Grilled Pineapple Mango Chicken Caesar Salad

Grilled Pineapple Mango Chicken Caesar Salad | dcgirlinpearls.com

As you may or may not remember, I was PRETTY jazzed about the pulled chicken + pineapple mango tacos I made for Cinco de Mayo.

Meaning I ate them every single day for the entire month of May. No judgement, they’re freaking delicious. And I regret nothing.

Grilled Pineapple Mango Chicken Caesar Salad | dcgirlinpearls.com

But here’s the thing: tacos as delicious as these bad boys, they’ve got potential. A LOT o’ potential.

Like folded into mashed avocado to create a bomb guacamole.

…Okay, now I can’t stop thinking about guacamole.

Necessity Hunger is the mother of invention.

Grilled Pineapple Mango Chicken Caesar Salad | dcgirlinpearls.com

I ran out of tortillas. And all I really wanted/needed/had to have in my life was a taco. OH THE HUMANITY!

Frantic, I searched my fridge for pitas, naan, really any potential vehicle for awesome taco nirvana. For once, my fridge was tragically carb-free. So, feeling super healthy, I grabbed a romaine heart and Caesar dressing and got to work.

Grilled Pineapple Mango Chicken Caesar Salad | dcgirlinpearls.com

Grilled romaine is a game changer. Get on board now!! If not for me, do it for your tastebuds. Slice a romaine heart in half and brush a little olive oil and season with salt ‘n pepa. Place the romaine cut-side down on a hot grill for about 2-3 minutes, pressing down gently with a spatula.

* Hallelujah Chorus Break *

Pile on grilled chicken, fresh pineapple-mango salsa, cheesy Parmesan cheese.

Grilled Pineapple Mango Chicken Caesar Salad | dcgirlinpearls.com

If you make this grilled Caesar salad for a crowd or your family, swap out plates for parchment paper and drizzle on Caesar dressing. If you’re feeling extra sassy, reach for your favorite hot sauce and GO TO TOWN.

Cholula or Trader Joe’s Habanero Hot Sauce does the trick.

I’m just sayin’.

Grilled Pineapple Mango Chicken Caesar Salad | dcgirlinpearls.com

Grilled Pineapple Mango Chicken Caesar Salad | dcgirlinpearls.com

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Vaseline x Flywheel

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You know what I really needed? A good, ol’ fashioned sweat sesh.

I mean, an aggressively glistening sesh…

After a weekend filled with cocktails and brunches (Dacha brunch, by the way, is incredible!), I found myself at Flywheel in Dupont ready to get spinning and sweat aggressively glisten out the rosé.

I’ve been to other spin classes in DC (Soul Cycle, Biker Barre) but Flywheel is its own spinning experience. Attached to each bike is a tech pack that calculates your torq and RPMs and while the instructor choreographs the class to match the beat of the music and suggests the numbers you should hit for torq and RPMs, you are pretty much in charge of your own spinning experience. I’m not a spinning regular and having the numbers was really helpful for gauging how I was doing. That, and the fact that my tank was pretty much glued to me because of sweat. There, I said it.

Flywheel Spinning in DC | dcgirlinpearls.com

The first thing I heard when I walked into the studio was “Blank Space,” so it was pretty much guaranteed to be an awesome time. (Side note: I lived vicariously through everyone’s Snapchats this week from the T Swift concert, it looked incredible + I’m kicking myself that I didn’t buy tickets!).

Stephanie was my instructor and I’d highly recommend her, she was incredibly energetic and her song selection was on point. Music is a make-or-break for me when I go to spin classes and Stephanie nailed it.

I left class completely drenched but feeling totally pumped to start the week! Isn’t that the best feeling? It’s a pre-emptive strike against the Monday blues.

Vaseline provided samples of their Intensive Care Spray Moisturizers at Flywheel and I gotta say, I’m pretty into them. I’m prone to dry skin, especially on my heels, so after giving my feet + legs a serious workout at Flywheel, they definitely deserved a little TLC. Vaseline sprays are really convenient, drying in seconds without leaving the skin feeling oily or greasy. Trust me, I hate feeling like a lotion left a layer of residue on my skin. A quick spray and the Vaseline moisturizer takes care of the rest! Vaseline Intensive Care Spray Moisturizer is the new favorite in my moisturizing arsenal. I also loved that it dries in seconds because Sundays are my errand days and I’m a girl on the go.

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I’m definitely going to take another class at Flywheel soon! I forgot how amazing Sunday late morning spin classes are for clearing my head and getting in the right mindset to tackle the week. Sunday evenings are for homemade guac and binge-watching The Office.

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This post was sponsored by Vaseline.  All opinions and product sentiments are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep the DC Girl party going!

Tequila Mockingbird

Tequila Mockingbird Cocktail | dcgirlinpearls.com

When Harper Collins announced a sequel to Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird, I jumped for joy! Well, not really, because I was at my desk. But inside, I was doing backsprings and cartwheels all over the place.

Then, with reports casting doubt over Harper Lee’s ability to allow the manuscript to be published, it was a roller coaster of emotion about whether I should read it or not.

To Kill A Mockingbird is one my all-time favorite books and each time I think of it, I’m immediately transported back in time to 6th grade literature class in Orchard Park, NY when I opened this American classic for the first time.

Not to mention watching Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch.

And Robert Duvall in his first major role as Boo.

Which I didn’t realize until maaaannnnyyy years later.

So what does one do when a favorite childhood book may or may not have been compromised?

The answer, per usual, is tequila.

Tequila Mockingbird Cocktail | dcgirlinpearls.com

Tequila Mockingbird, that is.

So I’ve never actually read that literary cocktail book, which is really bad on my part because it combines three of my favorite things in the world: books, cocktails + puns.

While I don’t have a copy of Tequila Mockingbird on hand to know their cocktail recipe, I do know one thing: watermelon + tequila make one refreshing drink.

What’s your take on the Go Set A Watchman controversy(ies)?

Tequila Mockingbird Cocktail | dcgirlinpearls.com

Ingredients (Makes Approx 4 Cocktails)

4 cups of watermelon, seeded + cubed 

1 cup tequila 

Directions

In a blender, puree the watermelon cubes until smooth. Add to a bowl and pour in tequila, stir to combine. Serve with ice.

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Favorite Trader Joe’s Last Minute Meals

Phew, it’s been quite the week. And it’s only Wednesday.

Have you ever felt out of sync with yourself? Do I sound crazy? But I swear it’s real and that’s exactly how I’m feeling this week.

I had all these plans to share two of my favorite recipes with you this week. And when I say favorite, I really mean “I’ve-been-eating-these-two-dishes-for-pretty-much-every-single-meal-for-two-weeks-straight-and-I’m-in-love.”

Okay, NOW I sound crazy.

My plan was to make these two awesome dishes and that’d be my lunch/dinner for the week. Totally solid, right?

But here’s what happened. Spoiler alert: One of the recipes involves a grilled romaine heart and after chopping up all the rest of the ingredients + making the dressing, I go to grill the romaine. And my beautiful romaine that had been hanging out in my crisper for a mere 2 days had gone bad. Two days. So I did what any reasonable human being would do: I tossed the chopped ingredients into mashed avocados and had a long talk about my dashed recipe with a big bowl of guacamole. And season 4 of The Office.

I felt better until I realized my fun desk lunches kinda went up in smoke. I’ll be honest. I just wasn’t in the mood to go back into the kitchen and come up with another recipe. Luckily, I keep a few frozen meals from Trader Joe’s on hand for emergencies.

Because sometimes you’re a) exhausted b) starving c) totally uninspired to cook or d) all of the above.

A few of my favorite last-minute meals courtesy of my boyfriend Trader Joe’s…

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The Reduced Guilt Mac ‘n Cheese is praise-hands-emoji-worthy, especially with a few fun hacks. Right now, the Creamy Asparagus Soup is my favorite, I pick one (okay, two) up whenever I pop into TJ’s: It’s creamy, full of flavor and oh yeah, it’s vegan and gluten free for anybody watching out for those labels. Hot or cold, Trader Joe’s Creamy Asparagus Soup is always a winner.

Normally, I’m not big on gazpacho. I want to be. But I’m just not. I tried Trader Joe’s gazpacho before and after about 4 spoonfuls, I was pretty over it. But their Organic Roasted Tomatillo Gazpacho has made me a believer. There’s a slight kick so fair warning!

I promise I’ll be back next week with some awesome recipes and I hope the suspense is killing you. Because the grilled romaine dish is quite possibly my favorite recipe to date. So there’s that.

In the mean time, I’ll be working on getting back in sync. Sounds like a plan, right?

Pass the wine, please.

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Shadow Box Wall Art with IKEA RIBBA Frames + Hallmark Signature

Decor on a Budget: Shadow Box Wall Art with IKEA RIBBA Frames + Hallmark Signature | dcgirlinpearls.com

I could probably spend an hour in the card aisle. Easily.

You laugh, you cry, it’s better than Cats.

But wait, then you spy cards that go above + beyond your wildest snail-mail-lovin’ dreams. Hallmark Signature cards are what other cards aspire to be.

Their creative, whimsical designs are visually stunning. The letters spelling out HAPPY are made of sprinkles, the floral design is sequined and HELLO was created from gold wire. And that’s just the tip of the creative iceberg.

It’s impossible to play favorites with these cards because each one is so unique and fun, you just can’t help but smile when you see them!! Especially this piñata

These cards are so beautifully crafted, they’re practically art.

So why not frame ’em?

Decor on a Budget: Shadow Box Wall Art with IKEA RIBBA Frames + Hallmark Signature | dcgirlinpearls.com

When it comes to frames, IKEA is my go-to. Their frames are budget-friendly and look like a million bucks. VIRSERUM and RIBBA are my favorites, hands down. The standard size for cards is 5×7 so when I went to IKEA last week, I loaded up on white RIBBA frames in that size. Oh, and did I mention these frames are only $3 each? Yup, like I said IKEA frames are where it’s at.

Decor on a Budget: Shadow Box Wall Art with IKEA RIBBA Frames + Hallmark Signature | dcgirlinpearls.com

Creative, whimsical designs. Meet crisp, white frames.

It’s like the decor version of peanut butter and chocolate. Or cookie butter and spoon. In my humble opinion.

Just add Command hooks and you have a gallery wall ready to rock ‘n roll in no time. This beautiful trio are now happily hanging in my bedroom gallery wall and I can’t wait to add more!

Piñata, I’m comin’ for ya…

Decor on a Budget: Shadow Box Wall Art with IKEA RIBBA Frames + Hallmark Signature | dcgirlinpearls.com

Decor on a Budget: Shadow Box Wall Art with IKEA RIBBA Frames + Hallmark Signature | dcgirlinpearls.com

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Shark Attack Cocktail for Shark Week

Skinnygirl Shark Attack Cocktail | dcgirlinpearls.com

Are you a Shark Week fan?

Like a diehard fan who counts down the days until this high holy week and throws watch parties?

I’ll be honest, if I had cable I’d definitely tune in but alas if it’s not on Netflix or Roku, it’s not going to happen for me.

BUT you know I’m a sucker for party themes and Shark Week is as good an excuse as any to whip up a specialty themed cocktail. And buy Swedish Fish…

Skinnygirl Shark Attack Cocktail | dcgirlinpearls.com

Real talk. Did you know Swedish Fish are fat free?! Which according to my calculations makes them a health food.

Even if you aren’t glued to your TV for Shark Week, you get an awesome cocktail. And if you are glued to your TV, I salute you. High five (fin?)!

Just remember: Fish are friends, not food.

Skinnygirl Shark Attack Cocktail | dcgirlinpearls.com

Ingredients (Makes 1 Cocktail)

1 ½ parts Skinnygirl® Bare Naked Vodka

2 parts cranberry juice

½ part fresh lime juice

½ part DeKuyper® Triple Sec

Lime wheel for garnish

Directions

Pour all ingredients over ice and garnish with a lime wheel.

Skinnygirl Shark Attack Cocktail | dcgirlinpearls.com

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Maine Avenue Seafood Market

Maine Avenue Seafood Market in Washington, DC | dcgirlinpearls.com

How was your Fourth of July weekend?!? Filled with BBQs, hot dogs? Corn hole, maybe? Big batch cocktails?

Fireworks, definitely.

Maine Avenue Seafood Market in Washington, DC | dcgirlinpearls.com

Fourth of July was a downpour but thankfully, my family (read: my dad) was able to grill in between rainshowers and I finally got my Sahlen’s hot dog! Which like the good WNY ex-pat that I am, I loaded up with Weber’s mustard and ketchup…despite my family’s judge-y looks about my condiment enthusiasm.

This love is deep and it’s real.

Sunday was overcast so to break our cabin fever, we headed to the Maine Avenue Seafood Market. I’ve gone by the seafood market countless times. Usually heading to Cantina Marina. Because you know, priorities.

It was a real trip walking around and seeing the vendors with their bins of (moving!!) crabs and other seafood. Call me a wimp but I’m not brave enough to pick out a bunch of crabs (did I mention they were ALIVE?!) to take home and then prepare myself. It was bad enough when I was 8 and first saw what an actual shrimp looked like. It took awhile to warm back up to shrimp. Lots of cocktail sauce helped with that (told you I love condiments).

Maine Avenue Seafood Market in Washington, DC | dcgirlinpearls.com

Scallops on scallops…get it?!

If you’re a seafood fan, the Maine Avenue Seafood Market is definitely worth a visit, even if it’s just for the deliciously fresh-looking lemonade I was eyeing up. And if you’re a brave soul who can prepare their own crabs or lobsters, more power to you and please share your secrets. Because this would be me when it comes to live seafood.

And it’s just a hop, skip + a jump away from Cantina Marina’s mango margaritas and fish tacos.

Just sayin’.

Maine Avenue Seafood Market in Washington, DC | dcgirlinpearls.com

Maine Avenue Seafood Market in Washington, DC | dcgirlinpearls.com

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Fourth of July Cocktails with Skinnygirl

This Fourth of July, you can have your hot dog AND festive cocktail AND eat it, too!! Between the grilling and delicious nibbles (Lookin’ at you, Grandma’s macaroni salad), my criteria for Fourth of July outfits: patriotic theme + elastic waistbands. Doesn’t get much more American than that, does it?!

Skinnygirl is coming to your + my rescue this Independence Day with some super schnazzy, festive cocktails that also happen to be low-calorie!! So go ahead and get that second slice of apple pie, go to town on the macaronic salad. Calories don’t count on Fourth of July weekend. Because ‘merica.

Sidebar: Is anyone else procrastinating their Fourth of July menu? I’ve had my red, white + blue gear ready for months now but foodwise? Kinda embarrassed to say I still need to go to the grocery store…what are you cooking or grilling this weekend?

Fourth of July Cocktails with Skinnygirl | dcgirlinpearls.com

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Charleston City Market

Charleston City Market | dcgirlinpearls.com

If I lived in Charleston, I think I’d visit the Charleston City Market every single weekend. From colorful dresses to spicy seasonings, the historic market is my paradise.

Seriously, pinch me because I think I’m still dreaming.

On Sunday, I explored the market with Katie of Twin Stripe, Nikki of Bedazzles After Dark, Lindsay of Sugar + Something and Alex of Pinrose and had an absolute blast between checking out the different vendors and shops and snapping pictures. More Charleston photos will come soon but for now, here are the highlights of the Charleston City Market…

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Escapada, you get me. Really regretting not pulling the trigger on the red + navy sleeveless Libby dress for 4th of July BBQs this weekend…

Charleston City Market | dcgirlinpearls.com

Charleston City Market | dcgirlinpearls.com

Of course, I don’t discriminate between the clothing vendors + the food vendors. I’m just simply not that kind of girl. I could easily have spent the entire day perusing the different spices, seasonings + packages of grits. There was also a table dedicated to awesome looking cookbooks but then a particular table caught my eye…

The Spice and the Spoon was a big highlight on the market for me. An entire table dedicated to spicy seasonings?! Pinch me, I’m dreaming. Ghost Crab, The Ghost, City Market + Shem Creek Shrimp spices all came back to DC with me and I’ve already started brainstorming recipes for these bad boys. Spoiler alert: Ghost Crab-cakes and a pretty bomb BLT are in the lead so stay tuned for more! P.S. You can order these spices online so us non-Charlestonians can still get our seasonin’ on.

Charleston City Market | dcgirlinpearls.com

The spices also make pretty awesome dips when paired with Greek yogurt, whipped cream cheese or sour cream. I could have eaten an entire sample table by myself. Easily.

Charleston City Market | dcgirlinpearls.com

Charleston City Market | dcgirlinpearls.com

Of course, since it’s Charleston, pineapples and blue + white plates were everywhere!! Next time, I’m either packing bubble wrap or just going to have some of these pieces shipped back to DC because really, they’re just too pretty for a picture to do them justice.

Charleston City Market | dcgirlinpearls.com

Charleston City Market | dcgirlinpearls.com

Please share suggestions of places to visit, and more importantly eat, in Charleston. I might have already started an itinerary for my next visit en route to the airport…

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IZZE Sparkling Juice Summer

A relaxing weekend with IZZE | dcgirlinpearls.com

The thing no one tells you about growing up is that you have to work during the summer. Sure, there are “Summer Fridays” but those lazy hazy crazy days of summer spent at the beach or pool or just playing in the backyard without a care in the world?

They’re gone.

Before I get to sounding too depressing, here are some AWESOME tacos I’ve been living on since before Cinco de Mayo. Feeling better? Okay, let’s get back to the happy. 

A relaxing weekend with IZZE | dcgirlinpearls.com

Lately, Monday through Friday has been A) nonstop, go-go-go action and B) monsoon-level rainy. Which makes weekends that much sweeter to unwind and just hang out.

I’m normally a very social person and I’d definitely consider myself an extravert, I need people to keep my energy up. But lately, on the weekends, I’ve grown to appreciate some built-in alone time with just a large blanket, a good book or magazine, my trusty pair of sunglasses and a can or two of IZZE.

Because I really can’t go anywhere without a carbonated drink.

A relaxing weekend with IZZE | dcgirlinpearls.com

I love sticking my phone into my tote, slipping off my Jacks and just tune out the world for an hour or two. On an unrelated note, does anyone else have a serious Jacks tanline? Please tell it’s not just me!

My absolute essential to mini picnics in the park has be IZZE Sparkling Juice. Nothing beats the DC heat like a fizzy drink and IZZE’s Sparkling Clementine does the trick for me. Lately on my weekly trips to Eastern Market, I toss a Sparkling Juice into my tote because after about 3 blocks in the hot sun + humidity, lord knows I need it.

And because no matter how stressful work can get, don’t forget…

A relaxing weekend with IZZE | dcgirlinpearls.com

If you’re traveling around the globe this summer or just staycationing, like me, in the park a block from your apartment.

Have a lovely weekend!

A relaxing weekend with IZZE | dcgirlinpearls.com

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IZZE Sparkling Juices

This post was sponsored by IZZE®.  All opinions and product sentiments are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep the DC Girl in Pearls party going!