three things

Three things for this morning.

1) Yesterday morning while I was doing this:

(Todd is getting mighty sneaky with that camera.)

Todd was making me this for breakfast:

Yum!  I love English muffins and topped with peanut butter and banana, it’s the perfect meal to grab and go on the way to work.  I’m so lucky that he’s willing to help me out in the morning.  I tend to either be really calm and done getting ready quite early or running around like a crazy person.  Yesterday was a running around like a crazy person day since I was packing up those last-minute items for my Chicago trip.

Todd snapped these photos for me.  He’s getting used to having to wait a second to eat so I can get a shot of our meal.  Thanks, Todd for a wonderful breakfast!

2) I made it to Chicago safe and sound.  My sister and I had a reservation for dinner at Hot Chocolate.  On the way there one of Em’s heels broke!

What a bummer, they were cute shoes!  Em attempted to break the other heel saying, “I need a new pair of flats anyway.” but the other heel wouldn’t budge.  She just took it like a champ, kept on walking and barely even hobbled the whole way to the restaurant.  I’ve never had a heel break before I doubt I’d be able to pull off one heel so gracefully.

3) I was so looking forward to eat at Hot Chocolate.  I love eating at new restaurants and this place had a dessert menu to die for.  We started the meal out with an order of soft pretzels.  They brought out big nuggets with (very) spicy mustard and cheese fondue.  I loved the size of the nuggets.  Each one was 2-3 bites and perfect for dipping in the cheese.  I’m going to have to try making nuggets that size next time Todd and I attempt homemade pretzels.

Dinner was pretty good but dessert was great.  Em and I were “on vacation” so we each ordered our own dessert, I had the “Thoughts on a Peanut Butter Cup”, Em had a “Dreamsicle” and then we split a vanilla bean hot chocolate.

Peanut butter mousse, housemade peanut butter cups, concord grape reduction, yes please.

Orange sorbet, meringue, vanilla bean milk shake, such a creative combination, yum!

And then there was the hot chocolate…

That was the sweetest thing I have ever put into my body.  Em and I both immediately hit a sugar high and by the time we got home, mine had worn off and I fell asleep immediately.  We had a movie in and I’m not confident I even made it through the title screen.

So far this Chicago weekend if off to a great start.  Time to get ready for our Fly Yoga class, I’m so excited to try it!

What is the sweetest “little thing” that your significant other does for you?

What is the most decadent dessert you’ve ever had?

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no coffee at starbucks

We had tonight’s marriage mentoring session at a Starbucks.  Unlike everyone else, I don’t drink coffee.  I’ve tried.  But I just don’t like it.  Thankfully, Starbucks also carries my favorite beverage, tap water!  I couldn’t order just water so the only other option was to grab one of these tasty little morsels…

Yup, I was excited about my Birthday Cake Pop.

Really excited about it.

And it was really good.  Of course, I can never stop at one treat and my tiny cake-sicle didn’t quite fill me up so Todd and I split a slice of Iced Lemon Pound Cake too.  I promise, wedding diet, I’ll get to you soon.

Our mentoring session went well.  The topic of the day was basically family and we’re both lucky to come from really great families.  Lots of love over the generations and strong relationships that we’ve learned from.  Thanks Mom(s) and Dad(s) for making today’s session easy for us to work through!

The Office, Parks and Rec and 30 Rock are over so time to get off the couch.  I’m going to visit my sister in Chicago tomorrow and I need to go pack.  Oh, and I get to go to Hot Chocolate for dinner tomorrow night.  With a name like that, it has to be good!  Check out the dessert menu, it looks fantastic!  I’m already planning out my meal.  I can’t wait for this weekend, in addition to Hot Chocolate we’re planning on Fly Yoga at i.d. gym, meeting up with my parents who are coming down to celebrate my mom’s birthday (happy, happy!), Greek and Moroccan food and a little shopping for good measure.  Should be a really fun weekend, I can’t wait to get there!

Are you a coffee fan?

What would you suggest for a drink to get a non-coffee drinker to start drinking coffee?

whirlwind weekend in chattanooga and homemade pretzels

I had such a full weekend, long post ahead!

After a wonderful, whirlwind trip to Chattanooga to celebrate Jen and Evan’s wedding I am back home.  When I arrived in Chattanooga, Sarah picked me up from the airport and met up with the other bridesmaids leaving me the rest of the sunny, gorgeous, 75 degree day exploring Chattanooga.

 

First things first, I went to find a snack.  I stopped at Niedlov’s Breadworks, an adorable bakery right downtown.

 

I ate a delicious, buttery chocolate-filled croissant and made a plan for the day.  As I was sitting there I noticed a real live knitting club was meeting there, how cute and southern is that?  After my snack I headed towards the riverside area where there are a lot of restaurants, bars, an aquarium and an outdoor flea market.  The whole area was bustling and lively and was the perfect place to soak up the sun.  One of my favorite things is discovering a new place and I love to just take my time and poke around town, Chattanooga definitely did not disappoint.

 

After my tour of Chattanooga, I headed up to Lookout Mountain where our B&B was located.  There were such amazing views of the city from the mountain.  After checking in, I did a 20-minute yoga session in our room.  This was the frist time that I’d ever done yoga without an instructor and I felt pretty good about it.  I definitely prefer to have an instructor there, guiding me through my practice but it’s good to know that practicing at home on days that I can’t make class is an option.  It felt good to take that time out to do something good for my body in the midst of so much food and celebration.  Oh yoga, you make me smile.

 

Jen and Evan’s wedding was such a great event.  The venue was in Lookout Mountain, Georgia and had a gorgeous view of Chattanooga.  Her dad performed the ceremony which was very touching.  I couldn’t help but think about my own upcoming wedding during the ceremony and that made it even more special, I can’t wait to marry Todd in just 6 weeks.  Congratulations Jen and Evan, I’m so happy for you two!

 

The B&B that Sarah and I stayed at was called the Garden Walk Inn, and our friends Debbie and Andy stayed there as well.

We all had breakfast together this morning.  They served baked peach french toast which was amazing!  I’m going to have to find a recipe to try at home.

Look at all of that whipped cream, almond goodness!

After breakfast we said goodbye to Debbie and Andy and then Sarah and I made our way to Atlanta to catch our respective flights home.  Like I said, a whirlwind trip!

Todd picked me up at the airport and we headed home where he had dough waiting to make homemade soft pretzels.  Todd used a WikiHow recipe to make the dough.  We rolled out the dough by hand, it reminded me of my preschool days when I would make worms out of play-dough, it was exactly the same technique!  We then shaped the pretzels which was surprisingly challenging, the dough would fall apart if it wasn’t moist enough but the work was worth it.

After coating the pretzels with the baking soda mixture and an egg wash we sprinkled them with cinnamon sugar, sea salt or sesame seeds and then popped them in the oven.

Ten minutes later we had delicious, soft, hot pretzels!

I was amazed at how good they were!  We made some pretzel nuggets too and those were even better.  They were exactly the right consistency, just as good as any pretzel stand.  What a fun and tasty way to spend a Sunday evening!

 

I definitely had a great weekend.  It combined so many of my favorite things: weddings, friends, spending time with Todd, sun, food, new places.  Just lovely!

 

Where was your last weekend away?

What was the best new place you’ve recently discovered?

 

early to rise

Here I am, 6:18am and up and at ’em waiting for my flight to Chattanooga via Detroit. Getting up this morning was relatively easy. There’s something to be said for making sure you have everything ready to go – outfit, suitcase, essentials – before falling asleep at night. I think I’ll try to do that more often, it makes the morning nearly painless. Although I am looking forward to boarding my plane and falling asleep before taking off, it’s a skill I’ve honed well.

I woke up starving and was happy that my flight wasn’t so early that the restaurants were so busy. After speeding through security, I immediately bought a bagel and an Odwalla smoothie. I try not to drink much other than water but air travel always seems like a good excuse to splurge.

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See you in Chattanooga!