Everyday Me

Bring it 2012!

Posted on December 29, 2011. Filed under: Everyday Me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Where did 2011 go?! There are only a handful of hours left in the year and I don’t even remember if I made any resolutions that I have neglected – gah! I have decided that I am going to ‘pen’ (or blog) my 2012 resolutions to better help hold myself accountable, but before I can think about what I want to accomplish in the upcoming year let me take a moment to reflect on where I’ve been in 2011.

2011 year in review…
Overall 2011 seemed to treat me pretty well. I was able to finally get married to the absolute best man in the world, and it was a beautiful day. It was absolutely lovely and I could not have asked for more from that! The wedding is definitely falling into the wonderful category of things that 2011 gave me. I was able to attend a few management courses that really opened my eyes up to how young I am and how much I have the ability to achieve. It has definitely made me want to take the bull by the horns in 2012 and start doing things for me instead of everyone else. That is a powerful feeling.

2011 wasn’t all rainbows and happiness though. There was a lot of unnecessary drama and strife that did not need to be a part of my year. Having survived the year I can really reflect and say that wow, I have learned a lot! Life has a funny way of really pushing you to limits you didn’t realize you had. I am a strong woman, and every time something pushes me a bit further I realize just how much stronger I am – that is a powerful feeling people!

Having all of this, mostly, behind me I want to make sure that 2012 is one for the record books in a great way. I want to set out some initial resolutions and goals to help me stay on a good track this year. Here goes for my resolutions…

2012 Resolutions

Be a healthier me. I do my best to work out and eat healthy when I can, what I want to start doing is making this more of a priority. If you need an excuse to get out of working out, give me a call – I could easily rattle at least 20 excuses off of the top of my head. In 2012 I want to try to make working out part of my everyday, or most days, routine. Really focus in on getting some cardio, doing my pilates and trying new things. I love doing BodyPump (by Les Mills) but I want to expand, try some yoga at a yoga studio and work some dance into my weekly routine. I really believe that keeping your workouts fresh helps you stay engaged in them, and that is the path I want to set out on in 2012. As for eating, I am very good with portion size, so I just need to keep that up, but where I could use some work is planning my meals out in advance. I get into ruts where I feel busy and choose working out over cooking and then come home to chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese. I really enjoy cooking, it is just so much fun to me (I even have a blog of my cooking adventures: http://creativecrops.wordpress.com) and I know that there are ways I can cook good, hearty meals in a small amount of time. I just need to reframe my thinking – the 1/2 hour I spend watching The New Girl is 1/2 hour I could spend whipping up a better meal than chicken nuggets…

Carve Out More Time for Myself. I have been told that I am a giving person, and that is such a wonderful compliment. I love giving – whether it be gifts, my time or money I enjoy helping where I can. Helping others too often sometimes leaves me stressed out and wishing I could be doing other things which builds up such resentment. I need to learn how to better carve out some quiet time for myself and activities I enjoy doing and I need to do them. I joined a book club so I want to make sure that I keep up with that in the New Year. It is something I like and it is a group of women that I do not normally socialize with so it is refreshing every month when we meet. I think being able to learn how to better say ‘No’ without guilt will allow me to improve myself overall. I think I could even squeeze in some cooking classes and dance classes to help with my resolution above, which is extra positive!

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff. A hobby of mine is worrying. I’m not sure how I fell into this rut, or why, maybe it’s because I’m the oldest child and live the farthest away from my folks but I’m here. I have started making great strides this year in not sweating the really small stuff. One huge victory – on my wedding day our limo ran out of gas, I took a deep breath and just laughed it off. I decided the Monday after the wedding I would be able to deal with that dilemma but on our big day it was definitely not the stress we needed, and that was definitely a HUGE improvement on my ‘normal’ behavior. This is something I want to keep working on. If there is nothing I can do to change it then I just need to stick it to the wall and walk away; just time to let it go. I think I can definitely accomplish this. The small changes I have made so far in just letting things go have made a good difference, and one that a few folks have complimented me on. It’s nice to have people note that you are able to let certain things go and have a good outlook. I am still always going to be a NJ girl so I’ll still always be the first to stick up for the underdog and myself and not let bigger things go, but the small things – just chalk them up to life and move on. I can do this!

Start Journaling. I have become very good at making books, I bind them and fix them up all beautiful and then I give them away. In keeping with doing things for myself, I’m going to make a book or two just for me, and it will be fab! I think journaling is a great way to let some stress of the day out and remember what is important. I plan to focus a bit on what went on during the day, and what made me smile that day. I think that years from now looking back on these journals will be a fun reminder of all the great things in my life and how far we have all come. I am most excited for this resolution.

2012 can definitely be a great year, and I think my resolutions will be attainable and realistic and will hopefully bring about long-term positive changes. I know I may not have as many resolutions as the common man but these are what I want to work on and focus on. They may seem a bit lofty but again I think that they are small changes that make a big difference and these are things that I have wanted to focus on, January 1,2012 is just a good excuse to start holding myself accountable for them. Good luck to everyone out there on their resolutions – just stick to them and you will be able to achieve them! So bring it 2012, because I’m ready to make some great changes!

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Semi-Locally Famous Eateries in DC – A Quick Review

Posted on September 15, 2011. Filed under: Destination: Travel!, Everyday Me, Personal Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

 

I’m kind of into food a lot lately, not in a binge eating type of way but just as more of a hobby. I’ve gotten very into top-chef and anything else on food network (or Bravo!) that involves cooking and I even started my own blog about crop-shares! (link below or http://creativecrops.wordpress.com – well if that’s not a shameless plug I don’t know what is..).  With this mild obsession with food as of late I decided that of all the more ‘famous’ eateries in my backyard I would give a quick once over on my opinions. Bon Appetite!

Ben’s Chili Bowl
Fame Level: Travel Channel, President Obama has eaten here…

I really love chili, let me get that out there first. There is just something wonderful about a good chili. In the Fall and Winter it is warming and in the summer on a hot-dog it can spice things up just right. Turkey chili, soy chili, heck even Hormel, just heat it up and I’m usually in there! Ben’s Chili Bowl is a DC establishment. It has been standing from before the race riots that tore through DC, Bill Cosby is a hug advocate of the place, and President Obama famously dined in this very, very small place in the early days of his presidency.  www.benschilibowl.com Now that we know who has been let’s go over the nitty gritty details of this place:  

Experience:
It is directly across the street from the 13th ave  exit at the U Street metro stop, so it is definitely convenient. The hours are 10 am – 2am, clearly there is no excuse not to go! They do only allow a limited number of people into the building, so you may have to wait on a line outside, then move to a line inside and then get a seat. I was very nervous about not getting a seat after I ordered. The place was really jam-packed but everyone typically orders then scouts out seating so it worked out just fine that way, sticking with that system in there is the way to go! They also had some great music playing, seemed like a nice mix between 60s and 80s soul and pop tunes, the noise level was pretty moderate but it was all part of the experience. The staff was absolutely amazing! They were personable, friendly, helpful and quick, since you order and then they deliver there isn’t too much interaction but they made the most of the little interaction we had!

Food:
Again, I am a chili person so I may be biased here but it was delicious! I had a chili-dog with cheese and onions and boy was it good! I got fries on the side for a bit extra and that was a smart idea. The chili is extremely spicy (even for my husband who typically eats habanero and jalapeno peppers in his food). Both my husband and father in law were quick to jump on my fries when I offered them up to beat some of the spice. Overall, it was relatively inexpensive, locally owned, delicious and offered free fountain soda refills, it’s worth a quick bite if you find yourself on that side of town for sure!

 

Georgetown Cupcake
Fame Level: TLC TV Show – DC Cupcakes

I really love these cupcakes! I have been a fan of Georgetown Cupcake since before they were famous nation-wide and were just a fun little store in Georgetown. Even then the lines were up the block! Overall, after trying more than a fair share of DC area cupcakeries I still prefer this one, I’m hooked! If you are in town for just a little while, don’t feel bad missing this spot, but if you have time to kill and want to check out Georgetown, hop in line and spend a while, the cupcakes in the end are pricey, but worth it! www.georgetowncupcake.com

Experience:
With the TV show in full swing the lines at this place have progressively gotten worse. I thought it would ease up a bit when they made the move from their extremely tiny shop on a side street a few streets over to their larger, corner location. It really didn’t help. The store is much more visible and prominent now and the lines are just as long and move just as slow. They do have a lot more workers in there so it is much more efficient when you get in to get your cupcakes and drinks and mosey along. The show has really amped up their business though. Word to the wise, if you are going to go – get there early! Also, become their Facebook friend/fan so that you can find out what cupcake flavor they are giving away for free that day.

Food:
When its early in the day and the lines are short I jump on to get my free cupcake – always a delicious treat! They offer standard cupcakes everyday of the week – these are pretty basic: Chocolate and vanilla varieties, red velvet (definitely one of my favorites) and chocolate ganache – for any chocolate lovers out there this cupcake would be for you! They have daily varieties that are also quite delicious. My favorite of the daily changing ones is Lava Fudge. You bite into the middle of this cupcake and get some ‘lava’, it is such a great treat, especially warm! I also enjoy their Strawberry – nice and refreshing! Some of my favorite seasonal flavors that are offered include German Chocolate Fudge (similar to the lava fudge) and Caramel Apple (hands down my absolute all-time favorite)!

 

Filomena Ristorante of Georgetown
Fame Level: Politicians, Diplomats and Men in Tuxedos…

Like any ‘good’ Italian – I love Italian food more than any other variety. Good pasta can never let you down, it  is comfort and it’s my go-to food of choice. At Filomena you can watch the ladies making the fresh pasta in the front of the store. It is tucked in a side-street but is very delicious. www.filomena.com

Experience:
Get ready to part with your wallet – this place is extremely pricey! I will be honest, I will not go to this restaurant unless it is restaurant week where I can score a price-fixed meal at something more reasonable. It is expensive, the food is good, but I just don’t have that kind of cash to spend on a dinner. It is decorated in an over the top Italian way. Fake flowers and plants, big statues, it looks like what would happen is someone let my Grandma design a restaurant. That’s part of what makes it cozy, special and real though. It backs up to the canal so if you sit near the windows you have a lovely view of the canal… 

Food:
If this place were in my budget I would definitely visit more often. The food was excellent! The pasta was fresh and tasted great! The meat was cooked perfectly. Everything was just right, and they even throw in the free after-dinner drink like any good Italian place would as you are paying. It was worth the extra money for something special. Looking to impress someone and have a fancy night on the town – come here. The food is wonderful and you will enjoy it and be treated well! 

 Any I’ve left off that you think I should include? If so – let me know!

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The Hitched Report: The Quick & Dirty of Planning and Surviving Our Wedding

Posted on August 24, 2011. Filed under: Everyday Me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

I apologize for the lack of book and movie review in this post, but I thought it would be fun (for me at least) to do a quick review of our recent wedding!

Ya know what they say about June Brides? Yeah, I’m not sure either. Once people said that to me they usually didn’t finish the sentence. Here is what I know about this June bride –

    • I definitely waited a little too long to finish some projects
    •  My life would have been a lot less stressful if I was more on the ball. I was smart though in securing locations and vendors all about a year in advance – that was key.Not having to worry about someone falling through or not finding the perfect person to do a task was a really nice feeling
    • There is a difference between not caring and being indecisive
    • Stress can be motivating but it can be tiring
    • Regardless of how well you plan you cannot control people or the weather – adjust and make the best of it!

Let’s start with the weather. The day before the wedding – absolutely beautiful. It was sunny and pleasant, maybe a bit warm. The day of the wedding – rainy. Yep it stormed, but ya know what, we like weather, Greg is a meteorologist so it was the perfect way to celebrate such a special day! I walked over from my hotel to the church and even though it was rainy, we had a blast. It was just myself, my sister and my parents the ‘last walk’ of us all being our own family, that was memorable and touching and the perfect ‘last’ memory as a single woman with my family.

Do it yourself is money-saving but it is definitely time-sucking. We went the DIY route for centerpieces, invitations, programs, table tents, place cards and our wish tree (in lieu of a traditional guest book). The projects were fun and most people thought the paper-goods were purchased since they came out nice, but they did take a lot of time. One of the benefits to the DIY programs was that I didn’t have to decide on the wording until closer to the wedding since they weren’t being sent out for printing. That also meant that with about 2 – 3 weeks to go I was printing and making programs when stress was at an all-time high. I don’t think I would change making them, I’m very proud of how lovely everything turned out, but I would definitely reconsider my time-frame and force myself to be more prompt and less last-minute with these types of projects. DIY is very me, so I’m happy I was able to insert myself into those details, but having helpful bridesmaids and friends was definitely required – I owe you all to the end of time for your seemingly endless hours of help!

Working with Greg to make it OUR day was what really made it so great. There were things that we both bent on so that the other person could have their idea for that particular detail, and in the end that made me smile the most. The touches and things that he really wanted made me really happy, just knowing that he wanted to be involved in this wedding was awesome. I loved the cake he chose, yep you read that right, HE chose the cake. And seeing it for the first time at the reception was really fun!! I was also happy to be less traditional to show our personalities. Greg wore soccer cufflinks and I think that was so much fun because it is Greg. He is a soccer fanatic and those cufflinks were the perfect way to show off his other true love (second to me of course).

The bumps along the way, including our limo running out of gas and not knowing where the marriage certificate was about 10 minutes before the ceremony made the day memorable. You can plan as much as you like but once you put other people in control (which is key to surviving your wedding) your planning is out the window. Things don’t need to be perfect, everything does work out and what does a little haywire becomes a fabulous story the next day at brunch! To all those brides to be – during all of the stress and decisions you have lying ahead keep in mind the most important part of the day: Getting Married. Everything else will become secondary to the magical vows you exchange. Keep the reason why you are doing this forefront in your mind and remember to relax. You need to have fun during wedding planning, remember to take some weekends off (I may have taken too many off so don’t go that crazy!).

Our wedding sparkled because it really reflected us. It didn’t fit into traditional, it wasn’t my family’s idea of  what my wedding would be like, and frankly most likely wasn’t fully their taste either, but it fit exactly into the little box that Greg and I dreamed of when we started planning. Were there bumps along the path to June 11th? You better believe there were! Those bumps have made us stronger and more united. We are happy, we are young, we are in love and we are going to conquer the world together. Our wedding was a smash in our eyes, and I expect nothing less from us in all we set our minds to in the upcoming years. We offer our sincerest thanks to everyone who made the day special, memorable and wonderful – we love you all for your support and are beyond thrilled that you were there to celebrate with us!

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Where have I been hiding??!

Posted on August 19, 2011. Filed under: Everyday Me | Tags: , , |

What a summer! Let’s to a quick recap on all of my excuses for not being here blogging about the fabulous books and movies I have been reading and watching…

* I ran off and got married! No lie, I really did! In June I was hitched, and then we jet-setted off to Hawaii to live the luxurious life for a few weeks and enjoy some honeymooning!

* I started a new blog! We joined a crop-share and now I have a food blog chronicling my crazy adventures in the kitchen. Please do give it a read! http://creativecrops.wordpress.com

I promise you world, I am back though. I have a few posts in the queue I plan to put up over the next few weeks so do stay tuned!

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Well Hello Again!!

Posted on January 10, 2011. Filed under: Books, Destination: Travel!, Everyday Me, Movies, Personal Reviews, TV Shows | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Hello all!

Sorry that I have been gone for almost a year! I lost track of blogging but alas – I’m back!! A lot has gone on in that year, and many many books have been read, a handful of movies watched. But I am back in action and ready to lay my opinions on you!

Lets start back with a quick synopsis of my 2010 favorites:

Favorite TV Show: Big Love – hands down my absolute favorite! I love watching this family and seeing their drama unfold. They start up again in a new season this week, unfortunately I dont have HBO so I’ll have to wait to report on the new advancements until my library has the DVDs

Favorite Book: This category was a little more difficult, there wasn’t one book that really stuck out in my mind over another, so I’ll have to come back to this one…. I’m thinking it is most likely going to have to be Zeitoun , that was a really great book.

Favorite Movie: The Town – amazing! Great story, harsh language (that was a minus) but overall just excellent. There were quite a few other contenders in this category including Love & Other Drugs, An Education, Black Swan and Going the Distance. Reviews on some of these to follow!

Favorite Column: From the WashingtonPost Magazine (weekly) I cannot get enough of Gene Weingarten. He has a great way of writing that really draws you in. I can ‘hear’ his voice and I love it!

Favorite DC Restaurant: Founding Farmers – this is truly great food! It’s an amazing atmosphere and a fabulous restaurant. I cannot wait to write a review on this to tell you more!

Favorite Trip: Asheville, NC. What a beautiful place to go! We had such a fabulous time visiting Asheville and the surrounding BlueRidge Parkway. If you are ever nearby or passing through please do yourself a favor and stop. It is SUCH a great place! I really cannot wait to go back and explore more!!  

There were lots of favorites in 2010 but for now that will do. I have some reviewing ideas on tap and will post as I get them ‘penned in’. Sorry for being such a lame blogger but I promise you – I am back!

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