Friday, July 28, 2017

married to the menu

after we got back from the honeymoon, I vowed to be more intentional with dinners at home. with all the wedding planning craziness, we had started to rely all too much on frozen pizza and ravioli. once a week, fine. all week long, not fine. one time we even ate a frozen pizza in the car on the way to dance lessons. I mean, it doesn't get worse than that. don't get me wrong, it tasted good, but not exactly the healthy, intentional meal time I prefer.

you may know that I don't eat meat, but I do eat fish, so it does require some planning to make meals that satisfy my requirements plus fill stephen up. since the wedding, here's a peak into what we've been eating - hopefully these recipes will inspire you to try something new soon!

sweet peas and saffron's enchilada stuffed portobellos {I have made these upwards of 5 times, so so good, especially on the grill}

the londoner's wild mushroom melts {I randomly found these on pinterest and they did not disappoint, so rich and would be perfect for fall}

the garden grazer's mexican quinoa stuffed peppers {I've made these before - stephen requested them recently and I brought them to a friend's house as a side dish. great leftovers.}

simply home cooked's salmon wellington {this was really tasty, super filling, but the only downside is I'm not into salmon leftovers so I halved the recipe which meant kind of a lot of effort for not a lot of return.}

budget bytes' broccoli cheese stuffed baked potatoes {you don't need a recipe - just bake potatoes and top with broccoli cheese soup and fresh steamed broccoli bits. makes for the best leftovers too}

I've been planning to make tofu and mushroom lettuce wraps for a couple of weeks, but I will say that stephen is really not into tofu. hopefully, I'll get to that recipe soon but we'll see! do you have a pinterest recipe favorite that you keep coming back to or have you recently tried something new? I'd love to hear about it!

Monday, July 24, 2017

hawaiian honeymoon: hawai'i volcanoes national park

we happened to check out hawai'i volcanoes national park on memorial day during our honeymoon and I felt so patriotic. wandering around mother nature's beauty and being in a state park really made me feel american. we didn't really know what to expect at the national park and it turned out to be pretty cool.

yes, I bought chacos specifically for this trip. 

we started by driving to the jagger museum, where you can view the large crater. you can see the lava to the bottom left of the picture. they had magnifying viewers which allowed you to see the lava bubbling.

these gorgeous red flowers were everywhere in the national park - I loved them!

from the crater viewing, we hopped back in the jeep and headed to the lava tube with no idea of what to expect.

ok, the lava tube turned out to be so cool, like straight out of a movie, jurassic park-style ferns and drooping foliage.

I'm sure at this point, I was like... "you go first babe." HAHA. it was actually so dark in the tube, we had to use the flashlights on our phones to see our steps.

the photo below is my camera with the flash on, it was seriously pitch black in the lava tube.

from the lava tube, we got back in the car and started our route on the chain of craters. disclaimer, this is a loooong drive. we drove through lots of crater viewing areas, but we didn't get out. we kind of felt like we'd seen enough craters by this point. plus, I had my eye on the prize - which is the overlook at the end of the chain of craters, below.

do you enjoy visiting national parks? which is your favorite?

Friday, July 21, 2017

top 10 things you must do in savannah

y'all, I have always wanted to go to two southern cities: charleston and savannah. last year, my dream came true with our girl's trip to charleston and this year, my dream came true with my 30th birthday trip to savannah. stephen surprised me with the idea and I spent the five-hour drive down from atlanta researching what to do in this gorgeous southern city.

Monday, July 17, 2017

thirty before thirty update

welp, the day has come and I am definitely thirty. I initially wrote my thirty before thirty list six months ago and I'm back with an update since the inevitable has happened. stephen and I celebrated the big day in savannah, a southern city that I have always wanted to visit!

Friday, July 14, 2017

hawaiian honeymoon: black sand beach day trip

thirty years ago, my parents honeymooned in hawaii and they often reference when my mother made my father find a black sand beach where he subsequently almost died. I don't know how close he was to actually dying, but the black sand beach has been engrained in my mind for quite some time. when we got to the big island, we learned there are several colored-sand beaches, including black and green. at first, we were gung-ho on discovering the green sand beach since there are only four in the world. however, upon reading tons of reviews on tripadvisor, etc we decided it wasn't worth the effort (two hour drive plus either a strenuous, dusty 6 mile hike down to the beach or hitching a sketchy ride with a local in the back of a pickup truck for $40).

we decided we'd explore a black sand beach instead. during our trip, we relied on the valet team at both resorts for tips and they were great! they recommended going to pololu black sand beach on the north end of the island, an hour and a half drive from our hotel. we picked up snorkel gear at snorkel bob's, hopped in the jeep and hit polulu, hawi, and mahukona for the perfect hawaiian day trip.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

what I read in june

another month, another book for me and linking up with steph and jana, per usual. ok this month's book was an interesting one, and one that I read based on recommendations from last month's link up.

you by caroline kepnes
when a beautiful, aspiring writer strides into the east village bookstore where joe goldberg works, he does what anyone would do: he googles the name on her credit card. there is only one guinevere beck in NYC. she has a public facebook account and tweets incessantly, telling joe everything he needs to know: she is simply beck to her friends, she went to brown university, she lives on bank street, and she’ll be at a bar in brooklyn tonight—the perfect place for a “chance” meeting. as joe invisibly and obsessively takes control of beck’s life, he orchestrates a series of events to ensure beck finds herself in his waiting arms. moving from stalker to boyfriend, joe transforms himself into beck’s perfect man, all while quietly removing the obstacles that stand in their way—even if it means murder. {}

my take: B
as I was writing this post, I referred back to the amazon page and realized this book is soon to be a lifetime drama series. I will say that is very exciting news to me and I will totally watch it. however, this book just kind of grossed me out. it made me sad reading about two very damaged people who would never get it together, on their own or together. the optimist in me was rooting for them to find love and both become content. sure, a naive view but hey, it could happen. this book is twisted, the narrative inside joe's head is very sick and it's disturbing to think that there are joes out there in this world. I finished it pretty quickly though, which is a good sign. 

what did you think about you? do you enjoy books about stalkers? can't wait to stop by your links this month and add new books to my list. thanks for stopping by!

Friday, July 7, 2017

hawaiian honeymoon: spa without walls

I am not always drawn to hotel spas, but you really can't visit the fairmont orchid on the big island without noticing the lush and all-encompassing spa without walls. I have never seen anything like it, basically the best marketing ploy ever. the grounds of the fairmont orchid are covered in gardens and waterfalls, and on second look, you realize they are all a part of the spa without walls. beautiful island-style huts line the ocean and the waterfalls to accomodate outdoor massage services. 

when we checked into our waterfront room on our first day at the fairmont, I immediately noticed the six oceanfront huts lining the shore. stephen and I already had lots of plans made for our time on the big island and I wasn't sure if we could fit a massage in. however, as soon as stephen realized we were staying at the number one rated golf resort on hawaii, he found time to play a round of golf at mauna lani and just like that, I found time for an oceanfront massage at the spa without walls. I love golf.

Monday, July 3, 2017

hawaiian honeymoon: snorkeling with manta rays

by now you may have read a couple of posts about our honeymoon trip to kauai and the big island. when stephen and I were first planning our honeymoon, we were thinking italy or greece and we contacted a travel agent to start the process. after speaking with the agent, we decided an international trip was too much of an effort to make after our destination wedding and we decided on hawaii. we also decided that we didn't need a travel agent to plan hawaii. stephen happened to work with someone who recently took a hawaiian honeymoon and had worked with a travel agent. luckily, she was happy to forward her itinerary to us and so we were able to see some of the activities that the travel agent booked, including a manta ray night snorkel. stephen's coworker said the manta ray night snorkel was hands-down the best activity they did on their honeymoon, so we knew we had to sign up... even though I didn't really know what I was getting myself into!

Friday, June 30, 2017

white chocolate apricot scones

sometimes, you have a craving for something very specific out of the blue. a couple of summers ago, I was on a muffin kick. I found myself baking muffins every weekend! lately, I have had this random craving for white chocolate apricot scones. I even got my fill at the seattle airport on the way back from our honeymoon, but it only made me want to eat more white chocolate apricot scones! as I write this, I'm remembering the white chocolate raspberry scones from the nordstrom cafe I used to order before work every once in a while. I'll have to add those to my scone to-make list. also, moral of the story, anything white chocolate is delish.

the week that we got back from our honeymoon, I made sure to whip up some scones in our new kitchenaid mixer. I've never actually made scones before and it was kind of fun, forming dough balls and cutting them into triangles. this recipe makes 16 scones, but I froze half of the dough so I'm ready for the next time we have weekend company!

Monday, June 26, 2017

hawaiian honeymoon: doors-off volcano and waterfall helicopter ride

 I hope you like lava pictures, because this post is full of them! when we booked our helicopter tour, I was really excited because the paradise helicopter site shows some really intense lava pictures and I really wanted to see lava in real life. definitely seems like a bucket list type activity, right? well, it was. while the lava wasn't wildly erupting or shooting up in the air, this helicopter ride was definitely the best way to observe the flowing lava in the kīlauea volcano on the big island.

the travel channel calls this tour the “hottest helicopter ride on earth!” kīlauea volcano has been continuously erupting for 30 years, and even at 500 feet above the flowing lava and open vents, we felt waves of hot air rolling off the lava flows, which can reach temperatures of 2,000 degrees!