Quinoa Salad

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I make this salad often, especially in the summer, and since more than one friend has asked me for the recipe I thought I’d share. You can really mix anything with your quinoa for this salad but I’ll share what I typically do. It is one of those dishes that is great to make ahead and have a big bowl of on hand for lunches, as a side dish, or I usually make it with tilapia*. It is great to serve for a healthy girls night supper, which is when my friends had it, have your salad made in the fridge then just add baked tilapia!

Quinoa Salad

Cook quinoa, bring to a boil 2 cups of water to 1 cup of quinoa with a pinch of salt, once boiling, cover and reduce to a simmer cooking until liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Transfer cooked quinoa to a big bowl, add shallot, carrots, and vinaigrette to taste. Let cool. Mix in cherrie tomatoes and mixed greens, add more vinaigrette and squeeze on juice of one lemon.

*tilapia, pat tilapia dry, spread a thin layer of mayo over tilapia (I know! No mayo! but its a super thin layer, mostly just to moisten the fish) sprinkle Seafood Magic seasoning blend over it. Bake on an aluminum foil lined pan at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.

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I’m not sure why, but I always forget just how rejuvenating a trip to the beach is and when it is time to leave I’m already planning when I can return (ughhh problems of the Midwest). There really is nothing better than spending your day lounging on the beach, am I right?! This past week we took a family vacation to the Outer Banks in NC, and was Leon’s first trip to the beach. It was everything I’d hoped it to be, spending the day relaxing on the beach, playing in the sand, taking a dip in the crisp ocean, seaside strolls, and ending with a nice home cooked meal and games.

It was so exciting seeing Leon’s first reaction to the ocean waves and sand, ranking up there with the first time he rolled or sat up, or his first coo. He actually enjoyed the sand, picking it up and sprinkling it out of his little fists, trying to eat it (naturally), and digging holes with papa. It was adorable every time a wave would come up to him he’d reach back to us. We brought a little baby pool with us each day so that he could get a little wet and splash around. He also enjoyed gnawing on at least one peach a day while hanging on the beach.

I found Have a Little Faith, by Mitch Albom at the beach house and read it (or reread it, or was that Tuesdays with Morrie?) and it was such a comforting and warm little beach read, I’d recommend it for a quick summer read if you haven’t read it. Those moments were some of my favorites, in the evening, when the sandy shores were clearing out, the light was that perfect golden, the sound of the waves, with rosé and book in hand, oh take me back.

So go ahead and do yourself a favor and get to the beach.

maggie and milly and molly and may

maggie and milly and molly and may
went down to the beach(to play one day)

and maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldn’t remember her troubles,and

milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;

and molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:and

may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone.

For whatever we lose(like a you or a me)
it’s always ourselves we find in the sea

– e. e. cummings

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Hello Summer

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I’m back! I know I haven’t written in awhile (umm, a year) but as you all know, life has been pretty busy this past year. I do think of this place often and have missed this little piece of internet space to share things that bring me joy, and why not start again on the unofficial start of  summer! It was this time, when it all began 3 years ago, summer break and a dancer’s off season. Much has changed since that first post, a younger lady who was really just trying to occupy all her summer free time with dancer off duty. My days are now chock full of watching over a mobile baby, supporting and helping my husband’s endeavors (more on that), growing my pilates business (and that), oh and a little dancing. Boy how quickly life can change!

Leonard is now almost 9 months. As you can imagine it has been such a learning experience so far and I am happy to share my version of motherhood with you. Stay tuned for summer travels, food, projects, and the daily discoveries with my little companion. Hope everyone enjoyed their holiday weekend. Happy summer!

Baby Bump

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I have been wanting to write about my pregnancy thus far and thought what better time than before I start my third trimester (can’t believe I’ll be 28 weeks this weekend)! Plus I wanted to share some photos from our trip to Bermuda. You seriously can not stop taking pictures of this stunning, picture perfect island. By the way I am 23 weeks in these photos.

I thought it might be fun to answer some common questions that one gets when pregnant, and if there is one thing that I have gathered from this time, it is that people love talking pregnancy and babies!

Have you been very sick?

I was extremely fortunate to have a very easy first trimester. Yes, I certainly felt queasy at times, especially when dancing, but really only got sick twice. In one rehearsal I had to run out in the middle and got sick. The other time was right at half hour before a dress rehearsal.

How was it dancing while pregnant?

Again, it wasn’t too bad, but I did have my harder days. The hardest part was definitely my energy level. Dancing in your first trimester, plus we were working on a pretty physically demanding show, left me exhausted at the end of the day. I would get home, eat a giant bowl of pasta, and not leave my couch. The last show that I performed in I was 15 weeks pregnant. One piece was Minus 16, which is exhausting and requires you to use your entire body to the max. It was a lot of fun but probably would have liked to experience it not being pregnant. The other piece I had to wear a full blown unitard. Yep, now that was a test of my self confidence and left me feeling pretty insecure in my curvier body. But hey, I made it through and I am glad that I did it.

Did you experience any of those typical early pregnancy, emotional mood swings?

Yep! My most memorable one was over my cat. Anyone who knows me know that I am obsessed with my cat Edie, but since being pregnant it has gone to another level. It is almost like I am practicing being a mom and directing all my maternal energy towards her. One night I was crying to Cervi, no, not just crying, gasping for air crying, Edie isn’t going to like our new home! You don’t love her as much as I do! (I don’t expect anyone to love her like I do because I am crazy obsessed.) I look back at that moment now and laugh at how upset I was.

Any food cravings?

At the beginning, goldfish, Kraft mac-and-cheese, pasta, and Izzy’s pickles. Now, gummy candy and watery fruit like watermelon, grapes, and pineapple.

Were you feeling that it was a girl or boy before you found out?

I was leaning towards boy but I think it was more because I have been around more baby boys than girls. Also, not sure if this is true but it ended up being true for me, if you develop a rash you are having a boy. Around Christmas time, long before we found out that we were expecting, I developed a rash on my chest and arms, which was weird since I had never really had one that severe. Turns out, it is a sign of being pregnant with a boy.

Have you started the nursery?

Not really, but I do have some ideas. I did however finally start the daunting task of making my registry. It is so overwhelming! There is so much out there and so many directions you can go. I will say that Baby List has been my life saver. So if you are as clueless as I am this site really educates you, helps you decide what is important to you and your lifestyle, and gives you lists of the best rated products.

Any advice for those pesky pregnancy symptoms?

Ok, this is going to sound completely nuts, but it worked for me. For the past couple of weeks I have had those annoying leg cramps, especially in my calves at night. Now, I am a dancer and know all about drinking water, stretching, eat a banana, yada yada, nothing was helping. Then a friend told me about this odd trick that she heard about, it worked for her and it worked for me. Put a bar of soap under your bed sheets when sleeping. Yep, nuts, a plain old bar of soap (I used Dove). I have no idea how or why but I haven’t gotten leg cramps at night.

There you have it, checking off my first and second trimester, and on to the third. It is going to be one hot summer!

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Our Wedding

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Our wedding day was truly the most wonderful day of my life. Of course you imagine what your wedding might one day look like, but are not able to comprehend the magic of it until it is your turn. The combination of all your favorite people gathered and the joy and excitement that you share with the love of your life, nothing compares. Leading up to the big day, my only fear was that I wouldn’t be able to be in the moment or feel overwhelmed by the day, but I am happy to say that I felt extremely present on my wedding day.

The morning of, I felt calm and had the perfect morning getting ready with my best girlfriends. I don’t tend to get emotional easily (in fact felt I was consoling everyone else!), but then I had my moment. It hit me right before I walked down the aisle and it ended up being one of my most memorable moments of the day. I arrived to the church about a half hour early, while poor Cervi came an hour early and was a nervous wreck having to wait so long (he later told me that he thought he would talk to guests as they arrived but as soon as he said hello to the first guest, became even more nervous and ran to the back to sit with the priest)! When I arrived I went straight to the basement of the church and waited with my mom, mother-in-law, and sister-in-law. Before I was about to make my way up to the back of the church my photographer offered me a tissue to wrap around my bouquet, I shrugged it off, “nah, I don’t think I’ll cry, I feel fine”. We made our way up the staircase and as soon as I heard the music I started bawling, she quietly handed back the tissue. After my meltdown, I gathered myself and it was time for people to start preceding down the aisle while my dad and I waited for our turn. Oh the father, daughter moment before walking down the aisle, I had always dreamt of it. The moment was so sweet and powerful in and of itself that neither of us needed to say much, otherwise we might loose it! Finally the doors opened and I saw my groom.

Cervi and I were engaged in the beginning of January and our engagement was quickly cut short when we found out that we were expecting (on the day of the wedding I was 17 weeks pregnant). That is the beauty of life, you plan and map out your life but then it throws you a curve ball and ends up working out better than ever imagined. Thanks to my mom, we planned our wedding in less than three months (people it can be done!). Her persistency and perseverance made for the perfect wedding planner. We were shocked at how smoothly everything went and how things fell into place. Because of the time crunch, there was no room to hesitate and we just made a decision and moved on (I would almost recommend planning a wedding this way). We were married in the Catholic Church and so had to complete Pre Cana and attend meetings with the priest and counselors. Everyone that we worked with in the church were so supportive and loving towards us and we ended up meeting some wonderful people.

The reception was exactly as hoped, a little bit of tradition and a lot of fun. We had about one hundred and fifteen guests. When people later complemented us for throwing such a fun party we completely credit and thank our family and friends for wanting the day to be such a joyous time. Both of our fathers brought down the house with their incredible speeches. Naturally, there was endless dancing and as I looked around to see faces from all parts of my life, I could not believe how blessed I am.

Now, I have the impossible task of narrowing down some photos to share. Here are a few of my favorites and I’m sure will be back with more. I have also shared the vendors that we used and would highly recommend them all. When I looked through the photos I could not help but giggle at how overly smiley (me especially) and over joyed we looked, which captured the day perfectly. I want to thank all of our family and friends, at the wedding or not, who have shared their love and support with us. Much love.

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Vendors

Photographer: Claire and Barrett

Videographer: Mark Roberts (video coming soon!)

Ceremony: St Xavier Church

Reception: The Backstage Event Center

Flowers: Britton Spitler

Cake: Dessert Works Cakery and Britton Spitler

DJ: DJ Toad