Oct 312017
 

Hi there, and happy Halloween! How was your weekend? Mine had nothing to do with the holiday or costumes, and instead was filled with a quick trip to Philadelphia to spend time with my newly engaged friends, Kristen and Mark!

On Friday afternoon, Fabio and I dropped Jack off at my mom’s house and then made the drive up to Philly. It’s a lot closer than our normal road trips to NYC or Otis, so we arrived pretty quickly! Then again, we didn’t leave home until around 6:15 so it was still pretty late when we got there, so after saying hi to Kristen and Mark (whose house we stayed at) and Megan and JR (who had arrived from Baltimore earlier in the evening) we immediately dug into some pizza and wine. We were starving! We wound up staying up until around 1 a.m. catching up, which was so much fun!

Saturday

We all slept in until 10 on Saturday, which was so, so nice. Once we were all up and moving, we got working on breakfast: Fabio made eggs for everyone, I put some bacon in the oven, and Kristen toasted up some English muffins, so it was a nice group effort!

Saturday was the most beautiful fall day weather-wise, sunny and low 70s, so we made sure to spend a lot of time outside!

Our first stop of the day was Yards Brewing Company, a cute brewery right down the street from Kristen and Mark’s house.

Upon arriving, we each got a beer (I got the IPA) and then took a seat outside in the sunshine. Yay!! My happy place!!

The brewing company offers free tours every half hour – and they give you free beer during the tour – so naturally we signed ourselves up for one! Then at 1:30 p.m., we met up with our tour guide for the day, who acted more like a stand-up comedian than a brewery tour guide. He was cracking jokes every minute, which made our tour so much more fun!


I highly recommend the tour if you’re ever at Yards!

After our tour wrapped up, we grabbed some lunch from a food truck that was parked outside, and then retreated back to our table in sun.

Sitting around drinking beers with some of my favorite girlfriends – and their significant others! – was so, so nice and just felt good for the soul. I <3 them.

A little later in the afternoon, we got a text from some of our college guy friends that they were hanging out at Independence Beer Garden, which was located right across from the Liberty Bell. It was another cool spot and had a really unique layout in that it was just a beer garden that wrapped around an office building.

Seeing our guy friends was nice, but eventually we had to get back to the house to get cleaned up for dinner at Bocconcini!

Kristen had heard about Bocconcini from one of our guy friends, and it turned out to be the cutest Italian place with delicious food. It was also BYO, as many places in Philly are, so we were able to save money by bringing our own wine instead of paying for it there.

Of course one of the first things we did was cheers to Kristen and Mark on their recent engagement! I can’t wait for September 2018 when we’ll get to celebrate!

Love these ladies. 🙂

Then it was time to eat! We all shared some appetizers (meatballs and arancini balls) and then Kristen and I went “halfsies” on our entrees, which were entirely too big for us to finish. Leftovers for the win!

After dinner we went over to meet up with our college guy friends again – it was so nice seeing them! – and then we headed out for a fun night of dancing. (Thank you to Fabio for always taking photos of us. 🙂 Ha!)

Overall it was such a perfect day, and I couldn’t have asked for anything better.

Sunday

Sadly we had to head home on Sunday, and it was pouring rain which meant tough driving conditions for Fabio. We also stopped by my mom’s house on the way to scoop up Jack, and once we finally arrived home we didn’t move much from the couch. 🙂

Jack was pooped from being at my mom’s house too, and he snuggled up with us on the couch all evening. Oh, and there was some Taco Bell action too for dinner – I guess that’s what drinking all day the day before will do to you. 😉

The end.

Question of the day: What’s your go-to hangover food?

 

 Posted by on October 31, 2017
Oct 272017
 

Hi friends! How was your week?

Mine was pretty crazy once again, but hopefully the end is in sight. I’m tired of leaving the office at 7 or 8 p.m. only to pull out my laptop and do more work after getting home. It’s fun and rewarding work (thank goodness!) but this schedule is exhausting!

Luckily I was able to step away for a little while this week to get more of a “regular” blog post written for you guys, which is a summary of some of my food and fitness updates from the last few weeks. I think I mentioned this a little while back, but when I’m stressed, I crave all the comfort foods. Of course life is all about balance, but I’ve definitely been doing my fair share of stress eating lately and I know I need to reign it in. Here’s a peek at how I’ve been trying to balance everything.

Fitness

Despite my busy schedule, I’m still prioritizing getting in a workout as much as I can during the week. That’s one of the benefits to being a morning workout person – no matter how late in the evenings I have to work, I’m still able to get a workout in since I get it over with as soon as I wake up!

ClassPass is still going strong (<–referral link for $40 off!) and I’m taking between two and three classes a week through there, usually with my buddies Anne and Kathleen. In the last few weeks, we’ve been making regular visits to Definitions, Urban Athletic Club (though we’re not a fan of this new format they’re trying out), Next Phase Studio, and BodyMass Gym.

While I like all of these classes a lot, BodyMass is probably my favorite now. We especially like the instructor Virginia, who’s super energetic and encouraging. It doesn’t hurt that there’s a cute pup named Flex that we get to play with when class is over. Love that place!

Anne is super pregnant right now, but trucking along like a champ! I’m sure going to miss her when she’s out after the baby is born. 🙁

Aside from my classes with the girls, I’m taking a lot of Orange Theory Fitness classes with my college friend Courtney who recently moved back to Arlington. I bought a pack of 14 classes a while back, and I’m going about once a week right now. The classes are challenging but fun, and I always feel like I got a really great workout afterwords. I’ve been going to the Clarendon location even though Ballston is in walking distance because a) it’s closer for Courtney and b) I really like the instructors, especially Alex who invited me to OTF in the first place back in February. She’s great!

Question for any of you OTF regulars: Do you try to get your heart rate in a pyramid, with most of your time spent in green, then orange, then red? One of the instructors told us about this goal recently, but Courtney and I couldn’t quite figure out why you’d want to spend most of your time in the green zone vs. really pushing yourself during the workout. We’re told it’s so you can burn fat longer, but I’d love to hear your guys’ thoughts!

Lastly, I’ve been dropping into the occasional spin class and yoga class and still running a bit with Jack, but bootcamp dates with friends are definitely taking up most of my workout schedule right now. 🙂

Food

Since I’ve been staying at work so late, I’ve been trying to cook big meals over the weekend that can last as leftovers throughout the week. As I mentioned, we had meatloaf on Sunday (it came out great!) and then I repurposed it for a few different meals throughout the week.

So for example, on Sunday we had it with mashed potatoes and broccoli (I told you, I want all the comfort foods right now!), and then on Tuesday we had it in a chopped salad with roasted acorn squash and spiced nuts. It was really good both ways! (And a little healthier on Tuesday, obviously).

The roasted acorn squash and spiced nuts were leftovers from another dish I made late last week: quinoa-and-kale-stuffed acorn squash with pecans that I found in the latest issue of Giant’s magazine, Savory. This was another really tasty meal!

As you can see, I’m definitely craving all the comfort foods, but I’m still not eating too unhealthfully, and I’m still having my standard breakfasts of cottage cheese+fresh berries and salads with either hard-boiled eggs or chicken for lunch, plus yogurts for an afternoon snack.

There was one night last week where I caved and got Jimmy Johns for dinner – including one of their giant cookies – and there have been some work treats like cookies and donuts floating around the office that made their way into my belly. But those days are to be expected, and that’s what all the planning is for the rest of the time, right? 😉

Questions of the day: What do you make for dinner when you know you won’t have time to cook? OTF peeps, what do you think of this pyramid goal thing?

 Posted by on October 27, 2017
Oct 252017
 

Hi friends! I’m just popping in quickly to say happy birthday to two of my favorite people on the planet…and share a few wedding photos along the way! 😉

First, happy birthday to my favorite West Coaster, Catrina!

Catrina, you are a beautiful person inside and out, and I’m so lucky to have you as one of my best friends. I sure do miss you now that I don’t get to see your face every day (how we took that for granted in college!) and I even miss our miserable, sweaty workout sessions in your room. All that being said, I love knowing that you’re so happy out there in San Diego. I love you!

And now it’s time to wish someone else a very happy birthday today….my husband!!

Fabio – my soulmate, my rock, my best friend, my everything – thank you for being you. Thank you for never getting frustrated with me, even when I’m being crazy and naggy. 🙂 Even if I’m being irrational or cranky for no reason, you keep a smile on your face and give me a big hug and kiss. I love that we laugh over the same silly things. I love that at the end of a long day, you’ll be there to support me 100%. I love you so much.

Happy birthday, honey!

Here’s to many more together!

The end. <3

All photos courtesy of Lauren Nievod Photography

 Posted by on October 25, 2017
Oct 232017
 

Hi friends! How was your weekend?

Ours was a pretty good one – the weather was unbelievably beautiful (but, um, made me slightly concerned about global warming?) and luckily we got to spend a lot of time outside on Saturday. Here’s a recap!

Friday

Friday night was dedicated to watching the Yankee’s playoff game. Fabio picked up some pizza from our favorite take-out spot, Wise Guys, and then we enjoyed it while watching the game. When we were done eating, I painted my nails and sipped on some wine.

Jack watched the game with us too. 🙂

It was a nice night, and the Yankees won!

Saturday

On Saturday morning, we headed into D.C. to celebrate two of our friends tying the knot! They held an intimate celebration at The Bird, which was a cute spot in Logan Circle I hadn’t been to before.

My forever wedding date!

P.S. – I wore this dress from Lulus and I thought it worked well for a fall wedding. 🙂

We were joined by a bunch of our close friends from college, which was so nice. It was great catching up with everyone!

The space was half indoors and half outdoors, which I loved. We wound up eating inside, and then hung out outside for a while mingling!

The food was also delicious – I got the chicken and waffles. Yummmm!!

I also loved the details they included – like little white pumpkins covered in succulents and take-home mugs with their last name printed on them.

And we had gelato and cupcakes for dessert!

I was stuffed so I wasn’t able to finish everything, but it tasted SO good! I definitely recommend The Bird if you’re in the area.

After the official celebration was over, we all headed over to Wet Dog Tavern to keep the party going. This was another fun outdoor bar that I hadn’t been to before, but would absolutely recommend. It had such a fun atmosphere! We spent the rest of the afternoon drinking outside with our friends, and it was such a perfect way to spend the day.

Our buddy Hershman!

Eventually, we headed back home to watch the last Yankee playoff game. They sadly did not win, and Fabio was SO disappointed. Poor guy. Maybe next year!

Sunday

Sunday began with meal planning, and then Fabio and I headed off to the grocery store.

Unfortunately, I spent most of the rest of the day working, but I took a break at 4:30 to start making dinner (we’re having meatloaf tonight! I don’t know if we like meatloaf, but I guess we’ll find out!). And now I’m relaxing while it finishes in the oven.

Work is probably going to be crazy again this week, but I’ll try to pop in again if I can. Hope you have a great Monday!

Question of the day: Meatloaf lover or hater?

Fabio claims he’s a hater, but I’m trying to win him over. I’m the least picky eater on the planet.

 Posted by on October 23, 2017
Oct 202017
 

Hi friends! I’m still alive – just insanely busy at work. It’s been really hard for me to arrive home at like 8 p.m. and then make dinner and sit down to blog, but hopefully things should be calming down soon. November is right around the corner, which means our American Diabetes Month campaign will have to be finished by then – right? (I’m joking – of course it will be – hopefully.)

Anyway, I just wanted to pop in today to tell you about a traumatizing morning that I had earlier this week. It’s a pretty gross – but funny – story, so I thought you’d enjoy! Warning: If you don’t like bugs, this one’s not for you (Megan!)!

It all started on Wednesday morning after I took a class at FlyWheel and then headed into work to shower in the little shower room they have there. It’s nothing fancy – just a small enclosed room with a shower and small changing space with a bench for your stuff – but it works and there’s never a line, which made it more appealing than the crowded showers at FlyWheel.

The water takes a bit of time to warm up in that shower, so when I got in there I locked the door behind me, set out my stuff, turned my music on, and then went to turn the water on like usual (luckily I hadn’t undressed yet, which you’ll see is important in a minute).

When I pulled back the clear shower curtain, something brown slid down in front of me.

I immediately leaped back, but wasn’t sure quite what I had seen. Then I moved the shower curtain again and a huge, brown cockroach scuttled out from under it and started running around the small enclosed shower room.

At this point I jumped up onto the bench as the cockroach continued to run all around this small enclosed room. At one point it ran over to where my heels were laid out, and proceeded to hide under them. Ew, ew, ew!!

I remember thinking I might be stuck on this bench for a while – how would I ever get down and then proceed to shower in this room?!

Then I heard someone else come into the main part of the bathroom, which was unusual since it was only 8 a.m. and most people weren’t in the office yet. I opened the door to my shower room and jumped from the bench down into the main part of the bathroom, and asked if someone was there.

When I rounded the corner, I saw it was one of our VPs – great – but at this point I had already started my request so I had to finish it. I asked if there was any way she could help me kill this cockroach, mostly because I needed some moral support.

She agreed (what a saint!) and grabbed some napkins to help take care of it. Then she turned to me and was like, “You know some of them fly, right?” Oh man. I hadn’t thought of that.

Together we entered the shower room and proceeded to chase this big bug around, both of us screaming and squealing intermittently. At one point she stepped on it and it crunched, but when she lifted her shoe it continued running around. Ugh!

Eventually I was able to corner it and step on it, and it made a huge crunch and all this juice gushed out. Yep, it was dead. Teamwork!

At this point I was super grossed out, but relieved to have solved the problem. I used some napkins to pick up the bug, and then walked to the trash can. Unfortunately, the door to the shower room locked behind me!! I guess somehow it was still locked from earlier?!

The VP said she’d send an email to our building management folks to let them know, and then she went back to her desk (I later bought her a Starbucks gift card to thank her for her help).

I stood there waiting for about 15 minutes – in my sweaty gym clothes, barefoot – until someone finally arrived to help. When our building guy got there he discovered his master key didn’t work for that lock (!!!) so he had to go get the main building engineer.

By this time lots of other people started arriving at the office, and they were looking at me strangely since I was barefoot and in sweaty gym clothes.

Eventually the engineer guy was able to let me back into the shower room using a big wire rig thing that he said “doesn’t usually work.” Ha!

Despite having arrived at work extra early to get started on my day, I didn’t wind up getting to my desk until around 9:15. Womp womp.

Anyway, it was a pretty traumatic experience, but it’s kind of funny now. 🙂

Happy Friday!

Question of the day: Share a bug story, or a story of something embarrassing happening to you.

 Posted by on October 20, 2017
Oct 162017
 

This weekend was exactly what I needed after a super stressful week at work. My coworker Carly and I were able to finish up a big deliverable on Friday afternoon, which meant I didn’t have to do any work over the weekend. Hooray! I left the office in the best mood ever and couldn’t wait to spend a weekend unwinding. 🙂

Friday

I think most of you know by now that Fabio is a huge Yankees fan, so our Friday night plans revolved around watching the playoff game. We debated going to Ugly Mug in D.C., which apparently is a big Yankees bar, but in the end we decided to stay close to home and head to the Buffalo Wild Wings that’s right up the street from us.

I celebrated the end of my long week with a gigantic beer! Dogfish head 90 minute IPA for the win. 🙂

We wound up sharing a mix of BBQ and Buffalo boneless wings (so good!) and we had a great time watching the game together, even though the Yankees lost.

Shortly after we returned home, Fabio’s dad arrived from New York! It was great to see him, and we spent a few minutes chatting before I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer and headed up to bed.

Saturday

In the morning, we drove over to Fabio’s sister and brother-in-law’s house to see our new nephew, Michael!

We hadn’t seen him since he was just a few days old, so we were definitely overdue for another visit.

He’s such a cutie, and I felt like I could just sit and stare at him for hours. Babies are the best!

I also couldn’t believe what a good baby he was – he had lots of smiles for us and made lots of adorable baby cooing noises.

Soon enough we were all hungry for lunch, so we went to town on some Bolivian food we had brought with us. The pastries below are called Saltenas, and they’re filled with chicken and veggies – sort of like a chicken pot pie. And they are gooood! We brought lots of extras for Diane and Alex to enjoy throughout the week too!

After lunch, we headed outside for a little and I couldn’t get over baby Michael’s bear suit. Come on – how adorable?!

Fabio and I sadly had to head back home in the early afternoon, so we said goodbye to everyone and then hopped back in the car. ‘Til next time, baby Michael!

When we got home, Jack’s friend Tilly was there! Our friends Jojo and Jadd had a wedding to attend on Saturday, and Jojo’s sister dropped Tilly off on Saturday afternoon.

She and Jack get along great – we joke that they’re boyfriend and girlfriend – so he was really happy to see her!

After we took the dogs for a walk, we settled in for a movie night at home. We ate some leftover wings from the night before, drank some more delicious beer (in Harry Potter mugs, no less) and watched a somewhat dumb movie on Netflix called What Happened to Monday.

Even though the movie wasn’t great, I stayed awake for the whole thing which is a pretty big accomplishment for me these days. Ha!

The doggies kept us company on the couch.

We headed up to bed after the movie, and I will just say that having two snuggly dogs and two humans in a queen-sized bed didn’t make for the most restful night of sleep. 😉

Sunday

Sunday morning began with another walk with the dogs to the park…

..and then we said goodbye to Tilly and headed out to meet my dad and sister for a fun lunch outing at Top Golf!

Fabio and I love going to Top Golf, and we had a sneaking suspicion my dad and sister would like it too. They did!

We wound up getting a bunch of appetizers to share as our lunch…

…and spent some time hitting the balls in between grabbing bites of food!

It was a really fun way to spend the afternoon!

We stopped by the grocery store on the way home, and then later for dinner I made homemade pizza. Yummmmm!

Now I’m sitting at the computer writing this post, and I’m trying to force myself to work on some of the wedding thank you notes when I’m done. Orrrrr not…. 😉

Question of the day: Are you watching the baseball playoffs? Who are you rooting for?

The Nats loss earlier this week was a really tough one!

 Posted by on October 16, 2017
Oct 112017
 

It’s 7:51 p.m., and I just got home from work (well – I came home from work, immediately changed into pjs, and then sat down to write this post). Life is super busy right now, and though I’m enjoying it, it doesn’t leave a whole lot of time for the old blog here.

Take yesterday for example. I work, work, worked until 5:45 p.m., and then I joined my coworkers for a kickboxing class at UFC Gym (maybe you remember the last time I went there? Probably not – it was ages ago!). Anyway, the hour-long class started at 6:30 p.m. and it was 20 minutes away in Alexandria so I didn’t get home until around 8. Then our friend Ciro came over to watch the Yankee game with Fabio, and then there was no way I was going to sit down and write a blog post. Or cook a healthy dinner. We wound up with Subway, which could have been worse I suppose.

Then there was today (Tuesday). I took a bootcamp class at Body Mass Gym with my friends Anne and Kathleen in the morning, and then headed into work for another completely manic day. It was go-go-go all day long, with lots of meetings to attend and deliverables to complete. Now I just got home and have to make dinner, and then I just want to relax!

I know I shouldn’t complain–I have a really interesting job and I get to work on really cool stuff. American Diabetes Month is coming up in November, and my coworker Carly and I are in charge of planning and executing the entire campaign. It’s sooooo much work for just two people to tackle, but it’s super rewarding and interesting! (I’m sure you’ll hear more about it here starting in November when I write about it. 🙂 You all are such good sports for humoring me on that stuff.)

But I just hate that right now this hectic schedule of mine doesn’t leave me with a ton of brain space–or time–for creative/fun writing here on the blog. But that’s just the way it is right now, and I know in a couple of weeks my schedule will be back to normal.

For now I’m just continuing to do the best I can to keep the rest of my life balanced, namely with exercise. I find that when I’m stressed, working out can be like therapy for me and helps me set the day off on the right foot. When I skip a day of working out, I feel more sluggish and blah for the whole day. Working out just helps me feel sane and normal right now, which is exactly what I need!

I will say my diet hasn’t been super amazing lately – I’m eating all the healthy meals that I planned and prepped for myself over the weekend, but I’m also stress-eating. Mostly delicious, sweet, sugary carbs. When they’re available. And when I have time for snacks. Which actually, hasn’t been all that often during the day. But that doesn’t mean I’m not craving them!

Anyway, I guess all of this is a really long-winded way of saying that I have quite a bit going on right now, and I apologize for not having a super interesting post for you today. And, no pictures. Womp womp. I’ll try to get my act together to have something better on Friday, but if I wind up not popping in, you’ll know why.

Until next time, my friends!

Question of the day: Do you stress eat?

 Posted by on October 11, 2017
Oct 092017
 

Hey there, and happy Monday to you! I’m actually writing this on Sunday morning, which is fairly unusual for me. I’ve got my favorite cooking shows on in the background and Jack is snuggled up close nearby, and since I had some free time I figured I’d sit down and get this blog post knocked out.

Fabio was up in New York City for the weekend celebrating a friend’s bachelor party, so I had some time to myself! I debated making plans with girlfriends or with my family, and while I am heading out to see family later today (more on that below), I decided I wanted to spend my Saturday with a day just for myself. And you know what? It was amazing!

Friday

Work has been incredibly busy and stressful lately, as we’re gearing up for American Diabetes Month in November. My coworker Carly and I are in charge of running the whole campaign, so we’ve been super busy! I stayed at work until around 6 on Friday, at which point I came home, walked Jack, and then picked up sushi from my favorite spot in Ballston, Sushi 2 Go. I watched one episode of Grey’s Anatomy (I’m rewatching the series…and it’s bringing out all the emotions!!) and then did a bit more work. I finally closed my laptop just before 10 p.m. and then I read my book in bed for approximately 2.5 seconds before falling asleep.

Saturday

I must have been really exhausted because I slept until 11:15 on Saturday! I honestly cannot tell you the last time I slept that late – maybe when I was in middle school? Even when I’m hungover I don’t sleep that late! I guess this was my body’s way of telling me to slow down and pay attention to my needs.

After waking up, I took Jack for a walk and then started my day! I had a bunch of local errands I wanted to run, and since it was such a beautiful day I decided to walk everywhere instead of taking the bus, metro, or my car.

I listened to a couple of good podcasts (I am really liking NPR’s How I Built This) and had a lovely day walking around Arlington!

My first stop was my favorite local coffee shop, Northside Social. I snagged a table outside for myself and enjoyed an iced latte (it was 83 degrees on Saturday!! Where is fall??) and a turkey sandwich (since I missed breakfast).

I also bought a peanut butter cookie which I stashed in my purse for later. 🙂 I just love the atmosphere of Northside Social – so many people come to sit and relax inside and out, and I felt like I could sit there reading my Kindle all day.

I just love the atmosphere of Northside Social – so many people come to sit and relax inside and out, and I felt like I could sit there reading my Kindle all day.

Once I finished my food, it was time to move on to my next stop: Lululemon! I received two gift certificates to Lululemon for my birthday (it’s like my family knows me or something 😉 ) and I wanted to put them to good use!

I wound up getting these pants, this jacket, and a cute grey tank that I can’t find on the website. I was also thiiiiis close to buying these pants, but I already have a bunch of black leggings and didn’t feel like draining my entire wallet, so I put them back on the rack.

After that, I continued my exploration of Arlington by walking down to Smitten Boutique in Courthouse for a hair appointment! My hair had gotten really long and straggly over the summer, and I was ready for some brightness and a trim.

This was my first time visiting Smitten Boutique – I had read good reviews online – and I really liked it! It wasn’t cheap, but I really liked the staff, service, and the results.

What do you guys think?? It’s a little lighter and a little shorter, and I’m a fan!

When I got home (it took me about 30 minutes to walk back), I took Jack for another walk and then made my grocery list for the week and headed to Target. I usually go to Giant for groceries, but I was hoping Target would have some cute fall decorations in addition to my groceries, and they did!

I love this cute little leaf garland, and I now have some festive pumpkins on the front stoop and a wreath on the door. I’m ready for fall even if the mother nature is not!

I found some random leftovers in the fridge for dinner, and then I set out to make this cream cheese pound cake to take to my grandma.

My grandma had knee-replacement surgery on Friday morning, and she comes home from the hospital today. I’m planning to take this cake over to her a little later, and I’m hoping it will put a smile on her face!

I tasted a couple of crumbs that came off the cake when I was flipping it out of the bundt pan, and they tasted great! 🙂

Once my cake was done, I headed upstairs to bed. Spending a day to myself was a little bit lonely, but I called some people during all my walking and once I got home, I had Jack to keep me company. And honestly it was just so nice to have a day to myself to do some of the things I enjoy doing that Fabio doesn’t (shopping, baking, decorating the house, etc.) and I think it’s a day I’ll remember for a long time (I’m sure when we have kids someday I’ll look back on this day and wish for it back!).

All that being said, I’m ready for my hubby to come home. I miss him!

Question of the day: If you could spend a day by yourself doing whatever you wanted, what would you do?

 Posted by on October 9, 2017
Oct 052017
 

It’s time for another wedding weekend recap! When we last left off, our rehearsal dinner had just wrapped up, and I thought our evening was mostly over. Little did I know my amazing bridesmaids had an awesome surprise up their sleeves!

After dinner, presents, and photos by the river, I was brought inside where I saw a big projection screen and a projector set up. Everyone gathered around, and my bridesmaids announced that they’d been putting together a slideshow of photos for Fabio and me.

Unbeknownst to me, my 10 amazing bridesmaids had reached out to our family and friends to collect photos of us from years past.

Fabio and I seated ourselves front and center, and the rest of our friends and family gathered around to watch the slideshow!

When the slideshow began, I heard the first strains of Red Dirt Road by Brooks and Dunn, which was one of my favorite songs growing up. Pictures began flashing on the screen from when I was a baby all the way up until early college, which was when Fabio and I met. There were so many pictures in the slideshow, many of which I had somehow never seen before.

Some of them were definitely awkward/embarrassing, but that was part of the fun!If you look carefully, you’ll spot my friends Bianca and Hana in this one!

If you look carefully in this next one, you’ll spot my friends/bridesmaids, Bianca and Hana!

It was really fun having our family and friends surrounding us for the show – there was lots of cheering and laughing when certain photos came on the screen.

I love this picture of my grandma – my dad’s mom – reaching across my grandpa to hold my mom’s hand. 🙂

Seeing all of our family and friends blend together made everything even more special!

Before long, Red Dirt Road ended and Empire State of Mind came on. Since Fabio grew up in New York, this was one of his favorite songs! Then came all of his adorable baby photos – what a cutie!

Again, there was a lot of cheering and laughter when a new photo would come onto the screen!

It was also so nice having our photographer there to capture the joy we felt during these moments!

This was such an amazing surprise, and I can’t thank my maid of honor, Bianca, enough for spearheading this and doing something so special for us. It meant the world!

Of course it also made me appreciate my soon-to-be husband! 🙂

When the slideshow was over, we lingered in the main house for a little bit longer before walking over to an after party we had planned earlier. This was our chance to relax, let loose, and really catch up with all of our friends. My dad had brought a stereo and light system with him from home, so we enjoyed lots of good music and dancing. It was so much fun!! Take me back!

Best maid of honor ever!

And that night I went to bed for the last time as an unmarried woman, and I remember having the biggest smile on my face when I laid down. What a perfect day!

Question of the day: Tell me about something special you’ve seen at a rehearsal dinner or wedding.

 Posted by on October 5, 2017
Oct 022017
 

**Edited to add: I woke up this morning to the devastating news about the shooting in Las Vegas. My heart is broken by the evilness, and my thoughts and prayers are with anyone who was affected. <3

Hello there, and happy Monday! I hope everyone had a relaxing and fun weekend!

Ours was mostly spent celebrating my birthday at my grandparents’ house on the Chesapeake Bay! It was a lot of fun, but went by way too fast.

Friday

Fabio and I were initially planning to drive down to my grandparents’ house on Friday after work, but due to an accident on the bay bridge, our GPS was showing it would take two hours to get there (instead of the usual hour and 10 minutes). Ugh.

Instead of sitting in all that traffic, we decided to stay home and make the drive in the morning instead. We wound up making one of the Hello Fresh meals we had in the fridge (roast pork with cauliflower mashed potatoes, apple pan sauce, and snap peas) and watching a movie. We watched The Founder and while I really enjoyed it, I fell asleep about 3/4 of the way through. Oops! 🙂

Saturday

On Saturday morning, we made the drive to my grandparents’ house, and didn’t have to sit in any traffic. Woohoo!

We arrived in time for lunch, and after quickly eating some sandwiches, the boys (my dad, grandpa, and Fabio) headed out for a game of golf. While they played, I got to spend the day with my grandma and sister, and our four collective black labs – Jack, my grandparents’ dog Cindy, and my dad’s dogs, Max and Lexi.

The four dogs get along great and had a blast playing in the backyard. 🙂

Since I knew the boys would be golfing for a while, I had planned to spend the day prepping dinner with my sister. She’s 12 and doesn’t cook a whole lot at home, so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity for her to test out her cooking skills! We spent some time looking through a couple of cookbooks I had brought with me, and then once we had picked out a couple of recipes to make we headed to the grocery store together. Then it was time to get to work!

My sous chef!

We wound up making these butternut squash lasagna rolls and these brussels sprouts with pancetta.

Cooking with my sister was a lot of fun!

Right around the time we finished prepping dinner, we got a call from the boys saying they were finished with their game. We decided to meet them up at the clubhouse for a drink, at which point my sister took hold of my phone and took a bunch of funny pictures on Snapchat.

I don’t even know how she did this!? Haha!

A little while later we headed back to the house, where I opened up birthday presents from my family. They gave me some great gifts! 🙂 Thank you, guys!

Before sitting down to dinner, we spent some time outside playing with the dogs in the yard again.

It was such a beautiful night – I’m always in awe of the view from their house.

Once it got dark, we headed inside to eat. Everyone seemed to enjoy the butternut squash lasagna rolls and brussels sprouts, and my sister ate three helpings of the sprouts! She’s a picky eater and doesn’t eat a ton of vegetables, so this was a big win for me. 🙂

After dinner, it was time for birthday cake! Look how beautiful this cake is that my grandma got from Peace of Cake (the same vendor that did our wedding desserts)…

Isn’t that so beautiful? Happy birthday to meeeeee…. 🙂

Unbeknownst to anyone, my grandma accidentally bought trick birthday candles, which were just about impossible to blow out. It was so funny!

So funny! The cake also was extremely delicious, with fresh raspberries and a lemon curd filling. Yummm.

Even the shell decorations were delicious (they were made of white chocolate!) and I enjoyed eating the edible pearls and sparkles.

My dad, stepmom, and sister headed home after dinner, but Fabio and I decided to extend our visit by staying the night. 🙂

Sunday

Fabio made us all bacon and egg sandwiches on English muffins for breakfast on Sunday (yum!) and after that, we packed up our stuff and said goodbye to my grandparents.

Back at home, we ran a bunch of errands and cleaned the whole house from top to bottom. I also got out our fall decorations and realized that I don’t have nearly as many as I thought. Time to go to TJ Maxx! 🙂

While I cleaned and decorated, Fabio worked on organizing our new pantry and a peg board we have in our storage room. It feels so good to be organized!

And when I asked Fabio what he wanted for dinner a little while ago, he said he wasn’t too hungry so I suggested having leftover birthday cake for dinner. He agreed, so that’s what we had! 😉

And now I’m finishing up this post with the football game on, and am thinking of going to bed early. It was a busy weekend!

Question of the day: When was the last time you had dessert for dinner?

 Posted by on October 2, 2017