Throwback Thursday: My 30th Birthday

So, I turned THIRTY this year. I had a bit of a freakout realizing I am no longer in the 20-29 range when filling out a registration check box for something. Thankfully, I ended up getting over that pretty quickly. We had an amazing weekend in Maryland and we have a lot to look forward to this year so here we go, 30.

I came upstairs to the biggest balloon bouquet as soon as I woke up (I’ll spare you the picture of me in my pajamas)

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Shortly after breakfast, my grandma and I jumped into the car to pick up a sweet treat from a local bakery. These were mini cupcakes and they were VERY good! I enjoy mini cupcakes better than big ones so I can try a taste of each one.

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Adam made dinner reservations for the two of us in Baltimore at Woodberry Kitchen. If you are ever in the Baltimore area, I highly recommend this restaurant! The restaurant is not high-end but it’s charming atmosphere, skilled service and phenomenal food puts this high on my top food list.

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We started off with two appetizers. Homemade chips with a sour cream and onion dip and a sweet corn soup with lump crab meat. I wish I could recreate both!

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For dinner I ordered the chicken and biscuit dish and Adam had the seafood jambalaya. I never order chicken at a restaurant but this particular dish was pushed by our waiter. I am so glad I did because it was cooked to perfection!

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We ordered a CMP for dessert (cream, marshmallow and peanuts) and they also brought out a mini chocolate cupcake wishing me a happy birthday.

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I don’t think you can go wrong with anything on the menu here.

The next day my mom planned a dinner with our large family at a new restaurant in Annapolis, MD, Blackwall Hitch, and my Aunt even flew up from Florida to surprise me!

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My mom isn’t one for crafting but she worked hard putting everything together and it all turned out beautifully! The restaurant was very impressive getting all 20 of us all the correct food and everything tasted delicious. Adam ordered a Lilly Pulitzer theme cake from Cakes by Rachael that was funfetti on the inside with salted caramel buttercream filling. Yes, that is real life.

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It was a perfect weekend with the most perfect people. Bring on 30!

Valentine’s Day {Menu} at Home

Since we are expecting a nor’easter (which is the norm around here lately) tomorrow we’ve decided to cancel our reservations at Catch and enjoy dinner at home for Valentine’s Day. Adam will be taking over the appetizers & main course parts of the meal and I’ll be in charge of the drinks + dessert. Here is what is on our menu!

Appetizer:

Fresh Peach Crostini with Whipped Honey Feta & Balsamic Drizzle (via Iowa Girl Eats)

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Main Course: 

Caesar Salad with Heart Croutons (via Martha Stewart)

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Classic Shrimp Scampi (via Brown Sugar)

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Dessert:

Chocolate Covered Strawberries (via The Yummy Life)

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Drink: 

Strawberry Heart Mojitos (via Young Married Chic)

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Eating in also saves money + calories and we could afford to save a little of both right now in anticipation of our 9 day trip to California! 3 more weeks til we’re out of this snow can’t come soon enough… What are you doing for Valentine’s Day? If you’re staying home, what’s on your menu?

 

DIY Valentine’s Day Gift

Adam and I tend not to make a big deal out of Valentine’s Day. Fighting the crowds and paying for overpriced meals when its negative degrees outside just isn’t as fun when you’re old 😉 . I love crafting from mason jars because they are so easy to work with. I made the good news jar with a mason jar back in January and I’ve used them for multiple times at bridal showers. If you are looking for an easy and inexpensive gift, this is perfect for you!

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What you’ll need:

  • Popsicle Sticks
  • Washi Tape (or paint)
  • Label Maker (or marker if you use paint!)
  • Mason Jar
  • Ribbon for Jar
  • Tag to tie on to ribbon that says “Date Jar”

Instructions:

  • Add washi tape to popsicle sticks and add your date idea labels on top of that

OR

  • Paint popsicle sticks (red & pink) and write your date ideas on top of it with a paint pen

I would make each design / color a different category. Example: Red — Expensive. Pink — Less Expensive. White — Stay at home. Below are some of my ideas by category.

 

Expensive:

  • Couples Massages
  • Winery Tour / Overnight stay at a Bed & Breakfast
  • Dance Lessons
  • Cooking Class
  • Booking a limo for a fancy dinner
  • Weekend Getaway
  • Broadway Show
  • Dinner Cruise

Less Expensive:

  • Beach Date
  • Hiking Date
  • Ice Skating & Hot Chocolate
  • Dessert Only Date
  • Coffee & Croissant Date
  • Boozy Brunch Date
  • Movie Date
  • Rock Wall Climbing
  • Bowling
  • Cheese & Wine Tasting
  • Comedy Club
  • Sunrise or Sunset watching
  • Happy Hour
  • Fro-Yo
  • Fondue Date
  • Art Gallery
  • Picnic at the park
  • Running Date (5k)
  • Golf / Driving Range
  • Jet-Ski’s
  • Tandem Bike riding
  • Painting Class
  • Kayaking (or Paddle boarding) on the Hudson
  • Burgers & Shake date

At Home:

  • TV Series Marathon
  • Chopped Competition
  • Board Games
  • Champagne by the fire (or the heater haha)
  • Breakfast in Bed
  • Take-out
  • Make personal pizzas from scratch
  • 1,000 piece puzzle
  • Football and Wings
  • Popcorn & Romantic Comedy
  • Breakfast for Dinner
  • Make a fancy dessert together
  • Dinner on our patio
  • Home improvement project

 

What would you add to this date jar? Always looking for ideas 🙂

 

Gift Guide: Your Guy

Holiday Gift Guides are back! One of my favorite things to do is give others gifts. I’m not going to lie, I like receiving as well… But picking out the perfect gift for a loved one (without them asking) always makes me happy.

Here are my favorite picks for guys this year.

Gift Guide: Your Guy
1. BeerTender — This is perfect for your guys “man cave”. Always a cold draught on hand.
2. NorthFace eTip Gloves – Warmth and able to play candy crush on your phone.. My husbands dream
3. Golfer BBQ Grill Utensils – These are fun for a man who has everything, loves to golf and can be seen manning the grill.
4. Whisky Stones – Nobody likes watered down whiskey (or vodka).
5.  Bowflex Adjustable Dumbbells – Perfect for an at home gym – each dumbbell can be 2.5 to 52.5 pounds.
6. Personalized Bottle of Tabasco – I know Adam puts tabasco on EVERYTHING so this gallon would last him about a month.
7.  Guy Gourmet Cookbook – For the men who are the chefs at home.
8.  Facial Hair Care Set – For the trendy man
9. Multi-tool Tripod –  An adjustable cell phone and screw-in camera mount and two foldable legs that serve as a tripod. The rest of the tool is all Gerber ingenuity – a fine edge blade, a serrated blade, three screwdrivers, a bottle opener, pliers and wire cutters.
10. Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones  – Hopefully he isn’t using these to drown out you and your crying baby.
11. Monogrammed Leather Toiletry Bag – My brother was once seen carrying a target bag with his overnight items. That is a no-no.

See other gift guides here: Fashionista, Fitness Freak, Your Man & The Hostess

Fall Date Ideas

As much as I hate to see summer go, I don’t mind fall. It’s winter that I have no patience for! Fall means football, pumpkin and leather boots. That, I can do. In the summer we are always on the go, beach one weekend, wedding the next, bachelorette party after that… So when fall hits, we take time to ourselves to enjoy plenty of “date nights”.

Here are some of our favorites.

Visit a pumpkin/apple picking farm.

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These farms usually have warm apple cider doughnuts and fresh pumpkin ice cream available. I usually go for both.

photo (17) Tailgate at a football game

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There is nothing more enjoyable to a man than drinking beer at a football game. Round up some friends, bring your grill and make your husband happy. We can’t always expect them to do our girly dates!

Take a drive to see the fall foliage

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We took a drive upstate New York one weekend and were in awe seeing how pretty life was out of the city. It’s pretty in the city too, but we don’t see views like this!

Go on a Hot Air Balloon Ride

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I’ve never been but it’s definitely on my bucket list… Hint Hint Adam!

Bake a sweet treat with the items you picked at the farm

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Sometimes I like to enjoy “dessert only” dinners. Caramel Chocolate Dipped apples are approved!

Visit your local Renaissance Festival

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These festivals are known for beer garden’s, giant turkey legs and lots of fun. I’ve never dressed up, but love to see the people who do. They really get creative with their outfits.

Take a walk to your favorite Sunday Brunch spot

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Whole Wheat pancakes for me and eggs benedict for Adam. We didn’t technically “walk” to this brunch spot because it is in NYC, but we did walk around the city after stuffing ourselves silly.

Wake up to watch an early morning sunrise

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I watch a lot of sunrise and sunsets and I can tell you that the prettiest ones are during Autumn. It might be difficult to catch a sunset with work schedules so make an effort to wake up early and watch the sun rise.

Catch up over Hot Chocolate

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Sometimes life gets crazy and you need to get rid of the distractions. Sit down at a quiet coffee shop, no tv, no computer, no phones and catch up with your spouse. It’s the little things that count…

 

What are your favorite fall date ideas?

 

Guest Post: Baked Chicken Parm with Zucchini Pasta

Happy Wednesday! I have a guest post for you today by the amazing Ali. She uses one of my favorite kitchen tools to prepare creative dishes so her boyfriend eats more of the green stuff… When i first met Adam, he ate ZERO veggies. Um, this isn’t going to work for me… Adam slowly but surely came around and eats his greens with almost every meal. But the one thing I’ve been having trouble getting him on board with, is zucchini pasta. Ali to the rescue!

A Healthy Bowl of Manly Pasta: Getting The Man in Your Life to Eat Zucchini Pasta

The first time we met, Alyssa told me she already owned a spiralizer. Of course, I then realized that we’d be instant friends. She had told me that she tried making some zucchini pasta dishes for her husband, but he wasn’t exactly thrilled. I took this as a challenge and offered to guest blog for her and create a recipe JUST for ‘Life a la Wife.’ Now, here we are.

For those of you who haven’t heard of me, I’m Ali, the blogger at Inspiralized, a website dedicated 100% to spiralizing. Spiralizing is the act of converting whole vegetables into noodles by using a spiralizer (an inexpensive plastic counter-top kitchen tool) By replacing regular wheat pasta with these veggie noodles, you’re sneaking in more vegetables into your diet while reducing your calorie and carb intake! Find out more about this cooking method by visiting my blog, Inspiralized.com.

Although I’m not married (not yet!), I have been living with my boyfriend for about 6 months and completely understand the constant struggle between cooking healthy and cooking for a man. Most men are not as calorie conscious as us ladies are and I get it…. If I had the metabolism of a dude, I’d be wolfing down triple-decker peanut butter and jellies like there’s no tomorrow!

Everyone (especially men) love pasta. Zucchini pasta is a healthier, low-calorie, low-carb alternative to regular pasta. In order to get your man’s feet wet to the zucchini pasta movement, I present to you a dish that he’ll not only be impressed with, but will feel better after eating. In this healthier version of the classic Italian Chicken Parmesan, I skipped the frying of the breaded chicken in oil and baked it instead. I’ve also excluded butter and have used homemade whole wheat breadcrumbs.

Next time you make one of my healthy Inspiralized dishes and mention “zucchini pasta” he won’t shrug his shoulders or roll his eyes – he’ll be excited for a big bowl of pasta! The couple that eats healthy together stays together, I say.

NOTE: Recreate this in a skinny version for yourself by skipping the breading of the chicken. Then, when adding the mozzarella to melt, use half the amount of cheese. After plating, top with 1-2 tablespoons of breadcrumbs to get a bit more of that crunchy chicken parmesan feel. Almost half the calories and just as much deliciousness. Now you can eat alongside your manly man and not feel as guilty!

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Baked Chicken Parmesan with Zucchini Pasta

Serving size: 1
Time to prepare: 10 minutes
Time to cook: 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 zucchini, Blade C
  • 3/4 cup marinara sauce OR 1 cup of my tomato basil sauce (below)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 piece of whole wheat bread
  • 1/4 tsp oregano flakes
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 chicken breast
  • 1 long ball of mozzarella cheese
  • cooking spray
  • 3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

For the tomato basil sauce (makes 1 cup)

  • 1/3 cup of chopped onions
  • 1 (14oz) can of diced tomatoes, no salt added
  • 1 pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp oregano flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup loosely packed basil

Directions

Preheat the oven to 405 degrees.

Place your piece of bread into a food processor and pulse into breadcrumbs. Pour into a bowl and season with the oregano, garlic powder and then salt and pepper to taste.

Take out a baking dish or tray and pour the breadcrumbs onto the tray. Add in Parmesan cheese and mix thoroughly to combine. Set aside.

Start your sauce. Place a large skillet over medium heat and pour in olive oil. Once oil heats, add in garlic. Cook for 30 seconds and then add in red pepper flakes. Cook for 10 seconds and then add in onions. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes or until onions begin to soften and are translucent. Add in diced tomatoes, oregano and season with salt and pepper. Crush tomatoes with a potato crusher, stir and lower heat. Simmer for 15 minutes.

Coat a baking dish with cooking spray. Dredge your chicken in the beaten egg then dip in the breadcrumb-Parmesan mixture. Dip on both sides and pat breadcrumbs into any crevices on the chicken breast. Place on the baking tray and put into the oven for 17-20 minutes, depending on how thick the chicken breast (thicker = longer).

Continue to simmer the tomato sauce until all the juice is absorbed. Once done, reserve half of the sauce and keep the rest in the skillet, but turn off the heat.

After the chicken is done, take out, pour on the half cup of tomato basil sauce, top with mozzarella slice and place back in the oven for 5 minutes or until the cheese melts and starts to lightly brown on top.

While the chicken is cooking for the last 5 minutes, turn the skillet back on, throw in the zucchini spaghetti, and toss to combine, cooking for 3 minutes or until zucchini softens and sauce is heated. Place the zucchini pasta down on a plate and set aside.

Top the pasta with the Chicken Parmesan and serve to your thankful and adoring husband! This dish is sure to please his tastebuds.

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Thanks Ali!! Adam has already asked me when I will be recreating this for him… Better get on it!

Weekend Stuff

Chocolate Protein Oats

Chocolate Protein Oats

 

Trying out a new location

Trying out a new location 

 

Bowling

Bowling 

 

My husband didn't let me win once. #rude

My husband didn’t let me win once. #rude 

 

Whole Foods Bar

My Favorite kind of Bar 

 

 

OK, fine... Maybe this is my favorite kind of bar.

OK, fine… Maybe this is my favorite kind of bar.

 

Yep, most definitely.

Yep, most definitely. 

 

 

Sunshine

Sunshine 

 

Hoboken

Hoboken 

 

Banana Smoothie

Banana Smoothie 

 

Accessories

Accessories 

 

We chose two different items. Guesses?

We chose two different items. Guesses? 

 

How-to

How-to 

 

Great recipes!

Great recipes! 

 

Check it out..

Check it out.. 

 

No bake cake for the win.

No bake cake for the win.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stanton Social

Friday night Adam took me into the city to celebrate my new job & our 6 month wedding anniversary! I chose Stanton Social because it’s been on my foodie bucket list for a while now!

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We made the reservation 3 weeks in advance and were a bit annoyed when they sat us in the very front of the restaurant, next to the door and squished at a table with 2 other couples. The dining lounge was clearly the place to be, but luckily the food made up for it!

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Say hello to my cute little date!

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We ordered a TON of different items but since the food is served tapas style it ended up being just enough.

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Crab Cake “Corn Dogs” — Since I’m a Maryland girl, you know I love my crab cakes! These weren’t lump crab but they were still very tasty. I loved the corn breading and the remoulade it was served in. It had the perfect kick.

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The Ahi Tuna tataki was our favorite dish (out of the 8!) of the night. The tuna was seared to perfection, the wonton stayed crispy despite the dollop of sauce and fresno chili topped it off with just enough spiciness.

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Shrimp & Grits was our next choice and can you believe I’ve never tried grits!? These grits were so cheesy and they were topped with two pieces of jumbo shrimp. The creole sauce that was poured on top of the duo was slurp-worthy.

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OK – The reason I even knew about this place was because the food network stars RAVE about the french onion soup dumplings on the show “the best thing I’ve ever ate”. They weren’t kidding when they said these are amazing! They come out super hot so you need to let them cool for a good 10 minutes but it’s well worth the wait. You get all of the taste in one cheesy bite!

4I ordered the Sriracha Pea Crusted Salmon for my “main course”. These were still technically tapas but i could only finish half since we had the 4 appetizers prior. The salmon came with an asian pesto & soba noodle-beet salad. I was expecting the soba salad to be warm but it was cold. I’m not really a cold noodle fan but it paired with the spicy salmon quite well.

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Adam ordered the cuban spiced glazed ribs for his main course and they were fall off the bone. The ribs had a mango and chipotle glaze and Adam said they were one of the best ribs he’s ever had.

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As you know, we aren’t ones to pass up dessert so when the waitress asked if we saved room we grabbed the menus from her hand. Technically these desserts are to share, but we couldn’t help but order our own. Everything else leading up to this had been so great, we knew we’d want to try more than one!

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I chose the s’mores creme brulee. I wasn’t expecting it to come out in 3 mini dishes but I wasn’t complaining — I think this is the most perfect creme brulee I’ve EVER had.

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Adam went the healthier route and chose the blueberry olive oil cake with blueberry compote and greek yogurt ice cream. The cake tasted a lot like a muffin and the ice cream was a bit melted but he still cleared the plate!

I absolutely recommend Stanton Social to anyone who loves food (but ask that they don’t seat you up front!) and can’t wait to try it’s sister restaurant, Beauty & Essex soon!

Day Date in NYC

 

Yesterday Adam left work around noon to pick me up for our day date in NYC!


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For Valentine’s Day he bought tickets for us to see Cinderella on Broadway!

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We drove into the city to avoid public transportation which is a lot quicker but 17 times the price. While we were sitting in traffic we decided that having TV’s in the middle of times square is very distracting. It was easy to get lost in the screen instead of checking to see if the car in front of us had been able to move.

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When we arrived at the venue, there was a long line of people waiting to get in. I knew that there would most likely be a lot of children there because it was during the day on a weekday but I was shocked that the line was wrapped around the building!

While we waited in line, this sign outside of Crumbs did a great job of tempting me to come inside.

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Good thing Adam has self-control or that would have been inhaled immediately.

The show was a modern day Cinderella and while I’m a Disney fan, I prefer this version because I didn’t know exactly what was going to happen next. The cast was amazing at making costume changes on stage without the audience knowing, I was extremely impressed! I won’t give away any of the story-line in case you will be seeing this show, but I highly recommend!

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We sat on the mezzanine level, which I’ve always enjoyed more than Orchestra and even though the seats were a little crowded, the view was perfect!

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So. Back.

Questions: When was the last time you went on a day-date during the week?

Birthday Wish

Today is a very special day!! My husband, Adam, is… wait for it.

30 years young!

Happy Birthday to my Partner in Crime.

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The man who makes sure I always have a water bottle next to my bed before I go to sleep.

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My number 1 fan.

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The guy who makes me happier than I ever thought possible.

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The man who will eat a pound of ice cream so I don’t have to do the challenge alone.

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Who will wake up at 5:30 to watch a sunrise with me.

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and asked me to be his princess forever in Disney World

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My best friend.

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My husband.

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My everything.

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I love you!

Happy Birthday!!