If at First You Do Succeed, Don’t Try Again

Lesson learned: If at first you do succeed, don’t try again. (Can you guess the results of today’s race?) 😉

After last year’s Doggie Derby victory, we headed out to compete in today’s event with full faith in our little girl.

People and their dogs came out in droves!

Doggie Derby Crowd

We met up with some friends and cheered on adorable dogs of all different breeds.

Ryan & Sadie, Pat & Kaluha

Sadie competed in the 6th heat of the middleweight dogs.

Using our winning strategy from last year, Ryan held onto Sadie at the start line while I called to her from the finish line.

Our strategy backfired a bit because this year the guy at the starting line took a while to blow the horn to start the race. Sadie was freaking out and jumping back at Ryan to let her go when the horn finally went off. She was so concentrated on trying to make Ryan release her so she could run to me, that she wasn’t looking forward when the race started. Needless to say, our little Sadie got her little butt kicked in round one!

Don’t worry though, Sadie was still as happy as ever after her defeat. 😀

We hung out at the Doggie Derby for a bit longer before taking Sadie to the dog park to hang out with the other “non-winning” dogs. 

On Our Way to the Park

Walkin' the Trails

Still as Happy as Ever

It is h-o-t outside today!

Lunch

We were quite sweaty by the time we left and headed home to fill our bellies.

Pasta sounded like the perfect lunch!

Barilla Plus Pasta

Ryan and I both really liked the Barilla Plus thin spaghetti. (One serving has a whopping 10 grams of protein!)

We topped our pasta with steamed broccoli, cauliflower, marinara and Parmesan cheese.

Veggies + Pasta + Marinara + Parmesan

Saturday Afternoon Lunch

After lunch we busted out the lawn chairs and layed out in the sun while reading our respective books for 90 minutes or so. I was gettin’ HOT and had to come in to update the ol’ blog!

Tonight

I’m getting excited for tonight! We have plans to see Straight No Chaser, a fantastic a cappella group, in concert at the Hard Rock Live at  8 p.m. Should be a blast!

What was the first concert you went to?

What to Choose…

This just in: Roasted eggplant in pasta is ah-maze-ing!

I love veggies that pick up the flavors of whatever you throw at them.

The roasted eggplant in my lunchtime noodle bowl really meshed with the cheesy flavors of the Parmesan and Laughing Cow light original Swiss cheese.

Eggplant + Spinach + Noodles + Cheese

Parmesan Cheese

It was a cheesy, creamy noodle bowl with the added nutritional punch of eggplant and steamed spinach.

Lunch

I thought I might miss my beloved marinara sauce when I was throwing all the ingredients together, but the two cheeses were strong and definitely didn’t make me miss my favorite red sauce. I will surely be making this noodle bowl again in the future!

Snack Time

Snack time today was worthy of a mention.

Blueberry Bliss Luna Bar

Blueberry + Oats

The blueberry bliss Luna bar arrived in the goodie bag from Janetha yesterday and I knew it would make the perfect snack around 10:30 this morning.

Blueberry Bliss

The taste actually reminded me a lot of blueberry Nutri-Grain bars, but the texture was different. It was yummy!

Dinner Plans

Tonight I am meeting up with some of my girlfriends at Season’s 52, my favorite restaurant on the planet!

We’re celebrating my birthday since I haven’t seen any of them since I turned the big 2-5.

If it’s available online, I like to check out a restaurant’s menu ahead of time and have a few yummy dishes in mind before I arrive for a meal.

Several dishes are currently calling to me…

Of the following entrees, which would you choose?

  1. Caramelized Sea Scallops grilled and served with roasted asparagus and sundried tomato pearl pasta
  2. Grilled Boneless Rainbow Trout with parsley new potatoes, fresh roasted vegetables and broiled lemon
  3. Spring Market Vegetable Plate with cranberry almond tabbouleh, fennel, plum tomatoes and grilled tofu
  4. Garlic Chicken Flatbread with balsamic red onions, roasted red peppers and Mozzarella cheese

I’m leaning toward the scallops at the moment…

Pete’s Pasta

Last Saturday night we enjoyed some of the best pasta at our friends’ Pete and Merri’s apartment when we were carboloading for Sunday’s 5k race.

I’ve had red sauce many times, but I never thought to add a big dollop of ricotta cheese on top until Pete suggested it. I have a feeling this little creation will be a staple in my future pasta dishes.

The ricotta cheese makes the red sauce creamier and thicker… All good things!

Ricotta + Parmesan

Cheesy Pasta Bowl

I added ricotta and Parmesan cheese on top of a noodle bowl with tomato basil marinara sauce and freshly steamed broccoli.

Noodle Bowl

After dinner and a trip to the dog park with Sadie, Ryan and I headed off to Target to pick up some essentials for our new place. We also nabbed a couple of sweet treats to enjoy when we got home.

Peanut Butter M&Ms

Why are peanut butter M&Ms so delicious?

Why can’t vegetables taste like candy? The world would be a much happier place. 🙂

Candy is Good

We’re both feeling super tired tonight and will probably be huge dorks and hit the hay abnormally early after watching a movie. I also may do a lil’ baking… Sounds like a great night to me!

I Wanna Goooo

Do you ever have those days that go by so slowly that you cannot fathom how only 10 minutes have passed since you last checked the clock?

Today is one of those days for me! I think it’s because I’m so anxious to get off work and head south to my parents’ house for the weekend. Ryan and Sadie are coming with me, and my sister is in town, and I want the fun to begin! C’mon, Time… getta move on!

Snack + Lunch

I thought my sweet potato hash wrap from this morning would have kept me fuller for longer, but I was really hungry within and hour and a half of breakfast. (The lack of protein, maybe?)

I dug into my mid-morning snack a bit early and enjoyed a turkey roll up (turkey + Laughing Cow Swiss cheese + tortilla).

Turkey Roll Up

Yum!

When I was filling up my mug with a second up of tea this morning, I noticed something that called to me from the vending machines.

I’m normally not tempted by vending machine treats (perhaps because I never carry cash and rely solely on my credit card?). Today, however, a marketing strategy worked on this Peanut Butter Fingers-loving girl.

I was suckered in by the old “Limited Edition” trick. I rummaged around my purse and found the $.85 needed to purchase a Limited Edition triple chocolate Twix bar. Hey, it could be gone tomorrow, I had to seize the day!

Triple Chocolate Twix

I split the bar with a coworker. We both agreed that it was tasty, but we like original Twix bars better.

Lots o' Chocolate

After snacking my way through the morning, it was time for lunch!

Hooray!

I had a big ol’ bowl of pasta with carrots, broccoli and cauliflower.

Pasta!

Noodle Bowl with Veggies

I topped the noodle bowl with Classico four cheese pasta sauce (aka my new favorite!) before sprinkling everything with Parmesan cheese.

Deeelicious!

Weekend Plans and Goals

Immediately after work I am heading to St. Pete for the weekend. Ryan and I are meeting with the catering manager of the Vinoy (where we’re getting married) to begin wedding planning discussions tomorrow morning.

Saturday afternoon we’re meeting with a woman at a nearby restaurant we’re considering for the rehearsal dinner. It’s a wedding-filled weekend!

The GOAL for this weekend is to finalize the guest list so we can send out save the dates! We have 160 people on our list at the moment and are hoping to condense it to around 120… This could get tricky! 😉

If you are married, how did finalizing the guest list go for you?

Bowled Over

I made today’s lunch last night as I was making my dinner. I swear I never get sick of pasta bowls!

Parmesan-Topped Pasta

My noodle bowl contained:

  • Carba Nada egg fettuccine pasta
  • Emeril’s roasted gaaahlic pasta sauce
  • Portobello mushrooms
  • Broccoli
  • Parmesan cheese

Monday's Lunch

For dessert I enjoyed a cup of sugar-free strawberry Jello.

Snack Time

Today’s morning snack was lemon yogurt pudding!

Lemon Yogurt Pudding

I stirred lemon instant pudding mix into a cup of Fage Greek yogurt and it tasted like creamy lemon mousse. So good!

AMA Round Seven

Thanks for submitting more questions! Click here if you still have something you’d like to anonymously ask. You have ’til Wednesday to submit a question fo’ me! 🙂

Have you ever had to officially “diet” or have you always been naturally thin and active?

I have never considered myself naturally thin, but more “average” in body weight. I have always been active and was involved in sports growing up (basketball, swimming, diving, water polo). I didn’t worry too much about my weight until I entered into college and found myself surrounded by weight-related conversations constantly. It made me much more aware of my own appearance and I felt more critical of myself. I worked out throughout college and never really dieted. My eating habits changed last year a bit when I realized that living off Lean Cuisines, Lean Pockets, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and oatmeal wasn’t going to cut it. By incorporating fresh vegetables and fruits into my diet and preparing my own meals, I naturally lost a little bit of weight but never once felt deprived or like I was dieting.

I love your hair and can’t believe you get it cut at Great Clips for only $5.99! I would be so nervous to get a $5.99 hair cut! How do you get it cut and how often?

My hair cut is hard to mess up because I just get it trimmed every time! I ask them to cut about a half of an inch off every two months, and angle it a bit in the front.

I love your blog!! My family also has a vizsla. She’s only 6 months and I noticed that you had said your dog stays home during the day while you and Ryan are at work.  My question is how did you go about training her to stay home alone? And how long did it take for her to adjust to it and at what age did you start this?

Vizslas are the best!!! I’m obsessed.

Since Ryan and I both work full-time and have since we first got Sadie when she was 8 weeks old, she’s been home alone her whole life. Fortunately, when she was a puppy I worked less than three miles from home and could come home every day at lunch to let her out and take her on a walk. This helped a lot with the potty-training process and she adjusted to it pretty early. I felt awful leaving her alone, but she really did get used to it fairly quickly. I make it a point to take Sadie on a long walk (approximately 2.5 miles) before work and Ryan and I always do some sort of a physical activity with her after work for at least an hour, whether it be another long walk or a trip to the dog park.

Have you and Ryan picked a honeymoon destination?

Ahhh no!!! We NEED to do this! Any suggestions are welcome!!! Ryan is a nervous flier, so we’re trying to brainstorm places we could go that wouldn’t involve a long plane trip, though he said he would “suck it up” for our honeymoon. Still, I don’t want to make him fly somewhere far away because I’m claustrophobic and totally understand the anxiety that comes along with certain fears.

You have a gorgeous flat stomach! Do you do a particular ab workout? Do you mix it up? Have a you found a particular set of exercises really works for you? Do you find any particular foods help you achieve a flatter tummy?

Thank you. 🙂 I briefly touched on this same question here. As far as abdominal workouts, I do not have a set routine when it comes to working out my abs. I typically workout my abs during BodyPump classes three times a week, but find that cardio and healthy eating is really what keeps my stomach the flattest. Eating a lot of fibrous foods (veggies! fruits! whole grains!) keeps me “regular” 😉 and I think this helps with the appearance of a flatter belly.

Are you planning on stopping biting your nails before your wedding?

This question literally made me laugh out loud. Gosh, I sure hope so! I’ve already made tremendous strides in overcoming this terrible habit because I am going through Invisalign and it’s impossible to bite my nails when wearing the aligners. I am going to make every effort to have pretty nails on my wedding day!

How long have you been using Invisalign? Do you like it? Does it take forever? Tell me everything!

I never had braces as a teenager and was always bothered by my “fangs” as I called them. The two teeth on either side of my two front teeth stuck out a bit and I finally decided to bite the bullet and commit to adult braces. I couldn’t commit to real braces because I knew I’d feel too self-conscious, so I elected to do Invisalign (clear braces). I started Invisalign in April of last year and should be done with the treatment in two months or so (Hallelujah!).

The actual process has not been bad at all. I was never in too much pain and while taking the aligners in and out can be a pain, it has never been that big of a deal for me. It took a while for me to notice changes, but after a couple months I really began to see a difference in my “fangs.”

What I haven’t liked about the treatment is wearing rubber bands, though most people don’t have to do this. I have two little attachments attached to two of my upper teeth and two of my lower teeth and I have to string rubber bands between them to prevent an overbite. Not so cute! I’m great about wearing my rubber bands to bed, but take them off a lot in the day or in social settings because I feel like a 12 year old. 🙂

Would you care if Ryan went to a strip club for his bachelor party?

No, I really wouldn’t because I trust him 100 percent and I know his feelings about strip clubs are not positive. Also, it’s not something I even am concerned about because I know that his bachelor party plans involve all of his groomsmen taking a bachelor party cruise. Fun, huh?

Why do you use so much processed and packaged food?

I really do try to buy fresh foods, but I definitely buy packaged goods as well because I’m not about to make my own pasta sauces, cheese and soups every week. I work full-time and love cooking but definitely use packaged foods for the sake of convenience and affordability.