Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Nails of the Day: Taylor Swift Reputation edition

One last post about Taylor Swift and then I promise I will stop. Yesterday I recapped the fun my siblings and I had when we attended TS’s Reputation Stadium Tour over the weekend. Today’s post is nails of the day inspired by nothing other than Taylor Swift’s Reputation album:
And yes, in my photo I am holding the light bracelet that Taylor Swift gave out at the concert. If you’re not a Taylor Swift fan, her Reputation album cover features a black and white pouty photo of the singer and then a bunch of text that looks like newspaper print. It goes along with her songs about celebrity feuds and whatever, and it also makes for great nail art! I did a simple newspaper transfer manicure, which quite possibly is one of the fastest and easiest nail designs to do. All in all, it looks good AND it is inspired by the album. A perfect manicure for anyone going to her concert! This is actually the second time I did newspaper nails. The last time was here.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Taylor Swift Reputation Stadium Tour

My sister and I saw Lady Gaga in 2010 and we both thought she put on a fantastic show. But Taylor Swift? I don’t even know where to begin this post. It was an absolute spectacle, featuring a mash up of funsongs, fun banter, fireworks, lights, props, amazing costumes, etc. From the moment the lights went off and Joan Jett's Bad Reputation started to the time she...ahhh I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's start at the beginning.
My sister gifted me and my brother tickets for our birthdays this past May. We all rode to Lincoln Financial Field together (hello $40 parking?!) and went to Victory Brew Hall in Xfinity Live! for some pre-show dinner. They had a live band playing while we sat outside waiting for our table and then we enjoyed a couple drinks and a deliciously HUGE crab pretzel. The weather was perfect and we enjoyed just hanging out.

We made it to while Charli XCX (one of the two opening acts for TSwift) was on the stage. She was a ton of energy and wore this really crazy iridescent pant/crop jacket thing. She was a lot of fun to watch and I sung along to Icona Pop's "I Love It" (which she was featured on). Then Camila Cabello came on and I was just waiting for her to sing "Havana" because I'm obsessed with it. I didn't get the greatest photos of the opening acts but at least this gives you the idea:

Taylor didn’t take the stage until right around 9 p.m. And from there it didn't stop until after 11 p.m. On our way into the stadium we were handed "gifts from Taylor" i.e. white-ish plastic bracelets which I was convinced were lo-jack. Kidding. When the show began we found out what they were for....lights! 
She made the audience part of the show by giving us all LED light bands that pulsed to her music. It was really fun and we got to keep them as souvenirs afterwards.

Her concert was absolutely incredible. I stole some of these photos from my sister's Instagram because they were better than mine. her show had the most amazingly choreographed lights, fire, and fireworks.

She also featured a GIANT snake during one of her performances. And look how amazing all of the audience looked with their light up wrists!

One of the most interesting parts of the show was an equipment malfunction during the song “Delicate.” She handled it like an absolute pro and I enjoyed the brief a capello songs she sang as she tried to figure out what to do. It ended up working out and the show continued without any more incidents. There are tons of videos and articles about it. Check this videoe and this article, for example.

Have you ever seen Taylor Swift? What has been your favorite concert? 

Monday, July 16, 2018

This Past Weekend: Taylor Swift + Bowling + Mom's Birthday

This past weekend went by wayyy too fast and I wish I could go back and do it again! On saturday my sister, brother, and I went to the Taylor Swift concert and I was completely blown away by the show. Seriously, I contemplated buying tickets for her concert this coming Saturday just show I can see it again it was that good. But I'll do a whole post about the concert show I won't bore you with it here.
Unfortunately, my selfie game was not very strong in this photo. The three of us are fine and at least I got the "Taylor Swift" and "Stadium Tour" on the sign. But lol at "utation" since I cut off the word reputation.

After that we celebrated my mom's birthday with some bowling and of course cake! My group consisted of my siblings and my husband and we all broke 100 in one of the games. I love bowling but I don't do it very often. It's a lot of fun and I like to see if I can break 130. Luckily, in all but one game I did!
Then it was back to work for the week. I can't wait to post about the Taylor Swift concert. I'm so excited!

Did you do anything special this weekend? 

Monday, July 9, 2018

This Past Weekend: Birthday Celebration, Dim Sum, Ice Cream + Chinese Lanterns

This past weekend was spent celebrating my neice's 4th birthday, swinging by Chinatown in Philadelphia for the Chinese Lantern Festival, and enjoying some ice cream in Old City. But first, here's a photo of our Fourth of July flag set up. No one in my neighborhood really decorated and I don't have a clue what I'm doing on the decorating front yet (we just moved into this house in the spring) so I kept it super simple: American flags. We hung a house flag on our house pole (I don't have any other flags right now) and then lined our landscaped beds with mini flags. 
Ignore the garden house. I'm struggling with my black thumb on those two potted plants on the stoop. It's killing me that I can't keep ANY plants alive. Literally none.

Saturday morning started with a quick one mile run around the neighborhood. I was faster than my usual 14 minutes (wahoo!) but it is still a lot slower than I had hoped for. I seem to remember running a 10 minute mile without a problem so I'd like to get back to that place again. I'm working on it. 
I also completed the Tone It Up workout of the day. I just got their app and I'm low key obsessed with it. They make it fun even when I'm just bopping around in my family room by myself. Plus that final congratulations screen makes me feel very accomplished. #ididit!

After that I showered and get ready to head to my niece's birthday party. They don't live nearby and it's rare we see them so we try not to miss her birthday every year. She turned four this year and we were told she is super into games right now. We decided to get her a few board games from our childhood favorites. Yes, Candyland had to be included but we also got Let's Go Fishing and Don't Break the Ice. Do you remember those games? It was a walk down memory lane as we choose and I never realized how many games are out there. I saw a few adult games I want to play. My sister-in-law also had another daughter in April who we had not yet met so we also brought a little gift for the baby. You can't go wrong with a "little sister" onesie and a gift card, am I right? Unfortunately I don't have an "after" photo of the presents where they're all pretty and wrapped...weird.

After the birthday party we headed straight into the city for an early dim sum dinner, dessert, and a night of Chinese lanterns. We went to Dim Sum Garden in Chinatown which has the most delicious and apparently most authentic Shanghai style dim sum around. I don't know how authentic it is but it sure is tasty! I love dim sum for the same reason I love tapas--you can eat a lot of little things and stop when you're full. We order a lot and split it. Last year my brother was with us and we ordered wayy too much. I'd like to think we cut back a little this year.
We ordered the pork soup dumplings (amazing!), chicken on a stick (soooo delectable), and pan-friend beef potato cakes. Husband also got fresh pork moon cakes. This is legitimately one of my favorite meals. It's that good. Plus I don't have it very often since I'm not in Philadelphia very often. 

After dinner we headed to another place I don't get to very often: The Franklin Fountain. It's an old-timey dessert shop in Old City (the historic area) that serves up some of the finest desserts around. Despite being full of yummy dim sum I still ordered the classic Hot Fudge Sundae. I don't know what it is about their hot fudge that makes it so delicious but I just couldn't help myself. And they serve it in the cutest little to-go boxes ever. Don't let this photo fool you the portion was extremely oversized and I didn't finish it all. Of course I ate all the fudge, whipped cream, and cherry though!
After dessert we walked to the Chinese Lantern Festival. The festival comes to the city every year and this is the second year we decided to go. It has a mix of lanterns, vendors, and performers. This year they had plate spinning, table juggling, and Chinese mark changing (google it--it's crazy!). The festival is pretty in the daylight but really comes to life once it gets dark.
And these are a few of my favorites from this year:
They're just so vivid and pretty! I really like when we head into the city for a date night. We don't do it too often but it's always fun when we do! Have you ever been to a Chinese Lantern Festival? Do you do little outings like this?

Friday, July 6, 2018

Fourth of July NOTD + Moving a Piano?

I hope you all had a wonderful Fourth of July this past Wednesday. Mine was...eventful.Let me tell you why. The plan was the usual: drive to my parents' house, walk to the town's parade (meeting my sister and brother-in-law along the way), have snacks and such at the parade, then return to parents' house to go shopping for barbecue, then BBQ it up, then walk to the fireworks, and then go home.

I like the Fourth of July. It's not my favorite holiday but anything that gives me an excuse to play my Fourth of July playlist and dress in super festive red, white and blue is okay with me. Plus, you get to set fire to things on the Fourth of July (sparklers, roman candles, fireworks, etc) so it's all good. Here are my festive Fourth of July nails:
And a hint of my festive accessories for the day. 
Not pictured: red shorts, flag shirt, and flag dangly earrings. Lol. My favorite part of the outfit had to be those sneakers though. I bought them randomly at Old Navy a few months ago for only $8! Can you say steal?? I love Old Navy.

So what was the eventful part you ask? Well, somewhere between the parade route and returning to my parents' house (1.5 miles by the way), my mom found an estate sale. (1) They were selling a player piano. (2) My mom had to have it. So...enter my dad and his trusty companion, his truck. 
Yep, onward and upward it went (not without a few choice words from all involved) and then down it came (not with the same grace it had when it was being loaded). We finally got it into the house and it is now a proud new resident of my mom's dining room. It won't stay there but they have to figure out what they are going to do with the upright piano that is currently already in the living room. It's kind of cool this plays by itself!

After the piano workout (pushing a 600 pound beast is not an easy feat, even with two strong men--I'll let you determine if I'm counting my dad, my younger brother, or my husband as the strong men, lol) we went to the store and started the barbecue. Mmmmm, hotdogs, hamburgers, ribs, potato salad, pasta salad. You can't beat it!

Then we walked to fireworks (that same 1.5 mile walk as before) and I got my yearly snow cone. 
This year I went with watermelon because I was sharing with my husband and he's not a fan of grape or lime.

Well, that's about it. I might be a bit sore from the piano moving but my belly was full of delicious eats so I count the day as a success! Hope you all had a fantastic Fourth of July! What are your top three favorite things about the Fourth of July? 

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Weekly Recap: Food + Fitness

My week was essentially this: wake up, drive, do lawyer-y things, drive home, run, eat dinner, fall asleep on couch while watching Suits, wake up to shower, go to bed. Repeat four times. Today I finally had an office day and was able to catch up emails, motions, and other documents that probably should have been done earlier in the week. Oh well. I also finally settled a case that I have been trying to settle for...5 weeks? Okay. 

Anyway, here is my weekly recap of some food and fitness.

Last Saturday was a bit of a binge for my husband and I. We woke up and had some delicious lemon and cheese pastries--I had lemon, he had cheese--from our favorite local bakery.  These things are massive and delicious to the last morsel. That glaze on top? Mmmm. We skipped lunch because one of us (not me) ate two pastries for breakfast. But for dinner we were in the mood for raclette so we broke out the raclette grill, boiled some potatoes, picked up some meats, and began melting cheese.
Is there anything better than melted cheese? Also, yes, sometimes we use our finest chinaware AKA paper plates. Don't judge me. Who enjoys doing dishes?!

Sunday was spent working on the miniature dollhouse with my mom. Afterward my dad surprised us with a delicious steak dinner. He really went above and beyond. I enjoyed every bite and it was fun to have dinner with my family. We ended the night with some ice cream from my favorite ice cream shop (which I stop at almost every time I visit my parents). 

Monday was the beginning of this loooong work week. I decided I need some extra oomph to get going and I made a slice of whole grain toast topped with smoked salmon and avocado. I'm such a millennial, right? I kid you not, I had this breakfast three times this week.  
Lunches throughout the week were the ReadyPac Bistro salads I blogged about last time. I am obsessed with these salads but you can check out that post for more info.

I'm super proud of my workouts this week because I was pretty consistent. I went for a run three times during the week and did some other workouts on the other days. I know that might not sound like very much but for me it's a big deal and is very consistent. I've been using MapMyRun to keep track of my runs/walks because I think it will be nice to be able to look back at prior runs and see if I improved with time/distance. Right now I try to stick with 2-3 miles and a mix of running and walking. Unfortunately, it's supposed to be super hot out this coming week so I'm not sure I'll be able to get my runs in but I'll try my best. 

Yep, that says my average pace is 14:04...I'm super slow. But I'm faster than I would be if I stayed sitting on my couch! I want to work up to running the full three miles and then try to bump it up to five miles. Not sure what I'll do after that but for now those are my goals. I learned that running outside is SO MUCH harder than running on the treadmill. 

For my other workouts I incorporated some jump rope (yes I bought a jump rope off Amazon for $6) and Tone It Up. I recently got their app on my phone and I have been having fun following the daily workouts. I did the I'm With the Band workout (which incorporated training bands and was a totally glute killer) and I really like the check mark screen that comes up after you complete the workout. It's immediate gratification for completing your workout! And yes, I put it on my instagram stories. On Thursday I tried to complete a jump rope workout I found on youtube. I was SWEATING hard core and it was so gross.  But it was satisfying at the end so...all was good!  

Now back to food. I also made a super easy shortcut flatbread margherita pizza. It was so cheesy and tasty and it allowed me to use some of my basil from my herb garden.
I also made mushroom and green bean risotto this week because I was craving something creamy. It was super tasty and shockingly low calorie for the creamy deliciousness it was.
On to the weekend! How was your week?

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Long Week + My New Favorite Go To Lunch

Oh man I am so glad this week is almost over. Late clients, long deps, far drives (with monstrous traffic delays), and enough paperwork to bury me alive. But c'est la vie and we almost made it through to the weekend! On top of all the "real work" stuff this week, Husband was away traveling for work so it was just me, myself, and I at home all by my lonesome. I may have slept with the master bedroom door shut and locked, don't judge me.

While I was by myself this week I was able to really focus on working out and using my MyFitnessPal app to keep track of my food. Not so much to track my calorie intake but more so to become more conscious of how much I eat. Those handfuls of goldfish after work add up, you know?! I also use to try and force myself to be better at meal prepping because I love when I can look at my app and know exactly what to pack for the day. It gets a little difficult on the days I'm out of the office but I have discovered my new savior in that department, which brings me to part TWO of this post!

I have discovered my new favorite Go To Lunch. Are you familiar with ReadyPac Bistro salads? 
They are pre-packaged salads that are perfect to grab and go. They even come with their own fork so you literally do not have to remember  ANYTHING. I have brought mine to the office, thrown it in my purse to eat during lunch at a long deposition (just don't think about the whole should-be-refrigerated thing), and I have also endeavored to eat one while driving back from court. I was mostly successful with the exception of one bite that landed right on my black dress, lol.  At least I know the salads don't stain!
They have a salad for every taste ranging from the traditional chicken caesar to a yummy turkey and bacon cobb to a unique "kickin' BBQ" salad. The best part? If you are watching what you eat, the salads are all under 300 calories. There is even a caesar lite salad which is only 180. Insane. And they are so delicious and filling without leaving you with that "I'm stuffed and just want a nap" feeling.  

I even had a delicious arugula, mozzarella, and tomato salad as a lazy side to my flatbread margherita pizza last night. I'm telling you, these salads are perfect.
The brand has a lot more selection too if you're not a salad person. I haven't tried anything else yet but they also make Ready Snax  like caramel+apples, hummus+carrots, fruit+cheddar+flatbread, and Wrap kits like southwest-style ranch, bacon and garlic caesar, and thai-style peanut. Yum! 

Have I made you sufficiently hungry?

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

A second blog? Combining Posts

I just spent the last hour looking for a specific photo. I remembered that I posted it on my blog but I could not find it. Lo and behold, I just found out that I had a second blog focusing on law school and running between January 1, 2012 (ha, I was part of the new year new blog bandwagon) and August 2013 (clearly not a very often-used blog there).

Because I can barely keep up with one blog I definitely do NOT need a second blog. So rather than deleting all the posts on the other blog I will be adding them to this one. I don't know if you're going to get a ton a new posts even though these posts are SUPER old or not. If so, you can ignore them. I just don't want to lose anything.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Brother's 21st Birthday Trip to Vegas

Welcome to Las Vegas; McCarran Airport
We flew into Las Vegas on Thursday to kick off my brother's 21st birthday trip. Four days of no work, lounging poolside, good food, enjoying some shows, and drinks, drinks, drinks.
But before we get into all the details, did you know they have gambling in the airport? Literally in the terminals.
We stayed at The Mirage, which is almost at the center of the strip next to Caesars Palace. It has a Polynesian theme and of course had the normal pool, casino, buffet, bars, restaurant, shops, and conventions center. The Mirage also is the home of 1OAK (which I learned stands for One Of A Kind) and the Cirque du Soleil Love show.
The Mirage, Cirque du Soleil, Beatles Love
Because it was my brother's 21st birthday we decided to go big or go home and booked a penthouse suite. It had multiple rooms so we could hang out in the commons areas if we wen't sleeping or wandering the strip. Plus it had a great view at night of the lights of the strip!
The Mirage, Penthouse, Penthouse Suite
 The first night we just wandered the strip after eating some dinner.
Caesars Palace (and a few other casinos) had the coolest shops. Not because of the brands but because of the architecture. They were built to look like you were outside and the ceilings were even painted in a sky pattern. If you were drunk I'm pretty sure you would think you were actually outside. No wonder no one cares what time it is's always daytime if you want it!
Las Vegas Shops
We didn't do much shopping but I have never seen so many Tiffany & Co., Chanel, etc in my life. I wish I would have bought myself a keepsake!

The weather in Vegas was really comfortable, so much better than the humidity back east. The days were a dry heat and the nights were super comfortable. Plus there were numerous margarita bars along the strip to help. We stopped at Margarita Bar which provided oodles of choice. Seriously, there so many flavors:
We each got a few flavors and then continued along the strip. Yummy!
Rum Bar
During the day we continued to explore the strip. It takes SO LONG to walk from one casino to another because they are so big and there is so much to do and look at while you're there.  Here are a few daytime highlights:
The Paris hotel and casino had a 1/2 scale replica of the Eiffel Tower and Arc du Triomphe.

We also stopped by the Borgata for the fountains. The first performance we saw was set to Elvis Presley's Viva Las Vegas. So fitting!
Bellagio, Bellagio Fountains
We also spent the morning/afternoon lounging poolside. We spent most of the time at the pool at The Mirage but we also stopped briefly at Garden of the Gods Oasis at Caesars Palace.
 I literally felt like Caesar.

We also saw a few shows while we were there. First we saw The Beatles Love which I highly recommend. Even if you aren't a Beatles fan (we all are fans) you will still enjoy the performance.
We also saw Penn & Teller at the Rio. We *almost* made it on stage to help them make an elephant* disappear.     *the elephant was really a cow. Lol.

We also spent a LOT of time eating the delicious food all along the strip. We stopped at the Bacchanal Buffet and gorged ourselves on pretty much every kind of food imaginable, including sushi.

If you're looking for restaurant options on the strip we can recommend:
1. Bacchanal Buffet
2. Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill
3. Guy Fieri's Vegas Kitchen

There were options for every price point. There were delicious restaurants that ranged from cheap to super expensive. I wish we would have stopped at Nobu but it wasn't in the cards for this visit. Maybe next time.
On Saturday we rented a car and drove out to the Hoover Dam. Unfortunately their elevator was broken and they weren't giving tours but whatever we still could walk around the dam and see the sights.
 You could drive over that bridge....scary! It spans the whole dam (obviously):
Luckily, the tour guides did give a little presentation with information about the dam so we still walked away with some good information.
And lastly, we stopped at the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada. It was obligatory and they had a tiny parking lot so it was really easy to get to when we were returning from the Hoover Dam.
And here are two bonus photos:
We went to Hershey's Chocolate World and M&Ms World. At M&Ms World there was a mock Nascar M&M car. Car #18 is my favorite Nascar car so that was an added bonus.

And lastly, it wouldn't be Vegas without there is a photo of my now 21 year old brother enjoying our fishbowl drink at Guy Fieri's. So much alcohol.

Overall, Vegas was tons of fun and I can't wait to go back. There was so much to do and we definitely didn't get to all of it.

Have you ever been to Las Vegas? What did you like most? Anything you would recommend?