cancun honeymoon (night one)

After a day of lounging in the sun, Todd and I had dinner at the resort‘s Asian restaurant.  Todd had sushi and I had pad thai, always a favorite, really the whole dinner was quite good.  The view overlooking the ocean wasn’t half bad either.

When we were done eating, we headed to the lobby to pick up some photos we had taken earlier in the day with a pair of macaws.  Today they had an iguana and I politely declined.  The birds were pretty cool though.  We have another picture with one of them on Todd’s head.  Good stuff.

The resort features one event or show every night and we rounded out our evening with a solid karaoke night.  I had so much fun singing along but still couldn’t muster the courage to actually karaoke.  My one attempt at “Whatta Man” has irreversibly squelched any desire I had to sing in front of a crowd of any size.  Leading the show was a Mexican Elvis – definitely a highlight.

In other, less noteworthy news, I really liked my outfit last night so I had Todd take a picture.  I’m really grooving on the glamour shots during this vacation!

Well, I have to get back to relaxing in paraiso.  Until later!

Do you karaoke?

What’s your favorite karaoke tune either to perform or to hear performed?

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fashion rut (help!)

I don’t have much to say today and my meal choices have been largely uninspired – dinner was a bowl of Honey Nut Chex and a chocolate chip cookie and milk, delicious but nothing to write home about.  Because of this, I wasn’t planning to blog but I was reading a few blogs today and fashion kept coming up.  Jenny at Peanut Butter and Jenny is doing a Five Days of Fashion series this week – an idea that I love but my outfits are too boring to participate – and A Healthy Happier Bear posted her outfit today and it was adorable.

Since I work full-time, I don’t get very creative with my outfits these days.  Yes, there are the days I rush to yoga and have to camouflage leggings and sports bras underneath my office wear but those don’t always result in “fashion” by any means.  I love to shop but find myself looking for things that can double as work and weekend wear.  This means that on the weekends, I often don’t want to wear what I have because it reminds me of being at the office.  I end up in lots of dress pants and sweater or cami/cardigan combos.

Of course, shopping for my honeymoon has been easy.  Summer is so much easier to shop for!

3" chino short

Summer straw hat

Thank you J.Crew for these fun new arrivals.

My go-to stores are J.Crew, Banana Republic and Ann Taylor Loft.  I try to look at some of the local boutiques but I do have a budget to consider.  Forever 21 tends to be hit or miss for me, the skirts are often a bit too short for me and it always feels like I really need to commit a good chunk of time to looking through the store.  Basically, I need help finding new places to shop and outfit inspiration – help!

Where do you buy your clothes?

How do you balance your work and play wardrobes?

opening day

Today is Opening Day for the MLB. This is a big day at our house because Todd loves baseball. I love going to baseball games. I like baseball. See, I’ve learned that the thing about baseball is that in-season, someone is always playing. If you’re Todd, or other baseball fanatics, this is the best thing. If you’re me, it’s just the thing.

I’m prepared though. Yes, I might get sick of the constant feed of baseball games that will be showing every night in my living room for the next 6 months but it’s going to happen whether I like it or not. I choose to like it.

In that spirit, I wore a Detroit Tigers-inspired outfit to work today.

Notice the navy cardigan and orange head scarf.  Subtle but festive, my favorite kind of theme clothing.

The Tigers lost their first game today but I have faith in them. Here’s to a great season. Go Tigers!

 

Are you a baseball fan?

What’s your favorite part about going to the ballpark?

walking a fine line

I have a confession to make.  You see, Todd and I gave up ice cream for Lent.  This is a huge struggle for me because I love ice cream.  It’s also a huge challenge for me because ice cream seems to be taunting me.  Last weekend in Chicago, the restaurant my sister and I had dinner at had a dessert that included  salted caramel ice cream, I couldn’t wait to try it…until I realized I’d have to wait until Easter.  The next day, we went to a grocery store that was giving away free samples of the most amazing sounding Nice Cream.

Lavender Vanilla AND  Carrot Cake!?  Oh my gosh, they all sounded amazing, but I resisted.

And then at brunch the next morning, a case of Palazzolo’s Gelato – my favorite!

All of those beautiful gelatos and still I resisted.

Then, today at work, my friend Mary brought me a cup of pomegranate frozen yogurt.  With sprinkles.

Frozen yogurt isn’t technically ice cream, right?  Yes.  I ate this.  Every last spoonful.  Todd told me it was okay but that I was walking a fine line – I’m so dangerous!  Thank you, Mary, for the fro yo and for never making me feel guilty when I’m in the mood to push the limits.

As soon as I left work, I headed to the jeweler to pick…(drum roll please!)…Todd’s wedding band!  That’s right, I got his and mine will be ready to pick up on Saturday so we’re almost as good as man and wife.  What a crazy feeling!  Todd tried it on when I got home and we both had a moment of mild freak out because it is weird to see a ring on a finger that has never worn one before.  A good kind of weird though, only 38 days until that ring will become a permanent fixture on Todd’s left hand.

While I was at the mall I did a little browsing for myself and, even though I tried to resist, I ended up at J. Crew.  I can’t help myself, I love their clothes and almost always walk away with something new.  Today was no different, I found a cute little sundress that I can wear on our Mexican honeymoon.

¿Te gusta? (Notice my new bag in the corner, fun!)

After the mall, I rushed over to the Funky Buddha for a Shake your Asana class.  I love this class!  They play music the whole time and Cindy, the instructor, really gets us sweating and does a great job of keeping it interesting and stretching us out.

I dragged my sweaty self home after class and made a quick dinner.  Just a can of soup, bagel crisps and some cheese.  Nothing fancy but I was loving my Chicken Tuscany soup!

After a day of work, running some errands and powering through a Shake your Asana class I am one tired girl.  Thank goodness that the Top Chef: All Stars season finale is on right now.  I love this show!  It’s the perfect way to relax on a Wednesday night.

Did you give anything up for Lent?

Have you had any moments of weakness if you did?

hmp: pad thai

So tonight’s dinner, the first dinner of my Homemade Meal Project (HMP for titular purposes) was Pad Thai.  Pad Thai has recently become one of my favorite dishes and I’ve wanted to find a recipe to try at home for ages.  Today was finally the day!

 

I based my Pad Thai on this recipe from Savory Sweet Life:

Pad Thai Recipe
Serves 1-2 ppl.

Pad Thai sauce ingredients:
4 cloves of minced garlic
½ cup of palm sugar
1 ½ tbl. white sugar
1/3 cup of fish sauce
½ cup of tamarind juice concentrate

Pad Thai noodle stir fry ingredients:
Dried rice stick noodles – ¼ of the package
1 egg
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
6 tbl. of vegetable oil
¼ cup of red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup of mung bean sprouts
1 cup of carrots, match sticks
¼ cup of green onion cut diagonal in ½ inch segments
¼ cup of cilantro
1 ½ cups of either thinly sliced chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, or tofu
¼ cup of toasted peanuts chopped.
Lime wedge

Directions:
To make pad thai sauce, heat a small pan on medium low and add fish sauce, palm and white sugar, tamarind concentrate, and garlic. Cook sauce until palm sugar has completely dissolve. At this point, you will want to taste the sauce and tweek the sweetness or hotness (be careful, the sauce will be hot). To make it more spicy add a little Thai chili powder. Remove from heat and allow to cool 10 minutes before storing it in a jar or plastic container.

To Stir fry the noodles,
Boil noodles for 4-5 minutes and drain immediately rinsing with cold water for a few seconds. Noodles should be slightly firmer than Al dente. But don’t worry, they will continue to soften and cook later when stir frying. Using kitchen shears, cut the noodle clump in half. This will make it easier to fry and eat.

Heat 3 tbls. oil in a wok or frying pan on high and cook raw chicken, pork, beef, tofu or shrimp for 3-4 minutes. Remove meat/tofu/seafood into a small bowl. Next, heat up 3 tbls. of oil and then add garlic and red onions to the hot pan and stir fry for 1 minute stirring the garlic mixture so it will not burn. Add noodles and stir for 1 minute. Add 3-4 tbls. Of Pad Thai sauce continually stirring noodle mixture until well coated with sauce. Add cooked meat/tofu/seafood back and fry for 2-3 minutes. Move the noodle and meat mixture to one side of the pan and crack an egg on the other side. Scramble the egg with a wooden spoon and cook for 30 seconds. Add carrots, green onions, and sprouts and cook for one more minute frying everything together. Test the firmness of the noodle. If the noodle is too firm, fry for an additional minute. If your noodles need more flavor, add another tbl. of sauce and fry another half minute.  Remove from heat and serve. Garnish with remaining raw carrot match sticks, spouts, cilantro, toasted peanuts, and a wedge of lime. Enjoy!


I made a few tweaks to the recipe, the main one being that I used pre-made sauce.  I had very good intentions of making my own but Meijer didn’t stock any of the ingredients the sauce called for.  WorldFoods Pad Thai Sauce was a great substitution and in the long run, a time saver.

I also used pre-minced garlic which is a real lifesaver.  I hardly ever chop my own garlic since discovering this amazing product.  It saves a ton of time and effort and saves your fingers from smelling of garlic for day.

One other slightly large tweak was that I didn’t use any meat.  I like pad thai with chicken just fine but really love it with just the noodles, veggies and egg.  Such a simple, tasty dish.

Oh and I left out the bean sprouts…ick.

*I don’t love this picture but I’m wearing the awesome birthday apron that Todd for my from Anthropologie.  I love their aprons!  If you’re in the market for an apron, check their’s out.

Matchsticking the carrots was the most time consuming job.  Next time I’m going to search for pre-cut carrots of raid a salad bar somewhere.  But they turned out pretty and add such a great crunch to the dish.

 

Cutting all of those veggies was worth it though.  After chopping, Todd was helping me toast up the peanuts and we had a small dance break.  There’s nothing like cooking and having a mini dance party with the guy you love.

This was also my first time using a wok we received as a wedding gift.  Yes, we decided to go ahead and use some of our wedding gifts before the wedding but only after writing thank you notes.  What’s the point in making a perfectly good wok sit in the box when I’m making pad thai?

Love that wok!  Not even one onion dropped over the side, a definite improvement over our normal skillet cooking.

The pad thai turned out really well.  Next time I might add a little spice to it but other than that, it was magnifico!  I’m glad I finally made time to cook this up at home.

 

My love of food is rivaled only by my love for new clothes.  I’m a girl, I can’t help myself.  A box arrived for me today and it was full of clothes and accessories that I ordered from GAP and Banana Republic.  I somehow contained my excitement until after dinner and can’t wait to try out all of my new goodies!

Not a bad little night so far.  Time for marriage mentoring homework.  Tonight’s topic: conflict resolution, wish me luck!

What are some of the best shortcuts you take when cooking?

Do you usually make recipes as is or change them to your tastes or skill level?