and it wasn’t meant to be. However, we WILL still be running the Minneapolis Half Marathon in the beginning of June so we are very pumped for that! Now we just need Spring to roll around so we can really kick training into high gear! Yeeahh!

So happy to be back. California day two, coming up next! We may have spotted a celebrity btw! Be sure to check in later gators.

Continue Reading Roll Out the Red Carpet

When in Rome

Wow, I really enjoyed having the day off yesterday. I went to the gym and did a 20 minute warmup on the elliptical before hitting some weights. I focused on biceps mostly.

  • 3×10 lat pull downs (60 lbs but then progressed to 75 for one set)
  • 4×10 push-ups
  • 3×10 bicep curls (20 lbs)
  • 3×10 seated incline press

Then I needed to head out because I had errands to run including a trip to TJMaxx before driving over to meet mom at my Grandpa’s house. It was great to visit with mom and Grandpa, and mom had brought Miss Abbie along as well. Abbie absolutely loves Grandpa and it is the cutest thing ever. I think he really enjoys when she comes over, plus she is a little vacuum cleaner and gets every last crumb that may have fallen. I hung out with them for a bit and then headed home to finish up some laundry and clean a little.

Lunch was a whole lot of snacks here and there (not all snacks captured):


For dinner we had plans to meet up with our Priest, Father Mike, at Chianti Grill, which is a great local Italian restaurant. The inside of the restaurant has a very cozy feeling with a red, tan and brown theme throughout, along with the lighting, decorations, and fire place. What made it even more cozy was when we were at dinner, it started snowing outside. It was beautiful. I had the spinach and mushroom ravioli with red sauce and basically licked my plate clean. We also got a delicious mixed green salad with house balsamic.

Besides wanting to catch up on what’s new in eachother’s lives since the wedding, Father Mike also really wanted to hear about our trip to Italy, most specifically, getting blessed by the Pope in Rome.

Backtracking to pre-wedding…we met up with Father Mike to talk wedding plans, ceremony decisions, etc., and we got to talking about our honeymoon plans. As soon as he found out we were going to be in Rome, he asked us if we were planning to to go to see the Pope, for a blessing as part of the papal audience in Vatican City. We told him that we were absolutely planning on it. Father Mike then proceeded to tell us about a blessing for newleyweds. He said that there is a special blessing for newleyweds (I believe within 1 or 2 months of getting married) and it required a formal invitation. As soon as we showed our enthusiasm for this amazing opportunity, Father Mike contacted the appropriate members of the Vatican and requested formal invitation for us to attend. He needed to send them some basic information about us, and got it all set up. All that was left for us to do was bring a copy of our marriage certificate from the church, our I.D.’s of course, and pick up our tickets the day before the blessing when we were in Rome.

We were informed before we left for our vacation that one of the requirements of this newleywed blessing was that the couple needed to wear wedding attire. My initial plan was to lug my big wedding dress out there but decided against it and went to a consignment shop to buy a lighter dress instead. I wore a cardigan because it was required that shoulders be covered. Picture in St. Peter’s Square when we arrived. We had to arrive a couple of hours early hence the lack of people present at this point.

Our seats were unbelievable.

There he is seated in his chair and giving blessings to different groups of visitors. We were about 20 yards away. We couldn’t believe we were that close to Pope Benedict XVI! It was a very surreal moment for us. When he was all done with his blessings he walked back towards his mini automobile, which was back our way a little bit. He gave a wave and Dana captured such an amazingly priceless photo! Isn’t that truly amazing?!

He drove around and then did one more final good-bye wave and we were even closer for that moment.

We were officially blessed by the Pope as newleywed’s. Talk about a great way to start your marriage! After the blessing, we also received rosaries that had been blessed by the Pope. We made our way over to the special doors where we were to receive our rosaries, found our way inside this beautiful building and each got one to take home with us.

If you are planning to visit Rome, I highly recommend going to see the Pope whether it is as part of the general audience, or as a newleywed. It was the highlight of our trip and such a special way for us to begin our life together.

We cannot thank Father Mike enough for enabling us to be a part of this special event. Without him, we would not have gotten to sit in the special seating up so close, and we would not have received the formal blessing as newleyweds. Thank you times a million Father Mike. It is a memory that will last forever.

This was the abbreviated version of our experience but it gives you a good idea of what it was like!

I’m off to work! Happy Fat Tuesday…today is my last day for sweets.

Continue Reading When in Rome

A big accomplishment

I’m going to keep this short and sweet. My computer is being completely slow and not acting normal at all. Dana was working on it all evening but no such luck. I still can’t transfer photos from our camera to my computer which is super annoying. Anyway, enough of that rant. Womp womppppp.


Lunch was identical to yesterday. I am really loving the pb banana wraps lately. I will try and branch out again soon to keep things interesting. Maybe.

I had a major accomplishment at work today. I resisted cupcakes. That doesn’t happen very often but I am trying to cut back on the excessive sugar because I have become slightly addicted to the sweet goodness of sugar and want to regain control over my sweet tooth. Plus they weren’t homemade so  I had an easier time saying no. 🙂

A cupcake from Crumbs.
Image via Wikipedia

After work I headed to the gym and ran/walked for 15 minutes on the treadmill, ellipticaled(??!) for 10 minutes, headed to the weights to work on triceps and chest, hopped back on the treadmill to walk it off for 5 more minutes. Then to the mats to work on some abs with the 6 lb medicine ball. Some days I challenge myself with the 8 lb-er and I’m thinking I should really start doing that more often than the 6 lb ball.


Dinner tonight involved no chopping, cooking, or cleaning. Only a trip down the road to Subway. Dana and I split a $5 footlong. Did you know it’s FebruAny and you can get any foot long sub for FIVE DOLLARS? What a steal, right? We got turkey on 9-grain honey oat bread, pepper jack cheese, loaded veggies, and honey mustard sauce. Dana got wasabi sauce on his half which is a little too spicy for me. Dinner really hit the spot and it was a nice break from the norm.

Like I said, I’m going to keep this short and sweet. I am so frustrated with my computer I can just feel my blood pressure rising. I’m hoping to be back up and running soon. I will keep posting as often as I can. Keep readin!

Hope everyone had a great Wednesday!

Continue Reading A big accomplishment

A Special Monday Treat

Well, hello there World! Yay, Monday’s over right?! You know my relationship with Mondays by now. We just don’t always get along so well. However I had something very fun to look forward to later in the evening. But first, breakfast.

This morning I went back to an old favorite, Blueberry Oatmeal. I decided to switch it up slightly and add a tablespoon of egg white in the baking process to bulk up the protein content a bit. This turned out amazingly berrylicious.

On the stove top I cooked 1/4 cup old fashioned oats, 1/4 cup almond milk, 1/4 cup water, 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed, and 1/4 cup frozen blueberries. I cooked this mixture on medium heat for about 2 minutes and then added 1 tablespoon liquid egg whites. I cooked for about 1 more minute, removed from heat and added stevia for some sweetness, along with brown sugar and 1/2 ripe banana. The result was creamy berry oats.

My lunch

Lunch was delayed slightly and cut short, but I had planned on going home for lunch therefore did not pack anything so still went home. I felt like I had to stuff my face which I HATE doing. I don’t like eating so fast because then I end up with a belly ache but knew I needed to eat enough to hold me over until after work. I started off with an Apple Cinnamon Chobani. Num! Then I had some Special K with Berries cereal, the rest of the  banana I had leftover from this morning, and a bite of peanut butter. Good, but random lunch that was lacking in the vegetable department. But I had plans for later that would make up for that.

The afternoon flew by at work and then I headed to the gym to get a quick workout in. I ran/walked 1 mile on the treadmill, then moved to the elliptical for 5 minutes, then headed to do some weights and abs. I don’t feel like I got the best workout in today. I went to a gym that I don’t usually go to so was unfamiliar with the setup of weights, and it was PACKED and wasn’t able to do everything I wanted in the amount of time I had. Oh, well. At least I did something active!

After the gym I headed out to meet a good friend, Courtney! We met at our dietetic internship in Wisconsin but she lives in the Twin Cities as well! We went through A LOT together in the internship and developed a very special bond.

We met at the Good Earth which is a wonderful restaurant that is all about natural, unprocessed foods. They get their food from local farmers and have developed a menu that I dream about. After about 6 minutes of contemplating, I decided on the vegetarian chili and tropical spinach salad and Courtney ordered the Vegetable Enchiladas.

While we waited for our dishes we grazed on some flat bread, whole grain bread and homemade hummus and gabbed away, catching up  on each others lives. Then our goodness arrived:

Vegetarian Chili: Garbanzo beans and seasonal vegetables, tomatoes and spices, topped with shredded cheddar jack cheese, blue corn chips and one of my most favorite herbs, CILANTRO! This was awesome.

And so was my salad. Tropical Spinach Salad was fresh spinach, mango, jicama, sweet red bell pepper, caramelized pecans, and served with a super tasty tahini poppyseed dressing. I ate every bite. I highly recommend Good Earth if you have one in the area. I have never eaten anything there that I didn’t absolutely love… and it’s organic!

I did snap a shot of Court’s Vegetable Enchiladas as well because I thought they looked very nummy. Thanks Court for trying to “rearrange” the dish to make it look prettier haha! In the mix was corn tortillas stuffed with zucchini, corn, tomatoes, poblano peppers, Monterey Jack cheese, and cilantro topped with their homemade enchilada sauce, brown rice,  lettuce, and black beans.

Two thumbs up Good Earth! Great as always, and even better company to enjoy the experience with. Thank you. Once dinner was over we continued to chit chat and then headed our separate ways. What a nice way to spend a Monday evening. I loved catching up and hope we can do it again soon Courtney!

Once I got home I turned out Bachelorette and that is where I am still! Oh the drama. We DVR’d The Next Great Baker Season Finale tonight and plan on watching that within the next couple days. Go Nadine! I am going to try and keep my head out of the entertainment world so I don’t find out the results before I watch the show but I have a feeling I won’t be able to avoid it.

Sleep well everyone! Good night.

Continue Reading A Special Monday Treat