Saturday, January 20, 2018

The Taste Of Maryland Legislative Reception

This is the third year Fred and I have attended The Taste of Maryland Legislative Reception. It's quite the affair. It's hosted at the Loews Hotel in Annapolis, Maryland. This is the 28th Annual Reception put on my the Restaurant Association of Maryland. It's held to celebrate the restaurant & hospitality industry.

Restaurants from 9 different counties in Maryland were there with some incredible menu items! Out of the last three years we've attended, I think we both felt this year had the best tasting selection of food. In years past, we've stopped for something to eat on the way home. I can admit that as I sit here typing, I'm still stuffed to the gills.

Let's chat about some of the food we tasted.

As soon as we walked in, we were greeted by the folks from Iron Rooster. They had Breakfast Fried Rice and two varieties of their homemade pop tarts. Fred went with the fried rice, but said it was extremely dry. I picked the mixed berry pop tart. It was in-cre-di-ble! I'll be honest, it's my favorite item on their menu. They look small, but were at least the size of your hand and filled with berry goodness!

Our next stop was at the Miss Shirley's table where they were serving BBQ Mac & Cheese. Sounds like the ultimate comfort food. I'm very particular about my bbq flavors so I passed, but Fred enjoyed it. Here's what it was made of: pulled pork with Baltimore BBQ Co. Chesapeake Sauce, Collard Greens with Tasso Ham & Cavatappi Pasta with Roasted Corn, Tomato & Diced JalapeƱo-Smoked Bacon in a Five Cheese Blend garnished with Sauce, Cornbread Crumble, dusted with Cajun Spice! All of that in one little cup.

And then, THEN we stopped at EVO Public House. They had Crispy Pork Belly & Pickles. I've only had pork belly once, as an appetizer, at another restaurant and really enjoyed it. This though...this was something else. As I said in my Instagram post, it was divine! Amazingly juicy and flavorful. Yes, I felt my arteries clogging by just eating one, but that's why I go to the gym, right?!

We meandered through the two rooms getting ideas of other restaurants we wanted to try, talking to people along the way. One of the people we talked to was Tim, the Vice President from Congressional Seafood. He captured our attention with detailing how invasive Blue Catfish is in this area. He also served Wild Blue Catfish. I liked the shrimp that it was paired with, but since I'm not huge on fish, I wasn't a fan. Fred liked it though. He's my gauge when it comes to anything seafood.

We tried a Georgia Peach Brisket Slider from Kloby's Smokehouse. I wasn't a fan, but then again, I don't typically like brisket. Now, you have to understand, I tried a LOT of things that I wouldn't normally eat because when else would I have the chance? lol You never know when you might come across something that you end up really liking.

This was the first time I'd heard of cheese curds being served at the Reception. Sadly, Ace's Run Restaurant & Pub's fryers were making too much smoke. So while they were fried earlier, they weren't fresh like cheese curds need to be. Also, I'm a cheese curd purist. I don't want them dipped in anything and they were both laying on a touch of sauce that really overwhelmed the cheese curd. We tried their Brown Butter Sea Scallops and that was delish!

Fred's favorite was Blackwall Hitch. They served Maryland Crab Risotto. One of the representatives really tried to sell me on it, but yea, I just wasn't interested in trying a crab risotto. It was one of the ones I knew I didn't need to taste. lol I left it to Fred, who agreed I wouldn't like it (he knows my tastes better than anyone). He loved it. LOVED it!

This was the first time Bruster's Real Ice Cream was there. I had no idea they even had a location in Annapolis! The new owner of the Annapolis location and I got into a conversation and she said they're the best kept secret because they've been at the same location for ten years! Crazy, right? They had four varieties of ice cream. Thankfully they had a coffee flavored ice cream, which happens to be my favorite. Their's is called Coffee Break. Fred tried the Sea Salt Caramel, and since I'm not a fan of sea salt caramel in ice cream form, I passed. He said I absolutely needed to try it, so I went back after we'd walked around for a while. He was right! I told the Annapolis owner that I'm really judgy about anything sea salt caramel flavor in ice cream form, and she told me to be honest with her and judge all I wanted. Well, turned out it was really good! So often it has some strange chemical kind of taste. This was creamy and caramel only flavored! Loved it!

Now, towards the end of the evening I lost Fred, but found him hanging out at the Middleton Tavern table. They were serving Cream of Crab Soup. Sigh...more crab. I mean, we ARE in Maryland. No surprise that there's so much seafood. The chef who was there was a kick in the pants. I was telling him, and one of the other reps who were there about cheese curds. (It cracks me up how few people know about these) The chef said that if I tried his soup he'd consider learning about cheese curds. I tried the soup - begrudgingly. He was right though, it was good. Trust me, my face would've given me away, and Fred said he was surprised when I didn't make one of my gross faces. hahahaha I replied to the chef, "It's not bad," to which he rephrased it, "Which means it's good!"

We didn't make it to each restaurant who was represented. Besides, I couldn't have eaten any more after all of the samples we'd already consumed! I was disappointed I didn't have an opportunity to run into any of the reps from the tourist industry. Maybe next year! I'll have to keep an eagle eye out.

I do have to tell you who I ran into as I waited for my hubby to pick me up at the front of the hotel. I was sitting there, minding my own business when a woman wanted to share the bench I was on. I moved over and asked her how her night was going. The next thing I know, the man sitting across from us addressed her as "Miss Senator"! I kind of glanced at her from the side of my eye. What the what?! I just talked to a senator like she was just some Jane Schmoe sitting next to me. hahahaha Of course I did my normal, Mimi, "You're a Senator?! I totally had a different idea of what a Senator would look like." I think of Senators as looking crabby, business suits, stand-off-ish, and maybe with some security around them? hahahaha She was kind and told me that nope, they were just like everyone else. Thank you for not making me feel like a doofus, Senator Barbara Robinson!

Monday, January 15, 2018

Peru & Her Stuffed Animals

Last year, just after the New Year, I ran to PetSmart for some random thing. I have no idea what it was for. As I was walking around, I found a bin with stuffed animals in it, and I think they were $1.99! The way Peru goes through stuffed toys, I figured if I got several of them they might last her a month or so. The one I got was a cat, which I think is named Lucky. It's part of PetSmart's Philanthropic Collection which give back to pets & children in need. Who knew? I didn't.

I got home, and her excitement over her new "baby" was fun to watch. She took off with it and started nibbling on it. I figured it would take her by the end of the day to get through it. Guess what? It took her a couple of months to start pulling out the stuffing! I couldn't believe it. Thank goodness I got 6 of them because they literally lasted for an entire year.

Peru chewed through her last one by the end of December, and by the time January rolled around, all she had left of her last Lucky was the shell. The stuffing made its way around the house in bits and pieces.

I decided for kids to check out PetSmart again to see if they had any stuffed animals left over from the holidays. This time the only thing I could find was a stuffed dog. I thought they were still at the retail price, but she needed a new one so I grabbed one and head to check out. When the gal scanned it, it was only $2 so I rushed back and got 6 more of them.

She was SO thrilled to see all of the new babies coming home in bags! I gave her a new one, a dog named Chance, and she rushed off to the bedroom to start nibbling on him. Here's the strange thing. I had brought home two other stuffed animals the week before because she seriously needed a stuffed animal. Peru pulled out the stuffing by the end of the day. Why she doesn't do the same thing to her babies is a mystery to me. I'm just happy to have an inexpensive toy for my dog to play with for the year!

I'm going to head back to see if they have any left so maybe we can bring some to Peru with us for the kids in October! Fingers crossed!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Just Keep Going ~ The Gym Gets Easier

So, did you do it? Did you join the gym? I hope you've decided to get active this year! My one year anniversary is coming up at the gym. I can't even believe it. I remember the first month going. It was kind of a love/hate kind of experience.

I still had anxiety because I didn't know most of the dances yet. The anxiety came from myself and it was so not necessary! I didn't realize that the dances don't always stay the same. Amanda changes up the songs and rotates them all the time. It finally became fun after I'd been going for a couple of months because I began to understand the moves and could get through a dance without any mess ups.

Maybe you're lifting weights and you're still on the same weight as when you first started. Maybe you've joined a yoga class and you can't quite get a pose down. Perhaps you're doing HIIT and you still want to die 15 minutes into the class.

Don't. Give. Up!

You've got to keep going. Each time you go you'll improve. It might be a such a minute change, you don't notice it, but your body is changing! You're building your endurance. You're moving your body. You're strengthening your body.

You're doing the things! That's the most important thing!

There are going to be days when you feel like this:

But then there are going to be days where you feel like this:

Hold on to those days tightly!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

What To Wear To Workout

First off, I want to say, "Don't worry about what you're wearing to the gym!" If you're wanting to go to the gym, but you're thinking you have nothing to wear, it's ok! Really!! At my gym, everyone is dressed differently. Usually just a tank top and leggings will do regardless of what you're doing. The first time I went to Zumba I wore a t-shirt and shorts. I decided I wasn't going to do that again because no one else was dressed like that. So, listen, I get how self conscious we can be. I immediately went out and bought some shirts and leggings.

What I finally came to realize is a couple of things. 1) I'm pretty sure no one in my class pays attention to what other people are wearing. You don't really have time to pay attention. You get into class, do the workout, and everyone leaves. 2) People DO wear t-shirts and shorts. They wear capris, long leggings, shorts, tank tops, sports bras, t-shirts, etc. Not a single person is dressed the same. It is fun to try clothing on though! lol

I would highly suggest NOT going out and buying a wardrobe of activewear. Get a couple of essential pieces only if you don't have anything. If you have shorts, a sports bra, and a t-shirt, you're good to go. I'm not kidding. You don't have to rush out and get the top end workout clothing right away. Heck, you never have to do that.

BUT, if you want to, then I'd do that after you know you're making a serious commitment to the gym. You don't want to buy 5 full outfits, and by February realize you're just not that into it. Give yourself a goal. Maybe you give yourself a variety of goals, ways to congratulate yourself for sticking to it, and also a way of building your wardrobe.

Here are some goal ideas:
Joining the gym: A pair of leggings

RBX Active Women’s Printed Full Length Workout Leggings

Going to the gym for two weeks: Two tank tops

Gaiam Apparel Womens Everly Yoga Tank

prAna Womens Phoebe Top

Trying something new at the gym:  A good water bottle

Nalgene Tritan 24oz On the Fly (OTF) BPA-Free Water Bottle

Visiting the gym for a month: A good pair of shoes

Nike Women's Flex Supreme TR 4 Cross Trainer

Staying committed for two months: A gym bag

Under Armour Undeniable 3.0 Medium Duffle Bag

Keeping at it for six months: A fitness tracker
Fitbit Charge 2 Heart Rate + Fitness Wristband (this is the one I currently have & love)

Other things to consider for rewards:

1. T-shirt RBX Active Women's Plus Size Yoga Printed Workout Short Sleeve V-Neck Tee Shirt
2. Gym towels: PREMIUM Microfiber Gym Towel Set (3 Pack)
3. A pack of socks: Prince Womens No Show Performance Socks
4. Sports bra: Women's High Impact Support Bounce Control Plus Size Workout Sports Bra 
5. Yoga mat: Yoga Mat, with Carrying Travel Bag and Strap 2/5” Thickness(72”x24”)
6. Headphones: Wireless Bluetooth Sweatproof In-Ear Sports Headphones with Microphone 
7. Wrist/Ankle Weights: Reehut Ankle Weights, Durable Wrist Weight 
8. Boxing gloves: Everlast Women's Pro Style Training Gloves
9. Smartphone arm band: VUP Running Armband
10. Pullover: MOOSUNGEEK Women's Cowl Neck Pullover 

Fitness Goal Rewards

Monday, January 8, 2018

February Cash Sign Up

Now's the time to sign up for a great cash giveaway in February! We're looking for some awesome people to join us, so get your sign up on right now!

What: February $100 Cash Giveaway
Dates: Feb 1 - 28, 2018
Who: Anyone who wants to grow their social media

Be sure to fill out this form and don't miss out:

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Water, Water, Water, Water...Water Bottle

One of the most important things you should be thinking about when you're working out is your water intake. It's incredibly important to stay hydrated. Not just during your workout, but all of the time. Water is super important in the winter as well!

Now, if you're anything like me, you're not a huge fan of water. The guys in my family can go through a case like it's going out of style. The issue I have with that is the waste with the water bottles. We recycle them, no doubt about it, but it's such a struggle for me because I dislike the waste. The problem is, I'm not confident in our well water. In fact, I'm pessimistic about our water, we're having it tested. We have a water conditioner, but we were getting all of this black stuff building up in anything that held water: toilets and pet water bowls. I was like, "I'm NOT drinking that water!" We're working on getting it fixed.

That being said, I would really love to get rid of any water bottles coming into our house. Now, I know it's not 100% avoidable. A water bottle will end up at our house. It is what it is. What I can do to keep it from happening more is having good reusable water bottles for the family to choose from (once we have safe water to drink).

Anywho, I think I've shared before that I've learned for my body I need to drink most of my water the hour before my Zumba class. While in class I just maintain my hydration by grabbing a sip here and there. If I don't drink enough before class and drink a lot during it, I end up feeling sick to my stomach. No good!

I also drink at least one 16 oz bottle while I'm walking on my treadmill. I tend to walk just over an hour on it and easily finish the bottle in that time. By the time I'm done I'm actually craving more water. Hence getting larger, reusable bottles. A couple of the bottles below have ways to measure how much water you've drank, which is great if you're trying to get in a certain amount in every day!

How do you like your water? I know, strange question, right? Listen, my son says water doesn't have a taste. I non-humbly disagree! I can't stand the taste of room temperature water. Mine has to be shockingly cold. I could drink ice water like it's going out of style. When I'm driving to the gym and I'm drinking room temperature water, I kind of gag. Meh, I'm particular. What can I say?

Here are a few great suggestions for cute ways to make sure you get your water intake!

Hydro Flask Double Wall Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Leak Proof Sports Water Bottle, Wide Mouth with BPA Free Flex Cap

Nalgene Tritan 24oz On the Fly (OTF) BPA-Free Water Bottle

Contigo AUTOSPOUT Straw Addison Water Bottle, 24oz, Ocean

The Coldest Water Bottle Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Hydro Travel Mug

Under Armour Dominate 24 Ounce Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Bottle with Flip Top Lid

CamelBak eddy .75L Water Bottle

Swig Savvy Bottles 18 oz Tritan Water Bottle

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Woven by Words by Mimi B is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.