Month: October 2011

Fun Filled Weekend

Happy Halloween!!!

This past weekend was one of the best weekends that I’ve had in ages and I seriously did not want it to end! It was packed with fun stuff all three days, though resting didn’t seem to be too high on the list of priorities in retrospect.

Friday

A few weeks ago, Jen emailed me to tell me she was coming into DC for ONE night. I was so glad she reached out to me because we ended up getting to do dinner Friday night at Jaleo with Alexa. We had an amaaaaaazing meal and had so much to talk about that the meal completely flew by.

My favorite dish of the night:

Salt cod fritters with honey aioli for dipping. The fritters were so light and airy and had a perfectly creamy-salty balance in the filling. The aioli on the side complimented them so well and I’m pretty sure I managed to eat almost all of them. Sorry guys! =)

After dinner we headed to Clyde’s to have a few drinks before calling it a night, and had such a fun time catching up and throwing a few back.

Alexa, Jen, and Me

I wish Jen had stayed for more than just one night, but good thing Alexa lives here now!

Saturday

It was a blog love filled weekend, because Theodora asked me this week if she could stay with me for the night on Saturday because she wanted to come watch one of her best friends run the Marine Corps Marathon on Sunday. I said OF COURSE and was excited when she got in around noon. We ended up running out to lunch and then doing our own thing for a little while, but she did end up coming with me to a party that night called Festiween, which was a combination Halloween and birthday party for two of my good friends, Jess and Brett.

I dressed up as Mia Wallace, Uma Thurman’s character from Pulp Fiction. Here I am with the birthday girl:

Who had SUCH a great costume – Carmen Sandiego!

And one more from much later in the night of Theodora and me:

I hadn’t given her a heads up that it was a costume party, so she just decked herself out in props and had people guess what she was when they asked – the best last minute costume idea there is.

Sunday

Because I knew the party was going to be a late one, I ended up deciding NOT to run the MCM10k. Theodora wanted to go check out the finish line so she could see her friend, and one of my close friends, Emily, was running the race as well, so we ended up going to spectate right after mile 26. It was pretty amazing to spectate a race – I’d never done it before!

I love screaming and cheering on the runners and it was so awesome to see everyone right before the finish of the marathon. I’ve talked about how emotional racing makes me before, but I was surprised to find that spectating does as well. The energy of the race almost brought me to tears even though I wasn’t running it! My friend Emily ROCKED it, finishing the marathon in 3:42 (!!!!!), cutting 10 minutes off her time from her first marathon.

I was so so so happy to be able to be there to cheer her on, and despite the fact that I originally was going to be running the Marine Corps Marathon before deciding to drop out, spectating just confirmed that my decision was the right one. While the energy of the race DID make me think that someday I may want to run a full marathon of my own, I know this one just wasn’t the right one. I was glad to still be able to be a part of it, even if just from the sidelines.

After getting back from the race, I made a big batch of spicy tempeh chili for a potluck dinner for round two of Jess’ birthday celebration, since yesterday was the actual day. I also made tie dye cupcakes for her, which turned out great! I stayed for a few hours and came back at 10 and crashed almost immediately. Whew! What a weekend.

OH! One more thing. I just found out late last week that I’m making a last minute trip to California! And, I leave Wednesday morning! Crazy. I’m going to Sacramento for a few days for work, and then to San Francisco for the weekend for fun and to attend the Foodbuzz Festival. I’m so excited because it’s I’ve never been to either place before! If you’re in the Sacramento area and would want to meet up for dinner Wednesday or Thursday night, email me at bethsjourneyblog at gmail dot com to let me know!

What’s the best Halloween costume you’ve come across, either one you’ve worn yourself or seen on someone else?

The Day I Started Loving My Calves

My calves have consistently been one of the parts of my body that I am most self conscious about. They’ve always been very thick and muscular since I played soccer as a kid, and I remember being so excited to see them shrink as I lost weight. While they did get a tiny bit smaller, they continue to be rather large and cause me problems when shopping for boots or skinny jeans that aren’t stretchy.

I’ve found myself looking at other women’s slender calves many times with a bit of jealousy. I know it probably sounds so trivial, but having to select boots based solely on the fact that I can zip them up around my calves kind of sucks. Boots are one of the best parts about Fall, and I only own ONE pair!

Because I am now at my goal weight and have to accept that my calves are the size and shape that they are and will likely not be getting any smaller in the near future, I’ve been trying to begrudgingly accept (and most of the time ignore) that they are the size they are.

And then yesterday morning that changed.

I met my friend Jess for a 6:45am (ouch) spin class at the gym, and while it was only my second class ever, it was an exhilarating and heart-racing workout even if the instructor wouldn’t stop talking. I had  chosen a bike towards the back (since I’m new-to-spinning) and also towards the side (since I had a backpack and didn’t want to go to the locker room) and it just so happened that my bike was positioned so that I got a good view of myself in the mirrors at  the front of the room.

As we were pedaling away, climbing hills, and “running” I continued to check in on myself in the mirror to make sure I had good form and wasn’t sticking out too bad since I still don’t really know what I’m doing. I was literally dripping sweat and loving that I was getting such a great workout so early in the day.

When I looked into the mirror I caught a glimpse of my calves, shiny with sweat and powerfully pumping those pedals on the bike. All humility aside – they looked GREAT. I couldn’t believe how muscular and defined my legs looked as they powered me through this workout, and though thicker than most, they were very toned and strong in the mirror.

I saw them in a different light then I ever had before.

Yes, my calves are big. But they also carry me through half marathons, help me to PR in shorter races, power me through difficult spinning classes, lunges, and squats, and are a part of who I am. Yesterday, I saw them for what they are and looked at them in a different way than I ever had before.

Yesterday, I finally started loving them.

Spaghetti [Squash] with Kale, Feta and Poached Egg

This dish just screams fall to me. When I got back from the weekend craziness on Sunday afternoon, I had a spaghetti squash and bunch of kale that needed to be used stat. I had come across a recipe in Clean Eating Magazine a month or two ago for Spaghetti with Kale, Feta, and Poached Egg, and I thought why not try it out with spaghetti squash?

I tweaked the recipe a bit because I am such a volume eater, and it turned out AMAZING. The dish is so delicious and just loaded with different textures, flavors and is extremely satisfying.

Spaghetti [Squash] with Kale, Feta, and Poached Egg

    • Prep Time: 20 mins
    • Cook Time: 15 mins
    • PointsPlus: 12 for entire recipe, 2-6pt+ servings

Here’s what you need for success:

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    • 2 teaspoons olive oil
    • 1 bunch kale
    • 1 red onion, chopped
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 2 cups veggie stock
    • 2 whole eggs
    • 1 tbsp vinegar (for poaching)
    • 1/2 cup (2 oz.) crumbled feta cheese
    • 4 cups cooked spaghetti squash (Bake at 400º for 1 hour)

To start, prep your kale. First, you want to chop the ends of the stems off.

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Then, you want to pull the leaves loose from the stems to separate the two.

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You’ll have a pile of stems and a pile of leafy greens.

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For the stems, chop them thinly – you’ll be using them!

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For the greens, tear them into smallish pieces, rinse them well, and then steam them for 4-5 minutes.

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I have this awesome silicone steamer that is heat resistant and fits right into the pot and pulls up easily once things are done steaming. LOVE.

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Once your kale is cooked, heat up 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a pan over medium heat.

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Once that is heated, add in your red onion, chopped kale stems and salt.

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Cook until onion starts to brown, about 8-10 minutes.

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Next, add in your kale leaves, veggie stock, and garlic cloves and cook for another 5 minutes or so, until the flavors have combined and the sauce is reduced.

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While the kale mixture is finishing up, it’s time to poach your eggs, which I know can be scary – but its really quite simple if you know a few tricks! The method I use is to bring a pot with about two inches of water to boil, then down to a simmer. Add in one tablespoon of white vinegar – this helps the egg to stay together.

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The only other trick is to make sure you crack your egg into a separate bowl to pour it into the boiling water, rather than directly into the water.

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Cook the egg until poached through, about 3-4 minutes total. Use a slotted spoon to remove it from the pot.

Second to last step is to add the cooked spaghetti squash (or regular pasta if you so choose, but this will change the PointsPlus value!) to the kale mixture.

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Final step – assembly! Add half of the spaghetti squash, kale, and red onion mixture to a bowl, top with half of the feta and one of the poached eggs.

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When you cut into the yolk, it’ll create a creamy sauce and add a punch of protein to the dish for extra staying power.

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This recipe yields a LOT of food and a lot of flavor. There is a nice saltiness from the feta and creaminess from the egg and they work so well against the different veggies in this dish. It works awesome as leftovers the next day, too, but I added chickpeas rather than an egg since day-old poached egg probably wouldn’t work so well. 😉

Are you a fan of spaghetti squash? What’s your favorite way to have it? If not a fan, what’s your favorite fall veggie?

Reader Meet-Up: sweetgreen

Last night’s meet up was a success! It was so nice to put a name and a face to so many people who email me and leave comments on the blog – and know a lot about me!

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We met up at sweetgreen in Dupont Circle, which is a cute little salad and frozen yogurt place where you order at a counter and can take it to go or sit down to eat. They focus on sourcing local and organic ingredients, and though not everything is local, they do have a board listing and highlighting all those ingredients.

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Another really cool thing about sweetgreen is that EVERYTHING is compostable – down to the forks, napkins, and frozen yogurt containers. So cool! They also have lots of predesigned salads and wraps that you can order from, which I love.

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But you can also make your own, which is what I ended up doing. Mixed greens, chickpeas, cucumbers, grapes, hearts of palm, balsamic, and a hunk of bread. It was really delicious and fresh tasting, and though I didn’t snap a pic, I absolutely loved the bowls they served the salad in! They were thin wooden bowls that were HUGE and that I have to find for my own apartment stat.

Several of us moved onto frozen yogurt after we were done our salads, myself included.

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Tart fro-yo with raspberries, chocolate chips, and sliced almonds. Even though it was chilly out, it totally hit the spot. Yum.

There ended up being about 10 people in all, which was a good number because we all got to talk and know each other quite a bit.

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Carissa, Kate, Kelly, Jennifer

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Emily, Me, Olga, Cory, Penny

I didn’t do that great of a job of taking pictures, but a few more people ended up stopping by during the couple hours we were there, and we all had a really good time (I think!). It was so fun to meet everyone and it was really nice to automatically have so much in common and to talk about.

I think I’ll be organizing another one of these soon!

Have you ever met someone in person that you originally met on the internet?

PS: Go vote! You can vote once a day and no email address is required. It ends FRIDAY!

Time to Regroup

One of the key takeaways from BLS was that we are all members first, then employees. No matter how far we’ve come or how far we have to go, it will always take hard work and dedication to stay on track. It does get a bit easier over time, but it also gets easier to think that I know what I’m doing and don’t have to pay attention to what I’m eating.

That is not the case.

After getting back from BLS, I took a cab to my apartment, threw on a dress, and immediately went out to catch the end of one of my best friends’ engagement parties. I stayed out too late celebrating, then slept too late on Sunday and had to unpack upon waking up and head out the door for another Weight Watchers commitment where we met as a whole territory. I feel like I’ve barely had a second to breathe lately!

While I was sitting in the meeting listening to the exciting things we’ve done in the area over the last year and what we have to look forward to for the next year – it dawned on me. I’ve been so caught up in being a Weight Watchers employee and haven’t been focusing on myself as a member. I had stepped on the scale before the meeting and after the whirlwind of the last few weeks and saw a number I was not happy with, and quite frankly isn’t acceptable since I now work for Weight Watchers.

It’s time to stop that.

I decided to make a stop at Trader Joe’s on my way home from the meeting, invest some time menu planning and cook for the week for the first time in a while. It felt really good to refocus and spend an hour getting some food ready for the week so I can stay on track/get back to my goal weight even though I do have another busy week ahead.

In terms of prep, I cooked a huge spaghetti squash (1 hr at 400 degrees), made 3 servings of steel cut oats, and defrosted half a batch of those amazing black beans that was leftover from the last time I made them. Here’s what I came up with for a meal plan:

Breakfast Lunch Snack Dinner
Monday Pumpkin Oatmeal with cottage cheese and sliced banana Spaghetti Squash, Kale, Feta, Poached Egg (Recipe coming!) Greek Yogurt w/Apple Brown Rice bowl w/black beans, cheese, tomatoes, salsa, tortilla chips
Tuesday English Muffin w/Sunbutter + banana Black Bean Taco Salad (Spinach, bbs, corn, salsa, chips, cheese) Cottage Cheese w/defrosted berries Reader Get Together at Sweet Green
Wednesday Pumpkin Oatmeal with cottage cheese, banana Black Bean Taco Salad (Spinach, bbs, corn, salsa, chips, cheese) Greek yogurt, defrosted berries, vanilla Spaghetti Squash with garlic, evoo, egg, parmesan
Thursday Pumpkin Oatmeal with cottage cheese, banana Leftover Spaghetti Squash with garlic, evoo, egg, parmesan Greek yogurt, Veggie Fried Rice w/tofu
Friday Toasted Waffles w/Sunbutter + banana Leftover veggie fried rice w/tofu Cottage Cheese w/defrosted berries Dinner at Jaleo with Jen and Alexa

It feels so good to have a meal plan for the first time in AGES. I used to post them every Monday along with groceries, and while I don’t want to get back into the habit of doing that every week, I think I need to start doing it semi-regularly for my sake!

And while I was at it, I’ve also been slacking a bit in the workout department. Here’s my plan on that front for this week:

    • Monday: 45 min Total Body Conditioning class, 15 min stairmaster
    • Tuesday: 45 min Spin Class
    • Wednesday: rest
    • Thursday: Outdoor Run (~ 4 miles)
    • Friday: Weights + Cardio – tbd

Mini goals for this week include:

    • Drink at least 64 oz of water at work every day this week (check for yesterday!)
    • Bring breakfast/lunch to work every day
    • Stick to 29 pts+/day all week
    • Workout 4x
    • Try to get at least 7 hours of sleep each night

What is one thing you want to or need to focus on this week?

PS: Tonight is the reader get together at 6pm at Sweet Green in Dupont. I hope to see you there if you’re local!!

BLS Breakdown

If I had to pick just one word to describe BLS, it would be incredible. While intense, surreal, exhausting, emotional, humbling, and inspiring would work too, none of them quite capture the essence of the experience that was BLS.

For a little background, BLS stands for Basic Leadership Skills, and it’s basically an intensive three-day training course that prepares you to be a Leader for Weight Watchers. Being a WW Leader has been a long term goal of mine, and I’ve been working as Receptionist for them since March of this year with this goal in mind.

I’ve been go-go-going for so many months, that I didn’t really take any time to consider what it meant that I was going to BLS until I was actually on the plane to Chicago. Granted, I passed out for almost the entire flight (I’m a really gifted plane sleeper), but as I was boarding the plane, it hit me.

I was on my way to a course where I would learn to lead and inspire others to change their lives, like Weight Watchers had done for me.

It also made me realize that I am really a real-life Weight Watchers success story, and even though it’s been a little while since I’ve changed my life, it’s still hard to get my head around that fact. I’m one of the ones who made it through WW, stronger, thinner, and a million times happier on the other side of the program.

When I actually got to the hotel and into the training room, I realized that my story wasn’t so unique in that group. There were about 25 of us all there for the same reason, everyone having used WW as a tool to change their lives and hoping to be able to pay it forward to others. People had lost between 20-something and 120 (!) pounds, and while I was definitely one of the (if not the) youngest people there, I felt like I fit right in.

Though it had been a while since I’d been in a classroom setting, the three days FLEW by. We went through the history of Weight Watchers, and it’s pretty incredible to think how it started in someone’s living room based on where it is today.

The rest of the three days were used to break down the different components of a WW meeting and practicing the different portions of the meeting in front of the group. The final test was to prepare for and present a full meeting in front of other Leader-hopefuls and the trainers who were leading the training.

We got feedback at every stage of the way, and I was honestly surprised at how terrible I was at the beginning. I love talking in front of people, and really do live and breath Weight Watchers (most of the time) so I didn’t think I’d have any trouble transferring that into leading a meeting. But, during my first presentation, I had my hands glued to my thighs and was standing there frozen!

Luckily, during the course of the three days, I improved quite a bit and got a lot more comfortable presenting in front of the group. I ended up doing well on my final presentation and am excited to report that Weight Watchers will be moving me forward in the process to become a leader! It’s really happening!!

Guest Post: Losing Weight in the City

Hello Beth’s Journey readers!

I’m Theodora from Losing Weight in the City! I blog about maintaining my 50-pound weight loss through running and (sort of) healthy eating while still having fun.

Beth and I first met in line for the bathroom at the National Half this spring and then ended up sharing a room at Fitbloggin’ (okay fine, that was totally planned–we didn’t meet in line and then randomly decide to room together).

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If you read my blog for more than 2.5 seconds, you’ll realize that my favorite way to indulge is through a few cocktails. If you know anything about health, you also know that indulging in cocktails isn’t always waistline-friendly. But as a single lady in NYC, most socializing I do is over cocktails. Since Beth is newly single, she asked me to share with you how a single lady can maintain a 50-pound weight loss while going out frequently.

This, I am an expert on.

1. Eat better at home. There’s no way I could indulge both out and at home and maintain my weight, so I don’t cook particularly rich or unhealthy things at home–I save my indulgences for when I go out. I also rarely have a drink at home, leaving me a little more wiggle room for when I do go out.

2. Find something you like, but won’t drink as fast. For me, this is Chardonnay. I like it, but not as much as I like Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio, so I am more likely to sip it. I also usually stay away from mixed drinks at restaurants unless the restaurant is really known for its cocktails. (I also stay away from these cocktails because they’re usually more expensive, too.)

3. Eat like yourself on a date. If you usually get salad, then get a salad. If a guy makes fun of you for eating salad, laugh it off. On the other hand, don’t feel like you need to get a big steak and mashed potatoes if this isn’t something you’d usually eat.

4. Just say no to late-night food. You don’t really need it. I don’t believe that late-night Jumbo Slice does much more for your hangover than give you a terrible stomachache the next day and makes you feel bloated.

5. Bar snacks are covered in shit. Like, literally. Just picture people’s dirty hands reaching into those nuts, and I’m pretty sure you’ll stop picking on them.

6. Being hungover sucks. Since I started taking care of my health a few years ago, I’ve really started hating being hungover. I usually plan lots of activities on the weekends so that I don’t have time to be hungover, and I know when to stop. Most of the time this works 🙂

How do you balance an active social life with your health goals?

Crispy Tofu Parmesan

Today’s recipe is good. Really good. I had been trying to figure out something simple yet creative to do with tofu since I found the Nasoya Lite blocks of tofu on sale at Whole Foods (2/$5) and stocked up. I googled some recipes for ideas and came across tofu nuggets, which was my original plan, but I wanted to add some extra flavors, so these were born. They are super crunchy, delicious, and taste way more indulgent then they actually are! Win-win-win.

Crispy Tofu Parmesan

    • Prep Time: 5 minutes
    • Cook Time: 40 minutes
    • Difficulty: Easy
    • PointsPlus: 12 for entire recipe

Ingredients:

    • 1 block tofu, pressed (works best with this)
    • 1/3 cup liquid egg whites
    • 3 tablespoons parmesan cheese
    • 1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp panko bread crumbs (5 tbsp total)
    • 1.5 teaspoons dried parsley
    • salt and pepper, to taste

To start, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Cut the tofu into chunks of your desired size.

I made 14 cubes out of the entire cube, but I’d recommend you make 16. Pat it dry with a paper towel to remove excess moisture.

Next, get two bowls. In one, place the egg whites, and in the other, add the rest of the ingredients.

Mix the dry ingredients together (panko, parmesan, parsley, salt and pepper)

One by one, add the pieces of tofu to the egg whites

Then over to the dry ingredient mixture to coat

This works best with the wet hand, dry hand technique. This basically means that you use your left hand to pick up the piece of tofu, place it in the egg wash and mix it around, and then use the same hand to drop it into the dry mixture. Now, switch to your right hand and use only your right hand to mix it around (keeping it dry) and making sure the tofu is coated in the breadcrumb mixture. Once it’s coated, use your right (dry) hand to move it to a greased baking sheet.

Repeat with each piece of tofu until they are all breaded.

Now, it’s time to bake and your oven should be preheated by now. Place in the oven for 20 minutes.

Then flip each piece of tofu over and bake for another 20 or until golden brown all around.

That’s it!

Half of this recipe is just 6 pts+ and a perfect serving for lunch or dinner. I served mine with some marinara sauce for dipping.

The tofu is crispy, flavorful, and totally delicious, especially dipped in the sauce.

It’s pretty amazing how crunchy and delicious these tofu “nuggets” are. I think they would work really well on a sub with sauce and cheese as a tofu parmesan sub, similar to chicken or eggplant parm. They are totally delicious and super crunchy. I will say, they didn’t hold up as well as I was hoping for leftovers, though I imagine if you heated them in a toaster the next day they would be just as good (rather than in the microwave like I did). Yum!

Tofu – love it or hate it? What’s your favorite way to have it?

Wednesday Business

So. Funny story. I found my wallet.

I had this whole post planned for today detailing the hell that is the DMV since I spent 5 hours, two good cries, and close to $300 there yesterday. Then, I decided to stop by the place I was at on Friday since I was in the neighborhood last night, and despite having called them a million times and left a few messages, I had never talked to an actual person. Turns out they had my entire wallet with everything still in it. So instead of writing a post about what a nightmare the DMV is, I’ll just leave it with what an idiot I am…

And, a few random announcements:

1.) Reader Meet Up

    • Who: You! If you’re in the DC area. Open to everyone and anyone who is a reader or blogger.
    • What: Food and Fro-Yo
    • Where: Sweet Green Dupont, 1512 Connecticut Avenue
    • Why: I thought it would be fun to do an in person meet up!
    • When: Next Tuesday, October 25, 6-8pm

Don’t feel obligated to come for the whole time – you can just stop by for a little if you want to, but of course you’re welcome to come for the whole time, too! I will be sending an evite out later today for RSVPs and if you don’t get it and want to come, email me!

2.) Half Marathon Plans

I signed up for a half marathon and I’m so excited… the DC Rock n Roll Half (formerly the National Half) in March 2012. Bring it on!

3.) Leader Training

I can’t BELIEVE I leave for training to be a Leader for Weight Watchers.. tomorrow!!! Ahhh I’m so excited. I’ve wanted to be a Leader for as long as I can remember (slash was on track to do so) and I can’t believe it’s really happening!

4.) Call for Questions

I’m planning to do a Q&A post, so if you have any questions you want me to address, leave them in the comments or email me!

Have you ever found something you thought was lost?

Highs and Lows

Let’s get the lows out of the way, shall we?

Lows

This weekend, I did one of the most inconvenient things known to man – managed to lose my ENTIRE wallet. My credit/debit cards, my license, Starbucks card (priorities, I know), my Weight Watchers Lifetime card, tons of coupons from conferences, my checkbook… that’s all I can positively identify that was in there. On Friday night, the entire wallet just fell out of my purse on my way home and despite calling the place I was, backtracking on the street, searching my apartment upside down and inside out, it is nowhere to be found.

IT IS SO ANNOYING.

To top it off, I just got my new DC license, and I cannot find my passport that I used for ID to get it ANYWHERE. I am crossing my fingers (and my toes) that I left it at the DMV, but they are closed on Mondays so I have to wait until first thing today to call. The other worst part is that I’m going to Chicago for Leadership training on Thursday, and literally have no ID to get me on the plane!

I’ve already cancelled all my cards and ordered new ones, plus went to the bank to get a temporary card, so at least I have access to my own money now. But still, most annoying and inconvenient thing ever. End rant.

Highs

The biggest highlight of this weekend was a birthday celebration for one of my best friends, Rachel. She turned 28 on Saturday, so a few of us go together to go up to Ellicott City where she lives and take her out for high tea. We all got gussied up with fancy hats:

Me, Jess, Rachel, and Katie (Jess’s sister who was visiting)

The way it works is everyone orders a pot of tea, and then they bring out a three tiered dish with different finger foods to eat. The menu is set, so you don’t have to choose what you want to eat which is kind of nice for me since I like to try a little bit of everything.

We all did decide to add on the seasonal soup, which was a cup of butternut squash and apple soup, garnished with sour cream and herbs.

It was delicious, creamy, and tasted just like Fall.

Before too long, the finger foods came out for us to dig into.

So much stuff!

The bottom layer had black currant scones (my favorite thing of the day!), plus fresh fruit and some pieces of havarti cheese.

The middle plate had finger sandwiches – tomato, ham (which I didn’t have) and a cinnamon bread with some sort of pumpkin and carrot filling which was sweet, but delicious. There was also a corn and cucumber salad for everyone which I will be trying to recreate at home – so good!

The top tier had huge pieces of chocolate cake, apple crumb bars, short bread cookies, and chocolate covered strawberries for all. The shortbread cookies were my fav!

And of course, you can’t forget the tea.

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I ended up going with the seasonal tea, which was brandied apple and oh so good. There were so many teas on the menu and it took us so long to decide which kinds to get, so it’s a good thing we didn’t have to decide on the food, too!

I’d only ever done a high tea once before in my life and it was for my sister’s bridal shower several years ago. It was so much fun to do it again for Rachel’s birthday!

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Are you a tea drinker? What’s your favorite kind?

I do like tea, but I am a daily coffee drinker so I only really have tea on occasion. I love the seasonal kinds like gingerbread and eggnog, but I also love just a plain old cup of green tea sometimes!

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