Call Off The Search Party…

I’m still here, I promise.

I honestly had no intention of going MIA for 10 days, but that’s what happened.

I’m kinda-sorta in a blogging funk. Heck, I’m in a general funk.

All I want to do is sleep! Even though work isn’t too busy (though it will be soon since a coworker just resigned), I’m exhausted when I come home. After work, I nurse Luca 2-3 times, sometimes squeeze in a walk or a workout, eat dinner (that my husband cooks and almost always cleans), and just relax in front of the TV till bedtime. “Jeopardy” is the highlight of my evenings, yet I feel like every day I’ve run a marathon…except that I’ve done nothing.

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My house is a mess, and I have no desire to clean it.

Oh, and did I mention that I’m “running” (quotation marks are very intentional) a 10K—my first—this coming Saturday?

Running the Azalea Trail Run was my single postpartum goal, so even though I’ve done literally no training or preparation (unless digging through my sock drawer to find my compression socks counts?!), I’m not going to skip out. I have an idea of what I’d like my finish time to be, but I’m not going to stress it. I’m sure lots of walking (coupled with heavy panting—but not that kind!) will occur. But you know what? I’m going to have fun.

Unless they all whither this week, the azaleas will actually be in bloom. It’s supposed to be a sunny, warm day, so I’m going to enjoy the weather, my surroundings, and the fact that my body CAN run/walk 6.2 miles—no matter how quickly or slowly.

(Plus a Belgian waffle, eggs, bacon, and strawberry tea will probably follow. CARBS = WIN.)

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Anyway, I just wanted to pop in so all of 7 of you who read this little bloggity blog didn’t think I fell off the face of the Earth. I’ll get back into my groove, someday.

Till then, have a fantastic week! If it’s warm and sunny where you are, get outside and enjoy yourself. And if it’s still snowing in your neck of the woods, I’m sorry. Curl up on the couch with a mug of hot tea or cocoa—wearing fuzzy socks, of course—and relax (it’s what I would do, duh).

Baby M: 5 Months

Happy Friday the 13th! Hope you’re having a good day. I’ve always been a fan of Friday the 13th myself, and today I’m enjoying a day off with my little man. Who’s now 5 months (+ 2 days) old, by the way!

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Five months?! Although the days are often long, the weeks and months are seriously flying by. I’ve always been one to marvel at the way time passes, but with a baby, it moves even faster. How do I slow it down?!…

Exactly one year ago today, Mark joined me for my first prenatal appointment and ultrasound. It’s hard to believe that the little nugget growing inside of me is now the bouncy, bubbly, observant, and cuddly boy I’ve grown to know and love these last 5 months.

So much has changed since my last update. For one, we’ve started feeding Luca oat cereal.

Although it took him a time or two to really get the hang of it, he eats like a champ now! He gets frustrated if Mark stops to take a bite of his own food, and he practically dives at the spoon.

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(I wrote this on Wednesday, so of course he’s stopped showing interest in the cereal the last 2 nights! I think it might be part of the reason he’s been so gassy lately, so we’ll just see how it goes.)

Even though the pediatrician suggested we start to introduce cereal to him slowly, I was a bit reluctant at first. Seeing how well he’s taken it, though, makes me anxious to introduce other solids, too! I think we may start with some puréed avocado soon.

Luca’s still a tiny man for his age, but I’ve noticed his thighs seem to be getting a little chubbier each day. His chubby cheeks are perfectly kissable, too. He’s definitely outgrowing his 3 month clothes, though some of the 6 month ones are too big. This poor kid is going to have the same challenges Mark and I have when it comes to clothes shopping!

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Luca is such a happy baby! He loves to babble and there’s nothing sweeter than when he smiles up at me from the crib when it’s time to wake up for his feeding. He’s sleeping through the night (last feed around 9:00—sleeping till 5:30 or 6:00) fairly often, though lately he’s been waking up once between 1:30 and 3:00. I honestly don’t mind! I love our nighttime feedings, even if they make for a very tired mommy and daddy.

As happy as Baby M is, he’s got a bit of a temper, too. When he wants something, he wants it now! “It” is usually an empty beer bottle. The kid clearly has issues, but he’s obsessed with them.

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He still loves diaper changes and bath time has become much more pleasant. He absolutely hates the snot-sucker…but who wouldn’t?!

Luca loves petting Big Brother Iggy (with a little help) and watches his every move! He’s so observant and curious, and I’m sure that Iggy will soon be his best friend.

Oh, and I almost forgot! Luca got to meet his “cousin” the weekend of his baptism. While they’re still warming up to each other, I think they’ll be buddies in no time.

Luca still isn’t a huge fan of rolling over—he does it from time to time—but he loves to bounce in his bouncy swing. This kid loves to be on the move, really. He’s either kicking his legs around, bouncing while we stand him up, or scaring us half to death by arching and squirming till he almost climbs out of his swing!

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Future ΔΓ Anchor Man?…

Teething is still going on—though there’s no sign yet of any actual teeth. He’s a drool-monster, always gumming something.

Luca-man, you make Mommy and Daddy so very happy. We love you so much. I can’t believe how big and strong you’re growing. Happy 5 months!

If you’re catching up, you can find Luca’s other monthly updates on my Baby page.

Operation: Movement in March – Week 1

Happy, happy weekend, friends! I don’t normally post on Saturdays, but I’m going to try to do so every week this month.

You see, I made a goal for March. I mentioned it last Sunday, but I’m trying to exercise every day this month.

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So far, I’ve failed (you knew that was coming).

I had a fabulous 60-minute “iron hour” session at Sterling Hot Yoga Works this past Sunday morning, and while I got in roughly 10-15 minutes of light cardio and strength one night this week, other nights were spent nursing and holding a fussy baby, cleaning bottles and pump parts, and relaxing in front of the TV.

My motivation is there—but I’m having a hard time translating it into actual movement.

With that said, I’m revising my goal. The local Moms Run This Town group I joined (and still haven’t run with yet!) revised their March challenge to exercising at least 20 days during March, so I’m doing the same.

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Being active during pregnancy was relatively easy for me, but that momentum has bottomed out now that I realize how busy motherhood truly is. Most of my trouble is finding balance between the hours spent feeding, caring for, and playing with Luca and my full-time job.

I know why I’m active—it makes me feel good physically and mentally—but I’m having acting on that motivation. How do you motivate yourself to workout when it’s so easy to say “I’ll do it tomorrow” or “I’ll take that run next weekend?”—especially when there’s a sweet baby who needs to be held?

Being active isn’t something I want to give up, so I need to get creative. When I’m feeling my best, I can give my best to Luca and my family.

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Thankfully, Daylight Savings begins this weekend, so I’ll have more time after work to take some walks/runs in the evenings. Mark and Luca can join me, too!

Anyway, here’s my workout log for this past week (or lack thereof).

Sunday: 60-minute “iron hour” hot yoga

Monday: 10-15 minutes of light cardio & strength around the house

Tuesday: rest (unless grocery shopping after work counts!)

Wednesday: rest

Thursday: rest

Friday: rest

Saturday: long walk with Mark, Luca, and Iggy

Here’s to hoping next week is better! At least I’m 3 days into my goal of 20…

  • How do you fit working out into your busy schedule?
  • Do you find you’re less active during the winter?

WIAW: 03.04.15

Happy Hump Day, peeps!

Almost every week, I waiver on whether or not to participate in What I Ate Wednesday. I sort of get bored with it, since I often eat the same things day in and day out. Also, I’m scatter-brained and usually forget to photograph a full day’s worth of meals! Other times, I feel like it’s kind of obsessive. And then there are the inconsiderate bloggers who’ve taken advantage of the link-up by sharing unrelated content. That’s not what this little party is about!

What I Ate Wednesday is about food and fun! It’s about making new friends, breaking out of a food rut, noting changes in your diet/lifestyle, inspiring yourself and others, embracing fruit and vegetables, nourishing your body with the foods that work for you, finding new ways to eat your favorite foods, and so. much. more.

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Since I *adore* food and really do like reading dozens of WIAW posts each week for ideas (and sheer curiosity), I’m going to jump back in today. This probably won’t be a weekly thing, but I’ll aim to do it once a month at least. And I promise to share a typical day of food—no deception.

Here’s what I ate Wednesday last Friday…

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Breakfast → An egg sandwich (a fried egg and strawberry preserves on an English muffin) with an unphotographed mug of coffee and half-bottle of orange juice

Snack → A Nature Valley (well, a store-brand imposter I should say) oats and honey granola bar (deal with the stock photo, I inhaled mine before I whipped out the camera)

Lunch → A chopped salad (lettuce, cabbage, and shredded carrots) topped with green onion, walnuts, and blueberries (it was supposed to have bacon in the mix—but it’s Lent, so no meat) with blue-cheese dressing and a side of The Better Chip tortilla chips made with beets (they’re so pretty!)

Snack → Some good, old-fashioned peanut butter crackers (Jif and Saltines—aka what sustained me as the pickiest child) followed by a Greek yogurt a couple hours later (what can I say—I’m always “breastfeeding hangry”)

Dinner → Half a falafel pita, half a veggie gyro, and hummus c/o The Mediterranean Sandwich Co.

I threw this post together last Friday and then didn’t look at it again till today—so I’m sure I’m forgetting a snack and/or glass of wine (or bottle of beer). I think I may have had a spoonful of nut butter before dinner—or a piece of chocolate?

Anyway, you get the idea. This is like 90% of what I ate last Friday, but remember that I don’t shy away from desserts and/or snacks. Unless I explicitly say so, don’t ever assume that I post 100% of what I eat in a given day. And, please, don’t feel you should change your “diet” to emulate mine. I’m not a dietician or nutrition professional—I’m just a girl who loves to eat! ;-)

Later, y’all. Don’t forget to visit Peas & Crayons for the rest of the WIAW party.

What’s the best thing you ate today?

Weekly Links 03.01.15

How is it already Sunday evening?!

I hope you all have had a great weekend. We enjoyed ours. I began Saturday with a Bikram yoga class—my first traditional 90-minute class since February 9 of last year! In hindsight, I probably should’ve tried the 60-minute class, but I survived, so that’s what matters, right?!

Post-yoga I cleaned up and we had some lunch at Jason’s Deli (I’ve been craving salad lately!) Then we took the babe for a stroll at a new-to-us park and soaked up some sunshine and fresh air.

This morning I was back at the yoga studio—this time for the “iron hour” class, which is really just yoga with hand weights. It was much more difficult (and hot!) than I imagined, but I definitely will go back.

I’m setting a goal for March. The local Moms Run This Town group I joined (but haven’t run with yet, go figure) is giving a prize to anybody who exercises every day this month. Even if it’s just a 1-mile run or 15 minute circuit at home, it counts. I think I can manage this! I’d actually planned to do this own my own last month, but I managed to screw up the first day!

After doing a bit of shopping earlier, we’re now relaxing and watching some House of Cards while dinner simmers on the stove. Enjoy the recipes/reads below, and have a fantastic week!

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.Recipes.

Cinnamon Chip Studded Snickerdoodle Bread via Sweet Tooth Sweet Life

Although I wouldn’t call them my favorite, there’s just something incredibly delicious and comforting about snickerdoodles. If I ever find those cinnamon chips, I’m totally making this.

Apple, Berry, and Brie Turkey Burger Sliders via Peas & Crayons

We don’t make burgers too frequently, but if we ever switch things up, these are going on the menu for sure!

Chocolate Pound Cake With Bacon Bourbon Frosting via How Sweet It Is

This cake is ridiculous! I want it.

Salad Pizza via Healthy Aperture / Imma Eat That

I’m intrigued.

Samoas Cookie Pie / Tagalongs Cookie Bars via Averie Cooks

Since these are 2 of my favorite Girl Scout Cookies (Thin Mints are the third), there’s no way I could choose to post just one. Since Mark isn’t a coconut fan, the Tagalongs version will probably win out in our house, however.

.Food, Nutrition & The Environment.

When Food Is Too Good To Waste, College Kids Pick Up The Scraps via NPR

Great ideas—every college and university should implement something of this nature.

Kids, Allergies, And A Possible Downside To Squeaky Clean Dishes via NPR

I’m a big believer in “a little dirt doesn’t hurt.” While I’m too lazy/reliant on technology to give up the dishwasher, I do believe we live in a world that’s overly sanitized, resulting in more allergies and less immunity.

.Fitness.

7 Ways To Stay Motivated via Kate Moving Forward

Some good tips.

The One Thing You Need To Advance Your Yoga Practice (And Your Life) via Strength & Sunshine

Often easier said than done—but so important.

.NEDA Week.

NEDA: I Had No Idea via Clean Eats, Fast Feets

Meghan says what I’m thinking much more eloquently than I did in my post.

Why I Smile: My Recovery via The Domestikated Life

This is a beautifully-written post that does a great job of explaining the darkness one experiences when suffering from depression, anorexia, etc—and also the joy one feels when truly loving oneself. All the best to Kate.

My Green Recovery Story via Choosing Raw

Although I’m not a vegan (or ED sufferer), I’ve always loved Gena’s blog—her honesty, understanding, eloquence, and inspiration to others. It takes a lot of courage to share a story like hers—and it’s a beautiful read.

.Life.

Embracing Imperfections via Your Trainer Paige

Such good rules to live by.

Be The Same Person In The Dark via Enjoy Your Healthy Life

Great advice. As an imperfect being, I struggle with this. We all do, but it matters to that grocery clerk or that sales person that you treat him/her with the same kindness you’d treat a beloved friend, family member, or role model.

.Parenting.

I Assumed These 10 Things Made You a Bad Parent (Then I Had Kids) via Your Tango

So much to look forward to!…

Firmoo Eye Glasses Review

As much as I don’t want to admit it, I’m at that age where I need to schedule a yearly eye exam. I’ve worn glasses since my junior year of high school and contacts since my first year of college.

Even though that’s almost half my life, I still get major anxiety when I go to the eye doctor. I don’t know what it is, but I think it’s a control thing. Unlike my dental hygiene, for example, I can’t control my worsening vision—that’s mostly due to genetics.

Nevertheless, after skipping my exam for over 2 years, I decided last month it was time to schedule an appointment (I was on my last pair of contacts!). Somehow, by the grace of the optical gods, my vision was the exact same as last time! Hooray!

In a moment of serendipity, I was contacted a couple weeks later by a representative at Firmoo to see if I’d be interested in trying out a pair of their glasses.

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Of course I said yes.

Firmoo is a web-based optical shop that offers a variety of fashionable, affordable glasses—much less expensive than the specs I’ve purchased from my local eyeglass shop.

I’ve ordered from a similar website before (in fact, the glasses I’ve been regularly wearing for the past 2+ years were ordered online), so I knew what to expect.

First, you browse the options available. If you’re unsure of a style or size, you can upload a photograph and virtually “try on” the styles you like.

Since I’m still satisfied with my “regular” glasses, I opted to try something a bit edgier. While I love the bigger, “hipster” glasses, I just don’t think they work for my small frame and face.

After wavering between a few tortoise shell frames and some colorful ones, I ultimately chose these purple ones (which, unfortunately, are being phased out).

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Placing my order could not have been easier. I chose my frames, entered my prescription (provided by my eye doctor) and pupilary distance, selected the type of lenses and any other features, and added my address and shipping preference. Easy as pie!

I received my order confirmation immediately. UPS processed my order 2 days later, and it arrived at my doorstep—from China—8 days after I placed my order.

So—how were the glasses? 

I honestly love them. They’re light-weight and extremely comfortable. Even though I didn’t try them on virtually, I think they’re incredibly flattering (even if this pajama selfie is not!).

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I’ve worn them to work a few times and haven’t gotten that pain above my ear I usually get from my other frames. They also stay up on my nose quite well.

As for the quality, they do seem a bit more fragile than your expensive designer frames. But for less than $50, I think they’re worth the price (they also come with a nice travel case, cloth pouch, cleaning cloth, and screwdriver).

I’m not certain how the frames would stand up to daily wear—especially if you’re rough on your frames—but I think they’ll be perfect for wearing a few times a week and in the evenings as I normally do.

Interested in your own pair of glasses? Click here to save 50% on your first order.

**I received a pair of Firmoo eyeglasses free of charge in exchange for a review. I was not compensated for this blog post, and all opinions are my own.**

Thoughts on Self Image

The other day I was scrolling through the hundreds of photos on my phone of Baby M, and I thought to myself, “Gosh, this baby is beautiful. He is absolute perfection.”

I know I’m not the only mother in the world who’s thought that. In fact, I hope every mother feels that way about her offspring.

But it got me thinking further—about how we think of ourselves.

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Our babies are beautiful. And when they grow into toddlers…then “kids”…then pre-teens…then teenagers …then finally young adults and full-grown adults…we still think they’re perfect (at least that’s what every other mom in the world has told me). Our babies will always be our beautiful babies—even at 47.

If we always think this way of our children—no matter if they grow short or tall, thinner or heavier—then when do we (and they?) start questioning our self image?

  • Is it when we outgrow our favorite pair of pants as a toddler?
  • Is it when we can’t catch up to little Johnny in preschool soccer because he runs faster?
  • Is it the first tear-filled recess on the playground in 2nd grade when the class bully makes fun of our clothing, haircut, or pudginess?
  • Is it when our middle school crush calls us a “nerd,” and we feel that first gut-punching sting of rejection?
  • Is it when a football coach says you need to beef up or a gymnastic coach tells you to suck your tummy a little tighter and tighten your butt?
  • Is it in the high school bathroom, in front of the mirror with a handful of other girls, when we critique our giant pimples, our flat (or large) chests, and our other “imperfections?”
  • Is it when we graduate college and hit rock bottom in our struggle to find our place in “the real world” or share in meaningful relationships?
  • Is it after pregnancy when we struggle to lose those last 5 pounds and realize we can choose either to loathe or embrace our new—remarkable—bodies?
  • Or is it at middle-to-old-age, when we truly feel the effects of aging—those grey hairs and laugh lines that weren’t there yesterday or those aches and pains when we get out of bed on a chilly winter morning?

Each of us is unique—with a distinct purpose in this beautiful, diverse world. We are more than our bodies. So why is it that at a very early age—too early, really—we lose sight of ourselves and begin comparing ourselves to others and growing more aware of what we assume are imperfections and qualities that need to be changed or fixed?

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While both standard and social media do a great job of telling us “you’re not good enough” or “you shouldn’t eat that” or “you should look like this (photo-shopped) supermodel,” the blame can’t be placed squarely on TV, magazines, Pinterest, or Instagram.

It’s something we experience too soon in our lives. It’s societal—but it’s also in our nature, I guess.

In reality, I do love my body. I’m still amazed at what it has accomplished through pregnancy and childbirth—and how it continues to gain strength with each lift of my child. Instead of fearing new grey hairs or the hint of a wrinkle, I consider aging a privilege—and I hope I do it gracefully.

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I’m still in a bit of a funk—trying to look and feel “my best” by beginning a fitness routine again and maintaining self-care (when not tending to my baby’s needs)—but I know the good days outnumber the bad and my self-worth is not tied to the definition (or lack thereof) of my abs.

As Baby M grows and changes, I hope that he sees himself as I see him: as the incredible miracle and beautiful person he is. Maybe by policing myself—avoiding the critical “mirror-talk” and simply enjoying that giant bowl of ice cream instead of rationalizing my choice out loud—I can help him hold onto his innocence and positive self-image for as long as possible.

Thinking-Out-Loud

I’m linking up for some Thinking Out Loud today. Happy Thursday, everyone!

NEDA 2015: I had no idea…

When I began my blog in late 2012, I dove into the “healthy living” community with gusto (in my mind, at least). I spent the better part of my (then) slow work days reading food blogs, imagining myself a raw vegan (that didn’t last too long thanks to my deeply rooted love for bacon), and becoming some exercise-loving guru.

Luckily for me—that foray into unknown dietary territory was short-lived (not that there’s anything wrong with veganism—particularly for ethics—or following other “diets,” such as paleo, vegetarian, etc. that work for your body and lifestyle).

Now, although I still strive to live a healthy lifestyle, I’m somewhat reluctant to label myself a “healthy living blogger.”’

You see, I had no idea just how obsessive and disordered this community could sometimes be.

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Yes, there are many bloggers whom I respect and admire: they cook beautiful, natural food; they inspire others to find their own healthy lifestyle; they are incredibly fit in their own way; and they believe in moderation and doing what’s best for their own body and health.

Nevertheless, there are numerous bloggers whom I’ve stopped following because they seem unaware of their own dangerous habits. In blogging, we only see through a single window of somebody’s life—not the whole picture—but we owe our readers the care and consideration we’d give our closest friends and family. Some bloggers—most likely with good intentions—promote calorie counting/restriction, omitting certain food groups (ethics, allergies, and sensitivities aside), and excessive exercise. Readers may emulate this behavior, not realizing its potential harmful effects on their own lives.

February 22- 28 is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. Once again, the theme is I had no idea…

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While I’ve never personally suffered from an eating disorder, I’ve felt unhappy with my body, tried to control my emotions with food, pushed myself too hard in exercise, and seen how easy and fulfilling it can be on the surface to control one’s sadness, self-esteem issues, or anxiety with food—whether through restricting or bingeing. I’ve seen others fall into the depths of true eating disorders and suffer detrimental consequences to their health.

Eating disorders are true mental illness and deserve attention and funding for treatment. Did you know that 20 million women and 10 million men in the United States suffer, at some point in their lives, from a clinically significant eating disorder?

Eating disorders are deadly. In fact, anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder, often going hand-in-hand with clinical depression and substance abuse. [source]

This week—and always—be vigilant in your self-care and identifying dangerous behavior in your family and friends.

Some signs to watch for…

  • poor body image
  • preoccupation with food (counting calories, weighing food, avoiding certain food groups, etc.)
  • fear of social eating/eating in public
  • frequent trips to the bathroom (especially after eating)
  • sudden weight loss
  • obsessive exercise

Never be scared or ashamed to seek help—your struggles do not define you. For more information on eating disorder awareness, symptoms, and risks, click here.

Osman’s Restaurant Review

For my birthday 2 weeks ago, Mark and I decided to try a locally-loved, but new-to-us, restaurant—Osman’s.

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Osman’s has been in business since 2000, and it’s family owned and operated by Bosnian immigrants.

Tucked away in what I’d describe as an odd location (it’s not in the best part of town), the restaurant is small and quaint. The décor is nothing fancy, but it’s cozy and comfortable enough for an intimate dinner.

To begin, Mark and I ordered a bottle of Four Bears Cabernet and shared the brie appetizer. The wheel of brie was coated in bread crumbs, fried, and topped with a raspberry jam.

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The brie was good, but it wasn’t our favorite. We thought it was a little bland—which is unusual, since we both love brie. The jam was a bit too sweet and needed a kick of acid. Nevertheless, we ate almost the entire thing.

The menu is largely European: Italian pasta dishes and eggplant parmesan; a variety of schnitzels,; fish, shrimp, fillet mignon, lamb chops, and chicken—each served with a choice of several different sauces.

All entrées were served with a side salad of mixed greens, an unfortunately “wintery” tomato, and dressing.

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I chose the balsamic vinaigrette, which was deliciously sweet and tangy, and Mark opted for the mustard vinaigrette (which was also good).

Although the fillet with gorgonzola sauce sounded amazing, I wanted something lighter and chose the catch of the day—red fish—with chardonnay sauce.

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The fish was cooked perfectly, but without the sauce it would’ve been a little bland. I loved the flavorful sauce, which was made with chardonnay, cream, seasoning, and capers. The angel hair pasta and sautéed green beans on the side were a bit too garlicky, but I still enjoyed them.

Mark was a bit more adventurous and ordered the schnitzel—which, of course, is a thin pork cutlet bread and fried. He ordered his “jäger style,” which involved a creamy mushroom and onion sauce.

The schnitzel was ENORMOUS! I’m not exaggerating when I say it could’ve easily fed a family of four! In fact, Mark’s leftovers became lunch for the both of us—and that was after giving a portion to my father!

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Much like the fish, the pork was a bit bland on its own. The sauce was delicious, however. We both thought the breading was perfectly crispy—and it didn’t have a hint of greasiness.

Since we were both stuffed, we ordered dessert to go—a homemade cream puff. We ate it the next evening and thought it was pretty good, although I imagine it would’ve been better fresh. I forgot to take a picture.

Overall, we were pleased with our dinner. The pricing is comparable to your run-of-the-mill family restaurant (a few of the dishes, namely the lamb and fillet are pricier), but with more of a fine dining feel. We thought the pricing was very good for the amount and quality of food.

Service was great, too; our waitress was very personable and laughed right along with us when we gazed in disbelief at the size of the schnitzel.

While we may not hurry back to celebrate our next special occasion (there are other restaurants I’d like to try), I’d recommend Osman’s to friends and family. Overall it was a good meal, and I can understand why some locals include it as one of their favorites.

Weekly Links 02.22.15

Hi! Upon writing this, I realized I haven’t blogged since last Weekly Links post. Oops! It’s been a busy week, so I’m just going to blame it on that.

This weekend was a good one. My in-laws stayed with us Friday night, we had Luca’s baptism on Saturday, and today we cooked breakfast and relaxed around the house watching Boyhood. Luca was a bit fussy (ok, a lot fussy!) during the baptism, but he hadn’t napped for a long time. Poor thing was a trooper even though he had a rough afternoon and night, too. I think he napped less than 2 hours total!

Now we’re just chilling, sipping some wine, and watching the Oscars. Have a great Sunday night and enjoy some reads.

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.Recipes.

Gluten Free Breakfast Pizza With Hash Brown Crust via Iowa Girl Eats

Would you believe I’ve never had breakfast pizza before? This looks like the perfect weekend breakfast, though!

Creamy Cajun Chicken Penne Pot via How Sweet It Is

Everything Jessica makes is something I would eat…by the BOWLFUL. This is no exception!

Peanut Butter Streusel Oatmeal Bars via Tastes of Lizzy T

Peanut butter and oats are two of my favorite things, too…yum!

Open-Faced Salmon and Avocado BLTs via Confections of a Foodie Bride

If Mark and I ever work up the courage to cook salmon again (it can’t be that difficult!), I will have to try these.

Single-Serving Fudge Cake via Yeah…Imma Eat That

Oooh—desserts for one are my favorite (because who likes to share?). Especially if they’re fudgy and chocolaty!

.Food & Nutrition.

Death To The Chicken Finger via National Post

Sadly, I was that picky child whose mother fixed her separate meals quite often (not pointing fingers here—I’m grateful my mom cared enough to get me to eat something). Still, I do not want Luca to grow up this way. Food is one of my passions, and I want him to have a diverse palette from a young age. I know it’s easier said than done, but I hope to introduce him to a wide variety of vegetables and fruits when he starts eating solids so that he doesn’t become that picky child I was. Don’t we owe our children better than leftover chicken pieces, “beige foods,” and carb-heavy kiddie meals?

.Body Image.

Jeans and Genes: On How I Learned To Love My Body via The Healthy Maven

A great post from Davida. You know, it wasn’t until reading this that I thought about loving and embracing certain quirky parts of our bodies because they’ve been passed on through our genes. Whether it’s a prominent nose, a wide smile, long piano fingers, it’s something that ties us to our history.

Talking About Weight Loss Affects Our Children via Huffington Post

Children are like sponges—enough said.

The Dangers of the Appearance-Driven Diet via The Atlantic

This is interesting and probably accurate, but to think that this revelation will change the diet industry is laughable. Promising would-be dieters “you, too, can look like this!” is how they make their money over and over again.

A Little Bit Rant-y via The Lunchbox Diaries

I’m so glad somebody posted what I’ve been thinking since seeing this preview.

.Mental Health.

The Upside of Feeling Bad via Mind Body Green

Very true. I fully believe you have to “choose” happiness rather than expect it to come from others, but nobody is happy all the time. To truly be happy and fulfilled, you have to embrace and learn from the “bad” times, too.

.Fitness.

I Joined The Gym—Now What? via The Cookie ChRUNicles

This is me. I was a member at Planet Fitness for over a year and probably went to the gym 6 times. Of those times, I ran on the elliptical and maybe used some leg machine on 3 different occasions. I need to get past being intimidated and ask for help if I ever join another gym (which I’d like to do).

.Parenting.

Should You Bring Your Unborn Baby To Work? via The Atlantic

A fascinating (and fairly long) read.

A Bittersweet Goodbye To Breastfeeding via Huffington Post

Not going to lie, this made me a little teary-eyed. As painful as those first weeks were and as frustrating as pumping can get, I’m so grateful I chose to breastfeed Luca. It’s an amazing gift and bond.

To The Mom Who Didn’t Breastfeed via Scary Mommy

And here’s a different—but equally true—perspective on breastfeeding. You’re a good mother because you love your baby and would do anything for him/her not because, or in spite of, how you chose to feed your child.

A Yogi’s Secret To Thriving During Motherhood via Mind Body Green

These are good lessons; while I think my yoga practice helped during pregnancy, I never thought about applying it to motherhood, too!