Dine, Product Reviews

Faves, Finds & Flops

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This post, along with how I imagine most others will end up being, will be a little bit of everything. Hopefully it won’t be too all over the place, but that’s essentially how my brain (and my life) seem to work. Enjoy! Also, I had every intention of finishing this last night and posting it yesterday, but that clearly did not happen.  Anyways, here we go…

Dono&Dono Baby Playtime Pillow – Braylon isn’t a huge fan of being flat on his back. He had been doing pretty well being on his back when he was playing on his Little Sport Star All Star Gym, but figured I would give this pillow a try. Not sure if I can give all the credit to the pillow, but he definitely seems to be lasting longer and enjoying himself more. Love that the pillow is machine wash friendly. I’ll never understand when things like athletic wear or something involving children do not scream convenience.

Here’s the little guy in action:

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Photo taken 3.28.18

Swedish Fish Mini Tropical – I really really like Swedish Fish. Always have. Always will. Randall had sent me a screenshot of the tropical version and I knew I HAD to get my hands on them. Luckily, before I knew it the grocery store that I frequent got them in, so I didn’t have to do too much hunting. I just looked them online and a number of websites are sold out out of them. The flavors are Pina Colada, Tropical Island, Beachy Punch, and Passion Fruit. Helloooo, summer!
Donut Ice Cream Sandwich at KNEAD Doughnuts – It’s no question that I love donuts.  It’s also no question that I love ice cream.  When the two have the opportunity to meet, something magical can happen, especially if both the doughnuts and ice cream are exceptional.  Sometimes, when there’s “mashups” one of the products will be mediocre and man, what a let down.  However, the doughnut from KNEAD and ice cream from Warwick Ice Cream was a match made in my sweet tooth heaven.

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Perfection. 

Speaking of ice cream, I haven’t been there yet, but every Friday until August 31st, Wright’s Dairy Farm & Bakery has a Pop Up Scoop Shop from 3pm-7pm.  This is from the Facebook Event page:

“Cone or Cup? Whipped Cream or Hot fudge? Join us for 14 weeks of delicious (from scratch), farmstead ice cream! Each week we’ll have chocolate and vanilla, 2 rotating flavors, a featured sundae, and a whole lot of toppings! Follow us on Instagram, for the reveal of the Special flavors and Sundae each week!”

The Cookie Rookie’s S’mores Cookies – My Mom was in town earlier this week for a few days and she made the S’Mores Cookies from The Cookie Rookie and they were SO good. They seemed pretty easy to make, but hey, my only job was eating them. The main “hack” here is that the recipe suggests using pre-made refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough. The hardest part looked like crumbling the graham crackers and if you really wanted to, I’m pretty sure stores sell it that way.

Peapod Grocery Delivery – My Mom recently ordered us some deliveries from Peapod.  I always thought why would I need someone to bring groceries to my house when I can just go down the road and get them myself?  Then, I had Braylon and I more than understood it. A lot of the time I dread going to the grocery store.  Mainly,  because no matter how hard I try, I just never go in with a solid plan.  More often times than not, I’m hungry when I go, which is a huge no no.  We had another delivery since the first one my Mom had placed for us….I love it!  They offer $20 off your first order of $75 (I can’t make out of the grocery store spending less than this anyways!) or more and the first 60 days delivery is free.  You just need to enter 60DAYSFREE in the promotional code box at checkout.

Hello Fresh – My friend, Mary, introduced me to Hello Fresh a few months back.  I had been seeing a handful of different meal kit delivery companies and had been wanting to try one so took her recommendation on this one.  Plus, Hello Fresh provides their customers with the option to gift three free meals to friends.  Who doesn’t love free?!  Speaking of, if you’re interested in receiving your first week free (3 meals for 2 people) let me know.  No gimmicks or anything like that.  You just need to remember to either skip the next week if you don’t want that particular one or just cancel altogether.  I had been ordering pretty consistently, but depending on what I have going on that week I do end up skipping sometimes.  Some of them require a bit more prep work than others.  The great part about that is you can preview the ingredients and recipes prior to placing your order.  They also provide you with additional insight on each kit that could most definitely ensure that the meals that you are ordering are the best fit for you!

Hungryroot – Years back, before they expanded, I had tried a few things from Hungryroot.  Since then, they’ve grown and have a lot more options.

All of this came in the box…

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It normally would have cost $99, but it was half off.  All of this made:

  • Three Bean Sweet Potato Chili: 2 servings
    • While I would prefer to just make my own chili, the flavor on this was pretty good.
  • Kale Salad Guac Burger: 2 servings
    • While there was enough for two servings, I could have eaten all of the salad with my burger rather than splitting the salad between the two burgers.  Loved the flavors and haven’t had a veggie burger quite like this before — it was great though!
  • Creamy Corn Cauliflower Risotto: 2 servings
    • This was pretty good.  I had some one night (with something else) and then the rest of it the next day for lunch.
  • Crispy Coconut Breakfast Hash: 2 servings
    • My Mom was in town during this one so we split it.  We both liked the flavor.  She cooked the sweet potatoes a little longer than suggested and utilized more than 4 tablespoons of the curry.  They give you much more than 4 tablespoons and 4 tablespoons would be like nothing.  Still can’t figure this out.
  • Kale Pesto Beet Noodles: 2 servings
    • This was meant to be a side dish.  I did split this one up.  I used ALL of the pesto sauce…homegirl is not on board with this only 4 tablespoons madness.  Sometimes I struggle with eating beats so having a strong flavor like pesto to mask it a bit was perfect for me.
  • Spicy Tofu Quinoa Bowl: 2 servings
    • There was enough tofu for two servings, but not enough quinoa, so either I was missing something or the portion of quinoa was supposed to be really really small.  I did really like this though.  The tofu had a great flavor and consistency.   You didn’t need to cook anything — just mix the tofu into the quinoa bowl and voila!
  • Pad Thai Fried Rice: 2 servings
    • I ate this all in one serving. If I was going to split it up, I feel like I would have needed to add additional vegetables or meat to it.
  • Sweet Potato Mac’n Cheese: 2 servings
    • While I enjoyed this dish, calling it mac n cheese is an incredible stretch if you ask me.  I like to think of myself as a mac n cheese connoisseur and that does not mean that I discriminate against a vegan version or a version that does not utilize pasta. The cashew cheese had minimal flavor even when I added more than than the recommended 4 tablespoons.  I love sweet potatoes, but you really can’t put cubed sweet potatoes in a dish that you are calling mac n cheese to give me my fix.  Don’t get me wrong, I did eat it, but just think it should be called something else — cheesy sweet potatoes?
  • Peanut Butter Cookies
    • I ate these in the car one day.  They were pretty good.  I’ve had something similar to them before for sure.
  • Almond Chickpea Cookie Dough
    • I haven’t tried this cooked yet, but straight out of the container I was pretty surprised with how tasty this was.  Will definitely need to throw some in the oven to give it the true test.

All in all, I liked what came in the box.  There are two different options as far as the quantities that you receive and you do have the option to select exactly what you want.  All of the goodies come with a little book that has all of the recipes for the month – even the ones that you didn’t get in your order.  Everything was extremely easy to make, which I REALLY enjoyed.  These days I seem to have less and less time so anything that’s quick AND tasty is a win in my book!   I’m on the fence as to whether or not I will order again.  $49 was a steal that I couldn’t pass up! Based off of the portions, I would think if a couple is sharing all of the things they would definitely be adding some additional ingredients or other menu items to their meals 😉

I want to hear from YOU! Products I need to try?  Places I should go?  Any and everything you name it! 

 

Dine, Play

June & July Lasted 4 Seconds…

…and now, it’s already August 7th.

I’ve been spending a lot less time writing and posting on here due to work, spending more time reading (Shauna Niequist’s Cold Tangerines and Present Over Perfect & Rhonde Byrne’s The Secret) and trying to keep up with everything else going on.

I closed out May by working out, snapchatting and stuffing my face with Christina (nothing has changed)…

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Christina and I met when we lived in Charleston and both found our way back home to New England.…and celebrating Ashley’s birthday with a night out and Prosecco Cake Pops!

Rooftop at Providence G

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Strawberry cake & frosting both made with Cupcake Vineyards Prosecco

June kicked off with seeing Fabolous and Jadakiss at Fabolous (yes, I think I am still in high school).

Shortly after, I had dinner with my Aunt and this happened…

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In my defense, when my Aunt’s boyfriend got this same dish, it was in a shallow bowl not on a plate. This was a disaster waiting to happen. At least if I was involved.

Took a little while for the weather and my schedule to align, but made it to the beach…

fullsizeoutput_1e00.jpegSecond Beach in Middletown, RI.

Even more challenging to align… good weather, schedules and GREAT company, but we made it to The Secret Garden Champagne Bar at The Ocean House…

And if that wasn’t enough, why not stop for ice cream on the way home…

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Mike’s Ice Truck in Providence, RI.

What else happened in June? A whole lot of work…Had to take a quick trip down to good ole Spartanburg, headed up to Nashua, NH and over to Northampton, MA. Who knows what else? After all, June must’ve only lasted about 2 seconds 😉

Then, it was 4th of July and naturally I needed to make these for the “kids”…

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Blue velvet cake, Ghiaradelli white chocolate + red sprinkles = So Festive. So basic.

Made it to the beach AGAIN and had my first Del’s Lemonade in years.

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I’ve never read the About Us page on their website. I demand that any Rhode Islander does immediately if you haven’t either.

Then, I found myself in Michigan doing important things like eating nitrogen ice cream, mini doughnuts and donut ice cream cones…

Milkster Creamery, Bonefish Grill (who would’ve thought?!) & The Donut Bar.

Oh, last, but not least…I spent a few hours on a Monday at the DMV and lived to tell it…

More soon…sooner rather than too much later this time

Dine, Play

It’s Fall Y’all

Ok, the title is a joke. I wouldn’t ACTUALLY say that out loud….or would I?

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” ― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

Last month I had the chance to go to the Windy City for the first time. The majority of my time was spent inside the lovely JW Marriott hotel, but I did get a chance to get out and experience just a bit of Chi-Town.

On Sunday morning, I headed out to grab an acai bowl and energy shot.  Then, made my way to Chicago Riverwalk to scarf it all down.

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Fuel with a view.

I went back to the hotel for a bit and then went back out to see The Bean (duh) and walk around some more.

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You are all in my way.

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“I’m sailing!”

And then, of course, had to go and get a coconut gelato filled ice cream sandwich…

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I am still dreaming about this. 

The weekend after, it was my friend, Anna’s, birthday.  She loves pizza. I mean who doesn’t love pizza, but she REALLY loves pizza.  I knew I had to get her a pizza float to use at her brand new pool.  Also, I was able to put my gumball machine and donut floats to use.  I recently bought them on sale at Toys ‘R Us and I know Randall thought I would NEVER use them.  Don’t worry, he has every right to think that.  I buy a lot of random crap that I never use. Ugh. I am working on it.

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My kinda Saturday. 

The first weekend in October, I was in Clearwater. A friend told me about swah-rey in St. Petersburg. As soon as I read, “enjoy life by eating dessert” on their main page, I knew that was how I would be spending my wild Saturday night alone.

They have Minis for $1 which is basically my dessert dream. Making decisions can be so so hard.  And here, the only decision I had to make was when I was going to cut myself off from ordering more Minis.  I tried… get ready. Miss Scarlet’s Red Velvet, Chocolate Salted Caramel, Carrot, Peanut Butter Chocolate and the “S’Mores Bar”.

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Not pictured :: PB Chocolate and another one that I can’t remember eating. 

You can also order them like this over a beverage (wine, beer, milk, etc.)

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So cute!

Seriously though, check out their menu… or if you live in the area or will ever be in the area you MUST go.

Next up.  My Nutella donut from Dough Doughnuts in NYC.

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The doughnuts here are HUGE.  This one was relatively small compared to their other doughnuts.  That’s why I got this one. Wanted to save some calories. HA – yeah right! I know it may not seem like it, but I am very picky about doughnuts. Actually, I am picky about all sweets.  It better be DANG good to be worth the calories.  This one was so worth it. I basically licked my plate and then wept as I walked down the street wanting five more.

A few Sundays ago I went to the Latin American Festival with my parents. The weather was absolutely perfect for an outdoor event. We spent some time there and then went to the Autumn Treasures Festival in Waxhaw.  Slightly different events, but had a great time at both.  I traded in my complimentary tequila cocktails for barbeque and soft serve ice cream!

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Cake batter dipped vanilla ice cream cone. Translation :: The outside is a hard shell that is cake batter flavored. 

Speaking of cake batter… I did not have any birthday cake on my birthday because I was really sick Saturday-Tuesday, slightly sick Wednesday-Friday and then finally back to 100% on Saturday.  Thank YOU all for all the birthday messages – so appreciated. ❤  I’ll let you know about my birthday trip next time 😉

Dine, Play

Hello, It’s Me.

I fell off the face of the Earth. Well, not really, but at least the Northern Produced, Southern Seduced Earth.

Let’s see how quickly I can bring you up to speed…

It typically takes a really good pep talk from myself in order for me to convince myself that I am going to go for a run.  However, anytime I have the right scenery in place, I’m much more likely to stick with it.  Falls River Park will always be my favorite place in Greenville, SC.

img_7625How can you not love this?!

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…but, seriously?

Towards the end of August, Randall and I went up to Rhode Island and Massachusetts to see family, friends and go to one of my best friends from High School’s wedding

The first day we were there, we ran some errands and then headed to my Aunt and Uncle’s house… My mom’s side of the family came over for Papa Gino’s (I’m never going to fall out of love).

You know you’re home when you walk by this display in Target:

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Coffee milk, anyone?

The next morning, we went by my cousins’ house to visit with her and baby Faith.  Not before picking up Beef Barn. (note: They finally accept credit cards – never thought I would see the day!)

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After that, we headed into Boston.

We had a little bit of time before I needed to start getting ready, so I headed to the Lawn on D.  My friend, Christina, had posted pictures a while back and my inner 5 year old has been dying to go ever since.  I can’t wait to go back at night for photo opp #2. 😉

Then, it was time to get myself together for the rehearsal dinner.

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Dress for Night #1.

I was way too excited when I walked in to see the table set up for henna.

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I wish it never came off. 

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Apparently, I spent too much time socializing and not enough time eating… and found myself eating four, yes four, pieces of pizza at midnight.  Yikes!

Well, I made up for it (kind of) the next day when I went on a self guided tour of Boston.  Made my way to Boston Common, Boston Public Garden, hung out with George Washington, stared in disgust at the Frog Pond (c’mon, there’s no way you guys are cool with that).

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Swan Boats in Boston Public Garden.

All that walking surely worked up an appetite.  I remember my friend Christina raving about the avocado toast at PRESSED and knew I had to try it.  I went for the Pepita Avocado Smash Toast which was smashed ripe avocado, roasted pepitas, pumpkinseed oil and maldon salt.  And yes, it was AMAZING.

Eventually, I made my way back towards the hotel and managed to somehow get “lost”.  Once I got back on track, I spotted this sign in the most random spot.   img_7817

This is so true.

Time to clean up.

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Dress Night #2. Yes, more mirror pics. 

The wedding was outside of the Boston Aquarium.  The weather could not have been more perfect.

img_7832Boston is just too perfect in the summer time.

img_7831Picture Perfect. 

img_7833The newly weds ❤ 

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Taking pics before my hair gets out of control.

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Some of the girls. 

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Lauren’s nephew was Ring Security… Loved this idea… Carl is such a little character. 

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Dancing the night away.

We spent the following day in Boston. Randall and I went to have brunch at 75 on Wharf.  It was really good and was located right on the water.  After brunch, we decided to start walking towards where Red Bull Flugtag was being held.  Much to our disappointment, when we arrived the cop let us know that by the time we got in, it wouldn’t be worth our while…and you couldn’t bring in bags (and Randall had a backpack).  After all the walking, we opted to take an uber to go meet up with some friends at Faneuil Hall.   Some of Lauren and Rakesh’s friends were at the Ice Bar so we found ourselves there.

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Actually frozen.

Randall and I had went there a couple years back in the winter.  Everyone thought we were weird for going in the winter, BUT it’s actually worse going in the summer.  At least in the winter, I had on a winter jacket and boots… This time, it was uncomfortably cold and we couldn’t have been more excited to get back outside.

On Sunday, we had plans to go meet Ashley, Keith and baby Chase at Pineapples on The Bay in Newport, Rhode Island.

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As you can see, the weather was not ideal for outdoor eating, so we decided to head down the street to Diego’s instead.

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He’s just too cute. 

I came into the office one day to find all of this on my desk.  My coworkers are trying to sabotage me… don’t you agree?!

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Don’t worry I shared the donuts, cupcakes, Oreo’s, gummy bears and candy.

Since we’re on the topic of sweets, might as well just keep going.  When I was in Denver for work we went to Snooze Eatery.  I should’ve opted for an omelette or something with a nutritional balance, but HAD to get the flight.  They have pancake and French toast flights…

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Lunch is served.

I was at my parent’s house browsing Yelp and stumbled across Jolly Rolls Ice Cream.  I literally shrieked.  I had seen lots of different places in larger cities that had ice cream shops like this, but had no idea there was one in Charlotte.  I demanded that we go immediately.

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Definitely met my expectations.

I was leading training in Atlanta a couple of weeks ago.  When I got there, my friend / coworker, Susie, showed up with a box of donuts.  Helen and Lauren, two of my friends / coworkers in Greenville, had requested that she surprise me with them. YES! These people are great… and again, trying to sabotage me.

Sublime Doughnuts in Atlanta, GA.

After the second day of training, I had dinner at Ra Sushi.  I had been there for drinks before, but never for food.  These were seriously two of my favorite sushi rolls that I have ever had…

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Left: “Ra” Lollipop – Tuna, salmon, yellowtail and spicy tuna mix with lettuce, asparagus and cucumber wrapped in lobok; served skewered with garlic ponzu sauce. Right: Ultimate Shrimp Tempura Roll – Shrimp tempura with spicy crab mix and cucumber, rolled and topped with seared tuna and avocado

After dinner, I may or may not have walked over a mile to get a dozen doughnuts…

Maybe I just borrowed this picture from someone else.

I just got back from Chicago last night.  I was there for the annual Pure Barre Owner’s Conference.  More about that trip next time.

Dine, Play

June’s Over? Julying.

After I got back from Pittsburgh, I needed to get some rest and refuel. I finally went to check out Southern Pressed Juicery in Downtown Greenville.

My friend, Christina and I were just talking about pitaya bowls, so I was pretty pumped when I saw one on the menu.

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Dragon’s Blood BowlPitaya, banana, almond mylk, kiwi, coconut chips, bee pollen and raw honeyI also decided to pick up the goods for a one day juice cleanse. I’ve never done one before, mainly because the idea of no solid food boggles my mind to no end.

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Let the games begin.

And that’s exactly what it felt like. A game. Christina told me six times to drink the juices so I would have them spaced out. I stuck to them for the most part. Towards the end of the day I convinced myself that I was going to end up eating something when I got home. However, after the sixth one, I really didn’t feel hungry. MAGIC! I don’t know how some of you do week long juice cleanses. Who knows, maybe someday. Riiiight.

Oh, they also gave me this little guy complimentary…

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Loved it.

Fourth of July weekend was filled with hanging out by the pool, making a ton of food and then heading to Charlotte to hang with my parents.

Spotted this at the grocery store and decided to pick some up…

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5% though…c’mon people.

Needed to be festive with some fruit…

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Strawberries, blueberries and cream cheese / cool whip dip. 

Discovered these with my Mom and had to give them a try…

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But, honestly M&M’s you need to chill out with all the flavors.

Didn’t follow the directions correctly for dying our deviled eggs red and blue…

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Ended up with gender reveal party eggs. 

Ok, now let’s get down to business.  On 4th of July I was determined to make a festive treat and wanted it to be something that I had never had before.  I also didn’t want it to be too challenging to make.  Most importantly it had to be beyond delicious.  I came across S’Mores Magic Bars on Hungry Happenings and knew that I needed to look no more.

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All of the magic ingredients.

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The finished product. 

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The happy girl.

I loved them. Like really loved them.  I brought some to work the next day.  Everyone loved them. Like really loved them.  I made them again a few days later for my friend, Gypsy’s baby shower. I swapped out the red, white and blue M&M’s for M&M mini’s.  I had wanted to get baby blue M&M’s but ran out of time.

I love holidays. I love any chance I get to dress for any sort of theme as well.  4th of July is no exception.  When I got to my parent’s house I asked my Mom if she had any of my Old Navy shirts from when I was kid.  Luckily, she had one of hers from 1999 that she let me borrow.  It went perfect with my Goldsheep leggings.

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A few days later, the 400th Pure Barre studio opened! When I first started taking class there was well under 100 studios.  It’s great to see the growth of the Pure Barre community and the positive impact it has on so many people’s lives!

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These were not my idea. Surprisingly. Clearly I was not going to refuse one though!

Yikes this post is not done with the sweets.  Sometimes I wonder how my body hasn’t gone into sugar shock yet.

Next up, Pure Barre Greenville turned 4! I was in charge of picking up the sweets (obviously). I squealed (yes, squealed) when I saw the cookies when I arrived at The Chocolate Moose.  The cupcakes and cake pops were cute too, but look at these cookies:

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Ok, I’m sure I am just a dork.

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 The red velvet cupcakes were actually my fave (tasting).

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Lauren (owner) & I. 

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I’m lucky to not only teach with these three, but also have them on the Training Team with me! (Helen, Kristyn, Lauren & I) 

Then, it was 80’s day. YES! Another theme.

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I’ve gotten a lot more use out of this leotard than I thought I would. Originally purchased to be cotton candy for Halloween years back. 

Welp, let’s not stop now with the sweets.  A couple of weeks ago Hub City Scoops opened in Spartanburg. I felt obligated to support the new local business, so Matt, Elizabeth and I headed there yesterday afternoon.

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I scream, you scream, we all scream…

Hub City Scoops features ice cream from The Chocolate Shoppe in Wisconsin.  They plan to rotate out over 60 different flavors of ice cream throughout the year.   “They have handmade waffle cones, cups, sundaes, milkshakes, malts, ice cream floats, ice cream cakes, ice cream by the pint and a cookie dessert, as well as coffee, green tea, sodas and candy.” (Upstate Business Journal)

However, I was most excited about their ice cream flight. After having the champagne flight in Pittsburgh, I thought that was my favorite kind of flight, but then I had this…

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From left to right:

  • Fat Elvis :: Sweet banana ice cream all shook up with a salty peanut butter ripple and rich liquid chocolate chips.
  • Peanut Butter Cookie Dough :: Luscious vanilla ice cream loaded with gobs of soft cookie dough chunks, creamy chocolate chips and a thick peanut butter ripple.
  • Caramel Chaos :: Luscious caramel ice cream packed with mini caramel cups and gobs of marble cream caramel.
  • Blueberry Cheesecake :: Delectable cheesecake ice cream topped off with a tangy blueberry ripple and lush cheesecake pieces.

Blueberry cheesecake was my favorite and Fat Elvis was a close second.

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Oh, and, um, it’s National Ice Cream Day tomorrow!  Will you be celebrating? I sure hope so.

Dine, Play

Be Steel, My Heart

Well, now that I am back feeling 100% I will recap my trip up to Pittsburgh.

I taught class last Thursday morning and then hit the road to Charlotte to catch my flight.  Upon arriving, I went to check out the area where Pure Barre Fox Chapel was located and then went to check in to my hotel.  I realized I had never eaten lunch so figured I would give Primanti Bros. a try.

Cajun Chicken & Cheese

Their original location, the one I went to in the Strip District, has been there since 1933! Yes, french fries come on the sandwich. Yes, I ate (almost) the whole thing.

After I finished my very late lunch, I went back to my hotel to get some more work done. A little later on, I met up with my friend Natalie for dinner. Natalie and I went to college together sophomore year through senior year in Charlotte, NC. We’ve done a great job staying in touch after college. She’s had a number of visits to Charlotte when I was still there. She also visited me when I lived in Charleston, SC. It was only right for me to jump at the chance to head to Pittsburgh for work so I could extend my stay to play!

For dinner, we went to Bakersfield. Their website sums it up perfectly, “Serving up authentic, Mexican street fare, and a selection of over 100 tequilas and American whiskeys. Bakersfield is a spot where the food is simple, the service is warm and the atmosphere is alive.”

I had the Bistec taco – marinated grilled short rib, chipotle slaw & cilantro and the Short Rib taco – braised short rib, queso fresco, crema, white onion, radish & cilantro.  Sounds delicious, right? I should’ve known right then and there when I didn’t have much of an appetite that something was off…other then the fact that I had a massive sandwich for a late lunch 😉

On another note, I didn’t realize (until just now) that they had one in Charlotte, NC too! (and Columbus & Cincinnati, Ohio)

Friday morning, I woke up and I. Was. Not. Ok. Not sure if it was food poisoning or a stomach bug, but the universe was not in my favor. I managed to get it together and head off to the studio to lead training. That was a rough day. Yikes.

By the end of the day, a logical human being would take herself home and go to bed, but I couldn’t sit still entirely. I went and had a LIGHT dinner with Natalie and her sister at Smallman Galley. I knew I shouldn’t get too crazy with my food selections and I was perfectly ok with that when I spotted the Avocado Toast.

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Smallman Galley seats 200 guests and houses four different kitchens. Each chef spends 18 months where they run their own restaurants controlling their menu, hiring staff and interacted with the customers. Love it. On Mondays, when they’re closed to the public, the chefs attend trainings by industry leaders on branding, business planning, marketing and restaurant operations. Love it even more. During their last six months of their time there, the owners help them secure financing and find their next location in the city. Ahhhh, perfect! Dreams come true.

Saturday morning, I headed back to Pure Barre Fox Chapel to teach a class to clients and teachers. It’s always fun to get to teach in other studios and interact with other teachers and their clients.

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Jessica (teacher), Danielle (owner of PB Fox Chapel) & Danielle (me)

After class, I headed back to the hotel to meet Natalie.  While I was out, Natalie headed down to Peace, Love & Little Donuts to pick up these bad boys.

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I’m pretty sure these speak for themselves.

Believe it or not, I only had two. One s’mores and one banana chocolate chip. They were both delicious.

After we got out sugar fix, we headed to The Tower at PNC Plaza. Natalie works there and I was dying to have a tour. Yes, I’m a dork. The building “incorporating state of the art green technology, including a double-skin facade and solar chimney, the building was designed to exceed LEED Platinum certification and to be the greenest office tower in the world.”

Shortly after our tour of the building, we continued to walk around downtown.  That’s when my arm started to fall asleep and the other migraine symptoms started to kick in. NOOOOOOO, you have GOT to be kidding me?!   I tried to stick it out and drink cups and cups of water, but no luck.  I was determined to win this battle and we still headed to Mount Washington so I could get a killer view of Pittsburgh.

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Realizing there was no hope, I ordered pierogies and zucchini sticks. Yeah, real healthy. At this point, who cares?!

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Look at that sour cream…sick! 

I finally accepted the fact that I needed to go back to my hotel room and sleep.  Who was I kidding thinking I was going to come out of this as a winner?!

I wouldn’t wish a migraine upon my worst enemy.  That’s such a stupid expression, who actually has enemies? If you’re not a victim of migraines this may help give you an idea of just a few of the thoughts that went through my head on Saturday.  And yes, they are the same thoughts that went through my head when it came back Sunday night.

After some shut eye, I figured I would brave the migraine hangover and attempt to go out to dinner with Natalie.  I was so bummed that one thing after another was putting a damper on my Pittsburgh plans.

We went to Grit and Grace Noodle Bar.  It was so nice to be able to eat dinner outside and not be uncomfortably hot.  After dinner we went to Perle, a champagne lounge. They had champagne on tap.  I swear, I am amused by the littlest things.  I’m almost convinced that their CO2 glass chiller made the bubbles taste better.

Natalie and I split a champagne flight and then each tried a different champagne cocktail.

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Brut. Rose. Seduction.

Given how the last couple of days had been going, we knew not to stay out too late (I know, I shouldn’t have been out at all).

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Sunday morning, I managed to pull a muscle(s) in my upper back / neck area while I was getting ready.  I. Am. A. Mess.  I headed towards the airport, but stopped at a place called Eggs N’at for breakfast.  It reminded me of some of the places that I used to go with my family when I was a kid.

Well, I made the best out of my trip to Pittsburgh despite all the curve balls that were thrown at me. Hopefully I can make it back there again some time and have a healthier trip!

Dine, Play

Where did June go?

…and I’m not talking about my Aunt who is my godmother.

I blinked a few times and I found myself sitting on my bed on a Sunday night (hint: that’s right now).  Let’s see where we left off.

After I took class on the Saturday on Memorial Day weekend, I headed to Charlotte to spend some time with my parents.  I had been meaning to stop at the rest stop that’s in between Greenville and Charlotte to snag a pic…

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Where’s Dorothy? I’m getting very sleepy.

…and it was a good thing I did because soon after all of the flowers were GONE.

Before we went out, I introduced my Dad to the face swap feature on Snapchat which turned in to quite a good time.  That night we went to one of the spots that they frequent and it wouldn’t be long before I found myself in a conga line, taking Baby Guinness shots and recording my Mom and I singing Salt ‘n Pepa. It’s hard to hang with them.  Luckily, I had my Mom to do damage control and make me breakfast in the morning 😉

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Hi, Mom. Hi, Dad.

Speaking of Snapchat, I have way too much fun sending my friends really dumb and annoying snaps.  You know, really important things like this:

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Buzz’s girlfriend. Woof.

And then, it was National Donut Day, so clearly I had to make sure the office celebrated such an important holiday.

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Courtesy of Krispy Kreme in Sparkle City.

Sometimes I consume things to balance out the donuts… I’m loving the acai bowl at Planet Smoothie.  I love it even more when they make too much and give me enough for a free refill.

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Crazy Carnival bowl. 

I also branched out and tried Health Ade instead of my usual Kevita.  I didn’t want to get too crazy so I stuck to Cayenne Cleanse and Pink Lady Apple, both of which I ended up loving!

I also came across this very “useful” chart for all of my runners:

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Speaking of donuts, my friend Kristyn also loves donuts (duh, who doesn’t?…actually a lot of people) and I finally got to see her and meet her little Princess.

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Loved having a little babe at the barre for a bit. 

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Obviously I had to turn it into a photo shoot.

I wish this was the last thing about donuts, but donuts will most likely make another appearance before the end of this point… The Donut Experiment which is across from Pure Barre Greenville had a S’mores special so I had to give it a try.

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It was good, but not as good as I hoped it would be.  I think I would’ve preferred crumbled up graham crackers.  The Golden Grahams were a little too much crunch and overpowered the marshmallow and chocolate in my opinion.

Then, it was off to Massachusetts and Rhode Island to continue the baby tour and celebrate a Bride to Be!

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Staying entertained on the plane taking selfies.

I also contemplated getting a Wurf Board. Oh, you don’t know what that is?

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Wurfboardt. Wurfboardt.

I went to dinner with my Aunt and Uncle on Saturday night when I got into town.  The next day, it was off to the Bridal Shower…

Congrats, Lauren & Rakesh – can’t wait until August! 

Then, I was off to meet my little Prince Charming…and spend some time with his parents.

Chace Anthony!

The next day, I went to have lunch with cousin, Heather, and play with Madison.

❤ Madison Brooke ❤

I went by Nana’s house for a little bit after playing with Madison and then it was off to my grandparent’s house on my Dad’s side to meet up with some of that side of family and meet baby Faith…oh, and eat Papa Gino’s pizza.

I think we’ve already got a little diva on our hands…

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No photos please.

Sassy. Angelic. RBF.

After all of the shaking hands and kissing babies, it was back down South for this gal.  I’ll fill you in on the Pittsburgh trip the next time around 😉

Dine, Play

Sunday Morning Ramblings

On Mother’s Day, I came across Your Taste Buds Will Explode When You Try These 15 South Carolina Doughnut Shops. After going through the list, I realized that Boiling Springs, SC was conveniently on my route to my parent’s house in Charlotte.

The writeup on Java Donuts & Bagels was short and sweet, “People hail this as one of the best doughnut shops you will find. They say they are “authentic”, “old-fashioned goodness”, and they just plain rock!” They have no website. No Facebook page. Nowhere to be found on Instagram. This made me want to go even more.

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Located @ 1113 Springfield Road in Boiling Springs, SC .

I immediately put the donuts in my trunk and continued the drive to my parent’s house.

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Always.

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Last time my Mom and I got donuts, we got a full dozen…and I knew better than to do THAT again.  I opted for 1/2 a dozen + the lovely chocolate frosted thang (what the heck is it called?!). The sweet girl working then threw in another glazed donut and some donut holes free of charge. I tried every single kind and all were delicious.  The donuts reminded me of MJ Donuts (325 S Polk Street in Pineville, NC) in Charlotte.  Everything from the decor to the donuts to limited info online was similar.

If you’re ever in the area, I highly recommend them for your classic donut fix!

I’ve been off my caffeine kick for quite some time.  I had cut caffeine out from November 2015 up until fairly recently.  I recently saw that Red Bull came out with a new “Summer Edition” – Kiwi Twist.  The last Summer Edition is now their all the time “Yellow Edition” – basically the Red Bull formerly known as Summer Edition *hello, Prince*. I was in love with the Summer Edition when it came out and finally caved to see what Kiwi Twist was all about.

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And the verdict? Oh, c’mon, of course, I love it. It hasn’t made it’s way back into my life as an everyday thang, but it’s definitely making some appearances. We’re taking things slow.

I stayed in Charlotte the day after Mother’s Day so I could get my hair did.  I still haven’t been able to breakup with Kristy, even after being in Greenville for over a year. Before heading to get beautified I went across the street to take class from Michelle at Pure Barre Lake Norman.  Actually, even before that, I stopped into Clean Juice to down a smoothie and pick up some snacks for later.

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Have you tried these before? They are hands down my favorite bars I’ve ever had.  And I have tried A LOT of bars.

After getting my hair done, I headed back over to see PBLKN to teach and visit with some of my faves!

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Since I’m on the topic of teaching, I knew I was going to be teaching a class to the Prince playlist to some of my coworkers so I made sure to find appropriate attire when I was at my parent’s for Mother’s Day.

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Oh, you don’t have outfits like this just hangin’ around?

I’m pretty sure my Mom has saved every dance costume that I have ever worn…and luckily this one still fit.

A few weeks ago I had purchased new headphones to make my running experience more enjoyable.  Last Saturday I went to Conestee Park, which is about 10 minutes away from where I live to go for a run.

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Stopping for a moment to snap a pic.

The headphones are made by TaoTronics and I’m loving them so far. You can read all about them here.

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They may not make me run faster, but definitely stay in the zone much longer.

 I’m heading home in a couple of weeks and can not wait to see my little babies…

Can’t wait to meet you Faith Samantha & Chase Anthony…and see you again Madison Brooke! 

❤ ❤ ❤

Dine, Product Reviews

Teach Me Your Ways

Some weeks I’m better than others when it comes to grocery shopping and planning. Let’s be honest, the majority of the time, I let my busy schedule get the best of me. I saw these 3-Compartment Bento Boxes from Prefer Green on Tomoson the other day and figured it would give me the motivation I needed to stay on track. Well, at least do a little bit better.

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They arrived in perfect condition, which I was happy about after reading some reviewers that weren’t as lucky.  The boxes are are a little bit thinner than I had expected, but I am sure they will keep up just fine over time.  And, if not, Prefer Green offers a lifetime guarantee and will send you new ones at any time – no questions asked!

For me, it was mandatory that the containers were microwaveable and dishwasher safe.  It is definitely a bonus that they are also BPA free.

For the set of 10 at $14.99….I think they should do the trick!

I actually really enjoy cooking (like baking even better), but don’t often make the time to plan in advance and frequently find myself picking up something to go or making something that may not be the best choice. When I did 30 Clean last February, I felt like so much time was taken towards planning and prepping and I’d end up a little frustrated.  However, if I enjoyed the final product it was worth it.  If I found myself following a recipe, putting in the time and effort and not liking the food…UGH, the worst.  In an ideal world, I would just have food from Luna’s Living Kitchen in Charlotte everyday all day and life would be just grand.

I know A LOT of my friends are very healthy eaters and know how to stay on track.  What are some of your favorite things to prep on Saturday or Sunday so you make better choices during your busy week?  The cupcakes and donuts aren’t going anywhere, so keeping the majority of my choices “better” will have me feeling a little less guilty of my sugar addiction.

C’mon, don’t hold ’em back… I need help! 🙂 

Dine, Play

It’s Gonna Be May

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This still hasn’t gotten old to me.

Well, it’s looking like the warm weather is here to stay in the Carolinas…and it won’t be long before things get hot. Like really really hot.

Two weekends ago we went down to Atlanta for Game #1 in the Playoffs against the Boston Celtics. Hotlanta is about two hours (sometimes a little more depending on 85) away, so it’s not too bad of a drive. Since I don’t have a lot of red clothing (that aren’t workout pants) and knew Randall wouldn’t appreciate me wearing a Celtics jersey, I borrowed a pair of pants from my Mom. Just kidding…

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I know she actually had a really similar pair of pants when I was kid.

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It was like a yellow highlighter exploded throughout the entire arena.

After the game, I managed to run into a friend/former coworker, Danielle, at one of the bars we ended up at.  Danielle and I worked together at Red Bull.  I had gone down to New Orleans when she first came on board full time to work with her for a few days.

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Danielle Nicole X 2 = Double Trouble

Better yet, we were on the Red Bull dance team together in Austria (when the U.S. won for the second year in a row).  That is definitely still one of my favorite memories that I had during my eight years at Red Bull.

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Copa del Toro US Dance & Soccer Team 2014. 

I must’ve known that I was going to run into a dance pal…I mean I was even wearing a leotard.

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At least I couldn’t lose him in the bar.

The Hub City Co-Op opened right around the corner from the Pure Barre Corporate Office. Being a small town there aren’t a ton of options within walking distance, so I’m absolutely loving it. Hub City Co-op is a full-service retail grocery store, owned by thousands of community members. They feature a wide variety of local, natural and organic foods and products. So far, I’ve had items from their hot food bar, deli, get my Kevita fix in and of course had the chance to try out some sweets.

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I spotted the Hail Merry Merry Bites and knew I had to give them a try.  I couldn’t decide which kind to get so I went with the Chocolate Chip and Caramel Sea Salt and shared them with my coworkers.  The Chocolate Chip was my favorite.  As much as I love sweets, I can be very picky about them, especially if they are a “healthier” option.  With the Chocolate Chip Merry Bites I 100% felt like I satisfied my sweet tooth.  I spent some time on their website reading all about their company, checking out recipes and seeing what other products they had. I had been told to try their tarts so that was up next.

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I got this at the Earth Fare on Pelham Road in Greenville, South Carolina.  It was good, but I definitely enjoyed the Merry Bites more.

Speaking of sweets, this bad boy popped up on my instagram the other day and I’ve had it saved on my phone for days…

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Ugh, I need that…but need this…

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…even more.

But seriously, Cupcrazed has my favorite cupcakes and then you’re going to add a donut to it? AND, I am obsessed with Heath. Thankfully, I don’t live close enough to go there often.

On Thursday night, I taught a class at Pure Barre to help raise money for LLS.  Brittany, who I work with at the Corporate office, has a friend who is running for LLS’s Man of The Year.  You can read more about Patrick Noble and all of the great events he’s been a part of to raise money for the organization by heading here.

Before class I went over to Earth Fare to grab a Kevita (still obsessed) and saw a new item in that area and had to pick ’em up.

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Deluxe Honey Drop.

They were both good, but I’m partial to the Lemon Cayenne Cleanse.  The Lemon Cayenne Kevita is also my favorite, so that was no surprise.  The Strawberry Lemon was made up of water, lemons, local raw honey and strawberries.  Lemon Cayenne was the same…except the strawberries were substituted with organic cayenne.

Saturday morning we headed to Charlotte to meet some of our friends at the Queen’s Cup Steeplechase.  We had gone to the event last year and it rained most of the day.  Despite the rain we still had a great time.  There was no rain in sight so I was really excited about this year’s cup.  It did end up raining a little bit towards the end of the day, but overall the weather was perfect.  Well, maybe a little warm, but hey, I’m not complaining.

I don’t always like shopping, especially when I’m on the hunt for something very particular.  I get frustrated really quickly and the *amazing* lighting in dressing rooms doesn’t usually contribute to my mood either.

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Someone was looking out for me because I found a dress that I really really liked that was “appropriate” for the attire.  Better yet, I found out I’m actually kind of obsessed with big hats.  The dress was from Macy’s and the hat was from Sears. Now, I just can’t wait until I can find a time to where this hat again (and the dress too).  Maybe I will just wear it to work on Monday.

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Plaid, pastels, floral and lace. 

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And one more.

What are your favorite events to go to? Have you been to Queen’s Cup or a similar event?