Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Holiday Hostessing

Who else loves Brad Paisley? I was fortunate enough to hear the CMA Entertainer of the Year perform live in concert this past weekend.  He does a fantastic job, obviously.  My co-worker won tickets to the show and invited me to go with.  We had a great time.  My only complaint was that Darius Rucker played so many Hootie & the Blowfish tunes.  Hello! This is a country concert. If you have the chance to see sexy Brad, do it.  My favorite song is Then.  Melts. My. Heart. 
This week I'm also going to watch the musical Legally Blonde with my friend's mom.  I'm excited!

Have I mentioned that I am hosting a Christmas celebration at our little apartment?  Tim says it's "my party," so he is really just sitting back and letting me dream up my big plans.  Today the invites were mailed, making the party official.  Originally my idea was to have some kind of a small holiday gathering so our families could spend some time together.  (He's coming to Florida with my and my family for Christmas and I wanted to do something with everyone beforehand.)  But now my idea has expanded into a full-blown party.  At this point it's pretty much all of my family and friends and then Tim's parents and sister.  (I have more family here than he does.) Either way, I'm excited. I hope his family enjoys themselves.

I've never hosted a themed party before, so if you have any advice or great party planning links, please send my way. Currently, I'm enjoying

Have you ever shopped at Christmas Tree Shops before?  If not, try to find one.  It's always an adventure at the store due to the barrels of bargains and bus loads of seniors roaming throughout the aisles. I did pick up some cute holiday themed plates, napkins, cups and decorations on my lunch break yesterday.  Target also had some super cute goodies that I picked up.

Today I ordered homemade Italian cookies from a co-worker whose prayer group is making and selling them to raise money for a family in need this holiday season.  A great idea and I know my guests will enjoy them. 
My co-worker brought this sample platter to work today to encourage orders! 
Now I need to see how many people are coming.  Make sure I have enough seating.  Determine the menu for both food and drink.  Does anyone have a great alcoholic festive punch recipe? 

That's what's up with the Dining Diva.

Happy Humpy Day!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Fanny Farkle is Coming BACK!

Some people grow up with cute nicknames. Others, like myself, are affiliated with sassier nicknames.  Meet Fanny Farkle.  Back in the day when I had braces for six years and was going through the awkward pre-teenage and teenage years, I was a true Fanny Farkle.  Braces have been off since eleventh grade, however, they're coming back!  Yes.  That's right.  At age 25, I'm getting hooked up at the orthodontist for one last time!

I went to the ortho yesterday with my mom and Tim and left with an appointment to get ceramic braces back in my mouth.  Of course I made the date for after Thanksgiving so I can eat like a piggy without the pain.  Apparently it should only take about eight months to get my teeth back to perfection.  Just in time for corn on the cob. Yes!  Too bad they are freaking expensive. 

December 6, 2010 I am getting my braces. Wear your retainers, people!

Dining Diva

Monday, November 8, 2010

Lucky in Love

Tim and I always let each other know how much we love and appreciate one another.  I love our relationship.  I love that it's been slow and steady and full of wonderful things.  I truly am SO thankful that we met.  I have no idea where I'd be today.  But I do know that I have basically run a marathon when it comes to the personal growth I've accomplished in two years.  I still say, to any ladies who are in an unhealthy and unhappy relationship, run. You deserve better.

This weekend was exceptional.  Friday night we relaxed on the coach with cocktails, candy, chips and queso.
Saturday we went to my old stomping grounds to cheer on the team. Then we went back to the restaurant where we originally met to celebrate two years of bliss.

Sunday I had my family over for a day of laughter, football and dinner.  I wish I took photos of the chicken marsala I made.  Everyone was impressed, including me! It's so delicious. I need to share the recipe with you.

Over 40,000 packed the Dome. It was fantastic.  And our seats were, too. Tim's boss gave us the tickets, a parking pass and two admission tickets to the V.I.P. party before the game. :) (He obviously knows that we're very important people.)
Leaving our humble home for our date.

Happy and full.  Right here is where I met my love muffin two years ago.  The restaurant is a really funky Mexican place.  (In my hand is leftover steak fajitas.  Yum!)

Dining Diva

Friday, November 5, 2010

Remember Me?

The Dining Diva has been a bad blogger.  I'm going to do my best to re-cap all of the wonderful events that have taken place over the past few months.  I just can't believe that it's November.  Apparently summer has been finished for awhile now, fall is on its way out and the holiday season is basically here.  As my grandfather told me the other day, "Time waits for no man."  He's right.  And it seems like the past two years have just flown by since I've met Tim.  Actually, tomorrow, November 6, 2010, marks the two year anniversary of our first date!  So sweet and exciting, I know!  :)  And to think, I almost didn't go on the date.  (It was a date and I was nervous and wondering why I was forcing myself to go on a date with a could-be killer on a Thursday night when all I wanted to do was sit on my coach and relax.  Three glasses of wine later, I was on my way to meet the love of my life. Crazy.) So we are going to celebrate tomorrow by going to a college football game and then enjoy sangria and mexican at the restaurant where we first met. (Back story on the importance of sangria: Tim ordered it on our first date and I had never heard of it before, {I obviously don't get out much} so I was impressed with his knowledge and assumed he was cultured.  Which he is, actually, and continues to teach me new things on a daily basis. I think intelligence is so sexy! Okay so that's what we're doing tomorrow.

So back to the past few months. Every weekend we had something going on ranging from sun bathing and booze cruising at my parent's lake house to bridal showers and weddings.  It was a fun-filled summer and early fall!  I want to post photos from all of the weddings for you.  But at this point, I don't have any of those photos on my work computer.  I couldn't post this without something good for you to look at, so here are some random photos. Hope to get back into the blogging game and upload some photos from the summer for you.  (BTW, I never stopped reading your blogs.  They get me through my work days.  And I love them all.)

Dining Diva
Here's Tim with my sister's doggy, Bella. She is the sweetest muffin ever and everyone loves her.
This is the most beautiful and wonderful mother in the world, mine! We celebrated her big 5-0 birthday this September.  Isn't she a babe?  And she really is the greatest mom anyone could ever ask for.
Here's the gang outside the restaurant we went to for her birthday.  From left to right we have my parents, sister and her now X boyfriend, me and Tim.  

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Tomorrow kicks off my long awaited vacation! Tim and I are going to Charleston, SC and I am so excited! He has quite a few friends that life there and we are all going to hang out. I love exploring new destinations -- and this is a new destination for both of us. So excited! See you later!

~Dining Diva

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Calling all Carolina Experts!

Tim and I are planning a trip to the Carolina coastal area for relocation research and vacation.  We're planning on visiting Wilmington and the Charleston area.  Any tips on places to stay, things to see and do?  Especially in the Charleston area.  There are different areas and it's confusing.  Help!


~Dining Diva

A Picture Perfect Wedding

... it's a shame that my camera battery was dead!  But I think I'll be able to "borrow" some photos from the bride's facebook page.  But let me just tell you that the entire event was amazing!  It was this past Saturday and the weather was absolutely perfect for the outdoor wedding.  The venue was breathtaking and it overlooked a gorgeous lake in the wine country of New York State.  The ceremony was beautiful.  I cried several times throughout it.  The groom was Jewish and the bride was half Jewish/half something else.  The ceremony was performed by the town justice so it was religion neutral...but it was all about love and very moving.

The reception was immediately after the wedding and at the same venue.  We didn't leave until midnight and the party was still going.  It started around 4 p.m. ... That is a long reception.

Here are some highlights:
1. gorgeous view and venue
2. the groom was sassy and wore a pin striped white suite with an orange/pink (matched the bridesmaid dresses) bow tie.
3. Open bar with themed beverages, including a "something new," "something blue," and "something borrowed" alcoholic creations.
4. A delicious appetizer spread, as well as passed hors d'oeuvres.
5. A girl that I lived with my freshman year of college was also at the wedding and we randomly reconnected. (See picture below.)
6. My swordfish dinner was delicious! (There was also beef and chicken.)
7. A band and DJ
8. Two photographers! Then they split up and one handled the photo booth! Yes.  A fabulous photo booth, complete with a treasure chest of fun accessories and props.  The pictures are hilarious. (See some below.)
9. A carved piece of ice which became an ice luge. Totally brought back college days and it was so much fun. I even saw one of the grandmother's do it.
10. The candy bar.  All of the candy matched the colors of the wedding.  You could fill your goody bag with candy and there were also toothbrushes for the taking.  I thought this was a cute idea because the newlyweds are both dentists.
11. How fabulous is this?  Around 10:30 p.m., pizza, wings, celery and blue cheese was wheeled out for everyone's "late night snack" cravings.  Timmy LOVED this.  So did I.
12. The cupcake bar.  Instead of cake they did a variety of tasty cupcakes.

And everyone was so friendly.

Here are some photos from the photo booth.
 The lake is behind us and you can seek some of the white chairs.  That's where we sat to watch the wedding.
(*All of the photos are copyright John Larkin photography.*)

Really made me want everything and I know it had to be a pricey wedding.  But it was so nice! A very wonderful wedding #5 for Tim and I! Oh, it's so nice to dream.

~Dining Diva

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Summer Silence

July was a busy month.  It was also a glorious summer month.  I took a break from blogging. I am still in a funk and so sick of staring at this damn computer screen all day long at work.  In fact, I'm in a working funk.  Summers always make me wish I was a teacher.  Anyone else?  I know I need to be thankful for my job, and it's a very good job, but still, I'm kind of over it. So what did I do during July?  Here's a quick re-cap:

1. Fourth of July get-together at my parent's lake house with my friends from college and their significant others.  It was so much fun and I'll actually be seeing both of the lovely ladies this weekend in Pittsburgh for Domestically Deficient's bridal shower/bachelorette party weekend! I'm really excited!

2. Wedding number four in beautiful Saratoga Springs, NY for one of Tim's friends.  Pictures to come.  

3. Relaxed on the weekends on the lake and soaked up as much sunshine as possible.

4. Still trying to workout or exercise on a daily basis.  By exercise I mean rollerblade, run, power-walk, etc ... no heavy  lifting at the gym.  I really do need to get in better shape. If I could just give up chips and dip and ice cream, I think I would be in such better shape.

5. My friend Jess and her boyfriend of six years broke up this month.  I've mentioned J&J in previous posts and the fact that they live in my apt. complex and we hang out often.  So that's sad and I've been trying to be a good support system for her.

6. Had friends over to our apartment for dinner.

7. Enjoying living with Tim.
And the exciting part is that we have recently been briefly discussing what kind of engagement rings I am interested in.  That is really exciting and I don't want to get ahead of myself, but I actually have no idea, so I obviously need to start doing some research. But the fact that we might be taking a giant step in our wonderful relationship sometime in the near future (well, I would say at least six months) is so exciting.  I love him oh-so-much.

8. Now it's August and I am taking a half-day on Friday to get a head-start on my drive to Pittsburgh to party it up for Domestically Deficient's special weekend!  I hope to have pictures for you upon my return!

Happy Summer!
~Dining Diva

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Boating with my Blondes

Pardon my lack of blogging.  Summer is in full swing and that means I'd rather be outside than sitting in front of my computer any longer than I have to.  (Eight hours a day, five times at week at work really makes me hate computers ... Anyone else agree?)  But that doesn't mean I stop reading all of your lovely blogs on a daily basis!

Well TGIF! This is the first weekend since early May that I don't have plans.  I am thrilled to just relax, exercise, cook, shop, and clean!  Although, I must say, I have enjoyed each and every weekend that I have has plans.  Most recently, I had my two best friends from college (a.k.a. "the blondes") and their significant others visit me over the Fourth of July weekend at my parent's lake house.  We had the BEST time.  Everyone gets along so well and the food and beverages were great; and the weather . . . well, we couldn't have asked for better weather.

There was only one bad thing that happened during our fun fiesta - my friend Domestically Deficient, unfortunately lost her digital camera and photos to the bottom of the lake.  ;(  So sad.  But I guess that's what happens when footballs are flying in the air between boats and booze is being guzzled.  Her fiance was fabulous and immediately jumped overboard in an attempt to retrieve the dropped camera; but to not avail, it sunk.

I did take a few photos on my camera:

Tim made the BEST sangria ever!  It's safe to say it was a favorite by everyone.  We had this version of our favorite alcoholic beverage at Atlantic Fish Co., a seafood restaurant in Boston.  Our waiter gave us the recipe and now I'll share it with you because it is really oh-so-good ... and quite strong, I must add! (P.S. Sangria has a special place in my heart for Timmy because it was the drink we both ordered on our first date.  It's also the reason I say I went on a second date with him.)

Timmy's Sangria (adapted from Atlantic Fish Co. recipe):
-4 cups Chiraz red wine
-1 cup Lemon Bicardi
-1 cup Raz Vodka
-1 cup Peach Liquor
-1 cup Sprite
-1.5 cups fresh Lemonade
-Add lots of fresh fruit of your choice to the bottom of the container.  We used pineapple, grapes, peaches, apples, and oranges.
-Lots of ice to keep it cool
(And according to Timmy, eating the marinated fruit after the sangria is gone is part of the enjoyment.  Agreed!)

I hope everyone had a great four-day work week and enjoy the weekend!

~Dining Diva

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I'm 25 and Feelin' Alive!

Last year was a great year; and I've got a feeling that it's going to another great year. Here's a re-cap of birthday 25 which was on Thursday, June 24.

Thursday morning kicked off with a delivery of the most gorgeous flower bouquet I've ever seen; complete with a purple vase. (Compliments of my love muffin.) They are still alive and smell like the sweet scents of Hawaii.

I actually had to take a the afternoon off and go home and chug a bottle of Miralax.  Yes.  My birthday wish was to go potty! Awesome, huh?  Sorry for TMI but I have been having digestive issues for a year now and for the past month, they have gotten quite bad.  So I went home and took care of the situation.  Tim was also home, so it was nice to lay around on the coach with him in between running to the toilet! Kind of comical if you ask me.  Again, sorry for TMI.   By the evening I was feeling better and actually went out for a fun birthday dinner with my best friend Jess and her boyfriend Jeff.  (They also live in the same apartment complex as Tim and I.)  It was a restaurant on a lake and there was a live band and lots of entertainment and people watching.  We had a great time and meal!  The birthday girl even got a complimentary dessert of choice - hot fudge brownie sundae! Yummo!

Friday I took the day off from work and spent it with my family on the lake. It was sunny and gorgeous!  We went for a long boat ride and soaked up some sunshine.  I also consumed an entire bottle of Red Cat wine on my own; so fabulous! I also spent some time with my grandparents; it was an all around great day.

The rest of the weekend was also nice. My parents had a tasty ice cream cake for me and other treats. Oh and Tim also gave me a beautiful diamond and sapphire necklace which I love.  He's a sweet boy, my Timmy.

So now I just have to get through this week because Saturday I have special guests arriving for a fun-filled Fourth of July on the lake! The same special guests came last Memorial Day.  Read about that visit here.

Happy Summer! I wish I was a teacher today. ;)

~Dining Diva

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Another Wonderful Wedding...

was had this past weekend.  One of my best friends for life, That's Sassy!, married the love of her life. I was so happy to be able to a part of her special day and be a bridesmaid. Sass looked gorgeous and the wedding and reception were both beautiful!  The rehersal dinner was also great - especially the location, scenery and delicious food! Now Sass will be leaving to move with her hubby to Texas because he's in the Air Force.  I'm going to miss her and our long walks and lunchtime chats.  But I'm also very excited for her! Congrats, That's Sassy!

Sunday was Father's Day and I spent it at my parent's house on the lake. It was a picture perfect, gorgeous day for the boat.  We had a great day together with a group of families that we're friends with.  Everyone has the same kind of boat - so we can all tie up together and chillax.  Very fun.  I should have worn sun screen -but the burn has left the building, and I finally have a summer tan!  My Dad is the greatest dad. I'm blessed with a wonderful family.

Monday was my Grammy and Grampy's 63rd wedding anniversary.

Tomorrow is my birthday and I'm excited! I can't believe I'm going to be 25! I feel like this year has flown by.  My 24th birthday was so special last year because of Tim.  He told me he loved me and we went golfing and went to my parent's house with friends and hit up the lake.  I'm going to work tomorrow but I took Friday off.  Tim's dad has open heart surgery last week - so he may be getting out of the hospital tomorrow.

Also, I just sat through my first (and hopefully last) earthquake here at my desk! It was pretty exciting.  And I went right to Twitter to confirm.  It's crazy that Twitter is where breaking news is at, way before CNN or MSNBC.

Have a great day!

~Dining Diva 

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

What a Wedding!

That was my thought after attending wedding two out of eight (for the summer/fall) this past Saturday. There was a beautiful theme that was carried throughout the wedding brochures to the table tents to the display over the fireplace. I loved every detail.  Here were a few of my favorites in no particular order. (I wish I had photos to go along with this post to help you visualize).

1. The professionalism of the program hand-out at the wedding.  The font was fabulous and there was even a romantic poem on the back. 

2. Flowers along some of the pews down the aisle of the Church that matched the theme and the program hand-out.
3.  The couple's dog was outside at the end of the service and part of the bridal party line.  They love their doggy so much that the favor was a huge cut-out cookie that looked like the dog - and it was delicious!
4. Red velvet wedding cake with butter cream frosting
5. The reception was at a golf course.  When you entered the club house, there was a table that looked like grass.  On the grassy table were little black rocks.  The rocks had guests' names with corresponding table numbers.  I loved that detail and I'll be sure to keep the rock.
5. I liked the framed photo of the happy couple that was on display and was also the guest book.  I believe they'll hang it on the wall in their home.
6. The appetizers that were passed around before dinner began.  Jump shrimp and chicken skewers and other tasty treats.
7.The silky chair covers! They made the room look so elegant, although the bride said they were pretty expensive.  I think it was a great investment in their wedding.
8. The happy and in-love couple.  They were so sweet and walked around to all the tables to say thank you and ask how our meals were.  Then they danced the night away together.

This is a poorly written post and is lacking the details I wish I could convey to you because I was blown away at this wedding.  Plus, it was a family wedding, so it was great to see so many loved ones at a celebratory event and not a funeral (which is unfortunately, too often the case).

Wedding number three is this weekend and I am a bridesmaid.  I still haven't gotten my dress back from alterations - so I hope it fits tomorrow when I get it.

I'll be sure to fill you in on the wedding and hopefully have photos for you to see!

~Dining Diva

Friday, June 11, 2010

Birthday Coupons in the Mail

Not only are birthdays just plain fun and fabulous, but the amount of deep discount coupons that land in both my email inbox and snail-mail mailbox are appreciated!  Does anyone else get excited to open envelopes to find coupons?  The reason I started this post is because I just opened a bubbly-packed envelope from Anthropologie with the cutest thing enclosed.  It's thick, white card stock with a birthday candle necklace attached.  (There's also a 15% off coupon - woo hoo!)  Their packaging really stood out to me and I think it's just awesome.  Bonefish also won me over with their coupon for a complimentary Bang Bang Shrimp.  Yummo!

Now when they start sending bottles of wine in the mail to say, "Happy Birthday," then it's really good.

Just 13 more days until the big 2-5! But who is counting.

~Dining Diva

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Celebrity Sighting . .. sort of

So Adam Richman of "Man v. Food" has been in my city for the past few days and it has been pretty cool.  I've been working with the producers via email for the past few months; but it was really cool to physically watch some of the episode be taped last night.  Plus, Adam interviewed me! So who knows, I could be on the Travel Channel! :) That is pretty exciting, if I do say so myself. 

So I brought Tim and my friend Jess and her boyfriend Jeff with me to the taping last night.  We got our photo with Adam, and the person taking the photo said, "Say Man versus food!" - so I did.  I think he caught me in mid-sentence, so as Alan would say on "The Hangover," I look like a total 'tard.  So does Timmy.  lol (And I really don't like that word - but that movie is too freaking funny, so I had to use it!) Oh well - I hope I don't look so fat and ugly on TV (if they happen to use any of the interview...which who knows).  But I will totally be watching in September to see my city shine on "Man v. Food!"

This other picture is just so cute.  This little boy is a huge fan of the show and had come prepared with a letter he wrote to Adam back in May.  Adam signed it.  Little boy was so very excited!

~ Dining Diva

Monday, June 7, 2010

30 Years of Bliss; Happy Anniversary!

Today is my parent's 30th wedding anniversary.  That's pretty awesome if I do say so myself.  They are truly a wonderful example of a great marriage.  Even today, they are best friends and are always enjoying life together.  They have created a beautiful life and I'm so blessed to be their daughter.  They are the greatest parents on earth.

Friday night my sister and I took Mom and Dad out to dinner at a fabulous Italian restaurant.  It was really nice.  Our boys came too.  We're also getting them Adirondack chairs, but they have yet to arrive.  I think they'll look really nice on the lake.

Yesterday Mom, Dad, Tara and Bella (little doggy) came over to our new apartment.  We grilled hot dogs and I made amazing brownies (2.5 boxes combined to a fudge-filled heaven of a dessert).  It was a great day and Bella loved laying on top of our heads on our coach. I wish I had taken photos of her.

Tim surprised me with a beautiful hanging basket hanging from our porch when I got home from work and running today.  I have been talking about one, but we didn't have a hook on our porch, plus we're on the top floor and I was arrived it would blow off the porch with a strong wind.  It looks beautiful! 

Wedding #2 this weekend.  It's a family wedding, so I'm looking forward to it!

Happy Monday - Anyone going to watch the Bachelorette?  Is it just me or does anyone else really not like Ali?

~Dining Diva

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Amazing Photos from Colorado

Roaming the Rockies

.   .   .was amazing!!! I had the best week in Colorado.  Better that I even expected.  I have so many fabulous photos to share.  They'll come in another post.

 I stayed at the St. Regis Hotel in Aspen and it was out of this world, wonderful.  I loved the nightly bedroom turn-downs, complete with calm music playing on the Bose speaker, water, chocolate, a warm bathrobe, slippers, and a humidifier (for the dry air).  The fresh flowers and huge shower head in the marble bathroom were just a few more perks.  The customer service was unbelievable, beginning with check-in.  "Would you like room service to come in the morning or afternoon?" "What newspapers would you like to receive?" The life of luxury is fabulous.  I can't believe people actually stay there during peak season and pay close to $2,000 a night for the room I was in!  Craziness. The conference I was attending was also fantastic with amazing women.  I had a great time and learned so much.  How many of you are using Foursquare?

Tim flew into Denver towards the end of the week, got a rental car, and drove four hours up to Aspen to meet me.  He stayed in my sassy room for the night and then we spent the next day together exploring Aspen. Then we took the Scenic Bypass to Denver.  That was the most beautiful and amazingly scenic drive I've ever experienced.  Just wait until I post pictures.  It looks like I edited the photos and dropped myself into them.  If you haven't been up in the mountains of Colorado, I suggest you put it on your to-do list.  And the heat was so nice! I was at the top of a mountain wearing shorts and flip-flops, standing in a pile of snow, with the sun and blue sky shining on me.  Loved it!

We spent Memorial Day weekend in Denver at his friend's condo in the downtown area.  It was gorgeous.  We had a lot of fun - went to the Denver Botanical Gardens, a Rockies game, partied downtown, and went to the Rocky Mountain National Park and to Boulder.  I loved everything.  When we went out downtown, my friend from my hometown met up with us.  She moved to Denver after college graduation.  Once "Like A Prayer" came on speakers - we were up and dancing the night away.  (Except for when I had to take breathers, because let me tell you, the elevation makes you get out of breath like that! It was crazy.)

So stay tuned for photos.

And just for the record, I love living with  my love muffin.  I've never been happier. And I talked with his sister about living with him (because she thinks he should have proposed to me before moving in together).  But I think she understands now and isn't upset with us (which was my concern). 

I think our relationship is wonderful and I'm confident that it's moving in the right direction and everything will just fall into place.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful (and short) week!

~Dining Diva

P.S. It's my parent's 30th anniversary this weekend and I want to make a fabulous dessert.  Suggestions and recipes are welcome!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Buns of Steel . . .

I should have them by now after all of the trips up and down three flights of steep stairs! 

This weekend:
Moved out of my apartment and cleaned it CHECK
Moved Tim out of his apartment and cleaned it CHECK
Moved all of our stuff into our brand new apartment CHECK

What a workout that was! And I was upset that I wouldn't have time to go running at the park this weekend . . . I think the heavy lifting while walking up stairs took care of burning calories!  We're on the third floor and I love it.   I can't wait to hang up photos and get it decorated. . . but that is going to have to wait.

Tomorrow morning I leave for a work conference in Aspen, CO -- which I must say, I am really excited about! I'm looking forward to seeing friends that I have made at previous conferences and also exploring the beautiful area! I've never been to Colorado before.  Any suggestions on must-sees in the Aspen area?  I know we are having a media mixer at Snowmass Resort - so that should be pretty amazing!

Then Tim is flying into Denver, CO later this week and will get a rental car and drive up to Aspen to stay with me in what looks like a pretty fabulous resort.  THEN we are going to drive back to Denver and he's going to give me the tour and I think try to convince me to move there.  :)  He loves Denver.  I mentioned before that he did his year-long residency there a few years ago and had the time of his life.  If it weren't for me, I know he'd be back there and living.  But I would have to think that he's take the Dining Diva over Denver.  :)  Right?

So decorating and unpacking will have to wait for a little over a week.  Then it's going to be June and I just can't believe it! Every weekend in June I have something fun scheduled, which is kind of crazy.  I was never a planner, but my girlfriend from college (a super-duper planner) inspired me to make plans in order to be able to not let life pass by without participating.

Be sure to give me some travel tips if you'd like on what to see and do in Aspen!  I love to purchase jewelry when I travel, too. So if you know of amazing (but affordable) boutiques, let me know.

Have an amazing week!
~Dining Diva

P.S. Happy Belated birthday to one of the bestest friends in the world, That's Sassy! She has quite an exciting month ahead of her including her wedding and moving to Texas! 

Friday, May 21, 2010

Moving in with the BF!

It's fun to look at what I was writing about a year ago.  That's why blogging is so awesome.  I never would have thought that I'd be moving in with Tim this weekend.  I'm so excited.  For the past year I have been living out of suitcases I feel like.  I haven't stayed in once place for a week in forever.  I go back and forth from my apartment and Tim's and I'm sick of it.  I can't wait to have just one place to call home and feel relaxed there on Sunday nights.  And I can't wait to make dinners together or whatever we want, because we can! I know some people think we're "living in sin" and maybe we are.  But it's just the way it's working out and I'm thrilled.  I am so confident in our relationship that I know it's going to move in the right direction and I'm not going to be still living together unengaged five years from now.  (Well, at least I don't think I have to worry about that.) Also, I don't NEED him in my life; I WANT him in my life.  And he respects my independence.  So everything is perfect.  Just need to finish moving tonight and then the movers are coming tomorrow morning to move my heavy bedroom set.  Then I'll need to clean and say GOODBYE to my current apartment and roommate. 

Hopefully I can get a lot unpacked by Sunday. I leave for Aspen, CO Tuesday and need to figure out where my clothes are for that trip.  I'm so excited! Tim is going to meet me and pick me up and then drive to Denver for the weekend. Some of his friends from his dental residency still live in Denver and we're going to stay with them in a really nice place downtown.  I love traveling!

~Stay Sassy and enjoy the weekend!

Dining Diva
I'll leave you with this photo from my recent trip to NYC with my Blondes from college!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Paging Dr. Google

We all have done it before. Right?  We have some symptoms and go to Google and do some research on our own.  I know medical professionals typically tell us not to do that, because the Internet is swarming with so much information it's easy to self-diagnose yourself with something awful, when in reality, it's just a little bloating or something else minor.  Well, years ago I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and I really never did Google it.  I was young and just listened to my doctor and began taking the Pill to fix my problem and that was that.  Well fast-forward almost ten years and now I have so many random symptoms and I'm just putting it together that I think they're all related to my PCOS.  Today I did some Googling action and came across a fabulous PCOS message board filled with tons of helpful information. I have my annual doctor's appointment in July but I have so many questions I want answered right now.  My best friend in a RN and she said that people really have to be there own health advocate because doctors are honestly just too busy to give each and every patient the time and thought they deserve.  Sad and scary, huh?

Does anyone out there have PCOS with me or has anyone else had to be their own Dr. Google?

~Dining Diva

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

An Encounter with the X

... okay ladies.  I know my posts are not really that interesting, but at least this one has a little drama in it.  So some time back I posted about my roller coaster past with a longtime ex-boyfriend.  Well, since our final breakup back in August 2008, I believe, we haven't seen each one another or spoke to each other.  That's the longest time we haven't communicated since meeting one another back in 2000! In the meantime he's gotten married and is expecting - and I have fallen in love with an amazing man, Tim! So we're both happy - but still, there was never any closure where we both maturely said, "I'm happy for you and good luck with your life.." 

So this past Saturday I had to go to a graduation party for a family friend.  I figured that the X would be there and was prepared for the occasion, and actually looking forward to going right up to him and congratulating him on the marriage/kid/etc.  Well, that didn't happen. I did introduce Tim to his family and he was a great sport.  Thank goodness he's so laid back and not at all jealous or insecure. (Major character traits that make me love him oh so much.) Well, I told the X's parent's that I'd love to go up to him and say hello, but didn't want it to be awkward.  And in case I am not able to find the right moment to do it, please pass on to him that I wasn't being a bitch and ignoring him. His mom told me she understands and she'll tell him if I'm not able to.  She also made a good point and said, "Well has he come up to you to say hello?" And I said no.  So I had no reason to think I was being a bitch.  But the mom said maybe I had better not say hello because his wife may not like it.  GAY.  I thought we were all mature.  Also, to increase the drama, the X called my sister's bf in the mens' room to tell him how hard it is to be around me and that I should not talk to him because it would upset his wife.  Again, GAY.

So in the meantime, I've moved on and am happier and healthier than I've ever been.  Actually, Tim and I are in the process of moving out of our individual apartments and moving in to our brand-new pad.  I'm so excited!

~Dining Diva

Friday, May 14, 2010

My Calendar is FULL

I can't keep up.  May has been crazy busy and it's only the 14th! This week at work has totally exhausted me - but it was awesome!  And this weekend is crazy busy - but it's going to be great, as well! These are the times of our lives, right?  I'm sure one day I'll look back and wish I could rewind to now - so no complaining - just keep on moving and take pictures!

But just to write this down so I can remember this week.
1. The race organizers for a major triathlon that is coming to town visited this week and we held a press conference to announce some exciting news.  Already over 40 states and 12 nations are represented by the 1,600 athletes already registered - and the event is still months away!

2. Yesterday I hosted close to ten very important journalists from Tel-aviv, Israel and they were fascinating! Now I actually want to visit the country.  One of the ladies has interviewed amazing people such as Oprah and owns her own magazine which is comparable to our Elle magazine.  Incredible, right?  Another is not only is a media maven - but also is a coach of a pro-basketball team in Israel.  They were awesome and it was such an honor to host them.  I'll always remember yesterday.

Now it's Friday.  Hopefully going to burn some calories tonight and then have a nice dinner date with my bf and her bf at a local Italian restaurant.  Mmmm... then I have quite the Saturday to look forward to.  It's That's Sassy's! wedding shower in the morning (just picked up a few cute dresses at The Limited to possibly wear tomorrow) and then I have my pseudo-brother's high school graduation party - then it's back to That's Sassy! and her bachelorette party.  And this is a note to myself: PLEASE DO NOT DRINK SO MUCH THAT YOU'RE HUNGOVER ON SUNDAY BECAUSE YOU HAVE TO PACK YOUR ENTIRE APARTMENT AND GET MOVING.

I hope I listen to myself.  So Sunday will be packing day.  Then by next Saturday - my love muffin and I should be moved in together and "living in sin" according to some.  I feel kind of bad about it- but I'm really excited. 

Happy Friday!
~Dining Diva

Thursday, May 6, 2010

One Down, Seven Weddings to Go

The wedding season has officially begun.  Tim and I went to my hometown friend's wedding on May 1 and we had a really nice time.  That was my first friend to get married.  It's crazy that we're really growing up.  Or already grown up.  My next wedding is for a family member in early June, and then it will be That's Sassy!'s wedding on June 19.  I actually am a bridesmaid in that wedding and I hope I'm up to the task! :)  I'm just slightly nervous about not being Catholic and messing something up (because it will be in a Catholic church).  But I'm excited! Just need to get my dress taken care of by a seamstress and then need to find a full-length slip because you can see through the dress - and I highly doubt anyone wants to see this fanny walking down the aisle! :)  Any suggestions on where to get a strapless, long slip?

Just finished Memoirs of a Geisha and it was great.  Now I am looking forward to watching the movie and getting another good book to read!  I'm going to use your suggestions when I pick up my next batch of reading materials at the public library. 

On to my love muffin.  His brother and sister-in-law who currently reside in China came to visit for the past two days.  I had briefly met his brother before, but this was my first encounter with his sister-in-law.  She was so nice and it was great to meet some more of his family.  We went out to dinner on Tuesday night (Tim and I, his parents, sister, bro, and sis-in-law) and then his mom had a bbq dinner last night and some more people came over.  It was actually really fun and nice to have such a large gathering.  I also drank a few beers and didn't feel bad about it. (HELLO! IT WAS CINCO DE MAYO!) Sometimes I get nervous to actually have a beer or alcoholic beverage for that matter around his family because they don't drink and are pretty straight edge.  (My family on the other hand is a bunch of party animals - so you see how I have to kind of mellow myself out when I go to his family gatherings.)  Well, I have just realized that I can just be myself and drink a beer or two.  Big deal.  I'm a good person and yes, I like to have a good time.  I am sure they are fine with it, I was just nervous. 

Am I the only one who can get along with anyone and talk to the person next to me on the plane like I've known them forever; but get all awkward with my bf's fam?

~Happy Thursday!~
Dining Diva

Friday, April 23, 2010

Traveling Yogurt

First off - thanks to all for the helpful comments on my previous post about reading.  I'm going to look into all of the authors and books you've suggested; thank you.

I'm not sure if this yogurt is available across the country, but I have just fallen in love with Stonyfield Organic Strawberry Pomegranate Smooth & Creamy yogurt.  And it's loaded with probiotics, so it's like taking a pill, but it tastes good! Actually, my doctor told me that eating yogurts with probiotics is just like taking a probiotic pill.  Well, kind of.  And this tasty treat is from Wayside Farm, VT.  Yummo!

Next week I head back to Ottawa, ON for work and then May will be here! My first wedding of the season is May 1 - so I'm quite excited.  I have a pretty deep purple dress I'm planning on wearing - I just need to get some shoes.   May is going to be so busy because not only do I need to move out of my current apartment and clean - I then need to move into our new apartment and unpack.  I also have That's Sassy!'s bridal shower and bachelorette party! Then I'm off to Aspen, CO and Denver!  woo woo! I'm so excited for my trip! It's for a really fun conference and this is my third year attending it and I have made some friends from across the country; so I'm looking forward to catching up with everyone.  Then I believe that Tim is going to fly out and meet me and drive to Denver with me and give me the grand tour.  I think I've mentioned this before, but he LOVES Denver.  If it weren't for meeting me, I bet he'd already be back there - living and working.  So I'm excited to experience it.

I hope everyone has a good weekend.


~Dining Diva

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Good Reading

Back in the day, I had a troll collection on display at my little town's local library.  I was so proud of the wide variety of trolls I owned, especially the one with hot pink hair, a hot pink bikini, and a hot pink jeweled belly button.  In any case, I loved that the librarian let me have the display case all to my self to show off my sassy little friends.  I loved the library.  It was my home away from home after school and on hot summer days.  There was nothing better than reading in front of the air conditioner.  Read. Read. Read.  I couldn't get enough.  Then something happened and I stopped reading.  Maybe life got too busy.  And I moved away and didn't take the time to find a new library.  Well folks.  I'm so pleased to announce that I've finally joined my new local library and I am thrilled about that!

So far I've read: The Last Lecture by Randy Paush.  If you haven't read it, I highly suggest that you do.  You can also watch his official "last lecture" on YouTube.  The book is very moving and motivational.  It was a quick read, a tear jerker, and thought provoking.

Now I'm reading Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden.  I'm only up to chapter four, but I'm intrigued.  I am afraid of what I will be reading as the book continues (I feel so bad to hear about young girls going through what these characters are experiencing thus far.)  And I'm sure you have already read the book.  As I said, I haven't read a good book in some time.

And my friend Ke. who I visited in NYC also gave me a book to read and I just loved it!  Have you read Jamima J by Jane Green?  For all of you food lovers out there, if you're anything like me, you might just really relate to Jamima when you're having one of those binge eating days/nights.

Now that I'm back on the reading train, what do you suggest I pick up next at the library?

~Dining Diva

Friday, April 16, 2010

Relationships; There Is No Measurement

I've been doing some thinking and I've come to the conclusion that all relationships are not made equal.  And that's okay.  They're not supposed to be.

This post is a result of some recent conversations I've had with a few good girlfriends.  Beginning this May, I will have a total of eight weddings to attend through October.  Eight.  Yes.  That's a lot and there goes any extra savings or big splurges.  Eight weddings equals over $1,250! Holy hell! Throw in a few baby showers and I better keep cutting coupons.  I digress.  I'm looking forward to them all.

So I had an amazing get together with my two besties from college.  We met in NYC and had a great weekend. 

One of those friends, Ka., is engaged and getting married in September.  (I can't wait for that wedding, by the way!) So I was speaking with her about her wedding planning and was really excited to learn about all of the details.  (I don't know if it's a result of blogging and reading many blogs that details wedding plans or the fact that I'm actually in an amazing relationship where I can see a long future together, but I love thinking about weddings.  This is a big change for me because in the past, (I have a long dramatic relationship history ) I never would even consider marriage.  I thought it was for the birds.  The thought of it would make me vomit. Thankfully, I no longer feel that way because I have met such an amazing man.)

So I'm talking to Ka. and tell her that I'm thinking about moving in with Tim after my lease is up.  Apparently I was talking really fast and kept justifying why I would possibly be moving in with him.  Ka. said, "D. It's okay. You've been dating for over a year.  It's fine to move in together.  You're going to love it."

Then I thought, how long is long enough to move in or get engaged or get married or have babies.  And Ka. brought me to the realization that every relationships' timing is different.  For example, my best friend from my hometown has been dating her boyfriend for six years now. I know she'd like to be engaged; just for piece of mind and to start planning the next step in their future together.  This friend of mine got mad at me the other day and said I'm obsessed with weddings and that's all I think and about.  (I disagree. I'm really not obsessed, I just listen to my friends who are planning weddings and that's always a topic of conversation that I have to talk about.)

Then we have my X who was engaged not long after we broke up for the 100th time of a 9+year relationship and married shortly there after and is already expecting a baby.  Now that's fast. But not unlike him.  So everyone has their own style and speed.

My point is that you can't judge your relationship against another because it just doesn't work that way.

And for a life update, I will be moving in to a brand-new two bedroom, two bath apartment with Tim at the end of May and I think we're both excited about that.   No more going back and forth between apartments and living out of a suitcase! I just don't want this to be a delay in moving our relationship forward, aka, I'm not moving in so I can wait six years for my 5 carat diamond! :) Just kidding.  Well, not really. 

So my friend who has been dating for the six years keeps telling me she thinks people should date for at least two years before getting engaged.  I disagree. Again, to each his own.

There are my words of wisdom for this Friday afternoon.

~Dining Diva

Sunday, April 4, 2010

A Wonderful Life

I can't believe how long it's been since I've written; and I can't believe it's April and today was Easter.  Where has the time gone?  March is my least favorite month of the year and it actually flew by this year.  I think that was because I was super busy at work and also took a week off to do that road trip with my love muffin.  Work was really busy because my city was the host of a major sporting event and I had a lot to do with all of the media in town, as well as acting as the spokesperson.  I actually made some large strides on that aspect of my career because in the past, I have been very nervous to do interviews; I'm just afraid I won't know the answers and will look like an idiot. But everything worked out and it was a great time.  Now it's April and work is still SO busy. I'm glad I'm busy but I feel like I'm submerged underwater and my to-do list is holding me down.  But work chat is boring so let's get to some more exciting information.

Our roadtrip was fun and we did find an area in VA that we liked and would seriously consider moving to.  Tim (no longer calling him T) had an interview in Newport News and really liked the dental office and staff.  I didn't really like Newport News all that much (I'm sure I need to explore the area more) but I did like Williamsburg and York County.  If anyone is from that area or has any suggestions on places to check out if we take another trip to the area, that would be great!  So everything is really up in the air regarding T's job situation, but he did put in his 30 day notice so he's got to figure something out.

Next. My living situation.  My lease is up with my roommate at the end of May and T and I are thinking it would make sense to just move in together.  This wasn't really my ideal situation, but it seems like it just may happen. So because his job and future are up in the air (will we be moving or won't we?) that kind of makes this lease signing a pain in the butt.  Plus, I have a gorgeous (but huge and heavy) bedroom set and I can't afford to have some moving company moving it from here to there and the next place.  So by the end of the week I need to figure that out.  I could move in with T or he could move in with me.

This weekend was fabulous.  I had Friday off and the weather was gorgeous! I went to my parents' house and spent my time laying in the sun and drinking delicious wine.  I also enjoyed a delicious Easter dinner with T's family and then another with mine today.  We went to church today, too.  I haven't been since Christmas, so it was really nice to go.  We went to a beautiful Catholic Cathedral and I'm not Catholic and I felt nervous through the entire Mass.  I felt like I could feel people staring at me because I didn't do what everyone else did; I just kind of sat there.  It was very nice though.

So this week is another busy work week but it ends with a trip to NYC to visit my college besties who I haven't seen since Memorial Day weekend. 

I'm truly blessed with a wonderful life filled with loving family and friends. I sure do have so much to be thankful for.

I hope you had a great Easter.

~Dining Diva

Saturday, March 20, 2010


One week later and I'm back home.  The road trip with T was fun and we got to see a lot.  I'll have details and photos later.  I'm going to relax. Lots of driving!

~Dining Diva

Friday, March 12, 2010

Road Trip to The South

I haven't had much to write about that was really exciting so that is where my lack of blogging comes from.  Also, I don't have internet at my apartment and I've been crazy busy at work so there goes my time to blog.  But I have been catching up on all of your blogs and fun adventures!  It sounds like we're all happy that spring is just about here!

So I took next week off (woo woo) and am packing into T's car and heading down south.  It should be quite the adventure and hopefully help T figure out what his future career might look like and where it might be.  This trip is a combination of work exploration and pleaure.  He has a few interviews lined up and I'm just going to be relaxing and keeping "an open mind" as T has requested. 

So we'll see what happens, but I hope this trip makes us fall in love with a certain area in the south or just confirm that Upstate NY is where we'll be calling home for awhile.  Once he commits to an office or takes on a dental practive of his own, he's pretty much stuck there.  So hopefully I have some exciting updates when we get back.

Dining Diva

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Love it!  I just love it.  I'd say it truly helps me get through the day.  I'm listening to the Lady Antebellum station and the song I'm listening to inspired me so I thought I'd share it with you.

"Where You Are"

 by my favorites, Rascal Flatts

There you are standing strong,
I'm a leaf holding on
You believe like a child,
In this fire runnin' wild
Oh I love how you see
Right to the heart of me

You're a waterfall, washing over me
I'm a thirsty man let me drink you in
Well I am on my way,
You're a mountain top
When I reach for you, your love lifts me up
All that I want is to be
Where you are

I'm the frozen ground, you're the warm sunlight
Shining down on me, baby just in time
Well I have never been in a love like this
Oh, you move my soul every time we kiss
And I love how you heal;
I can't believe how alive I feel

You're a waterfall, washing over me

I'm a thirsty man let me drink you in
Well I am on my way,
You're a mountain top
When I reach for you, your love lifts me up
All that I want is to be
Where you are

What's your favorite Pandora station?
~Dining Diva
P.S.  My team's Number 1!  Go SU!!! WOO WOO

Friday, February 19, 2010

Fabulous Friends

Last night was really fun!  T and I met up with my best friend Jess and her boyfriend Jeff at a local sports bar/restaurant to cheer on the SU basketball team.  They won (again!) but it was a little close for comfort at the end.  Anyways we all had a tasty dinner with sandwiches, appetizers and drinks and then headed to the bar for the second half.  I miss hanging out with J & J more often but Jess is an RN and works every other weekend as well 12 hour shifts during the week.  She's also going back to become school because her work pays for it.  (Pretty sweet deal!)

Here are some photos:

And TGIF! For having Monday off, this week has dragged on and I feel mentally exhausted from work.  Hope everyone has a fun weekend.

P.S. I'm still going to post the recipes for the red velvet cupcakes and chicken marsala because they are so delicious.

Dining Diva

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

V-Day Weekend 2010: Full of Food & Love

Back to work after a wonderful weekend that filled my heart with happiness. (A little sappy, I know.) But seriously, I am just so in love with T and every day is perfect when we're together. This weekend was wonderful and not having to work yesterday (Presidents' Day) made it even better.

So let's review Valentine's Day weekend 2010:
(I must warn you that this is kind of a long post and there are quite a few pictures; so if you're not up to reading about how I engulfed myself with food this weekend, you might want to move along.)

Friday night: T made a delicious dinner for us with his grill. He's been talking about grilling pizzas for awhile and Friday night we had them. Have you tried doing that before? If not, it's easy and healthy and delicious! It's just Boboli pizza dough with sauce of your choice, cheese, fresh veggies.  Then you put them on the grill and after they have grilled for a little bit, you stick them in the oven to broil.  Delicious!

Yummo! Then we drank a bottle of my favorite wine from a local vineyard and watched Couples Retreat.  It was a decent movie but nothing to write home about.  It did make me want to go on a tropical vacation, though.

Saturday: T made a delicious breakfast of fresh omelets with the leftover veggies and toast with my favorite, red raspberry jam.  We went to Target and I picked up a fabulous deal:  A king size comforter with bed skirt and shams for just $22!!  It was 75% off and if you need any bedding, I suggest you hit up your local Target because all of the Targets around me are having the same clearance sale on bedding. I also got sheets for $15 that were originally $80.  I love a good deal!

After shopping and exercising it was time for Valentine's Day dinner at T's favorite restaurant about 40 minutes away.  It's an authentic Scottish restaurant and the wait staff wears the kilts and knee socks and the whole get-up.  There is a fireplace and it's warm and cozy and you can see the chefs in the kitchen working away.  We had an amazing dinner. 

Here's a glance at our menu:
To drink: Champagne with Three Olives Grape Vodka.  Yum. 
Warm homemade bread and scones.  (The bread came with amazing garlic butter spread.)
T had the "Lazy Man Surf and Turf" which was out of this world.  I had quite a bit of his lobster and really treated myself to that delicious butter the meat was soaking in.  I had sea bass with a dill sauce that was presented in some kind of parchment paper and SO good!  The white flaky fish just melted in my mouth.  Both of our meals came with a delicious salad, asparagus, and red skinned garlic mashed potatoes.
We chose some kind of chocolate/peanut butter heaven for dessert.  It was quite delicious.  I'm actually wishing I had some of that bread right now.  (I was bummed I didn't bring my camera to dinner so here are some photos after we got back.)

T also gave me some beautiful flowers and chocolate.  I gave him a photo on canvas and framed that I purchased from but I actually was really disappointed because the picture is totally blurry. 

(BTW, I feel like a total fatty as I type this post and think about all of the food I consumed this weekend.  And there's still more to come!)

So Sunday I felt my inner-Julia Child come out to play. I made Red Velvet cupcakes with cream cheese/marshmallow frosting (yummy!) and then made Chicken Marsala for T that was AMAZING! I'll be posting the recipes for both soon. If I can do it, so can you

Monday: I had the day off and spent it babysitting my sister's doggy, Bella.  She's such a good girl.  We spent the day together and went over to my grandparents' house for dinner.  Now Bella is staying with my grandparents until my sister and parents come home from Florida (which btw, they said it's freezing down south!)

~Dining Diva