Brunch and Bag Shopping + Fashion Blog Question for You

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Important question for you guys – remember to check the end of the post!

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My friend Kayte and I made plans to hang out Sunday afternoon.

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FIrst on the agenda – eats!

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We hit up The Flying Biscuit. Luckily the wait wasn’t too long.

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I decided to order something new-ish. I usually get the High Flyer, but I wasn’t feeling the oatmeal pancake. So, I got the Bacon and Eggs breakfast instead. I love the turkey bacon in the Southern Scramble, but turkey bacon by itself usually tastes weird to me solo. I think next time I’ll either get the chicken sausage or soysage.

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After brunch, we went shopping! I’m in the market for cross body totes. I’d like one dressy one (for going out) and one casual one (for everyday as well as use on trips – needs to fit my DSLR, though!). We looked at a few gorgey bags in Nordstrom. I especially liked this Marc by Marc Jacobs.

We also swung by Neiman Marcus where I promptly fell in love with a Chanel quilted, patent leather wallet/cross-body purse. *le sigh* A girl can dream, right?

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And to finish our fun afternoon – froyo!

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Fashion Blogging

So some of you guys know that I used to run a fashion blog called Shopaholics Anonymous. I’ve really been missing fashion blogging (which I actually did before I even started The Chic Life), so I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to start doing fashion blog posts again. I’m thinking of either putting them here on TCL and making it easier for you guys to sort those in/out depending on if you’re interested. I’ve also considered just restarting Shopaholics Anonymous and picking up where I left off. Thoughts? Would you be interested in seeing fashion/shopping/outfit posts here on TCL or would you rather I link to an external blog?

Pack of Locusts

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Hubby enlisted my help this weekend to whip up a bunch of tasty eats for his guy friends who were coming over for a fantasy draft, followed by poker night.

I’m used to preparing eats for a bunch of food blogger (girl) friends who mostly eat vegetarian, so this was a little challenge for me. I spent most of last week staying up till the wee hours of the night trying to get organized (after returning from HLS after 11pm Sunday night), blogging, and taking care of other to-dos. Late nights + another busy week at work = me feeling pretty drained by the weekend. So, I decided to try to keep the food prep as easy as possible.

I like to cook most of the food when we entertain, but I always try to do at least one or two things (usually more like 25%, so actual count depending on the number of dishes and number of people being served) pre-prepared from the grocery store.

We decided on…

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Store bought chips and salsa

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Fresh cut veggies (from the produce section, not a pre-prepared veggie tray) plus homemade dill sauce.

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And hubby picked up Great Harvest rolls to go with…

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Eat Live Run’s Famous Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken.

I had asked my twitter and Facebook friends for slow cooker suggestions (since slow cookers are wonderful life savers for entertaining), BBQ chicken was a popular suggestion. Thank you all again for your wonderful tips! We almost went with the taco bar many of you suggested, but hubby wasn’t feeling tacos this weekend.

Anywho, the BBQ chicken was a real winner. The chicken became uber tender and came apart easily with a couple of forks. The sauce was just the right amount and on the sweet side, which I actually like. :) I only wish I made a double batch!

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I also made an experiment – Creamy Spinach Polenta Bites.

Hubby told me guys don’t like polenta, so I almost didn’t make the experiment dish. But, I asked my twitter friends about this theory and found out lots of guys like polenta. So there! ;)

Anywho, I basically sliced a tube of polenta (taking another short cut) into roughly 1/3″ rounds, baked the polenta and then topped the polenta pieces with a homemade creamy spinach topping. Mmm. The creamy spinach would also be a fantastic dip! I just need to play around with the recipe a bit more, and then it’s sharing time!

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We also made two flatbreads with store bought pizza dough, pesto (store bought), fresh mozzarella, and tomatoes. I totally chopped up fresh basil from my garden to put on top of this and then forgot. Doh!

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The boys attached the food like a pack of locusts.

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And they said everything was really good. Even the polenta.

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After the swarm. :lol:

Reader question #1: Do you think guys like polenta?

Reader question #2: What are your tips/tricks for feeding a bunch of guys?

Bailey’s Fourth Birthday

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Bailey’s fourth birthday was last week!

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Bailey actually really likes unwrapping gifts, and he took much pleasure in ripping the gift wrap off of his presents.

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Look at that smile!

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To celebrate his birthday, hubby and I headed out to Noda.

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The sky was a little weird looking – I was guessing from the hurricane off in the distance.

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We hit up Revolution Pizza, since they have good food and let Bailey dine with us outdoors.

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Beer for hubby, a cucumber mojito for moi.

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Bruschetta.

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And we shared a small pizza with spinach, caramelized onions, and oven-dried tomatoes.

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Then it was time for Bailey’s real party to begin. We took him to the dog bar!

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And a birthday party wouldn’t be complete without birthday cake. Yup, a local shop bakes treats just for your furry friends.

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Bailey was spoiled with a couple slices of cake.

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But there were plenty of pieces left to share with the other dogs at the bar.

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And finally, we swung by Amelie’s for human treats.

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Macarons for me! I had a raspberry and a pistachio macaron. Nom!

I’d really like to try to make macarons some time. Are they difficult?

How do you celebrate your pet’s birthday?

It’s Britney , B*tch

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If you had told me 10 years ago that I would be going to a Britney Spears concert, I would have called you crazy. If you had told my sister 10 years ago that I was going to a Britney Spears concert, she not only would have agreed that you were crazy, she would have also been uber jealous. My how things change with time.

When Britney first hit MTV, it was my sister who was infatuated with the pop princess (she loved all the boy bands, too, of course). Meanwhile, I thought the whole sugar-y pop thing was silly, and I pretty much couldn’t stand the music. I may or may not have teased her for her love of Britney, the Backstreet Boys, and let’s not forget…the Spice Girls.

Fast forward to present day, and I’m such a Britney fan, while my sister isn’t! I could jam to Britney any day of the week, while my sister could care less to hear her music. So, as a Britney fan, I was super excited to hear she was coming to town. You’d think that I would have spent some time putting together a fun outfit for the concert (you guys know I love costumes), but things have been so busy, a costume was the last of my concerns.

My first choice was the Slave 4 U pink outfit, but that required too much DIY for my schedule. I tried throwing some last minute outfits with clothes I had in my closet, but to no avail. I had a close version of her Everytime outfit, but the white shirts weren’t the right size. I actually threw together a decent Gimme More outfit (I posted a photo on my Facebook – click to view), but I deemed it too scandalous for the night. An interesting decision given my choice of costume for Lady Gaga. Guess I wasn’t in the mood for pushing my age-appropriate dressing to the utmost limits. I ended up just wearing leggings, a loose tank top, and my Zumba shoes.

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I went out with a fun group of girls for the concert – lots of my Zumba peeps.

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The show opened with DJ Pauly D, but not Nicki Minaj. Not sure why she didn’t make it. I admit I watch the Jersey Shore, but I wasn’t there for Pauly. I didn’t really miss Nicki Minaj either. I was there for the main attraction.

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Femme Fatale – moments before starting.

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Show time!

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The concert was super fun and I loved hearing some different remixes of her songs. She did a lot of her new songs, some old school faves, and of course her current #1s.

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Swoon!

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Random fashion/celebrity thought: Does anyone else think Kim Kardashian’s wedding look (click) was a little too Red Sonja (click) does bridal? I didn’t love the headpiece. What did you think of it? I must admit, I didn’t watch or read any of the wedding coverage. I’ve only seen a couple photos pop up via fashion blogs in my Google Reader. So, maybe the look made more sense if you saw the whole thing? Please discuss! ;)

Side note: I’ve read via various sources that the headpiece is a nod to Kim’s Armenian ancestry. Apparently, the headpiece was supposed to resemble a crown (though a couple google image searches yielded no similar results to what Kim wore)? I won’t even pretend to understand Armenian tradition, so if you’re Armenian, please educate us. I’m all about a cultural nod, so learning that alone makes me dislike it less. :)

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Reader question: Tell me the truth – do you (or did you) love pop music – especially bubbly girl and guy groups and performers? Which one is/was your favorite?

HLS – The Long Trip Home with a Jazz Break

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After a weekend of fun with my bloggie friends, I wasn’t looking forward to Sunday. I wasn’t quite ready to leave Philly or say bye to my friends, and I certainly wasn’t looking forward to the 10 hour road trip ahead of me and my fellow road warrior Katie.

Catching Up? Here are my previous HLS 2011 posts:

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Quaker Oats sponsored the breakfast, so I was really looking forward to a hot bowl of oats.

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I also grabbed some fruit and a hard boiled egg (for extra filling power – we weren’t sure when we’d stop for lunch)

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I put honey, ground flaxseed, almond butter, and nuts on my oats.

Shortly after breakfast, it was time to get our car and hit the road.

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We made pretty good time for the first couple hours and even managed to find a Panera off the highway for a decent lunch. I had a Greek salad, black bean soup, and baguette.

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Unfortunately, as we worked our way through lunch, we watched a thunderstorm roll up. And the next few hours looked like this. :( The traffic was pretty bad. Stop and go and stop and go for hours. Since Katie was driving, I monitored the weather radar from our phones. The storm spanned all up and down the east coast, but it was vary narrow. It appeared that although the rain was formed in a thin line from about Richmond to Philadelphia, we were managing to drive right through it.

We decided to pull over and let the storm pass. Best decision ever! We stopped, randomly, at a Target and hit up the Starbucks. We were hoping to take a blog break, but there was no wifi! But wifi or not, we were both super happy to see the SUN break through the clouds as the storms passed overhead.

There was lots of residual traffic from the rain storms, so things weren’t totally smooth sailing, but they were certainly better. The thing driving us the most crazy was seeing the sign for Richmond over and over again. We were moving so slowly, it felt like every time we saw the mileage sign, Richmond was only 1 mile closer each time. Richmond seemed so far away!

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As you may guess, when we finally did see Richmond we were so happy.

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We never thought we’d be so excited to see Richmond, but we sure were!

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I shared the brownie I got from Evan with Katie as a pre-dinner snack (or was it a we-escaped-the-crazy-rain-storm celebratory treat?). Either way. It was delish!

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One good thing that came out of the rain storm was a call I made to hubby’s brother, for help. I knew we’d be passing Durham on the way home and that he was quite the local restaurant expert. His suggestion – Broad Street Cafe. It would be open late (since we were running late…stupid storm) and had great food.

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Perhaps the best surprise? A live jazz band!

I gotta tell you, after spending nearly 10 hours on the road, a relaxing jazz band was just the thing I needed to calm my nerves. It was so relaxing!

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I scoped out the menu online prior to arriving and kept seeing two things pop up: sweet potato fries with homemade ketchup and the butternut squash pizza. I ordered both.

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The fries were amazing! Mostly, I loved the homemade ketchup. The ketchup was spiced! Spicy and sweet…mmm. The two combined made for a dynamic duo of flavor and texture.

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I was really on the fence about the pizza because it seemed so simple, but when I read the detailed menu description, I was sold. Perhaps it was the leeks and shallots? Or maybe just the unique combination of ingredients I’ve never seen anywhere else. Fire-roasted butternut squash, roasted leeks, shallots, Gorgonzola, and Applewood-smoked bacon all on the same pizza? SOLD!

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The pizza was a perfect example of balance of savory and sweet. The smokey, salty bacon was perfect with the sweet shallots and butternut squash. The leeks were the icing on the cake. Who knew all these ingredients would taste so great together? Apparently Broad Street Cafe did.

The dinner stop was just what we needed to power through the last 2 1/2 hours home. We finally arrived around 11:15pm…phew! We had a long day, but we were home safe and sound. This definitely makes my longest road trip ever!

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Bailey was especially happy to see me, and he practically tried to break down the door when he saw me coming. Cute little guy. His corgi butt was going a mile a minute shaking in happiness (they shake their butts since they don’t have tails).

HLS or Bust – Done and done!

I’d like to send out a thanks to Katie for being such an awesome road tripper. I’d also like to thank Mr. Philadelphia for his help locating a parking deck and offering numerous restaurant suggestions. And a big thank you to Meghann for organizing this year’s HLS.

And of course, I’d like to thank you, dear readers, for your many road trip tips and restaurant suggestions. I wish I could have tried some of them out, but it was hard because we were trying to stay close to the highway for the road trip portion and then close to the hotel for the conference. I’ll refer back to your suggestions next time when I have more time to explore! :)

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Missing my recipes? I have a bunch queued up and ready to share! Check back for more of those later this week/this weekend.

And click here to get free The Chic Life updates!

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Reader question: What’s the longest road trip you’ve ever done? How long was it?

Out and About In Philly

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So, where did we leave off!?

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Ah yes, getting ready to hit the town after the summit wrapped up!

But quickly…a couple other HLS things:

Zumba at HLS: Unfortunately, Gina and I were not able to co-teach another Zumba class together. :( Click here to view the awesomeness that was Zumba at HLS 2010. The gym I was hoping would let us use their facilities tried to charge us $10 per person with a minimum of 20 people. Did I mention Gina and I wanted to teach for free? Anywho, then the hotel was actually willing to let us use a room, but we didn’t have any speakers. As much as I really wanted to teach Zumba with Gina again, I think it’s for the best it didn’t work out. I was going to press for a short class since I’m only able to lead about 3 songs at the moment and probably most (or all?) at low intensity. I think it would be better to be 100% for an HLS Zumba class.

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Chic Sweets at HLS: I successfully gave away all the treats I prepared all week prior to HLS – chocolate chip cookie dough balls, sugar cook dough balls, Chic Bars, and coconut macaroons (the ‘roons were for my roomies). Did you get some at HLS? Hope you liked them!

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Ok, now back to our outing!

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We took a quick trip through the Reading Terminal.

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The cheesesteak signs were making me so hungry! I kind of just wanted a big Philly cheesesteak for dinner. :lol:

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I loved seeing all the beautiful old buildings and taking note of the tiniest details in the sructures (must be my architect dad wearing off on me).

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And the giant murals (this one is small in comparison to most of the others I saw) were so fun to see.

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Bloggers take over Philly!

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We didn’t have long to site see, but I’m glad we went by the Liberty Bell. The last time I saw this, the bell was still outdoors!

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The group wanted to go to The Corner for dinner, and the restaurant kindly put a large table together for our group.

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Cheers! :)

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I went family style with Kelly, sharing an appetizer, salad, and entree.

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Open kitchens rock – and this one was so pristine!

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Leave it to Southerners to find the one Southern restaurant in Philly. Ok, there are probably others, but we did think it was amusing to see collard greens and BBQ on the menu. And we were given these mini buttermilk biscuits pre-meal. Southern eats in Philly, eh? I’ll take it…but I’ll probably order something I can’t get back home. ;)

A quick, fresh-grated dusting of salt, and they were ready to go.

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The tiniest biscuits I’ve ever seen!

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For our app, Kelly and I shared the “seared scallops: cucumber salad, sour cream, peach compote”

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Salad – “beet salad: sour cream (we subbed vinaigrette), capers, lemon, summer squash”

We subbed sour cream with vinaigrette. I like sour cream, but only in small doses.

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The really interesting part of the meal came with the entree. Many of us were intrigued by the “Seafood Hotdog” on the menu and asked our waitress about it. She explained that the seafood hotdog was made with fish, scallops, and shrimp. Since the last time I’d heard of such an interesting hot dog was never, I had to try it!

The seafood hotdog was served with fingerling potato chips and cole slaw.

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And the verdict? It was really good and totally worked! I thought it was a nice take on the hot dog, sans casing, with a much better filling.

I’d also like to throw in, since I read negative reviews for service for this restaurant on yelp, that our waitress was super nice and accommodating. She happily split up our many checks and took care of our table with a friendly smile.

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Post dinner, we met up with some fellow bloggers for cocktails (none for me, thank you Asian flush) and a night on the town. Oh, and we totally saw someone get pulled over right in front of the bar we were chillin in and watched in shock as they got handcuffed and place in the police car. Doh! After getting a recommendation from a couple policemen who outside after all the drama-rama, our group hit up Woody’s for a little fun.

<insert fun, fun fun!> :D

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And post Woody’s, and after a couple detours, we ended up in this line waiting for late night pizza!

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Nom! Nothing like pizza to end the night.

Reader question #1: Have you seen the Liberty Bell? Was it inside or outside when you saw it?

Reader question #2: What’s the most unique hot dog you’ve ever had?

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