Throwing a Friend’s Birthday Bash

On Friday night, Pete and I had some peeps over to celebrate my friend Colleen’s birthday. On the menu was the following:

  • Spinach Dip (obviously)
  • Cheese and Crackers
  • Pepperoni Stromboli
  • Veggie Stromboli
  • Proscuitto Stromboli
  • Wine Slushie (oh, yes)
  • Ice Cream Sandwich Cake (recipe forthcoming)

As always, when preparing for a party I set the table and put out all serving platters the night before.


I also had the idea of using our bistro table as a mini bar and set up wine glasses, some wine, and later drinks that were brought over. Oh, and the wine slushie. Can’t believe I forgot to take pics of that!


The morning of, I made the ice cream sandwich cake, which took about 10 minutes of prep time for such a delectable treat. I’ll definitely be sharing that recipe- it was divine! I also cut up the cheese, mixed up my spin dip, and prepared the 3 strombolis.


Our guests arrived around 6 and our table grew with some more apps including goat cheese stuffed dates, kale dip and mini caprese bites.


Sorry about the lack of pics…still not 100% comfortable with whipping out the camera to take food pics in front of an audience!

For pretty much the entire night, we gathered around the dining room table enjoying food, good stories, and drinks.


After apps and stromboli, we lit the cake and sang to the birthday girl!


Hope Colleen had a great night- happy birthday!

What was on the menu of a recent get-together you hosted?

How do you overcome picture taking shyness?


Chicken Pesto Pasta

When creating a meal plan, I often ask Pete, “What’s something you’d like this week?” Almost always the response is, “Chicken Pesto Pasta.” It’s his favorite dish! My mother-in-law gave me the recipe when we first met and it’s been on a rotating list of meals ever since.

Chicken Pesto Pasta


  • Mini Farfalle Pasta (I’ve also used Penne in the past)
  • Diced Tomatoes
  • Pesto
  • Diced Onion
  • Diced Chicken (we use Perdue Shortcuts)
  • Shredded Mozzarella Cheese


Begin by boiling water for your pasta. Cook according to package directions.

While pasta is boiling, dice up some onion. Spray cooking spray in a pan and fry the onion and the diced Perdue shortcuts.


When cooked, add the can of diced tomatoes. Mix all ingredients together and then add a few tablespoons of prepared pesto. Mix.


Once your pasta is cooked, drain. Add to the pot with the other ingredients. Sprinkle some shredded mozzarella on top and cover with a lid to let melt.




Enjoy :).

What is a favorite meal in your house?

Fitness Survey

I read this survey on Julie’s blog recently and thought it would be fun to complete! Hopefully it shares a little bit more about myself and my fitness philosophies!

1. What did you eat for breakfast?

A giant yogurt bowl. I literally have this once a day in the summer, whether for breakfast or lunch. I switch up the flavor of yogurt, the nut butter, and the fruit to make in more interesting.


This particular bowl has strawberry Chobani, blueberries, Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut butter (holy amazeballs), and Bare Naked Peak Protein granola.

2. How much water do you drink a day?

Not as much as I should. I tend to drink much more water in the summer because I have the freedom to pee. Ridiculous sounding? Maybe. But as a teacher, I can only go to the bathroom at certain times so downing water is not an option!

3. What is your current favorite workout?

Spinning. Always has been, always will be!

4. How many calories do you eat a day?

I’m not 100% sure. I used to use My Fitness Pal to track all caloric intake and then it was 1,290 a day, which was completely feasible for me. If I had to guess I’d say about 1,400.

5. What are your favorite healthy snacks?

Hummus and veggies. Fruit, especially watermelon. I tend to stick with anything “clean” and avoid processed snacks. Recently I’ve been enjoying Boom Chicka Pop, which is a clean popcorn- very tasty.

6. What do you usually eat for lunch?

During the school year, my lunch almost everyday is a turkey and provolone sandwich on whole wheat bread with spicy mustard. Never gets old for me!

7. What is your favorite body part to strength train?

I have a love/hate relationship with training my legs. Legs (in particular, thighs) are a major trouble spot for me, so I try to work them the most and absolutely love when I feel muscle soreness because I know it’s working! However, I rarely see progress there, so it becomes discouraging.

IMG_0286(doing bear crawls at the beach)

8. What is your least favorite body part to strength train?

See above.

9. What are your “bad” food cravings?

I strongly believe in not denying ourselves and eating everything in moderation, so the term “bad” craving doesn’t jive too well with me. However, I have a major sweet tooth that all too often gets indulged! I swear, there’s a second stomach in there because I’m never too full for dessert!


10. Do you take vitamins or supplements?

Yes! I take adult gummy vitamins. Laugh it up, but I won’t take vitamins unless there’s something in it for me!

11. How often do you eat out?

We absolutely love eating out and going on date nights, but keep it to once or twice a week, typically on the weekends. I don’t tend to meal plan on the weekends because we’ll either have leftovers or go out.

12. Do you eat fast food?

Not at all. Have no desire for it. Although there are certain smaller chains that I love, such as Chipotle. But as far as McDonalds, Wendy’s etc…never.

13. Who is your biggest supporter?

My husband. He is honest, listens to every struggle, and is there for me 100% of the time.


14. Do you have a gym membership?

Yes. We have a couple’s membership and receive a discount through my teacher’s union. We used to just use our home gym, but missed the cardio and group fitness piece.

15. How many hours of sleep do you get a night?

A lot! I loveee sleeping and get 8-10 hours a night.

16. Do you have a “cheat” day?

Not necessarily but I’m definitely more lax about my nutrition on the weekends and holidays.

17. Do you drink alcohol?

Big vino drinker right here! One of my favorite things to do is go to wine festivals, wine tastings, and to visit local vineyards.


I also don’t mind social drinking, but many times when we’re out I stick with water.


18. Do you have a workout buddy?

On the weekends Pete and I will go to the gym together but we really don’t workout together, we do our own thing. However, we’ve accomplished certain fitness goals together, as we’ve completed a race together as well as the Couch-to-5K program.


I’ve never really been the type of person who can be social during workouts, I’m too in my zone!

19. What is the best thing that has changed about your life since committing to a healthy lifestyle?

I’d say it’s made me open to new things. Whether it’s trying a new fitness class or a new vegetable at the farmer’s market, I am always looking for ways to better myself and my health. And that’s a huge positive.


20. What was the last healthy thing you did?

Bought a Living Social deal for a yoga studio near my house. I went for my first class yesterday and enjoyed it. The instructor was very gentle and caring, while still providing a challenge and options for all members. I’m looking forward to retuning next week!

Let’s here some of your answers!

Summer Getaway Outfits

Monday and Saturday looked oddly similar for me…almost identical! Both included Starbucks and a trip to J Crew for some summer retail therapy! Only difference was Saturday my friend Katherine was with me.


Iced White Chocolate Mocha and Very Berry Coffee Cake- mmmmm it’s been too long!

Next week we are going to Niagara Falls for a 4 day family vacation. When shopping, I was looking for lightweight tees and outfits that can easily be layered with a cute coat. I’ve never been to Niagara Falls before, but from what I gather from, it can be a little cool near the water and at night. Here are my purchases between Saturday and Monday.


1 on sale / 2 / 3 almost sold out / 4 on sale / 5 on sale in stores, sold out online / 6 sold out online

The roller girl shorts, pineapple tee, and polka dot shorts are appearing off and on online, but are pretty much sold out. Find quickly in stores!

Using some of these items, items I’ve recently purchased, and Polyvore, I put together a few outfits.


This outfit I thought would be perfect for a day where the weather gets cooler. I could start with the pink tank, layer with the pineapple tee as temps drop, and throw on my Nolita denim jacket at night. Sandals are T-Strap Braided Sandals from American Eagle.

My second outfit I am planning on wearing July 4th.


I couldn’t find the roller girl shorts on Polyvore, but that’s what I’d wear as a bottom. The addition of the Stella & Dot campari necklace adds a touch of red, making it the perfect Independence Day outfit. As for the shoes, I’m waiting for a good Banana Republic coupon to purchase, but they are the Mariah sandals.

I’m definitely looking forward to this trip, as my immediate family will all be there. Plus, any excuse to go shopping always works for me ;).

How do you dress for changing temps?

Have you purchased any new summer items recently? Share links!

Cheers to 35 Years

Yesterday was certainly an occasion to celebrate- the 35th wedding anniversary of my parents! The family headed to Aqua Blu in Toms River where my brother Neil is the manager. Shameless plug, but it you’re ever in the Seaside Area, it’s right over the bridge on 37 and has amazing food!


Neil had put in an order for a few appetizers, one of which was a butcher board of assorted meats, cheeses, eggplant, roasted red peppers, and olives.


The eggplant was very salty which is right up my alley. I paired some with the cheese and roasted red peppers for a delightful treat. Other appetizers included calamari, which the crowd said was some of the best they’ve had (I do not eat seafood but trust their judgment!) and bread to dip in the made-in-house olive oil.

While waiting for our meals, we snapped some pictures of the lovely couple. Love how my mom is dreamily staring at my dad, even after 35 years.



Before leaving for the restaurant, I had taken a picture of a picture (wild, right) of my sister, brother Joe, and I on my parent’s 25th wedding anniversary 10 years ago. We decided to recreate it!


Whaddya think?! Pretty spot on I’d say!

We took some more sibling pictures, including my older brother Neil.


Cracking up at my nephew, Cameron, creepin’ in the corner!

Our entrees arrived and looked spectacular. I had went with a margarita pizza and enjoyed a few slices before feeling stuffed. I’m going to enjoy the leftovers in place of the pizza I had on my meal plan to make tonight for dinner.


Always room for dessert!


Apple pie with a scoop of vanilla- yes please ;).


I’m grateful and honored to have witnessed the love and strength of my parent’s marriage. They are amazing role models for their children every single day. We love you and Happy Anniversary!


How many years have your parents been married? What have you learned from their marriage?