happy halloween

Happy Halloween!  

Gotta love a fake pumpkin...especially when it's really a gourd!

On this "wellness wednesday" treat yourself well and eat some candy!  Just make sure that whatever treat you chose to indulge in is something that you really like.  All through high school and college my friend CLM used to always say that when she was craving something unhealthy, she would just eat a few bites of the "bad for you food" and stop the craving.  This was usually a much better solution than eating an apple, then some string cheese, then a glass of milk, or any number of other things she tried to satisfy her taste for whatever unhealthy snack she really wanted.  

I certainly subscribe to this theory and I am already excited to chow down on some bite sized snicker bars.  Josh will be eyeing the reeses cups, so if you are in our neighborhood, come claim your candy early...



cobb salad

I always feel like I eat nonstop on the weekends- dinners with friends, tailgating, birthday brunches, etc., so I try and make  lighter meals during the week.  One of my favorites is a big cobb salad with warm, crusty bread.  I have to give credit to SHS for starting the tradition of having this salad, waaaaay back when we were in Charlotte.  Every time I make it Josh and I smile about all of those dinners we had together!

The beauty of making a big salad is that you can change the ingredients to your taste.  The recipe below is what we usually use, but many people like to include cherry tomatoes, bacon, or other veggies.  Mix it up and enjoy!


Cobb Salad
Spinach (or any other type of leafy green you like)
Hard boiled egg, chopped
Feta Cheese
Red Bell Peppers, chopped
Avocado, sliced
Rotisserie Chicken, pulled or chopped

Directions: Mix salad ingredients (spinach through avocado) together in a large bowl with dressing.  Top with rotisserie chicken.

Dressing (I like to make my own dressing and I do it by taste- measurements below are estimated...)
1 Tbs. Dijon Mustard
1 tsp. Olive Oil
1 tsp. Vinegar
Pinch of Salt
Pinch of Pepper

Directions: whisk ingredients together in small bowl.  Pour over salad to coat.  Serve immediately.


a colorful weekend

I hope you all had a great weekend!  We have been traveling nonstop, so Josh and I were so excited to just be here for the weekend that we planned to do NOTHING but sit at home and watch our DVR on Friday night.  Before we started catching up on our favorite comedy sitcoms (30 Rock and Modern Family we love you) we were treated to the most amazing sunset from our front porch...the start of a VERY colorful weekend.

Saturday morning, we met up with law school friends (with our fearless leader KK leading the charge) to do the "Color me Rad" 5K in Raleigh.  Our team name was "The Brightest Runners in the Box" and we had a blast.  In case you haven't done a color run before, here is a quick explanation...basically, you go run a 5K and every half mile or so, a "cheering squad" throws colored corn-starch at you.  The idea is to start in a pristine white t-shirt and end covered in color.  I think we succeeded...


christmas card?!

team "brightest colors in the box"

After we recovered from the color run (and washed, rinsed, repeated x 5 on our hair), we settled in to watch FLORIDA v. GEORGIA!  This is traditionally one of the biggest football weekends of the year where I am from, and I was a little sad not to be in Florida celebrating with my friends and family.  BUT, we tried to make up for it in North Carolina with our own little tailgate/celebration centered around the colors orange and blue (obviously!)  While we had a tough end to the night, I am confident my Gators will rally.  I am also putting it out there now that I will be cheering harder than I have ever cheered for Ole Miss and Auburn in the next two weekends...Hotty Toddy, War Eagle... I don't care just beat Georgia!

yummy treats make a hard loss a little easier...

And just in case you need a little more color in your life to start this week, check out these colorful finds that I have my eye on...  

(just $12.95)

(on sale!)
 (on sale for just $19.  The color is MUCH  more of a neon, hot pink in person)

(love some green jeans for winter)

loving green...
more green

statement necklace

boyfriend shirt

watermelon tulip skirt

orange and blue anyone?



long weekend in chicago

By now I know you are all sick of hearing about Chicago, but I promise this will be my last post about our trip.  Whenever I go somewhere new I always have anxiety about missing out on something that is a "must" in a place.  In some irrational part of my mind, I am certain that I will never visit that place again so I have to soak it all up and have everything planned out so I can see and do it all- and then take a vacation from my vacation!  That being said, here is my pared down list of things you MUST squeeze in if you are in Chicago for a long weekend:

Where to Eat and Drink:

Avec: This is a place to go with friends!  They have small plates and larger entree type options, but the best bet is to go with a group and order as much of the menu as you can.  DO NOT miss the focaccia- taleggio cheese, ricotta, truffle oil and herbs- it was AMAZING.  

MK: Josh and I went here for our anniversary dinner and we were blown away.  The pumpkin soup was delicious.  (My disclaimer: I usually do not go for pumpkin but I had to try the seasonal specialty soup... and I am so glad that I did.)  We both enjoyed our main courses, but the very best part of the meal was the side of handcut french fries with truffle dipping sauce- we didn't even stop to think to save room for dessert as we were licking the truffle sauce bowl clean!  If you are smarter than us, save room for a "Cake Shake." The table next to us had one and it looked phenomenal.

Cafe des Architectes: The best breakfast...and luckily for us it was right in our hotel!  We had great intentions of trying other brunch spots we had heard about (like the Publican) but we loved the coffee, fresh pastries, and eggs benedict so much we ate here every morning.  

Flight 1551: A great place for a glass of wine or tapas in Old Town.

Le Bar: Another stroke of great luck was that the bar in our hotel was "the place" to have a drink in downtown Chicago.  In addition to a great selection of speciality cocktails, they also serve Garrett Popcorn with every order!

What to Do:

Architectural Boat Tour: An absolute MUST in Chicago.  We used Wendella Tours, but the Chicago Architectural Foundation also has a tour that is a little longer and is supposed to be even better.  

Art Institute: Monet, Picasso, Renoir...all under one roof!  This is definitely worth a visit.

Running Tour: Obviously, I loved this experience and you can read all about it here.

Millenium Park: Go see Cloudgate (aka The Bean) and take your picture- it's just part of going to Chicago!

Second City: We went and saw "The 100th Review" and it was hilarious.  The Second City is the training ground for TONS of Saturday Night Live Stars so it is hysterical.  BUT approach with caution if you don't like a little off color humor!

Where to Shop: 

Michigan Avenue: Termed "The Magnificent Mile" this mile long stretch has everything from Chanel and Saks to Forever 21 and Zara.  My personal favorite, Bloomingdales, is located on the North end in the 900 Shops.  

Oak Street: Right off Michigan Avenue, Oak Street features smaller boutique stores like Tory Burch and Calypso St. Barth.  Be sure to stop in Bravco for some discounted beauty supplies while you are there!

Haberdash: A great men's store featuring clothing and accessories.  They even offer a barber so guys can stop in just for a shave!

As a disclaimer, we stayed within walking distance (or sometimes short cab rides) of our hotel for most of our trip.  (In case you want another great recommendation, we stayed at the Sofitel Water Tower in Gold Coast and it was WONDERFUL.)  If we had stayed longer, we certainly would have ventured out into some of the neighborhoods and smaller communities to see more of the city.  

There you have it- my recommendations for your next long weekend in Chicago.  Please post additional comments and recommendations if you have them.  I would love to go back some day and see more of the city's "musts!"



thankful for sunday suppers

Confession... when I told you many of my "key players" were in Florida, I neglected to tell you that there are plenty of key players scattered in other places as well.  Today, I am thankful that some of those players are scattered mere miles from us in North Carolina...my amazing sister and brother in law and their three kiddos.

One of the traditions that we have started is to have "Sunday Suppers" together as often as our schedules will allow.  Sometimes those dinners are crazier than others but the important constant is that we all get together to catch up on the week and stay connected.   Josh and I both agree that our weekly dinners have been a highlight of living in North Carolina.  So, sister and brother in law, niece and nephews- I am thankful for you and our Sunday night tradition today!

What are you thankful for today?



vacation exercise

I apologize in advance that every post this week is about Chicago!  We had a fantastic time and I am just dying to share some of it with you!

I think one of the hardest parts about vacation is finding time to do some exercise.  BUT, with a little creativity, you can usually find a way to stay somewhat on track even while you are on vacation.  For instance, in a big city, you will often cover miles and miles walking without even realizing it.  Or, another one of my favorites is taking time to do an "active activity" like biking in a vineyard, snorkeling, or taking a running tour...

Chicago Theatre
Yes, you heard me right, Josh and I took a running tour of Chicago on the morning of our anniversary. AND, Josh was the one who found the tour and booked it!  While I was a little doubtful about the concept at first (it was 40 degrees and windy outside) it turned out to be one of the best parts of our trip.  We did a four mile tour with City Running Tours featuring the five tragic events of Chicago's history.  On the tour, we learned TONS about Chicago's history, saw things we never would have seen otherwise, and we burned off some of those extra calories we consumed every morning with the hotel bread basket.  Our tour was led by Marlin, a wonderful, knowledgable tour guide and avid marathon runner (he went straight from our tour to Des Moines, Iowa to run in his 66th marathon!)   Without even giving himself time to recover from his marathon, Marlin sent us a follow up email detailing the history we covered (including the recipe for the world's first brownie- invented in Chicago), and an entire flickr album of pictures he took on the tour....

At the Joan Miro sculpture

Sliding down the Picasso Sculpture
Chicago Skyline
Beginning of  Route 66
Bridge Opening with our tour guide Marlin

OH, and in case the idea of a running tour makes you nervous- the tours go at a variety of paces and have LOTS of frequent stops- it really is a tour that ANYONE at ANY fitness level could do.



garrett popcorn

I'm copping out and not posting an actual recipe today (returning from a trip usually means lots of takeout around here) but you will be SO thankful that I let you in on this little secret...Garrett Popcorn.  It is a Chicago favorite and luckily for those of us who aren't able to get to Chicago regularly, they deliver!  It sounds gross, but trust me on this one and try the "Chicago Mix," an amazing combination of cheese and caramel popcorn.  There is just something about the sweet/salty combination that makes it  irresistible.  They also deliver their popcorn in customizable gift tins- making it a perfect gift for teachers, co-workers, out of town wedding guest favors, or any other gift giving occasion.  Enjoy!
Chicago Mix

Waiting in line- proof that this stuff really is amazing- the line only got longer and longer!  



fifth anniversary

This weekend, Josh and I were lucky enough to spend our fifth wedding anniversary in Chicago!  Neither of us had ever been to the "Windy City" and the weekend happened to coincide with my Fall Break- the perfect chance to go explore a new place.  

After several delays and cancelled flights today, we finally made it home in one piece, but with only time for a quick post.  So, stay tuned for my travel tips and suggestions for Chicago on Friday.  In the meantime, enjoy this blast from the past- how time flies!!
After singing the ADPi sweetheart song to Josh
Cutting the cake

Leaving in a shower of rose petals



target home finds

Hi Loves,

I hope you are excited for the weekend!  I am super excited and since I won't be able to post tomorrow, here is your first "free for all friday" one day early!

One of my favorite past-times is decorating and finding great items for my house without breaking the budget (or total lack of one in the case of this student!)  One of my favorite tricks is to combine classic pieces with trendy decorative touches from Target.  AND, lucky us, Nate Berkus is about to release his line for Target (October 21).  I had to quickly run to Target yesterday and I saw a few pieces that were there for a preview- they did not disappoint!  Unfortunately, I was in such a hurry I didn't take any pictures and they aren't on Target's website yet!  But, anticipation often makes things even more fun...

While you wait with baited breath, here are a few of my favorite pieces that Target is currently carrying...


Capiz Shell Lamps- pricey for Target but beautiful!

Sunburst mirror

Textured pillow

Chevron lampshade- just like the blog!

thankful thursday

While there are lots of things I am thankful for, right now I have to say I am most thankful for the beautiful weather in North Carolina.  Being from Florida, winter here seem to last forever and feel very cold.  (Really, we are only talking about January-March and a few light snows, but anything below 60 that lasts longer than 3 days feels like arctic conditions to this wimp...)

Winter has not arrived quite yet though!  In fact, it was so beautiful outside today, Mac and I left the door open all day so he could lay out on the deck and chew on some leaves.  Which also reminds me how thankful I am for a back deck and a fenced yard!

What are you thankful for today?