Monday, April 21, 2014

Travel :: St. Petersburg, Florida

The last two days of our trip to Florida were spent in St. Petersburg.  We stayed at the historic Vinoy Resort & Golf Club and absolutely loved it.  The hotel was built in the 1920's and overlooks the beautiful marina and town of St. Pete.  After nearly a week of bad weather we were thrilled to be greeted by endless sunshine, and spent much of our time lounging by the pool reading and drinking cocktails.  In the evenings we strolled through downtown St. Petersburg stopping in shops, eating ice cream, and taking in two very beautiful sunsets.  A few of my recommendations...

THE BIRCHWOOD: We absolutely loved this rooftop bar and wished we had more time to spend there.  They serve wonderful craft cocktails and small plates {the truffle frites were so so good}.  Go up at sunset and watch the sky turn vibrant orange and pink over the Maria and town of St. Pete. 

VINOY RESORT & GOLF CLUB: Out of all the hotels we looked at in St. Petersburg, the Vinoy was by far my favorite.  The location is top-notch and hotel itself is absolutely stunning.  The facade reminded me of The Royal Hawaiian hotel and the service was just as wonderful.  My only complaint was the room decor seemed a bit stale, but since we hardly spent any time in our room it was absolutely fine.  We booked our room on a website called and were able to save $100 {YAY!}  If you're staying in St. Pete Beach, I would recommend the Don Cesar resort which has a similar ambiance.

400 BEACH SEAFOOD & TAP HOUSE: This restaurant has a great outdoor dining area with a casual seafood centric menu including Lobster Mac & Cheese, Florida Grouper Oscar, and fish tacos {Ryan said they were some of the best he has ever eaten}.  Plus, it was a five minute walk from the Vinoy which was that much better.

THE MARINA: Grab a scoop of ice cream and dangle your legs over the edge of the Marina and watch the sailboats go by.  So peaceful.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Travel :: Disney World

During our recent trip to Florida we decided to make the best of the imclemete weather and take a last minute trip to Disney World.  We hopped in the car at 7AM and were on the road.  As a girl, we would visit Disney almost every year, but it had been years since I had last been back.  To be honest, I was absolutely giddy with excitement to be going back to 'The Happiest Place on Earth,' but unfortunately due to absolutely insane crowds our trip to Disney definitely left a bit to be desired.

As a child, we rarely went to Disney World on Spring Break and instead would typically visit either over our Winter Break {in February} or my parents would pull me out of school for a few days to go. I have never, never seen anything like the tens of thousands of people literally shoulder to shoulder throughout the entire park.  We pulled up to Disney around 9AM, and didn't get on our first ride until nearly 2PM because it took that long to buy our tickets, get into the park, and wait in line for the Fast Pass.  The Fast Pass itself was an extremely frustrating experience, as after standing in line for over an hour {and still not even being close to the reservation booth}, we found out that all of the major rides {Space Mountain, Thunder Mountain, etc.} were booked until 10PM.  So, dejectedly, we left the line and were almost ready to give up on our Disney dreams...but thankfully the tried-and-true Teacups had only a 20 minute line so we ran over and after 90 seconds of Disney magic were back to enjoying the day.

Overall, I was definitely a little frustrated by the experience.  We were only able to ride three rides {albeit good rides - the Teacups, Pirates of the Caribbean, and the Haunted Mansion} the entire day, and weren't truly able to get the full Disney experience because of the crowds.  There were lines to buy food, lines to get into restaurants, lines to get into bathrooms, lines to get in lines...literally lines everywhere.  I can only imagine how much more upsetting the situation would be if we had been there with children and had come to Florida specifically with the intent of visiting Disney.  Lesson of the story...if you go to Disney World, do NOT go over Spring Break!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Recipe :: Pan-Roasted Chicken with Carrots and Almonds

I stumbled across this recipe in Bon Appétit a few months ago, and since then it has become one of our favorite weeknight dinners.  For me, when I'm wanting to prepare an easy dinner, the fewer ingredients a recipe requires the better.  We almost always have a couple boneless organic chicken breasts in the fridge, a handful of almonds in the pantry, and a bunch carrots in the this recipe is a perfect way for me to make a delicious meal on a budget.  Plus the fact that we are now starting to see fresh carrots at the farmers market?  Even better!  Note, by the time dinner was ready it was dark outside, and we all know what food photography looks like with bad lighting {SCARY!}.  So to shield your eyes I simply used the photograph from the magazine :)

Pan-Roasted Chicken with Carrots and Almonds {recipe via Bon Appétit}
Serves 4

1 pound small carrots (about 12), peeled
1/2 cup coarsely chopped almonds
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
4 skin-on, bone-in (or boneless) chicken breasts
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 small shallot, finely chopped
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh tarragon

Preheat oven to 375°. Toss carrots, almonds, and 2 tablespoons oil on a large rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Roast, tossing occasionally, until carrots are tender, 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Cook chicken, skin side down, until golden brown, 5-8 minutes. Turn chicken over, transfer skillet to oven, and roast until cooked through, 10-15 minutes longer.

While chicken and carrots are roasting, mix yogurt and lemon juice in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Remove chicken and carrots from oven; transfer chicken to a large plate. Add carrots, shallot, and tarragon to skillet and toss to coat in pan drippings. Serve with lemon yogurt.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Fashion Inspired By :: Thai Sunsets

First of all, thank you so much for your sweet and helpful comments on Monday's post.  Putting it out in writing made me that much more excited...and fingers crossed, but I think our trip to Thailand in January is most likely a go!  I have been absolutely giddy thinking about it and am a little embarrassed at the number of hours I have already spent researching our trip {looking at my search history is nothing short of scary...can you say OCD?!}  One thing I have been dreaming about are the sunsets which I have heard are some of the best in the world.  I love how sunsets can be completely different depending on where you are, and since neither Ryan nor myself have been to Asia I think we will be in for a welcome treat!  Inspired by the hot pinks, sea greens, and dusty blues...I have pulled together some of my favorite looks for your closet.  Enjoy!

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Images via {1} {2} {3} {4} {5} {6} {7} {8}

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

My Life :: Locally Grown Gardens

My favorite thing about our neighborhood is that there are so many amazing places within walking distance.  We have a Fresh Market on the corner, four of Indianapolis' best restaurants {Taste and Delicia being my favorites} within a couple of blocks, are less than a 10 minute walk from the bike trail.  But one of the most unique neighborhood haunts is 'Locally Grown Gardens,' a farmers market stand in an old gas station.  The stand is open year-round and sells fresh local produce, eggs, milk, cheeses, artisanal pantry products, flowers, French dinnerware and table linens, and well as fresh baked pies.  Chef Ron ensures the market has a cool, relaxed vibe with reggae music, rustic tables, antique lighting, dozens of sun-bleached cookbooks, and offers a few plates for dinner including an insanely delicious roasted salmon.  I love supporting local farmers and businesses, and Locally Grown Gardens ensures I can do both at the same time!