Jun 302017
 

Hey friends! On Monday I made my return back to work after taking 2.5 weeks off for the wedding and honeymoon, and it was rough. Luckily we got back from our vacation on Saturday afternoon so we had Sunday to recuperate, but with an 11-hour time difference between D.C. and Bangkok, I was still feeling pretty jet-lagged and exhausted all week.

Even though I had a lot of stuff I wanted to do in the evenings (laundry, putting away wedding presents, catching up on TV, reading my book, etc.) I could barely keep my eyes open once dinner was done. There were a lot of early nights this week, I’ll tell you that.

One thing that definitely helped my mood was the weather! It’s officially summer here, and we enjoyed some beautiful sunny days and warm evenings this week. This, of course, meant Fabio and I did lots of grilling! (Err – Fabio grilled and I watched. 🙂 Lol.)

One night we had grilled corn, which I topped with a basil butter. Yum! With this meal, we also had pan-seared salmon (simply seasoned with salt and pepper) and side salads (mixed greens with feta, olive oil, balsamic, salt, and pepper). Delicious!

Another night we grilled these chicken parm burgers which are quickly becoming a favorite in our house. We also grilled some asparagus for the side, and they came out perfectly! Usually our asparagus come out slightly too salty, too bland, too overdone, or too underdone, but this night they were excellent.

And we even kept Jack from eating the cheese for the chicken burgers, so I’d say that’s a win. 🙂

Spending time with my two favorite boys on our little front stoop while Fabio grills and I sip a glass of cold white wine has definitely made this whole re-entry process a bit easier. 🙂

And now, let’s chat about this week’s workouts!

Saturday, June 24: Considering it took 29 hours from the time our first flight took off in Koh Samui to the time our last flight landed in Dulles, there were definitely no workouts happening on Saturday. In fact, I feel like I spent the whole day sitting on my butt stuck on a plane (the 14-hour flight from Qatar was especially terrible). Oof.

Sunday, June 25: Rest day! On Sunday we went over to my mom and stepdad’s house to pick up Jack and have a celebration lunch to tell everyone about our trip! A few of our family friends came over for the lunch and a bunch of our family joined as well, including my dad, stepmom, sister, step-sister, and her boyfriend. It was such a fun day! I missed my family. (And Jack, obviously.)

Monday, June 26: On Monday I ran three miles with Jack! He had gained a little weight during his two-week stay with “grandma,” so I figured the run would do us both some good. Plus it was a gorgeous morning – not too hot or humid – so we really enjoyed the miles.

Tuesday, June 27: On Tuesday I was back to my usual bootcamp workouts with Anne! We hit up one of our favorites, Definitions, via ClassPass (<–affiliate link for $40 off) and it was great as usual! Our workout had us using all of the different equipment that Definitions has in their studio including the rowers, weights, kettlebells, TRX bands, and more. It felt so good to be back!

Wednesday, June 28: I had planned on going for another run with Jack on Wednesday, but writing my first honeymoon recap blog post took longer than I expected, so I set my alarm for a little earlier in the morning to finish it up before work. Luckily I had an hour-and-a-half webinar to listen to during work, so I headed over to one of the treadmill desks we have in the office to walk while I listened. I wound up covering three miles on the treadmill, which was such a nice bonus! I need to use these desks more often.

Thursday, June 29: On Thursday, I headed over to FlyWheel City Center for a spin class! I hadn’t been to FlyWheel in ages (maybe two months?!) so it felt really good to get my sweat on there.

It also happened to be the City Center location’s first birthday (I can’t believe it’s been open for a year already!) so they were having a birthday celebration with free food and iced coffee. The line for the coffee was insane so I skipped it, but I snagged some breakfast goodies from honeygrow before I headed out the door.

When I got home I munched on the delicious granola, vegan chocolate, and fruit. Jack wanted some, obviously.

Yum!

Friday, June 30: Tomorrow (it’s Thursday night as I’m typing this up) I’m signed up for a bootcamp class at one of my other favorite spots, Urban Athletic Club, with Anne and Kathleen. I can’t wait for the whole gang to be reunited!

**Edited to add: I just had to pop in quickly to say that this morning’s (it’s Friday now) workout at UAC was extra great! Our instructor Jana included a lot of unique exercises, including a fun pyramid workout for our second half and some wall walks! What a great workout!**

And that’s all I have for you guys today! I’ll be out for the early part of next week since we’ll be in Otis, Massachusetts celebrating the July 4 holiday, but I’ll catch up with you guys after that! 🙂

Question(s) of the day: If you’re from the U.S., how do you celebrate July 4? Do you get affected by jet lag?

 Posted by on June 30, 2017
Jun 282017
 

Hello there! Today I’m coming at you with the first recap of our amazing two-week honeymoon vacation in Thailand! Our first stop was Bangkok, where we only stayed for one day. We were told by friends who had visited Bangkok previously that we probably didn’t need to allocate more than a day or two to seeing Bangkok’s sights before moving on to the rest of the country, so we took that advice to heart!

Our trip began with a 9:50 p.m. flight out of Dulles the day after our wedding. That day was such a whirlwind – we woke up as husband and wife, enjoyed breakfast with our wedding guests, packed up everything at the hotel, came home to do some laundry and swap suitcases, and then headed to the airport. Phew!

When we arrived at Dulles airport, we realized we were able to access the airport lounges through a travel credit card that Fabio has (I think it’s Chase Sapphire Preferred, but I’m only like 80% sure about that). Anyway, we got into the lounge and took advantage of free champagne! Woohoo! Kicking off our honeymoon in style. 🙂

Cheers!

We then embarked on a 12.5-hour flight to Qatar via Qatar Airways. In case you’re wondering where Qatar is, it’s here:

The country is actually having some diplomatic issues right now so we weren’t sure if our flight would be affected, but luckily it wasn’t. By the way, Qatar Airways is very nice (it is usually ranked either the best or second-best airline) and we had a very comfortable flight. We were pretty tired from the wedding, so we slept the whole way!

As our flight was landing, the flight attendants came around serving breakfast to everyone (although it was early afternoon in Qatar and they called it lunch – it felt like breakfast to us). Fabio and I had read that the Doha airport in Qatar had tons of nice restaurants, so we decided to skip the airplane meal thinking that we’d get something to eat at the airport. Then of

Then of course we landed and the flight attendant made an announcement reminding us that since it was Ramadan, eating in public in Qatar is prohibited until 6:30 p.m. Um, what?? Noooo!!! We definitely were not planning for this, and I was wondering if I was going to have to smuggle one of the protein bars I had in my carry-on into a bathroom stall or something.

Once we got off the plane we asked more about Ramadan customs at the airport information desk, and we were told that while the restaurants remain open, it would be pretty disrespectful to eat at them, but ultimately the choice was up to us. I asked if drinking water at the gate was ok, and again was told that it was up to us. Well ok then.

Luckily we found another one of those airport lounges that we were allowed to access through Fabio’s credit card perks, and I was SO happy to see that everyone inside (who was also a tourist) was eating and drinking. THANK GOODNESS! I don’t know what we would have done otherwise, since we still had another 7-hour flight ahead of us to Bangkok. Phew.

There were some other interesting sights at the Doha airport, including this weird teddy bear art installation and some cool middle-Eastern/deserty things. 🙂

Then after a pretty uneventful flight, we arrived in Bangkok! We took the Bangkok airport skytrain (also called the Link) out to the very last stop on the red/blue line, Phaya Thai, and from there got in a taxi headed to our hotel near Khao San Road. Todo, we are not in Kansas anymore!

Quick note for anyone looking to book a stay in Bangkok: We chose to stay close to Khao San Road, which is a really fun/popular area with lots of night markets, clubs, bars, restaurants, etc., but we didn’t stay on Khao San Road because we’d read it can be kind of loud and noisy. Our hotel, Casa Nithra, was about a 10-minute walk to the really popular area, which wound up being perfect for us!

When we checked in to Casa Nithra, we were greeted with the most amazing chilled Thai tea drinks (something we found all throughout our Thailand travels!) and were thrilled to find out our room was ready early. Thank goodness, as we really needed to shower after all that time spent on planes! After freshening up, we headed up to the hotel roof to check out the view of Bangkok.

The area where we stayed is also much more “old city” compared to the neighborhoods with lots of modern high-rises, which I was ok with. I like seeing the old culture much more!

Then we headed out to begin our adventures! (BTW – Thailand is 11 hours ahead of D.C., so it was around 8:00 a.m. Tuesday morning by this point. Mind-boggling for sure!)

Our planned agenda for the day was to walk to the Grand Palace to visit the Emerald Buddha and see our first temple, Wat Pho, to check out the reclining Buddha, but a super sweet pedestrian stopped us in the middle of the sidewalk to ask us where we were going, and told us that there was a special ceremony for the King happening at the Grand Palace that day and that if we wanted to go, we’d need to be dressed in black with long sleeves and pants, and would have to wait about four hours to get in. Ok then, back to the drawing board. She helpfully told us about a few other tourist stops we could see nearby, and even told us how much we should pay for a tuk-tuk (basically little open-air, three-wheeled taxis) to take us to all the places.

Fabio and I were both waiting for her to sell us a tour or something, but with a friendly wave, she went on her way. This was our very first insight into the Thai culture and gave us a preview for the kind of generosity and hospitality we’d discover throughout the rest of our two-week Thailand trip. The people here are just genuinely kind (I think the Buddhist religion is a big reason for this) and so helpful!

Here we are in our first tuk-tuk!

Our first stop was Wat Intharawihan, a temple with a huge standing Buddha. The temple itself was really lovely, with lots of gold, ornate details (which we came to find is typical for almost all temples, or wats, in Thailand).

Then we saw the big standing Buddha! It was…big. Lol.

Then we hopped back in our tuk-tuk (the driver waited for us outside of each stop) and headed off to the Golden Mount, or Wat Saket. You had to climb 344 steps to get to the top of the Golden Mount, but there were lots of interesting little sculptures along the way to keep you entertained.

And there was even some “wildlife.” Yuck.

Halfway to the top, there was a little coffee shop (we came to find out coffee shops are EVERYWHERE in Thailand), so we stopped for iced cappuccinos. Yes please! It was hot in Bangkok!

We made it to the top!

And we looked like total tourists once we got there. 🙂

The wat was really interesting because there were lots of people praying and making offerings to Buddha, so Fabio and I just kind of quietly walked around and tried to be respectful. You are also supposed to cover your shoulders and thighs in wats out of respect, but since our plans had changed in the morning I didn’t bring anything with me for this, and it didn’t seem to be a big deal in these particular wats (there were others, especially in Chiang Mai, where I definitely had to wear extra clothing to cover myself).

After the Golden Mount, our tuk-tuk driver took us to a suit-maker! The Thais make excellent custom suits, so it’s a popular stop for tourists. Fabio wound up getting a couple suits and shirts, and spent tons of time haggling down the price. I always think this is so awkward, but it’s worth it if you don’t want to get ripped off.

The suits actually should be arriving at our house this week – they are quick!

After this stop we decided we were hungry, so we asked our driver to take us somewhere for lunch. I have no idea where he took us, but it was a cute little spot right on the river and we had fun watching some big fish and lizards jumping around in the water. Note to all: Do not swim in that river. Ever.

For our meal, we got some Tom Yum soup (with chicken since Fabio is allergic to shrimp, which is more traditional in this soup) and Pad Thai. Everything was phenomenal!! Sigh. I miss Thai food already. The flavors are so unique!

And even though we were full, we had to get mango sticky rice for dessert. It’s our absolute favorite, and this one did not disappoint! YUM!

After lunch, it was time for our final stop of the day: a boat tour along the canals! Our tuk-tuk driver dropped us off at the docks, and we couldn’t believe how cheap our day with him had been. For the whole day’s worth of stops, he charged us just 70 baht per person. This comes out to $4 total!! All of the other tuk-tuk rides we took during our trip were slightly more expensive than this, so it goes to show how much they increase their prices for tourists versus when we had the helpful Thai lady tell us how much to pay. Our tuk-tuk driver had also been really friendly, so we gave him a nice tip before saying goodbye.

Then it was onto the boat!

This was such a cool way to explore Bangkok, especially since so much of it relies on the canals and waterways. We got to see lots of cool houses, shops, and wats!

At one point we slowed down so a woman on a small wooden boat could offer us souvenirs and snacks. Ice cold beers? Don’t mind if we do!

The local Thai beer brands – Chang and Singha – are both delicious too!

At one point we stopped along a little set of concrete steps that led down to the water (these are everywhere, and seem to be like docks for the locals to access the river) and saw a little boy throwing bread into the water. Remember how I said don’t swim in this water? Yeah. There’s about a million big fish in there, and even some alligator-sized lizards. Yeesh! Fabio and I were both wondering how safe we were in our wooden boat. LOL!

Soon enough, our tour concluded at the Grand Palace!

Once again we thought about visiting the palace, but were told by a few other helpful people that we’d have to be wearing all black and would have to wait a long time because of the King’s special ceremony. Darn. Next time, Bangkok!

After this, we strolled around for a while, looked into some shops, got quick 30-minute foot massages (this is very common in Thailand and massage places are everywhere), and then headed back to the hotel for a much-needed nap. The jet-lag was catching up to us!

When we were ready to resurface, we got changed and ready for dinner at the famous Sky Bar! We had heard that Sky Bar was ridiculously overpriced (it was) but that the views were worth it (they were). Plus we received money from our wedding to use for the honeymoon, and we figured our friends and family would want us to have a nice, romantic dinner out!

We hopped in another tuk-tuk (about 100 baht this time) and made our way across town!

When we arrived around 9:00 p.m., we saw that it (thankfully) wasn’t too crowded and we were able to really enjoy the view!

Hello, Bangkok! You are beautiful!

A table was ready for us in no time, and we enjoyed some delicious cocktails while we waited for our food. We weren’t too hungry after the big lunch, and since the menu was pretty pricy we decided to share a steak dish. It was pretty tasty, but nothing crazy, especially considering the price. Clearly, you are paying for the atmosphere here.

Despite the relatively expensive bill, we had an amazing time! I’m so glad we decided to trust our gut and go to this beautiful spot.

Me and my husband!! <3

After Sky Bar, we took a tuk-tuk down to Khao San Road and walked around for a while ogling at the crazy bar scene. Most of the parties were in full swing when we arrived, so we had fun walking around and watching lots of rowdy and drunk tourists. We weren’t really in the mood to try to catch up with them, so we decided people-watching was good enough for us. We also passed a number of vendors selling all kinds of delicious-smelling street food, and even some trays of bugs for tourists to try! Eek! No thank you.

When we’d had enough, we walked back to our hotel and fell asleep instantly. What a fun day in Bangkok!

The next morning, we headed off to Chiang Mai! More adventures to come!

Question(s) of the day: Would you try eating a bug? Would you have gone to the expensive restaurant or skipped it?

 Posted by on June 28, 2017
Jun 262017
 

Hi friends! Man, what a whirlwind couple of weeks it’s been!

On June 10, 2017, I married my best friend. It was the most perfect day, and the whole thing was like a fairy tale. Honestly, it was just the best day of my life. It was like a dream!

Then I proceeded to spend the next two weeks traipsing around Thailand, walking with elephants, enjoying beautiful sunset dinners, swimming down waterfalls, hiking up monk’s trails to golden temples, and more.

This was a time of my life I will never forget! And even though it’s back to reality now (and I’m totally dreading catching up on work emails…gulp), it is nice to be home and get back into a routine. Plus we missed Jack a ton! 🙂

And at least I’ll get to relive all these fun times through my blog recaps! I’m planning to hold off on recapping the wedding until I get all the photos back from our photographer, so today I’ll just leave you with these sneak peek photos we received while we were on our honeymoon.

By the way, I have to give a quick shoutout to our amazing wedding photographer, Lauren Nievod! Not only are her pictures stunning (!!), but she was an absolute pleasure to work with! We loved her from our very first Skype interview and had high expectations, but once we met her in person we were blown away by her mix of professionalism, artistic eye, and fun personality! She even included a couple of photos of my dad and me in our sneak peek since she sent them to me right before Father’s Day. So thoughtful! I can’t recommend her services enough if you’re looking for a wedding photographer in the MD/DC/VA area!

Anway, here are the sneak peek photos! 🙂

Eeeeek! I can’t wait to see the rest of them!! Thank you again, Lauren!!

And since it’s probably going to be a while before I get the rest of the pictures back, I figured I would tackle this whole blog recap situation by starting with our honeymoon in Thailand! I have about a million pictures so I’m planning to break everything up into multiple posts, and I’m planning to get started with those later this week! Then hopefully by the time I’m done with Thailand, I’ll have all the wedding photos back.

So I hope you all are ready for lots and lots of recaps! 🙂

Question of the day: What do you enjoy reading about vacation recaps and what would you prefer I skip over?

 Posted by on June 26, 2017
Jun 072017
 

Hi friends! Sorry for not getting to the weekend recap until now – things have been understandably pretty busy for me this week! At any rate, it was a beautiful couple of days filled with Fabio’s sister, Diane’s, baby shower, and lots of wedding-related crafting with family by the pool at my mom’s house.

The glowing mom to-be!

I haven’t had much time to blog because Fabio’s two cousins and his mom have been staying with us (in our small, two-bedroom house…thank goodness we have two bathrooms!) since Sunday night. It’s been really nice having them, but it does make it a bit difficult to get other stuff done like blogging and last-minute wedding planning!

Luckily we are mostly finished with our wedding stuff, which means I’m able to relax (sorta….) and just enjoy this time!

Today is my last day in the office, and then tomorrow we head out for the venue. Eek! I can’t wait! I probably won’t be able to check back in again until after we get back from our honeymoon on June 26. I’ll see you guys on the other side!

🙂

Question of the day: What do you love most about weddings?

 Posted by on June 7, 2017
Jun 022017
 

Hi friends! Things are super busy around here, so I’m going to keep today’s blog post pretty short. I want to chat about a few of my last minute wedding thoughts (it’s next weekend! Eek!) but first let’s go over this week’s workouts.

Saturday, May 27 – Rest day! I spent this day day-drinking with my best friends at the beach!

Sunday, May 28 – On Sunday morning, I tackled a 3.7 mile run along the boardwalk, and then walked another two-ish miles with my friends to get breakfast. It was a beautiful day for a beach-side run!

Monday, May 29 – Monday was a rest day! This entire day was spent wedding planning. Oof!

Tuesday, May 30 – On Tuesday morning, I headed to Definitions via ClassPass (<–affiliate link for $30 off) for a bootcamp class with Anne and Fabio!

We had a great class with lots of different exercises like rowing, jump squats, planks, push-ups, shuffle runs, and more. It was a good one, and I had fun chatting with Anne and Fabio about wedding stuff. 🙂

Wednesday, May 31 – On Wednesday I met up with Anne again and our buddy Kathleen for another bootcamp class, only this time at Urban Athletic Club! Wednesday’s workout included all of my least favorite (read: hardest) exercises including pull-up holds, mountain climbers with our feet in the TRX straps, mountain climbers on the sliders, and a three-minute jump rope finisher. Phew! I was exhausted after this workout, but it left me feeling nice and accomplished!

Thursday, June 1 – I was feeling pretty stressed out on Wednesday, so Fabio suggested we take a yoga class on Thursday morning to zone out a bit. We wound up signing up for CorePower Yoga’s How Power Fusion class (again, via ClassPass), which is similar to their Yoga 2 class but with slightly more strength work. It was super hot and I sweat like crazy, but I really felt like I was able to relax and be present in the moment during this fun time of prepping for the wedding. Toward the end of class when we were in half pigeon, the instructor came over and gave me a little massage which felt absolutely amazing. It really, really helped me relax, and weirdly even made me feel emotional. I remember thinking, how did she know I needed this little massage? Ha! I think I’m losing it. 🙂

Friday, June 2 – Tomorrow (it’s Thursday night as I’m writing this) I’m planning to run three miles with Jack. This will allow me to sleep in a little later, which I’m really looking forward to! Plus the weather is supposed to be nice. 🙂

Overall it was a great week of workouts!

As for wedding planning, it’s going well! All of the big stuff is done, and this weekend we’re going to have a crafting day at my mom’s house to finish up some of the other items like assembling the programs, folding the escort cards, painting some signs, etc. There’s still a lot of last-minute details to wrap up, but overall I’m feeling pretty good about my to-do list!

Emotionally, I’m not sure it’s hit me yet. This big event that we’ve been planning since we got engaged on Christmas 2015 is finally here!

What’s more than that though, is that this guy who I met when we were sophomores in college back in 2008 is going to become my husband. We’re going to make a promise to each other to be bonded for life, and I don’t think all of the emotions that come along with that kind of commitment have really set in yet. It will be interesting to see how I’m feeling as the day continues to come closer!

Starting this weekend we’ll have family coming into town, and then next week I have a lot of last-minute wedding stuff to finish up (for example, after work next week I have some nail appointments, hair appointments, stuff like that) and then on Thursday morning we head out for the venue! And then on Sunday we head out for a two-week honeymoon! 🙂 I will try to get one more post up before then, but if I don’t, you’ll know why. 🙂 I can’t believe this time has come!

Question of the day: Do you have any advice for me?

 Posted by on June 2, 2017