WEEKLY WRAP UP/WEEKEND COUNTDOWN

What got me through the week and what I’m looking forward to this weekend!

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The mother load of Easter candy and in the prettiest palette!

The last two weeks have flown by, thanks to the Easter holiday, a busy few weeks with work and wedding plans.  I’ve been looking forward to enjoying the season with some spring cocktails and fitting in as much seasonal produce as I can, including some delicious smoothies, a favorite mid-week treat.  Oh, and I’m still enjoying the surplus of Easter candy we have on hand.  Enjoy the weekend and the weather!

  1. My favorite smoothie: I love a good smoothie, especially during the spring and summer when the produce is abundant and fresh.   Every now and then I’ll get adventurous with flavors, but I also love a classic strawberry and banana smoothie; you can’t go wrong with a classic, like this one.  
  2. Spring cocktails: Another way to enjoy seasonal fruits is through a grown up smoothie- AKA a cocktail.  I love drinks that incorporate spices, like lavender and thyme, for an elevated taste.  This is a great guide to figure out the spring cocktail for you.
  3. S-town: Yes, everyone is talking about this podcast, but for good reason. I fell off the Serial bandwagon after season 2, but this new program brought to you by the same producers roped me back in.  It’s absolutely worth a listen from both Serial devotees and those who have never listened before.  
  4. Palm print one-piece: Palm prints are everywhere this season, as are one piece bathing suits.  It’s not hard to see why, given the retro print embodies warm weather and one piece suits are almost universally flattering.  I’ve had my eyes on both trends, but was unsure of how and if I wanted to embrace both.  Then I found this swimsuit from Target and I knew I found the perfect piece.  The cut is flattering and the low back and cutouts show just enough skin and in the right places, while the palm print keeps things fresh and perfect for summer.  I can’t wait to bring this on an upcoming bachelorette party!   

 

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Greek Feast

Delicious recipes for the curious cook!

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Confession: I love Greek food and I especially love a Greek salad.  In fact, a Greek salad is pretty much the only time I’m okay with consuming olives, since the Kalamata type pair so well with all the other ingredients in the traditional salad.  Spring is the best time to start incorporating some salads as entrees, especially given the abundance of produce available at farmers markets, all of which contribute to an exciting, healthy and tasty salad.  

Here’s my dish on the perfect Greek salad, which has been and will continue to be on dinner rotation throughout the season:

Ingredients:

10-12 Kalamata olives
1 large tomato or a pint of cherry tomatoes
1 small or 1/2 large cucumber
1 small red onion
1 bunch of romaine lettuce or kale
juice of 1 lemon
sprinkle of feta cheese
sprinkle of cracked red pepper
Grilled chicken or shrimp on top if desired
1-2 tblsp of olive oil and red wine vinegar or dressing of choice

Mix all ingredients up to optional protein and dressing in a bowl.  Add protein if desired, then top with oil and vinegar.  Mix well and serve.

Feeling curious? Head to your local farmers market and whip up this tasty dish tonight!

A morning of Pilates

Motivation to get you through hump day!

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My motivation to be active has come from my mother, who has almost always had a regular fitness routine.  She is in her 60s, works out 6 days a week and looks and feels phenomenal.  Not only are the physical benefits of her exercise obvious, she has always stressed the importance exercise has on her mental health, and that has not gone unnoticed with me.  One of the things we love to do together is exercise, whether catching a barre class when she visits me in Chicago or going for a walk together in my parents neighborhood when I’m home, we love to carve out sometime to get in a good sweat sesh together.  

My recent visit home was no exception and this time, I accompanied my mom to her regular Saturday morning Pilates class.  My mom has been dedicated to Pilates for about 15 years and she has an amazing core to thank for it.  She had previously been a member of a tight knit studio and when it closed, she continued her practice with some of her former teachers.  I had only been to one class with her previously and was eager to try it again.  This time, the class was in a beautiful and unique setting- an old barn that now has space for yoga and Pilates classes.  My mom usually has a small class or private session Saturday mornings so it was just the two of us with the teacher and it was perfect.  

Knowing my mom’s strengths and weaknesses, and knowing we have similar body types, the instructor helped me push myself and break through some personal plateaus.  In the past, I’ve been drawn to Pilates due to its similarities with yoga and barre, but I’ve struggled with some moves since I have very long legs for a short lady and virtually no torso and I struggle with keeping my legs suspended.  But the teacher was knowledgeable and patient and helped explain certain techniques and allow me multiple times to try challenging moves.  I was surprisingly sweaty at the end of class, which flew by, and I left feeling stronger and happy, and I’m definitely considering exploring more Pilates options in my neighborhood.

Vintage Basics

Inspiration for the new week!

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Just when spring starts to show it’s warmth, we get a brief spell of chilly weather.  Although it’s been off and on with sun and shade, one thing you can’t leave the house without is layers.  Lucky for me I have some favorites layering staples that are not only cozy, but also have special meaning to me.  For a recent afternoon trip to the neighborhood’s gigantic and luxurious new Whole Foods (it has everything you could want/need/imagine), I opted for a few cozy pieces to keep me warm.  One of them was my Pa’s (grandfather) vintage Tour De France crewneck sweatshirt.  My Pa loved cycling and he always looked forward to the French race every year.  When he passed, this sweatshirt is one thing I kept and I’m so happy I did.  Not only is it cozy and pairs just as well with jeans and a beanie- as I styled it here- as it does with sweats for lazy lounging, but I think of him fondly every time I wear it.  

The other prized possession I’m sporting in this ensemble is my Grammy’s vintage purse, which I also kept when she passed.  It’s a taupe, pebble leather Dooney and Bourke that is over 20 years old and yet, is timeless.  I wear it all the time, as it pairs with so much and is a great size (lots of small, hidden compartments), and again, I can’t help but think of her and smile whenever I wear it.  I love that both of these items have withstood the test of time and can still feel fresh.

Do you own any pieces that also have a sentimental meaning to you?

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Fashion Note: I’m wearing a vintage sweatshirt, Gap denim jacket (similar  here) , Zara jeans (similar here), vintage Dooney and Bourke bag and Minnetonka booties.  

A Taste of Europe

Delicious recipes for the curious cook!

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This weekend I took a tour of European cuisine right from the comfort of my own kitchen.  It was a rainy, damp Saturday and I wanted to take advantage of the weather as an excuse to stay inside and experiment with some dishes I haven’t cooked before.  I decided on two recipes from two of my favorite cookbooks- Barefoot In Paris and My Father’s Daughter and chose dishes that are inspired by both France and northern Italy for a truly European dinner.  

First, I made Ina Garten’s puff pastry with spinach, which is a fairly easy, vegetarian dish filled with warm spinach, cheese and onions that is reminiscent of a savory croissant.  It’s technically considered an appetizer, but if you’re only feeding a few people it can be used as an entree, as my fiance and I did.  A few things to note- Ina is not one to shy away from butter and cheese and, while I love her for that, I found the dish didn’t need as much as she instructed.  I cut the butter down to about 2 tbsps and I eyeballed the cheese to about 3/4 cup and it was just fine.  It’s a matter of preference but I found that I still had more filling than I could use, so cutting down some of the ingredients is probably best!

Next, I wanted to make a unique and delicious side to accompany the pastry but wanted to try something I hadn’t done before.  My fiance and I both like artichokes, but typically don’t have them on their own and I certainly have never made them at home before (aside from in a dip or on a pizza), so I gave Gwyneth Paltrow’s marinated artichoke hearts a try and they didn’t disappoint! They are flavorful but light enough to be the perfect side dish without feeling stuffed.  Instead of using bread cubes, I opted for some shredded parm, but either would be delicious.  

Feeling curious for a taste of Europe? Give these dishes a try this week!