Bloggers of DC… Unite! (Giveaway!)

Sorry this post comes a little late this morning. I’m a little off. Let’s just say that my day has already included taking an hour to drive 4.5 miles (stupid downed power lines!) and spilling coffee down the front of my white t-shirt. Womp womp. ANYWAY!

When I first started blogging, solely for the means of keeping myself accountable for my weight loss, I had no idea how vast and expansive the healthy living blog community was. Sure, I read a few here and there, but I really had no idea how many amazing people I would meet through the blogosphere (haha, I really hate using that word — so nerdy! — but unfortunately it’s true.) And more than that, I had no idea how many of those awesome people would be so close by! I’ve officially decided that turning virtual buddies into real-life friends is awesome. And thanks to incredible organizer Amanda, last night I was able to continue the trend:

At the Nats vs. Cardinals game last night! Thanks to Stephanie for the above pic. I’m pimpin’ it from the middle of the back row!

IMG_8879.jpg

Running late as always, I met Amanda at The Bullpen, the beer garden just outside of the main gates at the stadium before heading in. My brother Ben’s band plays the 4th of July gig here every year, so it was fun to get to see what he was talking about, ahaha.

IMG_8876.jpg

I’d be lying if I said I paid a lick of attention to the actual baseball game (did we even win? Ahahahaha) but it was so much fun! My only regret is that I wish I didn’t have to work so stinkin’ early so I could have stayed later.

IMG_8878.jpg
IMG_8882.jpg
IMG_8888.jpg
IMG_8886.jpg

IMG_8900.jpg

Megan and Sana even trekked down from Columbia to share in the festivities! I heart these girls so hard. πŸ™‚

It did start to rain pretty hard at one point, but thankfully our seats were covered! I guess that’s the bone they throw to people who have to sit up at the tippity top of the stadium, hahaha.

Rainy Games.

Sure that ain't snow?

And okay, okay, this is the last time. Just one more shout out to Amanda for taking the initiative to plan the whole thing. Lovelovelove:

IMG_8903.jpg

I so desperately wish I could remember everyone’s name (and blog!) from last night but unfortunately I am super terrible with remembering, um, anything. So! If you were at the game last night, please make sure you leave a comment letting me know!

IMG_8894.jpgIMG_8895.jpg
IMG_8902.jpg

Also, and this may come as no surprise to you if you saw last night’s daily eats post (or if you just know me at all, haha), I had french fries for dinner. It was glorious.

All in all, a wonderful evening, which is why the debacle that has been this entire morning hasn’t gotten me down. I’m still in such a good mood! I hope there will be many more meet-ups like this to come.

Sunset Over Nationals Stadium

I know what you’re thinking: how does my good mood impact YOU on this Friday morning? Well my friends, the answer is: in a very chipper way.

Day 163 - Death by Pop Chips

Popchipper, that is! Bahahahahaha. GET IT?!

Remember how I was bragging about getting a post-Fitbloggin’ case of Popchips and then how you were like, “Aw man! I wish I had an entire case of Popchips to nom on, too!” Well, your wish = my command. One of you lucky readers is going to get a MONTH’s supply of Popchips!

What to do:

1. Like Popchips on Facebook and/or follow them on Twitter.

2. Leave a comment back here saying you’ve done so!

Easy as pie. You can also submit additional entries can be done by doing one (or all!) of the following:

1. Retweet this giveaway, including a link back to this post and the usernames @shrinkinggretch and @popchipsdc.

2. Link back to this giveaway post on your blog.

3. Just leave a comment talking about what you would do with a month’s supply of Popchips delivered to your door (hopefully you won’t follow my lead as depicted above and be killed by them, hahaha.)

Make sure you leave separate comments for each thing you do!

I’ll be randomly selecting a winner and announcing it in Tuesday’s post (the 21st.) Happy Friday!

The Big Apple: Part I

Really, I should be titling these posts “The Weekend That Gretchen Didn’t Eat Any Vegetables” or just “The Weekend that Gretchen Ate Her Weight in French Fries”, but I decided to go with something a little simpler. That’s right, folks! I’m back from New York City and had an amaaaazing weekend with Steve exploring the city, quenching my nerdtastic love for Harry Potter & Broadway all at once.

IMG_1681.jpg

Oh my gosh, where to start, where to start… so much happened in this one little weekend. Phew! So I guess I start at the beginning, eh? Steve and I took Friday off of work to hit the road (we took the Bolt Bus – $17 each way!) We checked into our hotel (the Residence Inn Times Square) and immediately set off to explore the city a little before meeting up with some of Steve’s friends later on like we had planned.

We walked and walked, down past Union Square and into St. Mark’s Place. We had our eyes set on a couple of the restaurant recommendations that you amazing people gave me! First up: S’mac:

IMG_8135.jpg

This tiny little hole-in-the-wall is dedicated completely and solely to mac ‘n’ cheese. Awesome, right? I opted for the Napoletana, which had fresh mozzerella, roasted tomatoes, roasted garlic, and fresh basil. Sound familiar?

IMG_8140.jpg

It. Was. Amazing. Steve opted for the Cheeseburger mac, which was also delicious but I think mine was the star. They have sizes that range from “Nosh” to “Partay!” (love the names) and I’m so glad we went with the Nosh. It may be the smallest size offered, but it is more than enough cheesy goodness.

IMG_8141.jpg

After sating our appetite a bit with that, we had to move onto the second place on our list, which was conveniently located right around the corner. Pomme Frites!

IMG_8144.jpg

Like S’mac is a tribute to the great art of mac ‘n’ cheese, Pomme Frites does the same for the classic french fry. Belgian fries, to be exact!

IMG_8157.jpg

They have a list of about a gajillion different dipping sauces for your fries, and various sizes you can get. Steve and I split an order of the smallest size and opted to try the sweet mango chutney mayo (my fave by far!), the roasted garlic mayo (Steve’s pick – good, but VERY mayo-y), and the horseradish mayo (super strong on the horseradish.)

IMG_8147.jpg

There was some regular ol’ ketchup in there somewhere too, and I was a very happy bear.

IMG_8159.jpg

And so began what would end up being an entire weekend of absolutely atrocious eating habits. And I don’t feel the least bit guilty! Well, I guess I feel a little bit guilty. But it was still totally worth it. πŸ™‚

After getting our noms on, we met up with Steve’s friend Greg and his girlfriend Ellen to head over to Brooklyn for the opening reception of an art show at a sweet little studio, Cotton Candy Machine. Steve is friends with artist Brian Ewing, so it was really cool to meet him, as well as the other artists there!

IMG_8165.jpg
IMG_8163.jpg

I walked away with the following t-shirt:

Cotton Candy Machine T-shirt

And felt so cultured and hip! So of course, in order to balance that out, we had to go see a superhero movie afterward, hahaha.

IMG_8167.jpg

For the record, X-Men: First Class was awesome. It was so well done. I think I may have liked it better than the first and the second X-Men movies, actually… and I obviously thought it was far, far, faaaar better than the third, haha. It was so good. The thing that wasn’t so good? Actually having to see the calorie counts of movie theatre food:

IMG_8169.jpg

Nuts, right? Didn’t stop me from getting a hot dog anyway though… oops. I really think it’s great that they post this info though. Especially given this little nugget of informational gold in particular:

IMG_8170.jpg

An additional 760 calories for extra cheese!? On top of an already ludicrous 1390 calories, just for nachos? The nacho servings at movie theatres aren’t even that big! Yeesh.

And after the movie got out at like 1:30 in the morning (staying out later than I have in a loooong time — in true New York fashion, haha!) we hit the hay, knowing that we’d have to have our energy for the following day. I had Broadway tickets to score, and Harry Potter exhibits to geek out over, after all! But you guys’ll have to wait until tomorrow for the next chapter in this epic weekend’s story.

Also, to answer the question that is probably forming in your mind right now, I have made the executive decision not to weigh in this week. Or at least, not to weigh in today. I might do a little spot-check later in the week, but I just really want to try to ride the high from my awesome weekend as long as possible, and I know it will only be bad news bears. So! Judge me if you want, but it’s happening. Or rather, not happening. Heh.

Okay, okay. So you will have to tune in tomorrow for the full update on our second day of New York adventures. But! I will give you the following sneak peek of exactly what said day entailed (in case you didn’t already see my Tweets and Facebook updates about it! Hehe!)

IMG_1715.jpg

Yeaaaaaah roooooooyyyy! See you tomorrow for all the deets! πŸ˜‰