WIAW #6

Happy What I Ate Wednesday (WIAW), friends!

Normally, I will post on Wednesday morning about what I ate the previous day (Tuesday), but I completely forgot to take a picture of my lunch yesterday. So, I decided to showcase what I actually ate on Wednesday (today)!

Breakfast: Thomas’ Bagel Thin sandwich with 1 egg seasoned with Goya Adobo, 1/4 cup Jimmy Dean Turkey Sausage Crumbles, and 1 slice Sargento Ultra Thin Sliced Cheddar, with 1 cup Tropicana Orange Juice

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The sausage crumbles look like raisins from here!

I love making variations of my favorite breakfast sandwich. In the place of my standard avocado, I decided to use some turkey sausage crumbles that I bought a few weeks ago — similar to what I did last week with leftover Easter ham.

The sausage crumbles are a little hard to keep in one place, even when I try cooking them right into the egg, but the slice of cheddar acts like glue and (mostly) solves the problem. And this is definitely a delicious combination!

Morning Snack: Mott’s Natural Applesauce Cup

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I was feeling a bit hungry mid-morning, so I had one of these applesauce cups — one of my go-to snacks right now.

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but using the avocado on my breakfast sandwich instead of a breakfast meat tends to keep me fuller for longer. On those days, I tend to not need a snack before lunch.

Lunch: 1 serving of Pesto Pasta Skillet and 1 cup steamed broccoli

I love, love, love pasta! I’ve also developed a love affair with pesto sauce and sun-dried tomatoes. Luckily, all three of these are incredible together!

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I’ve dubbed this concoction the “Pesto Pasta Skillet,” and these leftovers are from when I made it on Saturday night. When I make it — more like throw it together — I use 6 ounces of cooked farfalle pasta; about 1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts; 8 ounces of sliced white mushrooms; about 1/4 cup (or so) of sliced sun-dried tomatoes with basil;  a jar of Wegmans Basil Pesto Sauce; and some grated Parmesan cheese. I used to make my own pesto, but the recipe that I use to make it always provides much more than I need, and I actually think this kind from Wegmans tastes better.

I saute the chicken and mushrooms together in a 12-inch skillet with some garlic-infused olive oil and Italian seasoning, and then add the sun-dried tomatoes when the chicken looks about done. Once the pasta is done boiling, I add that to the skillet, and finish it off with the contents of the jar of pesto and some Parmesan cheese. I heat everything just a bit longer to warm the pesto, and then dinner is ready! I love how easily this comes together, and it provides 4 to 5 servings.

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I felt like I needed some kind of side with this — I made it with garlic bread on Saturday, but I thought that I should have a vegetable today — so I brought about 1 cup of leftover steamed broccoli that I also made at some point last week.

Dinner: 1/2 Wegmans Medium Cheese Pizza

I really wasn’t in the mood to cook tonight, and I’ve been craving pizza, so I decided to pick one up at Wegmans when I stopped there after work to get a few groceries. (Wegmans is the king of all supermarkets and makes fresh pizzas to-go in the store! They also have several hot food bars, a hoagie station, and even a small seafood restaurant.)

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Unfortunately, the pizza slid around in the box a bit before I made it into the house, but it still tasted good!

The medium size was perfect for the two of us — we each ate our halves (plain cheese for me, pepperoni for the hubby) and didn’t have to contend with leftovers.

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I did feel like it needed a little something extra, so I sprinkled on some Italian seasoning.

The price was right for a made-to-order pie — $10.99 — and it satisfied my craving. Definitely a win!

***

As usual, this day of eats did not disappoint! I definitely went over my calorie goal for the day with the pizza, though. That’s okay — I believe that it is important to enjoy what you are craving before the craving gets out of hand, and I’ve definitely done worse damage (in the recent past)!

Thank you for hosting the WIAW link-up, Jenn!

***

Do you have a go-to food or restaurant when you don’t want to cook?

Friday Favorites #5: Week of April 25, 2014

Happy Friday, everyone, and welcome to my 5th Friday Favorites link-up, courtesy of Heather at Housewife Glamour! (Happy birthday, Heather!)

Housewife Glamour

Here are some of the things that I am loving this week!

1. Outdoor C25k training

I was definitely hitting the gym a lot when it was colder, but now that it is getting nicer and warmer, I love walking and running outside. I only worked a 1/2 day on Monday, and before I went in to the office, I completed one of my C25k training sessions in the glorious weather. I definitely need to take a cue from how much my mood improves when I sneak in some time outside during the day, like I did on Monday, and make sure to get outdoors a bit during the normal workday.

2. A fresh haircut

I got a haircut over my lunch break on Tuesday afternoon, and it was glorious. Even before it is styled, there is just something great about the feeling of a fresh haircut. And as for styling  — I wish I could have a glam squad to do it for me everyday! My stylist showed me exactly what to do to rock a curly/wavy style this time, and I left the salon with the products he recommended, so we’ll see how it goes.

3. Pants that are getting too loose

I put on a pair of pants this morning that I bought around Christmas, and they are getting a little baggy in the waist! I can tell that I am losing weight, but nothing compares to the confirmation that some of my clothes are getting too big.

4. “Ain’t It Fun” by Paramore

There is something about this song that just makes me want to get up and dance!

5. Easter candy

I’m trying to moderate my consumption of sweets now that Lent is over, but I’m definitely loving the Easter candy that I filled these cute containers with last weekend! Current favorite: Reese’s mini peanut butter eggs, which are only 90 calories each.

What are you loving this week?

Weigh-In Wednesday and Weekly Goals: April 23, 2014

Happy Weigh-In Wednesday, everyone!

I achieved a huge goal from last week — I didn’t gain any weight over the Easter holiday!

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I now weigh 164.4 pounds — 12.6 pounds down from my starting weight of 177, and 0.2 pounds down from my official weight from last week. I’m thrilled!

I ate quite a bit in the past week — definitely more indulgently than I normally would, with lots of Indian food, macaroni and cheese, and cupcakes — but at no point was I sickeningly full. I didn’t even measure or record anything that I ate on Easter Sunday. Maybe I’m just finally getting the hang of knowing and sticking to reasonable portion sizes.

***

Progress toward last week’s goals:

  • Goal: Maintain my current weight. Progress: Achieved! Hooray!
  • Goal: Work out 4 times and continue with the C25k plan. Progress: Did not achieve, unfortunately. I only worked out two times (Saturday and Monday). I really need to make this a priority again. The bright spot here: I registered for a 5k to be held June 21st! Now it’s time to get back to training in earnest.
  • Goal: Develop a set weekly exercise schedule. Progress: The past week was so busy that I haven’t focused on and completed this yet. My plan is to do this on Saturday — I actually don’t have any definite plans for the day — and I’ll post about it over the weekend.

***

Goals for the next week:

  • Goal: Lose 1 pound. It’s time to get back to losing! And I’m on my way — I stayed within my calorie goal set by MyFitnessPal for today!
  • Goal: Try 1 new recipe. Now that Easter is over and things have calmed down a bit, I want to get back to trying more new recipes. I have my eye on these Italian Meatball Sliders from Cooking Light.
  • Goal: Work out 4 times and continue with the C25k plan. Tentative work out days: Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.
  • Goal: Finalize a weekly exercise schedule and stick to it.

***

Overall, I’m thrilled that I thoroughly enjoyed a major holiday without gaining any weight. My progress and success so far is so motivating! I would love to hit a total of 20 pounds lost by the time we go to Virginia Beach on June 6th. (Come to think of it, I never did decide how I want to reward myself once I achieve my 20 pounds lost milestone…)

Do you measure and weigh your food to ensure proper portion sizes, or are you pretty good at estimating? I still weigh and/or measure a lot of things, but I’m definitely getting better at knowing sizes or weights just by looking.

WIAW #5

Happy What I Ate Wednesday (WIAW), friends!  Here is a look at what I ate yesterday, April 22, 2014.

Breakfast: Thomas’ Bagel Thin sandwich with 1 egg seasoned with Goya Adobo, 2 ounces leftover Honeybaked Ham, and 1 slice Sargento Ultra Thin Sliced Cheddar, with 1 cup Tropicana Orange Juice

Yesterday I enjoyed a variation of my favorite breakfast sandwich: instead of using avocado, I added 2 ounces of leftover Honeybaked Ham from Easter dinner. So delicious!

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And, of course, no breakfast sandwich is complete without 1 cup of this:

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I have serious brand loyalty and typically only buy Tropicana Orange Juice.

Lunch: 2 cups Harris Teeter Organics Moroccan Lentil Soup with Chick Peas and 1 cup sauteed green beans

I made a special soup run to Harris Teeter a few weeks ago, and I decided to give this new-to-me one a try, especially since I love the Moroccan Lentil soup from Pret so much.

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This soup is low in fat and calories and is packed with fiber and Vitamin A. It is very flavorful and actually a little bit sweet. You can even see distinct chunks of veggies within it, in addition to the lentils and chickpeas.

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It was very good, and I will definitely buy it again, but I must say that Pret’s lentil soup still has an edge.

And of course, no WIAW lunch is complete without my favorite sauteed green beans, leftover from Easter dinner!

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Afternoon Snack: Mott’s Natural Applesauce Cup

I was feeling a bit hungry before I went home from work and knew it could be up to 2 hours before dinner, so I decided to eat a small cup of Mott’s Natural Applesauce.

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These little containers always make me a bit nostalgic for my grade school lunchbox.

Dinner: 2 ounces leftover Honeybaked Ham, 3 1/2 ounces leftover Roasted Turkey Breast from Honeybaked Ham, 1 cup Trader Joe’s Garlic Potatoes with Parmesan Sauce, and 1 cup sauteed green beans

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Since I didn’t really feel like cooking last night, and we still have so many leftovers from Easter dinner, I decided to just quickly make a side dish and use what was already prepared.

If you haven’t tried the roasted turkey breast from Honeybaked Ham, you are seriously missing out. It rivals the ham in deliciousness, and that’s definitely saying something.

This was the first time that I made the Garlic Potatoes with Parmesan Sauce from Trader Joe’s, and they were just okay. The ones that got really crispy in the frying pan were good, but overall they needed more flavor — especially more salt. I think if I buy them again, I’ll add some more Parmesan and some spices while they are cooking.

The green beans made an appearance again — that’s twice in one day!

Dessert: Peanut Butter Fudge Cupcake from Georgetown Cupcake and 1 cup 2% milk

We still have some cupcakes leftover from Easter dinner, and I decided to enjoy one for dessert last night. This peanut butter and chocolate combination is one of my favorites.

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I’ve been a Georgetown Cupcake fan for years, even before they had a TV show (which I’ve actually never seen). We even had Georgetown Cupcakes at our wedding in 2010!

(Side note: it just doesn’t feel right to me that Georgetown Cupcake is now in other cities, like Los Angeles and New York. It’s called Georgetown Cupcake for a reason! Okay, rant over.)

Balancing my love of sweets will be more challenging now that Lent is over. I felt like Lent gave me extra power behind me to say no to them, since I was consciously abstaining, but it also proved to me that I can.

***

I walked quite a bit yesterday — over lunch to get my hair cut, and then after dinner with our dog — and because of that, I was able to stay within my calorie target for the day!

Overall, it was a great day of eats! (I feel like I say that every week, but I’m almost always enthusiastic about my meals.)

Thank you for hosting the WIAW link-up, Jenn!

Are you brand loyal? Sometimes I feel like my brand loyalty arises out of nowhere, when in reality, I’m probably just succumbing to the subversive tactics of marketing professionals. Case in point: I have noticed that even after I’ve stopped clipping and using coupons, I continue to buy the brands that I once purchased using them.

Have you ever been to Georgetown Cupcake? Are you into the cupcake craze? I can’t get enough. I will admit that I’ve waited about 45 minutes just to get into Georgetown Cupcake to get one. (Yes, the line is consistently that long!) I pre-ordered them for Easter, though, and you don’t need to wait in the long line when you just go to pick them up.

Easter Weekend Wrap-Up and an Exciting Fitness Announcement

Happy Easter Monday, everyone! I hope you had a blessed Good Friday and Easter. My weekend was super busy but fantastic.

I took off from work on Friday to prepare for the weekend’s feasting and to spend some time at church. The Good Friday service that I attended was more liturgical than the ones I normally go to on Sunday, but I loved it. One of the recitations from the Book of Common Prayer, the guide for Anglican services, really stood out to me:

We glory in your cross, O Lord,
and praise and glorify your holy resurrection;
for by virtue of your cross
joy has come to the whole world.

May God be merciful to us and bless us,
show us the light of his countenance, and come to us.

Let your ways be known upon earth,
your saving health among all nations.

Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you.

We glory in your cross, O Lord,
and praise and glorify your holy resurrection;
for by virtue of your cross
joy has come to the whole world.

It reminded me again how much God wants to bring us into fullness in our health and humanity through Christ!

On Saturday morning, my husband and I ventured to Culpepper, Virginia, which is about 70 miles from D.C., where my accountability partner lives. She was teaching for the launches of the new cycles of BodyPump and BodyCombat at her gym, and I was so glad to finally get to see her in action! The classes were fantastic — especially the music for the new BodyPump release. After our workout, we met up with our husbands for brunch at a local diner and walked around the extremely charming downtown, which is full of specialty food shops and boutiques. (I love when the character of historic towns are preserved, and when they thrive!) I definitely want to go back!

My parents and brother and sister-in-law came into town on Saturday afternoon, and we all went into D.C. for dinner at Rasika, one of my favorite restaurants, to belatedly celebrate my mom and sister-in-law’s birthdays. (It was the first time my parents had ever been to an Indian restaurant, and it was a success!) After the delicious meal, my husband gave everyone an impromptu tour of the city by car, and we ended up at the Pentagon Memorial. I had never been there before, and it was very beautiful and moving, especially as the sun was setting.

Sunday morning was a glorious celebration of the Resurrection! My whole family went to my church for the 8:30 a.m. Celebration Service, which was a huge blessing. The sermon was fantastic and focused heavily on God’s grace. (I really want to listen to the sermon again when they post it online, hopefully today.)

The rest of the morning was spent preparing for a delicious feast! I love holidays and especially the fantastic meals that accompany them. I hosted last Christmas and again yesterday for Easter, and both times I’ve gotten ham and turkey from Honeybaked Ham. Nothing else comes close!

One of my favorite things about our Easter celebration was the candy boxes that I prepared for everyone. It’s not Easter without Easter baskets, and I thought that these came pretty close.

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No one was allowed to open them until we sat down for the meal, and everyone was surprised and excited about the stash of goodies inside!

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Following the meal and some fantastic desserts — Georgetown Cupcakes (another holiday splurge) and my mom’s homemade mini cheesecakes made to look like birds’ nests — we dyed Easter eggs. I love still participating in holiday traditions that we enjoyed as kids!

My family ventured back to Pennsylvania soon after we finished our egg coloring, and I spent the rest of the evening relaxing from all of the celebrations. I fell asleep watching a movie with my husband on the couch and wasted no time falling asleep in my bed soon after. I decided to take the morning off from work today, to allow a little time for extra sleep, and I’m so glad that I did. I feel energized now and ready to take on the week!

***

And now for my exciting fitness announcement!

I’ve officially signed up for a 5k race on June 21st!

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Last week, an email arrived in my inbox advertising the Fit Foodie 5k. I looked into it a bit more, and decided that it would be perfect for my first race of this journey, because it embodies everything that I am trying to achieve — a balance between healthy living and loving food!

The concept of the Fit Foodie was born out of the idea that a healthy lifestyle and delicious culinary experiences don’t have to be separate. Calories burned, calories earned, right?? Life is about balance and working hard so that you can indulge in those things that you are passionate about. When delicious food, working out, and good friends are all combined, it is a beautiful culmination of all that life has to offer.

Sponsored by Cooking Light and Health magazines, the event is only being held in three cities, and Fairfax, Virginia, is one of them! The race location is 20 to 25 minutes from our house.

Following the race, I get to indulge in delicious tastings and fitness demos!

Cruise across the finish line and get ready to celebrate your success in style. At the Finisher’s Village, you’ll enjoy a post-event celebration where runners can enjoy refuel stations, celebrity chef demos and tastings, fitness demos at the Power Systems stage, beer and wine tastings, giveaways, and delicious bites from participating restaurants, sponsors, and more! 

I think this race is going to be perfect for me, and I can’t wait! I think it will also be great motivation to continue with my training plan! (Thanks to my friend Kelly for the suggestion, and to Carli for the Lululemon gift card! I’m going to get a new outfit with it, just for this race.)

What was your favorite part of your Easter celebrations?

Besides the C25k plan, how else should I prepare for my Fit Foodie race?

Weigh-In Wednesday and Weekly Goals: April 16, 2014

Welcome to this week’s installment of Weigh-In Wednesday!  Let’s get right down to it.

By some miracle, I’m down 1.8 pounds!

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The scale is actually playing tricks on me again — I got a few readings of 164.4 — but just to be safe, I went with the higher number as my official weight.

I’m not really sure how this loss happened, because (as planned) I wasn’t overly vigilant about my eating habits this past week, and I barely worked out (which wasn’t planned). I will definitely take it, though! (I do think that one of the things that really helped was travelling over 25,000 steps on Saturday, mostly due to my time at the Cherry Blossom Festival!)

***

Progress toward last week’s goals:

  • Goal: Maintain my current weight. Status: Exceeded! I’m elated!
  • Goal: Work out 4 times and continue with the C25k plan. Status: I actually fell very short here — I’ve only exercised once in the past week. I’m finding it very difficult again to get out of bed in the mornings to work out, and my weekends have been very busy. I just need to stop making excuses and get back to it.

***

Goals for the next week:

  • Goal: Maintain my current weight. Just like I mentioned last week, I know my eating in the coming week is going to be a bit more indulgent than usual, because my family is coming into town, and it’s Easter. I want to enjoy myself this weekend without worrying too much about my intake, so I’m going to moderate expectations and just aim to not gain anything.
  • Goal: Work out 4 times and continue with the C25k plan. I think this is actually very achievable this week. I already plan on working out on Friday afternoon, Saturday morning, and Monday morning. I think getting back into an exercise routine will help me keep my weight steady after eating a lot this coming weekend.
  • Goal: Develop a set weekly exercise schedule. A trusted adviser of mine recommended that I do this, and I know she’s right, because it will get me in a rhythm. I developed a weekly schedule last fall, but I didn’t stick to it. I think it’s time to take a second look and develop a realistic plan that I can really implement.

***

I couldn’t be happier with the results of this past week, however undeserved.

Do you give yourself the freedom to indulge on holidays, or do you still try to eat healthfully? Maybe it’s the wrong approach, but I’m all about letting loose! Each holiday only comes once per year.

Do you have a set workout schedule that you follow each week?

WIAW #4

Happy What I Ate Wednesday (WIAW), friends!  Here is a look at what I ate yesterday, April 15, 2014.

Thank you for hosting the WIAW link-up, Jenn!

Breakfast: Thomas’ Bagel Thin sandwich with 1 egg seasoned with Goya Adobo, 1/2 medium avocado, and 1 slice Sargento Ultra Thin Sliced Cheddar, with 1 cup Tropicana Orange Juice

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This is another breakfast staple of mine, especially on the weekend. Sometimes I will make it during the week if I have time, like I did yesterday. (I was also super hungry when I woke up and didn’t want to wait the additional hour until I made it to work to eat.)

I stole the idea from Au Bon Pain, which has a very similar sandwich on its menu. (It’s much cheaper to make myself!) This sandwich will usually keep me full from breakfast until lunch because of the healthy, satiating fat in the avocado.

Lunch: Roti Mediterranean Grill Rice Plate with salmon, double hummus, roasted vegetables, and 1 pita

Wow, that's a lot of hummus!

Wow, that’s a lot of hummus!

The Mediterranean trend from last week continues!

The weather in D.C. yesterday was about as terrible as it comes, but my new co-worker and I ventured out for lunch in the torrential rain to a place we both love, Roti Mediterranean Grill. Roti is a fast casual restaurant with locations in D.C., Chicago, and New York. My husband actually first discovered Roti near his office and raved about how good it was. Luckily, they put one just a few blocks from my job not long after!

(Side note — I just want to say how much I love my co-workers. I work with so many great people, and getting to know them has by far one of the biggest blessings of my job.)

Like at Chipotle, you choose the ingredients for your rice plate or sandwich down the line at a counter, starting with protein choices and progressing through sides and toppings. While their Steak Roti, Chicken Roti, and Chicken Kabob are all very good, the salmon is my favorite. It comes on a skewer with a tiny wedge of lemon on the end.

As for sides, I particularly love the roasted veggies and the hummus with fresh pita. I ordered extra hummus yesterday, because I didn’t think the first scoop I was given was substantial enough, but by asking for more, I think I got way too much! I ate all of it, though, of course.

Dinner: About 2 oz. bistec encebollado, 1/2 cup rice, 1/2 cup red beans, and 5 tostones

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I had an appointment after work yesterday, so I got home a bit later than usual. My husband assumed the cooking duties for the evening and made a fantastic traditional Puerto Rican meal!

This steak  is very thinly sliced — I buy sirloin already cut this thin at our local Hispanic/Latin grocery store — and marinated for the better part of the day. It is then smothered with onions and cooked in the frying pan with the lid on. It cooks in no time and is so delicious!

I can’t get enough of red beans and rice! I wish we made the combination more than we do. The beans are actually very simple and quite healthy — basically just kidney or pink beans, tomato sauce, water, sofrito (the base for almost all Puerto Rican cooking), and a little bit of sausage, cut into small pieces.

Tostones are twice-fried green plantains. The skin of the plantain is removed, and the inside that is left is cut into pieces about a 1/2 inch thick. These chunks are thrown into the fryer for several minutes and then removed and smashed with small contraption designed just for that purpose. The flattened pieces are then put back into the fryer to finish cooking for a few more minutes. For some reason, it took me longer to embrace tostones than any other Puerto Rican food, but now I can’t get enough of them!

***

I definitely ate a lot yesterday — probably too much! I intentionally ate a bit less for dinner than I normally would, because I was still pretty full from lunch. It was a fantastic day of eating, though!

Do you have a go-to place for weekday lunches? I tend to pack my lunch most days, but I do like to go out once or twice per week.

Weekend Wrap-Up: Cherry Blossoms Edition

Happy Tuesday, friends!

So, I know the weekend is two days behind us, but I wanted to give a little recap of last Saturday, when I enjoyed my favorite rite of spring in D.C.: the National Cherry Blossom Festival!

The National Cherry Blossom Festival is a 3-week celebration that takes place in D.C. in late March and early April, officially commemorating Japan’s gift of 3,000 cherry trees to the city in 1912 as a token of friendship, and unofficially kicking off spring.

The cherry trees reach “peak bloom” — when 70 percent of the blossoms on the trees around the Tidal Basin are open — during the Festival, and tourists and residents alike flock to take photos and celebrate the new season. Because of the crazy winter that we had, the trees reached peak bloom on April 10 — the latest date in over a decade. (They barely arrived before the official end of the Festival!)

My parents came into town last weekend to enjoy the blossoms, and I went with them to the Tidal Basin on Saturday morning. I knew that it was going to be crowded, but always amazes me how many people actually show up! Despite the crowds, I had a wonderful time on an incredibly gorgeous day.

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The beauty brought to mind some verses from the Gospel of Luke: “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you — you of little faith!” (Luke 12:27-28)

We even got to see FDR on our walk around the Tidal Basin:

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His memorial is sprawling and beautiful, with a number of statues and waterfalls.

After walking around the circumference of the Tidal Basin, a journey that took about 2 hours, my parents and I ventured further into the city for lunch at Taylor Gourmet. My dad is completely obsessed with hoagies — also known as subs to those outside of the Philadelphia area, where I’m originally from — and I knew that he would love Taylor, a local sandwich chain that specializes in Philly-style sandwiches. (They were recently named best sandwich place in all of D.C. by Washingtonian magazine’s Great Sandwich Smackdown.) I’m not sure if they still do, but at one point Taylor was trucking in their thick, chewy rolls daily from Philadelphia.

I had enjoyed two cold Taylor sandwiches when my office had it catered several months ago, but I had never actually been to the storefront for a hot sandwich. It was worth the wait! I splurged and enjoyed the Benjamin Franklin Parkway — basically a chicken parm sub made with an Italian-breaded chicken cutlet and amazing sharp provolone cheese. (Every sandwich is named after a different street in Philadelphia!)

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Even though the restaurant didn’t have outside seating, we cheated a bit and ate our lunch at a table outside of the Starbucks next door. It was an incredibly enjoyable meal in the gorgeous weather! I love eating outside when I can, and it was great to spend such quality time with my parents.

Following lunch, my parents went on their way to do some more sightseeing, and I headed back to my car (but not before stopping to do some browsing at the mall where I parked.)

When I got home, I went grocery shopping, completed one of my C25k workouts, and helped my husband prepare dinner. The rest of the evening was super low-key, since I had done so much during the day! I even reached a personal record on my FitBit — 25,060 steps travelled, equivalent to 10.32 miles!

It was a truly fantastic Saturday!

Does your city have some type of spring festival?

Do you have a favorite sandwich place? I definitely prefer hot sandwiches to cold! Meatball sandwiches are a particular favorite.

Friday Favorites #4: Week of April 11, 2014

Happy Friday, everyone, and welcome to my 4th Friday Favorites link-up, courtesy of Heather at Housewife Glamour!

Housewife Glamour

Here are some of the things that I am loving this week!

1. A 3 day weekend

I decided to take last Monday off from work, basically to catch up on stuff at home — like huge piles of laundry — that I’ve been too busy to accomplish over the last few weeks. I had a doctor’s appointment, too, and knew I would already be out of work for part of the day, so I just decided to take the whole thing.

Even though I didn’t really get to relax on Monday, the 3 day weekend was glorious! It was fantastic to have time on a weekday to work out in the afternoon, make a nice dinner, make and freeze homemade muffins for when my family is in town for Easter, and run errands, in between household chores. I wish I could have a 3 day weekend every week.

2. Living near (many of) my best friends

I was very fortunate when I moved to D.C. almost 6 years ago that several friends from college were already living in the area. Some of them have moved away since, but others have come, and my circle has expanded by getting to know friends of friends. I’m incredibly blessed by having such great community here! Although we may not see each other as much as we used to or would like, these ladies enrich my life in so many ways. (And I was so glad to see two of them on separate occasions this week!)

3. My new workout outfit

I finally bought my new workout outfit on Monday! I wanted to get a new pair of Nike shorts like ones that I already owned, so I went to the Nike Factory Store at the outlet mall near our house. Although they didn’t have the exact style that I was looking for, I came away with two new pairs of shorts and a shirt!

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Typically, I’m not at all one for shirts with cocky sayings, but I love this! There is just something about it that boosts my confidence — I am doing this, and I am awesome!

I still have my eye on that Legally Blonde inspired tank, too…

4. Spinach Melt and Chicken Pita from The Perfect Pita

Continuing my obsession with Mediterranean food, I’m completely hooked on the Spinach Melt and Chicken Pita from a local lunch chain called The Perfect Pita. Whenever my close friend and I meet for lunch on a weekday, we always end up there, and I always order this sandwich. Although it was a bit windy, the weather was so nice when we met yesterday that we were able to eat outside! Glorious.

5. One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp

This book was recommended to me by some of the women in my small group and a friend from college. I just started it yesterday and am only on page 19, but I have already fallen in love. Ann Voskamp’s writing style is absolutely beautiful and unique, and I can’t wait to dig more into her topic of living a life of gratitude, right where God has me today.

What are you loving this week?

Have you read any good books recently? 

Weigh-In Wednesday and Weekly Goals: April 9, 2014

Welcome to Weigh-In Wednesday — when I am accountable on the scale for the decisions that I made in the past week.

And here is what the scale is saying to me this week:

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This isn’t entirely true — I did work out four times like I set out to do. But I was definitely more lax in my food choices, and it showed on the scale.

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I’m only down 0.2 pounds. Thankfully, though, I did not gain, like I was fearing.

Some things that I’ve realized:

1. Cutting out sweets has helped immensely, but it is not the only “food group” of which I need to be aware.

2. What I eat matters, even when I am conscious of how much I eat. I heard somewhere — maybe it was back in Weight Watchers — that weight loss is 70% what you eat and 30% exercise. I’ve also heard that you can’t out-exercise a bad diet. My experience this week is a testament to both of these things. I probably staved off weight gain because of how much I exercised, but my food choices were too high in calories for me to lose anything.

3. I need to re-incorporate lean proteins in my diet. I ate quite a bit of chuck roast and short ribs this past week — two very delicious but not very lean cuts of beef — and when I was really losing a few weeks ago, I was eating more fish and hardly any beef.

4. MyFitnessPal’s and FitBit’s calculations are pretty accurate. Not that I ever doubted them, per say, but I have wondered how they come up with their formulas. However they do it, following their parameters works. Case in point: I did not stay within my daily calorie goal at all this past week, with the exception of 1 day, and I really didn’t lose any weight.

5. I love food. I’ve always known this about myself. The goal now is to love it in a healthy way — enjoying what I eat but not overeating, and making more healthful choices overall.

6. Healthy eating is harder when going out to eat. (That’s a no-brainer, right?) It’s not impossible, but preparation and commitment are necessary. I love it, though, and sometimes I just need to take the easy way out — like tonight, when my husband wanted to go out and I obliged, because making the effort to cook just wasn’t happening. Going out for a meal with friends and family is also my primary means of socialization.

***

Progress toward last week’s goals:

  • Goal: Lose 1 pound. Status: Did not achieve. I’m not surprised, though.
  • Goal: Try 1 new recipe. Status: Achieved! I made Mushroom-Stuffed Chicken from Cooking Light on Monday night, and it was great! Bonus points for my hubby loving it and calling it “another winner.”
  • Goal: Work out 4 times and continue with the C25k plan. Status: Achieved — and it felt great! (See my Workout Log for what I did.)

***

Goals for the next week:

  • Goal: Maintain my current weight. I’m moderating expectations here: we went out for dinner tonight, and I know I am going out for lunch on Thursday, dinner on Friday, lunch on Saturday, and probably dinner on Saturday. (My parents are coming into town this weekend for the Cherry Blossom Festival.) I want to make wise choices — like more fish and less beef — but I also want to be realistic.
  • Goal: Work out 4 times and continue with the C25k plan.

***

One parting thought:

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My new mac and cheese cookbook arrived a day early!  (Amazon is the best.)

I can’t wait to try one or two of these recipes for Easter — a day when all bets are off.

Thanks, as always, for your support, friends!

Do you find it easy or difficult to make healthy choices when you go out to dinner? I think the nature of dining out just lends itself to eating more — especially when soup and/or salad and the bread basket are complimentary.