Five on Friday

It's time for another Five on Friday with my favorite ladies! I'll be linking up with AprilChristinaNatasha, and Darci for Five on Friday and Amanda for Friday Favorites.

I met a sweet girlfriend {Hi Melis!} for Happy Hour yesterday at one of my favorite restaurants, Vivace. If you live in Raleigh than you can attest to how wonderful the food and wine selection is here, not to mention the outdoor patio is my favorite too. It was such a fun evening catching up, sipping cocktails and enjoying this heavenly cheese board.
I've been wanting a pair of Espadrilles flats for a while now but can't seem to pull the trigger on a pair. So I need your advice, which pair do you like?
Barca Sailor Stripe Espadrilles
Sam Edelman Lynn Espadrilles
I love fresh flowers, there is something about fresh flowers that can brighten up my day instantly. It is an easy way to freshen up your house or add color to your tablescape when hosting a party. But I am always trying to make them last a little bit longer so when I read this article on Apartment Therapy, I was excited to see which theory works the best.
The adorable Ashley from Girl Talk is on her way to Florida and will be setting sail on Sunday, I am so jealous of the fun and sunshine that she will be enjoying for the next 7 days! She has a week full of fabulous women that will be guest posting while she is gone. Make sure to stop by on Tuesday to see what I'll be talking about :)!
Girl Talk by Ashley
I'll leave you with the quote that has been my motivation recently. I've been focused on being my best self, not being afraid of what is ahead and surrounding myself with the people that make me a better wife, daughter, sister, friend, and co-worker.
 I hope everyone has a wonderful, relaxing weekend! Cheers to Friday!

Fitness Motivation: Get Going & Get Results

I've always enjoyed exercising and love discovering new workout classes in the area. I find that if I can work out a couple times each week that I feel better and have a little more energy. I always wish that I could squeeze in a few more workouts than I do each week but I have to be realistic with myself and right now, our days fill up quickly with other obligations.

I was recently given the opportunity to work with Orangetheory Fitness, a revolutionary workout concept that has been featured in the New York Times, Bloomberg, Men's Fitness, and many other news publications. They have just opened 3 studios in the Raleigh area so I was very excited to see what it was all about.
Orangetheory Fitness is a unique group workout broken into intervals of cardio and strength training. You will alternate between treadmills, indoor rowing machines and weight room/resistance training blocks. Each session that I have attended has been unique and different which I really enjoy because I tend to get bored {very quickly} if my workout routine is same. That definitely won't happen if you make the investment in Orangetheory Fitness!

The sessions are led by professional and very energetic trainers that are there to support and encourage you during the entire workout which was a huge motivator for me. I'll be honest, the last 10 minutes were tough - my legs were shaking, my arms were already sore and the sweat was pouring down my face - but our trainer kept us going until the very end.

During the 60 minute workout, you will wear a heart-rate monitor which is designed to help you keep your heart rate in a target zone that stimulates metabolism and increases energy. Everyone's heart rates are projected on TV screens throughout the workout so you can see if you need to push yourself harder or slow down to reach the target "orange zone." If you stay within the orange zone for 12 - 20 minutes during the class, the result is the Orange Effect - more energy, visible toning and extra calorie burn up to 36 hours post-workout. Who doesn't love to hear that their workout will continue to drive results even post-workout?!

After the workout, you will receive an email with a recap showing how you did during the class to easily track your progress. If your goal is to lose weight, you can expect to see an estimated loss of 3-5 pounds by attending 3-5 sessions per week. But if your goal is performance, like me, you can expect to see an increase in power, speed and strength after your first 2 weeks by attending 2-4 sessions per week. As I train for my upcoming half-marathon in October, I will continue to attend at least 2 sessions each week and will let you know the results that I am able to achieve after crossing the finish line in Philadelphia.
You can also expect to burn an estimated 500 to 1,000 calories per workout. During my first session, I was able to burn approximately 755 calories in 60 minutes! This is my kind of workout.

Their studios are located all around the country, click here to see if there is one near you. If you are in the Raleigh area, they have a studio in Morrisville, Chapel Hill and Holly Springs. The Holly Springs location is where I attend classes - the entire staff is extremely friendly, willing to answer any of my questions and are just awesome people! :)
I highly recommend Orangetheory Fitness to anyone, it is challenging but incredibly rewarding. If you have any questions or would be interested in attending an upcoming class, feel free to email me! I'd love to have you join me.

Outfit Details:
Pants: Zella "Live In 2" Capris 
Top: Lululemon "Cool Racerback" tank 
Shoes: Brooks PureCadence 4 
Headband: Headbands of Hope Sheer Gold 

Current Obsessions: Summer Wardrobe

My closet received a complete overhaul this weekend {it felt so good} but this can only mean one thing in my mind, I need to spend some time at the mall this weekend. I am in desperate need of a few summer items to brighten up my wardrobe! 

Here's what I have my eye on right now.
1. J.Crew Sleeveless Floral Lace Sheath Dress {currently on sale with code summerlove}
2. 1.State Pleated Overlay Dress
3. Frenchi Woven Swing Tank
4. John Robshaw Alabat Beach Towel
5. J.Crew Punched-Out Eyelet Romper
6. Lilly Pulitzer Dusk Romper
7. J.Crew Silk Strappy Jumpsuit
8. J.Crew Midnight Floral Cocoon Top

Oh, and these Southern Saying Cocktail Napkins from Reese Witherspoon's new store called Draper James. If I could have one of everything, I would. I love her classic, Southern style.

They included a tab of "Southernisms" on their website and I have to admit that these are perfect!  

Weekend Highlights: A twist on your normal Rodeo

Have you ever ordered a meal from a Food Truck?! If you are like me, the thought of ordering a meal {and enjoying it} from a truck was a bizarre concept. Why would you just not go to a restaurant? Well, my opinion of Food Trucks quickly changed  when we went to Raleigh's Food Truck Rodeo a few weekends ago. The food was unique and delicious!  
STOP #1:
American Meltdown Gourmet Melts has been featured on the news, in well-known magazines and won numerous awards for their creative approach to make a simple grilled cheese not-so-simple.  
If you know me well then you know that I love anything with Pimento Cheese. I am true believer that Pimento Cheese makes anything better so TC knew that I would be ordering the Pimento Cheese, Spicy Sausage and Corn Relish melt plus a side of baked Brussels Sprouts {another one of my favorites} with a Garlic Aioli dipping sauce. Let me just say, American Meltdown was my kind of Food Truck.

Similar Grilled Cheese Recipes: I could eat a Grilled Cheese for every meal {not joking} so I can't wait to try this recipe from Southern Living or try to replicate the Merguez Sausage Sandwich from Little Muenster in New York City. 

STOP #2:
I have heard nothing but great things about this next Food Truck, Mac-Ur-Roni, from my friends and colleagues. When I saw the bright yellow truck, I knew that I had to stop to try their "infamous" Mac and Cheese.
We ordered the "Homewrecker" Mac & Cheese which was three-cheese macaroni topped with Buffalo Chicken, Onions and Blue Cheese. It melted in your mouth, it was amazing!
The Mac-Ur-Roni Food Truck is a Triangle-based truck where the Chef worked as a Corporate Accountant for a few years until he left to pursue his dream of owning a restaurant one day. After graduating from culinary school in 2011, he was able to make his dream a reality.

Similar Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese Recipes: The Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese with panko bread crumbs from AllRecipes looks devine and so does this recipe from Food Network.

STOP #3:
I love, love, love {fresh} fish tacos! We have a lot of family that live at the beach so we usually wait to order seafood until we are there. Nothing compares to being able to enjoy fish for lunch or dinner that was caught earlier that morning, right?

Dank Burrito is based out of Morehead City, NC and was named the 2014 Rookie Food Truck of the Year. It is owned and operated by Circa 81, one of our favorite restaurants in Morehead City, that specializes in "offering a farm/sea to table menu as much as possible by supporting local fishermen and farmers."
Similar Fish Taco recipes: Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa Verde and Mahi Mahi BLT Tacos are on our list to make the next time that we are at the beach.

We're already counting down the days until the next Food Truck Rodeo on Sunday, June 14th! Who wants to join us?!

Hosting & Toasting: My Sister's Wedding Weekend

Wedding Season is upon us and my sister kicked it off with an unforgettable weekend! Every detail came together beautifully. She was the most stunning bride that brought us all to tears when she stepped into her wedding dress and was then anxiously awaiting the moment that she would see her groom.   

I wish we could hit rewind and relive the entire weekend all over again. Here is a peak into that special weekend that included a Bridal Luncheon on Friday afternoon hosted by our Aunts, lots of golf, a Southern BBQ on the patio of our local country club on Friday night, their magical wedding day on Saturday and a Mother's Day brunch on Sunday.
On Saturday night, I was able to keep myself together as I toasted to the most amazing sister that I am incredibly thankful to call mine. "To my GiGi {the nickname that I gave my sister when I was little}: my big sister, my best friend, my cheerleader and my protector.

I remember the days that we spent playing cars in the yard when we were little, having sleepovers in our bedrooms on South Valley {because let's be honest, I thought monsters were under my bed} so naturally I wanted to snuggle with my big sister. Fast forward 5 years and we are cruising around in a blue 1990 Volvo dancing and singing {on the very top of our lungs} to Shaina Twain's 'whose bed have your boots been under' or any song by Madonna..."   
"...I remember sitting at your graduation ceremony from UNC on Mother's Day weekend with tears in my eyes because I quickly realized that you were growing up. You were about to move to New York City to begin another chapter of your life. As many people thought Wil wouldn't last more than a year, well we definitely didn't think Sara would be there more than 6 months. Growing up in this quaint town, we were used to the pace of a small town and knowing everyone by first and last name {and maybe even their life long story too}. New York City was going to be a life changing experience and it certainly was. You have achieved your dreams and career goals one step at a time. You have found the most caring friends that have been by your side consistently for the past 11 years. And then when you least expected it, you found the man of your dreams - a Southern gal from NC meets a gentlemen from TN!"
"My forever best friend and protector. You have wiped my tears away during the saddest of moments, you have celebrated in my biggest wins, you have supported me through every chapter of my life and have provided the words of wisdom needed to comfort me at the current moment.

We have traveled the world together, finished 6 half marathons together step-by-step & hand-in-hand and celebrated some of life's biggest events from graduations, our first jobs, engagements and now weddings. These memories will never fade and I can't wait to continue creating even more memories with our families! And for that I will always be forever grateful that I have you as my very best friend. I can't imagine a day without you..."
"When I look at our Bride and Groom, I feel such a kaleidoscope of emotions. Sara has found her true match. My heart is truly bursting with love for you too. I know you have a wonderful adventure ahead of you so take each day one at a time. Love one another more today than yesterday and less than tomorrow."
"Please raise your glass as we toast to the new Mr. and Mrs. Trohanis! If ever you are to enjoy is the time! Today should always be your most wonderful day. Let today be the building block for all the years to come, and may your home and heart be filled with your love and laughter for all the days of your life! I love you both!"

One Room Challenge: Reveal

6 weeks ago when I asked TC to begin the One Room Challenge to help me renovate our Guest Room upstairs, I had no idea that this room would end up becoming one of my favorite rooms in our house!

This room was the last one to be renovated because we knew it would be a lot of work. It was well worth every minute that we spent sanding, cleaning, painting, sweeping and decorating! 

I remember taking this picture and thinking to myself that "there is no way that we will finish this in 6 weeks but it's worth a shot!" I am pretty sure many people thought we were crazy when we said that we were going to tackle this room but I am so glad that we did. 
But we did it! We are ready for anyone, near or far, to come spend a weekend with us. {TC will most likely find me sipping a cup of coffee and enjoying a good book here in the near future.}
I have to admit that I still have a little more decorating to do - adding curtains, ordering a dresser and purchasing a few paintings - but it will have to wait right now. I am off to celebrate my big sister getting married this weekend! I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! 

Wall Paint Color: Benjamin Moore Pelican Gray
Trim Paint Color: Benjamin Moore White Dove
Floor Paint Color: Benjamin Moore Sea Foam 
Bed: Pier One
Bedding: Pottery Barn
Blanket: Home Goods

Be sure to take a look at all the other amazing One Room Challenges by visiting Linda's blog, Calling It Home.

Pan-Roasted Chicken with Coconut-Smashed Plantains and Stewed Collard Greens

I apologize for the lack of blog posts since Friday, I feel like I don't have enough hours in the day right now. Between finishing our One Room Challenge {I'm so excited to reveal it tomorrow!} and getting everything ready for my sister's wedding this weekend, the days seem to fly by.
Many people have asked that I share the recipe for the pan-roasted Chicken with Coconut-Smashed Plantains and Stewed Collard Greens. First, I have to admit that I don't like plantains or collard greens so for me to confess that this was my favorite meal last week, you know it has to be good!

2 Bone-In & Skin On Chicken Thighs
1 Plantain
2 Scallions
1 Bunch of Collard Greens
1 Fresh Lime
1 Red Onion
2 Tablespoons of Tomato Paste
1 Ginger {1 inch in size}
1/4 cup of Coconut Milk Powder
1 cup of water
Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon of an even blend of Spices
{1/8 Teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper, Ground Cinnamon, 
Ground Cardamom, Dried Oregano, Paprika, Light Brown Sugar}

ONE. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season with half of the blend of spices and salt & pepper. In a medium pan {oven-safe}, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium heat until hot. Add the seasoned chicken, skin sides down, and cook for 2-3 minutes or until lightly browned. Transfer the pan directly to the oven. Roast, flipping the chicken halfway through for 23-25 minutes or until cook through. Remove from the oven. 

TWO. While the chicken is cooking, heat a large pot of salted water on high until it is boiling. In the meantime begin preparing all of the other ingredients. Peel the plantains and cut into 1/2 inch rounds. Cut off and discard the root ends of the scallions and slice them thinly. Cut and discard the collard green stems and roughly chop the leaves. Using a peeler, remove the rind of the lime, avoiding the white pith. Then mince the rind to get 2 teaspoons of zest {we used a zester}. Quarter the lime. Peel and thinly slice the red onion. Peel and mince the ginger. In a medium bowl, whisk together the coconut milk powder and 1/4 cup of water.

THREE. Add the plantains to the pot of boiling water. Cook for 9-11 minutes or until tender when poked with a fork. Turn off the heat. Drain thoroughly and return to the pot. Using a fork, smash the cooked plantains {similar to mash potatoes}. Stir in the lime zest, coconut milk powder mixture and the juice of 2 lime wedges. Mix thoroughly and season with salt and pepper. Set these aside. 

FOUR: In a medium, non-stick pan, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium heat until hot. Add the onion, ginger, scallions and remaining blend of spices. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until softened then add the tomato paste. Cook for another 1-2 minutes or until everything is dark red. 

FIVE: Add the collard greens and 3/4 cup of water to the pan of onions, ginger, etc. Cook on medium, stirring occasionally, for 10-12 minutes or until the collard greens have wilted and the liquid has slightly reduced in volume. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.  You are FINISHED!

SIX. Divide the stewed collard greens and smashed plantains between 2 plates, placing the collard greens on the bottom and adding the smashed plantains on top of them. Then place a piece of chicken on each plate. 
I paired this dish with a Rose and it was simply delicious! I hope everyone's having a wonderful week. Make sure to stop back by tomorrow to see our One Room Challenge - Guest Room makeover reveal.

Five on Friday

Where did the month of April go?! I can't believe it's May 1st today but I have a feeling that May is going to come and go just as quickly as April.

It's Friday so you know what means, I am linking up with AprilChristinaNatasha, and Darci for Five on Friday and Amanda for Friday Favorites!

My phone has been flooded with great articles about North Carolina this week, so I wanted to share a few with you.

The 10 most beautiful towns in North Carolina: My hometown, Pinehurst, made the list which was exciting for our small town! A few of my other favorites were featured too.
Standing on the 18th Green at Pinehurst #2
17 places to see with kids in North Carolina: This is an amazing list. Growing up in North Carolina, you would think that I would be able to successfully say that I have seen or done each of the 17 items on this list but I haven't. I have experienced 10 out of the 17! My top 2 favorites would be plunging down Sliding Rock and seeing the Wild Horses roam on Shackleford Banks.

The happiest cities in the US: I have to agree, Raleigh is the happiest place in NC {perhaps I am a little bias}!

"A 1/2 mile of Food Trucks & Restaurants spread out over 11 city blocks." I am already in a food coma just thinking about it! On Sunday, Raleigh will have their first Food Truck Rodeo of the season featuring over 50 Food trucks from across the state of NC. I will be stopping by the American Meltdown {Grilled Cheeses}, Mac-Ur-Roni, Master Bacon {this sounds interesting} and Baguettaboutit {Stuffed French Baguettes}.

Do you love Etsy as much as I do?! If so, you have to visit French Press Mornings. I stop by her store frequently. The Encouraging Wednesdays section has the most beautiful passages and the designs are gorgeous. I just purchased this one...
We made pan-roasted Chicken with Coconut-Smashed Plantains and Stewed Collard Greens this week. It was my favorite meal of the week! I'll be sharing the recipe next week.
I have my eye on these pillows and side tables for our Guest Room! I can't believe that we are already in the final week of our One Room Challenge. I have a lot of decorating to do this weekend and can't wait to share the big reveal next Thursday! :)