Our Appetizer.: January 2014

January 27, 2014

The Weekender - Snowy But We Still Like To Party

What a fantastic weekend! It was so snowy and the roads were so bad but we still went out to party! 

  • Friday after a my first week of work was over, I decided to go out with some girl friends. Talk about a blast, we had such a great time. I only have two pictures from Friday night and one of them is blurry. My favorite way to do my hair is to put it up in a sock bun and top it off with some red lips. 
  • Saturday while it was so cold and snowy out all I could think about was the beach in Punta Cana. All I wanted was to be on that beautiful beach enjoying the sun not freezing in Cleveland
  • When the night came, Lavi & I ventured out again! We met at a local wine bar, Rocky River Wine Bar, which we absolutely love. We enjoyed a flatbread and some wine before heading downtown. We had a blast like always! And the roads were surprisingly really clean after getting dumped on with snow.
  • Let me tell you, I love my new RMA hat. It's amazing for this super cold weather and I love the look of it. Check out Relax Max Apparel here. I highly recommend this brand to anyone! They also have shirts which are so soft and feel amazing.

How was your weekend? Did you get a lot of snow? Did you venture out in the blistery cold?!

January 22, 2014

Outfit Of The Day

Shirt: Express Pants: Express Shoes: Aldo

The Weekender - Girls Night Out

Saturday I started my day at the gym at a weight lifting class....which kicked my butt. It was so hard but definitely much needed. Saturday night, I went out with some girl friends to downtown Cleveland. It was such a blast! I am definitely happy I went. 
From Top left:
Amazing cake I tried this weekend
Champagne to celebrate my first day of full time
Card that came with my beautiful flowers
Beautiful flowers from My Guy
Present from my parents 
Amazing outfit...trying to find a skirt like this.

January 17, 2014

We live in the airport

My guy and I basically live in the airport, kind of. We are always looking forward to the next time we are together....it involves an airport. We are always NOT looking forward to the next time one of us has to go home...it involves an airport. We love vacations...because we see each other...and it involves an airport. Get the point? Let me recap where the airport story comes into play if you're new. 

 Two years ago (Feb 12, 2012 to be exact) My Guy decided to move to Tampa from Cleveland. We had been dating for 2 years at that point so breaking up we not an option (well it was an option but we didn't want to think about that). I was in school and my parents paid for my school so I couldn't have them pay for out of state tuition if I moved down to Tampa with him. Anyways, ever since Feb 12, 2012 we have been living in airports. Our relationship is all about airports, phone calls, texts, e-mails and FaceTime. Basically we would be screwed without technology, so thank you to whoever invented all of these cool things. 

We are always counting down the days till we see each other again (28 days). We try to see each other as often as possible but it is usually once a month and each visits lasts from Friday till Sunday or Monday. You could imagine how excited we get as the day gets closer and closer. 

Driving to the airport to pick him up is like driving to our first date. I get butterflies in my stomach (mostly I feel like I'm going to get sick) because I'm so excited and nervous to see him. I get really cold when I"m nervous, so if you were to touch my hands while driving to the airport I would be as cold as an ice cube. I swear driving to the airport to pick him up is such a whirlwind of emotions. 

Whenever I go visit him in Tampa, I get so excited on the plane. The 2.5 hours seem like 2 days! I always try to read a book or play games on my phone but lets face it all I think about are all of the things we are going to do together and all of the memories we are going to make. Walking out of the plane and down to where he waits for me, I start to get butterflies in my stomach.

It's crazy how a place like the airport can bring out so many different emotions. Mostly because the airport means each other to us, it means memories, laughs and tears. We've made many memories in the airports we've traveled, we've shared many laughs in the airports and we've also had many tears walking away from each other.

 And every time we just can't wait for our next time together in the airport. 

The Weekender - New Job Celebration!

I know it's Wednesday( I started the post on Wednesday but never had time to finish it) Thursday (never had time to finish it again!) Friday and I'm just now posting about events from my weekend, better late than never. Life has really been flying by.  This week has been a lot of firsts: first day of my last undergrad class (even though I already walked/graduated...long story, I'll probably post about it later, after I've accepted the fact that life just sucks sometimes), first day on my new job, first time getting together with a girl from church and the first bad experience at Cheesecake Factory oh and I can't forget the fact that I am beating myself up for not going to the gym.

I'll just start on Wednesday because who needs to wait for the weekend to start celebrating. So as some of you know, I got a new job...my first full time big girl job. 

That is actually the exact face I made when my new manager offered me the position. No my hair didn't look fancy like that but hey that's ok, I still got the job!

Thursday I met with with a friend from church at one of our favorite places in the Cleveland area, Press Wine Bar. I've wrote a review on Press before (read here) and let me tell you, this place ALWAYS exceeds my expectations. This time it was happy hour so we were able to take advantage of some great deals. They have 6 different appetizers for 5$ each, including 3 different full size flatbreads, you can't beat that. And they have my favorite wine that I can't find anywhere else but this place.

For lunch I went to Houlihan's with a co-worker friend to celebrate my graduation and getting a new job! I never get burgers because I think they are like lard on a plate but this time I had to get a burger. Well a veggie burger, it was probably one of the best veggie burgers I've ever had in my life! Oh and of course we had to have dessert well because we had a free dessert coupon thing. That apple pie and vanilla ice cream were out of this world.

One of my favorite things to do is catch up with Krystal. Friday night I met with her at a local sushi place called Vieng's Asian Bistro it's a cute place in an outdoor mall. I've known Krystal for some time now and it's crazy how we even became friends. She was actually my first boss when I was an intern. As things progressed I started seeing her as more of a mentor and friends than just a boss. So Friday night we met up to catch up about my new position (which I will be working with her again...yay) and about the men in our lives, friends and the holidays. We had one of the best martin's ever...sex in the city...raspberry vodka, pineapple juice, mango puree and champagne...talk about the best drink for a girls night.

To celebrate my new job with my parents, we went to Cheesecake Factory on Saturday for lunch. While my dad hates the place because he says it's so loud, I love it and my mom likes it somewhat. Well this was probably the most disappointing time we've ever had there. Our server took forever to come to our table to take our order. The appetizer was good, don't know how to can mess up fried calamari. Well the food wasn't so good. I ordered a salad that I've always loved (the Luau Salad) this time it was nasty. It was completely tasteless and just gross. My mom's food looked amazing but she said it was very sour from the sauce that was on the chicken and my dad's order was just terrible. His dish came with mashed potatoes but he wanted rice instead...he got french fries ohhh and a piece of hair in his food...NASTY. So we sent the food back for them to fix the rice and hair problem. Eh it just wasn't a good experience.

Random Pictures from the Weekend
I am obsessed with the shirt! I just got it from Victoria's Secret, click here to buy it. I typically wear a XS/S and I ordered this in a XS. It has a boxier fit but it's super comfy. My mom likes a heavy pour of wine...check out her glass of white wine.
My three favorite snacks. Salt & Vinegar chips...I could eat them all day everyday.
The chocolate that I love and only buy at work. 
Fage yogurt and blueberries all day everyday!

Do you get behind on posts?
How was your LAST weekend?
Should I have even posted this?!

January 13, 2014

Weekly Wishes #1 - First Link Up for 2014

Last Weeks Wishes
I am starting back up with Weekly Wishes for 2014! I really need to keep this going because it is a good motivation to do what you say you're going to do. My last weekly wishes  were 50% a success. My Guy was not able to come home for Christmas but he was here for New Years Eve. We did make New Years Eve plans ahead of time, which I was very happy about. Click here to read about our New Years Eve festivities. 
This Weeks Wishes

1. Get pictures printed & print some for my new desk. Lets just say that yesterday I started looking through and I realized that I have about 2-3 years worth of pictures to print and get organized. It's going to be over 1,000 pictures to get printed and then to organize them into photo albums. 

2. Get in the gym! Oh man oh man, I tell myself everyday that I'm going to go to the gym and it never (rarely) happens. I guess after working 8 hours the last thing I want to do is go to the gym. I need to push myself to go! My goal for the week is to make it at least twice during the week and once on the weekend. 

3. Eat healthy & not eating after 6 PM. Today I started the day with yogurt and fruit (good) and had a salad with little dressing for lunch (also good). Then I gave in and had a bag of kettle salt & vinegar chips (my weakness). So I need to get better with eating this week and definitely no eating after 6 PM! 

The Nectar Collective

January 10, 2014

5 on Friday!

Hello blog friends, if you don't know this already (have you been living under a rock?!?)....IT'S FRIDAY!
This week was CRAZY! And by Crazy I mean cray cray!
This is absolute first 5 on Friday link!
Here we go...

- I love The Bachelor...as in the show not the actual current bachelor on the show. My mom loves the show and so does My Guy (believe it or not). This bachelor is ....OK. Not drop dead amazing but not so ugly that I can't look at him. 

- The weather has been on a different level. It was cold, then it got colder and now it feels like it's warm at 33 degrees F. I mean Monday it was -9 and today it's in the 40s....make up your mind weather. Quit being so bipolar. 
- I got my first full time job! I will be a sales coordinator, I am so excited! I've laugh and I've cried and all out of excitement and happiness. I will miss the guys I work with but I'm excited to be full time, get benefits and most of all to travel a little. And it means I'm an "adult" (kinda). 

- Nothing beats celebrating a new jobs like wine and lots of it! I've been out twice so far to celebrate different occasions including my promotion. I swear I could never get sick of wine. I found a wine that I LOVE it's called Gotham Project it's a red blend but they don't sell it by the bottle only by the barrel. Looks like I'll be buying a barrel of this red blend!

- I need chapstick. I want chapstick. I love chapstick. But I always lose my chapstick. I had two now I only have one. My Guy won't be very happy to hear that I've lost one because I always steal his. Sorry babe....chapstick lost. Looks like you need to come home again because I need more chapstick. It's this weather I swear....my lips need some love and care. 

And my #backthatazzup today is the song that I've been listening to every single time I've been in the car. Which is everyday....for approximately 2 hours a day (yea yea I know my commute sucks)

Dark Horse (feat. Juicy J) by Katy Perry on Grooveshark

January 9, 2014

Is it really over?!

Is this really happening? I truly can’t believe this is happening. Have you ever felt like you were in a dream and you woke up but you were still dreaming? That’s how I feel. I feel like this is another moment of  impact. If you've ever seen the movie The Vow, you understand what I’m talking about when I say a moment of impact. And if you've never seen the movie, then you have to see the movie because it’s great. So anyways, a moment of impact involves the potential for change. It has the ability to crash things closer together while sending others further apart. We are always looking and waiting for the next moment of impact.

My biggest moment of impact was more emotional and mental than anything I've experienced in a long time. It had me thinking, beaming with pride and accomplishment, it had the people around me beaming with pride. This moment of impact was when I was offered my first real big girl full time position. This is something I've wanted, dreamt of and worked towards for years and it is finally here, almost. My first day on my first big girl job is Monday and I couldn't be more excited, proud, nervous and scared. This position has come unexpectedly but is very welcomed.

When I was younger I always wondered what I would be doing when I was in my 20s, what would I look like, would I have any kids, would I even be married and I also wondered if I would have made myself proud. Well younger me, I did it (kind of). While I’m not married or even engaged, it’s ok. It’s ok because I am in a happy, healthy, loving, hating, laughing, raw relationship. And for the kids part, that will come with time (lots of time). I’m young let me enjoy my new full time position, let me enjoy the travels I still have to plan and enjoy being young with My Guy.

So my Co-Op days are over and real life begins, wish me luck!

*P.S. check back for celebration posts (there might be a few too many).

January 8, 2014

Spend Another Day Bettering Yourself

I love the quote on the side because for the longest time I was at war with myself. I would look in the mirror and hate what I saw or I would compare myself to other people. I know this wasn't healthy and that I still do this from time to time but not as often as before. Taking steps to better your body and your mind is extremely important for a long happy life.

I've been reading a lot about the Paleo lifestyle and it is something I'm will slowly try. Meat is usually not my first choice but I do see its benefits. By no means can I give up cheese (my obsession) or any other things on the "no no list" all at once. So there will be slow slow transition into eating more Paleo. 

Last night I made a dish that is healthy (in my opinion) and almost Paleo. I found this recipe on Pinterest a few weeks ago but I made changes to meet more of my preferences. 

* Chicken can be used for extra protein

The original recipe called for rice but I substituted whole wheat couscous for a healthier alternative. The recipe also called for bell peppers but didn't specify what color or anything. To give it vibrant colors, I added red, orange and yellow bell peppers and a green zucchini. Realistically you could add any vegetable you want

Begin with cutting your veggies into bite size pieces. I used one medium green zucchini, half of a red bell pepper, half of a yellow bell pepper and half of a orange bell pepper. I also used mushrooms and half of a medium onion. You can use as much or as little vegetables. Then you want to add the veggies to a skillet with one tablespoon of olive oil. Make sure to stir them often so all of the veggies cook evenly. While your veggies are cooking, make a cup of couscous as directed on the label.

After the veggies begin to soften, drain a can of black beans and add them to the pot with the veggies. Make sure to continually stir all of the veggies and beans together. After the couscous cooks, add the couscous to the veggies. Once the veggies and the couscous have cooked together for 2-3 minutes, add the can of undrained fire roasted tomatoes. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

Once you transfer the finished product to a serving dish, sprinkle your favorite shredded cheese on top. This is perfect to make the night before and take to lunch the next day for a filling and healthy lunch.

Breakdown according to the Paleo lifestyle:

Good: Mushrooms, Tomatoes, chicken, onion, zucchini, bell peppers & olive oil

Bad: Couscous, beans & cheese

* I think I did pretty good for my first time trying. 

Workin' those buns

Workout Wednesday is back! And just in time for getting in shape for summer. Remember working out now means a sexy bod for the summer time. No one wants to go to the pool/beach not looking their best. Today I have two different challenges I am going to start doing today. They will both tone different parts of your body just in time for summer time. 

This workout will tone your legs so there is no jiggle going on. By doing these squats you will look your best in skinny jeans, leggings, bathing suits and skirts! Do each workout illustrated above for the number of reps stated by each day. You must remember to not skip any days.

Get your arms ready for tank tops, dresses and strapless. This is for those of you who think you can't do push ups. Just work your way up to 40 push ups and see the tone and definition in your arms.

Who is going to do these challenges with me?!
And who is ready for summer time!?

January 7, 2014

Rockin the runway

That's how I felt this morning while rockin' my pea coat, heels and creepy old men staring. It has been super cold in Cleveland. I mean so cold that the casino closed....when was the last time you saw a casino closed?! 
The temperature yesterday. Pay attention to the clock to see how fast the temperature dropped.
I normally don't wear my long pea coat to work but these past few days I've had to. It's felt like the North Pole in Cleveland. 
Coat : Victoria's Secret (here) Pants: Kohls (super old) Scarf: H&M (London)

How are you keeping warm?
Is it this cold where you are?
Am I just being a baby about this weather?!

They met, they laughed, they cried & they got rejected...

I'm sure you all know that last night was the season premier of The Bachelor and let me tell you, Juan Pablo is one good looking man (kind of). I love the show because it's so dramatic in some areas and so corny in others but it just warms me up inside when a man speaks so highly and nice about women. I also really love the fact that a man can actually open up and express his feelings (real or not) unlike some men that say that men don't express their feelings. A few years ago I would always ask My Guy why he never tells me how he feels and why he lacks doing sweet things sometimes....his response was "guys don't do that". Well he learned really quick that guys really do that. Props to him for learning! 

Anyways, back to the bachelor. 

Every Monday my mom and I curl up on the couch and watch the newest bachelor show. We always try to guess who is going home next. My favorites were:
I can't believe that drama had started already! Every girl was trying to get a one on one time with him and the girls who weren't getting the one on one time were not very happy. Well they should try a little harder. Get out of your comfort zone! And I cannot believe Sharleen got the first rose. Yes she is cute and her dress was amazing but you could tell she really wasn't into him. In my opinion, if she wasn't 100% about getting the rose then she shouldn't have accepted it. She took the spot of a girl that really wanted to stay there.
The girls that went home last night plus Sharleen crossed off because she'e mentally not there since she really didn't want to accept the first impression rose. The good part about the girls that went home is that Lauren H. was just a hot mess, crying about her past and her "insecurities" give me a break girl. You should have never signed up for this show if you were so "insecure" and obviously not over your ex. Another good pick for going home last night was Valerie because she thought she was all that. I just wish Sharleen would have went home and Alexis would have stayed. 

At least two of my favorite girls are still there! 
What did you think of the premier?
Who are your favorites?
Who did you want to go home?
Do you think it was right for Sharleen to accept the rose even though she wasn't 100% interested in him?

January 5, 2014

The Weekender - After the Holidays

As crazy as this sounds, I am ready for my normal schedule to be in full swing. While I love the holidays, I also love my schedule. I enjoy knowing that everyday I go to work (and yes I love my job), I go to the gym and I only go out once a week. My liver has been in shock by the amounts of wine and Goose (as in Grey Goose not the animal kind) I've been drinking. Spending the holidays along family and friends has been great but lets all get back to reality.

Thursday was my first day back to work in 2014 and the drive home was slow and snowy. Check out my snow post here. Below are a few photos I took while in traffic. I know it wasn't very smart to take pictures while driving in this snowy mess but we were doing like 20-25 mph and I was being careful.

Friday was spent at home because we were snowed in. The worst thing about living in a culd-de-sac is that it never gets plowed. Every year we get stuck in the house at least once. While it makes for a surprising day off, I don't think my boss appreciated my e-mail Friday morning. After the snow was cleaner I went to the gym for the first time in 2014 and the first time in a month months. I thought I was on top of the world so I ran 3 miles and lifted some weights....bad idea.

Saturday I forced myself to get out of bed early to go to a workout class. I am trying to create a constant schedule with the gym. After the 3 miles on Friday and the weight lifting class on Saturday, I can barely walk today. I met with a group of ladies at my favorite place around, Press Wine Bar. If you have been following me, you have learned that I love my wine! I could drink wine everyday, all day long (if it didn't include all of the calories, staining of teeth and bad choices made after too many glasses of wine).  Since we all love wine, this is the perfect location to have all of us together to enjoy a (few) glasses of wine and some great cheese. 

Sundays are usually lazy days, expect for this Sunday. Since we are Romanian, every year we begin the year with the priest of our church blessing our house. Let me tell you, Romanians are very very (very) superstitious therefore we have the priest come and bless the house to get rid of any "bad" in the house. While this makes for a cleaning day before the priest comes, it is still nice to sit at the dinner table with him and have a blessed dinner. And we wouldn't be Romanians if the table wasn't full of a 4 course meal and of course wine, cognac and beer. The dinner included Romanian appetizers, Romanian style Chicken Noodle Soup and a Romanian dessert.

How was your weekend?
How do you feel after the Holidays?
Have you started going to the gym again? 

Getting Buried In Cleveland

Drive home from work
Getting buried in snow
The drive to the airport to the airport on Thursday morning wasn't too bad. Traffic was moving, it wasn't snowing but it was definitely very cold. My Guy's flight left on time, which was very surprising because about 80% of flights leaving Cleveland were either delayed or cancelled. Thank goodness he got out of here before the store hit. 

Since it was very cold, I parked in a parking lot closer to my office than where I normally park. This parking lot is in open air and costs 2$ more than where I normally park but it is much closer. While at work, my mom kept texting me saying that it had started snowing very hard and that I should try to come home earlier. Well since I work at a corporation, I can't just leave as I please. 

After my work day was over, I started my walk to my car. It had snowed a good amount at this point and none of the sidewalks were cleaner. When I arrived to my car, I realized the big mistake I made. My car had at least 6 inches on snow on it! I had to clean off my car in the freezing cold instead of not having the clean off my car and save 2$ if I would have parked where I normally park. 

You can see how snowy the drive home was from the first two pictures. It took me an extra 20-25 minutes to get home. Thank goodness there were no accidents and everyone was very cautions.

How is the weather where you are?
Have you had to drive in weather like this yet?

Simplified Happiness

I'm an ad vide reader of Bloglovin' and I saw a lot of people posting about their New Year's resolutions. A new year is almost like a blank canvas, the year is in your hands to shape and mold it to whatever you want it to be. 

In 2014 I want to focus on simplified happiness.
Let me explain.

Simplified comes from always worrying what others think. Yes, I know that caring what others think is a terrible trait to have. Which is why I want to get away from that mentality. For the past few years, I've gotten away from "me". I've focused too much on what others think about my personality, my appearance, my education, my opinions, my choices. I will focus on not letting people get me down. I will focus on expressing my opinions and being proud of who I am. I'm going back to the basics. 

Happiness is about being genuinely happy. It's about not letting the little things get you down. It's about understanding that no one is perfect. This thought goes hand in hand with "simplified" because being happy comes from within. It comes from understanding and believing that you are the person that you should be. It's about focusing on you rather than the person that someone else wants you to be. Happiness is the key to a long life. Happiness is key to life. 

Along with simplified happiness, I want to focus on my health, my family, my friends, my career, furthering my eduction and traveling the world. The world is endless. 

January 2, 2014

The Last Night In 2013 & The First Night in 2014

A few days ago we all celebrated the new year. Each of us might have celebrated it in different ways...at home with family, at home with friends, at a restaurant, at a show, at a party or even at home alone. We all brought in the new year together, right at midnight. 

This new years eve, 12 of our closest friends got together at a friends house to celebrate the new year together. We had plenty of food, drinks and laughter to keep the night going till about 6AM the next day. There is nothing better than celebrating the new year along the people we love and the people we couldn't imagine not having the year to come. 

Below are a few pictures from new years eve. I didn't take many pictures because I was busy living in the moment. 

being goofy.
Asked a friend to take a picture of us and we ended up with 15 pictures of us laughing, kissing and making weird faces
A few random pictures from the night
We wish you a a happy, healthy and successful 2014!

[Holidays in Pictures]

A Post About Random Pictures From The Holidays 

Dad. Being funny as usual.
Mom. The best.
Presents. Between My Guy & I.
Snow. My Guy in shorts...darn Floridian.
Yummy. Happy hour with My Guy.
My Guy & I. 

Nothing better than family, friends, food and wine.