Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Date Night Staying In

Well, this post is about 2 weeks late. But as I was scrolling through the pictures on my camera, I realized I never shared the amazing meal J cooked up for Valentines Day.

As I mentioned here, we decided to stay in this year. We really had no plan as to what to cook and come Valentine's Day morning, I wasn't sure what to do. I just didn't feel like cooking, and the idea of dining out was gaining steam. Have I told you how much I love my husband? Getting a text that said, don't worry, I'll take care of it made my day. Works been busy, lifes been busy, and the idea of cooking a big meal after work stressed me out. J's work schedule is a lot more flexible than mine at times, which certainly comes in handy when needed.

Like when he decides to pull out all the stops. Walking in the door to this was the best. Yes, the glass of wine was already poured for me - what a guy.

Appetizers: Red Zinfandel, Manchego cheese, and garlic/lemon olives to start. (Manchego cheese is my favorite cheese by far, give it a try. It's not too hard, has a creamy, nutty flavor, and a slightly gritty texture)

Main course: Grass-fed sirloin with a red wine, mushroom, and rosemary sauce, sautéed broad leaf kale, and mushroom risotto. This is the way to my heart I tell ya. Heavenly food, extra mushrooms, red wine. You just can't go wrong. And if you haven't tried grass-fed red meat yet, I suggest you do. The flavor is incredible. It's pricey, but great for a special occasion.

Yes, this is quite possibly the biggest piece of steak I've ever been served. Plenty for an extra meal for us, and Tuck!

And dining with this handsome fella ain't all that bad either. ;)

Compliments to the chef!

How was your Valentine's Day? Try any new restaurants? Cook up a new meal? I'd love to hear!

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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Stitch Fix #2

First off - Happy Birthday to my Mom! We seem to grow closer by the day and I am so lucky to have such a wonderful woman to look up to (and I really can't complain when people say we look alike - aren't I lucky?!). 

Sorry for the quality...stole this one off facebook.

We're getting warmer! My second StitchFix has arrived. I'm having mixed feelings about it. Part of me still loves the concept of it and am impressed with the  hand-picked, custom-to-you service. Something's missing for me. My stylist just seems to be a touch shy at picking what I'd absolutely love. But the personal note included in this package reiterating some of my comments from my last StitchFix makes me happy. They want to send me what I'll wear. But like I said, something just seems to be missing.

While I absolutely loved this first dress when I took it out of the box, the fit is all wrong. Totally bummed too. The color is great! Would have loved to have worn this to one of the many weddings we have this year. Sadly, my broad shoulders didn't work with this dress. And the cut did nothing for me either, no curves whatsoever.
Next up was a wrap dress. I don't even know the last time I wore one so I was hesitant to put it on. Funny how I go from having no hips above to woah nelly! below. 'ello hips. Sorry for the blurriness in these, quick moving here. This dress fit better than I was expecting, but I just don't see myself getting enough wear out of it. Even though it doesn't look it, it felt short due to the very flowy skirt. One wind gust and hello!

Next up was a sheer dot blouse. J and I had the same reaction when I took it out of the box, looks nice but ugh black. I don't wear black tops all that often I guess. But....I did love this top once on.
 Love the fit, the sheer overlay, the dots....even love the black! (though a bold color would be fun too)

Lastly, I received a cardigan and a scarf. Oh boy, the cardigan. It's tiny, it's sparkly, it has buttons with gems in the center. It is sooo not me. Short cardigans just do not work for me and my love handles.

The scarf on the other hand, is gorgeous! Bright, bold colors have me super excited for summer. I'm torn on whether to keep it or not right now. What do you think?

So what do we say, third time's a charm? I'm planning to keep the black dot blouse so the $20 service fee will come off the price of the blouse. Win!

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Monday, February 25, 2013

The Family Table

There are studies showing that families that eat meals together tend to stay together. It's an interesting concept, and obviously not always true, but in my personal experience, family meals are extremely important.

I'm so thankful to my parents for instilling in me the importance of eating dinner as a family. Yes, it's only J & I right now, and meals may end up getting eaten in front of the TV once and a while, but rarely does one of us eat without waiting for the other.

So although my must-have list is really not all that long, room for a large dining table is a must in our next home. If we were to have our immediate families over for dinner together - including parents, siblings, sibling-in-laws - we are looking at 13 ridiculously good-looking folks!

That being said, I find myself really drawn to a rustic farmhouse style table. But, a touch of chic by adding gorgeous chairs, or a dramatic chandelier. Something to add some glamour to the room. Here are a few dining rooms that I've fallen for.
Huge rustic table, modern white chairs
Link from Pinterest (via)

Herringbone floors, crystal chandelier, linen & nailhead upholstered chairs
Link from Pinterest (via)

Simple modern chairs, oversized chandelier, fresh flowers
Link from Pinterest (via)

I absolutely love the modern chairs in the first picture. Here's a way to really glam them up - 

I'm hoping that a dining room table is something we can tackle on our own. How fun would it be to feed our children someday at a table we built ourselves? Hopefully Ana White can help us out!

Have a wonderful Monday! J and I are off to see Imagine Dragons perform tonight. One of J's Christmas gifts from me. I know, I'm an awesome wife. Can't wait!

xoxo, T

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Friday, February 22, 2013

Fun Facts Friday

1. Congrats to my sister for creating her own blog! I am so excited to see what she'll be sharing on Live, Love, Dwell, Repeat. If you saw her home tour, you know that she has impeccable taste! *Update - I had absolutely no idea what her post was going to be about today, thanks for making me teary-eyed at work Jack!

2. It's the third weekend in a row of snow here in Boston. Enough already.

3. But snow up north is more than acceptable! Heading up to Maine next weekend for a few days of skiing. I can't believe we haven't been since New Years.

4. Oh man, my birthday is in just over a month and people are starting to ask what to get me. Boy, did that sneak up on me! Here's a few options...

T's Birthday Gifts

T's Birthday Gifts by talkative-tlc on Polyvore

5. Too many big purchases on the mind this year. I want them all.....

6. House hunting weekend #985 starts this weekend. Oy vey, we shall find it. 

7. I'm thinking this weekend, I might make very first lasagna. I can't believe I've never made one before....I guess because it's just the two of us? Well, if you have a great recipe, please send it my way! I'm thinking I'll bring one on our ski weekend next week. Yay or nay?

8. My second StitchFix comes today (first one here)! I am so eager to see what they chose! I will certainly let you know next week.

9. Thank you Rue La La for my new pair of Jack Rogers. I am in loooove with this print and gold border.

Ok, that's all I've got today. I hope you have a fabulous weekend!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Gym Jams

I'm baaaaack! Whew, it feels really good to be back at the gym. I don't know why I took so much time off, it just sort of happened. And it was incredibly hard to break the cycle of sleeping in. But when J & I sat down for our Valentine's Day meal, we started talking about Lent and what to give up. If I can think of something to better myself, I would rather do that than giving something up just for the heck of it. How does giving up the snooze button sound? Uh-mazing! You are a genious, J.

Sidenote - I am horrible about the snooze button. Legit, I've hit it for an hour many, many times. I don't know why, it just happens. Poor J.

So when I set my alarm for the gym in the morning, I've just got to do it. And damn it feels good (and so sore). 60 days to Florida is also a great motivator for us! 60-day shred baby!

Anyways, what the heck is this post about?! Ah, gym music. I cannot live run without music on the treadmill. Our first workout back at the gym was Monday night. I decided to start out on the treadmill and see how I felt. My goal was to run a 5k. If it was tough, slow down, but no stopping. Honestly, I don't think I could have ran it without my playlist - I felt great, and the upbeat music was the best.

Here are some of my go-to running jams. I should preface this by saying - gym workouts only. Some of this stuff is a bit too intense for me to listen to outside of a good workout, or occasionally when I need to really focus on work. Or the occasional dance party....Oh, and I am loving Calvin Harris lately. His Pandora station rocks my socks when I need a real good pick me up (cleaning, running, focusing on excel for far too long (nerd alert))

Did you picture me as an EDM fan? I know - crazy. But when running, I need something very motivating, and the beat to electronic music seems to keep me going.

J is awesome at finding new music for me so I have to give him credit for many of these (not my boy Calvin though). Let me know if any of these songs find their way onto your workout playlist!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Birchbox: February

My most recent birchbox was a hit! I thought I had already found the perfect curly hair cream, but this month's birchbox proved me wrong.

What did I get?

Let's see, the Tweek hair cream is awesome. My hair seems to be a little curlier with it, but still so soft. It's alcohol and silicone-free which definitely helps keep my hair healthy and frizz free.

When I first opened up this birchbox, I have to admit, I wasn't all that thrilled to see mascara. I'm in love with the Clinique masacaras (these two) and doubt I'll find anything I like better (I've tried). But, I decided I'd give the LashFushion a try when we headed out to a few open houses this past Sunday. Gotta say, I was pleasantly surprised! It won't be replacing Clinique for me, but I've been using it during the week, saving the lash lengthening mascara I have for nights out.

The Juicy Couture perfume is nice! Do I plan to buy the full size? Probably not. But, I like it enough to put the trial size in my travel bag for future uses.

And lastly, the mattifying moisurizer is awesome. It really works! I was telling my sister about it one afternoon and she asked me if it worked. I ran walked quickly to the office bathroom and checked out my skin. No shine! I checked again once home from work, still no shine. W-o-w. The only downfall to this moisturizer? No SPF! Really?! I am definitely not the safest girl on the beach when it comes to SPF, but I do try to wear it daily on my face. So this past week I've used a thin layer of the mattifying moisturizer, a thin layer of my regular Olay moisturizer, and then a thin layer of the Olay CC cream I picked up (and loooove). Thank goodness the weather has been cold and dry, otherwise I think this triple-layer of moisturizer would cause me to have some serious breakouts.

Thank you for another month of great products Birchbox!

Want to check out my past reviews? JanuaryDecemberNovemberSeptember/OctoberJuly/August

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Travel Bug

Oh, the travel bug is starting to get me. There are so many places I am dying to see. Patience is a virtue right?

My motto:



How neat would it be to go to a hot air balloon festival? It is certainly on my list!

Ah, Paris. Someday soon I hope.

How about you? Any travel plans coming up? We're heading to Florida in April and that can't come soon enough!

Happy travels!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Pulled Pork

First off - Happy Valentine's Day! Any big plans for the evening with your special someone? J & I have decided to lay low this year. House shopping costs more than enough, so no flowers, no special dinner out, nada this year. We'll be hanging in and cooking a nice meal at home. 

Seeing as I don't even know when the last time I made it to the gym was, lets stick with food. How about another great recipe?

For some reason, I always forget I can use my crockpot to cook for us. Maybe it's because I don't have any family recipes or even memories, of crock pot meals. Maybe it's because I picked our crock pot up for a whopping $15 at Walmart one day, it has no pre-set timer, just high/low/keep warm. I have no idea. But what I do know, is that when I remember to use it, the meals are always amazing.

Who doesn't like pulled pork? So good. J & I love BBQ food. You just can't go wrong. We had a package of pork chops in the fridge that needed to be cooked this weekend. Unfortunately, I had little desire to stand over the stovetop and cook a big meal. This past weekend was all about relaxing, in between shoveling....

I started out by throwing in things we had that I remembered using the last time I made pulled pork, but then decided I'd double check a recipe. This recipe to be precise.

Because I was cooking for just J & I, and because I followed this recipe very loosely for 2 people versus 6, here's my rendition of it.

Ingredients - Serves 3 (a little extra for lunch the next day!)
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
1 lb pork chops
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon chile powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablesoon brown sugar
8 ounces water
1 cup barbecue sauce

Place the onion in the bottom of the crock pot and lay the pork chops on top. Sprinkle in the seasonings, pour in the water (I avoided the meat so that the seasonings would stay put). Crock pot cooking is that easy.

I cooked this concoction on low for about 6 hours. When we came in from shoveling out my car, the condo smelled amazing! I have to thank the cinnamon. This was the first time I've added cinnamon before and it was a great addition. I may have even heard J say this was the best ever....
Not the greatest photo, coloring seems off from the seasonings and cooked fat, but I promise you it's tasty!

Once done, we shredded the pork on a cutting board, drained the excess water from the crock pot, placed the shredded pork back in and mixed in the barbecue sauce.

And, if you know me, you know that BBQ must come with a side of mac n cheese. It's bad, but I just love that stuff!

I think next time I'll opt for fresh garlic versus garlic powder but other than that, I'll be saving this recipe for a future use! Nothing like an easy, delicious meal to serve up during a snow storm. If you give it a try, let me know what you think! Do you normally put cinnamon in your pulled pork recipe? J & I were both very pleasantly surprised by it.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

WIWW: Office Attire

Remember when I mentioned that one of the StitchFix tops I received closely resembled a top I already owned? Well, here she is.

Although my current job is more laid back in the dress code than what I wore in public accounting (read: less button downs, more knits & less skirts, more pants) it's nice to step up my attire once and a while.

Top: Alfani (via Macys)
Skirt: TJMaxx
Tights: Calvin Klein (via Macys)
Black Wedges: Nine West

Do you see why I just couldn't justify keeping that other top? I did love it though. A high waisted, black, pencil skirt is pretty much flattering on everyone. You just can't go wrong. I'm hoping to branch out into some fun, colored pencil skirts this spring. Anyone else counting down the days until warmer weather?...

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Pocket Doors

Since I used my Monday post to recap Nemo, today I'm getting back to my weekly home design post.

How do you feel about pocket doors? Indifferent? I was certainly indifferent to them until I lived with them. And you know what? They are just plain awesome.

I can't say for sure how many years ago my parents put an addition on their house, maybe 12 years ago (mom?) and they opted to put a pocket door in for the hall bathroom. Genius! What a space saver. I loved the idea of it.

The condo J and I purchased is actually deeded as a 2 bedroom - the second bedroom being where our living room is. But because it's technically a bedroom, there's a set of doors separating the kitchen from it - in the form of double pocket doors. It is such a great use of the existing walls. And it's nice to give any guests who spend the night in our guest room living room a little privacy. As an early bird, I love that I can get up, get the coffee going, take Tucker out, etc and not disturb guests.

Would you consider pocket doors if you were given the opportunity? Here are a couple rooms with pocket doors that I'd love to have in my future home.

Pocket doors to the outdoors? Seriously? Amazing.

What do you think? Are pocket doors for you? 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Blizzard Nemo

I know many of you are in the same position we're in over here, shoveling ourselves out from this snow storm. Um, where the heck do we put all this snow?!

First things first, who chose the name Nemo? I don't know when they decided to start naming blizzards but using sweet Disney characters just seems to strange!

We got about 2 feet here in Boston and spent a few hours Saturday clearing the sidewalk off, as well as J's car. My car was another story...and we had no energy left Saturday for it. Sunday we headed out at noon to clear my car and didn't get back inside until 2. I was exhausted.

Here's a recap of Nemo through pictures:

Friday night the emergency light outside our place was aglow. We kind of forget about this light since it's rarely on.

By Saturday morning, the snow on our deck was up to my waist. Tuck wouldn't go near it.

Opened the front door and holy smokes there is a lot of snow! That would be my car buried under that snow mound...
 Tucker was pretty hesitant to go out there. 
 A view down our street. The left side of the street (our side) seemed to get hit by all of the snow drifts.

 The plows decided to use our corner to push snow/store snow. Gee thanks, now we have 6 feet of snow to move. The sidewalk in front of our place is our responsibility and we take it seriously. We don't want anyone slipping and sliding on our property. That would not be good!
 Love living in a corner unit for all of the extra windows....downside? A lot more sidewalk to shovel! Good thing J is a machine when it comes to shoveling.
 Ugh, snow hanging over our roof. This makes me really nervous!
 During snow emergencies, you cannot park on the main street. And from Friday at 4pm to Saturday at 4pm, the state had mandated a travel ban. So strange to see the streets empty!

 Even stranger than seeing no cars, seeing everyone walking in the road to get around!

Tucker supervised from here...

Finally digging my car out. 2 feet of snow piled up. Somebody get me a garage stat.

The weather Sunday was gorgeous. Blue skies and fairly warm. Hopefully the weather stays warm this week to help get rid of this snow! For those of you still without power I really hope it comes back soon. Positive thinking.

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