Monday, August 20, 2012

Tiki Week @ Local 149


I have another fun event to share with you guys!  Last Thursday, In conjunction with Boston Food Bloggers, I was welcomed to Tiki Week at Local 149, a restaurant and bar in South Boston, to come in and try their Polynesian inspired appetizers and Tiki drinks.  I grabbed my friend Alex, and we headed over to try it out.
I was blown away by how good the food and drinks were. 
This drink was called the Rannygazoo.  It was made with R St Barth Rhum, Lime, Pistachio orgeat, and housemade Ginger beer.  I loved it!  I'm all about anything with ginger beer.  It was unlike any drink I've ever tried.  I hope to see it offered at more places because I really liked it.  Alex ordered the Jeweled Turtle which had R St Barth Rhum, Applejack, Blueberry and Lemon.  It was kinda watery, so she ordered a Rannygazoo for her next drink.
Since it was Tiki week at the restaurant, they had a special menu.  The menu had a special for 3 appetizers for $35.  Pretty good deal considering the portions were good sized and the food was amazing.

 First up:

Spicy Lemon and Agave Spare Ribs
Mahi mahi Fish Sandwich
Complete with fried plantains, hibiscus flower, and mini drink umbrella. How fun.
and finally, saving the best for last:
Polynesian-style Braised Beef short ribs
I didn't get a very good picture, but these were ridiculously good.  So tender!

For dessert we shared a s'mores pie on the recommendation of the waitress.  This was unreal.
soo soo so good.  If you ever go to Local 149 I highly recommend this dessert.

To finish the meal, Alex ordered us two banana infused shots of rum!  I think she was really enjoying her first food blogging event. 
Thanks, Local 149!  I will definitely be back!

Have you ever had Polynesian inspired food?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

HLS Highlights!


The Healthy Living Summit was a giant success.  It was fun and informative.  I met tons of new people, and I learned more about blogging.  If I were to post about everything, it would take several days, so for now I'm just going to share some highlights. :)

HLS Highlights!

Swag Bag Pick-up: Felt like Christmas for crying out loud.  I can't believe all the goodies we got from our amazing sponsors.  My favorite thing of all was the bright purple Reebok real flex sneakers.  OBSESSED.  All the food was awesome too, nuts, granola, cereal, all that good stuff. yay!
Greatist Discussion:
 On Friday afternoon, there was a little chat with Derek from the website Greatist.  It was pretty informative because this guy, Derek, turned a simple wordpress blog into a huge website that gets 1 million unique visitors a month.  I took a few notes in the session. 
The key points were:
  • Develop a personality for your blog, make sure it is authentic to you.
  • Site design is important and powerful.  Have an idea of what you want.
  • Build a network of people you can trust
  • Be prepared for opportunities, set yourself up for luck and be ready for it
  • Ask for feedback from readers to give them what they want

Cocktail Party: We all got one drink ticket to enjoy a free cocktail.  I got a nice glass of Pinot Grigio.  This was a great way for everyone to mingle and get to know each other before the big day of seminars.  It was also fun to get dressed up. They also had a photobooth set up, and I can never pass that up!

Blog Photog seminar: This was a seminar run by Gretchen from Honey I shrunk the Gretchen.  She is a photography genuis and shared some of her tips with us.  Most of the stuff she went over was helpful for people thinking about getting a dSLR, but might be intimidated by it.  I just got my dSLR last December, so I'm still pretty new to it.  This was a great session for me to attend because it really reiterated some of the concepts to photography that I have been having trouble remembering.
Some key points:
  • use natural light when shooting whenever possible
  • try not to use the on-camera flash
  • invest in a tripod to eliminate shaking
  • shoot in lowest ISO possible
  • use lightroom to edit pictures (more affordable than photoshop)

Blog Design seminar: This was hosted by Julie from  Since I am in the process of switching to self-hosting, I know my blog will need a complete design make-over.  Julie's site looks incredible so I really wanted to hear some of her ideas.
Key Points:
  • make it user friendly
  • no music!!! 
  • Include: contact info, search feature, subscription, and about page with photo!
  • side bars must inspire readers to take action
  • Firefox's firebug is a useful tool for coding, shows you preview of code without changing your blog
Crossfit workout:  We did a WOD.  The workout was only 5 minutes long but I am sore! We did as many reps as possible(AMRAP) of 7 air squats (fancy term for regular deep squats) and 15 jumps.  The guys from Crossfit Boston were there, which Tracy and I had met before, as well as some other Crossfit guys from the Boston area.  Serious eye candy.  Loved it.
Lunch with Kelly O from Fitfluential: This was amazing.  I sat down for lunch with Sarah, Chelcie, and Tracy and guess who came and shared our table? Kelly Olexa the founder of Fitfluential.  No big deal.  She was just amazing, and very inspiring.  She told her story, and talked with us about working with different brands, and just inspired me to work harder and make my dreams happen.  She is truly an inpiration. 

Wild Harvest Keynote talk:  Wild Harvest was the main sponsor of the event, so they did a little chat about recipes and how more and more people are using them to cook with.
Some stats they shared:
  • Average American reads at 8th or 9th grade reading level, keep this in mind when writing recipes
  • 28% of Americans can't cook
  • Average person only spends 1.1 hours a day eating
  • 41% of meals cooked are cooked by men!
  • people consume an average of 139 calories a day from grain-based desserts (granola bars, donuts, cakes, cookies)
  • When writing a recipe based on someone else's recipe, must make at least 3 significant changes such as:
    •  adding or removing an ingredient
    • changing the procedure in which it is cooked
    • making a substitution

Blog Local: This panel was hosted by Holly, Meaghann, and Clare.  They basically talked about how to get involved in your local community and take hold of all the opportunities that may be there.  Holly talked about pitching yourself to different companies, and gave a step by step process of how it's done.  It was really informative.
Key Points:
  • Use your blog as leverage to showcase your skill sets and interests
  • Say "yes" to new opportunities
  • Offering to work for free can sometimes pay off in the end! People will see your passion
  • Be open to constructive criticism

5k run along the Charles River: On Sunday morning there was a 5k fun run/walk.   Even though my legs were still sore, it felt pretty good to get out there and run.  I have always wanted to run along the Charles because it is just so beautiful.  I ran with Sarah, who was a very good running partner; we kept a nice slow pace, and chatted about blogging, relationships, and other things.   It was definitely a good way to end the summit.

stole pic from Clare
I really felt like I was in the right place this weekend, if you know what I mean.  Even though I was nervous about meeting new people and I didn't really know what to expect, I had an awesome time.  I left there today feeling inspired and empowered to make my blog (and life!) exactly what I want it to be.

Thanks so much to the entire Healthy Living Summit planning committee! You guys really did a great job!  Can't wait for next year!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Hey, it's OK....

Happy Friday!
This morning was off to a rough start for me.  In our apartment we have a washer/dryer combo that is one machine that does both.  It's pretty much the bane of my existence.  It never dries the clothes! When I asked my landlord if he could fix it, he told me to "shake the moisture out of the clothes."  Ummm... what?? Yea, I don't think that's gonna work buddy, but thanks for the tip.

Anyway...this morning I started a load of laundry and then realized I had another sports bra I needed to wash.  I tried to open the door to throw it in and guess what happened? The handle came off in my hand! Now all my clothes are stuck in there!  HELP!

I took a deep breath and tried to convince myself that this wasn't the end of the world.  (Dramatic much?) #firstworldproblems

Following the theme of things-not-going-your-way-but-still-being-ok-with-it, I put together a little list. 
(pssssst I stole this idea from Tessa, who borrowed it from Glamour Magazine)

Hey,  it's ok.....
  • to still not be sure what category this blog falls under (healthy journal for my mom to keep up with my life...?)
  • to listen to the Florence and the Machine album "Ceremonials"  non-stop for 4 months straight and not get sick of it.
  • to make a to-do list for the weekend that just consists of "Dye hair" and "Make pickles" and not even do either of those things.
  • to have a degree in Nutrition but not the R.D.credentials.  It took me a while to be ok with this, but hey, I'm doing just fine! I've been employed in my field in various hospital jobs since graduating, and I consider myself very lucky, especially in this economy.
  • to think raw egg protein drinks are gross but have no problem with the raw eggs in cookie dough.
  • to not have an iPhone (or any other smart phone) yet
  • to think that Teen Mom is a really good show
and there you go.  These things are O.K. with me!

P.S.  #HLS12 today!!! Wicked Excited!!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Burger and Sake Night!

Hey guys!
I went to a pretty cool event the other night.  Boston Food Blogs did a giveaway for two tickets to Burger and Sake Night hosted at Tasty Burger, and I won!  I totally didn't expect to win, so it was an awesome surprise when I found out.  This event was created by Todd Bellamy, who writes a blog called Boston Sake.  Check it out because he is new to the Boston Food blog scene and is already doing cool things to bring more Sake in Boston.
Since I won two tickets, I could bring a guest, and I knew just who to bring: CJ! He loves burgers, and hasn't gotten a chance to try Tasty Burger yet.  He also really likes Sake.

Sake has a special meaning to our relationship because the first time I tried Sake was on our first real un-chaperoned date. We went to a Japanese restaurant on Valentine's Day in 2009 and ate heart shaped sushi and drank hot sake.  It was much more romantic than our first "date" where we went on a snowmobiling day trip to Vermont with my dad; yup just me, CJ, and my Dad.  I can't believe he stuck around with a girl who brings her father as a chaperone on the first date, but he did and he's still here 3.5+ years later.  That's your fun fact for the day.

Anyway, back to Burger and Sake night:
After Todd and the Sake Brewer made a few announcements about the event,  the burgers started coming out.  Each burger was paired with a different kind of Sake.  CJ and I had three burgers between the two of us.  What can I say, they kept bring out more burgers, so I kept eating them.:)
CJ and I made friends with the photographer hired for the event.  Since I'm pretty new to photography with a dSLR, he gave me some basic tips, and then we compared burger pictures.  His picture was probably a little better, but then again, I'm not a professional ;).
My favorite burger was the one with mushrooms and aioli and it was paired with an earthy tasting Sake.  It worked well with the mushrooms.  Delish!
I tried two kinds of Sake, one was fruity,  and the other was more earthy.  The earthy one was aged longer to give it a deeper flavor.  I preferred the fruity one, but they were both pretty good.  I haven't had too many experiences with Sake, so I'm still getting acquainted with the taste.  I think I might be starting to like it.  
 The Sake was served in these cute little cups.  It was the perfect amount for sampling.
Along with the canned Sake and Burgers, they also served a Pineapple Shake.  I drank three or four before CJ informed me that they had Sake in them.  After that, I tried to slow down a little bit because I didn't want to get accidentally drunk on a Monday night. I loved the little cups and the colorful straws, so cute and yummy!
I had so much fun sampling the Sake, guzzling the pineapple shakes, and chowing down on some burgers. It was nice to be able to bring CJ to a Boston foodie event, and this one in particular was right up his alley.

 Thanks for the invite, Todd! I look forward to the next food + Sake event.:)

Do you like Sake?  Have you ever been to a tasting? This was my first Sake tasting, and I've been to a few beer tastings, but I have always wanted to go to a wine tasting!

WIAW: Snacking Staples

I've been slacking for a few weeks, but this week I'm back at the ole' "What I Ate Wednesday."  This month, Jenn, at Peas and Crayons is doing a theme of "Summer Staples," so I included all my usual snacks such as bananas, almonds, granola bars, and baby carrots.  All the food here was consumed on Tuesday, August 14.

Breakfast: Multigrain Bagel from DD and Hazlenut Coffee.  I didn't feel like having oatmeal today so I got a bagel from Dunkin with veggie cream cheese.  Yum!

Snack 1: Banana

Lunch: Turkey Wrap with baby spinach, roasted red pepper hummus, and pepper jack cheese
Carrot Sticks on the side

Snack 2: TJ's Apple Cereal Bar.  I have never tried these bars before, but I liked them.  They taste just like nutri-grain bars.
Snack 3: handful of raw almonds.  I love raw almonds!  I wish they weren't so expensive.

Snack 4: Pre-run snack- another Apple Bar (same thing as above)
For my workout, I ran 3 miles in 28 minutes and 51 seconds.
Dinner: Tofu Stir fry with Jasmine Rice and roasted chickpeas on the side.
I'm addicted to roasted chickpeas.  They are so tasty and easy to make.  

Drink: Blood Orange Soda from TJ's.  I don't drink a ton of soda, but it's nice to have it once in a while.  This blood orange flavor from TJ's is awesome. 

Wow, no chocolate today...that might be a first!

Hope you have a great Wednesday!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Halfway to the Half Marathon: Training Update

Hi!  Hope your Sunday is going well.

Remember when I said I was going to update you at the end of the first 5 weeks of my half marathon training?  Well, that time is here already! Time really is flying by....

I can't believe I'm halfway through my training.  So far, it's been going pretty well, and I've only made some minor changes to my SmartCoach Training plan.

What I was supposed to do:

What I actually did:
Week 1:  I struggled with the long run this week and only did 5 miles instead of 8, everything else I completed. Total miles: 14
Week 2: I did pretty good this week. I just didn't do the speedwork on Thursday, instead I did a short 2 mile run and a 3 mile walk. Total miles: 15
Week 3:  This week was tough for the plan.  I struggled with the 9 mile run, and instead did a 5 mile run with a 1 mile walk.  Total miles: 12
Week 4:  The only thing I tweaked in this week was running 4 miles instead of 5 on Thursday.  I even ran 10 miles in the rain on Sunday! Total miles: 18
Week 5:  This was a mile cut-back week and I took that a little too far.  I only completed 3 runs for a total of 11 miles. 

How I'm feeling:

I'm feeling pretty confident about being able to complete the half marathon at this point.  I know it's going to be tough, but I have a couple longs runs under my belt at this point so I'm feeling prepared.  I have been struggling with the heat.  I usually run in the evenings and even then it has still been really hot.  I did get a running belt with a water bottle so that has been helping as far as hydration goes. 
I have been running mostly outside, which is good, because I'm getting to run on lots of hills.  I'm not sure how many hills will be on the course, but I will be prepared for them.  I also took my first ice bath after my 10 mile run last week and it was definitely helpful, I wasn't sore at all the next day.  I'm going to try to do that more.  I've been foam rolling a lot too, and trying to do as much as I can to keep my muscles happy. 

Today a new concern popped into my head about the half marathon start time.  I mentioned that I have been running mostly at night, and the race starts at 7 am.  I once read that it's important to train at the time the race will be starting.  I think this week I will try to run at least once in the morning, and in the following weeks, I'm going to try to do my long runs earlier than I have been doing them.  Why does this matter?  It matters for me because it changes how I will fuel.  Usually when I run at night, I have had plenty to eat throughout the day, I've had a chance to go to the bathroom (sorry- gross-but important!) and I usually have time to have a little carby snack before running.  Running first thing in the morning is going to require changes to my little routine.  I'll need to fuel up properly pretty early before going out to run. 

What I'm looking forward too:
This will be my first half marathon, so I'm looking forward to getting bragging rights.  I can't wait to buy a t-shirt, head band, and bumper sticker that all say "13.1".  I think I might even get a tattoo as well as a reminder of what I've accomplished.  Ok, totally kidding on that last one!  Don't worry Mom!

But seriously, I can't wait to run it!  I know it will be fun because I know a ton of people running it.
Tracy, Shaina, Hannah, Yulia, and Tara (I think) will all be there with me.  What could be better??

Have you ever run a half marathon?  Do you like running with friends?  Have you been struggling to run in the heat this summer?

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Cafe Burrito Blogger Event

Hi Guys!
There's a new burrito place in Belmont called Cafe Burrito, and I got to go try out the menu before it even opened.  I was invited by Dan, (the manager/creator/head chef/brains-behind-the-operation) to go check it out and taste some items from the menu, so I grabbed my BBB (best blogging buddy) Tracy and we headed over. 
Cafe Burrito is not only a burrito joint, they will also serve all sorts of caffienated beverages (hence the "Cafe" part) like coffee, espresso, tea, and soda, along with smoothies (fruit and coffee based) and pastries during the morning hours.  The burritos and tacos are available at starting at lunch time.  
I really liked the colorful and fun atmosphere of this place.  I felt right at home joining the other bloggers who came to the event. Kathy, Rachel, Pam, Liz, and Bianca were all in attendence, some I had met at Maggiano's and some were new faces.  I was really excited to finally meet Bianca, because I have been reading her blog, Confessions of a Chocoholic, for a while now.  Everyone was really nice, and I got to learn more about the Boston Food Blogger scene, which is definitely interesting (Diner en Blanc- what??). 
Dan started us off with a selection of salsas and some tortilla chips.  My absolute favorite salsa was the Peach Basil salsa, it's funny how basil seems to go with everything. After some chips, salsa, and peach sangria (sorry- not on the menu) we sampled some tacos.  We each tried one beef and one chicken taco.  While they were both delicious in their own way, I really liked the beef, it was marinated in coffee grounds and that gave it a really interesting taste.  The beef taco also had pickled vegetables on top, which isn't something you can get at any old burrito place.  The chicken was really tasty too, and served with shredded lettuce, cheese, and sweet corn.
After being stuffed almost to the limit, Dan brought out another two dishes for us to try.  This one (I forget the name) was a fusion between a grilled cheese and a quesadilla.  It was made on thicker bread than a quesadilla, but sliced into triangles.  We tried two flavors, the first one was tomato, basil, and mozz:
and the second was a Cubano type with beef, ham, cheese, pickled vegetables, and mustard:
Even though Belmont isn't very close to me, I hope to be able to come back and try the food again.   The food was awesome, and I could tell a lot of thought went into each item on the menu. If you live or work in the area, it's definitely worth checking out!
Thanks again for hosting, Dan! I wish you luck and success in this venture.