Rose: Blueberry Pickin’

This weekend was the first in three I haven’t left New Jersey (!) It goes without saying that I needed to hit up a local event. M, Jenn and I decided to hit up the Blueberry Festival in Whitesbog, N.J. This festival has been going on for 30+ years and is quite the local attraction. There were plenty of vendors, music and food — along with wagon rides to the blueberry fields! Despite the rainy weather, we took advantage of the $5 ride and picked several pounds worth of berries.
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In the words of my friend Cat, M has the BEST HAT EVER for blueberry picking. Don’t you agree? We didn’t spend long out in the fields, but we sure capitalized on the experience. We all came back with our bags full, including Jenn, who was having quite the time.

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I think the hardest part about berry picking is trying not to eat all of the berries. Thankfully, we were picking on a full stomach which reduced the temptation a tad. :)

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While it was quite the rainy day, we made the most of it – traveling around the Southern areas in New Jersey. We hit up a brewery after the festival and were delighted by how tasty the beers were. If only this place was closer! The good news is that we got a growler to go — so now we can enjoy on the balcony!

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These are the kind of days I love in New Jersey. Filled to the brim with activity, surrounded by those I love … it doens’t get any better than that. And all within an hour or two of home! You can’t beat it.

Rose: A Pittsburgh Weekend

M and I are getting married at the LeMont Restaurant in Pittsburgh. Over the weekend, we had the opportunity to sample some menu items for our big day! I’d been long anticipating this lunch. All the food you can eat plus wine? Count me in. We wined atop Mt. Washington with one of the prettiest views of Pittsburgh.

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We tried several appetizers and three entrees. Our favorite appetizers included the Beef Wellington, Scallops and Bacon and Mushroom Bites. We weren’t huge fans of the spanakopita (how sad!) or the bruschetta. While the bruschetta was nice, we felt it would be too messy for our guests.

In terms of the entrees, we are pretty much solid on the New York Strip Steak! It was deliciously spiced and prepared. (And check out the size below!) But the chicken wasn’t my favorite. It was wrapped in a puff pastry and stuffed with cheese. A little to rich for me …

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In addition to our tasting, we also met with our photographer. He is a really cool guy and even adapted when the place we planned to meet was closed. We met at the local library, chit-chatted a bit and decided on some of the important details of the day (like where to take pictures after the ceremony!).

On Saturday, we had time to sneak in a ball game. My dad and M’s dad met us in the city for the game. The Pirates played the Phillies, and victory was sweet. The seats weren’t bad, either. A friend of mine has season tickets and graciously offered them to us for the afternoon. It’s incredible to have such generous friends. I am extremely grateful.

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Another highlight was on our way out of town. We stopped at one of my favorite thai restaurants – Pusadee’s Garden. Good thai is a rarity in Jersey. I have yet to find a favorite. And so, I relived my days of going to this garden care and indulged in some delicious spring rolls and chicken pad thai. It was worth every bite!

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We even got to stop at a new brewery on our way, too — Roundabout Brewery in Lawrenceville. Good selection of craft beers. We came home with a growler!

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All in all, it was a great weekend.

Rose: June Intentions

It’s funny. When I wrote out my “May intentions,” I actually labeled them “May Goals.” I can tell what kind of mindset I was in at the time. It was the last month of the semester, a typically busy period at work. Wedding planning was in full swing, and I had a race to run, too. No wonder I set up “goals” rather than simple “intentions.”

Let’s review how the month of May went.

Making me time. For the most part, I would say that I accomplished this goal. I spent my weekends taking little trips, which breathed new life and energy into my spirit. I also spent quite a bit of time with friends, including a day trip to the beach on Memorial Day. That day particularly stands out because we ended up riding a few rides at the amusement park. I haven’t laughed that hard in so long! I felt like a kid again, and it was fun.

Making a plan. The goal here was to use lists to manage my time better. For the most part, this was accomplished. I made a color-coded post-it note board in my apartment with all the remaining wedding tasks (see below — M added his twist to the captions). And I also made use of some serious lists to get through my work load at the office. All told, this was accomplished.

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Getting back to what I love. Okay, so this really happened! The goal was to get back to Max 30, yoga, walking, kayaking and softball. I have achieved all of these, except for walking. Looking back, I’m actually proud of how much exercise I did. We did quite a bit of kayaking, I went to yoga a few times, and I started up another 60-days of Max: 30. I didn’t walk that much, so in June I need to work on fitting in some walks home from work.

So what’s on tap for June?

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Reduce stressors. This means turning off work email when I get home. I’ve been doing this most nights, and I can’t believe the weight that has been lifted. The only time I check it is when I’m on a deadline. Other than that, I’m email free. In addition to work, I am trying to break down the wedding tasks (and do some delegating) to reduce stress. So far, this has been working. I honestly had no idea how much work goes into a wedding. But breaking it down piece by piece — and having a fiance, friends and family who help — goes a long way.

Throw caution to the wind. You only live once, right? I am often quite practical in my decision-making, which is good. But there are times when I want to throw caution to the wind a bit more, and do things just because they are fun. This includes trips to see family/friends (even if it’s back-to-back weekends) and doing things outside of my comfort zone.

Read more. This goes on the list again because I still haven’t accomplished it. I would love to get into the habit of reading either at lunch or in the evening. Just 30 minutes would do. I need to exercise my brain more.

Adventure freely.
I find that I’m happiest when I’m out adventuring with M. New Jersey has so much to offer, and I’m thankful to have a partner who wants to travel with me and see new things. I want this to continue in June (when it can) and check out new places and spaces.

What are your intentions for June?

Rose: Kayaking at Splitrock Reservoir

On Sunday, M and I drove to Splitrock Reservoir near Rockaway, N.J. for a little kayaking. This area was completely new to us, but after doing a bit of Google searching (mostly M – I just looked at the links!), it looked like the perfect spot. Boats aren’t allowed on the water, which, theoretically, should’ve meant more peaceful waters, and the local scenery is just gorgeous. It was a great place to hang for a day and do a bit of paddling.

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Our lunch spot, tucked away from the rest of the reservoir.

This was one of the most challenging kayaking trips I’ve ever gone on. I’m still quite new to the hobby, and I’m not nearly as seasoned as M, but I held my ground! We paddled from one end of the reservoir to the other, which took us several hours. All told, we kayaked over seven miles! Check out our route below.

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While these open waters were turbulent, I still enjoyed the peacefulness of the area. The reservoir is surrounded by small mountains and rock cliffs. We saw a lot of people kayaking, fishing and even jumping from the cliffs into the water. If I go back, I definitely plan on taking my bathing suit. Whether I’m brave enough to jump is another story :)

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I have really taken a liking to my new hobby. I plan to kayak most weekends, if possible, and maybe even go for a paddle on an evening night here and there. It provides me with a great arm workout, allows me to spend quality time with M and clears my mind + spirit. If you haven’t tried it, you should!

Rose: The Fit Girl’s Guide

I started a new eating program on Monday. It’s called the Fit Girl’s Guide, and it cost me $25 for the e-book. While a lot of the information is geared toward beginners, I’m really having fun with it. The guide is written in a super comical way, and I’ve had fun trying out the new recipes.

For example, the Veggie Protein Power Bowl. I’d forgotten how good vegetables can taste!

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What I love about this lunch is how balanced it is. About half of my plate is filled with vegetables while healthy carbs, fats and protein take up the rest. This concept is very similar to the 21 Day Fix, which I still use to measure my ingredients. However, I find there is less emphasis on meat protein in this plan, which I’m enjoying. In recent months, my meat consumption had been pretty high.

Dinner was also a winner. Tonight we made the the Sweet Potato Street Tacos.

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Again, I’m enjoying the balanced plated here. I’ve incorporated fruit back into my life, and it’s been a wonderful thing. I also love how my protein comes from this egg – dashed with a little bit of paprika.

These choices are good considering I’ve been feeling VERY snacky lately. The past couple of weekends we’ve been on the go, grabbing whatever is available for lunch and dinner. Many of my meals sort of looked like this below. Not bad, but there can be a lot of sodium in such sauces and crackers.

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While I still have 28 days to go, this new eating plan has already livened up my life. I’d been feeling the need to kick things up again, and the 3-Day Refresh was a great starting point. Now I feel like I’ll cruise through summer in shape — what a feeling — and continue to gear up for the big wedding in January!