Monday, April 22, 2013

The Cheesecake Factory's Skinny Victory

Ever since I started Weight Watchers, and really paying attention to what I eat, going out to restaurants has been a new type of challenge. I do go out often, and most of the time have no problem finding a great menu choice that won't undo my entire day, but a few restaurants still trip me up. The Cheesecake Factory being one of those places. Luckily that is not a usual dining location for me, I can honestly say I go about once a year, but still...have you SEEN their portion sizes???!!?? It's insane! 

According to the book Eat This, Not That the Cheesecake Factory's Bistro Shrimp Pasta has the calorie equivalent of 14 Krispy Kreme Original Glazed Doughnuts. That's 2,730 calories!

Holy heart attack.... 

So you can image my anxiety whenever we decided to dine there. 
This weekend we we celebrated my grandmother's birthday. We went and saw Mary Poppins at the Schuster Center (so adorable by the way, great show for families) and then ended our evening at the Cheesecake Factory. 
As we sat down at our table though, there was an extremely pleasant surprise sitting atop the  short novel that is their menu. 

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Behold! 15 entrees under 590 calories and 12 appetizers under 490 calories! And everything sounds absolutely wonderful. They also have a handful of adult beverages including a mojito, margarita, and a red white sangria which is suuuper yummy.
I ordered the white chicken chili, while my mom got the shrimp creole (pictured bellow).
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Absolutely delicious. 
I think this is fantastic business decision for The Cheesecake Factory. If you're going to serve desserts that have over 3,000 calories, you can at least offer a lighter dining option to balance it out. 

I did indulge in a piece of cheesecake, I mean I'm not a robot :) 
My favorite is the Lemon Raspberry, it's pretty light so I don't have that feeling of a rock inside my gut for the rest of the night. Very refreshing too! 
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So thank you, THANK YOU Cheesecake Factory for thinking on the lighter side and offering some of your famous flavors without all of the guilt. 

On a completely different note, Eric's family also came down to visit us this weekend and we went to the Cincinnati  Museum Center at Union Terminal. I could stare at this building for hours, the incredible architecture and murals on the inside are captivating. 

And can you beat this view?? 

OH Cincinnati you are winning over my heart more and more each day ;) 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Fresh Inspiration

As an designer I'm constantly looking for inspiration that I can use for new and fresh ideas. My main go-to's when I need to spark some creativity are books, magazines, and the Internet. 
But what I find myself missing, after throwing aside my fifth book and getting frustrated, is that fantastic design is not just on my bookshelves. 


Take Whole Foods for example. 

Have you ever looked at the products on their shelves and wanted to buy something just because it looked cool? I sure have. This store carries so many brands that have INCREDIBLE package design that I could spend $500 just by buying things based on their looks. Who cares if it tastes good, it looks fabulous! 

Take these candy bars for example. 
Beautiful hand drawn leaf images mixed with a bold sun in a florescent bright color. The organic style font choice matches the fact that it's organic chocolate, and everything just pops on a clean white wrapper. 

Doesn't this salsa just look like fun packed inside a jar?! The illustrations on the label look like they're having a party, and those bold colors just scream fiesta! 

I could look at beer labels for hours. The coolers are a great place for some quirky ideas that are always interesting. 

I really like this guy, looks handmade! I actually went to Dogfish Head brewery in Delaware a few summers back when a bunch of us were visiting some friends there. It's actually a very small brewery but their branding is to die for! 

HOB NOB wines. Creating one set look and then altering the color slightly is a great way to keep a brand looking like they belong together, but not super matchy matchy. 

Hi-Ball Energy! The polka dot pattern makes your eyes dance a little...kind of like you're buzzing from too much caffeine! 

Oh the glory of well designed brands and beautiful packaging. I could walk around Whole Foods all day just looking at the different labels, and nibbling on some free samples of course! 

So the next time you're at the grocery store, spend some extra time among the shelves, and take in all of the great design that is just waiting for you place into your cart. 
Inspiration is everywhere! 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Store Discovery! Pottery Barn Outlet

I can't get over it. All I want to do is throw on a maxi dress, slip on my flip flops, and spin around in the warm sunny air while birds sing their new song of spring! 

A girl can dream :) 

My actual position currently is sitting at a desk, surrounded by windows with the blinds pulled down and closed, so that the heat can't get in since our average temp has been around 78 degrees by the end of the day. Nothing like being hot and angry to make your work day go by any quicker. So even though I can't actually SEE the beautiful 60 degree paradise outside, I do know it's there, and that sill makes me just giddy. 

OK, on to the actual purpose of this post. 
So I don't know how many of you guys out there shop at Pottery Barn, but I've always had a special place for them in my heart. Mainly because I can't afford much in the store so I tend to just gaze at the window displays with a sense of longing and aw......but no more! Because of THIS POST over at my favorite blog Young House Love I went on the search for a Pottery Barn OUTLET STORE and found one about an hour away in Jeffersonville! 

I was soooo excited to go inside. It was actually a little overwhelming at first, there was just so much stuff to look at!!! 

Just look at how stunning that navy blue is with that burnt orange. 

Dozens and dozens of rugs to choose from. 

The finishing on that dresser reminded me of sea shells. Looks so great paired with those "drift wood" lamps. 

These napkins were calling out to me. How great would your dinner table look with a little pop of glam like these babies!! 

For some reason I kept being drawn to this piece of fake coral. I have no idea what I would do with it, but I wanted to snatch it up so bad! 

And of course, who doesn't need a giant horse head?? 

The prices were pretty awesome compared to what you would find at a normal Pottery Barn store. Eric did find a sofa that he thought would've been a great deal since it was an additional 20% off, but alas we left empty handed. I just can't seem to justify buying anything to decorate our apartment now since I know we are trying to buy a house in the near future. 

The rest of our weekend was pretty low key. 
My current obsession is pouring over the amazing ideas in this book from my favorite bloggers (as mentioned above). Like the cover says; 243 sah-weet ideas to give your home a little pizzaz! So many fantastic ideas in here, I want to do them all. 

I also made a new coffee table arrangement out of a mirror I haven't found a new place to hang and some sea shells we brought back from our honeymoon 

Snaps for using what you already have to decorate! And how wonderful are tulips right now?! Can't get enough. 

Hopefully your weekend was also spent enjoying this new warm weather, and maybe making plans on how to spend time in it for the summer! 

-  Adios! -