Quick Weekend Update & Poll Results

As far as weekends go, this one has been pretty nice. Husband had Friday off work, so we went out to get our PA driver's licenses, get the Jetta registered, open a PNC bank account, get me a new interview suit that fits, and grocery shop a bit. We're becoming official!
Saturday and today we're getting things done around the house. Nothing like doing a little "Winter but it seems like Spring" cleaning!

Since you've all been waiting on pins and needles, I'm going to share the final results from my poll on what types of posts y'all prefer to read. {Side note: this query all started from noticing that I got a ton of traffic from my TV show posts, but no resulting comments.} Without further ado:

{Poll Results:}
Pittsburgh 84%  {Winner!}
Recipe 69%
Lifestyle 61%
What I Wore Today 53%
Restaurant 53%
Crafting 53%
Fitness 46%
TV Show 23%

So, it seems I'm going in the right direction with my usual posting topics. I'm dropping the TV posts, and keeping the amount of fitness posts {only a few so far!}. Thanks again for reading, and look forward to more Pittsburgh-specific posts!

Also on today's agenda {AKA a link frenzy!}:

How is your weekend going?


What I Wore Today {Men's Winter Version}

It's time for another edition of "What I Wore Today," but this time, from the northeastern male perspective! Husband let me take these photos of him last weekend {after it snowed}, on our weekend walk through the Allegheny Cemetery {or park. whichever.}.  
This 'outfit' is typical for him on the weekends.  Just trade the jeans for slacks, and you have his morning attire for going to work. Also note, this is Husband's first modeling gig, so give him some credit.
Walking up the path to the perfect "modeling spot," as deemed by me.
 Model shot #1, showing off the full ensemble.
Hat {Similar} & Jacket: The North Face | Scarf: Lacoste
Jeans {Similar}: Citizens of Humanity | Boots: Sorel

GQ Shot.
Smiley shot.

This particular jacket is a Tri-Climate style, which can be worn three ways. There is an inner 'dry shell' coat and an outer layer coat, too. The two can be worn together to create a whole other coat, which is very warm.
A warm scarf is a must.
Overall, I think he did a great job! Thanks, Husband, for being my model! 
What types of winter clothing do the males wear in your life?  Guys, what are your favorite things to wear to keep warm?
If you're interested in purchasing any of the items Husband is wearing, check the links underneath the third photo. You're welcome!


Photo Blink & Tying Loose Ends

At some point today, I knew I was going to make time to post. Life has been incredibly busy since I last sat down to update {ADOS}. Mainly, I'm talking about all of the jobs I've been applying for and the house repairs we've been having. I mean, it is a house built in the early 1900s. You'd expect for it to have some shortcomings, especially after a huge renovation and overhaul. AND, it was 5 degrees on Friday, causing our kitchen sink pipes to freeze. Who ever heard'a frozen pipes?! This girl hadn't.

Anyway, I've been knee-deep in job applications and repair people for the last several days, and haven't had time for the lovely blog. I do have my priorities!

As sort of an update and tying up loose ends, Husband and I got busy {not like that, people!} and weren't able to enjoy the remainder of Pittsburgh Restauarant Week. We had intended on visiting both Meat & Potatoes and Frantuary, but life got in the way. I'll put those two high on the list for February. {Can you believe we're only a week away!?}

Finally, here's a blink at the last week or so, in photo form.
Another masterpiece from Espresso a Mano.
There's a review coming shortly for a favorite madeline stop - La Gourmandine!
There's also a post coming on a certain mans-wear for the winter.
I used our new XiaoXing rice wine to steam fish fillets in my bamboo steamer. Yum!
I made these Lasagna Cupcakes for dinner, and Husband adores them!
We purchased these gorgeous free-range eggs.
These are the lovelies Sephora sent me for my birthday!
Now that I've promised future posts, you know they'll happen. 
It's now time for me to go sweep & mop my dirty floors! {Who knew that snow and salt mixtures would be so tough to clean!?} Happy Wednesday, y'all!

P.S. - Only 5 more days to vote in my poll! Do it!


Liebster Award!

I feel so honored! I was given the Liebster Blog Award by my "blogger" friend, Celia of Looking Lovely Etc.! She's also a lifestyle-type blogger, who lives in Baltimore. We went to high school together, but unfortunately didn't connect until recently through the blogosphere. She has some really lovely travel and health posts, and I always enjoy reading her blog. Thank you, Celia!
As for the award itself, here’s the description and the instructions for winners:
{A Liebster is: “sweetheart, beloved person, darling adj. dear, darling; beloved, liked very much; affectionate, loving adj. favorite, preferred above others; liked or loved above others.”}
1. Thank the person who gave you the award.
2. Link back to the Blogger (or Bloggers) who awarded you.
3. Answer the following questions, down below.
4. Pass the award out and recognize other Bloggers letting them know that you love them.
Here are the questions {with my answers!}:
  • Favorite color: Green! 
  • Favorite animal: Owls or Elephants. {This is starting to feel like a high school quiz now...}
  • Favorite number: 4, 17, 25.
  • Favorite drink: Organic skim milk.
  • Facebook or Twitter? Facebook mostly, but deep down, Twitter always wins.
  • Passion? Food, living healthy, and living life's adventures with the people I love.
  • Getting or giving presents? Both. 
  • Favorite day: Any day I'm on vacation with Husband, reaching a fitness/life goal or seeing family.
  • Favorite flower: Ranunculus or peonies. Any color.
Who do my Liebster Awards go to? 

Chelle of Spangled Paraphernalia  {Best Friend Fashion!}
Bessie of Bravoe Runway  {Chicago Awesomeness!}
Andrea of Haggis Tacos  {Typographical Art!}
Sarah of Coming Unstitched  {PGH Love!}

I've recently met so many bloggers that this was hard to keep it down to four! 

In other news, the repairman just finished his repairs, so Husband and I are about to go on a long, snowy walk and grab a coffee from Espresso a Mano. Maybe even a treat from La Gourmandine. Have a great Saturday!


Home Gym!

Just so you know, it's cold in Pittsburgh.
It even snows.
For this girl, jogging in the snow or spitty rain isn't a valid option {until February 1st*}. Also, I'm way too practical to sign myself up for a gym until I have a solid job. This leads me to the idea of having a home gym.
In this 'home gym,' aka the second bedroom on the second floor which is also being used as the office, I don't have any fancy machinery, but more smaller sets of self-propelled equipment. I've set myself up for a variety of exercises to keep me engaged. I have free weights, resistance bands, a yoga mat, and a few fitness DVDs.
Isn't it cute?
I've been utilizing my gym by using my newest DVD {of two!} to get in shape while it's snowing buckets outside. Jillian Michaels' Ripped in 30 is my 'steal of a deal' DVD I got at Target for $9. I'd say it's going well - I feel like my muscles are coming out, and I've lost 3 pounds. There is one downside: I pulled a muscle at the top of my right leg {dare I say groin?}. It's getting better with each day, but I'm not getting my 100% out of my body during my workouts. I hope it gets better quick!

Ignore my shoe marks!
Do any of you out there have home gyms? What do you stock it with?

*Note: Husband and I signed up for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon on May 6th. Sounds crazy, and you're right. I'm planning to use Hal Higdon's training schedule to get me somewhat prepared for the race. Yes, I do realize this is more than 4 times the miles I've jogged in a race. Eek! 
By the way, does anyone have a non-iPhone-specific app that will log my miles as I'm jogging while in my pocket?

Update: I've since chosen to go with EndoMondo's app for tracking activity. It's great!


What I Wore {to the Movies!}

I wanted to share a quick outfit post with y'all before continuing to apply for jobs. I've been having interviews and second interviews {!}, so I hope to have good news soon. Keep your fingers crossed!

Sunday evening Husband took me to the Manor Theater in Squirrel Hill to see The Iron Lady, a movie about former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. I enjoyed the movie, although it wasn't a true biography, but was done as more of a flashback. Also, I had no idea Thatcher was in ill mental health. Shows you just how much this American knows about English public figures. She is an inspiration, nonetheless. {4 out of 5 stars.} As far as the theater goes, I love it! It had a great feel.

It was snowing on Sunday {it's melted now}, so you get to see a rare glimpse of what the Northeast {MIGHT} be like! It's supposed to snow tonight, so it may be back sooner rather than later.

I paired my grey, knee-length Espirit coat with this outfit, but took it off for the photos. {No, I'm not crazy!}
Tunic: Michael Kors | Jeggings: J Crew | Boots: Ralph Lauren

What are some of the movies on your short list? There are so many out {or coming out soon} that I want to see!

P.S. - Have you become an official follower of {A Dash of Spectacular}? There's a button on the left side of the page especially for that! Click on "Join this Site" as soon as you possibly can! Thanks, y'all!


PGH Dining: Food Blogger Dinner at Braddock's American Brasserie

Pittsburgh is steadily growing into one of my favorite cities of all time. This week, it got a good foothold, and is rising in the ranks. For the second time ever, Pittsburgh is having a Restaurant Week, January 16-22, but you wouldn't be able to tell it's so green. More than 30 restaurants are participating! I was lucky enough to be invited {after putting my name in the hat, of course!} to the Food Blogger dinner last night at Braddock's American Brasserie. Being a lifestyle blogger primarily, I was happy to be included. Food is a passion of mine, after all. {Could you tell?!}
via tablemagazine.com on Facebook
Table Magazine was there to cover the event, and happened to snap this photo of Husband and me. {Prior to the lipstick coming off, thankfully.} We started the meal with drinks {a scotch for Husband, and a Malbec for me}, then moved on to a chef's tasting of three items: kielbasa with sauerkraut, a short rib-stuffed pierogi, and potato gnocchi with lobster claw. What a welcoming sight! 
I particularly enjoyed the pierogi, even though it was more like a meat pie. 
The lobster claw was cooked perfectly, and went nicely with the creamy sauce from the gnocchi. 
As for the kielbasa and sauerkraut pairing, I was somewhat apprehensive in trying. I don't like sauerkraut. There's something about the fermented taste of the cabbage that doesn't sit well with me. However, this set from Braddock's was nice because it only tasted lightly pickled, rather than other krauts I've had. 
Gorgeous plate!
 Then, I was able to talk with the other bloggers around the table, over some bread and coarse salted butter. 
I met Heidi from The Steel Trap, a brother {Adam} and sister {Alissa Matthews of PASA}, Lou of Pittsburgh Happy Hour, and the gentleman who brought us Bloggers together, Brian of Pittsburgh Restaurant Week and The Pittsburgh TasteBuds. It was wonderful to meet you all!

After the chef's tasting, Husband took the 'high road' and ordered a soup and a salad. Smart man. I, however, was not so wise, and ordered the prix fixe menu.    
Husband's Onion Soup
Braddock's American Brasserie Prix Fixe Menu
Warm Goat Cheese Tart with Grilled Vegetables & Balsamic Reduction
Grilled Petite Filet over Whipped Potatoes, Buttered Asparagus & Herb Demi-Glace
New York Colossal Cheesecake with Fresh Raspberries 
Goat Cheese Tart 
 My second course was preceded by a delightfully heavy knife, and I {HAD} to post a photo. Good choice, Braddock's!
Yes, I was "That Girl" and took a photo of the knife.
 Husband's salad came out, topped with seared scallops. The dressing was the perfect combination of tart and creamy. Success.
 My {MAN}steak was cooked perfectly to order, a deep pink medium rare. Just how this Texan likes it. 

  For dessert, I was scheduled to have the colossal cheesecake. And they weren't kidding. 

 I couldn't even think about finishing my half, and Husband did his best to eat his portion. Across the table from me, Adam ordered the apple crumble. How adorable is this plating!?
The meal ended on the cheesecake, which was not the best dessert on the table. The show-stopper was the apple crumble, and the taste winner was the peppermint white chocolate creme brûlée. 
My favorite dish was of course the chef's tasting, and the rest of my meal was very good. Husband wasn't overly thrilled with his meal, but he couldn't find anything specific to critique. {I think he was just jealous of my choices!} Braddock's American Brasserie offered a great meal and I loved briefly meeting the Chef de Cuisine, Brian Volmrich. He and his team did a great job!

Braddock's American Brasserie on Urbanspoon

 Afterwards, I coerced Husband into taking outfit photos of me, citing all of my readers. I knew y'all would want to see what I wore! {Again, forgive the romantic restaurant lighting!}
Necklace: Modcloth | Sweater: Merona/Target | Skirt: J Crew
Belt: Target | Tights: J Crew | Heels: Steve Madden

It was a fun night, and I'm so glad we were able to go! I can't wait for the next one!


Happy Birthday, Michelle!

Today is full of busy things, so I can only stop in for a short time. I wanted to use my posting time today to wish a happy birthday to a wonderful person. 

Oktoberfest in Dallas, 2011.

{Happy birthday} to my best friend!