Taking Back My Twenties

East Coast Easter

Posted on Apr 21, 2014 | 9 comments

I got to spend Easter with the family! I headed to my sister’s house in Charlottesville, VA, and both my parents and Matt’s parents came from their states to join us!

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No visit with my brother-in-law is complete without a beer tasting! Kanz brews his own beer and is always interested in feedback/discussion. We kicked off the weekend by comparing two different years of barleywine with the Goose Island Bourbon County Barleywine. All were delicious!

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My mom and dad are pretty incredible grandparents to little Mazen and offered to take over the parenting responsibilities so the four of us could enjoy dinner on the town.

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We walked to Bang! on the Charlottesville mall – it felt freezing to my Texas blood and I wore a wool coat and scarf:)

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We sat at the bar while we waited for a table – I sipped on a cocktail made with bourbon and lemongrass simple syrup – delicious!

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I think we ordered nine small plates for the four of us. I won’t bore you with descriptions of all of them, but my absolute favorites were the pork spring rolls,

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the Thai beef with soba noodles, bok choy, and cilantro sauce,

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the sesame tuna,

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and the tempura haricot vert!

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On Saturday, I went to a crazy athletic conditioning class with my sister – it was hard, but pretty similar to my regular Saturday morning class, and I felt incredible afterwards!

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Matt, my parents, and I headed out to the countryside for some wine tasting mid-morning. I think we all have our eyes closed in this picture. We met Matt’s parents at Barboursville and enjoyed tasting some great Virginia wines.

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And a picnic!

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Great Harvest sandwiches, crab chips from Maryland, and a dry riesling made for the perfect lunch.

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Saturday afternoon, we all retired to my sister’s giant yard for bocce ball and conversation.

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Our hosts cooked an awesome spread of pulled pork, beet salad, mushroom and pea risotto, and Virginia rolls fresh from the bakery!

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But some of us were most excited for dessert!

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Cupcakes, peanut butter fudge, and chocolate truffles rounded out Easter dinner, and I went to bed stuffed.

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We all gathered on Sunday morning for brunch, and then it was back to the airport to start the long trip home:(

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Hope yall got to relax this weekend too, if you celebrate the holiday. It’s always sad saying goodbye, but there’s lots going on here this week! Positive vibes are always welcome if you want to send them my way:)

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Friday Night Kirin Pairing

Posted on Apr 13, 2014 | 10 comments

“I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Millennial Central for Kirin. I received product samples to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.”

It was a beautiful spring weekend in Dallas! I did some cooking and cleaning, and we celebrated a friend’s birthday on Saturday. It was great to take it easy. And I drank Kirin! I was excited to have the opportunity to prepare an Asian-inspired dish to pair with the Japanese-style beer. I’d had Kirin before and always loved how the crisp taste balanced out spicy or bold Asian dishes, so I was happy to drink it again. Plus, I like the challenge of preparing a new-to-me recipe, since I tend to stick with my favorites. If you’re looking for new recipe ideas, celebrity chef Candice Kumai will be sharing new ideas and pairing tips on Kirin’s Facebook page. Kirin has partnered with chef Kumai to help bring its beer to the growing Asian food scene.

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If you aren’t familiar with the beer, it’s 100-percent malt with subtle flavor upfront and a smooth, clean finish. I’d actually never had the Kirin Light before – It’s very similar, but without as much full flavor upfront. I’m not a huge light beer person, but I’d definitely pick this over American light beers:) The brewery is one of Japan’s oldest, dating back to 1888!

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I decided on a Japanese chicken and noodle dish, and I bought some shrimp to add as well. Both of the above ingredients were new to me! To compliment the noodle dish, I found a recipe for shiitake slaw.

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I chopped all my veggies ahead of time, so Matt and I could enjoy beers on the porch when he got home from work. The weather was fantastic!

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Once all the ingredients were prepped, this meal came together quickly on the stove top.

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How cute is this little bowl that arrived along with the Kirin? It was the perfect size for my side of shiitake slaw, which was delicious. I love mushrooms now, which is funny, because I used to be so afraid of them!

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To be honest, I actually didn’t love the noodle dish. The black bean paste was a prominent flavor, and I wasn’t a fan. But the Kirin washed it down nicely and paired beautifully with the heat from the hot sesame oil:) And Matt really liked the Kirin Light (I drank the regular with dinner).

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As much as I enjoy eating out, I’ve started to really love when we stay in and cook on Friday evenings. Thanks to Kirin for sending beer to my door step!

Hope you guys had great weekends too!

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Thoughts from a Thursday

Posted on Apr 10, 2014 | 14 comments

-I loved Caitlin’s post on challenging your own personal narrative – surrounding yourself with positivity is one of the most important pieces of advice out there, and it’s been essential for me this year. Plus, looking on the bright side of things and associating yourself with positive people might be a sign of emotional intelligence!

-I’ve started marking overnight oatmeal to take with me to work and it’s such a nice morning treat. I’d forgotten how much I love it.

-I haven’t finished it yet, but I’d definitely recommend this book! It’s the story of girl [around my age] who hikes the Pacific Coast Trail alone in an attempt to find herself.

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-Speaking of mental and physical challenges, I’m finally doing yoga. I haven’t loved any class I’ve taken in the past, but now that I have access to awesome classes, I’m trying to go consistently. I think my bootcamps and strength training classes have helped prepare me physically, but I need to work on the mental side! I’m usually so concerned about my [lack of] flexibility, getting poses right, and keeping up with the class, that my mind is overwhelmed with thoughts.

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-I don’t distinctly remember leaves falling off trees here in the fall, but they must have because there is fresh green everywhere! Dare I say Dallas looks lush?

Happy weekend eve!

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