Reddick’s First Swim

Well, he’s no Michael Phelps…(from MJW)

He gave it a good shot, but our boy is not a great swimmer. It was a little cloudy today, so instead of going to the pool as planned, we went up to a trail that runs along the river in hopes of getting Reddick in the water. I’m sure he would have rather stayed home and done this all day.

We walked for about ten minutes before finding a good spot that you could walk right into the water.

Reddick was not having it. Treats and all, he was not getting in the water on his own.

He seemed a little curious…but still, not the excitement we had hoped.

Go save Dad? Nope. Just watching from the shore.

Finally the boys went off on their own and had a little success in their alone time.
Yes, MJW and Reddick are so amazing that they can walk on water. I’m a lucky girl.
 At this point, we were ready to just drag him in. He can’t learn without getting out there and giving it a shot.
Minor success. I wish I had a video camera. Reddick’s swimming form is hilarious.

Suddenly another couple and their dog showed up, offering to help get Reddick in the water. This was definitely our best shot. He was chasing after the other dog and finally getting all the way in.

After his little swimming lesson, He hung out in the sun giving us all nasty looks.
I hope he forgives us.
I know he had fun. He was pooped and passed out with the other boys as soon as we got home.

Tips for Vegetarian-Friendly Dining

Is it just me or are most restaurants lacking vegetarian-friendly options?
I know that I am pretty late and probably not even “qualified” to make such a plea, but this is for the lifetime vegetarians, experimenting vegans and debating flexitarians…please restaurants, have some more vegetarian options.
Since making the decision to not eat meat in January, I’ve been out to eat plenty of times. Some restaurants were very catering to vegans/vegetarians (Ohana Cafe) and some weren’t. While eating out last month, I was given a menu that was enormous in size and had over one hundred things to choose from. How many dishes were deemed “vegetarian”? Just one.
Now, the menu did have mozzarella sticks, nachos and french bread, but that doesn’t really constitute a meal to me. The vegetarian dish was a sub and it looked pretty similar to Subway’s Veggie Delight sub. I was looking for a real meal, something with a little substance. I browsed through the sandwich list and found an Italian style sub with meats, cheese and homemade tomato sauce. When I ordered, I asked if I could substitute the meat for mushrooms and got a response with a “are you sure?” kind of attitude. “No meat at all?” Nope, I replied, just the mushrooms please.
I got the sub and it was very tasty and the waitress checked in a few times to make sure they got it right. It was obvious that they didn’t get vegetarian requests often.
In my eyes, it doesn’t seem like a lot to ask, but then again, I haven’t worked in the food industry…yet. So if anyone out there ever gets their hands on creating a menu for a restaurant before I do, keep these things in mind:
  • Offering vegetarian options brings a healthy element to your menu. Marketing gold right there. Healthy living is huge right now.
  • Some people want to experiment with vegetarian dishes and aren’t really able to in their own kitchens. They might look to you to offer them something new that they might not buy for their own kitchen.
  • Substitutions are just as important. List veg-friendly substitutions for sandwiches, pasta dishes, etc.
  • People might be to cook tofu or other meat substitutes at home, but will give it a shot in a restaurant. It’s fairly inexpensive and super easy to offer as another protein source in your menu.
  • It’s all about the sides. Often times at restaurants if there aren’t a lot of vegetarian meals, I’ll just order a handful of sides. When I do this I’m looking for more than just mashed potatoes, french fries and macaroni and cheese. Keep fresh, seasonal veggies on hand or other healthy sides like sweet potatoes, brown rice or whole wheat pasta. I think vegetarians can get really creative and make an awesome meal out of side dishes.
What do you wish restaurants would do to be more vegetarian-friendly?

Life Happens

I’ve been a very bad blogger. I haven’t posted since Sunday and I feel a little sad about it, but to be honest, there hasn’t been much to post about.

MJW is still away and as far as I know, he’s having a great time in Germany. His schedule is insane while he’s over there, but he’s been able to get a hold of me a few times. Reddick isn’t hiding in the closet anymore, but we did find an amazing new toy – a laser light. I’ll have to post a video of this hilariousness soon.
In case you missed it, my first post for Gaithersburg Patch went up over the weekend. I hope that you head over there and check it out. I’m really excited to start blogging for them. I’ll be sharing healthy eating tips. Any requests/suggestions?
This post isn’t very exciting is it? Life is just slightly crazy with a ton of normality that just doesn’t seem exciting enough to blog about. This is just another little speed bump on my trip to figure out this crazy little life I live.
In the meantime, I want to hear from you guys. What do you want to see more in my blog? Recipes? Reddick? Wedding planning? Do you like that it’s a huge assortment of my life? I’d love to hear from you.
Also, if you haven’t yet, I’d love for you to “like” ELH on Facebook and follow me on Twitter!
And, we can’t forget the exciting weekend that’s approaching…FitBloggin! I can’t wait, and I promise, I’ll have plenty to blog about from Baltimore.
Have a great night!

Happy Mother’s Day!

I hope all of the mamas out there are relaxing and having an amazing day. I’m always sad when I can’t spend the day with my mom and the other mothers in my life, but I hope they know I’m sending all the love I can up north to them! Here are some of the cool moms in my life!

Not only is my mom awesome but she’s also started her own blog! I would love if you took a few minutes to click over and say hello on her blog Simple Fortunes.
Have a great Mother’s Day everyone!

Don’t get any ideas

You could guess that being a bride-to-be increased my excitement for today’s events. Of course, watching the royal wedding is nothing like browsing through magazines and wedding blogs, as I frequently do to get ideas. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t afford her left shoe. I tried not to fall in love with every single details (I fell in love with the long winded ceremony, and I’m not even Catholic.) I thought I might be in trouble.
But, believe it or not, I did pick up some affordable ideas.
1. Pippa’s dress –  Loved the simplicity and elegance, and especially loved that it had the same lace trim and button details as Kate’s dress. And that’s all I have to say about that… 😉
2. Modernizing the vows. Did you know that Kate took the word “obey” out of her vows? I have no idea if we are going to write our own yet or go the traditional route, but I loved that she changed it to fit their lifestyle better.
3. The Survivors Brunch 
Price Harry is hosting a brunch (I heard at 6am?!) for the bride and groom. I love the idea of a farewell brunch for the family and friends who might be traveling from wherever for our big day.

4. Amazing Food
It wouldn’t be the wedding of Amanda if their wasn’t good food. Pea guacamole? Rhubarb creme brulee? Yum.

5. It’s an all day event
I’m pushing for an all week event.
What did you love most about the wedding?
My post was inspired by the knot, whose wedding coverage was amazing!

Another Pupdate

I hope that everyone is staying safe and sound while it seems like this entire side of the country is under a tornado warning.

I’m pretty much banking on the fact that our power is going to go out. It goes out on beautiful sunny days. We don’t stand a chance during a tornado watch.
Before I get to another beloved puppy-post, I’ll share with you my post-workout dinner. Tonight I did 20 minutes on the eliptical and a leg workout for 40 minutes. It was great! Until the thunder came and I jetted back upstairs…
Dinner was an egg and avocado pita with left over Barilla Summer Tortellini Salad. It’s all gone, so I hope I make it to the next round so I can make some more! Sorry for the blurry pic…
Reddick has been ridiculously good lately, so I thought he deserved another update on the blog, another Pupdate, as I like to call them. (I will call him a puppy until he’s an old man, just a heads up.)
Speaking of age, it’s safe to say that Reddick is one year old! I can’t believe it.
He’s been coming to work with me a lot lately, and sometimes we are blessed with moments like these.
Reddick and Chaka aren’t exactly best pals, but we’re making progress. I don’t blame Chaka for not wanting his crazy, hyper puppy self running all over the office. She’s a good mentor, whether she knows it or not. If only she would teach him how to not storm the UPS man every time he walks into the door. I swear him and Reddick have this crazy bond going on (or it could just be the biscuits he stores in his pockets).
In order to keep things sane, Reddick and I gate ourselves in my office. He tries his best to sneak out. Today he learned he can literally run through the gate. I hope he forgets by tomorrow.
Eventually, he does wear out. He is still the best cuddler around.
He’s loving the dog park and making new friends. He could play fetch for hours.
He also loves making a mess of my car.
What I am loving lately is his perma-grin. He’s always smiling! Well, he’s really just hot and adapting to this heat, but I like to think that he’s smiling.
I still can’t get enough of him doing this…
The chair is absolutely destroyed (from him jumping on and off) and full of dog hair – but who cares? He looks so darn cute up there.
Have a good night everyone!

Tips on staying healthy during vacation

I don’t know about you, but the weeks (and maybe even months) leading up to a warm vacation are packed full with planning. I plan what I am going to pack, how I am going to travel and I also plan on getting into tip top shape. I try to watch what I eat more carefully and sneak a workout in whenever I can. Who doesn’t want to look fantastic while they’re sitting by the pool? And let’s be real, not all of us jump to the opportunity to workout while we are on vacation, right?
We also don’t want to come back unmotivated and, let’s just say, slightly unhealthier than when we left. It’s pretty normal for us to splurge on vacation and gain a very extra pounds, pack on the water weight, loss a little bit of the muscle mass we worked so hard for and, of course, come home with a sunburn. There are a few little things that you can do, if you’re willing to, to stay healthy while on vacation without going crazy. I’m all about a relaxing, carefree trip, so these tips are pretty minimal, but effective.

But by all means, drink that margarita! You deserve it!

When you’re at the beach…

Where at least a 30SPF on your first day. I know you want to get a golden tan, and it’s totally allowed, but don’t start off with the tanning oil. Let your skin adjust to the sunshine slowly. Don’t forget to re-apply.

Play in the sand. Sand is an amazing natural exfoliator. Go ahead and build a sand castle, get you’re hands dirty and rub a little on your legs and arms.

Go for a walk. Better yet, join the volleyball game that’s going on. Not only is it a fun physical activity, but it gets your body up and moving so you don’t end up with a splotchy tan. Nobody wants that.

Bring snacks and water. It’s really important to stay fueled and hydrated while you are outside for prolonged periods of time. My favorite beach snacks are bars, cut up fruit and crackers.

Go to the bar. Get out of the sun for a little bit and treat yourself to an early happy hour beverage. It’s allowed. (At least according to Megan and I it is.)

When you’re out to dinner…

If you’re so inclined, ask the waiter/bartender if they have a “skinny” version of your favorite tropical drink. Most bars can make a skinny margarita and they don’t taste awful.

Splurge on the lobster but ask for a side of veggies. Remember to keep your meals balanced. If you go from eating really healthy to eating crap, you’re body is not going to like you very much. I wish I could tell you to avoid the butter, but it’s just so delicious. I don’t blame you if you dunk every piece of lobster into that little tub of joy.

Order big salads. I love going south and getting fresh vegetables and fruit. I think a big colorful salad is one of the most refreshing meals out there. Ask for your dressing on the side and dip your fork into it before each bite. You’ll be amazed at how little dressing you need for that extra flavor. Plus eating a salad for dinner justifies the next tip.

Order dessert. It’s ok. I ordered dessert every night so I can’t really preach about not ordering dessert. I do know that I stayed away from sweets during the day so that I could splurge on desserts. I also followed every meal with a big glass of water before bed to start the digestion process. If you are nervous about the desserts, there are always alternatives. For example, try a new frozen yogurt place or snack on some local fruits.

Alternate drinks with water. If you are planning on having more than one daiquiri, glass of wine, tequila shot or whatever your favorite drink is order a glass of water to have on the side. Nobody wants to be hungover at the beach the next morning.

You should also…

Eat breakfast. Don’t break this routine just because you’re on vacation. I was lucky enough to have a kitchen and a large fridge to keep some things handy. Even if it’s just something small, like a bowl of cereal, it’s still going to jump start your day and prevent you from getting hungry while you’re at the beach and ordering that hot dog and fries.

Try a new gym. I didn’t work out a ton, but I did enjoy going to a different workout atmosphere. I like running in new neighborhoods (not without my phone though in case I get lost) and trying different machines in new gyms.

Bring food to the airport. Do you really want to spend three dollars on a Luna Bar? Do they even have Luna Bars at airports? You can always do what Caitlin did this morning, too.

Motivate others. I’m the health freak in my family. Everyone knows that I can be a little crazy with my ideas on food and working out. If you’re vacation company is willing to listen, spill to beans on how awesome it feels to work out and eat right. Take them with you to the gym. Have them try tofu at a restaurant. When I was little I was required to try at least three different foods while on vacation. Challenge your friends and family to do the same. I also took the opportunity to have Reid help me cook in the kitchen. I think learning how to work with food at an early age is very important.

Walk wherever you can. Walk to the beach, walk to dinner, walk to the pool, walk the outlets. It’s great for your butt, wallet and is the safest mode of transportation after having a few cocktails. Just don’t get lost.

Freeze water bottles. Best idea ever. Thanks Mom and Bambi! Every night, refill them and freeze them. If you were to use tap water or even water from the Britta, I promise you it will be warm in about 10 minutes outside. Not refreshing at all.

What do you do on vacation to stay healthy?

Now please bring me if you’re planning on a vacation soon. I’m ready…already.

Stress Mess

I don’t think it’s a secret that I would much rather be back on the beach than here in Maryland on this gloomy, wet and less-than-awesome day.

I know that I have talked before about how much I hate complaining and I don’t want to whine all the time, but today I’m making an exception. I think I’m one huge stress mess.
Last night I went to bed at 10pm and couldn’t fall asleep until 1am. I even slept on the couch because someone’s snoring was not helping matters. Remember when I quit drinking caffeine? I stopped drinking for a few reasons, one of them being the fact that I wasn’t able to fall asleep on weeknights. Monday through Friday, I have a cup of coffee before 10am and cannot fall asleep quick enough, Saturday and Sunday, I don’t drink coffee and fall asleep as soon as I lay down on the couch. Coffee seemed to be the only thing that was consistent enough to blame the lack of sleep on. So I quit, and nothing seemed to change. I even had a few cups of tea here and there and had a cup of coffee yesterday morning because there was no decaf in the office. Still, nothing changed.
I guess there’s one other thing that I can attribute to my lack of sleep. I hate admitting it for some weird reason, but I’m pretty sure stress is my issue.
I love thinking that I don’t have anything to stress about, but the reality is, I do. I can especially tell after spending a week in a different environment. Not only did I come home with beach blonde hair, an awesome tan and some sand in my suitcase, but I came back a healthier person (and I wasn’t even eating all that great). I just hope it lasts, but after a day like today, it doesn’t look promising.
My hair is fantastic. I won’t lie. I love that my roots are gone and it’s somehow miraculously tame and incredibly soft. It is definitely healthier and it doesn’t seem to be falling out as much as it normally does.
My nails are in amazing shape. Confession: I am a nail picker. It’s really gross and a stupid habit. My manicurist was not happy with my ugly cuticles last week. I don’t know when I pick at them, but I’m assuming it’s not when I’m blogging with Reid, grilling a frittata and talking wedding dresses with my Mom (aka stress-free time).
I slept like a baby in Florida. We went to bed a little later than I normally do, but I slept until the same exact time every day -ten till’ 9. As soon as I laid down in bed I was out. I didn’t need a buzzing alarm to wake me up and I wasn’t up all night pondering e-mails, budgets and bridesmaids. Everyday I woke up refreshed and didn’t seem to be sleepy during the day (like I normally do).
My appetite was under control. Of course, I had an Oreo, desserts and fries here and there and you saw the fruity beverages that I couldn’t turn down, but I wasn’t starving all the time and frantically snacking. I had three balanced meals most days and never felt bloated, crampy or gross.
I probably sound like a vacation brat, right? Who doesn’t feel awesome during and immediately after a vacation? I just feel like I should have came home with a bit more energy and enthusiasm. I was hoping that after the vacation I would feel refreshed and ready to tackle A, B and C, but I’m getting a slow start.
I suppose that it’s time to tackle my stress head on. I have a list of things that I’m stressing over, some that I can share and some that I can’t. I’m pretty sure you don’t want to hear that portion of the story anyways. But for now, I’m just going to take things day by day and slowly make some improvements to my lifestyle.
The first step, spring cleaning. Cleaning is stress relieving to me. I kind of love it. I’m also going to bring all of my winter clothes upstairs and pray for sunshine. I’m going to take a break from working out for the next few days to work on getting the condo in order. I hate dust, dog hair and beer bottles everywhere. Tomorrow, I plan to restock our kitchen. Our pantry and fridge is a sad sight right now. MJW is going out of town all of next week and for most of May, so I’m trying not to spend a ton on groceries, but we can’t live off of wheat bread and Trader Joe’s O’s forever.
And that’s all I can really say. Don’t worry, I won’t be hightailing it and running away to Florida anytime soon. Although I did do a little research on those cute houses Meghann and I saw last week. (Shh, don’t tell MJW.)  Maybe someday we’ll own beach front property next to a Hawaiian cafe…

Hello Sunshine

I am loving Florida.
The past few days have been spent by the pool and soaking up some rays that we’ve missed over the winter. Yesterday, Reid and I went solo while our moms golfed. We made dinner, too, but trying to teach a five year old how to cook and take pictures is pretty hard, so there are no pictures of the food, sorry! Today was another day by the pool and then we went to a little steakhouse down the street.
I plan on writing a few more “in depth” posts about my trip later on. But right now, while I’m actually on my vacation, I’m going to keep them pretty short and full of fun pictures.
 It’s a little bright out there! But nothing a good cap and sunscreen can’t fix.
Adorable shot of Bambi and Reid.
Reid being entertained.
At Cafe Tu Tu Tango! (a review post coming soon…)
Cutie. Pie.
 Check out those swimmies!
Reid made some friends.
She forgot her sunglasses, so these should work, too right?
and a veggie Quesadilla to balance it all off…
I think it’s suppose to rain on Tuesday so maybe I’ll squeeze in a few substantial posts. For now, I’m off to relax (some more) with the girls. We’ve got a busy day ahead of us tomorrow at the beach!

Starting my vacation early

Sunday morning I decided to continue my weekend down in DC and met up with Megan for some sightseeing. She was flying back down to Florida later in the day, so we had the whole morning to keep the DC-craziness going. I, again, hopped on the metro and planned on meeting her at the Smithsonian stop to go visit the Holocaust Museum. After finding out that the line was a little long, and I went the wrong way on the Blue Line, we decided to go and get brunch instead. Food solves everything.
We went up to Dupont Circle to meet her friend Keri. Keri suggested that we go to The Front Page and check out their brunch buffet. This was an amazing idea. The brunch was $21, which is more than what I would normally spend on a breakfast or lunch, but this was well worth it.
The brunch was stacked with a waffle bar, hot foods, fruit, amazing breads, salads and even penne pasta.
This was by far the best buffet decision – waffle with fresh fruit, syrup, homemade whipped cream and nutella.
The rest of the buffet was pretty amazing, too.
After we ate we decided to check out the Dupont Farmers Market. This is one of my favorite markets, but it wasn’t quite full yet. I can’t wait to get back down here in the summer when it’s full of people, music and good food!
Megan and I headed back down to the Holocaust Museum to sneak a visit in before she had to catch her flight. I have been a few times to this museum and I feel like I learn something new every time. I like going to museums over a span of visits so you don’t feel that you have to squeeze it all in at once.
Megan and I parted ways and she headed back to Florida. Thank goodness I’m right behind her! I need to get out of this cold weather. This weekend seemed like a little bit of a vacation because I was barely home,  out a ton and was all over DC. I’m ready for my real vacation though…come Thursday I’ll be in Florida and out of this cold.
This is my last post about this past weekend. There was so much that I wanted to share with you all, so thank you for being patient through all of the posts. Now it’s time for a mini work week and then I’ll be packing my bags for my own legit vacation. See you in Florida!