Back in the Kitchen

Happy Monday! Told ya I’d disappear for the week 😉 And oh what a week it has been…

On Wednesday we celebrated the grand opening of the new Guy Harvey Outpost resort on St. Pete Beach.

It was a truly wonderful event. TradeWinds’ banquet/convention service/food&beverage staff truly is amazing. And I’m not just being biased 🙂

Luckily the rain held off for a beautiful beachfront event.

My attire for the evening.

In the middle of running around and helping where I could I managed to get some bites of the awesome food.

There was a sushi station, shrimp and grits station, dessert table, fresh, local fish and an assortment of other inventive dishes such as corn panna cotta and a watermelon shooter. Everything was delicious!

And the night ended with some amazing fireworks!

On Thursday it was Beer with the Bard time with St. Pete Shakes.

It was our slowest night yet…we’re thinking it was the looming rainstorms. But we still had a great time and had some awesome performances.

On our way to the event Jon and I grabbed some banh mis from La V to enjoy with our drinks of choice.

Maddie came too 🙂

Friday I had to stay late for another work event, but still wanted to go out when I got home. So Jon and I headed out for a late dinner at BellaBrava. Jon hasn’t been the biggest fan of them, but I love it. I’m happy to report though that we had a wonderful experience!

It was crazy busy, but we didn’t end up waiting long for a table. Our waiter was nice and pleasant and recommended a great wine. We each started with side salads (cesar for me and house for him). Jon got the Veal Saltimbocca special for an entrée and I tried the Chicken Parmesan.

This was good, but not my favorite dish here. A bit too much cheese. Love that it came with prosciutto. Jon LOVED his dish.

When we got home Jon put together a fig tart he had been working on earlier. It had a ricotta and sour cream filling, a rosemary crust and jam on top.

It’s not our favorite…it definitely tasted better the next day, but seems like it’s missing something. Still an interesting combo of flavors.

Saturday I had an all day work event. On my way home I decided to stop by the mall and peek into the new H&M that opened. When I went into the Tampa one last week I noticed some things I really wanted to try on. SO happy we have an H&M now! I immediately started grabbing items as I was browsing and ended up getting most of what I tried on. Luckily, most of it was stuff I really did need. I’m going to be attending a Junior League conference next month and realized that I don’t have a lot of businessy type of clothes (tropical clothes I wear to work just would not work). Luckily H&M had some great dresses and skirts that I will be able to wear at the conference. Plus they’re all red, which is the Junior League color 🙂

After H&M I walked over to Starbucks to grab an iced pumpkin spice latte. It’s important to note that I am not a big Starbucks person, nor am I big on any type of caffeine except tea. But all this PSL talk going on lately really left me with a hankering for one. Unfortunately the line was way long so I decided against it. But then lo and behold I spot Teavana across the way.

I can’t remember what I ended up with, but I know it was a green tea and it was yummy and refreshing. The guy that worked there was very helpful in helping me choose what to get. The store also reminded me that I really want my own infuser!

Two thumbs up for Tyrone Square Mall too. Teavana, H&M…this mall is definitely on the upswing.

That night I decided to make dinner. Even though Jon got off work later than expected and didn’t get to have any 😦

Despite my worst dinner ever experience, this dinner turned out fantastic!

Ginger Cilantro Baked Tilapia with marinated mushrooms and wild rice and steamed broccoli.

I got the tilapia recipe here via Pinterest and followed it pretty much exactly. I ended up putting the fish in the fridge for a while though and had to leave it in the oven an extra 10 minutes to get where it needed to be.

For the mushrooms I just sautéed them with olive oil, 2 garlic cloves and one lemon. Then mixed them with the wild rice.

Yay for easy, tasty dinners!

Sunday I had yet another work event, but luckily I got to kick back for most of the day.

For breakfast I finally got to see what the fuss is all about with these…

I’ve seen this box of Kodiak Cakes on so many blogs that when they were on sale at Rollin’ Oats this past week I just had to grab them.

The verdict? Just as awesome as everyone says. Not quite as good as homemade, but pretty darn close. We added pecans and banana for some extra flavor and fun.

We had dinner at our favorite Vietnamese place, Pho Quyen and then headed to Total Wine to restock.

I came across this…

I did not buy it and probably never would, but I’m still very curious! I picked up the regular whipped flavor so I could indulge in my creamsicle and root beer float tasting cocktails 🙂

What’s the most interesting vodka flavor you’ve tried?

Eat, Run, Repeat

That has pretty much been my life recently. Eating and running. I’m still amazed that I am now a “runner” when I used to loathe running and couldn’t even fathom running a 5K. And now I’ve signed up for my second one! I’ll be doing the Iron Girl 5K in Clearwater and I am SO excited. The race includes running over a huge bridge so not sure how I’m going to handle that, but the whole race experience sounds really fun. This one is also in the morning so will be interesting to see how my body reacts.

For my first 5K I followed a simple couch to 5k plan that worked you up to 3 miles. It mixes walking with running and you add distance each week. This plan really worked for me and I was able to run my first 5k easy breezy. This time around I wanted to see how I can run faster and better. I came across a few plans that have you do a mix of runs each week…one short and easy run, a tempo/speed run and a long easy run. I’m sure this is no surprise for you seasoned runners, but remember I’m still a beginner 🙂

I came across this plan from Fit Sugar and thought it sounded like a good one. Since Iron Girl is only a few weeks away I just picked up on Week. Saturday I was scheduled for a 5 mile easy run. This seemed pretty daunting to me. Hello, I’m still getting over the fact I can run 3 miles straight! But now 5? It makes sense because it builds up your endurance, but…oh boy. For an easy run though you’re supposed to go slower than normal so that definitely made it easier. I just had to keep reminding myself in the beginning to slow down. And guess what? I did it 🙂 5 miles straight! I did stop a few times for a few seconds, but only to check my MaptoRun app to make sure I was following my route correctly. SO proud of myself!

I will say though that when people say running is a mental sport, they are not kidding. Running outside and distracting yourself with your surroundings will only take you so far. It is mentally exhausting to keep telling yourself not to stop and that “you can do this”. But wow, talk about a confidence booster!

Ok, enough about running…last weekend Jon and I went down to Cape Coral just to hang with his fam.

 

 

  

As you can tell the weekend was full of good eats 🙂

There was also a rousing game of Pictionary, which I love playing with Jon’s family. They all get very competitive and loud and it’s hilarious.

 

This past weekend was a fun one.

Saturday morning I volunteered at the Junior League’s Jelly Bean Fling. It’s so cute seeing all the little kids dressed up in Easter outfits and collecting eggs during the Easter Egg Hunt. This one little girl had shoes on that squeaked and at one point she was running and it was all I could do to hold it the laughter. So cute!

 

Sunday my mom and I had tickets to the Rays game! I now understand about 90% of baseball so I enjoy it a lot more than I used to. We had great seats right behind the Rays dugout, with a great view of home plate.

 

I had a late breakfast so I wasn’t super hungry, but knew I should eat something. A pretzel and mustard sounded awesome so I got one and a bag of popcorn for my mom. I had to stop eating the pretzel a few bites in. It was so salty that it was inedible. I ended up sharing the popcorn with my mom, which was also salty but not so bad. This then led to me getting a soda, which I NEVER drink, but it sounded good at the time. And it was 🙂 Every once in a blue moon I’ll have one, but that’s the thing about “bad” foods/drinks right? As long as they’re not a constant in your life.

After the game we had dinner at BellaBrava, which is always good. I got the Chicken Piccata, which I got last time and it was just as good. Paired with the Pinot Blanc and a side salad with a lovely vinaigrette. For dessert we walked down the street to the Cassis Bakery. I had this tart that was loaded with fresh cream and a few cream puffs. Ya, it was as heavenly as it sounds 🙂 I tried a bite of my mom’s chocolate ice cream too, which was also really good. It was also the perfect weather outside. Right before the sun sets now there’s that slightly cool breeze that gives you relief from the hot sun. Wish that would stay around year round.

This week is going to be a quiet one, but I do plan on trying to use a week pass to a gym I’m thinking of joining. Plus, I really need to cross train. I haven’t been and my muscles miss weights!

What’s on your agenda this week? What fun things did you do this weekend?

Highlights of the Week

Hello friends! Long time no write…it’s been a busy, fun-filled week.

Highlights

Happy Hour at The Trunk

Monday night was another one of my friend’s fabulous meetups. We rounded up wine, cheese, crackers and fruit and headed to The Trunk shop on the 600 Block of Central Avenue in downtown St. Pete. The Trunk Stylists are Marianne and Aneesa, who are two of the  sweetest girls you could meet. They do at home shopping parties, where they bring their clothes and jewelry to you and your friends. I did this last year at my place and it was so much fun! They were just starting out then, but now they have their own store and it looks fabulous! They were nice enough to open the store to us after hours to drink wine, eat cheese and SHOP.

The Spread

The Store

 

 

 

Even the hangers in the dressing room are adorable!

I ended up with this super cute romper.

An example of how awesome these girls are…I would have never tried this on, but Aneesa encouraged me so I took it to the dressing room. And it actually fit nicely and looked good! Plus it’s a unique pattern. I’m not crazy about the tie belt so I’m on the hunt for a bigger woven belt to go with it. The best part? This is the first romper that actually looks good on me! I love rompers, but am always dissapointed on how they fit on my body. Either the shorts are too short or the waist part feels weird…this one is just right 🙂

After The Trunk we headed to Acropolis for dinner. I’ve given Acropolis a few tries and am still dissapointed that there’s not a decent Greek restaurant between here and Tarpon Springs. They do make a good salad though and that’s what I usually get. The grilled chicken is great and I love the dolmades on top 🙂

BellaBrava

Tuesday I finally got my butt over to Fit for Fashion…it had been forever. After an invigorating strength training class I met up with my friend for dinner. It was Tapas Tuesday at Cafe Alma and Ceviche. We tried Cafe Alma first, but they had no free seats at the bar (which is where the 2 for 1 drinks are). Then Ceviche, but the wait was 30 minutes (!!!). We finally decided on BellaBrava.

I hadn’t been to the new space yet. My first thought walking in was that it was loud and everything echoed. Luckily we got a good table in the main room and it wasn’t so bad.

A glass of wine was much needed.

They have 6 and 9 ounce options, which I’ve never seen before. Depending on the restaurant you go to you can get the same pour amount for a lesser price. But I do like how they seperate their wine list by tastes and flavors. I had the Terre Di Tufi, which was actually a bit too light for me, but it was crisp and refreshing.

My bud’s hummus plate. I got to have her olives 🙂

I ordered the Polpettine pizza. It was really good, but I was also really hungry.

REALLY hungry.

The two other times I have tried BellaBrava (in their old space) were not pleasant experiences. The food was always eh and nothing exciting. Given that pizza though I’ll be back!

So tonight I request a salad from The Chef.

And this is what he presents me with…

Sauteed eggplant full of flavor, grilled chicken, greens and parmesan cheese.

He even makes bread fancy.

Love him 🙂

Conversation Starter: The weekend is approaching! What are your weekend plans? I’m going to a fun event tomorrow hosted by the Morean Arts Center, getting drinks with friends and going to a blogger conference and wedding on Saturday. Can’t wait!

My bud’s hummus plate…I got to eat her olives 🙂