Five Things Friday: Links I love

Welcome to another addition of Five Things Friday. I will be back to alternating this and Confessions of a Mom on a regular basis now.

This weeks post is dedicated to some awesome bloggers, some I have met, some I have only interacted with online. All the same, I want to share some important posts and causes this week.

1. Boston Marathon Fundraising

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My pretend twin (I mean we have the same irrational fear of crickets) Jane is running the 2014 Boston Marathon for Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, read all about her fundraising here, and she is also hosting a virtual valentine’s 5k and selling some super cute New Balance tech tanks and long sleeves. Please think about donating, participating in the 5K, or buying a shirt. I can’t wait to cheer Jane on during Marathon Monday, and I hope you can cheer her on virtually by helping her raise some money for such an important cause.

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I mean how cute are those shirts!?

2. Struggling with fertility & miscarriage

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It’s no secret that I have been struggling with dealing with my miscarriage and not being able to get pregnant, and I hate that more people are experiencing this. I am however glad that more women are opening up and talking about this. As women we should rally around each other and become lifelines of support and love.

Please read these three posts from Lindsay, Charlotte, and Colleen. Share them. Let women know it’s okay to talk about the pain and struggle, the sadness, the anger, and the hope. My raw posts about my feelings have never made me feel more exposed or more cared about.

3. On the Marine Corps Pull Up Requirement for Women

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That’s Lauren in the green tank on the right – the leader of the Achieve Fitness Triathlon Team

Lauren from Achieve Fitness wrote this AMAZING post about the Marine Corps eliminating the pull up requirement for women. Her thoughts are much more eloquent than mine and I really hope you take the time to read this article and share your thoughts. Also, there is an amazing video at the end of the post that I encourage you to watch.

4. Defeating Unhappiness

After having my breakthrough moment in yoga, I have been really into yoga and what it can do for me. Just like I loved reading about runners and their experiences, I want to immerse my self in the yogi world, so please send your favorite yoga websites, blogs, instagram accounts, etc… my way. This article on defeating unhappiness really spoke to me!

5. On Goal Making

PR & I

PR & I

Sometimes as bloggers we put all our goals out there in the blog world, almost keep us accountable. So what happens when we don’t accomplish those goals? I think my pal Pavement Runner handles this so well. He didn’t accomplish his goal, but he ran the best damn race he could that day. I have no doubts he will accomplish this goal and get that sub 3:30 soon. Stop by and show him some love.

What links are you loving this week?

MIMM: A fun-filled few weeks

It’s been awhile since I linked up with the lovely Katie for Marvelous Monday! It’s been a busy few weeks, and I figured the best way to bring you all to speed is a fun MIMM post!

Last Friday Nick and I headed to CT for a wedding of one of Nick’s high school friends. It was nice to spend some time with all of his HS friends and their wives/girlfriends.

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Minus KK who was taking the photo

Nick had a conference in NYC, so we went and enjoyed a meal at Casa Mono with our friend Tom. It was extremely dark so I didn’t take any photos, except for one. The amazing brussel sprouts, the best I ever had at a restaurant. If you know you are going to the city, definitely have a meal here!

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Food photo fail

Nick and I also had a wonderful breakfast (more on that later) and spent some time walking around the city before I headed back to CT and the B man.

I also was able to snag some time with my girl Cait, and try Agave Grill in Hartford. Girls nights are great for the soul.

Last, but certainly not least, I have been taking classes at Studio Poise in Lynnfield.

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Danielle, the owner, has graciously allowed me to take as many classes as I can in one month, and share my experiences with you all. So far I have taken Poise Fusion and Poise Xpress and it has been extremely humbling. I have a post coming this week to tell you all more about this wonderful studio, until then you can also follow them on twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram!

Year of Baking: Sweet Potato Bread

I know it’s been awhile since I posted a baking post. It’s not that I haven’t been baking, I have, but I have had a serious amount of failures, and I didn’t want to post multiple failures, I will eventually post them all in one post.

Nick and I went to CT for the holiday weekend, and my good friend Cait invited us to her family’s pool club for dinner on the 4th. The only request, I bring a salad and some sort of carby-goddness. Check and check.

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We had a little matchy thing going on!

For the salad, I made a real greek salad.

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Farm fresh tomatoes, cucumber, and red onion. Tossed with olive oil (straight from Greece) and a bit of salt, I usually add Feta, but I didn’t have any good stuff, so I used Mozz instead. Still very delicious.

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Cait’s mom made this amazing coleslaw, seriously, I need that recipe Mama C!

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I also had a grilled Salmon burger from Whole Foods and beans. Cait’s dad grilled Chicken and Turkey burgers for everyone as well! Check out her post for more info on our fun day!

But, my carbs is what inspired this post.

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Unfortunately, this is the only picture I have. We were too stuffed after dinner to eat the bread, so I gave it to Cait to take home. She ended up taking it to Kaitlin’s house with her and they left me twitter messages!

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Plus, many people left comments on Cait’s post asking for the recipe, so without further ado:

Ingredients
1.5 cups of all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup sugar
1 cup chopped walnuts (pecans would be a great substitute)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
4 tablespoons of milk
1 cup of mashed sweet potato

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 325 F
2. Grease the bottom of a loaf pan
3. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon in a mixing bowl
4. In your mixer combine eggs, applesauce, milk and mashed sweet potatoes
5. Add the dry ingredients and mix until the ingredients are all together, don’t over mix
6. Pour the batter into the pan
7. Bake for 90 minutes
8. Cool in the pan on a baking rack for 20 minutes
9. Remove from pan and cool for another 30 minutes
10. If not serving immediately, I wrap and put in the fridge, and take it out the morning of the event.

It will stay good in the refrigerator for 5 days.

Notes

I actually used a mix of mashed sweet potato and butternut squash, since I made this the night before we went to CT and I had some steamed squash that would’ve just gone in the garbage.

I also used almond milk, since that’s what I had on hand.

You could also add raisins or chocolate chips if you wanted to add some other flavors.

Let me know if you make this so I can add your links to the post!

Cranky Kelly

I can’t believe it’s June. We are officially in my birthday month and a little over a month away from B’s second birthday! Woah.

Crank Kelly. That doesn’t have as a great ring to it as Cupcake Kelly’s. With the plans I had this weekend, I had planned a spectacular Marvelous in my Monday (MIMM) link up post planned. Then Sunday came and it was an all around lousy day. I couldn’t find the marvelous in ANYTHING. Just ask Nick, I am sure he will be able to tell you what a joy I was to be around.

As most of the East Coasters are aware, this weekend was HOT and HUMID. It was not pleasant to be outside, I am pretty sure I was sweating just standing still. So it was super fun to realize at 10 pm on THursday night that our air conditioning was not working. Since the unit is still under warranty through the builder I pretty much knew I would not have AC Friday.

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Luckily we were set to leave for CT for the weekend around noon, so I wouldn’t need to be in the house for too long. Luckily, getting the little one fed and packing/cleaning took the majority of our morning hours and before I knew it, it was time to hit the road.

Friday was spent with my favorite CT blend, we all had lawn tickets to see Luke Bryan at the Meadows, we met in the parking lot to tailgate and I got to meet a lot of Cait’s friends.

stolen from Cait!

stolen from Cait!

Obviously, the whiskey lovers drank whiskey. I stuck to one Thomas Hooker Watermelon Ale at the beginning of the night since I was driving and anything else would make me fall asleep.

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Also stolen from Cait.

 

 

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Saturday, Nick played in the band at the Greek Festival. He usually plays Thursday – Sunday every year, but because of the concert and his new job he ended up only playing Saturday. I went and enjoyed some delicious gyros, loukamades, and conversation. The place was packed all night, so I think it ended up being pretty successful, but man was it hot under those tents with lots of people and all the food being cooked.

Originally, I was supposed to stay in CT to go to an event with Caitlin last night, but it was cancelled so Nick and I decided to come home. BAD DECISION.

We got home and the guy we hired to cut our lawn had not come, they were supposed to come Friday. So I was already annoyed, they were supposed to come yesterday, but they still haven’t showed…

Our AC was obviously still out and we thought it would cool that evening, I’l just sum it up and say we were wrong and I was miserable and cranky. To top it all off our well water is acting up again and B did not go to sleep until 11 PM!

Luckily our air was fixed yesterday, and hopefully the plumber and lawn guys can do their thing today. Here’s to a marvelous…Tuesday?

Nutrition: What’s Different

Disclaimer: The views I express are mine alone, based on what works for me, and should not be taken as medical advice. Always talk to your doctor or a trained professional before starting a new diet or fitness plan.

As I mentioned on Wednesday, I met with Amanda for two months to revamp my nutrition. I also ended up revamping fitness as well (I promise, more on that soon).

I have been meaning to meet with a Nutritionist for a long time, I don’t eat that unhealthy, but I knew there were areas that I could clean up. Due to my medical past I have a very slow metabolism, and I needed to know how to work with that.

Amanda was wonderful to work with, she totally gets where I am coming from, as a mom, as someone who has the desire to “figure it out”. figure out what works for me body, and as someone who understands that while eating healthy makes me feel great, sometimes I like to indulge (that’s you, mr. year of baking)

We met in person for the start, Amanda took my weight and measurements, we discussed my long-term goals and thoughts and Amanda went over the program and the first section of the Precision Nutrition manual (Amanda is a Precision Nutrition Level 1 Expert) this is what would be guiding my 8-week journey. Each section lasted two weeks and each section had goals for me to reach for.

Amanda and I met halfway through the program and at the end. She was available for email support, thankfully! I am one of those people who shoots off an email, forgets something, sends another one, and remembers something else, you see where I am going with this… Luckily, Amanda didn’t mind and was always very responsive to my emails.

Here’s the thing, I like healthy food. I love fruits and veggies, I eat food that is good for you all the time, but with certain weight loss and PR goals, I knew that I needed to make sure the fuel I was putting in my body was the right type.

At the end of the program, aka now, this is where I’m at. I journal my food, but not for a certain calorie count, I journal my workouts, for me it’s a Type A thing, and also to make sure I am getting the right percentages of protein, fat, and carbs, not as a focus on the actual calories. I work out HARD five days a week. I usually have one active rest day and one complete rest day.

Salad, Veggies, Turkey and Avocado

Salad, Veggies, Turkey and Avocado

I am eating veggies with every meal, I’ve broadened the snacking department, I am eating carbs just post-workout, I’ve cut out beans, dairy, and carbs (except the post-workout ones), I drink 100 oz of water daily.

90% of the time.

I know if I say no more carbs, no more dessert, no more beers then I will fail. This means I really have to figure out what I want my indulgences to be. If I want cheesecake tomorrow night when we go out to dinner then I won’t mindlessly snack on a piece of chocolate bunny tonight. Sometimes I have carbs when I haven’t just worked out. This is what works for me! Tracking also helps me stay true to this.

My favorite post-workout carb!

My favorite post-workout carb!

Prior to this program, I said I hate 80% clean, but it probably wasn’t accurate, and for my aggressive goals I needed to be eating 90% clean. This equates to 2-3 meals a week that aren’t clean (depending on how many you eat daily), some weeks I found myself having a tiny chocolate every day because I had the calories in my day, but that was more sugar than I needed. I don’t miss those chocolates either.

Lemon Lust Bar = Part of my 10%. NO REGRETS

Lemon Lust Bar = Part of my 10%. NO REGRETS

So where am I at now?

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photos courtesy of Amanda

Down 4.6 lbs when the last picture was taken, and I am down 6.4 total. I didn’t think I had that much of a difference, but you can really tell in these photos. I wish I was wearing the same outfit, but oh well.

I feel great, I have more energy than before, and I am working out harder. I honestly believe that this coupled with the new fitness program is exactly what I needed to reach my goals. I know that if I keep this up, I will reach my goals, and probably have even better results than I expected originally.

Amanda has been a huge support system for me and I am forever grateful. If you are in doubts about whether or not your current nutrition system is working for you or you know you need something to change, contact Amanda, she even has a program that can be done completely online.

How I’ve upped my game

As I mentioned before, I worked with Amanda for 2 months (more detailed post to come) on my nutrition

For this weeks WIAW, I thought I would share with you a little bit of what I have been eating.

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I work out in the morning, so I try to get my post-workout carbs from Oatmeal. I mix it with almond milk, 1 scoop of Aria protein powder, and 1 spoonful of peanut butter & co (my favorite flavors are smooth, bee’s knees, and might maple)

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My snacks are either Amanda’s protein muffin (with a scoop of pb) or a smoothie. This smoothie is 1 frozen banana, a handful of frozen peach slices, a handful of frozen mango chunks, 1 scoop of Aria protein powder and a handful of spinach.

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Lots of salads. I ALWAYS have a salad with dinner, for dressing just balsamic vinegar and oil (straight from Greece holla). Usually leafy greens, tomatoes, green peppers, and cucumber, if I leftover roasted veggies I will throw that on top.

For some reason I have zero pictures of my lunches, really I think it is because once B goes down for a nap it’s a mad dash to the kitchen to get lunch made so that I can eat and get whatever chores I need to get done before he wakes up.

My lunch is usually an omelet with 1 egg, 2 egg whites, spinach, roasted turkey and 1/2 slice of cheddar (except on wednesdays and fridays for Orthodox Lent). I top it with two tablespoons of peach mango salsa and 1/2 an avocado. Yum!

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B enjoying yesterdays smoothie. He had frozen banana, raspberries, whole milk, and a handful of frozen mango. I made to much so some of it went down the drain, unfortunately.

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My smoothie yesterday, not the prettiest, I will admit, but one of the best I have made thus far. Literally tasted like pb&j. It had frozen banana, frozen raspberries, 1 scoop Aria protein powder, 1 tablespoon peanut butter, a handful of spinach, and almond milk. It is amazing that I have never put peanut butter in a smoothie before, but this was the perfect post-workout treat. (I worked out twice that day ha)

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Last nights dinner. Chicken sausage with sautéed spinach, roasted peppers and asparagus, and avocado.

Our dinners consist of salad, protein (salmon, chicken sausage, shredded chicken, hamburgers, etc…) and roasted veggies. My favorite veggies are brussels, yum!

What are your go-to clean eats?

Check out more meals at Jenn’s link up for WIAW!


I posted the last Cadbury Creme Cupcake recipe yesterday as well!

Rooftop 120 with Cait Plus Ate: Part Two

Alternative Title: Cait Plus Kelly

Now that you’ve read about visit number one and hopefully you’ve had a great meal, or are about to eat one, because these photos are going to make you hungry.

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Cheers to blends! Source

We started off with a round of drinks, obviously. I decided to try the Organic Blood Orange

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Skyy Infusions Blood Orange Vodka, Organic Thatchers Blood Orange liqueur, a splash or orange juice and topped with Prosecco

It was the perfect Martini for me. I love blood orange everything and prosecco everything, win win.

For dinner we decided to share a few dishes again, we like the same food and Caitlin is trying to work her way through the menu, so win win again.

We stuck to the regular menu this time instead of the specials.

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Ahi Tuna with braised baby bok choy, green tomato jam, ginger vinaigrette and tobiko

This dish was absolutely amazing, Cait and I were dipping everything in the leftover ginger vinaigrette. The tomato jam had the right amount of acidity and the bok choy was perfectly cooked. The tuna was served rare, just how I like it. The whole dish was composed so well and everything was cooked perfectly.

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Cait’s choice was the Local Scallops with grilled leek risotto and fava beans

I’ll be honest, I never really liked scallops, but I want to like scallops. I think I have never had them cooked well and probably more times than I’d like to admit they were not cleaned properly before being cooked.

I loved this dish, the scallops were cleaned and seared correctly, and I am a sucker for a good risotto and lava beans. The dish was a comforting dish that I would order again and again. Thanks for helping me get over my scallops aversion, Cait and Rooftop 120.

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Our last dish was the Autumn Glazed Vegetables, it included Parsnips, Turnips and Carrots. I was nervous that glaze would be to sweet, but it was balanced well and the vegetables were cooked to the right temperature, not too crispy and definitely not mushy.

We were feeling stuffed after this meal so instead of ordering another drink or menu item to share a small dessert.

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In the glass was Stoli Salted Caramel Vodka and Godiva Dark Chocolate liqueur with chocolate sauce. This was the perfect send off to our meal. It was too sweet where I know I could not have a whole glass but the half-shot was just right.

And at the end of the night was my favorite part.
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At the top of our bill Cait Plus Kelly, Andres really knows how to make a patron feel special.

Thanks again for another wonderful night of food, drinks and fun Cait!

Rooftop 120 With Cait Plus Ate: Part One

Alternative Title: We can never eat or drink anywhere else.

I have had the honor of dining with the fabulous Caitlin at Rooftop 120 not just once, but twice, during my interim living in Connecticut.

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Me and my lovely blend, love this girl. Source

The first time, Nick and I drove straight to the bar from a friends baby shower. We got to meet Caitlin’s parents, they were leaving as we were arriving, and they were super sweet, I’m glad I got to meet them, Caitlin always talks so highly of them and I can tell why!

I started with one of the fall drink specials IMG 4200

The Smashed Pumpkin: Fulton Harvest Pumpkin Pie liqueur, Captain Morgan Spiced Rum and garnished with cinnamon. You can also have whipped cream with it, I decided to not have it. The drink was strong, and was delicious, but after awhile it was too strong for me. I am not always able to drink a lot of rum. Don’t worry Caitlin helped me finish.

Nick got a classic Manhattan on the rocks, and loved it.

For dinner Caitlin and I split two of the entree specials

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Surf & Turf with jumbo shrimp

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Seasoned Cod Special with chickpea puree and sautéed spinach source

Nick ordered the Kobe burger, and in all fairness we were starving when we got there, he was almost finished his burger by the time Cait and I had finished photographing and instagramming our beauties. Blogger problems.

I have to say splitting our food was the best idea ever, we both were able to try some amazing dishes.

We were all still a bit hungry after our dinner, so Nick ordered cheesecake and Cait and I ordered another round of drinks and a savory dish to share.

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Blood Orange Sparkler with Prosecco. I had seen it on Andres instragram feed and knew I had to have it.

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Baked Lamb Meatballs with Onion Jam and Yogurt Sauce source

Since Cait loves Greek food and well I do too, Nick’s Greek, how could I not? We had to go for the Greek style dish on the menu.

These were melt in your mouth perfect. Every flavor melded perfectly together, the warmth of the meatballs and sweet and tangy flavors of the onion jam and yogurt sauce, perfect taste on a piece of crusty bread. Best decision ever.

And since Nick’s cheesecake was huge we were able to taste that too. What a perfect night of food, and the company was even better!

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Nick, Me and Caitlin source

We all know how this night ended, but man was it worth it.

11 Question Survey

Don’t forget to enter the TuneTime giveaway!

I try not to do these types of surveys too often. Not like when I had AOL and we sent out these surveys daily, to the boys we crushed on no less, and we were no doubt exceedingly driving said boys farther and farther away.

I like doing these every once in a while so new readers can get to know me better. I was tagged by Erin, so make sure you show her some love too!

1. What is one goal you feel like you have to achieve in life in order to have lived the life you always imagined?

Raise my child(ren) to be kind, caring, generous, happy and healthy adults.

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2. What is one of your worst habits?

I care to much about how my friends treat me, and read too much into their actions.

3. What do you think is your best trait?

My honesty, I will tell you the whole truth and I won’t lie to you.

4. If you had to live on one food for the rest of your life what would it be?

Sushi. During pregnancy – Burritos.

5. What is your favorite season?

The summer. Lots to do, lots of activates for kiddos and lots of time with family! But I LOVE running outside in the summer.

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6. What song is the theme song for your life?

Oof, this is a hard song, I feel like I have a different song every week. Can I pick an artist, okay thanks, John Mayer it is.

7. If for some reason you had to flee the country where would you move?

Greece – maybe? Nick has family there. Perhaps not now though. In that case definitely the Caribbean.

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8. What is the sweetest thing someone has ever done for you?

There are a lot of private moments that have been sweet in my relationship. I think the ones that are important are when friends and family think of you in moments outside important events (i.e. birthdays, holidays, etc…). A card just to say hi, I am thinking of you. Flowers just because…

9. What is one thing you wish you could change in the world?

Poverty.

10. What year so far has been the best year of your life?

2011. This little guy was born, best day of my life.

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11. If you could take a time machine and visit with one famous person who is no longer alive who would it be?

John Lennon? JFK and Bobby? I don’t know, maybe I would attend the first meeting of the Continental Congress. Too many wonderful ideas.

Who would you meet?