Five For Friday

Happy Friday everyone!  Here are five things I’m looking forward to this weekend!

1) 90 degrees and sunny on Saturday.  Perfect for sitting at the pool.

2) The pool will be the perfect place to read these

3) Planting some herbs on the balcony

4) Date Night on Saturday at Zaika

5) Vintage Virginia Wine Festival on Sunday

What are your weekend plans?

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What I Ate Wednesday

This week is really flying by for me.  I can’t believe it is already Wednesday! Only 2 more days of work until some really nice weekend weather.

As I’ve started to record what I eat, when you know you’re posting pictures of what you ate for all of the interwebs to see, it makes you want to make better choices.  If that is going to help me eat a bit healthier, I’m going with it!  Without further ado, my eats for today.

Breakfast: blueberry oat cake and coffee with milk and sugar

20130529Breakfast

I baked the cake last night with the blueberries that were starting to go soft.  Mine totally looks the same as the Martha Stewart Living recipe right?

Blueberry Oat Cake

Lunch: grilled buffalo chicken sandwich on wheat from Potbelly.  Toppings included hot sauce, lettuce, tomato and blue cheese.  Enjoyed with a side of watermelon and seltzer.

20130529 Lunch

Snack: sliced banana with peanut butter.  The honey roasted peanut butter from Whole Foods is awesome.

20130529 Snack

Dinner: sushi and wine to celebrate a friend’s last day of work

20130529 Dinner

Weekly Meal Plan

Normally I make the meal plan and we grocery shop over the weekend, but with the long weekend everything got shifted a bit.  I typically try and make a plan that incorporates the sales for that week and if I’m using only a small portion of a something, I try and make something later in the week that would use the rest of it.

We’re trying 2 new recipes this week!  Zucchini Boats we’ve had before, but summer squashes and italian sausage were on sale this week so it seemed like the perfect thing. Other things on sale included cherry tomatoes, fresh corn, frozen shrimp, red peppers and avocado.

On the menu for us

Tuesday: Grilled Salmon and Yellow Squash with Red Pepper Sauce

Wednesday: Out for sushi for a friend’s last day of her old job

Thursday: Spicy Grilled Shrimp with Quinoa Salad

Friday: Sausage Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Saturday: Spicy Black Bean Burgers and Corn

The black bean burgers are a new to me item that my sister recommended.  I figure we’ll have some leftover tomatoes and avocado to create a fresh salsa of sorts to top them with.

Surprise Visit Weekend

Way back in March my mom and I planned a surprise for my sister and dad. I would come home to Connecticut for Memorial Day weekend to surprise them.  My sister goes to school in Minnesota and was only home for a week in between the end of the semester and her internship. Since we weren’t telling her we figured why not keep it a secret from dad too.

Although it went a bit differently than planned, the surprise still worked! My flight was supposed to leave Reagan at 10:05 pm, but with all the crazy thunderstorms going on, the departure board looked like this:

Airport DelaysMy 10:05 flight was delayed to 10:50, then 11:05, back to 10:50 then 11:20. Once we actually got on the plane, air traffic control put a hold on all flights going the direction we were due to some isolated storms. We finally took off around 12:30 am, flew faster than normal and landed in Hartford at 1:15 am.  Surprisingly it wasn’t as bumpy of a ride as I was expecting but I still felt much better being on the ground! By the time I got to my parent’s house it was 2 in the morning so everyone was asleep. The surprise waited until morning when they woke up. Both of them had no idea I was coming and my sister even had a few tears, especially when I told her I’d made a few appointments for us to go shopping for wedding dresses.

Other than the rainy weather on Saturday and Sunday, it was a nice to spend the weekend at home and see my family and dog. I even got some exercise in. Mom, Molly and I went to yoga on Saturday morning and Monday morning at The Yoga Shop.

Tired Gertie

Such a tough life of napping for Gertie

Friday Lunch at Higashi

Sushi Lunch

L14A

Dress Shopping (didn’t buy this one)

Dress Shopping

At Stars of Avon

Bowling at Foxwoods Casino

Bowling at Foxwoods

Classy, right?

On Monday the sun came out just long enough for me to get sunburned and enjoy one of these:

Beer on the PatioAfter that it was time for my flight back to DC sitting in front of the screaming baby.  At least the flight was on time?

Who else is excited for a 4 day work week?

Couch of Pug

Look what arrived in the mail today!  The pug pillow from Naked Decor that I ordered the other day.  When we got back from Kansas on Sunday, there was a festival going on in the neighborhood.  We wandered around a bit and stumbled upon the booth with pet pillows.  They were out of pugs, but we were given a business card with the website and a discount code to use to get the same pricing they offered at the festival.

Since it isn’t the right time to get a pet pug, a pug pillow is the next best thing right?  The best part is that it already matches our couch!

Pug Pillow Face

It even has images on both sides.

Pug Pillow BodyI’m probably way more excited about this pillow than I should be, I can only imagine the excitement when we come home with the real thing.  I’m totally going to be one of those people.  Hopefully not too crazy?

Do you have a dog?  If you do, what breed is it?

What I Ate Wednesday

Breakfast: Coffee with a big bowl of fresh fruit

Breakfast 20130522

Lunch from Wendy’s: Spicy Chicken sandwich and french fries

Lunch 20130522Dinner: Chicken with onion, frozen peas and carrots in indian simmer sauce.  The sauce is butter chicken and was a new flavor for us.  I thought it was good, a bit sweet almost.  Served alongside basmati rice and the last of the cauliflower rice from the other day mixed in.

Dinner 20130522

Off to go for our new ritual of an evening walk! And by new I mean we’ve gone on a walk the past two nights on the trails around our neighborhood.  I’ve found it to a nice way to unwind and spend some time together doing something active instead of mindlessly watching TV.  Not that we have to go everyday, but I hope we can make it a habit to do something active together a few days a week.

Wedding Venue

In my mind, selecting the wedding venue was the first big decision of wedding planning that needed to be made.  After the venue was selected, then a date could be selected and everything else will be able to fall into place around it.  I’m hoping this proves to be the case, but I won’t know for sure until many months from now!

Sometimes I wonder how we functioned before search engines like Google.  I found so many possibilities that I probably wouldn’t have known existed if they hadn’t been all presented to me in link form in a matter of seconds.  I thought that picking a venue would be similar to picking a college.  You would select a handful of places to visit, and just get a feeling of “yes, I could see myself here” at one of them.  This was not the case for us.

We narrowed our search to places that would be under an hour drive from the church and narrowed further to the eight we thought would give us a variety.  Then we picked a weekend to drive up to Connecticut and shoved 4 appointments each into Saturday and Sunday.  We visited a rustic barn, a historic mansion, a boathouse on the river, a country club, a banquet hall on the river, a banquet hall attached to a restaurant, a banquet hall in a park and a downtown ballroom.

Of the eight places we visited, four of them stuck out to us.  When we got back to Virginia, we sat down and wrote out what we liked and didn’t like about each and narrowed ourselves down to two.  Or so we thought.  After talking about it with our families, one of the two we were considering was discarded and replaced with something we’d originally eliminated.  It was back to the drawing board for a few days.  After much conversation, a few tears and the realization that you can’t please everyone nor can you base your decision on only a few people, we were ready.

We selected the country club as our venue and couldn’t be more excited!  Looking back, this was the place we were both originally leaning towards which helped solidify that this was the place for us.

Our options for Fridays in May and June were fairly open.  We didn’t have our heart set on a certain date, so we went with June 6th.  Our dating anniversary is June 5th so this seemed perfect!

A few details about the venue:

There is a giant window that overlooks the grounds of the golf course and is the focal point of the room.

We will be able to create an all inclusive package for appetizers, dinner, drinks and the cake.  Since we’re planning long distance this will definitely be helpful rather than having to work with different vendors for each of these things.

A coordinator is assigned to help us along the way

25 minute drive from the church and 10 minutes to the nearest hotel

We have customization options with linens or chair ribbons

Monday Meal Planning

Kitchen

Being gone for a week and eating out the whole time sure does make you crave some meals that you cook yourself.  Here’s what’s on our menu this week:

Dinners

Moroccan Meatballs (with beef instead of lamb) and my first attempt at cauliflower rice.

Homemade pizza

Chicken in indian simmer sauce with rice

Ravioli with marinara sauce

After seeing those meatballs on Rachel’s menu plan for the past few weeks I figured this recipe had to be a hit.  The other things make regular appearances on our menu.  We typically buy the jar of Patak’s simmer sauce, it is the one with the purple label and add in some vegetables.

Lunches

Leftovers

And probably a lunch out at the deli down the road

Breakfasts

Green Smoothies

Fruit and Yogurt

So much fruit on sale at the grocery store lately.  I’ve got cantalope, blueberries and some watermelon to eat this week.

I’m leaving the weekend open at this point in anticipation of some cookouts for Memorial Day.

I’ve been slacking on my water consumption lately.  I’m setting myself a goal of drinking 2-3 of my 750ml camelback water bottle which will give me a 50-75 oz total.

Kansas City Wedding

Our friends are married and the wedding was wonderful!

The ceremony and reception took place at a country club just outside of Kansas City. The bride had always wanted to be married outside, and the weather was just perfect for it.  The ceremony took place at 5:30pm, so it had just started to cool off and not a rain cloud in sight.

It really was a beautiful setting for a wedding.  Here we are with the ceremony site in the background.

Zac and Amanda outside

After the ceremony, the bride and groom drove off into the distance in a golf cart with a just married sign off the back.  The guests filed inside for cocktail hour.  Zac and I sat at table four and as someone who enjoys wine, I loved the table numbering system.

Bottle Centerpiece

The table runners were a really great idea to involve the families.  They were a collage of wedding photos from the parents and grandparents of the bride and groom.  There may have been a great grandparent photo in there as well.

Table Runner

We ate a buffet dinner of spinach salad, potato salad, mac and cheese, and beef brisket.  The wedding cake was red velvet which is one of my favorites.  The cake had both sunflowers and wine grapes as decoration.  The bride and groom danced to “Take Me The Way I Am” by Ingrid Michaelson.

We danced the rest of the night away to a great mix of country, oldies but goodies and current hits.  The reception wrapped up around 11:30 pm and we headed back to the hotel and crashed.  Our flight back to DC was bright and early this morning at 7:35 am.

After attending this wedding, I am glad we chose to have our reception at a country club.  More on how we chose in another post!

Have you attended a wedding recently?

Were there any details you really liked?

Kansas City BBQ

We are attending a wedding in Kansas City this weekend of a friend of ours from high school.  The whole trip worked out extremely well as I was already coming out to Topeka for work, so I could just stay through the weekend.  Zac was able to come in earlier which saved on the flight and also got to spend some time with the groom yesterday.

I worked a half day at the office and then we made the trip from Topeka to Kansas City.  We arrived at the hotel around one in the afternoon and headed out for a late lunch and to explore the area.

KC Skyline

We are staying at a Courtyard Marriott and the room has a great view of downtown.  We’re sharing it with another friend so with 3 people in the room it’s a bit of a mess already!

After lunch, we headed into downtown Kansas City.  We wandered around a bit and visited to the College Basketball Hall of Fame.

College Basketball Hall of Fame

ShootingAfter the Hall of Fame we rushed over to make the last tour of the day at Boulevard Brewery.  The tour was about 45 minutes and afterwards we got to try four beers of our choice.  I tried the Test Nelson, 80 Acre Wheat, Dry Stout and Tank 7.

Brewery Tour

For dinner, we went to get some authentic Kansas City BBQ at Jack Stack.  We split the Roundup combo.  It had ribs, sliced pork, sliced beef, sliced ham and three sides.  So much food! We left stuffed with deliciousness.

BBQ Dinner

Off to bed, we’ve got a wedding to go to tomorrow!