Monthly Archives: June 2014

Fit for a Friday

It’s Friday! I hope you’ve had a wonderful week! We are about to start the 7-hour journey home to Charleston for a weekend visit, so I’ll keep this short and sweet. Here’s this week’s Fit for a Friday – a compilation of musings, findings, and favorite links I’ve stumbled across in the past week.

Gah, these pictures are gorgeous! I want to visit them all.

ljubljana

This teaser for Mockingjay, Part 1 gave me chills! I’m so excited for the third film in The Hunger Games series. Admittedly, I never read the books, so I honestly have no idea what is in store in the next two films. J enjoys The Hunger Games series as well, and we will definitely be headed to the theater together in November for Part 1.

I always enjoy checking out the What I Wear to Work features in the Washingtonian, and I can definitely get on board with “Bow Tie Fridays.” I love how Leigh accessorizes professionally while still letting his style shine through. Also, I want his job.

Photos from Washingtonian link by Lauren Joseph

Melissa from the fauxMartha always keeps it real, and she has the most lovely, simple recipes and photos. I’m completely craving a giant, homemade, icing covered sugar cookie after reading this post, and her sugar crystal sprinkles are perfection. I love that this is a recipe you could make and freeze for a sweet treat here and there. A cold sugar cookie would probably taste amazing during the summer heat. This is also a fun and durable cookie that could get transported around to family gatherings and potlucks. I’m sold.

Big Fat Sugar Cookies | The FauxmarthaAny great links you’ve seen around the web? Have a great weekend! xx

Mid-Week Peaks

Phew, it’s Wednesday! We’ve had a busy week around here. We’re West Virginia bound on Friday, and the four-day work week is making  the summer days fly by. Here are this week’s Mid-Week Peaks:

  • A Friday in Chinatown

chinatown gatesJ was still out of town on Friday, so I metro-ed the few stops over to Chinatown to meet my friends Briana and Mike at Matchbox for happy hour after work. They were in town for a little anniversary trip, and it was wonderful to share some wine and appetizers and catch up. Mike was actually one of the first friends I made in college, and Briana and I are sorority sisters. It’s always great to reminisce a bit with old friends – plus they are a super adorable couple. After happy hour, I headed to PennSocial where my coworker’s boyfriend was playing a set. PennSocial always has a super relaxed feel, and it was nice to hang out and watch some of the World Cup while listening to some fun music. There are also board games, and who doesn’t enjoy a lively round of Jenga on a Friday?

After leaving PennSocial I took Uber (get a free ride with referral code: mrhky) back to pick up my car at work, and as the driver took me through the city with the windows rolled down, I couldn’t help but think how blessed I am. When I moved to DC two and half years ago it was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. I left behind friends, family, and a fiance (who luckily didn’t take long to follow) to start a new job in an unfamiliar city. The first year I was here was tough – J and I were broke and planning a wedding, and all I wanted was my mom or my best friend to just go to Michael’s with me to buy craft supplies. But seriously. Now, as I hop from place to place on a Friday evening and watch the monuments blur by as I ride through the city on a perfect summer night – I know I made the right decision.

  • A Quiet Saturday

Carrie loves JSaturday ended up being a quiet day for me. With the exception of a quick trip out to the gym, I took it easy around the apartment and used the gloomy gray clouds as an excuse to clean out my closet and watch a lot of New Girl on Netflix. It was a much needed “me-time” kind of day, but I was happy when J got home that evening. Although, I think Carrie was even happier. As guys do, J plopped his pile of stuff down by the door when he came in on Saturday, and Carrie stayed tucked around his bags through Sunday evening when I finally made him put them away. He’s definitely her favorite.

  • Sunday Funday in Annapolis

DSCN0165After spending most of the weekend apart, J and I were happy to head out and spend a sunny Sunday in Annapolis. We visited the waterfront Farmer’s Market (1 market down on the Summer Bucket List!) and enjoy the beautiful morning. The historic downtown was bustling, and we caught each other up on our weekends apart while enjoying crepes, some photography, and perfect waterside scenery.

I wish I could say our work week has been as much fun as our weekend, but with lots of things on the to-do list before we head out of town for the weekend, the highlight of my weeknights has been cookies and cream ice cream and new episodes of my favorite ABC Family Shows. By the way, where exactly are they going with The Fosters? And is it just me, or was “Hefty Hanna” not really that hefty? Anyway, how’s your week been? Any highlights to share? xx

Find more Mid-Week Peaks here.

Recipe: Whole Wheat Apricot Walnut Muffins

Image

A couple of weeks ago I found myself thinking about a muffin recipe my mom made when I was growing up. Filled with dried apricots, chopped walnuts, and hearty oats, these muffins had just the perfect hint of sweetness and spice.

When I asked my mom about the recipe she happily jotted it down and mailed it my way (PS – thanks, Mom!). Her recipe calls for all-purpose flour, but I had some downtime this weekend and thought it was the perfect opportunity to put my own spin on the muffins using whole wheat flour. Enjoy!

Image

Whole Wheat Apricot Walnut Muffins Makes approximately 16 regular sized muffins

Ingredients:
2 cups whole wheat flour*
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar loosely packed
1 tablespoon baking powder
2/3 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (see bottom for pumpkin pie spice ratio)
1/2 cup dried old fashioned oats
1 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups nonfat milk
1/2 cup canola oil

How to Make:
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Place paper or silicone muffin liners in muffin pan and spritz with cooking spray to prevent sticking. Set aside.
2. Combine flour, sugars, salt, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and dried oats in a large bowl.
3. Add chopped apricots and walnuts to flour mixture and stir to combine.
4. In a separate bowl, combine egg, milk, and oil.
5. Add wet ingredients to flour mixture and stir until moistened.
6. Spoon mixture into prepared muffin cups until 2/3 full.
7. Bake 25-30 minutes until golden brown on top. Muffins should feel firm to the touch.
8. Remove lined muffins from pan and place on wire rack to cool.

Notes:
*I used Trader Joe’s brand whole wheat flour, but King Arthur is also a great option. If you prefer white all-purpose baking flour, it will also do the trick.
Store muffins in an airtight container for 3-5 days.
Original recipe source unknown. Adapted from an old recipe in my mom’s collection.

Pumpkin Pie Spice

Combine…
3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
Store combined spices in a sealed container and use as needed.
Image

Make on Sundays and pack up for an easy weekday breakfast on-the-go, or enjoy as a snack with iced coffee and a good book.

Weekend in Photos

chinatown gatesbriana and emily 6.20.14mike and emily 6.20.14

anchors and sparklesImageImageImageImageImage

DSCN0174DSCN0186DSCN0191

DSCN0204book and muffins 6.22.14

Fit for a Friday

Happy Friday, friends! Also, Happy West Virginia Day, and happy almost-first day of summer! How’s everyone’s week been? J headed home to his parent’s last night so he could play in an annual golf fundraiser today, so I’ve been holding it down single [cat]lady style. If the rain holds off tomorrow morning my plan is to check the Annapolis Farmer’s Market off my Summer Bucket List, and maybe even get a little baking done on Saturday before J gets home. This is the only weekend until September that doesn’t have something on the calendar, so I plan to happily enjoy the downtime. To help you kick off your weekend, here’s this week’s Fit for a Friday – a compilation of musings, findings, and favorite links I’ve stumbled across in the past week.

A great little piece discussing some of the awesome things to do in my hometown, Charleston, WV. As I mentioned in this week’s Mid-Week Peaks, J and I are headed there next weekend to catch the last leg of FestivALL and visit family and friends I haven’t seen since Christmas. Take me home, Country Roads.

charleston018

It wouldn’t be a Fit for a Friday post if I didn’t share a cute animal story. The fact that the zoo adopted the cat and is letting it happily roam in the habitat makes my heart smile. PS – the author notes this story doesn’t seem to have any real source or date, so please keep that in mind! The video is super adorable, though.

How stinkin’ cute is this? I actually stumbled on to this link through Sugar & Cloth’s equally cute DIY // Polka Dot Floppy Hat post. I went to high school with Ashley, the author behind Sugar & Cloth, and she always posts really fun and colorful DIY’s and sweet treats. Now excuse me while I go find a floppy hat to paint.

https://i0.wp.com/www.studiodiy.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/DIY-Donut-Floppy-Hat2.jpg

I swoon. J and I dream of a little brownstone with original hardwoods, a touch of outdoor patio space, and reserved parking. The dream lives on.

That about wraps it up for me. Cheers to the weekend! xx

Mid-Week Peaks

peony_6.18.14

Happy Wednesday! How’s the week going? I think J and I have both been running on autopilot lately. We have lots of fun trips, events, and life happenings coming up, and it’s been tough to just sit back and live in the moment. I’m especially looking forward to a visit home to WV next weekend. I plan on packing all my favorite Charleston things in to two short days. I can already taste the Espresso Oreo ice cream from Ellen’s. Until then, here are this week’s Mid-Week Peaks – a few highlights from the past week:

-A Performance by The King

I won’t go in to too much detail since this was actually a work-related event, but I had the honor of seeing Elvis perform on Saturday. It was interesting, to say the least.

Elvis

– Sunday Funday with J

The weather was absolutely perfect this weekend, and since I had spent most of my Saturday “working” with The King, J and I had a little Sunday Funday and headed out to the driving range. We spent some time hitting and putting and then stopped by The Big Fish Grille on our way home for some cocktails, calamari, and patio time. It was a fun afternoon in the sun, and I love when we both get out of the house away from TV and technology and just enjoy each others’ company. Also, how cute is this guy?

J Golf

– A Special Father’s Day Announcement!

J’s brother and his wife publicly announced some much anticipated news on Sunday, and I’m so happy the secret is out! They will be welcoming their first baby in December, and J and I can’t wait to spoil our future niece or nephew. This little peanut is going to have the best shoe game around thanks to Uncle J and Aunt Em. Sending much, much love and happy thoughts their way.

– A Little Yoga Practice

For some reason yoga has always been a huge fitness fear for me. I am a cardio junkie, lift (modest) weights, and I will happily pick time outside over the couch any day. But yoga was my fear. I’m really lucky because my workplace provides free group fitness classes almost every day of the week, and Tuesdays are Yoga Days. After more than two years of coworkers trying to coerce me into trying it, I finally gave in three weeks ago and decided to give it a whirl. While I’m certainly not good at it, I have really been enjoying the practice, and I plan to make yoga a regular part of my fitness routine.

manifesto for a simple life

That about wraps it up on my end, folks. How’s your week been? Any mid-week peaks to share? Have you ever been intimidated by a fitness activity the way I feared yoga?

 

 

Stitch Fix Recap

Stitch Fix #1

Hi! I hope everyone had a great weekend! I’ll catch you up on ours in Wednesday’s Mid-Week Peaks, but for now, here’s a recap of my first Stitch Fix. My apologies in advance for the low-quality photos. I was just trying to get some quick shots to give you a better idea of the clothing and fit, so please bear with me.

To start, if you’ve never heard of Stitch Fix, here’s a quick run-down. Stitch Fix (referral link) is an online personal styling service for women. You create an account and style profile, and you schedule when you would like to receive your five hand-picked items. You have three days once you receive the items to try them on at home, decide what to keep, and send what you don’t want back in a pre-paid USPS envelope. Each piece you receive comes with a styling card with tips and pictures on how to dress the clothing up or down with items you may already have in your closet. The upfront cost is a $20 styling fee, which is deducted from your order if you decide to keep anything. Prices are clearly marked on all your items, and if you decide to keep all five pieces you receive 25% off your order. Really, the only thing you have to “lose” is the $20 styling fee if you end up returning everything.

1. Chevron Tank (Cordelia) – $48.00

My first thought when I pulled this out of the box was that it wasn’t worth $48. The color was great, but I’m tiring of the chevron trend, and the cut of the tank wasn’t anything I couldn’t have found out Target for thirty dollars less. It was cute, but I didn’t give it a second glance. Bonus points do go to Stitch Fix for including two white camisoles in my box for try-on. It made the at-home shopping session that much easier.

Displaying photo 1.JPG

Decision: Sent Back

2. Denna Colored Skinny Jean (Kut from the Kloth) – $78.00

I love a great pair of white jeans and wear them often during the summer months, so I was actually excited when I saw this in my fix. They were a brand I had never tried and the price was reasonable for quality jeans. Unfortunately, before I even looked in the mirror I could tell the fit wasn’t right. They were cut a little too high, the thighs were baggy, and the length too long. J actually called them mom jeans. I could see how these could be great on another body type, but they weren’t for me.

Displaying photo.JPG

Decision: Sent Back

3. Colibri Bird Print Tab-Sleeve Blouse (Pomelo) – $48.00

I’m going to say right off the bat, the bird print isn’t for me. The colors were cute, but if I’m going to do a pattern, I’m more of a classic stripes or polka-dot kinda girl. I’m glad I took a picture of this, because it didn’t feel that big on, but it is definitely obvious in the photo. It was too big, and the slits on the side were awkwardly high. I will say that the material of this shirt was really nice. It wasn’t as sheer as the other blouses, and it would have been work-appropriate had the fit and pattern been better.

Displaying photo 1.JPGDisplaying photo 2.JPG

Decision: Sent Back

4. Melody Lace Embellished Sleeveless Blouse (Papermoon) – $48.00

My first impression of this sleeveless blouse was that the color was really great. It was more vibrant in person than the picture shows, and it would have been a piece I could have worn in the summer and through the fall with layers. My second impression was that the quality wasn’t great for the price. There were loose strands around the lace detailing (you can see the detailing better in the photo at the bottom of this post,) and the sheer fabric seemed too delicate to stand up to much wear. Not what I would expect for $48.

Displaying photo.JPG

Decision: Sent Back

5. Moni Geo Print & Camisole Blouse (41Hawthorn) – $58.00

Let me start by saying I loved the color and pattern of this blouse. My first thought was, “ohmygoshI’mkeepingthis!” … Then I tried it on, and I went from about a 10 on the excitement scale down to a 7. The sleeves were cut strangely with the stud detailing, which made them puff up a little awkwardly. The fabric was also pretty sheer. Obviously it would have always been worn with a cami, but I felt like the combo of the bold pattern + the stud details + the sheer fabric made it debate-ably work appropriate. Still at a 7, this was the one piece in my keep pile. I packed things up and walked away for an hour or so. And then I came back to the top… And then I looked at the delicate fabric again – a fabric that would be prone to snags and loose threads… And then I thought about how irritated I would be if I paid $58 for this blouse and it got a snag… my excitement fizzled to a 5.

Displaying photo 3.JPGDisplaying photo 2.JPG

 

Decision: Sent Back

I ended up sending all five pieces back. Unfortunately, that means I also lost my $20 styling fee, as that would have been applied to my purchase had I decided to keep anything. I really tried to not use that as a reason to keep something I didn’t love though. Ultimately, the fix was fun. I was excited to receive it, and I enjoyed trying everything on and seeing what the stylist picked out. The experience was worth the $20 to me even if nothing worked out this time. I’ve heard from others that the fixes get better each time as the stylist better learns your likes and dislikes, and in retrospect, I could have been more detailed when filling out my style profile. While I probably won’t schedule another fix this summer, I may consider it again in the fall. I could also see this being a great treat for a busy mom who may find it difficult to make it out to shop with little ones in tow. The convenience really was unbeatable.

Displaying photo 4.JPG

What did you think of the pieces I received? Would you ever try a service like Stitch Fix?