Tuesday, November 11, 2014

My ideal St. Louis day: restaurant edition

One of my favorite things to do since moving to the city is check out new bars and restaurants. There are so many great neighborhoods chock full of restaurants and bars —Soulard, The Hill, Central West End, Clayton, Dogtown. The list goes on. In all of my travels, I've acquired quite a long list of favorites. If calories didn't count and money grew on trees, these are the places I would spend a glorious, food and drink-filled day in my favorite city.

Brunch- Benton Park Cafe
Dish of Choice- The Slinger
Benton Park is a short drive down the highway from my apartment and the cafe is absolutely worth the wait. Although I've had to wait an hour every time I've gone, the friendly staff, cozy atmosphere and bottomless iced coffee makes it all okay. The food doesn't hurt either. So far I've tried a burrito, the slinger and the biscuits and gravy. The Slinger is a definite must. If you're not familiar- the Slinger is the gooey butter cake or toasted ravioli of breakfast food. It's a St. Louis staple. It's some sort of bread served with runny eggs, chili or gravy and meat all mixed together. Sounds gross. Tastes great. Benton Park's is a must-try because of the spicy homemade gravy they sling on top (see what I did there?).

Is it really brunch without mimosas? I think not!

Lunch- Crushed Red 
Dish of Choice- Five Cheese Flatbred
Crushed Red is great for a number of reasons. Most importantly, it's super close to work. I can be in and out and full of salad within my hour lunch break. Bonus-it's delicious. The menu is filled with fresh made salads and flatbreads, but you can also create your own which is always fun. They make the salads right in front of you and they chop the ingredients into tiny, ultra bite-size pieces, and I absolutely love that. There are so many choices that there's no way you can mess up your salad. And the flatbreads are delicious, too! My favorite is the five cheese. Splitting the flatbread and ordering a salad is the perfect amount of food to get you through the rest of the day without feeling the need to nap under your desk all afternoon.

Dinner- Gringo
Dish of Choice- Carinitas Tacos
I fell in love with the Central West End while I was apartment hunting and vowed to try as many of the restaurants as I could. Then I went to Gringo, and now, if I'm in the neighborhood it's the only place I want to go. It has everything. It's adorable on the inside and out. It's full of yellow decorations and bright blue chairs. It's bright and full of character. And the food is SO good. The chips have seasoning on them, the salsa is the perfect amount of spicy and the queso is divine. The Gringo fries are amazing and of course, there's the tacos. You order by the taco, so you can mix and match, so to speak. And perhaps even more important than the food, there's the margaritas. They're a little strong, but that's what makes them great. They're sweet, but not too sweet and they taste fresh, not out of a bottle.  Overall, Gringo is a ten out ten —maybe even an eleven.

Watching the game- Nick's Pub
Dish of Choice- Whatever is on special
Nick's is your classic tavern/dive bar/neighborhood watering hole. The bar is full of people chatting with each other and the bar tenders like they're all old friends. It's small and dark but it feels really welcoming and cozy. It's a mix of young and old, guys and girls. The best part? There are always specials —and lots of them! There are drink and food specials every day and for every type of game- baseball, football, college football, etc. And they're dirt cheap. Matt and I love figuring out how much we can order for the price of on dish at another place. We've been buzzed and completely stuffed for $30 or less. And that's the sure sign of a great place! 

Monday, November 10, 2014

A lazy weekend is a great weekend

Remember yesterday when I was talking about how busy/fun/great my October was? Well, as great as it was, it was definitely due time for a weekend doing next to nothing. Matt had to spend the weekend in Des Moines, and outside of Friday night, I had no plans. I was intent on keeping it that way. Goodness,  I have come a long way from the college girl who didn't consider it a successful weekend if it didn't include face-timing at the bars Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Anyway, my lazy weekend was fabulous and I woke up this morning well-rested and ready to take on the week.

It all started Friday night with a night of volunteering for my roommate's work's annual gala. It was a night of dressing up, people watching, drinking wine and dancing with some of the new pals I've gotten to meet through Monica. I've gone to quite a few of these type of events through work, so it was fun to get more of a behind-the-scenes look at what goes on during these events, which raise thousands of dollars for awesome organizations. My favorite part? The photo booth. I was originally supposed to be a greeter but got switched to manning the photo booth. It was one of those that's not your traditional photo booth —it's a real camera, attached to a computer where you stand in front of backdrop and adorn yourself in as many props as you can without messing up your hair. I had never gotten to do one of those so I loved watching everyone awkwardly pose, and I LOVED getting to take a few pictures of my own!

Since we didn't get home Friday until 2:20 a.m., I was ready to sleep until late morning and spend the day in bed. But, in true Katie form, I was wide awake at 7:30 a.m. I tried and tried to fall asleep, but ended up just laying in bed catching up on Buzzfeed until 11:00 a.m. The rest of the day was spent running a few errands (CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS ARE OUT!!!!!!), painting my nails and watching many, many episodes of Gilmore Girls. Can you think of a better way to spend a Saturday?!

Sunday was another early morning, but it included an AWESOME 3.5-mile run around Forest Park with my mom and dad followed by an excellent brunch at Benton Park Cafe —a new favorite among my roommate and me. The afternoon was full of cleaning, blogging, eating taco salad and watching Pretty in Pink before bed. Perfect!

I used to consider a great weekend one where I ran into all my friends at the bar. Now, I think the perfect weekend is one where I go to bed before 9 p.m. two out of three nights. But don't worry, I still LOVE a busy, fun, adventerous weekend. It's just nice to hit the reset button every once in a while.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

October in review

It's hard to believe we're already ten days into November. I feel like I should still be stocking up on tailgate essentials for homecoming, not getting ready to go shopping for Christmas decorations for my place.

October was quite a whirlwind month. Work was as busy as ever, I was in the thick of my half marathon training and every weekend was booked solid with trips and tailgates. Although it was nice to have a lazy weekend this weekend, I had such a fun October!

The first weekend, I drove to Des Moines to visit Matt. He's been up there for work, and it was nice to see a new city and go to his favorite hangouts. My favorite part of the weekend was our little Friday night bar crawl. Des Moines has some fun spots. My favorite was The Exchange, which is a play on the stock Market. The drinks fluctuate in price based on their popularity and the place has sublte odes to Wall Street, including a table with a picture of a hundred-dollar bill and a few pictures of bulls. I also liked Shotgun Betty's, which was your typical country bar. I loved spending the weekend with just Matt and it was nice to get away for a few days.

Five days later, I was back in the car driving to Columbia for the first of two tailgates in October. The weekend started off with one of those pesky migraines, but it ended up being a great weekend in Columbia with Matt and my family. I don't think the Tigers enjoyed their weekend as much as we did. Georgia absolutely killed us.

Work was also pretty busy in October. Two of my bosses and I moved over near the rest of our department so I was busy coordinated that and picking out supplies for my new desk, of course. I'm glad I get to sit near my entire department and I think it will end up being more responsibility for me, which I'm all for.

After a day of unpacking my new space at work, it was time for race weekend! I've already talked (or written, I guess) your ear off about that. It will be a weekend I will remember forever and one of the best I've ever had.

Then, after a year of anticipation, it was time for a long weekend in Columbia for the most wonderful time of the year — Homecoming! Although it was very weird being back and not quite as incredible as I thought it would be, I was so happy to see a ton of my friends I hadn't seen in so long. AND Matt and I threw our first-ever tailgate. I've been learning from the pros (my parents) for years, and I was so proud of how ours turned out and so flattered that so many of my friends spent their day with us.

Then all of the sudden, it was Halloween! For the first time in 15 years, I broke out my homemade Cruella de Vil costume and headed to St. Charles with Monica and my new pals. We played drinking games and laughed like crazy and it was all around a great end to a fabulous month.

Now it's all about counting down to Thanksgiving and Christmas. It's finally my favorite time of year!

My hard work finally paid off

Wow! I would say I can't believe I actually finished my first half marathon, but every once in a while a little bit of leg pain sneaks up and reminds me that I did indeed run 13.1 miles and lived to tell about it.

Confession: I totally got one of those foil cape things because it looked really official. It totally came in handy once I stopped sweating. I was FREEZING for a good hour after the race.

I'm not kidding when I say that if you told me a year ago that I would run a half marathon, I wouldn't have believed you. I distinctly remember going with my mom to pick up a race packet for a 5K she was doing and talking about how I would never ever have one of those cliche "13.1" stickers on my car because there was no way I could actually run that much and stick with training long enough to do it safely. Fast forward to today and I have a medal and one of those totally stupid and cliche yet awesome stickers on my car. And in even more surprising news, this morning I started running in preparation to start training for my next half.

The journey to 13.1 was not an easy one. I started considering running a half back in the spring and questioned whether or not I could actually do it until I was about three miles into the actual race. Thankfully, I decided to sign up for Fleet Feet training. My weekly runs with my awesome coach and pace group really made all the difference. As the distance increased each week, so did my confidence. I quickly exceeded my distance records and found that I actually had the attention span to run 8, 10 and 12 miles at a time. Before Fleet Feet, I was a girl who ran sometimes. Now, I'm a runner.

Now, for the actual race. The week of the race was spent gulping down water and eating bagels and pasta every day because I had the excuse of "carb loading." I had two easy runs during the week and spent the rest of the week resting and convincing myself that yes, I was actually about to do this. Saturday Matt, my mom and I headed to the expo to pick up our packets and buy any last-minute necessities —still thanking the good lord I bought my fanny pack water bottle holder thingy (see, I'm not an expert yet). The rest of the day was spent doing some last-minute carb loading, laying out my gear (and instagramming it, obviously) and forcing ourselves to go to bed at 8: 30.

Here's my "flat Katie," as they call it in the running world. Note the new, flashy leggings. It's not really a special occasion until you buy a new outfit for it, right?

On Sunday, we had a 4:45 wake up call and excitedly got ready and posted selfies on snapchat so everyone knew what we were up to all day. We got downtown pretty early and and hung out until about 6:45 when we headed to our corrals. Then the nerves set in- mostly because my Pandora wasn't working. With the release of each corral my nerves started disappearing but I kept thinking how crazy it was that this was actually happening. Around 7:20, we were off! The first half mile my mom and I stuck together, but then I bolted ahead. I was feeling good. Then around mile 1.5, my foot started to hurt. I ran through it and was good to go by mile 3. Miles 3 through 5 were kind of a blur. I know I felt good, but I was in the zone. At mile 5.5, I saw Matt's dad, which was exciting. He's a marathoner so it was good to hear him say I was looking good. I saw my dad a little later, posed for an awkward picture and was back on my way. I knew I'd see him at the finish with my aunts, cousin and grandpa so I really wanted to keep going.

After mile 6.5, I knew I could do this thing. I was halfway there, feeling good, full of bananas, sport beans and gatorade and the course was really starting to get pretty. The second half of the course was through the Grove, around Tower Grove park and through Compton Heights and Lafayette Square. I had never been around that area and was pleasantly surprised by it. The day was gorgeous and sunny and running through the park was gorgeous as the leaves were changing and Compton Heights was two or three miles through residential streets full of old mansions and lots of cheerleaders using the race as an excuse to tailgate all morning.

Around mile 10, someone set up an unofficial beer stand and I was feeling great at that point (hey there, endorphins) so I indulged and was off once again. I ran into my coach around mile 11 and the head coach of the training program. His thumbs-up was great motivation to finish with flair. The last mile and a half was almost all down hill and I felt the best I had all race. The elation was definitely setting in. After one last hill, I turned the corner, saw the finish line and my eyes filled with tears. I did it! I stopped crying pretty quickly because I'm pretty sure people thought I was in pain instead of sheer disbelief and pride, but oh well I did it! I crossed the finish line a few seconds later and was so so so so happy and proud and hungry and cold and tired.

I grabbed some food, met up with my family and waited for my mom to finish and she wasn't far behind!

 It was fun watching her finish because this was such a huge accomplishment for her and she had no idea her sisters and dad were going to be there, so it was fun to be in on the surprise. 

 The rest of the day was spent eating, recapping the race, eating and starting to feel the pain set in. Matt and I definitely struggled even getting out of bed the rest of the day, but every second of pain, every bad run, every dollar spent on water bottles and leggings was absolutely worth it.
Recovery at its finest

I've always been hard working when it comes to school or work because my parents were paying for it or I had to be a team player, but I've never been dedicated to doing something just for me. Heck, I can barely finish the books I start. I am so so proud of myself for sticking with this for the better part of 2014. I'm so proud of myself for waking up every Saturday at 5:20 and going home almost every day after work and lacing up my shoes and hitting the trail. I'm so proud of myself for ignoring the part of me that said I would never do this. And I'm so proud of myself for finding a passion and a hobby and something to stick with. I've got two months between now and when training starts again and I'm confident I'll be ready to log another 150 miles come January. Who knows, maybe one day I'll even get to add a "26.2" sticker to my car ...

Monday, September 15, 2014

A peak inside my place

Perhaps the biggest change I've experienced since finishing college has been moving into my very own place. Finding the perfect place didn't take as long as I thought, but it was a stressful and, at times, disappointing process. How much can I really afford? Do I feel comfortable in this area? Do I trust this landlord? My roommate and I finally found our perfect place at the end of June and by now, it definitely feels like home. We have pretty different styles, but both are represented well in our place and they come together nicely to create a cozy and functional little space. Besides my proximity to almost everything in St. Louis and my shorter work commute, my favorite part about living here has been decorating, especially my room.

My top priority when setting up my room was to limit clutter. My room at my parents' house (still very weird for me to call it that) is bursting with 20 years' worth of clothes, pictures and junk. I did not want that for my first adult room. I kept everything to the bare minimum and I'm so happy I did. On its messiest day, it takes me no more than 20 minutes to pick everything up.

I also had to keep affordability in mind. Paying rent and utilities was going to be an adjustment so I didn't want to spend much more on making my place feel homey. My bed, bedding, nightstand, dresser and some accents were from my old room, which really help cut back on expenses.

I got this bench, among many other things, from Homegoods. I love how it ties the whole space together and adds a bit of interest to the area below my window. That was a huge open space and I'm happy with the look and functionality of the $50 find.

These Kate Spade boxes were a definite impulse buy from a boutique in town. They don't exactly match with the rest of the room, but sometimes if it's cute, you can't resist, right? They're great little hiding places for perfume, nail polish and wristlets.

I have quite the sizable collection of magazines at my parents' house and I'm glad I found a way to display some of them. I also found this guy at Homegoods and could not pass him up. My love for Basset Hounds goes beyond the one I let sleep in my bed.

 My parents found these at a flea market and I LOVE them. So fun and creative!

Like I mentioned, my nightstand and its contents all came from my old room. The nightstand is part of a pair that were going unused in our guest room, and I thought it was a great upgrade from a simple table. It holds so much, and I think it really breaks up the white walls and bedding.

My room definitely still needs some work, but I'm so happy with it — and the rest of my place — so far!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

It's nice to see you again, Fall

For the most part, summer in St. Louis has been pretty mild. We wore jackets on the 4th of July and had maybe one or two days with 100-degree temperatures, which is very rare for St. Louis. I definitely can't complain about this summer's weather, but I'm still so happy that we got our first taste of fall this week. Some of my favorite things about the falling temperatures have included:

1. Awesome running weather The temperatures turned very cold Thursday — just in time for the three-mile run I had planned! I finally got to break out my long sleeves and enjoy the crisp air filling my lungs instead of the thick, humid air I've grown accustomed to during my half marathon training. I could get very used to running in this weather. My long run Saturday was just as enjoyable and I even stayed relatively cold throughout the ten miles, which was a nice change of pace (pun intended).
Shameless selfie to commemorate my first double-digits run. So many endorphins. So many miles.

2. Pumpkin flavored beverages Friday was another chilly day and I had a little time before work so I obviously stopped at Starbucks. I was ready to walk in, order my first PSL of the season (possibly ever) and celebrate the fall-y Friday, but I caught a glimpse of the calories and I just. couldn't. commit. (self-five for the self control). Instead, still feeling very festive on Saturday, I opted for a six pack of pumpkin beer. For some reason, I feel much more comfortable consuming empty, pumpkin-flavored calories if there's alcohol involved. This Sam Adams seasonal certainly does not disappoint.

3. THE CLOTHES I've made a few purchases to amp up my fall 2014 style, but I'm so happy I got to break out some of my favorites from last year. First and foremost: my riding boots. I've had my Lands End brown leather beauties for three years and they are a staple of my wardrobe for sure. I might have jumped the gun a little bit Saturday — fleece, flannel and leather boots was a little much once the sunny afternoon rolled around, but I looked good so that's all that matters, right?
Denim Day at work + Fall temps = a leopard print and blazer kind of day

Saturday, September 13, 2014

A 'positively' new blog title

Wow! Has it really been almost three months since I last posted? What an insane three months it's been. Summer 2014 will definitely go down as one of the busiest/craziest/most wonderful times of my life. A lot has happened, including the big 2-3 and with it, (well, two months later) a new blog title. I felt that I could not lie to my dedicated readers (hi, mom and Matt) by continuing to call my blog "Twenty Two in St. Lou" when I most certainly was not 22 anymore. 

So... welcome to "Positively Katie"! Why "Positively Katie"? Well, Ive always prided myself on being a positive person. Positivity is always one of my answers when someone asks me what my strengths are (a more appropriate answer than tequila-shot-taker, Netflix marathoner or overly-obsessed-dogowner). It's also something I genuinely try to incorporate in my everyday life. Yea, life is hard sometimes. You work long hours at work and sometimes feel under-appreciated, but at least you have a job. It's raining the day you have tickets to the baseball game, but at least it's not 100 degrees. Am I right? To me, having a positive outlook makes all the difference in life, and it's something that I'd love to encourage and share with others. So, as my inaugural post as the author of "Positively Katie," I'm going to share a few things I've been struggling with lately and why, in spite of those things, I'm still doing pretty darn good.

For the first time in my life, I'm really struggling with money. I've had a job since the day I turned 16, so I've always been able to go out to eat, buy drinks and indulge my love of clothes. But, in the past nine months, I've added a car payment, student loans and an apartment to my list of expenses. And you know what, it sucks! I still go out to eat and drink and shop, but on a much more limited budget. I'm learning the difference between 'need' and 'want.' I want a J. Crew down vest in every color. I need food and gas.

I've been trying for so long to lose weight but can't seem to get anywhere. I've always struggled a bit with body image and have tried multiple times to lose weight and look better but I just love pizza and beer and tacos and cheese way too much. I'm probably in the best shape of my life. I started running back in March in an effort to lose weight. I didn't expect to stick with it for very long. But now, in FIVE WEEKS I'm running my first half marathon. Six months ago  I could barely run a mile and today I ran ten for the very first time. I'm amazing myself every week when I add miles to my long runs and I could not be prouder of my progress.

I've been plagued with migraines most of the summer. Have you ever had a migraine? No? You're so lucky! With the busy-ness of the summer and the stress of moving and adjusting to a new routine and a crazy work load, I've gotten five migraines this summer and each has sent me home from work and straight to bed. They're literally a huge pain and anticipating when you'll have one next is so annoying. I'm learning to listen to my body. The interesting thing about migraines is the amount of things that can trigger one. My triggers might be stress, too much caffeine or strange smells. In an effort to avoid a migraine, I've started paying attention to how stressed I am, what I'm eating, how much water I'm drinking and, overall, how I'm feeling. I think being able to listen to your body is so important and I'm glad I've been forced to acquire that skill.

Overall, life has been wonderful. I'm kicking butt at work, loving my very first apartment and have been having so many fun times with Matt lately. It's been such a pleasure having him home full time. Sure, I have some struggles. Everyone does, but I don't let them take over my life. I'm so lucky to have all that I have and that far outweighs any struggle that could get in my way.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Back at the keyboard again

 Guys! Big news! For the past month or so, I've been working my rear end off looking for an apartment and this weekend, I'm moving into my first big-girl place with one of my best friends! On the way to the place tonight, my mom had this epiphany that I should start blogging about the tons and tons of things I've learned in my first year of life after school. I have learned a lot, and it's stuff that I think might be foreign to many of my fellow not-a-girl-not-yet-a-womans, so stay tuned for  (hopefully) lots of new content and sage advice from yours truly.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Completely swooning for Kate Spade

I know it's no secret that Kate Spade is completely fab and very hot right now. And like everyone else, I totally love it! But today at work the rest of my co-workers learned my love for the brand. I was walking back to my desk and passed by my co-worker's office. As I passed I totally gave another co-worker's bag the up down and apparently was not very discrete about it. I completely go called out. It was a little embarrassing and a lot funny. If I didn't have loans and a car payment and all those other random expenses that come with semi-adult life, I would totally be in the Kate Spade store every two weeks blowing my paychecks.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Life's a beach

I am headed to Tampa for Memorial Day in just over two weeks and I could not be more excited! I know it's only been seven months since my last trip to the beach (South Carolina, I love you), but after the crazy winter we've had, I need an escape and I really, really need to catch up with my big sis! I can't wait to jet off (I love flying) and spend four days in Florida with my (sorority) sister and my boyfriend. As I've fantasized about it, I've also been trying to plan what I'm going to pack (and buy) before the trip. This would be such an ideal outfit for a day at the beach.

Life lately

I have taken quite the hiatus from blogging. I guess I just haven't been very inspired lately. I don't know. I'm hoping once I get in the rhythm of blogging, I'll post more frequently and have more ideas on posts.

Anyway, here are few snapshots of my past few weeks ... mostly just of my latest shopping endeavors :)

 I have been eying this dress for MONTHS! I'd say for the better part of a year. A few of my favorite bloggers have posted about it and I've been waiting for a good sale and it finally happened ... two weeks before my boyfriend's graduation. I can't wait to wear it this weekend!!

 Two weeks ago, my boss took all of my co-workers out for lunch for Administrative Professionals week and my whole department got me a gift card to The Limited - my FAVORITE! I stocked up on a fab leopard pencil skirt and this beauty. I've been looking for some new necklaces and this one is great for my mostly black-and-white work wardrobe.

 I've had this necklace for a few months and I wear it all. the time. Again, mostly black and white wardrobe. It works great. The dress in the background is the more recent find. It's from Target and super cheap and bright and high quality and I can't wait to wear it with my jacks and at work and just everywhere. Navy and pink is the perfect combo.

 I can't get enough of May Designs. Their Instagrams are the cutest and I love the tons of patterns you can choose for your notebooks. By the time you're ready to check out, you've got a totally one-of-a-kind journal! Obsessed!
And for good measure, here's a picture of my Daisy girl. How cute is she?

Monday, May 5, 2014

To the class of 2014

Fifty-one weeks ago, I slipped on a black, polyester robe, curled my hair and pranced across that stage like I was the queen of the world. It was the moment I had been worked toward for 18 years and all I wanted to do was cry my eyes out. I was a college graduate. What an accomplishment! Gosh, I was so sad.

Today, my Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat were filled with photos and messages from my sorority sisters as they got ready to go alum. I really empathize with them because one year later, I feel the exact same way they do today.

I still long for a night out with my friends as we ran into every person we knew. The singing, the laughing, the gossiping.

When it's nice out, I gaze out my office window and wish I had one more day to walk around campus basking in the sun and reveling in this perfect life I had.

My four years in college really were perfect. I know I'm still young, but I really feel like they'll be the best of my life. I met my best friends there. I grew up there. I found my passions there. I gained confidence there. I learned to love myself there. Although every day wasn't perfect, my time there will be irreplaceable.

Looking back, my  college experience can be summed up in one night. The week of graduation. My sisters and I had enjoyed one too many margaritas and we were lying on our quad reminiscing and planning our first reunions. I was so happy at where I was in life but so terrified and so sad that it was all over. It's still hard for me to describe that time in my life. All I can say that it was perfect. Every tear, every bad grade, every embarrassing moment, every frustration was perfect.

Although I'm telling you that you'll still be sad a year from now, I can say that it gets better. Life is great! I have a good job,  an amazing boyfriend, new hobbies, a new car, new clothes and a self respect I never would have if it weren't for those four years. Even though you'll miss your home every single day, there is life after college. You just have to make it happen.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Adventures in not-so-healthy eating

Yesterday I wrote about my attempts to step up my healthy eating game. But before I made the decision to eat more fruits and veggies, I had quite the culinary adventure in St. Louis.

Matt was home on spring break last week, and it was great seeing him after work. We made plans to go to trivia with some friends and made a night of it by finally trying Pappy's BBQ in downtown St. Louis. It did not disappoint. It's got all the hole-in-the wall barbecue staples —checkered tablecloths and Styrofoam everything, and it's just got a great atmosphere.

And then we got our food ...

... And it was divine!! To me, it says a lot when meat has such good flavor that you don't need to add sauce. This was definitely the case for Pappy's pulled pork. But, I am a huge barbecue sauce fan, and all four flavors are unique to each other and completely delicious. My pork was complemented with fried corn and the best sweet potato fries of my life. Yes, I totally broke my no-fried-food lenten promise and my diet, but I have absolutely no regrets.

After dinner, we had a little time before trivia, so we checked out the Flying Saucer right by Busch Stadium. It had a huge craft beer selection, so I knew Matt would love it, but it certainly was not what I expected. The space was gorgeous — wood paneling, cool decor and nice lighting. And I loved the beer selection. I had a raspberry beer, an old favorite from Belgium. So so good and such a fun night!

Adventures in healthy eating

This week, I really started to become frustrated with my weight-loss progress. Yes, I've lost seven pounds and kept them off for about 3 weeks, but I really need to keep losing. Now that I've got some motivation to keep running (I've run six more miles and lifted since my last post), I'm going to add to that by kicking healthy eating into gear.

I'm relatively healthy for breakfast and lunch. I eat LOTS of spinach and fruit, but dinner is hard and the weekends are almost impossible. I eat out and drink lots on the weekends. I decided that limited drinking and eating out on the weekends will help me shed pounds faster.

I also had a ton of motivation to head to the store and plan meals in advance for the week.

 We bought some amazing chicken sausage that went great with whole-wheat pasta and red sauce. I also stocked up on fruits and veggies, Skinny Pop and hummus. I had never really had it before, but it's great with carrots!

It's 9 p.m. Sunday and lunch is totally ready for tomorrow and breakfast should be a snap. We also have a breakfast and dinner schedule hanging on the refrigerator. This will really help me stay focused on eating healthy throughout the week. Today I also spent three hours cooking for the week.

This cup of green beans should last for two lunches. I cooked them in olive oil, salt and pepper.

I divided this chicken into three, 3.5-ounce servings. It's cooked in olive oil, fresh garlic and lemon pepper. It's 122 calories per serving.

Fruit salad, yummy yummy. This mid-morning snack is about 65 calories. 

I'm very excited about my Monday lunch. I cooked quinoa for the first time, and it's pretty good. I mixed it with a serving of chicken and a half-cup of fresh green beans. Obviously I had to sample it, and it tasted great! Can't wait for lunch.