Thursday, October 15, 2015

Jacksonville Fall City Guide

Fall, or autumn (if you're feeling fancy) is hands down my favorite time of year. By mid-October most of the scorching days of summer are past us and Jacksonville starts to cool down just enough to really enjoy some time outside. As a Jacksonville native, I know that this lovely weather won't last too long so I try to make the most of it while it's here. 
Here are a few ideas that'll make you fall in love with Jacksonville! 

1 | Sports | Sports fans rejoice! Jacksonville is home to two major sports teams, the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Jacksonville Armada, so whether you're a football fan or soccer fan, check out one of their games when they play in town. 

2 | Local Shopping | Of course I had to add local shopping to this list! The St. John's Town Center is great is you're looking for large, mainstream retailers, but my favorite places to shop for fall fashion are the smaller, locally owned boutiques. Many of these shops are tucked into cute Jacksonville neighborhoods, perfect for exploring different areas of town. San Marco is home to Rosie True, Krista Eberle & Beau Outfitters, while Avondale & Riverside are home to J. Ashley & Wolfgang, just to name a few. 

3 | Local Breweries | While I'm admittedly not much of a beer drinker, I do love that Jacksonville has 8 (eight!) local breweries. So for all you craft beer lovers (and/or local business supporters), here is an awesome map of the local brew scene. Get to tasting! 
Via Visit Jacksonville

4 | Enjoy the Outdoors | While Jacksonville doesn't boast traditional fall foliage this time of year, there are still many beautiful places to hike and take in 'Old Florida' scenery. The Jacksonville Arboretum and Tillie Fowler Regional Park are both great places to check out this fall! 
Jacksonville Arboretum Via Metro Jacksonville

5 | Dine al Fresco | From the beaches all the way in town to Avondale, outdoor dining is the best way to eat this time of year! One of my favorite spots for al fresco dining is  Black Sheep Restaurant's rooftop, the views are unbeatable and their drinks are on point too!  

Looking for more things to do in Jacksonville or your hometown this fall?  

Visit Jacksonville is a great local resource with lots of information on things to do and places to stay in Jax. 

Eventbrite shows you local shows and events based on your location, and you can search in different cities if you're traveling this fall! They also have a great event management service if you're looking to host your own event this fall or holiday season. 

What are your favorite things to do in Jacksonville or your hometown during the fall? 


Friday, August 7, 2015

Friday Five

It's Friday, y'all! This week seemed to fly by and I can't believe it's already August. I have a fairly busy weekend planned and this afternoon I'm trying to tackle an errand list that's a mile long, so without further ado, here is my Friday Five! 

1 | I've used the same Tervis water bottle for years and its starting to show its age, so I recently found these S'well insulated aluminum water bottle that I love! They're pricey but eco-friendly and are guaranteed to keep liquids cold for 12 hours. They make a .75 L size which is perfect, and they come in tons of colors & patterns! 

2 | Banana Bread & Zucchini Bread combined? Yes please. 

3 | My second triathlon is tomorrow! I haven't been training much since the first so I'm interested to see if my time will be any least I'll know what to expect this time around! 

4 | Deb of Smitten Kitchen never disappoints, and these Takeout-Inspired Sesame Noodles with Cucumber look amazing! Perfect for a light summery dinner 

5 | I have contemplated the Ikea Tobias dining chairs for over a year, and now that they're finally on sale I think I'm going to pull the trigger and buy them! I need to see when I can squeeze in an Orlando trip before the end of the month. I just love how they look paired with wooded tables like so... 

Do y'all have anything exciting going on this weekend? Let me know in the comments! 


Friday, July 24, 2015

Friday Five

Friday! Just like that we're back to the weekend, and this week really seemed sail by quickly! I had planned on posting a new, quick dinner recipe this week but forgot to take pictures while I was cooking (blogger fail) I'll be repeating it again next week! This weekend promises to be much more relaxing than the last few which will be a nice change of pace.  Here's a look at a few of my favorites from this past week! 

1 | I completed my first triathlon last weekend & lived to tell the tale! I actually crushed the time goal that I had mentally set for myself and it really was a great experience. My mom & brother woke up early and drove to Fernandina to cheer & take pictures - I don't think my mom has missed a race since I started running a few years ago, she's truly the best!  I'm seriously considering signing up for another one in August before I start training for my next half marathon. 
Mom, HB, me & Zack post race
2 | Mediterranean tuna salad with olives, red pepper & artichokes? Yes please. 

3 | This is a great guide for simplifying your kitchen. Even if you have plenty of cabinet space (which I do not), there's no reason to have 50 spatulas, spoons & stirrers cluttering your kitchen! 

4 | Off the shoulder dresses & tops seem to be on-trend at the moment, and perfect for hot Florida summers! I have my eye on this little dress

5 | My "little" brother turns 23 this Sunday, and I'm so thankful for him and all he does for our family. He's truly an amazing person with a huge heart, and I feel so lucky to be able to call him my brother & my friend too!  We'll be celebrating on Sunday with dinner and I'm making his requested birthday dessert - a carrot cake with vanilla buttercream. 


Friday, July 17, 2015

Friday Five

Happy Friday! Its hard to believe that we're more than halfway through July - this summer is just flying by! Between work, training & some weekend fun, there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of down time lately. But no complaints here, I wouldn't have it any other way! 

1 | As an FSU grad I've developed an affinity for arrows - I love wearing & decorating with them! I just ordered this set of arrows for the maisonnette & can't wait to add one to my gallery wall. 

2 | With a limited collection of baking dishes & pans, this post is a great reference for adapting recipes to fit the pans you have!

3 | I'm all about reusing & restyling items you already own to update your look, so last week I recovered a bulletin board I had on hand and moved it into my bedroom to hang all of my necklaces on! 

4 | I have been wanting to try homemade granola for a while, and this one looks great - with quinoa, almonds, pumpkin seeds & just a touch of oil.

5 |  I'm racing my first triathlon tomorrow in Fernandina Beach and I haven't been this nervous about an event since my half marathon last fall! Wish me luck! 

After work today I'm off to run some last minute errands before another busy weekend kicks off. I hope y'all have a fantastic weekend & hopefully I'll find time to check in next week with a new recipe! 


Friday, June 5, 2015

Friday Five

TGIF! I swear the work week gets longer as spring starts turning to summer. Here are five things that I've been loving recently! 
1 | After having my starter road bike for almost 6 years, I finally bought a new one last weekend. My little Dawes served me well, but my new Cannondale CAAD10 is out of this world & I'm in love!  

2 | While I don't have any long trips planned this summer, this post on packing the perfect carry-on is a great reference. 

3 | I'm not gluten-free, but this one pot gluten-free mac & cheese recipe looks so easy, yummy & relatively healthy! Its going on the menu next week for sure. 

4 | Can this silver cake stand magically appear in my kitchen? Please? 

5 | These Tart Cherry Power Cookies look like a great mid-afternoon snack! 

We've got a fairly busy weekend ahead but I'm looking forward to some relaxing too! What do y'all have planned this weekend? Anything you've been loving this week? Share in the comments! 


Friday, May 22, 2015

Friday Five

Happy Friday, friends! It's been a busy week and I'm very excited for this 3-day weekend! I'm a little behind on my Friday Five posts, so this one includes some favorites from the last few weeks!  
1 | My best friend from highschool was in town for the Player's Championship a few weeks ago and it was so great seeing her! It always amazes me how we can pick right back up where we left off after not seeing each other for more than a year.

2 | I just finished The Girl On The Train, making it the 6th book I have read so far this year! A little dark and very Gone Girl - ish, it was a quick read that had me guessing until the last few pages. 

3 | Love this idea for a container salsa garden! I might have to try my hand at something similar for my itty-bitty patio. 

4 | My dad's birthday was two weeks ago, and I made a delicious (and lightened-up) blueberry cobbler based on a recipe from the Skinnytaste Cookbook for the celebration!

5 | This online shopping guide looks like a great, extensive resource for shopping for your home! 

What are your plans for Memorial Day weekend? I'll be playing kickball Sunday for a friend's birthday and trying to spend as much time as possible outside with friends and family! 


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Skinny Spinach-Artichoke Dip

Sunday night dinner at my parents' house is almost a weekly occurrence, and I usually bring something over so mom doesn't have to do all of the heavy lifting. Spinach-Artichoke dip is always a crowd favorite, but not the healthiest appetizer known to mankind, so a few weeks ago I decided to put a 'skinny' spin on this classic and it got rave reviews from the fam. They didn't even know it had been adapted until I told them!

Skinny Spinach-Artichoke Dip 

2 c         Fresh Spinach, julienned (I've used a baby kale/spinach blend and it worked well)

1 t          Olive Oil
1/2 t      Minced garlic
2 cans   Artichoke Hearts
1 1/4 c  Plain 0% Greek Yogurt (I've had the best results with the Fage brand)
1 1/4 c  Powdered Parmesan Cheese
3/4       Shredded Parmesan Cheese
1 T        Garlic Powder

1 | Pre-heat oven to 350°

2 | In a medium sized pan, lightly saute the spinach with minced garlic in olive oil until slightly wilted. Remove from pan and set on paper towels to cool and remove excess moisture

3 | While the spinach is cooking, drain and chop the artichoke hearts

4 | In a large bowl (or your baking dish), combine chopped artichoke hearts, cooled spinach, greek yogurt, both parmesan cheeses, and garlic powder

5 | Bake in a medium casserole for 25 minutes, if desired, broil on low to brown the top

6 | Serve warm with tortilla chips or sliced vegetables (bell peppers, celery and carrots are great!) 


Friday, May 1, 2015

Friday Five

TGIF, friends! It's been a long week & I'm definitely ready for the weekend. Here are a few of  my favorite things from the past two weeks! 
1 | All politics aside, this is an amazing look inside The White House Gardens, Kitchen & Michelle Obama's china selection!

2 | I've never been a crunchy peanut butter girl, but I just discovered Trader Joe's Crunchy PB with Flax & Chia seeds, and it may make me a convert! I've eaten it on just about everything in arms reach over the past two weeks.

3 | Loving these sandals from J.Crew Factory. I usually live in my Jack Rogers all summer so these would be great to switch things up a little.

4 | This nugget of advice from Joy Wilson (& beautiful print) is a really great reminder. Keep not settling.

5 | Homemade apple chips? Yes please.

Have a great weekend, friends! I'll be back next week with a new recipe to share so stop back by.


Monday, April 27, 2015

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Happy Monday, friends! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend, mine just what the doctor (literally) ordered, with lots of rest and relaxation! 

This Mediterranean Quinoa Salad is one of my favorite recipes to make on Sunday and eat throughout the week. Its wonderful on its own, tossed with some greens for lunch, or as a side for dinner.

I love it lightly dressed with a homemade tangy balsamic vinaigrette (recipe below), but feel free to leave it plain or use your own dressing.

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

1 c       cooked quinoa
3/4 c  grape or cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
1/2 c  green bell pepper, chopped
1/2     small red onion, diced
1/4 c  kalamata olives, chopped
1/4 c  pepperoncinis, chopped
1/4 c  crumbled feta cheese (optional)
1/4 c  tangy balsamic vinaigrette (recipe below) 

Cooked Quinoa, Tangy Balsamic & Chopped Veggies

Chop tomatoes, green bell pepper, red onion, kalamata olives, pepperoncinis. Combine cooked quinoa, veggies, and feta (if using) in a medium bowl. Toss with tangy balsamic vinaigrette or other dressing, cover and let chill for at least 30 minutes to allow flavors to develop. Serve cold or room temperature.

Keeps in the refrigerator for 4 or 5 days, but a little more dressing may be needed after a day or two as the quinoa will soak some of it up

This recipe is highly adaptable; I have added diced celery, cooked chickpeas (for protein), cucumbers, and omitted the feta before and all variations have been delicious! 

Tangy Balsamic Vinaigrette  

1/4 c  olive oil

1/3 c  balsamic vinegar
1 T + 1/2 t  dijon mustard
1 t  minced garlic
Pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a small jar and shake vigorously to combine - makes 3/4 cup, plenty for the quinoa salad and leftovers for other salads during the week 

Have a wonderful week, friends!


Friday, April 24, 2015

Friday 5

Friends! I've been under the weather this week but wanted to stop in and share my Friday Five with you. I hope you all have a fantastic weekend, mine will be spent resting and recovering. 
1 | This is an interesting list from the kitchn, 30 recipies to know by the age of 30. While it might not work for everyone, I still think its a good starting point!    

2 | Loving these 22 tips to make the most of your decorating dollars. Sometimes big impact doesn't require a lot of money! 

3 | I made myself this no noodle pad thai for dinner on Tuesday and it was quick, fabulous and not too spicy or peanut-y (thats a thing, right?). 

4 | These Sperrys look like a great mix between a traditional boat shoe and a flat. I'm also a sucker for the gold laces, and they're on sale! 

5 | We've all seen stuffed peppers and tomatoes, but stuffed red onions? These will be on the menu for next week! 


Friday, April 3, 2015

Friday 5

Oh hey there, let's all pretend like it hasn't been 3+ months since I last posted on this little corner of the internet. So without any excuses, let's jump right in to my Friday 5!

1 | If you're still looking for a cute dress for Easter this Sunday, I'm loving this blue & green number.

2 | Nikki Dinki, my favorite contestant from The Next Food Network Star is coming out with a cookbook next year and I couldn't be more excited! 

3 | This article had a lot of great advice & life lessons from bloggers who have crossed into the world of professional interior design. 

4 | I'll be making Deb's newest carrot cake to bring to my parent's house for Easter dinner on Sunday, only with this buttercream frosting instead of the traditional cream cheese. 

5 | One of my goals for 2015 is to read at least one book per month, so far I am right on schedule, but I would love some suggestions for books to add to my list! 

What have you been up to lately? I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter/Passover weekend!