Tag Archives: parties

Oddball at Real Art Ways – Giveaway!

Remember to check out Friday’s post for a link to a Physique 57 online workout code that will give you a free 48 hours of access – up until 10/31!

This Saturday 10/26 I will be attending the Halloween event of the season – the 2013 Oddball at Real Art Ways in Hartford! Ticket proceeds will benefit Real Art Ways, an art organization that shows independent films, commissions public projects, and puts on other live and visual arts based events. This is the fifth year of the masquerade ball featuring “tricked-out art galleries, eerie photo opps, and outrageous tunes”. Doors open at 8PM!

The $65 ticket includes a specialty Absolut cocktail and food from some of the area’s best restaurantsMax’s Oyster Bar, ON20, Pond House Grille, Firebox, and Republic. Trust me, their food is good…I’ve been to all of them except ON20, but given all the awards they win and the fact that one of my favorite mixologists Brent Bushong is now in charge of their bar food and cocktail menu, I’m comfortable saying they’ll have some delicious offerings.

I actually had dinner at Pond House Grille on Saturday night. They’re doing all-hours happy hour food right now – buy 1, get 1 for a penny. These are the Gorgonzola sweet potatoes and crab cake croquettes. I enjoyed both, ESPECIALLY the sweet potatoes.

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Hartford Magazine October Launch with Hoffman Auto

This past Wednesday I was invited by my good friend Kat (of the Hartford Advocate) to attend the October issue launch party of Hartford Magazine.

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The event began promptly at 5:30PM at Farmington Gardens, a lovely event venue located in (obviously) Farmington, CT. Thankfully it was a fairly warm day so the patio was decked out in charming lights for guests’ enjoyment.

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Marvelous Moonshine: The Onyx Gatsby Ball

I received free entry into this event via a press pass. This is not a sponsored post and all opinions of the event and what I sampled there are my own.

Where do I begin?! I mentioned in Friday’s post that I’d be attending an event that evening that I was extremely excited for. Well, the Onyx Moonshine Gatsby Ball and Onyx 111 Infusion Challenge lived up to my expectations. The marvelous event was one of the best I’ve ever attended.

Join Katie’s link-up to stay focused on the positive on your Monday!

I pulled up to the gorgeous venue, The Wadsworth Mansion at Long Hill (Middletown, CT), and immediately knew why Kaitlin has chosen this as the place she will be married next summer. The entry way is what I can only describe as “grand”, and the inside was lovely and perfect for a party meant to transport guests to the past.

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Check out that peacock feather in an Onyx bottle – great centerpiece!

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Marvelous Massachusetts and Plan B

Man, I definitely need positive reminders of marvelous on this Monday morning. My morning commute involved a nose bleed and the shocking realization that my car’s tissue stock was depleted long ago – and never had been replenished. The fall air is here, with a vengeance!

Join Katie in this marvelous link-up!

Marvelous is…finally visiting my darling blend Kelly in Massachusetts! About a month ago, we made a plan for me to stay over this past Friday to Saturday. The timing could not have worked out any better and I was so happy to be able to be there for Kelly and her family during a tough time in their lives.

We’ve hung out a bunch on my CT turf, but this was my first visit to hers in MA!

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WIAW: A Super Super Bowl!

Never before have I watched so LITTLE of the Super Bowl. I usually pop into the TV room at our traditional gathering spot, the Gerber family’s house, to try and catch some ads. This year that didn’t even happen.

No Caitlin here!

No Caitlin here!

Aside from the halftime show (I think Beyone was hella fierce) I did not see a single second of the 2013 Super Bowl broadcast. I was too busy hanging out with family and friends, and tasting some fabulous food and drink. Seeing as it’s What I Ate Wednesday (thanks Jenn of Peas & Crayons for hosting!), today’s post is going to be heavy on both of those things!

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Best of Hartford Voting Party Giveaway!

Man-oh-man, you guys love your Oakley shades! So many people entered the Sunglasses Shop giveaway for a free pair – thank you for the participation! Drumroll please, the grand prize winner is…

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Karen M! Congrats and I will contact you for shipping info and your choice of shades (if different than the Dirty Dog Vendetta Fluro Pink 53215 Polarised you mentioned in the comments)! VERY cute choice BTW!

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Christmas Eve: Not So Kind

Thanks to all who entered my Mews Boutique giveaway for the same necklace and earring set I received to review!

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The winner is Keri! Thank you for entering and I will be contacting you for shipping info!

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Merry Christmas! I can’t believe the big day is here already, and I actually feel like it’s been over because not only did my family already open our presents on Saturday the 22nd (because of our travel plans – I’m writing this from FLORIDA) but I also have already spent most of the Christmas money I got (more on that later when I write about my Christmas Eve trip to Boston, hopefully tomorrow).

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Healthy Living Summit 2012 – Part One

I suppose I could have come up with a more creative title than that. I’m pretty sure a zillion other bloggers have been publishing posts this week that say the exact same thing. But #sorrynotsorry, I hope (I KNOW) the content of my posts make up for any lame titles I throw your way :) and remember if you missed my recap of the Chobani dinner I attended while in Boston for the 2012 Healthy Living Summit, you can check it out here!

Thursday:

Please keep reading. Don’t be afraid!

My HLS ’12 weekend actually started in a different MA town, home of my BB (best blend) Heather. Since her house is on my way to Boston, I decided to stay over with her Thursday night to make the drive in on Friday shorter. AND oh yeah, because I love hanging out with her. I took a half day at work on Thursday and got to her house before rush hour traffic hit (win) and we immediately hit the road for one of my favorite restaurants ever, Garden Grille…after we took some pics, of course.

We chatted away during that rush hour/accident-caused traffic I’d missed before, and arrived at Garden Grille about to eat each others’ arms off. Appetizers were necessary.

Instagram them apps.

I finally got to try the famous Garden Grille sweet potato fries, and was so impressed. I have to admit I prefer ION’s because those are crispier (more fried ;-) hehe) but these were still amazing, especially paired with that housemade BBQ sauce. We also went with the special side, garlicky sauteed greens. My Garden Party beverage (vodka, basil, mint, lime) matched perfectly!

I was so happy that we got to sit outside and savored my refreshing cocktail throughout the meal, which blew my MIND: blackened Cajun-spiced tofu with pepper jam, charred corn & black beans, squashes, and smoked paprika aioli. HEAVEN. I’m so glad I’ve gotten over my tofu-texture aversion.

I never wanted this to end! Unfortunately it did. I was tres sad.

A walk down Thayer Street and shopping trip in its Urban Outfitters location cheered me right up! I adore the artsy vibe from this college town. Every person and business I pass seems so open to new ideas and ready to learn. I could probably sit outside with a cup of coffee and people watch for a good while. Or maybe with a cup of fro-yo?

I knew the second I finished dinner that I was going to want a dessert. Do you ever have those evenings? I honored my craving (and am proud to say I did so) at a self-serve frozen yogurt shop whose name now escapes me. As usual I did mostly toppings. After I finished, we did a bit more walking and called it a night.

Friday:

I woke up at 8AM the next morning (I was shocked – that’s late for me!) and did two Tone It Up Beach Babe DVD workouts recommended to me by Heather, who happens to be a TIU enthusiast. The Surfer Girl and Summer Arms segments combined to give me a pretty good 45-minute workout, which felt pretty GREAT since I’d had two lackluster gym days previously. I only have one more segment to try out and then I will finally be able to review the DVD – and give you guys a GIVEAWAY! Oh I’m a tease.

I LOVE YOU.

After the workout I had one thing on my mind – my beloved vegan spinach and mushroom Wildflour scone. I don’t normally eat baked goods for breakfast. They don’t give me that energy I need to power through my morning. However, this savory scone does not have the same “crash” effects as most cafe offerings. I treat myself to one of these bad boys each time I visit Heather. Last time I went I went through a guilt-ridden debate over whether or not I should get it, but this time I just WENT for it without questioning whether or not I “should” get the scone – something I noticed and took pride in!

About to head to Boston with my Dino.

We blogged and I did encounter a challenge of “shoulds” and “should-nots” before we departed for HLS. I wanted a Wildflour green smoothie that Jenny had let me try last time the three of us went there and she ordered one. The Dino is made with good-for-you ingredients – spinach, kale, blueberry, banana, almond milk, almond butter – but I have always had a stigma in my brain about smoothies that says they don’t fill me up yet are still many calories, which can then result in me intaking too many calories. Heather was there for me as usual and offered to share the Dino with me on the ride to Boston. Deal! I was in heaven with each sip and am so glad that I fought the guilt and ordered it. And thankful too, because we got stuck in traffic and didn’t make it to our originally planned lunch at Flour Bakery & Cafe until an hour past schedule!

Salad as big as my head? Yes please!

I again went through a bit of an embarrassing debate in my mind – and at the counter – over what to order. The poor Flour employee had to deal with my questions about how much mayo was in the curried tuna salad I had my eye on. Even after trying a sample and LOVING it, it was hard to let myself choose that as my salad’s protein. Another stigma I have stored away…tuna/chicken/seafood salads are full of hidden calories from too much mayo. Finally I mentally said “fuck it” to the guilt and ordered the curried tuna salad on my greens. And then I threw in a side of homemade hummus for good measure, and ate every last bite. WHAT WHAT.

Lindsay, Chelsea, Meg, Heather, me, Lisa

Once Heather and I checked in at our hotel, the Hyatt Regency Cambridge, we grabbed our HLS swag and lugged it up to our room so we could get settled and ready for dinner. It was around this time that the weekend became all about connecting with so many of the bloggers I’d been following, chatting with, and relating to for as long as years in some cases. At BlogHer I learned so much about myself and experienced NYC through food, drink, and workouts. At HLS I forged bonds with girls I never truly thought I’d get the chance to meet. That was the main takeaway for me from this conference.

Meg, Lisa, and me at dinner at Figs.

Two girls I was most excited to meet were my Canadian blends Meg and Lisa. The three of us have bonded over our struggles, past for some and present for others, with our relationships with food. We support and guide each other in the journey to balance every single day. When I first saw Meg at the door of my hotel room, I hugged her so hard that I think I crushed her…and pushed her into a wall. Every single word we said to each other was just so US and we already knew that. Does that make any sense?! We just seamlessly transition from blend to friend. Of course I had to snap a picture of her with her MUSSELS and her MUSCLES, since she adores seafood and we are always sending each other photos of seafood we’re eating.

That broth was so good. I stole my fair share.

And I attacked Lisa the moment I saw her too! She is just as beautiful in person as she is on her blog – always looks SO put together and has the best wavy hair! And she was wearing a brightly colored dress, which I can always count on her for. I truly never imagined we’d meet one day, so I am just so thankful that I could hang out with the girl who encourages me anytime I open up on this blog about my guilt issues.

Our dinner group!

Oh yeah – the food at dinner! Well I had a late lunch so I just got a roasted beet salad with goat cheese. Very average, but Chelsea and Linz shared a slice of their fig and prosciutto pizza with me, and THAT was impressive.

Can I have a vanity moment here – arms?

After dinner it was time to head to the hotel for the HLS Cocktail Party. I wish the music had been louder – there was no dancing! I was too busy chatting and being a goofy ham anyway, though.

First stop: photobooth with costume props.

How funky is your chicken?

Call me DEFINITELY.

Who doesn’t love a good selfie?

There were apps and desserts there, but I skipped out on the latter. When there is cheese available, and when I am drinking wine, that is ALLLL I want.

CHEESE ME.

I’ll have some crackers with my cheese.

Kettle corn and Taza dark chocolate.

Regular, red velvet, and poppy (?!) whoopie pies.

Meghann, Julie, and the rest of those who put on HLS did a really great job. I cannot imagine undertaking such a task!

Kicking things off.

This girl does it all!

My BB has totally turned me into a Pinot Grigio fan!

I say YES to her dress.

What a fun evening of reuniting, meeting for the first time, and lots of PICS.

Meg, my love, you are so tiny!

I could squeeze her all day long.

I am forever in awe of Tina‘s amazing upper body. Hello Crossfit!

It was good to see Theodora again, in her trademark Lilly attire.

Courtney is so beautiful!

What a thrill to finally meet Sara. I could chat with her for hours!

The best moment of the evening (of HLS…of the week…the month…you get it) came courtesy of Becki. She approached me and introduced herself. I smiled and said hello back, but honestly didn’t at first make the connection that this was one of the girls who had written her own #AmazingMe post after I had written mine. However as soon as Becki said that she had to come introduce herself to “the girl who wrote #AmazingMe”, I immediately realized who she was…and felt tears come to my eyes. The comments and feedback I have gotten on that post have touched me several times over, but THIS was the culmination of it all. THIS was the chance for me to meet, in person, someone that I directly inspired and someone I made feel good about herself.

Two amazing girls.

Becki’s post about her accomplishments and why she is a wonderful human being was heartwarming to read, but to literally FEEL how genuinely thankful she was to have been inspired to write it was a feeling I really can’t even begin to describe. I am so thankful in turn to her for helping me see how beneficial it is to put myself out there as a blogger and be honest and myself in my posts, because not only will I get feedback from readers that will aid me in my journey to balance, but I also will continue to be someone readers can relate to and remember whenever they are fighting that negative voice themselves. THANK YOU BECKI for introducing yourself, and I hope that we can have a good long chat next time I am in town!

What is the most touching moment blogging has brought to you?

If you were at the HLS cocktail party, what was your fave photobooth prop? Your fave food item?

Out of all the eats in this post, what looks best to you? :-)

Lisa’s Five Bean Salad

Believe it or not, I don’t cook. That’s right – I mooch. I live at home and eat my mom’s cooking. I make a salad every day for lunch, but I don’t consider this cooking. I go out and pay restaurants to feed me. I have not cooked or baked anything since the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap in December.

Talk about working backwards…this is me on Easter Sunday with the finished product!

But this year Easter was being celebrated at my house, and I felt like contributing. I felt domestic. And thanks to Lisa, I felt inspired when I was reading her blog one day and saw that she had posted a recipe for a Five Bean Salad.

Missing from this photo are olive oil and frozen shelled edamame.

I followed Lisa’s recipe, but used goat cheese instead of feta. I love feta cheese, but goat is my favorite!

I started by rinsing and draining the chickpeas, kidney beans, and black beans in a colander.

The above green beans came in their own steam-able bag, so I microwaved them and set them out on a plate to cool off a bit. Per Lisa’s instructions, I cut the ones that were going into the salad in half and also cut the “string” ends off.

I smugly put the rest of the green beans in a container to use throughout the week. In fact, I added them to both yesterday and today’s lunch salads, and last night’s dinner too! Helps to be prepped when eating healthy.

I added the green beans to the other three beans in a mixing bowl, and threw in minced onions, salt, pepper, and lime juice as well.

Then it occured to me that I’d forgotten to prepare and include the frozen shelled edamame. D’oh! It was super easy to defrost in the microwave. I’ve never bought edamame before, I just eat it when I’m dining out at Asian restaurants or at my local Whole Foods salad bar. I think I’ll have to reconsider.

MORE smug leftovers that I’ve been nommin’ on already!

I added the edamame and then the GOAT CHEESE. Of course I saved the best for last!

An unexpected perk that came from using goat instead of feta – goat cheese has a creamier consistency and totally coated all the beans (yes, all five types ;-)). Win!

This forgetful cook was then reminded by her mother that she’d forgotten the olive oil. First the edamame, now this! Can’t forget that EVOO. I added 1.5 tablespoons.

TA-DA! Was there ever an easier side dish for a non-cooking moocher like me to make?! I don’t think so!

I let it veg (ha – punny) overnight in the fridge. I also didn’t try it before I served it. Yes, I like to live on the edge! Or…that thought didn’t even occur to me. I am NOT used to cooking, I told you!

The results though? Everyone LOVED the dish. There was barely any left but I’m honestly glad there was some because I was able to finish it off at dinner last night :) mixed with extra green beans, edamame, black beans, marinara sauce, and turkey meatballs! It was what I like to call a hodge-podge of leftovers.

Thank you so much to Lisa for providing such an easy, healthy, tasty recipe for me to make and share with family and friends!

How often do you cook? Are you a “fraud” aka a food blogger that doesn’t cook, like me?

What are your favorite healthy dishes to bring to parties?

Super Bowl Food 2012

That’s right, Super Bowl Food 2012 is this post’s title because we all know it’s not about the commercials, it’s not about the football, it’s about the FOOD on Super Bowl Sunday! To be honest, this may be my favorite food holiday. It certainly beyond-tops Thanksgiving. Not that Thanksgiving at the Gerber home this year wasn’t delicious, but they had us over again on Sunday to enjoy a crazy delicious spread before and during the epic Patriots vs. Giants match-up. And maybe some beverages too…

In love with this cute TENNESSEE ORANGE ice bucket and little scoop.

I enjoyed a few glasses of Cabernet throughout the evening. Joe had to help me out.

Thanks for the help!

First thing’s first (well, after drinks) – we had to get our Super Bowl bets in place.

I am Vanna White.

Dads getting in on the fun.

I helped my dad and Mr. Gerber draw numbers out of a hat to randomly assign them to squares.

OK, enough gambling. I’ve made you wait long enough to see the food, right?

Ham/turkey sandwiches + fixings, and cornbread.

I of course munched on some of the pickles on the condiments tray, and a corner piece of cornbread. 

Pita chips and wings.

I had a few of those wings – they were amazing! Not sure where they were from, d’oh.

May or may not have dipped a wing in that Sabra hummus. Yum.

Buffalo chicken cheese dip!

This famous dip makes a comeback!

Beef chili and toppings bar.

White bean and chicken chili.

 Both a beef and chicken chili option – love it! I had some of the chicken chili and it was fantastic. A famous Gerber recipe!

MEATBALLS.

I had one of the meatballs above – it was amazing, amazing, amazing. Joe had several IN his chili. Genius!

Pimento chicken stuffed bread. No more words needed.

I had a couple pieces of the above beauty and even dipped one in the buffalo cheese dip, oh yes I di-id.

FAVORITE.

Best dish of the evening – CHEESE PLATE obviously! I posted-up by this thing for about 30 minutes and gabbed to anyone who would stand still long enough about what pairings they had to try (blue cheese on Lorna Doone cookies, WOW) because a couple glasses of wine had gotten my cheese cravings going in full swing. Another one of the cheeses was a brie, and I’m not sure what the third was. I stuck mostly to the bleu, mmm.

TV #1!

We had two TVs going since this was quite an event. Joe and I split our time between upstairs and the basement.

Chillin' with chili in the basement. Had to say it.

My favorite commercial was the one with the M&M’s – it had me CACKLING. No other words can describe my laugh when I think something is hilarious.

I also REALLY enjoyed Madonna’s halftime performance. I’m a sucker for cameos, so as soon as LMFAO made an appearance, I was sold. Then Nicki Minaj…then CeeLo…I was in cameo heaven! I actually really like her new song, it is just so damn catchy, as much as I dislike Madonna herself (she’s too snobby for my taste).

The below photos are brought to you by winemakers of the world…

And don’t forget dessert, which made its entrance around the same time Madonna did during halftime, though her entrance may have topped the dessert’s.

Oh. I take that back. The dessert table was bangin’ this year. I had a cheesecake brownie, oatmeal cookie, chocolate chip cookie, and scoop of apple crisp. A little taste of everything I really wanted, and enjoyed every bite.

FYI I did not win any money. Booo! Mr. Gerber won the first two quarters (see him above looking smug) and my dad won the big end-game money!

It was such a great party, though I have to admit, when I got home and the next day I was feeling guilty about the indulgent foods I ate. I don’t normally do wings and cheese dip, or cheesecake brownies. I also had plenty of whole foods like fresh cheeses and lean chili. But I felt focused on feeling bad for eating things I felt I shouldn’t have, especially with all the negative self-talk going on the morning after the Super Bowl, just like the morning after Thanksgiving. I hate it!

But I had my normal breakfast and went about my day eating the usual whole foods that I love, like fresh fruit, huge salad beasts, and my fave whole wheat English muffins.  I went to the gym after work and had a kick-ass Step class (and the floor kicked my ass too – I fell – oops!) that left me sweaty. I’m not perfect when it comes to this whole balance thing, but dammit, I’m working on it!

What was the best thing you ate on Super Bowl Sunday? What do you think the best thing I ate was?

Did you deal with hearing others – or your own mind – express a lot of negativity about post-Super-Bowl indulgence?

Do you have any Super Bowl traditions? Any fun betting/gambling games?