Archive for ‘Travel’

August 22, 2011

Picture A Fun Weekend

Kevin and I packed our bags and headed west this weekend. Well, not too west, just out to the Midwest to see my parents. We had a fun weekend of good food, good beers, and great company.

I spent a bit of quality time with the fam (and their two adorable kittens) Friday night. We started the evening with pale ales and India pale ales from Boulevard Brewing Company. Both were great! I thoroughly recommend them.

Later that evening, Kevin got an IPA from 75th Street Brewing that tasted of hops and grapefruit. I had a Tallgrass Brewing Company brown ale. Both were quit tasty and went well with the fig, prosciutto, and caramelized onion pizza.

We shopped alllllll day Saturday. By the way, has anyone seen this sweet product – love it!

After a yummy BBQ dinner, we all had my mom’s awesome blackberry cobbler for dessert. It was my version of birthday cake.

Due to all these indulgences, I tried to make Sunday a little healthier. I cooked salmon for the first time, and it actually turned out pretty well. I served it atop a bed of black beans, spices, and veggies. Delish!

Kevin made the mistake of letting Leia try a mini bite of his salmon, and she quickly jumped in his lap with hopes for more. Can you see her tongue reaching for it??? What a goof!

If you could have any dessert for your birthday, what would it be?

July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July!

Happy Independence Day!  Like many Americans, I will be attending a barbeque later this afternoon.  I won’t be enjoying any beers, but I did get these really awesome hot dogs to grill.  They are organic, uncured beef dogs made by Applegate Farms.  We had some last night, and I’m excited to enjoy them again later today.

dogs

Sooooo Yum

I know the 4th of July is not traditionally a gift-giving holiday, but it’s time to announce the winner for my Food Should Taste Good giveaway.  Are you as excited as I am?!?  I hope so.

chip

Chip Winner

The random number generator chose Heather at Where’s The Beach.  Congrats Heather!  Shoot me an email with your address and top five flavor choices, and Food Should Taste Good will send goodies your way.  The flavor choices are found on my initial giveaway post.

Now that I’ve had more time to try the other flavors, I want to finish reviewing them.  I already reviewed white cheddar and jalapeno.  The cheddar is great and requires no dip.  The jalapeno is hot but manageable – and delicious.

Kev and I brought the bag of sweet potato chips with us to the beach, and we devoured the entire bag in the car.  They are a wee bit salty and a wee bit sweet.  These chips are not busting with flavor, but they’re still really good.  I think they’d be good PMS food, but naturally, Kevin has no comment.

sweet p

They're shaped like lil' sweet potatoes!

I like the multigrain chips, but they need a dip or topping.  They were pretty darn good with cheese and salsa, as you can see from today’s lunch.  I also think olive or artichoke tapenade would be great.  I wish the flax were ground instead of whole since our bodies don’t digest it whole, but I still appreciate the high-quality ingredients.

Diggin the Plain Grain

Diggin the Plain Grain

Nachos!

Nachos!

I was not as crazy about the works.  They are like an everything bagel, sort of.  The main flavor is onion, which is kind of nice, but it’s just not my thing.  If you like onion bagels, you’d love these things.  You also taste caraway seed, but a little something extra, like sun-dried tomato, would make them more enjoyable.

And now, to wrap up the post, I leave you with a few pics from my weekend.  Have a great holiday!

morning

Morning Coffee n' Bagel

market

Leave it to me to find the farmer's market...

beach

Beach!!!

July 1, 2011

Beach, Beer, and Bikini

Today started out with a good workout and another parfait.  Those two things help make for a good morning.  Then again, how could a Friday not start off well?  Actually, don’t answer that; we’re focusing on positives here.

One positive is that it’s going to be a long weekend, thanks to Independence Day.  My office lets out a few hours early the day before long weekends, so that’s another positive.  A third positive is that I’m going to the beach this weekend.

beach

Beach Flashback Pics

I’m pretty excited for the three B’s: beach, beer, and bikini.

Speaking of beer, I’d like to do a quick brew review for you.  This is one of Kevin’s favorite beers, and I’m a big fan myself.  I got to enjoy it last weekend, and in doing so, I took both notes and pictures.  I’m such a good blogger.

Smuttynose IPA

First and foremost, this is an awesome label for a bottle.  Okay, now let’s get down to business.

beer

Appearance

It’s a light color for an IPA, and it has a nice golden tint.  As you can see, this is an unfiltered beer.  That’s one of the reasons why Kev and I love it.  After a bottle pour, you can see a very thin head.  It’s a nice lingering lace, but nothing much.

beer

Smell

I didn’t take many notes on the smell, probably because it was not all that aromatic.  I guess that’s better than smelling funky though, right?

Taste

This beer tastes of citrus, and it’s so refreshing!  By IPA standards, it’s not that bitter, but it has a little bite.  There’s also that hoppy flavor I love, as well as a hint of pine.  It’s not a light beer, clocking in a 6.9% ABV, but the alcohol content is not overpowering.  Thank goodness!

Mouthfeel

Despite the cloudiness, there is not a thick feel to this.  You you notice the smooth richness, not a heavy thickness.  It is moderate in carbonation.

Overall

Overall, I like it.  I know I already said that, but now it’s official.  It’s hard to switch from this to another IPA since this one is quite unique.  If you order one, stop there or stick with it!  This brew earned an A- from the Beer Advocate Community but an A+ from “The Bros” at Beer Advocate.

beer3

Here’s a link from the Women of Craft Beer.  The ladies give 3 suggestions for Independence Day brews to enjoy during your festivities.

I have a cookout to attend at the neighbor’s house on Monday when I return from the beach.  I don’t think I’ll have any beer, but maybe I’ll bring some of my Food Should Taste Good chips to share.  I’d like to share some with you too, so enter my giveaway!

What are your plans for the weekend?  Will you be firing up the grill?

June 27, 2011

Gravy Train to Healthy Train

Diet schmiet, who needs it?  Apparently I do, and after this weekend, it’s time to buckle-down on some better habits.  If you thought I lead a healthy example of good nutrition and regular workouts, you are wrong (and you’re probably not an avid reader of this blog).  I’m used to a few splurges on the weekend, but this weekend with the in-laws takes the cake.  Cake?  Did someone say cake???  Ha – that’s been me lately, so after I recap my weekend via pictures, you’ll see why I’ll be back on the calorie-counting train for a while.

I already blogged about Thursday’s splurge, and after that meal, I had plans to be more mindful of nutrition on my weekend trip.  Well… this was Friday’s dinner…

bbq

Not Many Healthy Options on That Menu...

It was good Southern food.  The okra wasn’t as good as my mommy’s, but it was still tasty.  Those little things to the left are hush puppies.  I love those little buggars!  The beer was not impressive, but at $1 per draft, I couldn’t turn it down.

I tried to run on Saturday.  To my dismay, Kevin’s parents’ live in an area that is not safe for runners (no shoulder or sidewalk but lots of turns and hills), so I drove up to a local school’s track.  I was pumped to do some speed training, but this is what I found.

no run

No Run 4 You

My motivation took a nose dive, and I gave up.  Run = Fail

We had more Southern cookin’ for lunch and dinner Saturday.  No exercise and lots of food makes Tiff an uncomfy girl.  Lunch included a hearty chicken salad sandwich and blueberry n’ peach cobbler.  I know cupcakes are in vogue right now, but they don’t even touch the greatness of pies and cobblers!  They’re two of my (many) weaknesses.

Dinner was… interesting…

We went to an Italian restaurant.  Never have I seen fried pickles and jalapeno poppers on an Italian restaurant’s menu.

Menu

Italiamerican Food?

The food was edible.  Don’t let the cheese fool you; the sauce and noodles were not so yummy.  In fact, I was kicking myself for not ordering a side salad and baked sweet potato for my meal.  You guys know how much I love sweet potatoes!

ziti

Cheese = Good ~ Ziti n' Sauce = Meh

Sooooo… Sunday I spent allllll day in the kitchen.  Don’t worry, recipes are soon to come.  It’s time to get back on the healthy train!  I could use your support and bikini-body tips, so if you’ve got any, send them my way!  Luckily, I got a great workout in first thing this morning.

What was the best thing you did this weekend?

June 20, 2011

Southern Hospitality and Southern Food

I survived another family reunion.  Even Kevin made it back alive.  Haha!  Actually, I really enjoy seeing the family, so surviving that was easy.  You just have to make it through all the artery-clogging food!  No heart attack here… yet…

Instead of writing out a long, detailed post, I have created a semi-wordless weekend recap. Enjoy!

run

Very Hilly Saturday Morning 4.5-mile Run

breakfast

Post-Run Breakfast

breakfast

White Bread n' Dirty Eggs (Cooked in Bacon Grease)

cart

Golfin' Buddies

lunch

Ruby Tuesday's Salad for Lunch

melon

Afternoon Snack - Not Everything I Ate Causes Hypertension

dinner

In My Lilly Dress Before Family Dinner

worst

Worst Fried Green Tomatoes Ever (Not Pictured: salad, steak, bread basket, and ice cream - wow)

Sunday

Sunday Breakfast - I Love Gravy!!!

Now you guys know why the rest of my eats this week will *hopefully* be super healthy…

What was the best thing you did/ate/drank this weekend?

May 28, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!  It is a happy weekend, isn’t it?  I had fun on vacation, but I can’t wait to get home!  I miss my bed, my furry children, and my friends.  Kevin and I will get in late from the airport tonight, but we have a cookout planned for tomorrow.  I love playing hostess.  🙂

My last full day in Cali was very entertaining.  I had half a TJ’s sprouted wheat bagel with light whipped cream cheese for breakfast, along with a green apple and some coffee.  Then I tried my first Physique 57 class out in Beverly Hills with the FitSugar reps.  It was sooooo hard!  The workout was so different from anything I usually do, and my thighs were on fire.  Considering the “newcomer only” special was $210 for one month, I don’t think I’ll be doing it again any time soon.

YAS

FitSugar Twitter Pic - YAS Studio

I then rudely stole kindly accepted a Larabar from Kellan to feed my aching muscles.  Our next class was YAS.  YAS was 30 minutes of spinning followed by 30 minutes of yoga.  I love spin, and I was amazed at how well my body took to it.  My legs were hurting walking into the studio, but they felt better after only a few songs.  Perhaps the upbeat instructor and her amazing playlist helped.

I had never done a yoga class before, so I was pretty intimidated.  It wasn’t hard though.  Actually, after the Physique 57 and the spin, stretching felt really good.  My body was so warmed up from the spin that I got much deeper into the poses, especially pigeon and downward facing dog.

Mmmm... eggplant n' tahini sauce

Mmmm... eggplant n' tahini sauce

I then got a delicious eggplant wrap from TJ’s for lunch and met Kevin at the W Hotel’s rooftop pool/bar.  It was crazy!

Pool

WET - Pool Bar

At 3 in the afternoon, some guy shook up and sprayed a $3,900 bottle of Dom Perignon on a few scantily clad females.  Kev and I soaked up as much people-watching as we did sunshine!  I stuck to Amstel Light, and I was shocked to see a $75,000 bottle of champagne on the menu.  Whaaaaaa???  (No, that’s not my cigarette butt in the picture below!  haha)

We then cleaned up for happy hour and dinner.  We had a happy hour at a mediocre pub, and then we hit up Wood and Vine for dinner.  Yes, it was at the intersection of Hollywood and Vine.  I guess it’s kind of a pun?  Anyway… we split a tapas plate, and our favorite cheese we tried was a Spanish goat cheese with the consistency of cheddar, so not a spread.  The cheese is technically called, “Queso de Cabra.”  It paired perfectly with our Stone IPAs.  Beer + Cheese = Heaven  We also split a small plate of seared scallops.

Stone IPA @ Wood & Vine

Stone IPA @ Wood & Vine

We then contemplated hitting some of the hot spots, such as Whiskey A Go Go or the Sky Bar, but we decided to just go to bed.  I felt I got a club experience all afternoon at that pool.  As always, thanks for reading!  Time to pack and hit the road.

May 27, 2011

Joining the Circus

Oh man!  I have sooooo many pictures from yesterday; I don’t know where to begin!  I guess it makes since to recap the day from the beginning.  For those of you who may or may not have been following my trip, I’m still on the Hollywood fitness vacation I won from PopSugar, or more specifically, FitSugar.  I met with nutritionists and had some awesome meals on Tuesday.  Then I made a mini workout video for FitSugarTV with Jeanette Jenkins on Wednesday.  Read on down to learn more about Thursday’s activities.

As I previously noted, I didn’t get as much of a workout Wednesday as I had hoped at the video shoot, so I made a last-minute decision to get in a quick workout before the PopSugar Inc. people picked me up from the hotel.  (I felt like I really needed one after my bagel, light cream cheese, and cashew breakfast!)  I only had 20-25 minutes, so here’s a rundown of my off-the-cuff, arm-circuit sweat session.

  • 5 Minutes Elliptical – It’s a warm-up, but you should get a little winded.
  • Circuit Set 1: Wood choppers (1 10-lb dumbbell, sets of 12 reps each side), Standing two-hand bent over rows (2 10-lb dumbbells, sets of 12), Alternating dumbbell curls (2 10-lb dumbbells, sets of 10)
  • Circuit Set 2: Stiff-leg deadlift (2 15-lb dumbbells, sets of 12 reps), Squat with shoulder press (2 10-lb dumbbells, sets of 12)   <- you do the shoulder press as you come to standing from the squat
  • Circuit Set 3: Pushups (regular, sets of 10 reps), Dips from side of bench (sets of 12 reps), Overhead dumbbell press for triceps (1 20-lb dumbbell, sets of 10)

I did each circuit three times before moving to the next one.  This should be quick, but don’t do the moves too quickly.  Just limit your rest time in order to keep the heart rate elevated.  I finished in 25 minutes.

I had a quick shower, and PopSugar Inc. then took Kev and I to their studios for hair, makeup, and lunch (No, Kev did not get hair or makeup!).  For lunch, I ordered a grilled chicken sandwich with avocado (hold the cheese, bacon, and mayo) with a side salad.  Nothing to write home about… well… I blogged about it, but it’s not picture- or detail-worthy.

I was supposed to be filmed using the ridiculous-looking Elliptigo product.  For shizzle, these goofy things sell for about $2k.  When my turn came to try it out, I kind of freaked out.  I saw myself totally falling over sideways.  I never learned to ride a bike, so I wasn’t sure about the whole momentum thing you need in the beginning.  It just seemed too awkward for me.  Kev gave it a quick whirl though, and he did great.

pinkberry

I got a small, but Kev got the mini. Bad choice Kev!

Instead of sticking around for the rest of filming, they let us walk around Santa Monica before the next activity.  Sweet!  I had my first Pinkberry experience before hitting up the beach.

ocean

I touched the Pacific!

After beaching it up a while, Kevin and I met the PopSugar folks on the Santa Monica pier at the Trapeze School of New York.  Yup, the next activity is trapeze school!  You had a really great view of the beach from the top, and I think my legs got a little workout from it.  I didn’t feel tired, but my hamstrings were a little sore later in the day.  PopSugar was nice enough to let Kevin do it too!

trapeze

Flying Tiff

After returning to the hotel, Kev and I got gussied up for dinner.  We didn’t eat until 9:30 pm due to the traffic returning from the pier, our showers, and the fact that we split some champagne and cheese/crackers in the room.

Bubbly

Bustin' out the Bubbly

We hit up Cleo for dinner, which was great.  The restaurant features tapas-style dining, so we started with the Brussels sprouts.  I prefer my version, but Kev really liked these.  They were more oily and salty, but they added vinegar and capers.  Delish!  We then tried lamb shawarma.  It was different and not covered in any sauce, just perfectly blended spices.  Next was the beef cheek tagine.  Amazing!  I had never tried beef cheek, but I make a chicken tagine at home that I just love.  Apparently tagine and I get along very well.

Yummy - Not Pretty

Yummy - Not Pretty

Kevin and I ended the night in our hotel’s very swanky lobby bar.  The hotel’s club was full or privately rented out, so there was some overflow in the lobby.  It was great watching all the people, and it was worlds apart from what I’m used to seeing.  Although it was fun, all the beautiful (nearly naked) women kind of made me feel insecure and very self-conscious.  I wasn’t really able to end the night on a good note, but I still had a really good time.  Perhaps I’ll do another post on such insecurities at some point in the future.

Sorry that was so long!  Thanks for reading!

*PS: Kaila over at Healthy Helper gave me a blogger award.  I didn’t forget about it, and I’m excited to post it.  I think I’ll do it as soon as I get home and things slow down a bit.  Thanks Kaila!

May 26, 2011

Jeanette Jenkins Workout

Good morning!  Here I am in the lobby, loving some complimentary coffee and Internet.  I enjoyed another Trader Joe’s bagel with whipped light cream cheese in the room, just like I did yesterday.  Kevin and I began the day Wednesday walking around Hollywood… and making another trip to Trader Joe’s.  The TJ’s is so much bigger here!  We saw the Chinese theater, the Kodak theater, and lots of shady stuff in between.  Bail bonds, anyone?

Hollywood

Can you see the "Hollywood" sign? It's there. Promise.

Popsugar Inc. picked me up and brought me to the studios just in time for lunch.  We all had salads, but the salads came with hard, greasy breadsticks, which I ate and sort of enjoyed.  I’m not the kind of girl to turn down bread!  I got a quick makeup touch-up before Jeanette arrived for our shoot.  (Recognize that outfit from my race day???)

Sweating on Camera

Sweating on Camera

Group Shot

Group Shot

We filmed a quick workout video that should be posted on FitSugar some time in June.  I hope it’s soon!  I thought I was going to get to workout with Jeanette, but all we did was the video.  Luckily that was still pretty cool.  I just wish I had known to workout on my own at the hotel before arriving.  Jeanette sweetly offered to mail me a collection of her other workout DVDs.  Yay!  I think she felt badly that I didn’t get a workout.  🙂  Nice lady.  Very high energy and very loud.  But very nice lady, indeed.

After the shoot, I was driven back to the hotel.  I quickly showered, and one of Kevin’s friends picked us up to show us the town.  We ate sushi (well, I had seaweed salad and salmon sashimi) and drove around to see the sights.  I really wanted to hit up some of the bars we passed, but Kev and I were pretty worn out again.  Sigh.  Tonight, we will see a hint of night life.  It’s “the thing” to do here, and I can’t believe we still haven’t!

May 25, 2011

Food, Nutrition, and More Food

Hellooooo!  After checking into the hotel yesterday, I power walked my happy butt down to Trader Joe’s.  I was so glad Kevin was with me; Hollywood is a scary place!  He got scotch, and I got sprouted wheat bagels for breakfast.  We made it back to the room just in time for Kellan and Susi from PopSugar, Inc. to pick us up for activities.

We rode (in a Prius… so Cali) to Real Food Daily in Santa Monica to meet up with Willow and Stephanie of C & J Nutrition.  Willow and Stephanie analyzed some of my regular meals and gave me some tips about nutrition.  I couldn’t say there was too much new info, but they seemed very knowledgeable and super friendly.  They also gave me a few tips on cooking fish, an admitted fear of mine.  Kev and I split the Not-Chos.  Since Real Food Daily is a vegan restaurant, the chips were covered with a delicious cashew “cheese” sauce instead of actual cheese.  They were delicious!

nachos

Is it bad to eat nachos in front of registered dietitions?

Kevin and I had a few hours to walk around Santa Monica before meeting up with Kellan and Susi again for dinner.  It was surprisingly chilly.  I thought Southern Cali would be hot, hot, hot.

Santa Monica

Santa Monica Pier

Pacific Ocean

My 1st Pacific Ocean Experience

Yes, if you recall from yesterday’s post, I packed a lunch on the plane.  So yes, the nachos were second lunch.  My belly wasn’t loving the time change!  I usually eat dinner at 6:30, but we were meeting for dinner at 7:30, which is 10:30 Eastern Time!  I was glad for nachos, and I was excited for dinner.  We ate at True Food Kitchen, another foodie dream.  Susi took photos of all her food, which reminded me to do the same.  I must admit, I felt a little silly doing it because she actually gets paid to do that sort of thing – I just really like food!

Curry

Panang Curry with Shrimp

Dinner was great, but dessert was amazing!  This was my first rhubarb experience, and lemme’ tell ya… it won’t be the last!

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

When Kevin and I were at TJ’s, we purchased a bottle of champagne to enjoy at the end of the evening, but when we got back to the room, we kind of just passed out.  Travel is exhausting… especially in a tall pair of Steve Madden wedges.

May 24, 2011

California Dreamin’

Hello from the airport!  Although sitting in traffic, getting a random pat-down in security, and paying too much for my caffeine fix is not a good time, I’m still in a pretty darn good mood.  I have a good lunch packed; I’m not at work.  Most importantly, I’m about to leave for California!  If you read yesterday’s post, you’ll know why, and you’ll also know this is my first trip to the Golden Coast.

About that lunch… does anyone else pack lunches for random places?  I like to pack lunches for trips to the mall, the airport, or just about anywhere I can get away with brining my own munchies.  Today’s lunch is an apple and “peeb” quesadilla.  I hope it’s not smooshed in my bag!

Apple & Peeb Quesadilla

Apple & PB Quesadilla

I may be a little odd, but I’m not the only one who hates paying for overpriced, mediocre airport food.  Check out this post over at The Smart Kitchen for more on eating and traveling.  (By the way, I didn’t get a workout in today because I need to save my energy for the time change, and I ate Kashi GoLean cereal for breakfast.  It feels odd not having a three-part breakfast!)

I tried to take a pic for you guys, but I failed.  Can you see me?  I know you can at least see the plane, and I guess that’s cooler than I am anyway.  I wanted to ask Kev to take my picture in my cute pink dress with my bright pink rolly bag, but I think we’re both a bit too embarrassed.  Who knew airports were so crowded on Tuesdays???

Airport

Leavin' on a Jet Plane

Once we land, our room probably will not be ready, so we plan to leave our goods with the bellman and head straight for Trader Joe’s.  I want to get a cheap bottle of champagne (for celebrating tonight), and breakfast/lunch stuff for the week.  I don’t think our trendy hotel will be putting out a crappy but convenient continental breakfast!

Around 3 p.m., the FitSugar people will pick me up for my consultation with C&J Nutrition.  Due to the time change, we’ll be ready for dinner by then, but we will have to wait until our official dinner starts at 7 p.m.  I’m excited about my foodie meal, but when you usually eat at 6:30 p.m. and have a 3-hour time difference, your stomach might start eating itself.  I think I’m going to be picking up extra snacks at TJ’s!

%d bloggers like this: