logo

Search Results : aunt cc

Jul 272015
 

Over the weekend Fabio and I made the 6 hour drive up to Otis, Massachusetts (again!) to celebrate my aunt CC and uncle Steve’s low-key family wedding!

IMG_4205

It was such a fun weekend, and I am once again experiencing the depression that settles in on the Monday after a fun wedding weekend. Sigh.

Anyway, here’s my recap!

Thursday

Fabio and I drove up to Otis on Thursday night after dropping Jack off with our friends Jojo and Jadd who graciously offered to watch him for us over the weekend. It was a long drive and we didn’t wind up leaving until around 8:00 pm (Fabio got held up at work) so we didn’t arrive until 2:00 am. Ugh.

Luckily Fabio is great at driving long distances late at night, so I always try my best to stay awake with him and be a good co-pilot. This of course meant we needed Starbucks at midnight, just to make sure we didn’t get too sleepy during the drive. I have to say midnight Starbucks is a weird experience!

IMG_4109

Eventually we arrived safe and sound and fell immediately into bed.

Friday

Friday morning began with a delicious breakfast cooked by Steve – an egg scramble with broccoli, tomatoes from the garden, chicken and cheese. Plus half a protein English muffin on the side. Yum!

IMG_4111

For most of the day I hung around the house and tried to help get everything ready for the wedding, but CC and Steve didn’t need much help so eventually they sent me off to enjoy the lake!

IMG_4115

Fabio joined me and took some photos as I swam out to the swim platform and did a cannon ball into the chilly water.

IMG_4124

It was a beautiful day and quite hot in the sun, so the cold water felt great!

IMG_4127

Back at the house everything was coming together nicely. Doesn’t the place look great?

IMG_4146

The rest of the afternoon and evening was spent with good food, plenty of wine, and lots of family time! Steve’s family arrived around 4:00, and my mom, stepdad, and uncle David arrived around 7:00.

IMG_4140

We played lots of horseshoes and just sat around enjoying the beautiful summer evening.

IMG_4149

CC had purchased sweatshirts for everyone as wedding favors since it gets chilly at night. How cute is her display?! ( I helped set it up!)

IMG_4153

We moved inside once the evening got too chilly, and stayed up way too late talking to one another and laughing. It was such a fun night!

IMG_4159

Saturday

Saturday was wedding day! Our morning began with an excellent breakfast tag-teamed by my uncle David and stepdad: perfectly poached eggs on top of homemade potato hash. Plus French toast and bacon for whoever wanted some (me, duh). As usual, they knocked it out of the park!

IMG_4162

The rest of my day was spent at the lake with CC and my mom! The three of us love the sun so it was really nice to soak up some rays and catch up with them! While we were at the lake the boys went golfing, so it was like a mini bachelorette/bachelor day for the bride and groom. 🙂

IMG_4118

When we got back to the house we enjoyed tons of delicious snacks and got ourselves ready for the wedding!

IMG_4163

IMG_4166

IMG_4169

Steve’s brother Brian got permission from the state of Massachusetts to serve as a temporary officiant, so he was the one to actually marry CC and Steve. Since it was only family in attendance, it was really nice to have him perform the ceremony.

IMG_4180

The vows were short and sweet, and a few minutes later CC and Steve were married! You may kiss the bride!!

IMG_4190

Woohoo!!

IMG_4192

The happy couple. 🙂

IMG_4205

Doesn’t CC look fabulous? I loved her dress and shoes.

IMG_4223

IMG_4214

Here I am with CC, my uncle David, and my mom!

IMG_4208

It was really nice to have my mom there for everything – this was her first time visiting Otis and I’m so glad she was able to make the trip up. It was so much fun spending time with her!
IMG_4217

Of course I was happy to have this handsome guy by my side too!

IMG_4220

After many champagne toasts to the newlyweds, we headed inside for dinner!

IMG_4239

For our meal we each enjoyed a perfectly cooked steak and a giant lobster!

IMG_4242

Everything tasted delicious, and we all enjoyed cake, brownies, and ice cream for dessert. Oh, yes.

The rest of the evening was spent drinking more wine and champagne and dancing the night away.

IMG_4261

There may have even been some 3:00 am badminton playing, but I obviously didn’t get any pictures of that epic adventure. Needless to say our skills had decreased with our alcohol consumption. 😉

Congratulations again, Steve and CC! I wish you two a lifetime of love and laughter. <3

IMG_4258

Sunday

We spent the whole day Sunday in the car driving back from Otis, and picked up Jack at around 7:00 pm. Our meal planning and grocery shopping didn’t happen, so now I’m going to regret it all week. Sigh.

Question of the day: What do you do during long car rides to entertain yourself?

We listened to a ton of podcasts!

 Posted by on July 27, 2015
May 052015
 

I’m not sure if I’ve ever mentioned this before, but my aunt CC (my mom’s sister) is a huge fitness fanatic, and used to teach all types of classes from spinning to bootcamps.

chelseaCC

Since I’ve been taking a ton of fitness classes with ClassPass lately, I’ve been paying a little more attention to the instructors and now have a greater appreciation for my aunt’s former teaching days. Part of me thinks teaching a fitness class would be the coolest thing ever (extra income, free classes, inspiring people, etc.) but the other part of me thinks it would be terrifying (I get nervous about public speaking, so I can’t imagine what it would be like to lead a class by myself).

Since I was pondering all this, I decided to ask my aunt CC a few questions about her teaching days, and wanted to share her responses here on the blog. Here we go!

From CC: 

First I’d like to say how honored I am to be interviewed on CET!  I’ve been an avid fan from the very beginning! It’s my absolute favorite web site ever!!! (Then again, I’m also a little biased.) 🙂

Q: When did you decide to start teaching fitness classes, and what pushed you from just participating in the classes to wanting to teach them yourself?

A: That is a great question! I actually have no idea; everything just kind of evolved. I used to work out a lot, but somehow life got in the way and my fitness had fallen by the wayside. I was overweight and generally unhappy. At the time I worked at a company that had a great discount at a local gym. Everyone talked about the spin classes, especially this one particular class. One morning I got up “early” for one of these awesome spin classes, and was completely hooked.  I had never had so much fun, and I couldn’t wait to do it again. We had a very strong community at that gym, and all became very good friends. We were a great team that pushed each other to do more, get stronger, be healthier. It was very empowering, and that love for fitness has stayed with me ever since. So that was it for me, although now I laugh that I used to consider a 7:30 am spin class “early”!

Fitness and exercise is all about the enjoyment – if you don’t like what you’re doing, you won’t stay with it. At first I started by taking just two spin classes a week, and then I started taking the 5:45 am and 7:30 classes back to back, and the night classes too. For me, it was all about building and getting stronger. You can always do a little more, even if it’s small.  You can always push yourself to be a little stronger every day.

After about a year of taking the spin classes, I figured the next step outside of my comfort zone was to get a hold of that microphone and do it myself. I was absolutely terrified!

CCbike

Q: Did you know right away you wanted to teach spin?

A: Nope. I was the biggest scardy cat in the room when I first started taking those classes. It just evolved from a need to push myself and get out of my comfort zone.

Q: How did you start teaching other classes, like bootcamps?

A: After a little while, it seemed like teaching spin was too easy. I felt the need to challenge myself and do more – boot camp / muscle conditioning was a whole ‘nother animal, and I had to figure it out.

CCandSteve

CC and my Uncle Steve!

Q: What was your favorite type of class to teach?

A: I still think spin is my favorite; you can truly let go and let the music drive you. There’s nothing like the energy from an awesome spin class. That being said, the level of accomplishment you feel after teaching a thoroughly exhausting boot camp is fantastic too – leave ‘em so tired they can’t even move!

Q: What was the training/certification process like for becoming a fitness instructor?

A: My spin certification through Johnny G was fairly simple; there’s only so much you can do on a bike that doesn’t go anywhere! (I think in 2002 it was about $200, and took a couple of hours on a Saturday.)  It involved a written test and then you had to lead the class for one song. I’m sure the process has changed a lot now; there is a much stronger focus on safety and technique.

Certification for group exercise is a significantly richer investment both financially and in time. My ACE certification required A LOT of study and a full weekend accreditation process, including a written and performance-based test. It was HARD! I had to learn about nutrition, kinesiology, myology and osteology for the testing process.

AFAA  is also a reputable, well-known organization for certification.

Regardless of the organization, be prepared to study and learn a lot of things you would never consider part of the group exercise space.

I’d also recommend that if you do get certified to conduct any group exercise class, you should re-certify or take additional courses every year or so. It’s important to keep your skills sharp and to learn new tricks. It’s amazing how fast you can burn out, and that’s the worst – for you and your class.

CCcanoe

Q: How much extra income did you make through this experience (roughly), and do you think it was worth the cost of certification?

A: The extra income you can expect varies considerably based upon your location (I taught in Boston, DC and San Francisco – very different markets and different rates – anywhere from $75/class to $150), and the exclusivity of the gym (more prestigious gym = higher pay). When I lived in San Francisco I was teaching 7 classes a week and working full time. It was a lot to handle (probably too much), but I under-estimated the cost of living in California and was so fortunate to have a secondary source of income to help. 

The cost of certification varies based upon the level of your certification and your location. My spin certification (again, through Johnny G) was minuscule compared to the income it generated. Certification for group exercise is a much better investment in both finance and time. 

Q: Did you prefer teaching at small boutique studios, or larger gyms?

A: I did teach at something of a “boutique” gym in California, and also larger gym chains. For me it was all about the location and how well it fit into my life. I’d teach anywhere!  I loved it!!

CChike

Q: What tips do you have for someone who is considering becoming a fitness instructor?

A: Go for it!  You have absolutely nothing to lose! You will learn so much and push yourself so far beyond what you think you can do! NOTHING beats that feeling! Regardless of how many classes you end up teaching, it’s worth it!

Also remember to be patient; class schedules are set and you can’t expect to get a prime class right away (or any set class for that matter). You usually have to wait around on the sub list for a while before a permanent class opens up. Jump at every opportunity to sub; get your name out there and start to build your following. In the beginning it usually means picking classes on holidays or at the last minute without a lot of notice. I always kept a spare set of workout clothes and a playlist ready to go at all times; you just never knew when that call would come in to pick up a class. 

As with most things, the more you do it the easier it gets. Practice teaching when no one is around. Go into an empty spin studio and do a practice class. Go through your song list, see how well the sprints work, the jumps, the counts, and your breathing. Practice makes perfect.

Have faith, stay positive, and be confident – YOU CAN DO IT!!! Most importantly though, have fun! Don’t stress, smile and love every second of it. 🙂

I don’t know about you guys, but this sort of makes me want to go be a fitness instructor like…right now. Thanks so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer my questions, CC! Love you!

Question of the day: Would you ever want to be a fitness instructor? Why or why not?

 Posted by on May 5, 2015
May 082017
 

Well hello there! Did you have a good weekend? Ours was spent in New York City! Our good friend Hayden (also Fabio’s best man) recently passed the CPA exam to become a certified accountant, and his parents threw him a party in NYC (where he lives) to celebrate. Obviously, this meant we had to go up to join him!

Friday

On Friday evening, Fabio and I took the bus up to New York right after work. We took a 6:00 bus out of Rosslyn, and even had time to grab dinner from Panera beforehand. Sadly, I finished all my food really quickly, and then was wishing I had some extra road trip snacks to munch on (mostly out of boredom).

Our bus ride was super easy though, and we made it into the city in record time!

Saturday

On Saturday morning, we headed downtown (we were staying at Aunt CC and Uncle Steve’s apartment on the Upper West Side) for a birthday celebration! Fabio’s cousin Nick happened to be turning 21 this weekend, so we joined him, his sister, and a bunch of their friends for brunch at Sons of Essex.

I got the breakfast tacos, which were delicious and came with eggs, spinach, tomatoes, and mushrooms. Yum! Plus some delicious home fries on the side.

After brunch we weren’t quite ready to say goodbye yet, so we all walked over to one of my favorite bars, Hair of the Dog. It was pretty empty when we arrived, but I knew it would get crowded soon! And I was right – by the time we left around 4:00 p.m. you could barely walk in there!

Anyway, we had a lot of fun hanging out with Fabio’s cousins and getting to know their friends. I’m so glad we happened to be in town for the celebration!

Fabio’s cousin Ligia even bought her little brother – the birthday boy – some shots, which he was not too thrilled about. Lol!

But that’s what big sisters are for, right? And it was his 21st birthday. 🙂

Since Fabio and I knew we still had a long night of drinking ahead of us, we took it easy during all of this and drank our beers slowly and sipped lots of water. We aren’t as young as we used to be – we had to pace ourselves!

Eventually, we decided we better head back uptown, but not before stopping for a late lunch at the famous Katz’s Deli.

Fabio and I shared a delicious pastrami sandwich with mustard and some house-made pickles. Everything was delicious, as always!

After eating, we headed back to Aunt CC’s place and took a quick nap. Like I said, we can’t hang like we used to, and we knew we had a long night ahead of us!

At around 8:30, it was time for us to head out to the main event of the trip: Hayden’s CPA party! How cute are these two? 🙂

There were lots of fellow Sigma Nu brothers there, which of course made Fabio happy. It was so great seeing everyone!!

And their respective significant others. 🙂

We had a great time catching up with old friends, and celebrating with Hayden!

Lol – my face after the bartender gave me a gigantic glass of rose. 😉

We stayed at the bar until around 12:30, at which point a couple of us moved on to another bar where we danced for a while. We wound up heading back to Aunt CC’s at around 2:30 a.m., which makes three weekends in a row of super late Saturday nights. Oof. I’m definitely getting too old for this.

Sunday

Fabio and I caught the early bus home on Sunday, and arrived back in Rosslyn by 2:30 p.m. We immediately headed over to my mom’s to pick up Jack, and she and my stepdad had an early dinner waiting for us.

We started off with these amazing fried cheese rosemary bread things that my mom has been making lately, which are insanely delicious.

Then we had homemade coleslaw, grilled chicken, and cheesy potato casserole. Yum!!

Plus my mom’s cheesecake for dessert, which was phenomenal and even better than I remembered. Holy cow.

After dinner we came back home, unloaded our bags, and finished opening up gifts from our bridal shower that arrived last week. As I write this (on Sunday night), I am surrounded by tons of cardboard boxes and packaging and trying to figure out how we will break all of the boxes down so they will fit in the recycling bin. Yes, #humblebrag but also, not an easy task. I’m hoping that Fabio will take care of it for us…which, I guess, is partly why I sat down to write this post right now isntead of dealing with it. 😉 Ha!

The end.

Question of the day: Pie, cheesecake, or cake?

 Posted by on May 8, 2017
May 022017
 

On Saturday afternoon, my dad and stepmom threw Fabio and me the most amazing (co-ed) bridal shower BBQ. It was so much fun and everything was absolutely perfect! In addition to all the hard work from my dad and stepmom, my cousins and bridesmaids helped to make the day a success, complete with amazing favors and decorations. Of course it wouldn’t have been a party without everyone who made the trip out to come celebrate with us. We are so thankful to have such amazing people in our lives! Here are my photos (with just a few words/captions) from the day!

Signs courtesy of my little sister. 🙂

Opening up gifts from Grandma and Grandpa. They are too generous!

My Maid of Honor!

Bridesmaids! (Some of them, anyway. I have 10!)

And of course, the handsome groom!

The cutest grandparents. 🙂

Sloppytown gurlays and our guys!

A boomerang in the making.

Friends since first grade <3

Matching with the flowers 🙂

And here comes our baby…

…and his tongue. LOL!

Time to party!

My amazing friends hung up a bunch of pictures of Fabio and me together, some of which went back to our first couple of dates in 2008.

We had so much fun looking at them all!

My cousins put together these amazing mason jar favors with our names and wedding date etched onto them. Each one also had a recipe card and the ingredients to make a delicious batch of chocolate chip cookies! (I can tell you they are delicious because we wound up making ours on Sunday!)

Then Fabio and I played a newlywed Q&A game with white boards.

We “cheersed” and kissed before we got started. Haha!

Then it was game time! It was actually pretty hard, and we got a lot wrong. Hopefully that doesn’t mean anything about our upcoming marriage?! Lol!

I love that Fabio guessed “Saturday” Night Lights for what TV show I binge watch when I’m by myself. Good guess, honey! Haha!

When it came time to guess Fabio’s favorite Yankee player, I really thought I had it in the bag with Mickey Mantle. Which, obviously, you can tell by my face. Haha!

When I sent this picture to the best man (who wasn’t able to attend the BBQ), he said he would have guessed Mickey Mantle too. Maybe we know Fabio better than he knows himself, haha!

Hi mom and Aunt CC!

After the game, the party continued! Fabio’s family came from all over for the party, with some of them even flying in from South America (specifically Colombia and Bolivia). It was so, so wonderful to celebrate with them.

Diane and Alex were there with their little guy, Charlie…

…and their other little guy was there too!

Soon enough it was time to cut the cake.

We gave some to Jack, which I’m sure won’t surprise you.

And we spent the rest of the evening dancing and playing beer pong!

Again, none of which should surprise you. 🙂

The end.

Question of the day: What’s the farthest distance someone in your family lives?

 Posted by on May 2, 2017
Feb 272017
 

Hellooo! Did you have a nice weekend? Mine was a pretty good one and was filled with fitness, family time, and relaxation. Not bad at all! Here’s a recap.

Friday

Giant has been sending me their new Savory magazine lately, and each issue has so many delicious looking recipes! I had bookmarked this butternut squash tagine with chickpeas a while back, and I figured Friday night was as good a time as any to throw it together. We are trying to eat more vegetarian (and even vegan…story for another day) meals lately, so I was excited to try this one out!

I wound up making everything in a soup pot instead of in the crock pot (I didn’t have time to get everything ready in the morning) and it turned out great! I also wound up adding a little curry to the dish which I think really rounded everything out. Nice!

I am really liking Savory magazine as a free resource for quick, healthy, and delicious meals, and you can pick it up at the store for free with your bonus card. Just an FYI for any others who shop at Giant! 🙂

While we ate dinner we watched Hacksaw Ridge, which was one of the movies up for a bunch of Oscar nominations. Have you guys seen it? I don’t usually enjoy war movies, but this one was excellent. Highly recommend!

Saturday

On Saturday morning I was up fairly early to get in my long run of the week. Fabio decided to skip this one as he has a nasty blister on his foot so I ran solo. Like last week, I decided to drive over to Iwo Jima so I could spend more time running in D.C.

Can you see the monument in the bottom left there?

It was another gorgeous day for a run, with temperatures in the low 60s and clear skies. Beautiful!!

I initially had 8 miles on the docket, but I decided I would cut my run short because a) I was only able to find a one-hour parking spot and b) I decided I’d rather have some extra time in the morning to hang out with Fabio since I wasn’t going to see him for the rest of the day.

Luckily my route was pretty easy to modify, and after running across Arlington Memorial Bridge, down by the Georgetown waterfront, across Key bridge, and down Mount Vernon trail, I arrived back at Iwo Jima.

Of course I was treated to some pretty stellar views along the way! I just love running over here.

By the time I was done, I had covered 5.59 miles and avoided getting a parking ticket. Sweet! 😉

After my run, I headed home for a quick shower, and then Fabio and I drove over to Northside Social for a breakfast date! It was so beautiful out and we were lucky enough to snag a table in the sunshine. 🙂

For breakfast, I ordered a small latte and a sandwich with smoked salmon, arugula, and a poached egg. Yum! It was fantastic and I had no problem polishing it off.

After eating and lingering for a while in the sunshine, Fabio and I returned home and hung out outside for a bit until 11:00, which is when my mom arrived for our road trip down to visit my Grandma in Hague, VA. My grandma hasn’t been feeling well lately, so my mom and Aunt CC decided a ladies’ weekend might cheer her up. 🙂

Her house is about 2 hours from ours, so we arrived with plenty of time to enjoy the afternoon sunshine from my Grandma’s back deck.

What a pretty view!

We spent some time chatting and catching up until the sky got overcast and a few raindrops started to fall. At this point we went inside and started looking through old pictures, which was a lot of fun! I found some really funny ones of me that I hadn’t seen before. For your amusement…

I thought my smile in this one looked just like the emoji. Haha!

Ooh and do you like my tweety/silvester nightgown? 🙂

Then I stumbled across this really nice photo of my with my Grandpa.

I got a little emotional when I saw this one and decided it needed to come home with me. <3

Eventually it was time for dinner, and we headed out to a restaurant my Grandma likes a lot called The Lighthouse. I got the scallops!

There was also some delicious warm bread and butter. Yum!

When we got back to the house we had one last glass of wine and called it a night. Phew! What a busy Saturday.

Sunday

We drove back from my Grandma’s fairly early on Sunday and were home by 11:00. Woohoo!

After my mom left, Fabio and I ran a bunch of errands and did some chores around the house.

Later in the afternoon, I started packing for my bachelorette party, which is later this week. Eeeeek!!

I currently have seven pairs of shoes to pack which seems excessive even to me. Help!

Now I’m sitting at the computer writing this post and waiting for the Oscars to come on. 🙂

Have a good week, my friends!

Question of the day: Any tips for not overpacking?

 Posted by on February 27, 2017
Jan 172017
 

Hey there! Happy Tuesday to you. Fabio and I both had off from work yesterday for MLK weekend, so we were lucky enough to have an extra long weekend. Woohoo! We wound up spending a fun couple of days up at my Aunt CC and Uncle Steve’s house in Otis, Massachusetts, and it was a blast! (Like usual.)

Here’s my recap!

Friday

Fabio and I drove up to CC and Steve’s place on Friday night, and we wound up making really good time. Otis is in the southernmost part of Massachusetts (in the Berkshire mountains), and the drive usually takes us around 6.5 hours. We made a pit stop in NYC to pick up our friend Jason who came with us for the weekend, and then we were on our way!

We arrived in Otis at around 1:40 a.m. and were instantly greeted with a spread of cheese, crackers, and homemade pumpkin hummus, along with a much-needed adult beverage (wine for me, a whiskey drink for Fabio and Jason).

The late-night snack welcome session has become the norm for our visits, and we usually wind up drinking a few cocktails while we catch up. We didn’t go to bed until around 4:30 in the morning! Yikes!

Saturday

After about four hours of sleep (oy) we were up and at ’em and ready to enjoy our first full day in Otis! We started off with breakfast, which was a delicious egg and spinach bake with bacon on the side. Yes!

After breakfast, we suited ourselves up and headed out for a day of skiing!

Uncle Steve is a really great skiier (CC is good too), but Fabio, Jason, and I were all pretty new at the sport. I’ve gone snowboarding a couple of times and skiing one other time, but it was basically like starting from scratch for me since it had been so long. Steve did a great job of teaching us the technique!

Fabio and Jason both got the hang of skiing in no time, but it took me a lot longer to feel comfortable. Poor Steve went down the bunny hill with me a bunch of times before I felt ready to tackle the next level, and I really appreciated his patience. Thanks, Steve!

(Here we are on the bunny hill…poor Steve.)

By the end of the day, I had gone down the green-level hill a few times comfortably (though still with a few falls) and went down the blue-level hill once (though not really on purpose – lol – and with a lot of help from Steve). I decided that when it comes to skiing, I like to go really slow so I can be in control. The really steep areas aren’t fun for me right now, but my hope is that I’ll enjoy those areas more as I get better.

After skiing we popped into the little ski lodge restaurant for some lunch (I had a grilled chicken sandwich) and a much-needed beer. Skiing stressed me out!

After lunch we headed back to the house, showered up, and rested a bit. Ah, so cozy!

Before long it was time for dinner!

CC made use a delicious lasagna, and I put together a side salad with carrots, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and blueberries. CC also made us a homemade viniagrette!

Time to eat!

By the way, CC and Steve have these awesome red light bulbs in their house that make everything look extra cozy at night, but they cast a weird color in the photos. Sorry for all the redness!

Over dinner, we had some really fun debates/conversations about politics, the electoral college, and more. It’s always fun sitting down to chat with this group, and I always feel like I come away from the conversations with a new way of looking at things.

After dinner, we all moved to the couch to watch the Patriot’s game since CC is a big Pats fan. We enjoyed slices of her homemade peanut butter pie while we watched! It was SO delicious.

What a cozy way to wind down the night! The boys wound up falling asleep on the couch within minutes – I guess all that skiing really wore them out – and the rest of us wound up heading to bed around 11. Finally, some sleep!

Sunday

Sunday morning began with breakfast again – this time we had egg scrambles with chicken sausage and veggies, plus a couple bites of various delicious muffins – before setting out for a hike!

Can you see Jack off in the distance in the picture above? He had an absolute BLAST on this hike!

Parts of the trail (which starts in CC and Steve’s backyard, BTW, which is so awesome) were pretty icy, but other parts were ok.

We walked about two miles down to Upper Spectacle Pond, which was frozen over!

It looks a little different from last time we visited, right?

Steve and Jack even walked out onto the ice (after testing how frozen it was to be safe) but the rest of us stayed safely on the shore.

Fabio and I even grabbed our furry little buddy for a family picture!

You can barely see him in this picture but his tongue is out! Haha!

I also had to take a picture of Fabio and CC in their respective Yankee/Red Sox hats. See, world peace is possible! 😉

By the time we walked back to the house, we had covered about four miles. Not too shabby!

After our hike, we enjoyed a delicious lunch (grilled chicken, broccolini and roasted sweet potato wedges) before packing everything up to hit the road. Steve, CC, and Jason all had work on Monday and we had such a long ride ahead of us that we didn’t mind leaving a little early. We said our goodbyes to everyone and hit the road at about 4:45, and we finally made it home by 11:45 due to some traffic in DC. Ugh.

Once we got home, it was lights out.

Monday

Fabio and I both slept in nice and late on Monday – we were tired!

The rest of the day was spent grocery shopping and prepping for the week ahead.

We even made some fresh juice, which is something we hadn’t done in ages. Yum!

All in all, I’d say it was a perfect weekend! Thanks so much for having us, CC and Steve!

Question of the day: Do you like skiing? Are you good at it?

 Posted by on January 17, 2017
Jan 132017
 

Hi friends! How was your week? Did it go by quickly? Mine was a good one, but I’m especially happy that it’s almost over because I am SO excited about my weekend plans – we are driving up to my Aunt CC and Uncle Steve’s place in Otis, Massachusetts for a weekend of skiing! Since it’s MLK weekend and Fabio and I both have off from work on Monday we figured it was the perfect time to make the trip up.

We’ve only seen it snowy up there once, and although I’m not sure how much snow they have right now I think the slopes should have enough for us to ski. (Not that I am a good skiier by any means…)

Plus their house is always so cozy in the winter!

Eek! I can’t wait!

Before I get too far ahead of myself though, let’s take a step back and talk about what made me smile this week in today’s Favorite Things Friday post. Feel free to play along in the comments below!

Favorite Workouts

Now that you know a little more about my goals for 2017, I thought I’d start sharing a recap of my weekly workouts to help keep myself accountable. Here’s a look at my workouts this week!

Monday’s class was a good one, and we focused on strength over speed. Our intervals included weighted elevated split lunges, kettlebell farmer’s carries, plank holds on the rings, and a kickboxing combo.

Photo from Anne!

We also got to use these new-to-me slide boards! Have you guys ever tried these? You put little booties on over your shoes and then slide back and forth along the board. You have to push off pretty hard to slide all the way across and you have to squat pretty low to keep your balance, so it’s a good workout! They kind of reminded me of skiing (or maybe that’s just because I have skiing on the brain?).

  • Tuesday, Jan. 10: Sculpt class at CorePower Yoga

The sculpt class at CorePower Yoga is not new to me in any way – in fact I used to take it once a week when it was still regularly available on ClassPass (<– affiliate link for $30 off!) – but this week I tried a new instructor who totally kicked my butt!! Her name is Monica and she teaches the sculpt class on Tuesday mornings at the Clarendon location (which is actually in Courthouse, but whatever). Fabio and I took a sculpt class on Friday at that studio on Friday last week, and there were maybe 15 or 20 people there. On Tuesday though, there were closer to 40! I knew right then that something was going to be different about this class, and as soon as Monica came into the room I saw why. I knew she was going to be tough, but man! Her class was killer! I will definitely be back.

Fabio and I took a sculpt class at that studio on Friday last week, and there were maybe 15 or 20 people there. On Tuesday though, there were closer to 40! I knew right then that something was going to be different about this class, and as soon as Monica came into the room I saw why. She looked really strong, and had a no-messing-around attitude. I knew she was going to be tough, but man! Her class was killer! Even though she was hard, she was still really positive and gave everyone a high-five after the tough cardio intervals. I will definitely be back to her class!

  • Wednesday, Jan. 11: Spin class at one of my old favs, Biker Barre

I always have a good time at Biker Barre since they plan the sprints and climbs to the beat of the music. It feels like you’re dancing on your bike! I always sweat a ton in spin class too, so it was nice to mix in this cardio with all the strength training I did this week.

  • Thursday, Jan. 12: Bootcamp at Definitions DC with Anne and Kathleen

Thursday’s class was another good one, and our instructor DeShay had us running through a bunch of intervals including of rowing, Russian twists with sandbags, burpee jacks, plyo jumps, kettlebell lifts and more. It’s always fun when I have my two workout buddies by my side!

Picture from Anne!

  • Friday, Jan. 13: Rest day!

I don’t think I’ve been stretching my quads enough after working out because I’ve been experiencing some pain around my knees that I think is due to some tenditinits. Womp womp. I’ve been foam rolling like crazy and trying to stretch more, so we will see if it gets any better. i figured another rest day wouldn’t hurt either!

All in all, I’d say it was a solid week of workouts!

Favorite Splurge

Anne and I have been going to MADabolic a lot lately; we like the classes and especially like that it’s right in Clarendon and only a quick drive from our houses. One thing I don’t like though is that they charge you to rent gloves every time the workout includes some kickboxing, which lately has been every time.

Even though it’s only a few dollars, I figured I should just buy some gloves of my own to save money in the long run. Plus, Anne and I like going to 9Round kickboxing on occasion, and I thought it would be nice to use my own gloves (truthfully, theirs are kind of stinky).

I wound up getting these gloves off Amazon (in pink, obviously) for $25 which I thought was a pretty good deal! I can’t wait to test them out.

Favorite Weather

Wow – the weather was absolutely GORGEOUS yesterday, and I treated myself to a long walk outside during my lunch break.

Amazing!

Favorite Surprise

On Monday, my friends let me know that FedEx had dropped off a little surprise for me. When I got home I practically ran out of the car to get the box, and when I opened it I saw the sweetest bachelorette surprise! (Warning: the photo below includes references to male genitalia…)

My sweet friends had written me a note that was themed like the Bachelor and talked about how season after season we watch people on the Bachelor/Bachelorette accept the final rose to find love, but since I already found love would I please accept a bouquet of penises for my bachelorette party! Ha! How thoughtful and funny. (For anyone who doesn’t know, most bachelorette parties in the U.S. have all sorts of penis-themed stuff, like straws and balloons and cakes and more. Don’t ask me why it’s a thing, it just is!)

Anyway, I thought this was super cute and it’s getting me even more excited for my bachelorette party in early March. My friends are planning the whole thing and keeping the destination a surprise, so I can’t wait to see where we go! Eek!

Favorite New Tradition

My dad bought Fabio and me each one of these weird little glow-in-the-dark figurines for Christmas, and we’ve been hiding them around the house ever since.

They’re really small – just a few inches tall – and they’re so fun to stash in places like the medicine cabinets, Fabio’s shoes, sock drawers, etc. They make me smile every time I see them in a new spot!

 

Favorite Late Christmas Gift

Remember my sweet friend Vic who got me the Bon Appetit Food Lover’s Cleanse cookbook for Christmas? Well she also got me this awesome monogrammed apron that arrived earlier this week. I love it!

Favorite Snuggle Buddy

This is how I watched the Bachelor this week – with Jack literally laying across my body. Oh well, I didn’t mind. 🙂

Alright friends, that’s all I have for you today! I hope you have a wonderful long weekend!

Question of the day: What made you smile this week?

 Posted by on January 13, 2017
Jan 062017
 

At the end of every year, I like to take a moment to reflect on the highlights from the last 365 days. It’s a fun way for me to look back at all the high points of the year, and these are always some of my favorite posts to write.

Since I didn’t have a chance to get this post up before the end of the year, I figured I’d share it with you all today! Here’s a look back at my 16 highlights from 2016. Be prepared: it’s a long one!

16. Spent lots of time with family. In looking back over the year, some of my favorite memories were just the casual weekends spent with my family. From playing in fallen leaves with my sister to spending some quality time with my grandparents to family crab feasts at my mom’s house, I have some truly special memories with the people I love most.

15. Kept up my fitness game with tons of spin classes and boot camps. My love affair with ClassPass (<– affiliate link for $30 off!) continued throughout 2016, and I took oh-so-many wonderful classes. My three favorite classes from the year probably have to be FlyWheel’s spin class, Urban Athletic Club’s Urban Athlete (bootcamp) class, and CorePower Yoga’s Sculpt class (which hasn’t been on ClassPass lately, but I took my fair share of those classes throughout 2016).

Close runners up include Definitions, MADabolic, Biker Barre (their spin class), and Reformation Fitness! Oddly enough, I took hardly any barre classes in 2016, though I was a big fan of barre in 2015. I also didn’t run much in 2016, but I’m ok with that. As long as I have a fitness routine that makes me happy and it’s something I look forward to, I will keep doing what I’m doing! Plus I have some running plans in store for 2017, so stay tuned for updates on that.

14. Started planning my wedding! I’m elaborating a lot more on this in the items below, but every detail of planning my wedding has been so much fun. Whether it’s planning our honeymoon in Thailand or chatting with our photographer (love her) or sending out our save the dates, I am enjoying every moment of this process. The photos below are from our engagement session in Jamaica last year, but we’re using them for a lot of the wedding pieces.

13. Crawled around DC breweries for Fabio’s birthday. For Fabio’s birthday this year, I organized a brewery crawl around DC with a bunch of our friends. It turned out really well, and we had such a fun time exploring new breweries and hanging out with all our friends! I also loved that I asked everyone to wear plaid as our theme. Haha!

12. Visited Aunt CC and Uncle Steve in Otis—one of my favorite places on Earth—and learned to paddle board. Visiting Aunt CC and Uncle Steve at their house in the Berkshires is always one of the highlights of my year. This summer when we went up, Uncle Steve taught us to paddle board, which was (surprisingly) something Fabio and I hadn’t tried before. The whole weekend was a blast, but paddleboarding was probably my favorite part. I just love visiting them!!

11. Stood on my chair and spun my napkin around in the air in an Italian restaurant in NYC with so many of my best friends by my side. Now that’s an interesting one, right? Every year Fabio and I try to visit NYC during the holidays to visit our friends and this year’s trip was especially fun. The highlight for me was our dinner experience at Puglia, where we drank all the wine we wanted for three hours and stood on our chairs waving our napkins around whenever the band played “the napkin song.” This sounds like such a weird thing to do, but I’m telling you it was an absolute blast!!

10. Attended eight beautiful weddings. This was definitely a wedding-heavy year for us, but each one was special and unique in its own way. I had a blast at all of them, and loved getting to celebrate with so many people who mean so much to me. Congrats to all of you!!

…and also, thank goodness for Rent the Runway.

9. Shopped for (and found!) my wedding dress. Eek! This is a memory that makes me giddy just thinking about it. In June, I invited a couple of my friends and family members to join me in shopping for a wedding dress. I really didn’t expect to find one on this trip and thought we’d mostly just be shopping for the fun of it, but low and behold I found my dress! We went out to lunch afterwords to celebrate, and it was just such a fun day with the women who mean so much to me.

8. Spent a weekend touring wedding venues, and had an amazing night in Cambridge, MD, with my mom and stepdad. Thinking back to this weekend always brings a smile to my face. Soon after Fabio and I got engaged, we scheduled visits with a bunch of wedding venues on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and invited some of our family members to come along. We spent the day on Saturday visiting two beautiful wedding venues (see recaps of those here) and then my mom, stepdad, Fabio and I stayed at an adorable bed and breakfast in Cambridge, MD. We wound up going out to dinner at a fun wine and cheese spot, and then bar hopping a bit throughout the cute little town. The evening ended in a bar with live music, and we had such a blast drinking and dancing with my parents. I remember having a bad headache the next day (oy) but it was worth it to have such a fun night. Then on Sunday we visited three more wedding venues, including the one we wound up going with! It was such a fun and memorable weekend.

7. Shopped for bridesmaids dresses, and had an amazing birthday brunch celebration afterword. During the weekend that I planned to celebrate my birthday, I invited my bridesmaids to come into town to try on dresses, and then coordinated a boozy brunch for us all after. We started off our morning at Bella Bridesmaids (highly recommend!), everyone ordered their dresses, and then we spent the rest of the day eating, drinking, and having fun! What a blast!

I also have to mention that my friends Catrina and Britt stayed with me for a few days leading up to this weekend, which was also so much fun. It brought me back to our college days!

6. Met Fabio’s extended family in Colombia, and had them teach me how to salsa dance (among other things). Visiting Colombia earlier this year was such a blast, and I still can’t get over how welcoming Fabio’s extended family was. While we had a really nice time exploring Medellin (touring a coffee farm was really cool, as was seeing Penol & Guatape), the highlight for me was the weekend that we spent in a huge finca (farm house) with all of Fabio’s relatives. While there, we hosted a big party celebrating our engagement and Fabio’s sister and brother-in-law’s one year anniversary. That party was a BLAST and I loved learning to salsa dance with everyone. I wish we could go back and do it all over again!

5. Continuing on with the Colombia theme, I loved visiting the beautiful city of Cartagena with Fabio’s family and our good friends Jojo and Jadd! Cartagena was a beautiful place, and we had a blast going on a boat tour, exploring an old fort, and going out to the bars with our friends to watch a Colombia soccer game. What an amazing experience! There was lots of salsa dancing in Cartagena too, haha!

4. Started a new job. This year I made a big move for my career and switched to a new job with a higher salary, bigger responsibilities, and a fancy new title. I’m still doing what I love – communications and PR for a health-focused nonprofit – but this was a big switch for me and has been challenging and rewarding so far. I know this move was the right thing to do and I am so grateful the opportunity I’ve been given. Now I just have to keep grinding!

3 and 2. Celebrated two amazing engagement parties. Where do I even begin with these? First Aunt CC and Uncle Steve threw us an incredible engagement party in NYC in April, and then my mom and stepdad threw us a second one in July. I can’t even begin to express how thankful I am for their generosity. Both of these parties were some of the best memories I have – EVER! – and I am so appreciative of my family.

1. Bought a house. Eeeek!! Yep, the biggest highlight for me in 2016 was becoming a homeowner! Fabio and I are so happy (and lucky) to own a 2.5 bedroom, 2 bathroom, town house in the heart of Ballston, just two blocks from the metro. It’s a big responsibility and needs a bit of work, but we’re up to the challenge! Yay!

Phew! What a year, right? Geez, when did I become such an adult?

If nothing else, these posts always remind me what an incredible life I have, and encourage me to spend a few minutes every day being grateful. Thank you to all of you who have been a part of it!!

Question of the day: What was the highlight of your 2016?

 Posted by on January 6, 2017
Jan 032017
 

Hi friends! Happy 2017! I hope you all had a wonderful New Years. As I’m sure you noticed, I decided to take some time off from the blog last week to enjoy a bit of a holiday break. It was really nice to take a break, but today I’m back at it with the rest of my holiday recaps.

When we last left off, Fabio and I were driving from New York down to my grandparents’ house on the Eastern Shore for Christmas Eve celebrations! We always spend Christmas Eve at my grandparents’ house, and it’s definitely one of my favorite holiday traditions. We arrived around 3:15 p.m. to their festive home!

This scene was especially cozy after such a dreary/rainy/traffic-filled car ride. Yuck! I’ll take one cozy fire and a glass of wine, please!

Once we arrived, we spent some time catching up with everyone and chatting about Christmas festivities. Fabio and I decided to play Santa’s elves again and pass out fun Christmas hats, headbands, and ugly sweaters. Having this bag of holiday costumes makes Christmas so much more fun! I think we’re going to make this a new tradition. 🙂

My sister & me!

Even Jack got in on the action with his Christmas tie! There was also a set of doggy reindeer antlers, but he took those off after about 2.5 seconds. Haha!

After having some snacks and wine, it was time to open presents! My sister is 11 this year, which means Christmas is still basically the best thing ever. She was definitely excited to open her presents from Grandma and Grandpa!

She also handed out the presents to the rest of us.

Fabio and I both wound up getting some really nice gifts, and we had a nice time handing them out to my grandparents as well. So fun!

Then it was time for dinner!

We enjoyed a Thanksgiving-esque menu, which is always one of my favorite meals. We had turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, green beans, and roasted veggies! Plus warm rolls from the oven. Yum.

For dessert, we had Grandma’s famous chocolate chip cookies and slices of a festive cheesecake that Fabio and I had brought from New York. Everything was delicious!

After dinner everyone was pretty tired – Jack included – so we decided it was time to hit the road and head over to my dad’s house where we planned to spend the night.

It was a wonderful Christmas Eve at my grandparents’ house!

Christmas Day

When we woke up at my dad’s house on Christmas day, we saw that Santa had come!

We all got lots of great presents, and Fabio was particularly psyched with the half-zip sweaters he received since he basically lives in them during the winter.

Meanwhile, I got some new clothes and some fun stuff for our wedding and honeymoon! Santa was good to us. 🙂

After opening up presents and eating breakfast, my sister and I sat down to do some coloring while we watched the Disney parade on TV. My dad got us each a coloring book and a set of colored pencils. It was so fun and relaxing!

Eventually it was time to pack up our gear and move on to our next stop: my mom’s house! (Luckily it’s only about 10 minutes away from my dad’s house, but it was still a lot of driving around for just a couple of days).

My mom and stepdad typically host a big open house every year on Christmas, and we got there a bit early to exchange gifts before the rest of the guests arrived.

Later on, one of my best friends, Hana, arrived! She was in town for the holidays and had a spare moment to stop by. 🙂

Throughout the day guests continued to drop by, and it wound up being a really fun day! Fabio and I spent the night at my mom’s, and then drove back to Arlington the next day.

Christmas through New Years

The days after Christmas were pretty quiet on this front; I had a lot of work to do but luckily I was able to do it all from home. On Friday Fabio was allowed to work from home too, so my view looked something like this…

Haha!

I did get some in fitness action in with an Urban Athletic Club class with Anne via ClassPass! (<– affiliate link for $30 off!)

Anne and I wound up being the only two people in class that day (it was rainy and a lot of people were probably still out of town for the holiday) so our instructor was able to get lots of good pictures for us. 🙂

The first class back after the holidays is always a hard one, and Anne and I were feeling it by the end. Phew!

When it came time for New Years, Fabio and I laid low at home. We were originally supposed to go up to Aunt CC and Uncle Steve’s house in Massachusetts for the holiday, but poor CC sprained her ankle, had a weird allergic reaction that caused a lot of pain in her eye, AND got some kind of stomach bug/the flu. Can you believe it? What bad luck. Poor thing. We decided to go up for MLK weekend instead, and enjoyed a quiet New Year’s Eve on the couch.

After all the traveling we did for Christmas, it was actually really nice to ring in 2017 from the comfort of our home. 🙂

Of course the next morning I woke up with a fire under my butt to put away every single Christmas decoration. I just can’t stand having them up past New Years! Anyone else like that?

And now I think we’re all caught up!

Question of the day: Would you rather spend New Years at home or out at a party/club?

 Posted by on January 3, 2017
Dec 142016
 

Holiday gift guides seem to be popping up online every day now, and I always love browsing through them. Truthfully, my favorite guides to read are the ones geared toward women with similar interests as me–that way I (selfishly) know what to ask for! 🙂 And while the clock is definitely ticking, there’s still some time to get something special for the fitness-loving, foodie, female in your life (how’d you like that alliteration, eh?).

So, here are some of my favorite holiday gift ideas this season!

holidaygiftguidecet2016

Gift card for a fitness class or studio

Last year my Aunt CC and Uncle Steve got me a two-month gift certificate to ClassPass (<–affiliate link for $30 off!) which was just the best! Having a membership to ClassPass is something that makes me so incredibly happy, so this gift went over great for me.

This year I’m asking for a gift certificate to CorePower Yoga since their classes aren’t on ClassPass as much these days. They have a great deal right now where $100 gift certificates only cost $80!

Festive Jewelry

I always enjoy a little something sparkly around the holidays (and, let’s be honest, all times of the year). I’ve gotten some really fun sparkly statement necklaces as gifts in the past (Francesca’s has a great selection and they aren’t as pricey as some others you’ll find) and I find myself turning to them time and time again during the holidays!

I also love all things Kate Spade, and I think their sparkly studs that come in a bunch of colors are really fun.

katespadestuds

Wintery Clothing

This time of year I feel like you can never have enough cozy sweaters in your life! This year I’m loving the longer cardigans, kimonos and vests that drape down, and I’ve seen a ton of affordable ones — some with fun aztec prints! — at places like TJ Maxx, Marshalls and Target.

Here’s a fun vest I saw online at Francesca’s!

vest

Psst – this is a steal compared to similar versions sold at Anthropologie!

Fitness Apparel

Come on, you knew this would be on my list right? 😉 I ask for new fitness gear every year and usually take this opportunity to ask for something a little bit nicer quality than I would typically buy for myself.

This year I’m loving these tights from Athleta and this jacket from Lululemon.

athletapants lululemonzipup

This is something I would use every day and is a little bit more of a splurge than I would get for myself. It’s a perfect holiday gift!

New Training Shoes

Similar to workout apparel, I think new training shoes would make a great gift! I rarely buy myself new running shoes or cross-training shoes, so when someone buys me new ones that’s pretty much the only time I replace them. (Unless they are seriously worn down, in which case I will procrastinate as long as possible before buying new ones.)

I’m loving the Nike Women’s Flyknits right now and think they would be great for all the bootcamp classes I take! Plus they come in lots of fun colors.

flyknits

Something Personal

The end of 2015 and all of 2016 were big years for me personally–from getting engaged last Christmas to buying a house in July–so a personalized gift with some of these milestones would mean a lot to me. I actually recently bought myself this ornament from Etsy to remember our first Christmas in our house, and I think a personalized wedding ornament or memento could make a great gift.

ornament

While Etsy is obviously a good place to look, there are lots of other places online to find gifts too! I was actually recently contacted by the folks at Uncommon Gifts, and I was surprised by the amount of truly unique personalized gifts I found on their website. In particular I’m loving this tote bag with a personalized picture of your pet on it. If anyone wants to get me one with Jack’s picture on the front I won’t mind a bit! 😉 I actually wound up crossing two people off my list this year with personalized gifts from this site, but I can’t post them here because they both read the blog! 🙂

Some of the stuff on that site is a bit out there, but some of it’s really great too. I think it would be especially helpful if you’re stumped on what to get a boyfriend or husband–I never know what to buy for boys!

Question of the day: How much holiday shopping have you done?

I only have three measly gifts so far…looks like I need to get on it!

*Disclaimer: This post was not sponsored in any way and all opinions are my own. Some affiliate links are included. I also received two free gifts from Uncommon Goods in exchange for a review of their site.*

 Posted by on December 14, 2016