My Word of the Year

Oh, hello there. Remember me? I’m the “Ohio” in this blog. Well, Brittany has been really carrying the site for awhile now and I apologize for that. I’ve been so focused on settling into the new job, the new city, the new place, I just kind of let a lot of things go.

I wasn’t eating as healthy as I’d like or working out very often. I wasn’t reading as much as I used to or taking time to do anything creative for me. Klaus and I weren’t exploring as much as we used to. Instead, we watched a lot of TV and ate a lot of fried food.

But as we approach a new year, now is a time for a fresh start. Over and over again I’ve made one giant resolution and quickly broken it (like most of America). Instead, this year I’ve decided to pick a word for the year and try to make smaller, actionable goals each month that ladder up to the word.

My word for 2016: Initiative

Despite being an outgoing introvert and a very hard worker, often I sit back and just let things happen.I make excuses – I’m tired, it’s cold, I’m settling in – and that has got to stop. So this year I will take initiative to better my life and the lives of those around me.

As for my January theme? Its all about my career. I had a really amazing meeting with Keith Speers right before Christmas and he told me that I have great ideas, but I need to stop being so timid about sharing them. I love my job and the company I work for, so its time to really take initiative and step it up. I’ve been handed this wonderful opportunity to take ownership of a practice area and its about time I act on it.

My goal is to check in at the beginning of each month to tell you a bit about how the previous month went and what my new theme will be.  In the meantime, I’ll try to commit to more regular updates here.

Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and I look forward to a bright and shiny new year!

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Moving is Hard

My last month has been completely consumed with all things moving. From finding a place to live in Columbus and packing to saying goodbye to friends. Klaus and I officially moved to Columbus on Friday, July 10 and I feel like I still am floating in this weird middle space. Which is poView Postssibly the most nonsensical description I’ve ever used but it is the only word I have for it.

Our Bushwick apartment as we finished loading the truck

Our Bushwick apartment as we finished loading the truck

After several weeks of packing up, throwing out or donating everything we have accumulated over the last four years of living in our tiny Bushwick apartment and a few incredibly fun nights with friends (including a long weekend in Jim Thorpe, PA with two of my favorite people in the world), Klaus and I packed up a 10′ UHaul truck and hit the road. What should have been an 8.5-9.5 hour drive took us over 12 hours. Some of that was my fault for going a little slower than the speed limit, some if it had to do with the fact that we had to take turns in rest areas because one of us had to stay with the cat (because locking an animal in a hot truck in July is a huge no-no), some of it was traffic due to an accident on the Pennsylvania turnpike, and some of it was just the stress gods punishing me even more.

After that VERY long trip (in which Klaus was incredibly supportive) we unloaded the cat and a futon mattress and passed out.

And things have been pretty much go-go-go since then. We unloaded the truck on Saturday and my mom and my sister drove down my car, packed with some random things (a bookshelf my grandfather made, a very old thin desk, a lamp etc.) and we unloaded that. We did a Target run, we did a grocery staples run, we tried our hardest to start upacking and organizing. I started work on Monday.

We have a lot more work to do in the duplex, but it is fairly livable for now. We drive up to Cleveland next weekend in another UHaul to pick up more stuff from my mom – including a washer and dryer, a bed and a dining room table (that needs some sanding and staining).

I think the strangest thing, though, has been this weird unanchored feeling. I naively thought that we would arrive in Columbus and immediately feel at home. In reality, this city is a stranger to me and I to it. I don’t know the roads, the culture, the restaurants, the neighborhoods. And things are so different here – In a good way, don’t get me wrong – but it will require some major adjusting. I thought that, because these were changes I wanted (a car, a shorter commute, friendlier people), that I would immediately be thrilled and have no issues. That is turning out not to be the case.

Flights at Columbus Brewing Company restaurant

Flights at Columbus Brewing Company restaurant

I’m thrilled to be in my new home. And I know that Columbus has a ton to offer, but like with any relationship – it takes some time to really fall in love. But I know it will happen.

Until then, I’ll keep exploring and I’ll bring you all with me! As I explore my new city, keep an eye here for restaurant reviews, recipes featuring produce from my CSA, looks at how we decorate our new place and some DIY posts, especially as we get new old furniture!

Weekly Menu Plan April 26-May 2

It is that time of week again! I’m finally on the mend from that monster cold and that meant I was feeling up to a day full of food prep. I love prepping food for the week because it helps me stay on track with healthy meals. If all the hard work is taken out of making wholesome, nutritious food, I have no excuse to order in or eat junk food.

On Sunday I went grocery shopping and came home and made Butternut Carrot Whole Wheat Muffins (I used regular eggs, reduced the amount of maple syrup and added raisins and/or sunflower seeds to some of them), freezer breakfast sandwiches for Klaus, I cooked up a mess of chickpeas from dried for meals this week and washed and cleaned fruits and veggies – including grapes, radishes, cucumbers and carrots.

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Klaus and I are both trying really hard to get on and stay on a healthy path. A few hours of week spent in the kitchen definitely helps us do that!

Now, on to the menu plan!

Menu Plan April 16 – May 2

Any substitutions or changes I plan are noted below

  • Sunday: Garlicky Swiss Chard and Chickpeas over Wheat Berries (photo below!)
    • I sliced up a few of the chard stems and cooked them along with the shallots and garlic
  • Monday: Chickpea Schwarma over brown rice, side of roasted zucchini
    • Obviously, I’m serving this with brown rice instead of millet because I can’t find millet at my local stores
    • Topping it with roasted red peppers, feta, homemade tzatziki, parsley and red onion
  • Tuesday: Book club! We usually meet at Thainy
  • Wednesday: Southwestern Kale Power Salad with Sweet Potato, Quinoa and Avocado Sauce
  • Thursday: Seared Cod with Cucumber Relish, side salad
  • Friday: Veggie Frittata (really this is my “use what veggies are left in the fridge before they go bad” meal)
  • Saturday: I’m hoping it is warm enough for roof top bars this weekend, if so – we’ll be eating out! If not, I’ll make something from what is left in the fridge – a fried rice or pasta dish usually.

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Bridesmaid Boxes

Because we’re not getting married until January 28, 2017, Klaus and I don’t have a ton of wedding planning to do yet. I mean we know where (Now Sapphire Resort), when and some general ideas (colors: ocean blue and bright yellow), but we really don’t have to get into the details for quite some time.

But one of the very first things we decided on was our bridal party. While we’re doing a pretty relaxed destination wedding, having people I love stand up with me was something I really wanted. Again, in the theme of slightly unconventional, I’m having two maids of honor (my sisters) and two bridesmaids and Klaus is having one best man and two groomsmen. All of the bridal party has been asked and said yes, but I wanted to treat my bridesmaids to a little something special. FullSizeRender (5)

I’m in love with the new trend of bridesmaid boxes and decided to do one of my own. I am no Martha Stewart, but I am pretty pleased with the slightly Mexico-themed box I pulled together. Each of my girls is getting a message in a bottle (I bought these from Petite25 on Etsy), a Chocolove Chilies & Cherries in Dark Chocolate bar, a bottle of tequila and a handwritten thank you note. I also included a sheet of paper with the photos, e-mail addresses and names of everyone in the wedding party, which I folded into an origami heart. Most of our wedding party don’t necessarily know each other, so I thought this was an important part.

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I packed all of these items into a white box with the insides painted our wedding colors, packed them in mailing boxes and shipped them off!

I know it can be a little cheesy, but I am so excited to be married and I see the wedding as this really awesome celebration with family and friends. I want everyone to be as happy and excited as Klaus and I are. As we get closer to the actual wedding I’m sure I’ll post more about it here, but I promise not to overwhelm this blog!

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Weekly Menu Plan April 19-25

Hello again! I’m on the mend from a terrible cold so I didn’t do much this weekend, including cooking or food prep. Which means this week’s menu plan consists of mostly quick and easy meals. I’m trying to shove in as many fruits and veggies as possible to get me over the tail end of this terrible thing.

Also, as the weather gets warmer, I’m starting to go back to my favorite breakfast of Overnight Oats! I mix it up each week, but The Yummy Life is a great place to check out proportions and get flavor ideas. I love these because I can make them all on Sunday and have an easy, yummy breakfast ready for the entire week!

Menu Plan April 19 – April 25

Any substitutions or change I plan are noted below

Weekly Menu Plan April 12-18

I had a really fantastic weekend. Friday I went to a SALES show and had a few drinks with friends and ended up dancing the night away, which is something I always love and on Saturday my friend hosted a dirty dinner party” that consisted of a lot of wine, “dirty burgers” (bacon, caramelized onions, buttery mushrooms, american cheese and other delicious things) and a donut cake. But Sunday was probably my favorite day, some friends and I played a Mission Escape Game and we got out with more than 7 minutes left and the room only has an 18% completion rate too!

But because of the eventful weekend, I still haven’t been grocery shopping yet! I plan on going tomorrow (hopefully).

Menu Plan April 12 – April 18

Any substitutions or change I plan are noted below

  • Sunday: Dinner out after Mission Escape (we had Mac ‘n Cheese at 169 Bar)
  • Monday: Lemon Garlic Salmon with Roasted Broccoli and half a Sweet Potato
  • Tuesday: The Big Salad
    • Low-Sodium Soy Sauce instead of Tamari
  • Wednesday: Zucchini, Black Bean and Rice Skillet
    • Cooking black beans from dry (its cheaper!)
    • Brown rice instead of instant white (pre cooked in a rice cooker)
  • Thursday: Chili Cheese Stuffed Spaghetti Squash
    • Cooking black beans from dry (I’ll just make a double batch on Wednesday)
    • I’ll likely add in some cayenne or Chipotle Chili Powder to kick up the spice a bit
  • Friday: Leftovers or some egg dish
  • Saturday: We MAY be having a ladies night so I’m holding on deciding this until our plans are set

I’m Jammin’

Spring NailsMe and nail polish have never gotten along.

When I pain my own nails it always looks like a toddler did it – its all over my skin and somehow crooked looking. And I have a tendency to knock over bottles of nail polish; the pink carpet in my childhood bedroom is stained with shades of blue, purple, red and black as well as bleach spots where I tried to clean the sticky mess up. Getting a manicure is definitely a step up, but a regular manicure is $15 or so and inevitably chips within days. So frustrating.

But I have found a solution: Jamberry. Seriously, I am so in love with these nail wraps. They come in super cute patterns and colors, they are fairly easy to apply and last on my nails forever without showing much wear and tear at all. On average, I wear my wraps 7-10 days and the only wear I start to see is a little lifting near the cuticle and a little wear down at the very tips (but you have to look closely to see that!). Mind you, that is 7-10 days worth of cooking, dish washing (dishwashers are a rare breed in NYC), floor scrubbing and general living.FullSizeRender

I use the “baggie method” to apply my wraps. Basically, I take the wrap, cut it down to the right size and lay it on my nail. I often have to reposition it because I am not the most dexterous person in the world, but that is okay! Then I wrap a plastic sandwich bag around my finger so it is pressing the wrap down, blast it for a few seconds with my blowdryer then take the baggie off. I trim off the excess wrap by filing it off my nail (only file down, not up and down or side to side) and voila – pretty nails!

IMG_2170I’ve tried nail stickers and those polish strips and I don’t think anything works quite the way  these do. I love that I can put together cute combinations and that they don’t damage my nails. No matter what I’m wearing, I always feel more polished with cute nails.

Have you ever tried Jamberry? Or are you a nail expert (if so, I’m jealous)? Let us know below!!

Menu Plan: April 5-11

Sorry for the late post of this week’s menu plan! I was busy all weekend, which is actually pretty rare for me. I tend to be a homebody, preferring to bum around the house or the neighborhood to parties and such. But I’m so glad I did get out, I had a blast with close friends this weekend celebrating my birthday and Easter. But, that means I drank way too many mimosas and ate way too much chocolate. So, back to healthy this week (again)!!

Menu Plan March 29 – April 4, 2015

Any substitutions or change I plan are noted below

  • Sunday: Easter brunch at a friend’s apartment. I made cheesy hashbrown nests to share
  • Monday: Sweet Potato & Lime Taquitos with a side salad
    • Baking instead of frying the taquitos
  • Tuesday: Dinner at Ethos Meze (Klaus is taking me out for my birthday)
  • Wednesday: Easy Vegan Creamy Pasta with Kale
    • Using roasted cherry tomatoes instead of sun-dried tomatoes (because I don’t love sun-dried tomatoes – I think they’re too sweet)
    • Whole wheat spaghetti noodles because that is what I have on hand
    • No pine nuts (Again – expensive!), I may sub in chopped walnuts
    • I MAY add in some nooch to the cream sauce
  • Thursday: Crispy Tofu Sticks, frozen fries, side salad (these are super good and are my go-to if I’m craving something fried and crispy)
  • Friday: Lemon garlic salmon, side salad, roasted cauliflower
    • I think I’m going to be on my own for dinner because Klaus is going to a show and I’m looking forward to a night in alone, so we’ll see if this is what I make. If we have any leftovers I may just eat those
  • Saturday: My friend Alex is hosting a lunch/potluck that involves sandwiches and a donut coffee cake – so I’m guessing I won’t be too hungry at night. Maybe we’ll pick something up!

Menu Plan – March 29 – April 4

Its another week, another menu plan. After eating about a million girl scout cookies last week, I’m doubling my efforts this week, trying to eat real food and cutting down on snacking over all. But enough about me – on to the recipes!

Menu Plan March 29 – April 4, 2015

Any substitutions or change I plan are noted below

  • Sunday: Roasted Poblano Chiles Stuffed with Cheesy Butternut Squash Quinoa + Pepita Crema
    • reduced the amount of cheese overall
    • used Cabot Sharp Light Cheddar instead of jack cheese
  • Monday: Baked Chickpeas with Pita Chips and Yogurt
    • using whole wheat pitas
    • no pine nuts for topping (those suckers are expensive!)
    • Greek yogurt for the tahini-yogurt sauce because I bought a big thing of it for breakfasts this week (I’ll just thin it out a bit more with water)
  • Tuesday: Fresh Thai Noodle Bowl
    • homemade veggie broth
    • the noodles from a maruchan ramen packet because I have a bunch of those lying around from a mega sale
  • Wednesday: Heather’s Hallelujah Bowl
  • Thursday: Salmon, roasted sweet potato and broccoli
  • Friday: Chickpea Lentil Veggie Burger, fried egg and wilted spinach
    • I have a few veggie burgers leftover in the freezer from a previous batch cooking day, so we’ll use those up. I also have some leftover whole wheat burger buns I had made, so Klaus will probably have his on a bun while I go bun-less.
  • Saturday: Out and about with friends – we’re grabbing a late brunch at Sotto Voce in Park Slope then doing a bit of bar hopping, so we’ll see where we end up

My New Approach to Health + Menu Plan March 22-28

As I briefly mentioned in my last post, I have always has some body image/weight/sCurried Bulgar Saladelf esteem issues. I can’t tell you exactly where they stemmed from, but they’ve been there pretty much my entire life. So because of all of that, I tend to get overly obsessed with things like calorie counting or Weight Watchers points or cleanses. While all those may work really well for others, and while I always start them with the best of intentions, they ultimately lead me down a less-than-healthy road.

Obsessing over particular points/numbers/calories/rules leads me to binging then over-restriction then guilt and shame. None of those things should be happening. See, I love food! I love eating and cooking and sharing it. But the fact that my brain sometimes takes me down this path that turns something I love into something I’m ashamed of is not good.

RunningSo I’ve decided to take a step back and approach things in a new way. Instead of focusing on losing X pounds by X date or fitting into a smaller size, I’m going to focus on my overall health. I am going to take a step back from calorie counting and focus on just eating real, clean food. I am going to focus on eating when I am hungry (truly hungry and not because I’m bored) and eating until I am full, but not uncomfortably so. I am going to focus on doing work outs I enjoy – yoga, walking, running – and not feeling guilty for not doing the “trendy” ones or being fast. I am going to make time to do things I enjoy like grabbing a latte in the morning or watching movies with Klaus.

Overall, my new approach to health is to focus on what makes me happy and feel good and I think the rest will fall into Latte and Croissantplace.

Each week I menu plan to help keep our shopping expenses down and alleviate any mid-week “Oh man, what am I going to make for dinner?” stress. Previously, I have meticulously calculated the calories (or points) of each meal and added them all up, which made menu planning a chore. With my new approach to health, menu planning has become actually really fun for me and I thought it would be interesting to share with you what my plan is each week. I tend to have the same thing for breakfast every morning (oatmeal with some fruit and nuts or a 2-egg veggie omlette) and leftovers for lunch, I’ll focus on what I’m having for dinner and any other fun snacks for recipes I’ll be making for the week.

Hopefully someone out there finds this helpful or at least interesting to read!

Menu Plan March 22-28, 2015

Apparently I was on a Pinch of Yum kick this week! Any substitutions or change I plan are noted below

  • Sunday: Spicy Sofritas Veggie Bowl  – this was so good!
    • black beans instead of pinto because that is what I had on hand
    • added some frozen corn to balance out the spiciness!
    • used brown rice
  • Monday: Harvest Wild Rice Skillet
    • mix of brown rice and the LITTLE wild rice I have left
    • spinach instead of kale because it was on sale
  • Tuesday: One-Pot Creamy Spinach Lentils
    • homemade veggie broth instead of chicken broth
  • Wednesday: Baked Pollock with Broiled Asparagus and Spiced Quinoa
    • Pollock was on sale this week, so I’ll probably just sprinkle it with some Mrs. Dash and pop it into the oven
  • Thursday: Vegetable Korma over brown rice
    • light coconut milk instead of full-fat
    • sriracha instead of asian chili paste because that is what i have on hand
    • raw cashews instead of roasted and salted because that is what i have on hand
  • Friday: Out for a friend’s birthday (we’ll either have leftovers or leftover Spicy Chickpea Lentil Veggie Burgers from the freezer before we head to George & Jack’s Tap Room)
  • Saturday: Out for a different friend’s birthday (probably getting a delicious grilled cheese at Trophy Bar!!)