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Officially Back in Action!

Hello Blog Friends!

Well, I am officially back and SO excited to return to the blog world.  I have missed blogging, commenting, and the whole community! However, the past month has been non-stop! We are officially settled in Maryland and I just bid farewell to Chase on his first day of residency!

Have I ever mentioned that Chase is amazing at ironing? It is a good thing because he is going to be spending oodles of time ironing his uniform in the next 10 years.

While I promise recipes and other fun and exciting things will be in store, I thought y’all might want a peak into the events of the past month!

Chase graduated from medical school:

He was commissioned and is now officially a Lieutenant:

After graduation we packed our entire apartment and moved to Maryland ( Pictured of our new place to come…).

Days after moving we hopped on a plane and flew to Palm Springs, California for a quick last hurrah before Chase forfeits his life (and vacation time) to medicine and the Navy!

We celebrated Chase’s 28th Birthday and enjoyed lots of fun in the sun!

While on vacation, we did a TON of hiking and running.

We even drove to the Grand Canyon and ran around the rim! It was insane! This has always been on the top of my bucket list ever since I visited the Grand Canyon for the first time, 13 years ago.

Chase has been training for his fitness test, so he ran with me!

We definitely enjoyed the views–it definitely beat watching the news while running on the treadmill!

We also went to Sedona and saw the Red Rocks.  Sedona was amazing!

We enjoyed lots of window shopping and exploring the town.

I also mingled with the locals.

And visited cave castles

While in Sedona, we went on a mini-excursion to a little city that used to be a ghost-town–Jerome.  It was situated on top of a mountain and is known as the “Mile High Town.” We found the most amazing Mexican restaurant and had dinner in Jerome and explored the shops.

While on vacation, I tried to eat as Paleo as possible–there were lots of salads and grilled meats and poultry

However, there was also local experiences like:

Avocado Pie (I avoided the gluten crust and just tried the filling..it was CRAZY! It tasted like Key Lime Pie).

There was also some chip eating (while corn is not paleo–it is a grain I am able to tolerate fairly well and authentic corn chips are amazing!)

And there was far too much frozen yogurt eating (I LOVE the taste of frozen yogurt, but my stomach does not…you would think I would learn my lesson…)

Now that we have moved, vacation is over and normalcy is slowly but surely returning, I am attempting to re-group and re-focus.  My goal for June is to dive back into Paleo eating and try new recipes (with lots of amazing local produce from all of the farm markets), return to running and select a race to train for, and get acquainted with my new town!

Do you have any vacations planned?

How do you get back to “normal” when you return from vacation?

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New York Adventure

As we will soon be officially bidding the Northeast farewell in favor of the mid-Atlantic, we decided that one last trip to New Your City was necessary.   Mumsie came for a final visit to  our Bethlehem abode so we decided that it was the perfect time to take a jaunt into the city.  We were so excited because my dad, who has lately been gallivanting across the country for work, was able to meet us in Manhattan for the weekend.

We spent the weekend in the Grand Hyatt which was completely fabulous.

For NYC standards, the rooms were GIGANTIC.  And the fact that it was on top of Grand Central Station made it the most convenient location EVER.  We did not have to take a single cab all weekend.  Plus, since my dad has been basically living in Hyatt Hotels across America, he has “super duper special status” and we were able to hang out in the “Club Room.”

Basically this place was my favorite–free wifi, great views of the city, free drinks, tea, coffee and free food! It. Was. Awesome.  When my family was able to persuade me to actually leave the special room, we did some quality New York adventuring.

We brunched as Sarabeth’s where I got the most amazing spinach omelet:

(I did not eat the toast–but it made the plate look pretty–also, I totally forgot to take a picture until I was a few bites in–sorry!)

It was such a darling restaurant.

I have wanted to visit Sarabeth’s ever since I saw her delightful looking preserves in the carefully selected food stuffs of Williams-Sonoma

Source

We also visited one of my all-time favorite spots in NYC–The Plaza Hotel!

Did anyone else read Eloise as a kid?

My mom always used it as a lesson in “how NOT to act” since Eloise was basically a spoiled brat–however, I always dreamed of being able to LIVE in a hotel–and not just any hotel–The PLAZA!

We then went inside and pretended like we were celebrities!

Did y’all know that there is a luxury book publishing house INSIDE of The Plaza?  They sell these incredible (and pricey!) books on fashion and luxury living.  The people that work there were surprisingly unpretentious and actually urged us to explore (and TOUCH!) the books. Am I the only person that turn into a scared 8-year-old when I am in an expensive store? I suddenly feel like I am in severe danger of “you break it, you buy it” status.

After acting very civilized in the bookstore, we headed down to the lower level of the Plaza to Eloise Wonderland

They even have a TEA room for little girls to visit!

It was completely magical!

After Mumsie and I absorbed every adorable square inch, we all headed to Central Park.  Chase proceeded to make friends with a musician who let him try to play his crazy instrument.  Chase definitely needs to stick to doctoring…

We had some seriously amazing meals when we were in New York.  We decided that if we lived in New York there is no way you could go to the same restaurant twice because there are just too many delicious places.  While we were in the city, we ate at this guy’s restaurant:

Bobby Flay knows what he is doing!

The food at Mesa was insane!

From the pork

To the Chili Rellenos

To the insanely delicious side dishes (Roasted corn, Smoked Chile collard greens, Double-Baked Potato
with Horseradish, Green Onions
+ Creme Fraiche)

Um, yeah…it was all DELICIOUS!!! If you are visit NYC, you MUST go to Mesa!

We also discovered an amazing Mexican restaurant called Sinigual.

This place had the BEST guacamole I have ever had in my entire LIFE.  It was heavenly.

In addition to the amazing meals we had, Mumsie and I made sure to include some cupcake tasting (or frosting eating in my case).

We tried Baked By Melissa Cupcakes

Which only sells mini-cupcakes and when I say mini, I mean MINI.

(Magnolia Cupcake on the left, Melissa’s mini on the right).

I was not a fan of Melissa’s because for a frosting-only girl like myself, Melissa did not give me much to work with! My heart still belongs to Sprinkles–I mean they sell FROSTING shots!

This would be me with a heavenly shot of cinnamon cream cheese frosting–like I said before–who needs alcohol when you can have FROSTING shots and cupcake tastings?!

Aside from experiencing culinary and cupcake perfection, we also did several quintessentially NYC tourist activities:

We took the Ellis Island/Statue of Liberty ferry.  I, happily, did not get sea sick which was truly miraculous as I get nauseous in the bathroom.

It was amazing to see the statue up close.  We took the audio tour which was incredibly fascinating.  I totally recommend it!

Besides visiting the statue, we also spent an afternoon at the Met!

It was wonderful! We saw everything from stain-glassed windows  created by Louis Tiffany (as in the lamps and the son of the Tiffany Jeweler founder), Egyptian tombs and mummys (I love a good mummy) and tons of paintings.

 No trip to New York City would be complete without a bit of shopping.  Mumsie and I may have happened upon a TWO-STORY Lilly Pulitzer store on the Upper East side.  Pure heaven.

Lilly Perfection

Mumsie may have FORCED me to get this little gem…

I am thinking pink high heels–thoughts?

Basically it was a perfect trip from start to finish!

Have you visited NYC?  What are your favorite places in the city or where would you like to visit?

Be Back Soon!

We are rendezvousing with my parents in New York City as a pre-medical school graduation present for Chase!

I promise to be back with a full report!

Misses and Kisses!

How to Eat Differently Than Others

I have been eating Paleo the past 6 months. I consider myself a semi-pro at following this dietary style; however, when traveling it can get a bit more tricky. This was my first Christmas as a Paleo eater and to say that I received several wayward glances would be an understatement. The fact that last Christmas I was a vegetarian/almost-vegan eater made my extended family completely confused. When celebrated Mumsie’s birthday at a high end steak restaurant in the past, everyone’s plate looked like this:

(Chase’s Beloved NY Strip)

Meanwhile, my plate looked like this:

(My plate in previous years….I kid you not).

However, this year I strolled in proclaiming my undying love for meat.

(Love it.)

Seriously, I am in love. While some family members looked at me as if I had been invaded by the body-snatchers, I am healthy and happy, so that is all that matters. I am confident in my decision to eat this way (as is my stomach, which no longer plagues me with stomach aches); however, it has been a little difficult to avoid gluten, legumes, dairy, etc. at the many dinners, parites, and get-togthers. Some paleo peeps recommend fasting during times when Paleo food is not available, I believe that fasting is ridiculous (for me) and makes me the most crabby, awful, human in the world.

(Source)

Yeah, no fasting for me.

After a couple of meals where my Paleo options were slim, I decided that I needed to be more prepared on this trip. Consequently, I began always carrying several food items that would keep me nourished if no other options were possible. In the past 14 days we have traveled from our home in Pennsylvania to my parents in Kentucky. We then drove to Chase’s mom and step-dad’s house and his dad’s house in Missouri and then back to Kentucky. Between the hours in the car and the multiple houses, my Paleo travel kit has been totally key. While some of the items on the list are not 100% ideal Paleo, they are quick, nourishing, and work in a pinch.

1) Grilled Chicken Breasts

Before we left PA, I packaged up a bunch of grilled chicken and put it on some ice. I ate it during out long journey to Kentucky. I then made sure that we bought some more chicken in Missouri which I cooked and put in individual foil packages to have on hand. Yes, I looked like I total weirdo taking out my packages of chicken, but I was a well-nourished and non-crabby weirdo which is a total win-win!

2) Eggs

(Best Paleo Breakfast staple.)

Whenever we have arrived at one of our holiday destinations, we have stopped at a grocery store to pick up a dozen eggs. I am totally obsessed with eggs right now because they are quick, cheap, and easy sources of protein and fat AND they are perfect for any meal of the day.

 

3) Odwalla Mo’ Beta Juice

I stinking love this stuff. We stocked up on a dozen of these juices (which have no added sugar and have the juice of  3 apples, a mango, a pineapple and a kiwi) and I have been drinking them when I do not have access to any Paleo breakfast (eggs!) or lunch options. They have also been perfect for pre-run fuel. I am totally in love.

4) Dried Cherries

Paleo pro’s often treat dried fruit as a pejorative snack option, but I am totally supportive of dried fruit, especially when traveling. We brought a bunch of apples and pears, but they never last long and they often get bruised and battered in transit.  I LOVE dried cherries and when I mix them with some almonds it serves as the most perfect sweet-n-salty Paleo snack on-the-go.

5) Totally not Paleo, but completely delicious Kettle Corn

Trader Joe’s makes this amazing lite Kettle Corn in individual packages. I buy the lite because it has VERY little sugar. Now I realize that corn is not “Paleo;” however, I have been experimenting with adding a little corn back into my diet and so far my stomach has been A-ok! This stuff has been a complete lifesaver on our trip because it is satisfying morning, noon, and night and provides a nice shot of carbs and fiber.

 

What are your on-the go eating options? Do you eat differently than your family members? Do you have a favorite travel snack or meal?

Christmas Break Has Started!

Starting tomorrow, I have absolutely no work or jobs for the next 2 weeks.

Time to stand on my head and get CRAZY!

To say that I am excited is the understatement of the CENTURY. I am SO pumped.

We drove to Kentucky land yesterday to attend a VERY special event.

This beautiful girl (who I nannyed for when she was 3!) was a harpist and performer in Louisville’s “The Christmas Carol.”

She had a harp solo and it was magical! (She actually named her harp “Sally Anne.” Um, best Christmas gift I have ever received! ) She was a flower girls in my wedding and I truly feel like she is the little sister I never had. Chase loves her, too!

Watching the “Christmas Carol” always puts me in the holiday spirit. All of the carols and Christmas trees were so jolly and festive!

So. Much. Fun.

Mumsie tried to get the top of the GINORMOUS tree in the picture, but had to take another one.  Sadly, no luck–it was just THAT tall.

Today has been a wonderful blend of productivity, and relaxation. I have been finishing up my work while also trying to enjoy time with family. I have been going so quickly and working so many jobs lately that today has felt completely strange. I keep thinking that I am forgetting to do something or be somewhere. Does anyone else have trouble fully adjusting to “vacation” mode?

Tomorrow we head to St. Louis to visit Chase’s side of the family and then we will return to Kentucky on Christmas Eve.

 

With the non-step schedule, my goal is to savor every moment, yet also blend some normalcy into each day.  I have four mini goals that I hope to achieve during this vacation time so that I feel great and truly enjoy every second.

 

1)      Run as often as possible:

 

So far I have run each morning. I hope to keep up this streak as it helps me get the ants out of my pants with all the driving we are doing. Also, it makes me feel vital and nourished, both body and soul.

 

2)      Eat as Paleo as possible:

Source

 

I try to approach the holidays with flexibility because I want to have fun, but I don’t want to be crazy strict. Chase is actually trying to eat Paleo for the next 2 weeks, so it will be wonderful to have a Paleo buddy.  It is actually surprisingly easy to eat paleo anywhere. We have been ordering or preparing lots of meat and veggies, so we have stayed on track and there have been no stomachaches—holler!

 

3)      Sleep well!

With the chaos of my work schedule, I am severely sleep deprived. My goal is to get GREAT rest. During the holidays, I often sacrifice sleep in favor of trying to cram in 2000 activities each day–not this time!

 

4)      Stay hydrated:

For some reason, whenever I travel, I forget to drink water. However, I always feel so much better and healthier when I am well hydrated.

 

Do you have any mini holiday goals to keep you healthy, wealthy, and wise over the holidays.

Bad News, Good News, and more Good News

Sorry for being absent, yet again. We have been dealing with job chaos (yep, I still have way too many), and family emergencies.

The Bad News: On Thursday, Chase’s grandma (we all call her Nan) had a stroke. Nan is the most amazing person. She is one of the first people I ever met in Chase’s family and she has treated me like one of her grandkids from Day 1. My grandparents have been rather absent from my life, so I actually feel like Nana is mine, too!

The good news is that Nan has been a total CHAMP and she is doing much better now. She is stable and complaining about when she gets to go home–YAY! We are headed to St. Louis in a couple of days and I cannot wait to see Nan and give her the biggest hug EVER.

The more good news is that Chase and I were able to make a quick jaunt up to Spring Lake, New Jersey.

Whenever we head up there, we stay at the same place:

(Chateau Inn and Suites)

Strangely enough, we have never been to the Jersey Shore when it has actually been “beach” weather. Instead we like to go in the off season, when everything is quiet and we get to stay in a swanky inn for next to nothing.

We go to stay in a parlor room!

I have always wanted a parlor!

The fireplace was also amazing. I am dying to have a fireplace! It’s the small things, right?

We meandered to downtown Ocean Grove (which is adorable) and grabbed lunch at a tiny apothecary turned lunchenette called Nagles.

We even were able to sit by the old glass medicine bottles.

Meanwhile, Chase got blinded by the light.

When I started eating Paleo almost 6 months ago, I worried that eating out would be a beast. However, I have found it to be relatively easy, especially since I am lately obsessed with grilled chicken and salads.

This beauty had pears, cranberries and chicken–I. Die. Who would have thought a tiny diner-ish spot would have the most amazing salad ever. I am debating on making the 2 hour drive on a daily basis to get this salad.

Later on our visit, we found another dining gem in Asbury Park. It was a Spanish/Portuguese place called Ole.

Chase totally got into the Spanish spirit.

Don’t let the smile fool you, I was busy thinking “Feed me…now!”

While I am usually not a big appetizer person, we ordered plantains with guacamole. Oh. My. Word. It was insane.

Side Note: Whenever a restaurant has those white paper sheet things as tablecloths, I always feel compelled to write on them. To the right you will find my list of things to do in St. Louis. I lovelovelove St. Louis.

While I was busy coloring on the table, Chase was playing with his food. Yes, my friends, we are officially 5-years-old. This is why we fit. 🙂

And, for the record, I ordered yet another grilled chicken salad.

I

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? This lovely had caramelized onions, tomatoes and pine nuts–Amazing.

On our quick little trip, we also made time to watch this rather abysmal movie:

Um, yeah, maybe don’t see this move. However, Aziz Ansari was hilarious.

Have you seen any super lame movies lately?  Do you have a favorite “go-to” restaurant meal? Anyone else on the grilled chicken salad train? I am the conductor on that train. For real.