Archive for December, 2010

His & Her Office Suitttttte :)

As a Christmas present to each other, Chris and I decided to re-do our home office. Unfortunately I do not have “before” pictures, but trust me-it was nothing special. It contained an old white bookcase I’d had since childhood, our TV, a hand-me-down wooden desk that was falling apart and a chair.  It was definitely the sore spot to look at in our home and although it took almost a year and a half before we finally got around to furnishing the space, it was well worth the wait!

Here are the “after” photos I’ve been promising…

His and Her desks and bookshelves provide BOTH of us our much needed space. Chris can work on his research and play his video games, while I can delve in to wedding planning & blogging like a professional!

His Side-

My Side-

A closer look at his side contains cubby’s for his PS3, vacation albums, some of his old school books and organized containers for miscellaneous items that always seem to clutter his desk.

A closer look at my side has our file folders with our bills & statements, a few of my own photo albums, pictures/decor and my own organizational baskets.

His and Her Mugs 😉

For Christmas we actually received “His” and “Her” mugs, instead of adding them to our growing collection, I decided we could use them as pen holders on our desks.

In case you are wondering what is on the other side of the wall, it’s our TV. My camera caught a bad angle and it looks like the reception is funny, but basically this is where Chris likes to watch his Sunday & Monday night football. There is also a coat closet and a full bathroom.

In between the desks we have a chest that holds other materials we will need for the office, along with our printer and a bulletin board. I’m hoping this board keeps loose mail/coupons/advertisement clutter to a minimum but still in sight for future use.

That’s about it! I love having my own space, my flat screen monitor should be arriving by this weekend and then it will be complete…for now. Eventually I would love to get this runner for in between the desks-

The inspiration behind this office, was this google image!

(source)

It’s not exact but I think we pulled it together rather inexpensively, just by using a lot of what we already owned.

What’s your favorite room in your house? Have you ever done a room make-over?

Christmas Recap!

First and foremost I would like to say that while living @ the mall over the holidays, it was impossible to avoid this:

Truth be told, an orange julius and a massage chair in the mall is about as close as you can get to heaven on a 15 minute break. Working retail is really bad around the holidays and I just hope now that the worst is behind us, I can continue to be put on the schedule because the extra money is definitely outweighing the effort of a second job, believe it or not.

This job has to be temporary because other than the lack of cooking, work-outs being pushed to the morning oh and the pure exhaustion that I’m feeling, the snack habits that could form from working in the mall are just glorious dangerous…Exhibit A.

After working Christmas Eve, I was itching to get home because my family was over at our house and since I had to work my awesome hubs-to-be went grocery shopping, set out cheese platters, finished cooking dinner and was entertaining by the time I got home. I walked right in to a glass of red wine. I was a happy, but tired girl.

Chris’s roast was so good! We had some broccoli and rolls on the side and I tried to contain my mashed potatoes addiction.

Ben sat right next to me 🙂

After dinner we all sat around to digest the food. We exchanged presents and Chris “read” to Ben. hehe

With all the excitement that was had at the house, Daisy was tuckered out.

With all the presents under the tree you’d think it would be hard to sleep, but this 2-job girl was exhausted. I went to bed pretty much right after everyone left and was looking forward to the next day when I could finally do NOTHING.

CHRISTMAS DAY!

I woke up around 7:30 on Christmas but chose to lay in bed and wait till about 9:00 to get up. After that I had to wait patiently as Chris made some coffee before ripping into the presents! Santa and our family were very good to us this year. I feel very blessed! I recieved the Uggs that I was lusting after, some great cookbooks, silk-screen napkins, a waffle maker, our Vera Wang knife and cake server off our registry along with some other great stuff!!

On Christmas Eve, Chris let me know that as a gift to each other he was going to finally let me makeover our office! This was probably one of my favorite gifts…I’ve had a great time doing it and I can’t wait to show everyone how it turned out in tomorrow’s post!

Here is a sneak peeeeek!

After present opening I made a huge (unpictured) breakfast of pancakes, sausage, bacon and eggs. I tried to use portion control since there was no way I was missing out on any of that. From there we pretty much did nothing.

As much as I want “nothing” it is a hard concept for my mind and body to get on board with.

Something my body can  always gets on board with is Crab Legs! This is one of Chris’s favorite meals and we try to eat it whenever it’s on sale or when we just want to nix nutrition and grub out…

We had some leftover Mashed potatoes with these and a salad. We also enjoyed watching the movie “Elf” while we ate. 🙂 Gotta love the holidays.

(source)

After the movie, I enjoyed a nice glass of Tempranillo red wine and called it a night. It was a great, lazy Christmas, just as we had hoped it would be!

….AND IT’S OVER.

The lazy holiday spirit was yanked pretty quick from under me when I had to work the day after at 9:30. But I did open my door to this beautiful sight!

I just love it when it snows! It was great snow too. Not too icy and definitely fluffy! It covered everything!!!!

When I got out of work the only thing on my agenda was to get the office together. Chris had already woke up early to make the trip to Ikea and was putting our desks and bookshelves together, all that was left to do was decorate…

Enter Claire.

(more on this in tomorrow’s post)

Moving on to Monday, it was nice to be back at the job that I actually love. Although I didn’t start this week off on in a great way. You’d think I was still in holiday mode with a chocolate pop-tart and some hot cocoa. Whoooops! This is truly due to lack of grocery shopping and needing something to WARM me up!

For lunch I had my mother’s creamy ham and eggs concoction. Has anyone ever tried this? It has to be the worst thing on the planet for you, but it was delcious.  This is straight-up comfort food. I only had a small portion, but it was gooooood.

After work I was excited to go see my friends Carmen, Sarah and Marinda. It doesn’t quite feel like the holidays without seeing the friends you call family. Carmen and her growing brood came up from Atlanta and any chance to see her and the baby, I take. Instead of the normal Cuban food I have grown accustomed to eating when I visit, her sister Andrea made some wonderful Italian.

To put the final nail in the coffin for a day of bad eating, I happily grabbed a plate and dove into the most amazing pasta and stuffed shells!

This food was great (garlic bread not pictured, but definitely enjoyed)! Thanks again Andrea for the awesome food!!!!

There may have been a few ginger cookies for dessert but I don’t have any documentation of that. If you can’t see it, it didn’t happen right? After much talking, laughing and wine drinking it was time to call it a night. The next time we’ll all be together probably won’t be till April at my Bachelorette party!

Where’s the dashing in this post you ask? Nowhere to be found! The gym was closed, the roads were icy and it was the holidays 🙂

Don’t fret, I’m back on the bandwagon and should have some tid-bits from group power for you at a later date! Hope everyone was as irresponsible as I was over Christmas… it’s truly needed every once in a while. Now back to the grind, fruit & oats for breakfast and sweating out the desserts!!!

Hibernation=Rejuvenation

Bears have it alllll right. Play in the Spring, hibernate in the Winter.

(source)

I wanted to at least show my face to the blogging community since I have been MIA for DAYS! I promise a nice, hearty post tomorrow but for now I have to catch up on things at the office and try to catch my breath from the holidays.

While I would like to say I did plenty of relaxing, that would be a lie. I had to work in retail-land for most of it and it wasn’t pretty folks. Between working there was wine, family time, good meals, presents, snow and an OFFICE MAKEOVER.

I promise to divulge in posts this week!

Tuesday-Christmas Eve and Day Re-cap!

Wednesday-Office Makeover from head-to-toe

Hope everyone had great and SAFE holidays!!!!

Your order has Shipped.

I am officially done with my Christmas duties this season!

-Christmas Decor up? Check.

-Seasonal Couple Cards, out? Check.

-Toys for Tots? Check.

-Gifts bought, wrapped and sent? Check!

Now it’s time to sit back and relax. I’m so excited for the down time that I keep forgetting that on Christmas, I actually get presents. As I’ve gotten older, that is just not what the holiday season is about for me. It’s almost like a nice bonus surprise at the end of it all…

I was happily reminded of the receiving end of the gift-giving exchange when I got to work yesterday to find a Crate & Barrel Gift-card on my desk! My boss knows me too well…I definently put it to work!

With the gift card I was able to purchase a bunch of great stuff that I was actually in need of-

I have needed coasters for as long as I can remember but have slight amnesia when I am anywhere near a store that sells them. The only time I realize I need them is when I go to put my glass of ice water on the coffee table almost every night.

With all the cooking I’ve been doing lately you would think my kitchen would be in stock. I have measuring spoons but they are so old and used that the measurements have worn off. Plus, they were a cheap buy anyway. These are much better quality and will come in very handy.

A Pamela Bowl…because why not? It’s pretty 🙂

and finally a set of 4-appetizer plates that will be perfect for the Christmas Eve Dinner I am hosting.

I know I purchased these before Christmas, but hey, it’s close enough right?!

After job #1 I had a haircut appointment. It felt so good to go have my hair done and I’m glad I planned it pre-holiday. I’m lucky too because it landed on the only day off I have from job #2. Today is going to be a long one…keeping me in retail-land till around 11:00 pm. 😦 No bueno.

After the haircut I got a call from Chris asking me to pick up some Tony’s pizza because he didn’t want to cook. I had plans to eat chicken and veggies for dinner as part of the “wedding weight loss project” but didn’t want to subject him to that…so the pizza I picked up.

I had to avoid this. Can you imagine the kind of willpower it took with the smell of this to not eat one single bite?

I’m proud.

Instead I had this:

Chicken. Beans. Applesauce. Voila.

Seriously nothing fancy. “Dining” is going to take a hit for a while so be warned. I know you can make healthy meals that taste delicious but with this second job, something is going to have to give. Once I’ve gotten back to my feel good weight I will be less drastic. Just have to get to that maintain stage!

On that note…I DID make it to the gym again this morning! My work-out was similar to yesterdays  but instead of working on legs, I worked on my upper body. Still lovin’ the pep in my step from going!  🙂

Goal Accomplished

One of my favorite things about the gym is when I’m done with my cycling work-out it says, “Goal Accomplished” across the screen.

Doesn’t get much more gratifying than that, right?!

Today is also my 100th post on Dine-in-Dash!

(source)

For that, I am proud. I am also proud that I went to the gym this morning! Potluck pictures are coming back and I have grown increasingly unhappy with my figure. I hate to have weight be an issue on this blog, but it’s something that I have been struggling with for the past few months.

Is it the big dinners? Just the holiday curse? Getting older? Lack of exercise? All of the above most likely. Other than it being my 100th post on Dine-in-Dash, it’s also 5 months to the day till I get hitched!

(When we were just kids!)

I am ecstatic to marry my best friend but have a long road ahead of me to try and tone-up and shave inches.

Taking into consideration some of your answers from the survey I posted yesterday, a few things were brought to my attention…

The whole taking pictures of everything I eat?

  • That is NOT what is driving you to this site. I think most people outside of the healthy living blog community don’t understand why someone would take pictures of what they eat and some think it’s a bit odd. Let me speak up for some of these wonderful bloggers in saying, while it does seem a little unorthodox, it’s helpful in adding appeal and interest in their blogs. Who wants to just read when you can look? Also, they are striving to be an excellent example and displaying what they are eating is just as important as blogging about how they are exercising and other things they are doing to stay fit for their mind, body and soul.

Note: I still plan on keeping recipes on this blog and some pictures of food that I think a.) are out of the ordinary-festive, holiday, bday cakes etc. 2.) dishes I make that I’m proud of or 3.) Just look so delicious I can’t help myself!

Some of you requested more exercise tid-bits, hints, useful skills, etc.

  • In an effort to blog about “dashing” as much as “dining” I am going to try and beef up the exercise talk. This actually comes at perfect timing due to the wedding countdown and I think 5 months is a healthy amount of time to really be able to shape my body the way that makes me feel best. Be prepared for more detailed posts on what I’m doing to try and get my endurance as well as my shape back!

Personal Touches are a must

  • It was an overall resounding YES that people like personal touches on the blog. That didn’t surprise me. Who wants to read about what someone is doing to work-out and eat right but not a little bit about the blogger themselves? The blogs I gravitate to the most are the ones that have a human feel. I appreciate when someone is struggling with the end goal (it’s hard!) and when they seem relateable.

With great feedback I still see the ratio of readers to survey takers is pathetic. 😉 Help me out, it literally takes less than 60 seconds to take (5 questions) and then just hit submit! Plus, I don’t know who you are…if that makes anyone feel less on the spot! Thanks to those who did it yesterday 🙂

http://www.zoomerang.com/Survey/WEB22BNEQP2CDW/

Now that this has been a copy heavy post (sorry) let’s recap what I did this morning for anyone who would like to suffer/shape-up along with me!

-7 minute warm-up on the eliptical

-50 lunges with 3 lb. weights (25 on each side)

-3 sets of 20 Lying Leg Curls (machine)

-3 sets of 20 Leg Press Workouts (machine)

-Abs: 75 regular crunches, 25 outer ab crunches (each side) 50 bicycle crunches

-Cycle for 20 minutes

-Cool down.

This took a total of an hour.

*I am not a trainer or certified anything so please go at your own pace, follow the work-outs ONLY if you can handle them and at your own risk and by no means do I know what is best for any reader’s body.

The Countdown Begins!

The countdown to what you ask?

1.) Christmas, obviously!

2.) Post holiday- get in wedding shape project

3.) A little blog revamp

It is once again Monday and what a weekend we had. Lately it seems like we have been squeezing everything into the weekends and I’ll be thankful for the quietness that comes with January and February. I, like most people, fully intend on hibernating in the coming months.

Working backwards, Friday was a blur. I vaguely remember eating my favorite breakfast treat along with some un-pictured Salsartia’s. The strong love I have for Mexican occasionally needs to be un-leashed.

Friday was a slew of pot-luck treats due to attending a phenomenal Christmas Party (thanks Shannon!) It was a great time and by far the best that I’ve been to this season.

Do you know how hard it is to get this big of a group to look and smile at the same time?

Saturday I woke up, looked outside and saw this special treat…

It’s not much snow, but it’s snow none the less. This prompted me to bake our breakfast! 🙂

I have been on quite the apple kick lately so I decided to try this recipe that I saw on Simply Recipes.

 Bisquick Apple Coffee Cake

Ingredients: (I halved everything so we only had 2 servings)

Cake:
2 cups Bisquick mix
2/3 cup of milk or water
2 Tbsp sugar
1 egg
1 tart green apple, cored, peeled, sliced

Topping:
1/3 cup Bisquick mix
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
4 Tbsp butter

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Grease 8″ square pan or 9″ round pan. Mix cake ingredients. Spread cake batter in pan. Insert apple slices into the batter evenly throughout the cake.

Mix the topping ingredients of Bisquick, brown sugar and cinnamon. Spread topping mix over top of batter in pan. Add slices of butter all over the top.

Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown, testing with a toothpick.

After delving into this, I tried to tackle some house-hold chores before our busy day and evening we had scheduled. We had my cousin’s graduation at UNCC at 3:00pm and directly following we had intended to go see the Charlotte Motor Speedway Christmas Lights. I say intended, because we didn’t end up being able to go. 😦

With my grandparents in town from GA for the graduation and our entire family being together for the first time since the cruise last January, I found it pretty impossible to bail on the family get-together. I felt bad that we had to cancel our plans, but with an uncle in and out of the hospital recently and my grandparents getting older, you can never take those moments for granted.

At the family get together we were able to see my cute little nephew. Chris wouldn’t put him down, and quite honestly it was one of the cutest sites I’ve ever seen.

I think he may be getting baby fever, hehe 🙂

For those of you who don’t know, I also landed a holiday job. I know what you are thinking…WHEN am I going to have time to do that? My answer? I’ll figure it out. With the wedding, Christmas and expenses everytime I turn around, it will be beneficial for us, for the next few months.

Sunday I had to work from 9-1, I only had time to grab quick leftovers from Saturday morning.

Still good, albeit not as pretty.

When I got home I was starving AND tired. That combination warrants a good ol’ fashioned, PB&J. It was just what my stomach wanted.

The rest of the day was spent cleaning and finishing up laundry (Chris did help a bunch). For dinner, I was craving something healthy and colorful. Colorful=good nutrients my body was lacking! RED tomatoes, GREEN veggies, DARK olives and bright ORANGE salmon.

Baked Salmon with a Mediterranean-type salad. Tomatoes,  kalamata olives, basil, red wine vinegar and some chopped onion. DELISH.

As stated in the beginning of this post, I told you there was a countdown to Christmas, a new work-out regimen for the wedding as well as a blog revamp. Please take this survey so that I can better understand what it is you like about Dine-in-Dash. (It’s only 5 questions long and the answers are private!)

http://www.zoomerang.com/Survey/WEB22BNEQP2CDW/ 

For the 2011, things will be changing on Dine-in-Dash. I want to make sure I change things for the better and not eliminate what readers might like the most. It would really help me out if you would click on the link to take the sruvey! Thanks!!

 Hope your weeks are slow and lazy, I know mine will not  be with retail during Christmas!! Yikes!

Chistmas Sugar High!

It’s almost Christmas!

I’m ready to have a few days off work and to be forced to stay home in my p.j.’s for a change. Nothing will be open so therefore Chris and I usually make a grand breakfast and watch movies on the couch all day.

Don’t ya just love traditions!?

I’ll spare you the picture of my weekly breakfast, I’m pretty sure all my readers have grown tired of seeing my apple cinnamon goodness shots.

We had our company Christmas Luncheon yesterday and the meal was surprisingly above average. I always find it so hard to get mass-produced meals to be quality, but this came pretty close.

Then came the onslaught of desserts…my company had a dessert contest so almost every one came armed with their favorite and I was eager to try as many as I could.

After all that snacking, I was completely stuffed and thankful that my new-found love for the gym was back-because I need to work some of this off!

Yesterday while I was shopping for our Christmas cards (don’t worry, they got sent out) I picked up a Women’s Daily magazine and was thoughtfully reminded of a blogger’s feature published in the mag for Egg Land’s live Well Challenge.

It’s hard to tell but that is Tina Haupert of Carrots ‘N’ Cake!

Dinner was super un-creative and quick. I was so tired yesterday due to the gym. All this working out again is going to take some getting used to. I was getting quite comfortable becoming a couch potato.

Chorizo and Eggs

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil
  • 1/3 cup chopped onions (green, red, or yellow onions) optional
  • 1/4 lb of Mexican chorizo sausage, removed from sausage casing (I used turkey sausage)
  • 5 to 6 eggs
  • Salt
  • Tortillas – optional
  • Cilantro – optional
  • Directions:

    Heat a large skillet on medium high heat. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in the pan. Add the chopped onions (optional) and cook until softened. Once softened, move to the side of the pan and add break up bits of chorizo into the pan. Use a wooden spatula to break up the pieces of sausage. Add the raisins. Stir until the sausage is cooked through, though not necessarily browned. If you are not using lean chorizo, drain the excess fat from the pan before proceeding. If you are not using lean chorizo, you may want to cook the chorizo first, draining the excess fat, then remove to a plate while you cook the onions in the remaining

     Crack the eggs one at a time, into the pan. Break the yolks and stir the eggs into the sausage. Add a light sprinkling of salt. Stir constantly until the eggs begin to set, but are still moist. Remove from heat.

    Serve immediately with a side of warmed corn tortillas and cilantro as a garnish.

    GIVING BACK!!!!!!!!

    If anyone still has some holiday shopping to do, I have a stellar suggestion on where to buy that your friends & family are sure to love! Christmas has become beyond materialistic these days so I always love when I can find a company where it pays in more ways than one to shop with!

    Enter GreenHeart!

    Greenheart is Chicago’s premier eco-fair trade non-profit shop, carrying both fair trade and eco friendly products. Greenheart carries a variety of goods including recycled accessories and handbags, home goods, gourmet treats, cookbooks, glassware, jewelry, toys, personal care, organic cotton t-shirts and more. Greenheart believes consumers have the power to affect positive World change by supporting sustainable and fair business practices in their purchasing choices.