Friday Five

1. My apartment could use a little fall/halloween spirit infused and I’m loving these pumpkins. Might get a little messy but maybe worth it! Unfortunately I have no idea where this photo came from so I’ll just have to make up the process. Good luck to me and all the glitter.

2. Do you guys know about Cappello’s gluten free and grain free pasta and cookie dough? I had it for the first time last night and it was SO good. I recommend buying it now (in-store or ordering it, currently it’s not sold in every state) and then be on the lookout for a future post about how great it is and what to do with it.

3. After a fast-favorite Shake It Out, I’d been waiting for the next T Swift release. Out of the Woods is slower and at first I was all, eh I don’t even like this. Then I listened to it ten times and now am in love with it. Give it a listen, or twenty.

4. This recipe for roasted carrots from The Forest Feast look quite tasty. Bookmarking this one for future use!

5. Tonight I’m heading to the great state of Michigan to reunite with my college besties! We’re scattered across the US and now that we’re adults we have to plan our reunions 10 months in advance, the excitement has been building for a while now. Here’s a little glimpse into what I looked like in college. However, these are both from senior year when I semi-got my act together. Maybe one day I’ll share the disastrous photos from freshman year…but maybe not. The right side photo is from a Black and White Affair we threw at our house senior year. And yes, it was inspired by Laguna Beach.

Enjoy the weekend lovelies! 

New Orleans Recap Part III

Let’s move away from the food portion of Nola and talk about the wedding! MM and I were headed to New Orleans to celebrate the wedding of Megan and Steve. Megan and I met about 9 years ago as interns at Shop ETC Magazine (RIP). The magazine only lasted a short while, our friendship lasted way longer! 

The top photos are the St. Louis Church where the ceremony was held. We had wandered past this early on in our trip and I thought, wait, there is no way this is where they are getting married, this church is insane! I was wrong and their wedding was in fact in this magnificent building in Jackson Square.

I honestly don’t have any photos that can do this wedding justice. It was unlike anything I’ve attended. The ceremony was at the church and the reception was a couple of blocks away at Latrobe on Royal, an event space with tons of character. The reception was held in a variety of rooms. There was no sit down dinner, just endless amounts of passed food and a few stations. The food was SO GOOD. Oh sorry, I’m back to talking about food. There was an oyster station with two dudes just shucking oysters all night long, my kinda party. When at weddings with awesome cocktail hours we all always say, why have a sit down dinner, this is way better. Finally someone did just that! By not sitting for an official dinner it kept the party mood way up, there was a dance floor, an awesome band, lots of bars, and again…lots of food. I ate so much and it was all amazing.

The next pictures are of the gorgeous wedding cake and the grooms cake, so cool. As a cake expert, I can tell you these were both super tasty. There were four varieties- vanilla, carrot, strawberry and red velvet. What kind of cake connoisseur would I be if I didn’t try each flavor? My apologies go out to anyone who maybe didn’t get a piece of cake, as I literally had four (but really I saw endless amounts of cake being served so I’m sure everyone got what they wanted).

Towards the end of the reception a table was filled with Mardi Gras type gear (beads, masks, funny sunglasses, bow ties, etc). We grabbed our gear, a drink for the road, and that’s when the brass band came out.

If you’re not familiar with a Second Line, it’s basically a big parade through the city streets. The band was so good and got the party hyped up as we left the reception hall. Led by the band, the bride and groom and some police escorts, we paraded around the city. It was 300+ people so we made quite a scene, we felt like celebrities. People along the streets and at nearby bars came out and cheered us on.

The parade ended at Cafe Du Monde where trays of beignets were waiting for us. Not sure how many I ate…this was getting late in the night. Yum. Cafe Du Monde is one of those must-visit spots in New Orleans so just to make sure we soaked in all the powdered sugar, we went twice during this trip.

After stuffing our faces we went to an after party. This is where I faded fast and shortly after went home. That whole not drinking for 30 days thing really caught up with me on this trip! Around midnight we stopped for some tacos (ok, completely unnecessary but I was on vacation) and returned to our hotel, Bienville House. It’s a nice boutique hotel in the French Quarter. Our room was really nice, big and had a balcony. I’d stay here again/recommend it to travelers.

If you can, I suggest becoming friends with someone who plans to get married in New Orleans so you can experience the awesomeness.

On Sunday we had time to wander through New Orleans. The buildings are so pretty and unique.  Bourbon street is pretty nasty but in general it’s a very cool looking city. I recommend driving along Saint Charles Street to check out the southern style mansions.

And the last two photos are of City Park. Thank you to divinesecrets, pacific-trim and blondieruns48 for the recommendation! I went on a run through the park and saw the Chime Tree. So many of the trees have fun things hanging from them and the park in general is awesome, it’s huge and I can’t really say with authority what buildings are in the park but along my route I saw pretty trees, cute bridges, waterways and lots of running paths.

That about covers my first trip to New Orleans! A big thank you goes out to my friend Emily for hosting us and showing us the city. So fun to stay with a friend, get to catch up, reminisce about our high school days and also it’s a treat to see the city from a locals perspective. And a thank you goes to Megan and Steve for throwing one wild party. I’ll probably think of a few more gems to share with you so be on the lookout. Thanks for reading!

New Orleans Recap: Part II

Yep, more food comin’ atcha! This post focuses on two key meals, brunch and dinner (click through the photos for captioned details).

We’ll start with brunch. We went to Atchafalaya Restaurant after multiple recommendations to do so. We had a short wait then were seated near live music, a nice touch found in many New Orleans restaurants. The three pictured dishes is an array of what our table had, everything was quite tasty. Normally I get my egg dishes sans hollandaise but when in Rome…

A highlight of this resto is the bloody mary bar. The waiter brings you a glass of either vodka or gin and you can go to town at the set up bar with different types of tomato juice and all the fixins. I’m on the fence as to whether I’d prefer a really solid bloody mary menu or a create-your-own set up, but I’m not complaining, my creation was pretty good.

This restaurant is located close to a cute shopping area on Magazine Street. If you have a wait, check out the boutiques. I was eyeing a few stores but we didn’t have time, shortly after brunch it was time to get ready for the wedding.

For dinner one night we went to Jacque-Imo’s, a funky restaurant complete with a table you can eat at on the bed of a truck (see last photo). We had a group of 5 so we dined at a normal table, how boring of us. Everyone at the table ordered the special which was this crazy looking crab. It was very fried but also very good. MM and I split that and the catfish which was ahhh-mazing. The catfish is on top of what they call “crabmeat dressing” which I’d never heard of before but is now my favorite food (although I’m sure there’s a good chance I’ll never have it again). It tasted like a creamy crab stuffing. I just looked up a random recipe and that’s essentially what it is. Ugh, so good.

The bottom photo is what our table shared as an appetizer, shrimp and alligator sausage cheesecake, which sounds wild and was super good. Not pictured were delish little corn breads served before our food and a watermelon mojito with large chunks of fresh watermelon. All around an excellent meal and a place I’d highly recommend for some authentic New Orleans cookin’.

If you’re following along with my recaps, you’ll note that I ate three dishes with alligator meat. Per my friends request, I’m going to create a diet where the main source of protein is alligator. Who’s with me?

New Orleans Recap Part I

I hope y’all like food pictures, because you’re about to get a lot of ‘em! This past weekend MM and I left NYC for a long weekend in New Orleans. My friends Megan & Steve were getting married on Saturday but I’d never been to New Orleans so I made sure to extend the trip to 4 full days in the city. Also New Orleans is on my 30 Things to Do Before 30 list, check!

The food in New Orleans is out of this world so if you’re going, expect to go all out. Above you can click through each image and the caption will tell you where it’s from and what it is. I promise my entire recap won’t be about food…but most of it will be. Buckle up people!

The Louisiana Seafood Festival happened to be going on while we were in Nola and of course we made sure to stop by. The festival was held at City Park, only a mile from where we were staying in Mid City. This was the perfect way to try food from a variety of restaurants without running all over the city. The event was free and then each item was $4-$10, a perfect sampling of different cuisines. I quickly learned that alligator is a big thing in New Orleans and those tacos above were delish. We had lots of seafood and local beers and hung around the park with friends. New Orleans is way hotter and more humid than I expected but it was worth standing in the sun to eat all of this deliciousness. The top photo is a snowball which cooled us down at the end of the event, yum. I will never say no to a snowball dessert.

The next two plated images above are from Mother’s, a restaurant recommended by the bride and groom as the must-visit place; if you only were to eat at one restaurant in New Orleans, this should be it. Who am I to argue with the bride and groom? We went to Mother’s on our last day and made sure to get there early as a crazy line starts to form. We were there by 11am and only waited in line for 2 minutes, not nearly enough time to decide what to order! In a panic, MM and I split the crawfish etouffee omelet and a shrimp po boy (aggressive for a breakfast meal but whatever). Both were excellent! This place is pretty down and dirty, you order at the counter then find a seat. By the time we left around noon the line wrapped around the restaurant, out the door and down the street. Get there early!

And this last photo is actually a picture of the first thing I ate while in New Orleans. We stayed with my friend Emily who lives in Mid City and upon arrival she was at work and we walked around her neighborhood looking for something quick to eat. We happened upon Wakin’ Bakin' and um, wow. It's just a random little cafe but the sandwich I had was maaaybe one of the best sandwiches I've had in my life (I will admit I don't eat a lot of sandwiches but still, this was so good). I wouldn't say you need to head out of downtown to visit this spot but if you happen to be nearby, stop in and enjoy.

To Race or Not to Race: Detroit Half Marathon

For a few months now I’ve been signed up to race in this Sunday’s Detroit half marathon. The route is awesome in that it runs you into Canada and back (passport necessary for registration, so cool!). I was planning to be in Michigan for a girls weekend so the race was just a fun addition to an already fun weekend. I haven’t been running much and my “training” for this race is nonexistent. You know I work out constantly; I’m in shape and have run many half marathons without proper training and they all end up totally fine. Without training I’m extremely sore afterwards but always manage to finish the race sub two-hours.

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[the site says I can do this…but can I?]

But this race, I’m not so sure about. A month ago I went for what I thought would be a six mile run and after exactly one mile my calf seized up into a crazy painful cramp. I couldn’t run, I could barely walk. I almost fell over when the cramp came and slowly limped the mile back home. My calf hurt for a couple of days and then the pain was mostly gone. Now every time I run, that pain comes back. It has not been as dramatic as it was after that mile, I’ve been able to keep running, although it doesn’t feel great and my pace is slow.

I thought the pain would go away and that this was just a minor muscle strain, and maybe it is. But it still hurts. This weekend I went on a 4.5 mile run, the pain was present, but not terrible. While I made it through the miles, it was very unpleasant and not enjoyable at all. After the run, my calf felt tight and sore and three days later, I can still feel the soreness and pain. Something is not right. I’m worried that I’ll start the race and a couple of miles in the cramping will happen and I’ll be stuck limping. If I just didn’t feel prepared I’d be fine doing the race at a slow pace but this calf cramp thing has left me limping at a VERY slow pace, as in I’d probably be pulled off the course. That sounds horrible.

This would be the first race that I signed up for and didn’t run and I don’t want to do that. At the same time, I don’t want to take what is likely a minor muscle issue and turn it into something bigger. If I have time this week I may try to get a massage and see if that helps. I’d love to see a physical therapist but I don’t have time before race day. I’ll rest up and try another short run later this week and evaluate how I’m feeling.

Has anyone had a similar cramp/pain to this? If you were in my position, what would you do?

Back From New Orleans!

Apologies for the silence on Shapin’ Up the last few days; I was vacationing and partying in New Orleans and was too busy eating and drinking to post. But now I’m back and I’ll be giving you all the details and my recommendations. 

I need to upload all my photos (be warned, 99% are of food) and I’ll be back with more info, stay tuned!

If you need me I’ll be at my desk detoxing…