Jul 29, 2016

Simple Backyard Bridal Shower

A few weeks ago I threw my baby sister a bridal shower. The shower was a small lovely little affair that I did in my backyard. The party was simple and fairly easy to throw together. I just needed a few staple themes/items to make this simple backyard bridal shower dreamy and breezy.

I used lots of flowers and plants. There was an abundance of white dishes and serving ware. I raided my mason jar stash and used them for vases and for drinking glasses. I may or may not have had enough mix and match chairs to cover seating for all the guests. That is a lot of chairs. Insert blush here.

I went for a farm vintage look.

For a bridal shower, I am much more about the food than party games. In fact, there wasn't a single game played. It was simply a very ladylike lunch.

The Menu:

Chicken Salad Sandwiches
Homemade Pita Chips
Strawberry Soup
Mixed Salad
Lemon Water

Then of course there was this...

I made my very first naked cake. I loved how it turned out and it was SO yummy. It was a simple vanilla cake recipe and Swiss buttercream frosting with raspberry filling.

The bride-to-be was lovely. The afternoon was lovely. So basically everything was lovely.

Have I mentioned before that I love to throw parties? Well I do. Love.

Jul 28, 2016

Monte Cristo Roll Ups

Remember when I used to post a recipe every Thursday? Good times.

Memories. All alone in the moonlight...

I will stop now. These Monte Cristo Roll Ups are a glorious way to welcome back Recipe Thursdays. Let me share with you how these little balls of divine yumminess came about.

A few weeks ago our family took  a cross-country trip to the great state of Ohio. We visited friends and family. We also hit A LOT of our favorite places to eat. If you are ever in the Cleveland area, there are a couple of places we recommend you make time for.

First, make time for the West Side Market in Cleveland. 

The West Side Market is similar to an indoor Farmers Market, with vendors there almost all the time during business hours. The atmosphere is delightful and we love walking around. We take a few laps, first hitting our must-stops favorites. Then after a few laps we pick a new vendor and try something from them.

A must, MUST stop is Steve's Gyros. Drool. So good. We dream of them. DREAM. They are closed Tuesdays and Thursdays, they only take Cash, and they only sell gyros. They also always have a line of happily waiting people with cash in hand for their gyros. They are THAT good.

We normally also buy fresh made pasta and vanilla bean lemonade from vendors just around the corner from Steve's.

This year I tried these beautiful macaroons. I had never tried them before and they definitely lived up to all the hype.

So what about the whole Monte Cristo thing? First, do you know what a Monte Cristo is? It is a sandwich that is typically turkey, ham, Swiss cheese, and then battered and fried. Yes battered and fried. The first time that The Hubs called me from a business trip, raving about this heart attack on a plate, I questioned his mental status.

Don't get me wrong, it sounded good, but I was a little shocked by the gluttony the sandwich represented. I died a little inside.

Then I had one. You still might die a little inside (literally), but you will die happy. If you follow me on Instagram (@larissa_anotherday), then you know we had this monte cristo sandwich from the Melt Bar and Grilled. When we lived in Ohio they only had two restaurants in the Cleveland area. Now they have 3 up there and 2 in Columbus.

Isn't it lovely? This is a half sandwich plate. Yes the full is ridiculous.

So thanks to this Monte Cristo Sandwich, our family has been obsessed with them for years. We have tried a couple of versions of them over the years. The hardest was trying to make an actual knock off of the above sandwich. Epic fail. I don't recommend it. 

However, a waffle version and these roll ups are a yummy much easier version. They are simplified, but still sporting the quintessential monte cristo ingredients. 

Give these roll ups a try. They are sure to be a family hit.

printable version HERE

Jul 27, 2016

Where To Buy Affordable Exercise Clothes

When I was younger, I actually didn't give two figs about what I wore when I worked out. Probably because when I was younger we weren't even 1/12th as fashion savy as youth are today. We were happy in our over-sized Adidas t-shirts, plain shorts, and junky shoes. Work out clothes weren't really a thing. I swear it is a fall out from the over use of leotards, leg-warmers, and pantyhose worn during the Jane Fonda workouts of the 80's. Once we got to the 90's we wised up and just wanted to be comfortable whilst working out.

Fast forward a few, um 10's of years and we are living in a culture where fitness and fashion had a baby and we are brainwashed that it is imperative that we look stylish while working out. Not only to be cute, but also to appear as legit specimens of athletic and fitness ability.

You know the struggle is real. All the while I am complaining and making fun of this fitness wear phenomenon, I not-so-secretly want to look just as legit and cute as everyone else. My sister laughs when I want to coordinate all my workout outfits.

I would laugh at me too. However, it doesn't change the fact that I want cute work out clothes.

Here is the dilemma- a lot of workout clothes cost and arm and a leg. And quite frankly I need all my appendages to do the actual exercising, so I can't use them as payment for a cute pair of shorts.

So what's a girl to do?

This girl went on the hunt for cute and affordable work out gear. I am sharing my favorite places to buy work out clothes.

1. Walmart

Yes, Walmart. Don't knock it until you have tried it ladies. I would say 50% of my work out clothes come from the racks of Walmart. Reason 1- even full price their stuff is affordable. Reason 2- you can find some ridiculous deals on their clearance.

My favorite finds from Walmart are their running shorts and their tanks. I have bought sports bras from there, but I don't need a lot of um..er...support (small chested) so I can do with a cheaper sports bra.

Walmart rotates styles quite often and if you are vigilant about watching their clearance you can get some freaking awesome deals. Just last week I got running shorts for $2 a pair. Insanity people!

2. Target

You all know how I feel about Target. The work out clothes selection at Target is dreamy and I wish I could buy it all. However, I have to watch for sales. The workout clothes from target, while more affordable, definitely can still be pricey. At least for my wallet. The good news is, they have pretty decent clearance too. Especially when it is close to the end of a season. I stock up on cold running gear in late winter/early spring, for the next winter.

My favorite buys at Target are sports bras and cold weather running gear.

3. Old Navy

Old Navy, similar to Target can have great deals but you have to watch for them. I haven't loved their leggings, but I do really like their shorts and their tanks. Another work out item I buy from Old Navy is their socks. While that isn't really part of the "cute" work out gear, everyone needs a good pair of socks.

At least one time a year Old Navy has a killer sale on work out clothes. Keep your ears open for that sale and load up. It is pretty magical.

4. Discount Retailers (Ross/TJ Maxx)

The variety at these stores is limited, but if you take a peek at the work out section whenever you stop by you could get really lucky and find some gems. One of my very favorite pair of leggings (that I have since had to retire) came from Ross. Like I said earlier, it can be more work to search for deals here, but it is possible.

5. Online (Amazon, Zulily, etc.)

Online can be tricky because some online deal sites are not really that affordable. They may be cheaper than high end name brands, but they are really not that affordable. You guys might know what I am talking about. My trick with online is to make sure you get notifications of sales for work out clothes.

A very small percentage of work out clothes comes from online (at least these other stores). However, I still can find some really good deals. Okay, really my husband finds me some really good deals. Deals on things like Under Armour, New Balance, Brooks, and other brands.

The Secret to Finding Affordable Work Out Clothes:

You need to be willing to look anywhere. Anytime you are at a store search their clearance work out section. Even high priced stores have affordable deals sometimes. You need to be willing to search outside the box. Also, be willing to not have name brand. While there is a reason, Nike and Under Armour are better, a stores brand will do the trick. I promise!

That being said, there are some items you really should pay more money for. I pay more money for good winter running clothes (mostly because I run in the frigid winters of Idaho) and for work out shoes. Your feet are working hard and whether you are running, cross-training, weight-lifting, or taking cardio classes YOU NEED GOOD SHOES. I still buy my shoes on sale, but I do not buy knock off brands and I do not buy the generic low price name brand shoe that is basically only good for walking around in your day to day life.

Hope that enlightens a few of you. Basically it comes down to this---YOU CAN WORK OUT, LOOK CUTE, and NOT SPEND A FORTUNE.

Trust me, I have been doing it for awhile now.


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