Archives For April 2014

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April 25, 2014

COOK — something I found that looked yummy that I plan on re-creating.
MAKE — something I want to make.
WANT — something I don’t “need” but want.
NEED — something that I NEED.
WOOF — something for Marley or Ziggy.
SPACE — a place that inspires me

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COOK/¬†Summer is fast approaching which to me always symbolizes camping, bonfires and smores. While it’s not quite warm enough here yet, unless you like freezing your ass off… this might be a good alternative until it is… you know… to keep to peace… ūüėČ

MAKE/¬†I’ve messed around myself with cutting pegboard, and it’s definitely not for the easily wavered type, it’s actually quite difficult. But this looks a fun craft room project. Maybe one that spells out MAKE or CRAFT or CREATE? Totally worth a try. PRO TIP: Cut out the smaller inside holes first.

WANT/¬†I completely fell in love with this HelpInk print when I saw it on YHL’s post about their office. It’s meaningful and bright and perfect. Totally on my Christmas list… or you know… gift list in general.. hint hint… in like a large size.

NEED/¬†Well, I advent told my saga yet over the dryer and installation, but lets skip to the end part where the dryer is slightly deeper than my old one. Making it impossible to put the doors back on the closet. Thus being the case I’m on the hunt for fun easy curtains. I’m 90% sure I’m going to buy this print, hem it and hang on a rod. It’ll match well with my mirror I think…

WOOF/¬†M just received this gorgeous collar in the mail this week and I’m completely over the moon about it. Love that it’s girly without being straight up pink. Plus she looks fancy and ready for spring in it. Plus metal buckles without an additional charge? ‚̧ <3.

SPACE/¬†My parents just underwent a huge reno on their house which has me thinking all sorts of “things I would do” in my forever home. Actually was having that conversation last night also. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the tile in this kitchen, and how bright it is. Definitely a MUST HAVE for the future.

And I’m out for today!! Glad it’s Friday, I have some fun plans this weekend…

Also being that it’s Friday…. it’s time to…..

#backthatazzup with Whitney from I Wore Yoga Pants to Work
 
The purpose: To start our weekend with some fantastic jams.
The station that inspired it: “Back That Azz Up” on Pandora Radio.
The rules: Link your jams up and have a jam sesh with all of us!
Downloaded this last night and can’t quit it:
AM I WRONG – Nico & Vinz

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Life Update

April 24, 2014

Wahoo!! I’m feeling like I’m finally over the death plague that’s been keeping me down lately. Hacking up a lung and everything. But it’s gone, I’m muuuuuuuch better and back with some good things!

It’s been restaurant week lately in these parts, Detroit and in Ferndale so I’ve been hitting up those places to review the food a bit. Those reviews coming soon! I’ve also pretty much have had plans after work every day in April. Which lead to less blogging and a whole lot of this:

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Those dots are some plan other than work. Yeah. I love my friends and family, but I’m pretty sure I’m taking May off to do some quality time. I advent even finished removing the wallpaper in my bathroom yet! Horrible DIY Blogger. Also towards the end of march my dryer moved past¬†the pearly gates and I had to find a replacement, stat. Luckily I was able to, but the installation process was incredibly difficult seeing as the home builder decided to put the units in a closet.

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What else…. what else… Oh, I have a few Marley updates for you. Those will come in the next two weeks. Some new recipes… Super Yummy. Um a few small tutorials, a larger project that’s being finished up. A product review, and some site updating to do. All coming in the next few weeks. Sorry to have a non- bloggy blog post today, but wanted you guys to know I was still here, just things in the works and I’ll be back to more blogging shortly!

Leaving you with my go-to quote right now:

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So back in January…ish? I talked about my resolutions and goals. One of those was to get fit again. Where have I gone with that? Well, I was exercising a few days a week. And then I was playing co-ed soccer for a few games. AND THEN I SPRAINED MY ANKLE. And I’ve barely done anything since then, because it still hurts like a mother-f’er. So, now that it’s starting to heal up, I plan on getting back into a routine more. I was doing bikram yoga for a while. Guys that shit is no-joke. Super sweaty afterwards. I’ve been taking Marley out more to play, trying to go on more walks when the weather cooperates and trying to find simple workouts that I can do when I get home quickly before the rest of my life takes over. Stumbled upon this greatness today and have immediately fell in love with the humor, design and ideas: Capture Absolute GENIUS coming from Neila Rey who has a whole series of your favorite characters, books, movies and tv shows for you to workout as. Definitely go check her out here. I also love her 30 Day Challenge and plan to start TODAY. Once it’s through you can do it again and LEVEL UP to make it a bit harder.

Beach/ bikini body get ready… I’m coming for you.

PS: LOCAL PEEPS: DON’T FORGET TO ENTER TO WIN SOME FREE PIZZA (Nothing like pizza when you’re trying to get into shape right?)

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Great ready for another fun new series on CLA! This series is all about things happening around Detroit & the surrounding areas. Conveniently it’s going to be called “Around Town“. I’ve vow’d to myself to be more of a tourist of my hometown this summer and I’m hoping to bring all of you the down-low of what’s fun/ new and worth seeing in the area!

Starting off this new series is a fun trip towards the north-east side to Royal Oak. Myself and a fun group of bloggers hit up Blaze Pizza (Opened October 2013) to give it a try.

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Blaze pizza is the brain-child of Executive Chef Bradford (Brad) Kent, a man that grew up with a passion for food. Kent started cooking at the wee age of seven and quickly learned that food was more than just ingredients thrown together. We were told that his natural talent quickly evolved from dorm room creations at the University of Southern California to his first small plate catering company. Kent later went on to study at the culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, and then studies at Cal State Long Beach earning a food science degree. So basically this guy knows his shit stuff.

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Darla, the Marketing Director for Blaze in Royal Oak told us that the company is super proud of their penchant for not only healthy, quality, fresh ingredients but also for their dough. We were told that their dough ferments for over 24 hours before being put to use. Then it’s rolled out, topped and thrown in the oven for 180 seconds (yep, 180 seconds… crazy fast!) before being pulled out, sliced and delivered to you.

The pizza dough here is a thin crust, making it quick to cook. Kent’s whole idea behind blaze was not only giving his customers a quality delicious, CUSTOM pizza, but giving them a pizza that they could order and eat on their lunch hour. Speaking of custom pizzas, one of the biggest winning points about blaze for myself was the ability to customize your pizza in smorgasbord of different ways all for $6.95 a pie. Yep, that’s right. There are no additional fees for 20+ ingredients. It’s unlimited ingredients, your way, all for $6.95.

But enough about the pitch stuff. Lets talk about my experience.

Being the over anal person that I have then tendency to be, I showed up WAY early to the event and was the first person to arrive. This worked for me because it gave me the chance to really check out the place and chat with Darla before anyone else showed up!

One of the biggest things for me with restaurants is BRANDING. And I’m pleased to say Blaze totally passed my branding test. From the exterior to the bathrooms the restaurant kept to a modern industrial theme with high integration of typography. Below are samples of the to-go pizza boxes & menu.

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The interior of the restaurant was definitely industrial & modern with the wood and metal mix of the tables, chairs & benches. The lighting was fun industrial lights in mural colors on the outside and fun pops of red on the inside. Right now Michigan has two locations in Royal Oak and Novi (with one coming soon to Kalamazoo), and this location had a private room up front for events. The wall of windows even open up for the classic RO restaurant feel during the warmer days.

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Once we arrived we strapped on wristband (showing we were part of a special party) and hopped into line. Blaze has some signature pizzas on it’s menu with fun names such as the Meat Eater, Art Lover, Link In and Green Stripe. All looked very appetizing but I felt like being my own chef and decided to Build My Own.

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The best way I could describe the building process is to say it’s very Chipotle-like. You start at one end with a staff member and choose your dough. Blaze has gluten-free dough available and they are quick to find out if your choice of the dough is for allergy reasons or a preference. Which is great, because those with allergies know that even the slightest mistake could ruin your perfectly good afternoon.¬†Once you pick your dough and give your name you’re passed down to the next staff member to choose your sauce and cheese. (Another item to point out is that it’s great that once person doesn’t do all the pizzas, thus keeping any allergens separate for those allergic.)

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Just like with the sauce and cheese after choosing your options you’re passed onto the meat station and then onto the veggie station. I should also mention that at each station the staff member made sure to call you by your name. Which at first was weird, but is definitely a nice touch after the first time.

Blaze also has a nice selection of salads near the checkout and I grabbed a small caesar to taste test. Once you get to check out they ring you up and offer you a smores cookie for dessert. GET ONE. And have them warm it for you by the oven (Note: maybe get the cookie after you eat and have it warmed, because it tends to cool down while you’re eating.)

You wait all of maybe 3-5 minutes for your pizza to cook. Those ovens are gunning anywhere from 400-600 degrees on any given day, talk about HOT!

They call out your name when it’s pulled from the oven. And your handed your very own pizza. Pretty much maybe 10 minutes after you get in line. SUPER FAST.

I was so hungry at this point I almost forgot to take pictures. But don’t worry! I caught myself after I saw others making sure to get their shot!

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Delicious looking isn’t it? Well It tasted even better than it looked. I’m pretty much a huge fan of thin crust pizza, but this was definitely by far some of the better thin crust I’ve had in a long time. The outside crust was crunchy enough that it held up the weight of the ingredients, but not overly crunchy that you broke a tooth just trying to get a bite. The dough was sweet, and flavorful and divine!

Before I knew it more than half my pizza was gone! I swear someone was stealing my slices. I definitely couldn’t have eaten all that myself, right? I tried the salad and was please that it tasted fresh and the caesar was one of the dressings I liked. But the star of the show was definitely the pizza and the crust.

Suddenly I found myself with only two slices left and I made myself put down the rest so I’d have something for lunch later this week. Plus I still had my cookie to try.

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I thought the cookie was pretty good, but I wish I had eaten it earlier, because it and cooled down by this point and was a bit harder to bite into.

One of the bloggers attending had gluten allergies and made a custom gluten free pizza. Once we had all started eating the staff brought out more of their signature pizza pies for us to try. They also made sure to bring out a gluten-free version to compare. I was so impressed that the gluten-free version was so similar to the regular that I found it hard to distinguish the two. Can you?

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Because of her allergy this blogger couldn’t eat the smokes cookie that contained¬†graham cracker. She mentioned (along with others) that Blaze should server dessert pizzas as well and the staff graciously offered to make her a dessert pizza. In fact they made dessert pizzas for everyone. This is an item totally not on their menu, but they were so eager to please and make sure that we were satisfied that they went above and beyond. Behold, the very first Smores Dessert Pizza from Blaze Pizza in Royal Oak.

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I basically wanted my own. But, I shared. #stupidmorals. I doubt they’d make these for just anyone, but maybe if they get enough feedback they’ll add it to the menu??

Overall we had a really great time. A HUGE shoutout to Chef Kent, Darla, Jeff & Tim for making us feel oh so welcome and for the wonderful meal. I will most definitely be back for more.

And here’s the kicker… Not only will *I* be back for more… but a few of you will be headed to Blaze pizza for a free Pizza Pie of your own! Courtesy of Blaze Royal Oak, 3 winners are going to win a pair (that’s two ;)) of free pizza coupons to Blaze Pizza Royal Oak! And ONE lucky winner will win a pair of Free Pizza Coupons AND a Free Blaze hat! Just like the one Chef Bradford Kent is wearing below. Great date night out spot!

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To enter to win a pair of Blaze Pizza Coupons just click the link below (it’ll jump you over to Rafflecopter). Giveaway is open until Tuesday April 15th 11:59PM and the Winners will be announced Wednesday! You can enter daily! Good luck!!

—————–>> CLICK HERE TO ENTER THIS GIVEAWAY<<———–——

Until next time,

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** I was offered a free meal to test out Blaze Pizza in Royal Oak without the expectation of a post or social media integration. All opinions are my own. Giveaway made possible by Blaze Pizza in Royal Oak**