Daily Happenings, Holiday, Running, Weekend

Belated Valentine’s Day Date

Hello and happy Sunday! How is your weekend so far? Today I’m checking in with a full heart and belly. Yesterday was busy in a good way for me. I hope you’re having a great weekend!


Saturday started nice and early at 6:15 so I could get an early start on my long run. After less week’s less than stellar 8 miles, I decided to take it just one mile at a time this week. From the first few steps, I could tell it would be a good one. 8 easy miles at a 10:03 pace to start the day! I saw one other person the entire time I was running and they were walking there dog. It was awesome to get be alone in the early morning, anyone else feel that way about weekend runs?


When I got home, I stretched and foam rolled before hopping in the shower. I had to go grocery shopping so I made some scrambled eggs to get something in my stomach before heading out. I didn’t want to over buy because I was hungry. By the time I got home, put all the groceries away and read a long chapter in my book it was time for lunch. Alex and I decided to use some coupons at Subway to get some sandwiches before we both ran more errands. I got a turkey sandwich with pepperjack cheese, lettuce, spinach, green peppers, cucumber and pickles plus a little mustard and chipotle sauce on it. Delicious and filling before getting my hair cut.


I got home from my appointment and tried to touch my hair as little as possible ha! The woman who cut my hair blow dried it all nice and I didn’t want to ruin it so I made some tea and read on the couch. I ended up finishing Celeste Ng’s novelΒ Everything I Never Told You. It’s the story of a Chinese American family in the 1970s who live in a small town in Ohio. The middle child, Lydia, is found dead in a lake. As one would expect, the family dynamic changes as each of member has to grasp with their new reality and learn to accept what happened. Overall it’s good. All of the themes are very hidden and subtle which I enjoyed. Personally I don’t love in your face themes. A great family drama read if you are interested in dramas.


Finally it was time to get ready for our date! Alex and I decided to celebrate Valentine’s Day a few days late instead of on the 14th. We opted for a new to me Italian place (Alex had been there before and enjoyed it) so I was pretty excited. I got all dolled up and made him take a picture before we left.


The food was so stinking good you guys!! When we arrived, they put a little plate of bread with some red sauce on top to start us off which was awesome as we sipped on our wine. It was BYOB so I grabbed a bottle of white earlier in the day. Once we placed the order for our entrees, the waiter came back with this plate full of an awesome light fluffy bread thingy that was on the house last night. We dined on that and some spicy calamari (I eat only the super breaded pieces). Finally the entrees…yum. I ordered the pappardelle alla vodka which was pappardelle pasta sauteed with prosciutto in a vodka cream sauce and Alex had the linguine scoglio which came with shrimp, mussels and clams in a garlic, olive oil and white wine sauce. We both kept complimenting the food the entire time.


We decided to splurge and split a dessert. The 3 chocolate mousse was so good! It was milk and white chocolate mousses topped with a light and creamy dark chocolate. Then the plate had some melted chocolate and whipped cream to eat as well. I wish I had another piece as I type this… The rest of the night was spent in front of a fire (it randomly starting snowing a ton!), exchanging gifts and hanging out. It was a fantastic Valentine’s Day date to me πŸ™‚

Question of the day: How did you celebrate Valentine’s Day?

Holiday, Recipes

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cupcakes

Hi friends! We’re halfway through the week so I figured the best way to get over the midweek hump is to share a delicious cupcake recipe. These would be perfect for Valentine’s Day next week with the pink frosting πŸ™‚


Who else loves a good chocolate covered strawberry?? I can’t possibly be the only one with their hand in the air and waving it around like I just don’t care. Now if you’re like me somehow the chocolate on the strawberry cracks when I bite into it. Then I’m left with broken chocolate in my hand on the plate.

This is where these cupcakes come in! The cupcakes are incredibly easy to make from scratch. The moist chocolate cupcake’s flavor goes perfectly with the strawberry buttercream. To get the strawberry flavor, I used frozen strawberries to get a really fresh flavor to it even though berries aren’t currently in season. Nothing fake is in these bad boys! These are perfect for Valentine’s Day next week or just anytime because who doesn’t love cupcakes?

Make a btach and bring them to your office to show some love to coworkers. I brought some of these into work and everyone loved them! Or keep them for yourself and hide them from everyone, no shame in that!

Chocolate Cupcakes

Recipe adopted from the peanut butter truffle cupcake recipe in the Taste of Home Baking book.



1/2 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup 2% milk (if you don’t drink 2% then whatever you have should be okay)

1/2 cup strong brewed coffee



Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition before mixing in vanilla.

Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Gradually add to the butter mixture. Alternate adding dry ingredients with milk and coffee. Mix well.

Line muffin tin and fill 2/3 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool for 10 minutes in pan than transfer to cooling rack.


*Note – somehow I got 14 cupcakes out of this recipe so keep that in mind*

Strawberry Buttercream Frosting



1 cup frozen strawberries

6 tablespoons butter

3/4 cup powdered sugar

3 tablespoons half & half (or milk)

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract



Place the frozen strawberries into a blender. Blend until there are no big chunks 30 seconds to 1 minute. It’ll look a little powdery and that’s okay!


In a saucepan, bring the blended strawberries to a boil. Stir regularly until it has been reduced to half. I did this before I even started the cupcakes. This needs to be completely cool before you can make the frosting.

Take off heat and cool completely.

In a bowl, cream the butter. Trade off adding in 1/4 cup of powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon of half and half. Blend completely after each addition.

Once fully blended, add in vanilla and blend.


Slowly add in the strawberry reduction. I recommend starting with 2 teaspoons and go from there. Blend after each addition. Stop when the strawberry flavor is as strong as you want it to be.

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cupcakes

Once that is all done frost the cupcakes and enjoy! I stored them wrapped on a plate in the refrigerator for a few days. Sometimes I ate them directly from the fridge and it was equally as delicious as when they were on the counter for a while. Any leftovers can be put in the freezer in a freezer bag to enjoy at a later date.

Question of the day: Are you a fan of chocolate and strawberry together?

Books, Daily Happenings, Holiday, Sunday In Pictures, Weekend

Sunday In Pictures Vol. 12 New Years Eve 2017 Edition

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a fun time ringing in 2018 and that this is the best year for you yet. Have a great day πŸ™‚


Instead of getting out of bed, we started the day watching an episode of “The Office” in bed.


Pancakes and bacon for breakfast.


Catching up on podcast while checking emails.


Started a new book –Β “The Beginning of Everything”Β by Robyn Schneider. It seemed like a fitting title as a new year starts.


Leftover soup and and popovers for lunch which hit the spot on a chilly day.


The best way to stay warm when it feels like 2 degrees outside is slipper socks and some tea in a cow mug.


Normal texts to my mom after slipping on ice Saturday morning.


Dinner was seasoned pork tenderloin, a baked potato topped with sour cream, cheese, pepper and salt (added post picture), and edamame.


We went to a friend’s house for a pregame,


We made it to a bar!


Then rang in the new year at home with some champagne πŸ™‚

Question of the day: What was your highlight of 2017?

Holiday, Travel

Christmas 2017 Recap

Happy Tuesday! I hope you all had a lovely weekend and very merry Christmas if you celebrate! Have a great day πŸ™‚

Christmas Eve

A tradition that my family has on Christmas Eve is we start the day by going to the movies. It started when my siblings and I were little. My dad would take us so my mom could clean, wrap presents, get ready for guests or just have some quiet before the craziness began. This year we went and sawΒ “Darkest Hour”Β which is about when Winston Churchill first became the British Prime Minister. Everyone loved the movie and I highly recommend going to see it!

After the movie ended, we had a little downtime at my parents before we needed to go to church. Alex and I packed some stuff up for my aunts house and watched some “Stranger Things”. Once it was time to go, we gathered around the Christmas tree for pictures and to open one gift. For as long as I can remember, we have always gotten a pair of pjs for Christmas. I’m convinced that all of the winter pjs I own are from years past. It’s a fun tradition and a lot of times we’ll wear them to bed on Christmas Eve too.

The 7 of us headed to church and then my aunt’s house. Even though it had been snowing all day and the highways and roads weren’t plowed very well, we got to my aunts house fairly easily. When we got there the party began. Majority of my mom’s side of the family was there and it’s always a good time when we get together!


While at my aunt’s, Santa comes to visit. The adults all get a joke gift from him over something that happened during the past year. Mine was a Christmas card with two giant pictures of me in my cap and gown from graduation in May. 2 years ago, all of my siblings graduated from a school so the Christmas card had them in their cap and gowns. It was extremely obvious that I was the odd man out so I said in 2017 the card better just be me. That didn’t actually happen but it was a good gift.

Both our sweaters were from Target!

The rest of the night was spent hanging out in our ugly Christmas sweaters, eating dinner and open the grab bag gifts. When it was way too late, we headed back to my parents house.

Christmas Day

Christmas Day started super early for us. Alex and I were dressed and ready to go by 7 am. The family woke up then so we could open gifts and have a yummy breakfast. I didn’t take many pictures since I was trying to enjoy the last little bit of time with everyone at my parents. Breakfast was a mimosa, monkey bread and a potato casserole. It was the perfect fuel before packing everything into our bags and heading to the airport.


When booking our travel, we wanted to be as fair as possible since each family would have to deal with some of Christmas without their child. We booked a flight that was scheduled to leave Chicago at 12:40 pm but didn’t leave until 2… It was delightful. When we landed at Newark, we then had to wait for our one checked bag before getting the car and driving to Alex’s parents house. I felt so bad since we didn’t get there until about 6:15/6:30. They put the last things for dinner in the oven and then we exchanged gifts. Dinner was delicious and I don’t know what it was except for some sort of beef, potatoes, asparagus and salad.


After dinner, Alex’s older brother and his fiance got to the house for dessert and the last of the gifts from us to them and vice versa. It was a nice way to end the day before we headed back to our apartment. Alex decided to bring a furry friend home with us for the night. His parents dog Grace had a sleepover with us which made his Christmas and was fun to see how the apartment would feel with a dog in it.

Question of the day: What was the highlight of your Christmas?Β