Week of adventures, friends and HOMECOMING

This past week was quite a fun one! All week long I was looking forward to homecoming πŸ™‚

JMU typically does homecoming on the same weekend as Halloween or the weekend just before it, so I was super excited to go down to school and see all of my friends and hang out back on campus for Halloween and a good football game. I don’t typically get excited about Halloween either, so it was a great excuse not to have any real costume or go out and feel like I needed to dress up πŸ˜›

Let me rewind a bit though….The week started out just like all of them. I went to work, learned a whole bunch of new things and went grocery shopping because I had no food and needed to get all the ingredients for the dip I wanted to make for our homecoming tailgate.

I ended up making a Buffalo Chicken dip from a recipe my mom loves. It was a huge hit…It’s spicy and creamy with chunks of chicken! I don’t actually know how it tastes because I don’t like anything spicy, but my friends do and what is more perfect for a football tailgate than something spicy? It’s a crowd pleaser for sure…and it’s easy.

It’s basically just a couple of packages of cream cheese, a little hot sauce, some ranch, some cheese, and I cheated and shredded a roasted chicken from Harris Teeter, but you could make your own if you so choose. You mix it all together and bake it for about a half hour at 350 degrees and you’ve got yourself a great tailgate treat πŸ™‚

So anyways…My week was pretty boring until Friday.

I went out to dinner on Thursday at Bistro 360, which is a cute little place in Court House. I didn’t take a picture of my food, but I did have some delicious sun-dried tomato and brie flatbread.

bistro

My office had a Halloween party and everyone dressed up which was fun! I was Rosie the Riveter…mostly because I had everything I needed in my closet. I could have tried harder, but Halloween is not my thing. Christmas though…that’s another story πŸ™‚

rosie-the-riviter

I also got to wear boots to work which was a great perk of the outfit πŸ˜›

boots-to-work

I also took my first selfie ever…It was Chewy’s birthday, so I felt it was appropriate since he’s always wanted me to take one. It helps that I was also a hyge fan of the lipstick I had on πŸ™‚

first-ever-selfie

After the Halloween festivities at work on Friday, I met up with Chewy and we went to grab the last few things we needed for Homecoming. There’s a grocery store pretty close to my apartment, so we walked there to grab what we needed and came home to cook.

We made Stromboli with pepperoni, ham, onions, and peppers for dinner and then made the dip, some cookies, and pumpkin bread. It was a long long long night of baking and standing around in the kitchen. We had a ton of fun though…I love singing and dancing around the kitchen when I cook, so I think I was probably the entertainment πŸ˜›

pumpkin-bread

I used a food network recipe for the bread and I finally got to use my mini loaf pans! I used a full size one too, but the recipe made A LOT of batter so I had to put some of the extra into the two smaller pans. I believe the recipe was actually for pumpkin bars, so it makes sense that it made a lot more batter than fit in a bread pan, but it is seriously delicious as bread too.

I literally cannot stop eating it and I am so so so thankful that it made so much…and it’s friends and family approved! Everyone who has had it loves it….so if you’re looking to figure out something to do with your extra cans of pumpkin, this is it πŸ™‚

We left bright and early Saturday morning and got to Harrisonburg around 11:30. We grabbed some ice to put in the coolers and headed over to the tailgate! I was so happy that so many of my friends could come and visit. We all have pretty busy schedules and are either working or in school, so it was quite the feat that so many of us were able to get together. I love these humans πŸ™‚

friends

I loved getting to catch up with them and eat everyone’s food πŸ™‚ And the game was good too…not good in the sense that it was a good football game because it was a blowout, but good in the sense that JMU won this year!

Last year, JMU played Richmond and College Gameday came to campus and it was a huge deal, but sadly we lost…so this year we played University of Rhode Island and won 84 to 7….which is absurd because JMU isn’t that good πŸ˜›

jmu1 jmu

We also had this random man named Chuck who was passing out Fireball whisky…it was quite hilarious. He was super friendly and goofy…and made people take pictures with him πŸ˜›

chuck-the-stranger

After the game we headed to dinner at Capital Ale House, which was fun but it took forever. It was super crowded from all the homecoming crowds so I think that’s why. Once we left Cap Ale, we headed to Ruby’s Arcade. It’s relatively new…it’s underneath Clementines and Ruby’s Bar…so it’s like 3 stories down πŸ˜›

We played darts pretty much the whole time. I’ve never played darts before, so it was fun to just throw them. Kara got a bulls-eye on one of her first tries…ridiculous!

karas-bullseye

The next day we left for home…with a quick detour in Marshall, Virginia. My mom had told me about a bakery there called Red Truck Bakery. It was supposed to be a cute little place and the town itself as well. It definitely lived up to the cute expectations! I could have stayed there for hours just looking at all the stores and taking pictures of everything!

marshall

maple-pecan-scone

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red-truck-bakery

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I loved every aspect of the place…and the scones and coffee that we got was incredible. My scone was Maple and Pecan and Chewy’s was ham, bacon, and cheese πŸ˜› We gobbled them up so fast!

Also the place was decorated adorably…One day, if Β I ever get to own my own bakery, I would love to have it decorated similarly! I would go back there in a heartbeat…and probably will. It’s only about 45 minutes from where I live, so I may have to gather some friends and head out that way again πŸ™‚

It was a great weekend of seeing friends and eating…It’s definitely going to become a tradition for my friends and I for as long as possible.

Another highlight of the weekend was my little cousin’s Halloween costumes…They’re Batman and Rey…I’m in love πŸ™‚

cutest-cousins

Also just for you’re fun reading pleasure…These two funny things I saw on Instagram give me life! They cracked me up and basically describe my life. Especially the second one. I’m a self-proclaimed grandma πŸ˜›

my-life

funny

I hope you all had a great weekend and had a Happy Halloween!!

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Working, eating, and other things…

This past week was pretty easy going, but it was super fun πŸ™‚ It was mostly filled with eating lots and lots of food…I love food, so the week was great for me even if it was just food.

Monday is always hectic at work, but once I come home, They’re usually pretty low key. I don’t really like to schedule too much to do on a Monday because I need to spend a little time getting my life together πŸ˜›

Tuesday is where all of the fun stuff started happening! Our office went to happy hour in Alexandria and then on a ghost tour. The little bar and restaurant that we went to was some Irish pub (I don’t remember the name, but I do remember that the bar tender had an Irish accent which was cool :P) and they had some pretty decent appetizers that I ate for dinner πŸ˜›

Afterwards we went on the ghost tour. Since Alexandria is a pretty historic area, it made a lot of sense that the ghost tour is a super popular thing for people to do. My mom had actually gone on the tour pretty recently and said it was a lot of fun so I was looking forward to it! It was super cool!

Our guide was dressed up in old fashioned, 18th century garb and he was really entertaining! He even did magic tricks and things throughout the tour to make it extra spooky πŸ˜› There were some cool stories though…one of the one that stands out the most was the story of the nameless woman.

Apparently she was really sick after traveling from London to Virginia and once she got here, many people spent time trying to get her back to good health at Gadsby’s Tavern (which fun fact: is a place George Washington himself frequented because his Alexandria apartment didn’t have a kitchen).

She died after several months and her husband made everyone who met her swear to secrecy that she would remain nameless. He commissioned a super fancy tomb stone for her and wrote checks for the services of doctors, the tavern and everything. Several weeks later the checks all bounced, no one got paid, but for some reason she still remains nameless.

Kinda cool right?

The craziest part is that her ghost appears regularly in the window of room 8 in Gadsby’s Tavern either staring at the street or holding a candle.

The whole tour was filled with stories and history and I loved it πŸ™‚ If you’re from the area or visiting, I would definitely check it out!

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Please excuse the crappy photos…it was dark and old iPhone’s have pretty awful night photo taking quality πŸ˜›

The rest of the week I hung out with some friends, ate IHOP for dinner and a watched a little TV. IHOP for dinner was one of the best decisions ever…their strawberry banana pancakes are some of my favorite things. Honestly how do they get their pancakes so good?! It’s a mystery.

We also had lunch out at as a team at a restaurant next to our office. I had something called Louisiana Chicken. It was really good…the sauce was slightly spicy, came with mashed potatoes, and some veggies.

work-lunch

Friday night, my boyfriend and I went to Lena’s for dinner. It’s an Italian restaurant in Alexandria that we found on Yelp. The food was reallyyyyyyy goood. I had what they called Meatball and Spaghetti, which I thought was a weird name for spaghetti and meatballs, but it was legitimately just one giant meatball.

lenas

meatball-and-spaghetti

I wasn’t joking…one ginormous meatball stuffed with some ricotta cheese. Mmmmmm πŸ™‚

Chewy had Korean BBQ Pizza which he said was delicious too!

korean-bbq-pizza

Saturday I hung out around the house and did chores and things until around 2:30 when I went to meet some friends for a little brewery crawl. The first brewery was my favorite. It’s called New District Brewing Co and I had a flight there…pretty impressed. I’m not a huge beer fan, but the ones that I sampled were good!

new-district-brewery

For dinner we all went to Don Tito’s which has a great rooftop bar that I’ve been to in the past, but I’ve never ordered food there. On Saturday though, I decided to get their chicken nachos…a wonderful decision if I do say so myself.

I love nachos and wasn’t super hungry…until they came out that is. It was an enormous plate of nachos with some of the hottest jalapenos in the world. I removed those immediately and got to enjoying the rest of the deliciousness πŸ™‚

don-titos-nachos

All of my photos look so much better on my phone than they do in real life. Sorry about that friends πŸ˜›

Sunday I spent over at my parent’s house cleaning out my old room and hanging with my little cone head of a dog. Something is wrong with her eye, but we’re not sure what, so the vet has her in a cone right now. It’s sad and funny at the same time…she looks pitiful πŸ˜›

conehead-pup

I also got some pretty flowers from Chewy…isn’t he sweet? They even match my bedside table πŸ™‚

flowers

The pumpkin obsession has also continued…I went to Target to pick up a few things for Homecoming and walked out with pumpkin spice lip balm and cheerios πŸ˜›

pumpkin-everything

I hope everyone else had a great weekend too! Let me know what adventures you went!


What is one pumpkin spice thing you’ve seen recently that is just ridiculous to you?

 

Week/Weekend update

It’s Monday again so it’s time to do a little update on my life! I seem to be quite sporadic in doing these things recently πŸ˜›

Last week was kind of a blur…it was one of those slow but fast weeks (does that make sense to anyone else?) I’m not sure what made it that way but all I know is that all of a sudden it was the weekend again!

Lets start with a couple weeks ago…I don’t really remember that much, but two Friday’s ago I had the best empanadas I have had in a long time (minus my uncle’s) at a restaurant.

My boyfriend met me in Alexandria after work and we decided we wanted to go to a new place, and I love any Mexican/Spanish food so it was an easy choice! I just searched for best Mexican or Tapas restaurants in Alexandria and the search came back with La Tasca.

It’s seriously so cute and it’s right in the heart of downtown Alexandria on King Street, which is one of my new favorite areas!

empanadas

The empanadas were sooooooo good! I have no idea what the sauce was, but that was pretty good too πŸ™‚ I also had a really good sangria when I was there….it was some kind of blush wine with blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries in it I believe. I’m going to have to try and learn how to make sangria some time.

After dinner we walked down the street a bit to get some ice cream and landed at the cutest little candy and ice cream shop called Kilwins! I had chocolate chip cookie dough (naturally…what other flavors are there? :P) and Chewy had chocolate turtle. We both thought it was outstanding!

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Sorry for the blurry picture! I promise the ice cream was 200 times better than this photo…I must have been in a rush to eat it or something πŸ˜›

Also I wore the cutest shoes that day…I’m in love with them. They’re from Ann Taylor and I got them on sale over the summer! S0rry for all those who hate feet…I just have to show off the color!

pink-shoes

Anyways…the week and weekend went on and it was fun! It was a kind of busy, yet also kind of low key weekend. We went down to JMU for the football game which was soooo much fun and I’m so happy that we beat W&M!

I did end up mutilating a wine bottle though…I was trying to make dinner and I’m kinda cheap so I usually buy wine that has a twist top like a water bottle, but Chewy’s parents had given me some wine…yeah I’ll let the picture speak for itself.

Yup…I’m a 22 year old who can’t open a bottle of wine to save her life. I almost had to watch a youtube video…almost πŸ˜›

The rest of the weekend was spend cooking and relaxing watching The Office. Random side note, but The Office is the most cringe worthy show I have ever seen…I have to look away sometimes because it’s so ridiculous but I also can’t stop watching!

Starting Monday it was back to work and like I said earlier, it was a slow but fast week. I have a bunch of stuff to do at work now, which is awesome because I love being busy, so I had that to focus on.

My roommate also had a bit of a snafu with the dishwasher…and by bit I mean it flooded and that sucks but she learned how to use a dishwasher properly so I guess that’s good? hahaha what an adventure πŸ˜›

Most of the week was really relaxed and easy for me. I didn’t feel like doing much, so I didn’t.

Tues day night I went to dinner with a friend at a restaurant called RPM Italian in DC. I had their chicken parmesan…it was oh my goodness delicious! It didn’t come with pasta which I thought was super strange, but it did come with two ginourmous chicken breaded chicken breasts and a delicious red sauce that I got to eat for two days in a row πŸ˜›

Thursday night I went out to dinner with my Dad at a Thai place in Alexandria. It was quite delicious…it was one of those hole in the wall little places that looks unimpressive, but is actually really yummy!

I forgot to take pictures of my pad thai and my dad’s spicy beef, but I can tellΒ you that if you go to Alexandria and are craving thai food, Thanida Thai is a good place to go πŸ™‚

Friday I also went out to dinner…eating out this much is unusual to me, but it’s been so much fun to try out all these new restaurants.

We went to the Warehouse Bar and Grill on Friday. I have to say this was one place I wasn’t that impressed with. I had a mediocre burger and fries and our waiter didn’t offer us bread like he did many of his other guests and they were all rather inattentive.

The decor was quite interesting though!

Those are a whole bunch of cartoons if you’re curious πŸ˜›

Also Alexandria is the cutest in general!

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Isn’t it gorgeous!! I love walking around down there. Maybe I’ll live there one day πŸ™‚

Saturday was a fun day…I had found a food truck festival in DC that I was dying to go to, so I coerced Chewy into going with me. It was out by the NoMa Gaullaudet U metro stop in DC off of the Red line.

You didn’t have to buy tickets in advance so that was really nice! We were able to buy tickets at the door and it was really cool because you bought tickets that were then able to be redeemed for food or drinks depending on the type of tickets you bought.

Chewy and I decided to get 3 tickets for $20 and split three different things. You could also buy 1 ticket for $8 and there was another option as well. There were also tickets for drinking, but we didn’t buy any of those so I don’t know the prices.

I thought the tickets were pretty reasonable though because the samples that we got from the truck were a pretty good size!

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The brisket mac and cheese was easily my favorite! I love mac and cheese and I love brisket, so it wasn’t that big of a surprise, but it was an amazing combination! I’m going to try and make something like that soon…I have a chuck roast in my freezer so you know, it could totally work πŸ™‚

Chewy picked out something from a Korean BBQ truck that was pretty good as well, but I forgot to take a picture. I just love food trucks…I think they’re so cool! JMU actually has some on campus right now which is awesome! I really want to go try the food πŸ˜›

So that was Saturday during the day, but Saturday night I decided that I really wanted to go to Fields of Fear at Cox Farms. Cox farms is the greatest place and I haven’t been back in probably 4-5 years.

I typically hate scary things, but I really wanted to go…don’t ask me why! It was a blast though. That place has a more elaborate festival every year. They added a whole new (well…new to me at least) Forest walk where people pop out and scare you while you walk through the woods.

It’s safe to say I nearly broke Chewy’s hand but it was such a fun time πŸ™‚ Especially the hot chocolate and giant bonfires that they had everywhere because it was actually very cold on Saturday night and I was not as well dressed for it as I probably should have been πŸ˜›

I wasn’t able to take very many photos because my phone camera isn’t very good at taking photos in the dark, but the bonfire…Loved it πŸ™‚ and the giant slide…that picture on the right is from the top of the slide. It’s so fun! and huge…It’s a blast thought. You all should go πŸ™‚

Sunday was reserved for food…most days are reserved for food, but Sunday was especially a food day. I met some friends for brunch at Bob and Edith’s diner in Columbia Pike. It’s such a cute little place. It reminded me of what old fashioned bustling little diners would have been like back when my great grandparents owned their restaurant.

I feel like it may have been like that…like everyone knew Bob and Edith and they were all friends you know? Anyways, it was cute and we were lucky we got there when we did because it was packed and it’s small so it was hard to get a seat. Luckily there was one open when we got there!

I had some french toast with eggs and hash browns, which was delicious and really hit the spot. They used Challah bread or some other type of thick bread for the french toast, which is 200% the best way to make it πŸ™‚

I also made some cookies…On Friday night, I just wanted to make ice cream sundaes. It was a strange craving, but I indulged it and I went to Target to get some ice cream and some candy toppings! I ended up with rolos, reese’s, and twix which are great, but I had way to many and I didn’t really want candy laying around the house.

Soooo I decided to chop it all up and make cookies! I used the recipe on the back of the Trader Joe’s whole wheat flour again and just added all the candy…They turned out great πŸ™‚ I love baking a good cookie and adding fun new mix ins is always exciting for me.

I did have to freeze the dough for a little while to get it to firm up though. I don’t have a mixer, so I make cookies by hand with a wooden spoon which means that I have to melt the butter.

Melting the butter makes the dough really soft so the cookies frequently end up really flat…if you ever have this problem, freeze or refrigerate the dough! It works wonders!

candy

The yummy chopped up candy πŸ™‚

more-cookies

Mixing up the dough…I ended up using a spatula because everything was sticking πŸ˜›

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The best part…the dough! I probably ate three or four cookies worth of dough…whoops!

cookies

The finished product! The cookies that ended up with Rolos on the bottom ended up a little goofy looking, but I can assure you they still taste great πŸ™‚

All in all it was a lovely weekend and I’m so glad that I got to do so many different things! I hope you all had a great last couple of weeks!


What’s your favorite fall activity?

Do you have a favorite type of cookie to make? or eat?

Recap time :)

First realΒ week of work check! I’m so happy to be working and be back on a normal schedule, but it was so so so nice to haveΒ the weekend!

I had a fun weekend planned with a friend’s birthday and SEEING JASON ALDEAN AND THOMAS RHETT!! Can you tell I was/still am super duper excited?! I couldn’t wait…it was my second time seeing them in concert and with my college roommate again, which is always super fun πŸ™‚

Anyways, I started my week out going to bed super early every night so I could get to the gym at 4:45…I’m crazy I know, but I love running too much πŸ˜›

I also attempted to lift weights, which isn’t like me at all, but I feel like it’s something that I need to do more of to stay in good running/uninjured shape. Every day was pretty much the same which is exactly the way that I like it, waking up early, going to bed early and then being productive at work is perfect πŸ™‚

Throughout the week I did some fun things like happy hours and dinners with friends, but mostly it was raining and disgusting outside, so I just came home after work!

I ate lots of food too, which is mostly what I have pictures of πŸ˜› It was nice to be in a routine of making my own breakfast. Hotel breakfast is great and all but something about hotel eggs freaks me out…they’re never a normal consistency you know? or maybe not, I could be the only crazy person out there who thinks hotel eggs are odd πŸ˜›

breakfast

Most days I had eggs and cereal with the occasional oatmeal thrown in. Super gross side note about the toaster though…my roommate brought it from home and didn’t clean it I guess because it was setting off the smoke alarm. I was bound and determined to find out what was making the thing burn and smoke so I investigated on Saturday morning…wanna guess what I found?

Yeah it wasn’t just some loose crumbs hanging out. IT WAS A DEAD STINK BUG!!!

I’ll just let the nasty sink in for a minute…

Okay. Now that that’s covered, I cleaned it out obviously, but I won’t be making toast for quite some time because yuck πŸ˜›

Back to what I did during the week! I finally got into a bit more of routine which included sweatpants and blogging or watching TV. You know how the first week of work back/doing anything you haven’t done in a while makes you tired even if it’s really not all that taxing? That was how I felt for most of Monday and Tuesday last week.

I wanted to come home, change into sweatpants, and heat up dinner, so that is exactly what I did πŸ™‚

Is being an adult reading the Trader Joe’s flyer at dinner? I think yes πŸ˜›

dinner

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I also got to spend some quality time catching up with friends on the phone, which is something I haven’t done in a while, but it makes my heart happy πŸ™‚

Also since it’s now officially fall, I find it socially acceptable to drink pumpkin spice lattes and eat all the pumpkin things…I had my first pumpkin spice latte on friday…it was so yummy!

pumkin-snack

Come the weekend, which I was beyond stoked about, I had a few plans which I mentioned before. My friend’s boyfriend planned for a bunch of us to go on a birthday booze cruise out of Georgetown!

It was a blast and we had a great time dancing and taking pictures on the freezing rooftop (it was raining) πŸ˜›

Saturday morning I attempted to sleep in…I made it till about 7:30, which is a huge huge huge accomplishment and that is when I discovered the stink bug πŸ˜›

Other than that it was super relaxing. We finally got a TV so I got that all set up and ready to go and then went to my bed to hang out with my heated blanket and some coffee. It was still raining on Saturday, so it felt nice to get all cozy!

saturday-morning

Then I packed up a duffel bag real quick and got ready to go to the concert. It was out at Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow which is out by my parent’s house, so I planned to stay at their house afterwards.

Best. Decision. Ever. I was so exhausted by the end of the concert. It was so much fun and I danced sooooooo much, but the week finally caught up with me I think πŸ˜›

The concert though…AMAZING! Thousand Horses, Thomas Rhett and Jason Aldean?! I mean, come on, it doesn’t get much better than that combination! I have to say that I think Thomas Rhett stole the show.

Jason Aldean is fantastic obviously, but Thomas Rhett killed it out there! I don’t think I stopped dancing once during his entire set! I got some really crappy photos of the whole show, but really it was one of those times where you take a photo or two and then just sit back and enjoy πŸ™‚

Sunday I spent the whole day with my parents. Oh and cleaning my boots…You know how I said it was rainy all week…yup it really messed up the lawn. I’ll be forever thankful for the lady who grabbed my arm when I was leaving to prevent me from falling πŸ™‚

Here’s the muddy nasty aftermath.

I went grocery shopping with my mom and then we all just hung out and caught up on life all day long, which was great. It had been a couple of weeks since I’d seen them and I missed them a lot…and my dog πŸ˜›

Reese quite literally fell over when she realized I was home on Sunday morning. It was the cutest thing ever!

It was a great weekend all in all! I can’t wait for many more like it soon πŸ™‚

Also I’m not really into politics or anything, but the Harry Potter fan in me literally could not resist…

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I can’t help myself…it’s still cracking me up πŸ˜›


Anyone else at a concert (or even the Jason Aldean one) this weekend?

What’s your favorite season? I happen to live and die for Christmas time (only 11 more mondays!!) but fall is nice too πŸ˜›

 

 

FINALLY! Baking and cooking adventures :)

As many of you know I’m back in Arlington for good (Insert a little happy dance here!)! I’m so excited because that means I get to make my own food and bake again!

Naturally, I started doing that this weekend. I knew I wanted to make something for dinner that would feed me for about a week, so I started searching on the only reliable source when you want a good recipe, Pinterest.

I love Pinterest. I wish I had been the one who invented the idea of cataloging other people’s ideas…it’s brilliant…and it’s my number one source of inspiration for all food that I make πŸ™‚

This weekend I didn’t have tons of time to shop but I knew that I wanted something relatively quick and easy and since Chewy was over, it had to contain protein. I settled on thisΒ Bruschetta Chicken Pasta. I adapted it just a little, but not really.

I used marinara sauce instead of tomato sauce and used a combination of basil, oregano, and parsley to season it. The balsamic vinegar sauce also didn’t seem to thicken, but that could just be because I’m impatient and have an electric cook top that I’m not used to yet πŸ˜›

Either way, it was easily one of the most delicious dinner’s I’ve made in a while!

chicken-bruschetta-pasta

I also made cookies, which are my favorite things to bake! I used the recipe on the side of the Trader Joe’s white whole wheat flour as a base and then added dark chocolate and coconut shavings.

They would have been even better if I had toasted the coconut flakes, but they were still really good!

In the process of making these cookies, I broke my favorite spatula…They get a lot more wear and tear than they would if I had a mixer, but I strangely kind of like mixing them by hand. Anyways, the handle snapped right off of my cute little spatula and since I was loopy and tired from long weeks of training, I couldn’t stop laughing!

broken-handle

It was so much fun to bake and cook again though πŸ™‚

I highly recommend you check out the Chicken Bruschetta Pasta if you’re looking for a quick and easy dinner that can feed a family (or feed a single person for a week πŸ˜› )!

Also just for the cute factor…

reese

She’s so fluffy!!

Have a great rest of the week!


Do you have any go-to recipes?

Catching up

As I write this I’m hanging out in my apartment feeling like a real person after my first day of work after three long weeks of training. I have to say I think I’m going to love what I’m doing, mostly because of the people I’ll be working with…so friendly πŸ™‚

Also completely unrelated to what I’ve been up to for the past several weeks, but the show Quantico is super good…so suspensful!

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aka my wild and crazy monday night of popcorn and tv shows on the couch (I still don’t have an actual TV so the iPad will do for now πŸ˜› )

So lets rewind a couple of weeks. I started work at the beginning of September and I’ve been in training since…well up until today!

Every weekend I’ve been able to come home which has been nice since I’m still not quite settled. It’s also allowed me to try some pretty delicious food! Arlington. especially the Ballston/ Virginia Square/ Clarendon area has some great restaurants.

One of the first weekends back, I had an incredible burger at Rustico. First of all the restaurant was adorable. I didn’t get to take a photo, but they had a mosaic with full wine and beer bottles inset in sparkly shine-y tiles. It was gorgeous and my burger was delicious πŸ™‚

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That first weekend that I was home was also the first time in my life that I was excited about a vacuum. Seriously though my vacuum is so awesome…the cord retracts into itself and its just the best thing ever. And it was on sale at Home Depot. It doesn’t get any better than that.

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I got the $88 pet vacuum…because girl hair shedding and pet hair shedding is about equivalent in my life it made sense πŸ˜›

After a very short 36 hours at home, it was off again. We got to go to Orlando, which was pretty fun. We got to spend a little time in Downtown Disney, which apparently has been renamed Disney Springs? What the heck…I do not understand.

Anyways, we at at a place called Paradiso 37, which was super pricey, but the food was pretty good. I had a very yummy mango margarita and shrimp tacos. The shrimp tacos were not nearly as good as Ford’s Fish Shack in South Riding, VA, but they were pretty tasty.

Then we were in training for the rest of the week, but we did get out one night to go to Rainforest Cafe. It was like going in a time machine back to my childhood. We always used to go to the Rainforest Cafe in Tyson’s Corner for my dad’s birthday, but it closed down. I probably haven’t been there in over 10 years.

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I got something called the Jungle Sampler or something like that. It was shrimp scampi, coconut shrimp, steak, and some green beans. It was easily the best meal I had all week!

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When I got home, I was able to work from home for a day just catching up on paperwork and things like that. The best part of being home on a Friday was able to find a good pizza place.

Having pizza on Friday is a tradition for our family (and a lot of other families πŸ˜› ), so I wanted to find a good place in Arlington. I’ve still only tried one place, but it was awesome! It was called Pupatella.

My boyfriend found it on yelp and it had outstanding reviews, so we had to try it. It definitely lived up to expectations.

When we first arrived, the line was so long, that we had to wait outside before we could order. The way they do it, is you order and then you go find a seat and they serve you, which is kind of a cool concept. They also serve VPN Pizza, which I believe is some sort of standard for brick oven pizza.

It was 100% worth the wait. I had meatball pizza and Chewy had some sort of spicy sausage one (I don’t have a photo of his though).

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It was a good weekend for food. The next day I saw my parents for a bit and then Chewy and I headed out with some friends to see the JMU game at ATown Bar and Grill. JMU was playing UNC, which is a huge deal, but naturally we lost.

It was still a super fun game to watch though! We went to ATown because the alumni association was putting on a watch party for the game and oh my lanta, I have never seen so many people so excited about JMU in one place before. It was awesome!

Also I had some excellent potato skins. So rich, but so so so so good πŸ™‚

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I also saw the coolest car in the world while we were there! So american πŸ˜›

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It’s been super busy, but it’s been great living in Arlington so far. I’m excited to finally be home for a while though. I definitely love traveling, but more for the sake of traveling and not for business πŸ˜›

This past weekend, I spent catching up on life and relaxing. Nothing crazy πŸ™‚

I hope everyone has had a great few weeks and a super fun weekend!

 

 

Boston, Portland, and Bar Harbor Recap

I just got back from 9 days in Boston and Maine and it might have been one of the most fun family vacations we’ve ever been on. Don’t get me wrong I love, love, love the beach and relaxing vacations, which this one was not, but it was a blast!

We left last Sunday and drove for 8 hours to go up to Boston. We decided that it would be best if we stopped in Boston first because it is a good 10 hours to Portland and 12 to Bar Harbor which is wayyyyy more than we wanted to drive in a day.

Once we got to Boston, we headed up to the North End for some Italian food after checking into our hotel, The Revere. First of all…it’s a gorgeous hotel. We really liked it and would highly recommend it. The beds were especially comfy, which is something pretty much everyone in our family is picky about πŸ™‚

We went to the most adorable little restaurant up in the North End and the food was soooooo delicious! I had a chicken and broccoli penne with a cream sauce. Oh and the restaurant was called Al Dente.

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The next day we went on a quick tour of the City of Boston. It was a blast to learn all about the history of the town. We definitely got our fill of fun knowledge and cool photos πŸ™‚

I think the funniest thing was the donkey representing the democratic party in front of the old town center and then two footprints with elephants Β in them which said stand in opposition to demonstrate the republican party. I thought it was clever!

After the walking tour (we had the nicest tour guide by the way) we packed up all of our stuff and headed out to Portland. It was just a few hours to get there, but we stopped in Ogunquit, Maine for lunch first!

Ogunquit is literally the cutest and smallest town I have ever seen! I loved it πŸ™‚

We ate at the Lobster Shack, which I believe was recommended to us by one of my mom’s friend. Whoever recommended it was absolutely correct…it is a great place to stop for lunch and they have great lobster rolls!

I don’t necessarily love cold lobster (or should I say, I learned that I don’t love it) but everyone in my family had great things to say. It was my brother and I’s first time trying lobster!

I highly recommend trying a Connecticut style lobster roll, which is made without mayonnaise if you’re anything like me and can’t stand the stuff! But if you’re like my dad or my brother…the traditional style is perfect for you! This place also had some of the best clam chowder I have ever had in my life…perfectly creamy and filled with huge chunks of clam πŸ™‚

After trying out the food at the Lobster Shack we took a little self guided tour around the teeny tiny town…they have a draw bridge that they let anyone, aka random people, open and close when big boats come into the harbor…how can they do that?! It was so cool!

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After leaving Ogunquit, we made our way to Portland, which is such a cool place! There were tons of restaurants there and cute little shops and even a floating restaurant! We didn’t eat at the floating restaurant, but we did go on a really fun sunset boat tour of the place!

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The cruise was a blast! I learned so much about the history of the area and saw some seals! Seals are just so cute looking πŸ™‚ I loved getting to take some photos out on the water too.

After the cruise, we went to a BBQ place…I forget what it was called but it wasn’t the greatest, so it is probably best left unnamed. I think I’ll leave BBQ to the southerners πŸ˜›

The next day we went to Peak’s Island to do some kayaking. The last time I went kayaking was when I was 8 years old in Alaska and the kayak that my mom and I were sharing had a broken rudder, so needless to say I was a little nervous about getting in a kayak in the ocean πŸ˜›

It went super duper well and was so much fun! I had a blast and it was definitely a great workout πŸ™‚ Peak’s Island was great too…It’s the most populated island in Portland and it has one of everything…one grocery store, one ice cream place, one police officer…you get the idea πŸ™‚ Their motto is “if we don’t have it, you probably don’t need it.” I think that’s probably true!

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This lighthouse, the Portland headlight, is the most photographed lighthouse in Maine πŸ™‚Β DSC_0338DSC_0358DSC_0398

From Portland, we headed to Bar Harbor. Bar Harbor might be the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen and I’m usually 250% partial to the sandy beaches of Topsail Island (which by the way was on HGTV on Sunday night in an episode of bargain beach house hunters or something like that which was both cool and sad all at once because we like to keep the island a secret :P).

Anyways….Gorgeous…and great great great hiking in Acadia National Park. Did you know they have over 2 million visitors every summer?! That’s nuts! We stayed in a cute AirBnB right in heart of town, which was perfect.

We did stop on our way out of Portland to grab some donuts at the Holy Donut. I had read about it as a must-go place in pretty much every travel article about Portland, so I convinced everyone that we needed the donuts. Not that that was very difficult to do πŸ˜›

They had pretty much every flavor of donut imaginable…we went in expecting to get 4, but came out with a dozen. We got some that were blueberry, some dark chocolate coconut, a lemon one, a maple bacon one, some berry flavored one, an original one and even a cannoli one!!

We were within walking distance of some of the best restaurants I have ever eaten at! The first night we were there we ate at the Side Street Cafe. They had great reviews on Yelp and TripAdvisor and they definitely lived up to expectations! I had a caesar salad and lobster mac and cheese.

The lobster mac and cheese is supposedly Paula Dean’s favorite meal at the restaurant, so naturally I had to have it since I love Paula Dean πŸ˜›

It was absolutely the most delicious mac and cheese I’ve ever had!

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We also had a FANTASTIC blueberry pie! Just the crust alone was to die for, but the sweet blueberries in combination with the slightly sweet crust and vanilla bean ice cream was absolute perfection…

However I have a less than stellar photo to show you all the pie…you’ll have to take my word for it. We did go back to the restaurant again strictly because the pie was so good, if that means anything πŸ™‚

Our first full day in Bar Harbor consisted of some hiking in Acadia National Park at Jordan’s Pond and Bubble Rock hikes. They were so much fun! I love hiking and have gone to a bunch of different places this summer, but this was easily the best! So so so scenic…I could have taken a thousand photos and never once gotten bored!

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I loved how much time we got to spend outdoors πŸ™‚ The next day we went on a whale watching tour, which was a blast! I usually get kind of sea sick, but my dad grabbed me some Dramamine to help stave off some of the sickness. It definitely worked and I was able to use my telephoto lens for the first time in forever!

We got to see a couple of humpback whales, Spoon and Sword, for quite some time! They were breaching and playing around so much! It was almost like they were showing off for our tour.

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We also got up one morning for sunrise! We had to get up by 4am to drive and get a parking spot at Cadillac Mountain, but we did get the satisfaction of saying we were one of the first people on the east coast to see the sunrise. It was pretty beautiful πŸ™‚

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The best part about getting up that early is that you beat all the lines to breakfast πŸ˜› Kyle is a master of finding good places to eat, so we ended up at a place called The Two Cats Cafe and Inn. We thought he may have just picked it because he likes cats so much, but he definitely picked a winner! They had great coffee and even better biscuits with strawberry butter! Not to mention delicious spicy hash browns and scrambled eggs πŸ™‚

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It was easily one of the best breakfasts I’ve had in a long time…I wish I could make breakfast like that for myself every single morning πŸ™‚

I really loved all of Bar Harbor and everything there…I would go back in a heartbeat!

After leaving Bar Harbor, which is a place that I could easily spend a whole week or even two, we went back to Boston to catch a Red Sox game. I’ve never been to a game like that before! As Kyle put it, it isn’t as “Family Friendly” as National’s Park…it’s just way more lively and people seem to be way more into the game!

One guy walked past us wearing all Met’s stuff and several people booed him πŸ˜› There were also a ton of home runs during the game, which was sooooo much fun to watch!

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After the game, we went across the street to a brewery called BrewWorks for some pretty good beer! I don’t usually love beer, but it has been growing on me. I had one called a Watermelon Ale!

Watermelon beer at BrewWorks

So yummy! Afterwards we went somewhere in Chinatown for dinner…it was called Q and it was delicious! They’re known for something called hot pots, but I got chicken chow mien and ate some of my mom’s sesame chicken πŸ™‚ I’d highly recommend it if you’re in Boston and in the mood for Chinese!

Overall it was one of the longest and most fun vacation’s that my family has taken together. I’d love to go back to Maine someday and do more hiking up there. There are also a whole bunch of small towns that we drove through on Coastal Route One that I would like to visit! Hopefully soon I can go back with some friends πŸ™‚


Have you ever been to Boston or Maine?

 

What’s your favorite place to vacation?

  • usually it’s Topsail or a beach, but Maine/ the Northeast is now definitely a contender!