Jan 062014

Goooooood morning and happy Monday to you! It’s supposed to get quite cold around here in the next day or so, and I know half of the country is already being blasted by wind chills of up to negative 59 degrees, so please stay warm wherever you are!!

I had a really nice time this weekend- it was a nice mix of fun and relaxing. Perfect!

Here’s a look at what I was up to.


After work on Friday, Fabio and I had dinner with my former coworker Ellen and her boyfriend, Mike. Ellen left my company to pursue law school at the University of Kentucky, so it’s always nice when she’s in town and we can get together.


For dinner we went to Uncle Julio’s in Ballston, which is without a doubt my favorite Mexican restaurant. We ordered steak fajitas for the table and each of us had one of their famous “swirl” drinks, which consists of frozen margarita and frozen sangria swirled together. Delicious!

Ellen also just adopted the most adorable puppy named Tucker, so we had a lot of fun talking about dogs 🙂 It was great to catch up!


After dinner Ellen and Mike came over for a while, and she reunited with Jack. These two love each other so much! Haha!

IMG_7849 Ellen and Mike stayed over until around 1:00 am, and then Fabio and I hit the sack. We were pooped!


On Saturday morning I woke up nice and early to get my day started. Jack and I went for a quick run before I downed some oatmeal and hopped in the shower. Then I took the metro to Bethesda to have lunch with my manager and froworker (that is, my friend/coworker), Claire.

My manager has been on maternity leave since the end of September and she won’t be back until March, so it was really nice to catch up with her. I tend to think of her more as my “work mom” than my manager, since I feel like I can talk to her about anything. It was so nice to tell her what has been going on in the office and to hear about her adorable new baby!

After lunch, my dad, stepmom, and sister picked me up and we headed to the Newseum! If you’ve never been to the Newseum, it’s a museum dedicated to the news. It might sound kind of weird, but they have all kinds of cool stuff like the front page of newspapers from monumental dates in history and stories about how news differs all over the world. They also have great exhibits on JFK and September 11, which, if you’re anything like me, will probably leave you teary-eyed.

Anyway, this is without a doubt one of my favorite museums in DC, and I’m so glad we were able to go on Saturday! Fabio met us there and we started off the tour with a 4D movie that talked about reporting the news during the Boston tea party. It was really cool and the chairs moved a bit and “wind” blew inside the theater.


3D glasses!


Afterwords we had a chance to report our own news at the interactive section of the museum. We took some really funny videos where we stood in front of a green screen and had to report the weather, sports, etc. It was hard!



They also have a beautiful outdoor terrace that overlooks the Captiol building. Here I am with my sister!


And with Fabio 🙂


The museum closed at 5:00 pm at which point we hopped in the car and headed to dinner. We chose Clarendon Grill because 1) it is near my apartment 2) the food is pretty good/cheap and 3) most importantly- there were plenty of TVs for Fabio and my dad to watch the playoff football games. Ha! I ordered a grilled chicken sandwich (sorry, forgot to take a photo!) and it was delicious 🙂

It was such a fun day with my family and I’m so glad we were able to spend the time together.

A little after we parted ways with my family, our friends Megan, JR, and Scott came over for drinks. Fabio made us his famous margaritas which were delicious!


We also had these festive margarita glasses that my grandma gave me for Christmas last year 🙂 Thanks, Grandma!


We headed to the bar around 11:30 and had a great time!



Since my Saturday was packed full of activities, Fabio and I decided to take it easy on Sunday. There was a lot of lounging around, reading my book (I’m currently reading The Pact by Jodi Picoult and I LOVE it!), and watching TV. I did manage to finally finish my nutrition certification program (hooray!!! I’m officially certified!!!) and make a big pot of sweet and spicy chili for dinner (recipe to come!).


We also did some laundry around 8:00 pm, but the power went out with about 30 minutes left to go in the dryer. Ughhhh. We wound up getting the damp laundry out and putting away the few things that were dry, and laying the rest all over my apartment to finish drying. How annoying!

I have to admit the rest of the evening was kind of fun- Fabio and I bundled up since the heat was off, Jack crawled under the covers, and I read my book by candlelight while Fabio read a magazine until it was time to go to sleep. The power came back on around 2:00 am which was quite jarring (you know how it is when you’re fast asleep and then everything turns on and starts beeping) but I’ll take it! Woohoo for power!

Question of the day: What’s your favorite thing to do on a lazy Sunday?


 Posted by on January 6, 2014
Aug 202012

…to Grandmother’s house we go! Yep, last weekend I headed to my dad’s parent’s house to bop around on the boat, and this weekend I drove down with my mom and my stepdad to the Northern Neck of Virginia, where my mom’s parents live!

See that blue dot in the lower right hand corner? That’s where we went. Also, for a quick reference, my apartment is right outside Washington DC, which is in the middle of the green circle at the top of the map (which is the Beltway, in case any of you have ever driven around DC and been confused about how the same road can be going north and then west. It’s a big circle!).

But, I’m getting ahead of myself. Before we left for the three and half hour drive, we had to fuel up with breakfast, of course!

Nothing beats my stepdad’s bacon and egg sandwiches. Served with a ton of breakfast potatoes, on the side. Seriously, his breakfasts are amazing.

Then we piled into the car (me in the back seat of my mom’s teeny BMW convertible next to a huge cooler- ugh) and drove down south. On the way down, we stopped to pick up some crab meat for crab cakes and everyone was so sweet and spoke with a southern drawl. They all knew my grandma and had plenty of nice things to say about her: Well that Mary-Jane, she makes a mean cake now, lo’d have mercy. It was so funny and exactly what you think of when you think of a little country store in the south. I may or may not have mentioned that I felt like Scarlett O’Hara. Yep. It’s that kind of place 😉

When we arrived, I took in the comfort that is always present in a grandmother’s house.

All those bright windows led to the outdoor deck which faces the river. So nice, right?

Soon the boys (grandpa and my stepdad) set up the smoker so we could have yummy smoked ribs for dinner (along with crab cakes…clearly we were hungry lol)

Meanwhile, the ladies sat on the deck sipping chilled white wine and daintily snacked on chips and homemade salsa (like how my descriptions are extra-propper and southern-sounding? ha).

In addition to the chips, salsa, crab cakes, and ribs (sheesh) we had tomato basil & mozzarella salad, potato salad, and my grandma’s sweet potato pie. Yum!

After dinner we spent the rest of the evening relaxing, chatting, and enjoying the company. We hadn’t seen my grandparents in a long time!

Being on the river was so incredibly peaceful.

In the morning, we were able to get some fishing in. We caught quite a few fishies, but I don’t like hurting them so we threw them all back. Ha! I think we would have had to throw them back anyway though, because they were all pretty small. The majority of the fish were rock fish, croakers, and spot fish.

Hey little fishy!

My mom caught some too!

And of course, my stepdad did all the hard/gross stuff like putting the worm on the hook, casting the fishing rods, and taking the fish off. Basically, he did everything except reel in the fish haha.

I guess he’s the real reel reason behind our fishing success (see what I did there? lol).

After fishing we washed up and headed back up to the house for some breakfast. I didn’t take any pictures since my grandma doesn’t quite understand the whole blogging thing and thinks cameras and phones are rude at the table, but here’s what it looked like before we sat down to eat.

That would be her homemade fig preserves on the table, which I was lucky enough to take home with me. Woohoo!! We also had eggs, bacon, ham, scrapple, biscuits, and her homemade gravy. Is that a southern breakfast, or what?? I had a tiny bit of everything and it was delicious. Her cooking is legendary in my family. Yum.

After breakfast we packed up our stuff and headed back north. On the way we stopped at a produce stand where I bought a bunch of peaches, plums, zucchini, and what I think is called a sweet dream melon, which I’ve been told is a mix between a cantaloupe and a honey dew.

I’ve already eaten two of the peaches (omg they are so good) and put one of the zucchinis to good use!

Stay tuned for the recipe!

Not long after I returned home, however, I got a text saying I had to go in to work. Boo. I spent my Sunday afternoon there from about 3 until 7. Yuck.

Eventually I returned home, greeted Fabio and Jack who were in New York for the weekend, and moped on the couch because I’d been at work for so long and I was cranky. Then I watched Lion King on ABC Family and immediately cheered up (how old am I? pouting like a kid and then I cheer up to Disney movies…). I totally want to thank ABC family for playing the best movie ever exactly when I needed to watch something cheerful. You rock, ABC.

Anyway, how was your weekend? Did you do anything fun? Go anywhere cool? Catch any fish, do any baking, or watch Lion King?? Share with me please!

 Posted by on August 20, 2012
Aug 072012

Hey there! Phew, has this week been crazy. Wait, it’s only Tuesday?? Well, it still has been nuts. I got picked to be in charge of a new business project at work, which is a huge honor and a TON of responsibility. Basically, if anything goes wrong with the project it will be seen as my fault. Talk about pressure! I’ve been handling it pretty well so far though, and hopefully my bosses will think I am doing a good job, especially for being one of the youngest people in my company. Yikes!

Bootcamp Update

So, you’ve probably been wondering how Tina’s Best Body Bootcamp has been coming along, hmm? Well, if you haven’t, you’ll have to suffer though an update anyway 😛

I have been loving it! Week three has a different format for some of the circuits which look a little something this:

  • 5 mins. cardio
  • Superset 1
  • 5 mins. cardio
  • Supetset 2
  • 5 mins. cardio
  • Seupetset 3
  • 5 mins. cardio
  • Cool down/stretch

Pretty awesome, huh? One great thing about the 5 mins. of cardio is that I can maintain a pace that would normally be too much for me to handle, since it is only in 5 minute increments. This workout left me exhausted and so sweaty yesterday. Phew!

Today’s workout was a little more confusing for me (I didn’t write down some of the exercises correctly) so I kind of improvised and completed some of the moves that I remembered from last week. I will definitely have to fix this before the next workout. Whoopsie!


This past weekend, I woke up on Saturday morning with a hankering for a delicious, decadent breakfast. While I knew whole wheat pancakes would be a good option, I was kind of in the mood for something else. Enter, healthified French toast.

I have never really made French toast before, but I knew that when my stepdad made it for me when I was little he used a lot of butter and smothered everything with a delightful glaze made from confectioner’s sugar. While I wanted the taste of his French toast, I really could do without the calories and the fat. I thought for a little bit, searched my cabinets, and came up with the perfect solution for “healthy” French toast. Here’s how it came together…

First, I placed a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and let it get nice and hot. Then I got out my pie pan and got the “dip” ready (what do you call that anyway? It’s not a marinade, nor is it a batter…any ideas?)

First, I poured 1/2 cup of fat free skim milk into the pan. Next, I beat two eggs together and added them in. Then I whisked the milk and eggs together until they were pretty well incorporated.

Next it time was for the flavoring. To this milk and egg mixture, I added four packets of NuNaturals sweetener (2 tsp. of splenda would work too, but NuNaturals doesn’t have any crazy ingredients), 2 tsp. of cinnamon and 2 tsp. of vanilla extract.

Then I whisked everything together again.

Next it was time for the bread! I used my favorite whole wheat Trader Joe’s bread which is low in calories and high in fiber. I only had four pieces total, including the ends, so that’s what I used. While the crappy ends of TJ’s bread weren’t too bad, I bet it would have been really great to make with whole wheat cinnamon raisin bread! Nom nom!

I dipped the bread into the liquid, and allowed it to soak for about two minutes on each side.

Then I placed the bread onto the hot skillet (remember it was non-stick, so I didn’t use any oil) and cooked it for a few minutes on each side until it started to brown and was less mushy. Less mushy? Did I really just use that as a descriptive phrase? Hm. Appears so. Moving on…

When the toast was lightly brown on both sides, I removed it from the pan and topped it with chia seeds for some added health benefits.

Then I topped the French toast with some light syrup and dug in!


Healthified French Toast
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
This french toast doesn't use any butter or oil but still has that delicious decadent taste!
  • 4 slices whole wheat bread (preferably low calorie and high fiber)
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. splenda or zero calorie sweetener (I used NuNaturals stevia)
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • Toppings (chia seeds, light syrup, whipped cream, strawberries, cinnamon cream cheese, etc.)
  1. Set a large non-stick skillet to medium-high heat.
  2. In a pie pan, whisk milk, eggs, sweetener, cinnamon, and vanilla (it's easiest to whisk the eggs in a separate bowl first).
  3. Dip the bread into the mixture, allowing it to soak for about 2 minutes per side.
  4. Place the bread onto the hot pan, and allow it to cook for 2-3 minutes per side, until the bread is lightly browned on top.
  5. Remove from the pan and add desired toppings.

This recipe was so easy to make and tasted delicious! It is definitely going to become a weekend staple around here.

So tell me, what do you enjoy eating on weekends? Muffins? Pancakes? Eggs? Please share!


 Posted by on August 7, 2012
May 132012

Well, it’s Sunday evening; the fun whirlwind weekend is drawing to an end and the long week is lurking up ahead. For now though, I am relaxing on the couch and reminiscing about the fun I had…

I kicked off the weekend with a barbeque with my friends which included a cheese burger, grilled veggies, and lots of cheap wine Smile. It was a beautiful evening and we all had fun chatting in the twilight. After dinner we all went over to one of our friend’s apartments for a rooftop party. There were a ton of people there that we know from college so it was a great rendezvous. It’s always so fun to catch up with old friends!


Then on Saturday Fabio and I spent all day finalizing something important….it’s actually so important that it deserves a post all its own, so I will give you guys the full details tomorrow (otherwise this post would be incredibly long). However, here’s a clue as to what to expect Winking smile

photo (4)

Any ideas??

And although Fabio and I were figuring out this important surprise for the majority of the day, we were able to squeeze in a nice long walk to lunch with Jack (it’s a mile away so we walked there and back). We ate lunch at a great little outdoor Italian café and split a delicious pizza.

photo (8)

Obviously it was delicious and we had enough leftovers to snack on some for dinner. Win!

Saturday evening we went out with my friends to a bar called The George in Georgetown. It was a University of Maryland Alumni event, so for the second night in a row I got to catch up with old friends. A few of my coworkers are also UMD alums and came to the event, so it was fun hanging out with them outside of the office. At one point I looked up at Fabio and said, “My work friends and my school friends are bonding!!!” Haha I’m such a nerd.

On Sunday morning, Fabio, Jack, and I headed over to my mom’s house for Mother’s Day. It was a beautiful day and spring is always so pretty at her house.



The pool is open!

I gave my mom her Mother’s Day gift (of course she got emotional) and then we sat down for snacks!


Snacks included tortilla chips with home-made guacamole and salsa. Yum!


Like the polka dot bowl and cup? They were the gifts I got for my mom Smile Thank you Rue La La!

Later on I tanned by the pool while Fabio played fetch let-me-chase-you-around-the-yard-to-get-the-stick with the dogs. They were having a blast!




How much do you love that last picture?? Hahaha it cracks me up! That is totally Jack in a nutshell.

My mom also snapped this photo of me with Fabio in between all the dog shenanigans.

Later we had dinner with my mom and step-dad (corn on the cob and cheeseburgers- again!) and then left to quickly meet up with my dad, step-mom, sister, and grandparents who were nearby. We just stopped by to say hi and wish everyone a happy Mother’s Day.


Then Fabio, Jack, and I headed home to relax from our crazy weekend and watch Game of Thrones (crazy episode tonight- anyone want to discuss? Were those the real Stark kids at the end???)

Anyway, I promise to give you full details of that really important surprise tomorrow, but for now I’m heading off to bed. I’m looking forward to getting back into my workout and eating routines this week (hopefully no more cheeseburgers? I’m pretty sure those are not on the Memorial Day Weekend diet plan. Unfortunately.)


 Posted by on May 13, 2012
Apr 302012

Good morning everyone! Happy Monday! I can definitely say I’m in a better mood than last Monday. It probably has something to do with my awesome weekend filled with lots of fun activities 🙂 Sorry I didn’t get to post anything new for you guys over the weekend; I was so busy! I’ll give you a recap now and then later today I’ll get back to you with a workout update and a new recipe. Yay!

So, I last posted on Friday evening when I mentioned my friends were coming into town. Well shortly after I gave you that update they arrived and we went out in D.C. We wound up going to a little hipster bar in U Street for a while and then switched over to U Street Music Hall. It was definitely a good time! We arrived home around 3 a.m. and I fell into bed. Literally. I was exhausted.

On Saturday morning Fabio, Jack, and I went for a nice walk. Fabio found a really pretty flower and gave it to me (cue the “awwwwww”).

Jack was more interested in the birds and the squirrels than my flower.

After our walk we had to run some errands around town. While this did include some not-so-fun stuff like taking my car to AutoZone to figure out why the check engine light was on, we made sure to squeeze in some fun by getting lunch at Shake Shack.

Shake Shack is a restaurant that makes delicious burgers and shakes. I’ve only ever had it twice in my life and for some reason I was really craving a burger for lunch. Since we were in D.C. anyway and I knew we would have to drive right past Shake Shack, I convinced Fabio we should get lunch there (it wasn’t very difficult to convince him haha). Clearly a burger was not a very healthy lunch option, but sometimes you gotta live a little!

While we were ordering we spotted this magical creation:

We happily ordered one Pooch-ini for Jack. It’s not often that we see treats for dogs on the menu so we had to indulge! We were surprised when it came out looking more like a human treat than one for our pooch.

When we got home I dumped Jack’s treat into his bowl. I started inspecting the Pooch-ini more closely and realized it was just vanilla frozen yogurt with peanut butter on top. While it did have a dog cookie on the side, it otherwise seemed pretty human-friendly. I started wondering why I didn’t order one of those for myself? It was pretty funny and Fabio caught me licking the spoon while Jack waited patiently.

 Anyway, I think it’s safe to say we both enjoyed Jack’s treat very much! Haha!

On Saturday night Fabio and I met up with his sister and her boyfriend to see a comedy show from Bill Cosby at the Kennedy Center! It was hilarious and we were all saying how our abs hurt from laughing so much. My pictures didn’t turn out great since the spotlight on Bill was so bright, but we were actually sitting in the fourth row! It was very cool to be so close.

After the comedy show I met up with my friends and we went out in D.C. again. Fabio’s sister and her boyfriend decided to come with us which was a nice surprise. I always have fun when they stay over!

Here’s a picture of all of my friends:

In case you couldn’t tell I’m in the lower left hand corner. The three that came from NY are near the middle and the rest of them live in D.C. or Arlington near me! I’m so lucky to have so many close friends nearby.

It started raining when we were getting ready to leave so the girls got creative about protecting their hair.

Luckily my hair stays pretty straight even when wet so I wasn’t concerned. You can see everyone was feeling pretty silly and we were all in a great mood despite the weather. We wound up going to one of our favorite bars, Midtown, and danced all night. We got home super late again and I went to bed exhausted.

On Sunday morning we had a long brunch at Madhatter’s (see a full brunch review here) and enjoyed bottomless mimosas until 3 p.m. Then we sat around on Dupont Circle for about an hour enjoying the sunshine and catching up on girl talk. Then my friends boarded their bus and headed home!

The rest of my evening on Sunday was spent relaxing on the couch and watching Game of Thrones (obsessed!) and getting some much-needed rest.

I will say that with all of the eating out & going to bars I’m quite excited to get back on track with my diet and workout schedule this morning. Eating and drinking all that garbage really makes me feel sluggish. It’s amazing how quickly your body tells you it doesn’t like what you’re doing.

Anyway, that’s a very FULL recap of my weekend. Now how did yours go? Did you watch Game of Thrones? Struggle with any weather-related issues?

 Posted by on April 30, 2012