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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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

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

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

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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.

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

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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!)

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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!

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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!

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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. 🙂

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

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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.

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

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Woohoo!!

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The happy couple. 🙂

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!!

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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
Aug 182017
 

At 3:06 a.m. on Wednesday, August 16, my adorable nephew Michael Leon was born!

Side note: Look at all that hair!!

He weighed a whopping 9.6 pounds, which is crazy considering Fabio’s sister Diane is so tiny.

Mom, dad, and baby are all doing well, and I’m hoping I’ll get to meet this little cutie over the weekend!

Congratulations, Diane and Alex!

(Some photos “with Michael” from the wedding :). )

I’m going to keep the rest of this week’s highlights short since I spent my Thursday night at Sibarita eating delicious Bolivian food with Fabio’s cousin Ligia and her boyfriend Sean instead of taking time to really sit down and blog.

It was a fun night with a much-needed margarita after a tough week at work. Cheers!

Some other quick highlights from the week: We had an amazing salad for dinner on Monday night complete with grilled nectarines, sweet corn, goat cheese, chicken sausage, mixed greens, and arugula.

I am loving summer produce right now!

We also had some chicken burgers with a side salad, which also came out delicious. Yum!

And after visiting Aunt CC and Uncle Steve in Otis last weekend, I enjoyed some of the homemade lemon biscotti they sent me home with in my coffee! It wasn’t an every day treat this week, but it was an almost every day one. 🙂

And I will leave you with this fun sign that I saw in the entrance of Next Phase Studio where I completed a fun bootcamp workout this week:

“Can we be your happy place?” Why yes, yes you can! 🙂

The end. Happy Friday!

Question of the day: For those of you with nieces and nephews, tell me how old they are!

 Posted by on August 18, 2017
Aug 142017
 

This past weekend, Fabio, Jack, and I drove up to Aunt CC and Uncle Steve’s house in Otis, Massachusetts (in the Berkshires) for a weekend of fun in the sun! We were joined by my friends Hana and Britt, which made the trip extra amazing.

Here are some scenes from the weekend, with a few notes of commentary here and there. 🙂

We hit the road on Thursday evening after work!

After a long car ride, we arrived in Otis to quite the welcome spread!

We stayed up until around 4 a.m. before throwing in the towel. We were exhausted.

Friday

We slept in a bit on Friday and then had breakfast outside. I made this lemon blueberry “bread” (aka – cake) and it was fantastic!

My plate:

Then it was time for some fun!

Water activities are the best. 🙂

We recently bought this life vest for Jack so we don’t have to worry about him when he jumps off the kayak or paddle board in the middle of the lake. It worked perfectly!

Steve took Jack on his kayak, and the rest of us used the stand-up paddle boards. Poor Fabio had to work on Friday so he stayed at the house, and Britt didn’t arrive until Friday evening. (That pesky day job.)

But the rest of us had fun!

After paddle boarding, we hung out in the back yard enjoying the sunshine and playing lots of lawn games.

Jack wanted to join us in playing bocce. 🙂

Steve was on cocktail duty and made us some amazing concoctions!

Later in the afternoon, the sky began to look a little ominous so we moved our games inside. Steve showed us how to play Gobblet, and we were all instantly addicted.

Once Britt arrived, it was dinner time!

We called it a night around 1 a.m. after playing lots more board games. We were pooped!

Saturday

Saturday morning started off pretty gray and cold, so we huddled inside and went through our wedding pictures together! Then we made a stop at the farmer’s market.

Lunch featured wraps on the deck, and then we headed off for a four-mile hike!

Which of course, meant more swimming for Jack.

The sun was fully out by the time we got back to the house, so we put on our swimsuits and headed over to the lake.

We spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out at the house playing lots and lots more games.

The games didn’t stop when the sun went down – night time bocce, kan-jam, and badminton for the win!

We finished up the evening sitting around the fire pit and called it a night around 1:45 a.m. (Dinner was also in there somewhere, but I was too busy having fun to take any pics!)

Sunday

We stuck around for breakfast on Sunday before packing up to head home.

It was a long drive, but the fun weekend was worth it!

The end.

Question of the day: What’s your favorite game?

 Posted by on August 14, 2017
Aug 102017
 

Hey friends! I’m dropping by today with six random things that are on my mind. 🙂

1. We are heading out of town again this weekend, this time for another fun weekend getaway up at Aunt CC and Uncle Steve’s place in Otis, MA. It’s a long, 6.5 hour drive, but it’s always so fun once we get up there. We have a couple of friends joining us this time, so I wanted to bring a couple of treats up with us so CC and Steve don’t spend the whole weekend slaving away over food. I wound up making this Mediterranean Farro Salad and this Lemon Blueberry Bread. The lemon blueberry bread in particular looks amazing, and I can’t wait to dig into it! Woohooo!! Otis weekends are the best.

2. Our wedding pictures are ready!!!!! Eeek!! I got the email from our photographer in the middle of the work day, and it was all I could do not to tear through them right away. Luckily I waited until I got home so Fabio and I could enjoy going through them together. They came out so beautifully and now I’m trying to figure out what to do with them all! I’m thinking I’ll wait until Shutterfly or one of those sites has a sale, and then I’ll make some albums for family and order a few prints. Any recommendations? Here’s one sneak peek for you guys…

3. And now that our wedding pictures are ready, I can get working on the wedding blog recaps! I still have one last honeymoon post to write, and then I’ll dive into all things wedding. It was such a fun, magical weekend, and I want to make sure I capture it all perfectly! It’s going to take some time, but I can’t wait to share it with you all.

4. Speaking of blog posts, I’m finding it harder and harder to find the time to sit down and write here on CET. Work and life have both been really busy, and I’ve always wanted writing in this space to be something I look forward to doing, or get to do, and I don’t ever want it to feel like an obligation. Some days I think, “Oh man, I have to get a blog post up today,” and then I think, “Wait, I don’t have to do anything.” I’m not planning on changing my posting schedule drastically or anything like that, but I wanted to let you guys know how I was feeling and just give you a heads up that some days there might be a post, and some days there might not. That’s just sort of how life is working out for me right now.

5. We didn’t make it to the grocery store last weekend, so our dinners have sort of been all over the place. We used up a lot of random produce we had in the fridge from last week, and I’ve made a bunch of weird thrown-together meals that actually came out pretty tasty. Last night, for example, I made us a pasta dish with leftover roasted carrots, corn salad, and Peruvian chicken, and somehow it all tasted great together once I mixed up a random dressing to tie it all together. Hey, whatever works!

6. Workouts have been pretty good so far this week, with a short run on Monday, a spin class at FlyWheel on Tuesday, a sculpt class at CorePower yoga on Wednesday, and a bootcamp class at Urban Athletic Club planned for tomorrow (it’s Wednesday as I write this). Plus I’m sure I’ll probably get in some fun activities this weekend in Otis as well!

Aaaaand there you have it – six random thoughts in my head this morning. I hope you all have a wonderful Thursday!

Question of the day: What’s your dinner go-to when you haven’t been to the grocery store?

 Posted by on August 10, 2017
Jul 052017
 

Fabio and I spent an amazing weekend with my Aunt CC and Uncle Steve at their house in Otis, Massachusetts, but unfortunately we found out some sad news on Sunday night which definitely put a damper on the trip. Fabio’s grandfather, who we call Abuelo, passed away on Sunday at the age of 93.

Fabio’s grandfather lives in Bolivia, and I am so incredibly thankful that we were able to make a trip down there in 2014 to meet him. Though he’s lived in Bolivia for quite some time now, he lived with Fabio and his family for a while when Fabio was growing up, so they had a pretty close relationship.

I am so sad for Fabio and his family right now, but I know that Abuelo lived a long, happy life surrounded by people who love him. He wasn’t sick and didn’t suffer much – he was only in the hospital for two days before passing. Fabio is on his way down to Bolivia right now for the funeral (I wasn’t able to take more time off work since we just returned from the honeymoon), and I am sending all of my love down there with him. Rest in peace, Abuelo!

Despite the sad news about Abuelo, we still had a really nice weekend in Massachusetts. Here’s my recap!

Friday

Fabio and I drove up to Massachusetts after work on Friday evening. We had a few pit stops to make first, so we didn’t really get on the highway until around 8:30 p.m.

At that point, we had a scary driving incident about 10 minutes into our drive – we narrowly avoided hitting a small deer, only to have car next to us clip it and send it flying into my passenger door, which left a nice dent, made a loud boom, and scared the crap out of us. Thank goodness it didn’t have antlers or it would have shattered the window for sure. It was definitely scary!

After that, the rest of our 6.5-hour drive was uneventful, and we arrived at 3:00 in the morning. We spent a few minutes chatting with CC and Steve over wine and late-night snacks before crawling into bed. The birds were chirping and the sun was starting to rise when we fell asleep!

Saturday

We slept in until about 10 a.m. on Saturday, and then enjoyed a nice breakfast at CC and Steve’s house. I just love it here!

The weather wasn’t looking too great on Saturday and we had afternoon plans to attend a concert at Tanglewood, so we stayed close to home during the day. The boys played a bunch of lawn games (kan jam, horseshoes, and a golf chipping game they made up) while CC and I lounged on the deck enjoying the intermittent sunshine, and crossing our fingers that the rain would stay away for just a little longer.

Eventually, it was time to head out for the concert! We drove over to the town of Lenox, MA, for some dinner before the concert, and then headed to the venue, Tanglewood. This concert venue is super popular for the Berkshires, so we’d been dying to check it out ever since CC and Steve bought a house here a few years ago.

It was drizzling when we arrived, so we were glad we had tickets under the “shed” area, which is the covered section of the venue.

There were plenty of people with lawn seats who were stuck out in the elements, but most of them looked pretty prepared with lots of umbrellas! The good thing about Tanglewood is that you can bring in your own coolers with alcohol and snacks, so it was really cool to see some of the elaborate set-ups. Some people even had tables, chairs, and candelabras!

We didn’t bring a cooler ourselves because we knew you weren’t allowed to bring them into the shed area, so we enjoyed some beers in a designated area of the concert venue. Cheers!

We also walked over to see the beautiful Stockbridge Bowl, which is a big lake with some beautiful rolling hills around it. It was pretty hard to see through the mist, but you could tell it was beautiful!

Then it was concert time! We wound up seeing John Mellencamp on Saturday evening, and I really enjoyed hearing his classic hits like Jack and Diane, Hurts So Good, and Pink Houses.

He did an amazing job and was a really great performer! His band really killed it too, especially the female violinist. Wow!

When we got home, we had some late-night dessert of homemade peanut butter pie courtesy of CC.

Yum!!

Then the boys played a bunch of games downstairs (per usual) before we all called it a night.

Sunday

CC and Steve had two friends coming down on Sunday, so we went to the nearby diner for a quick breakfast and then spent some time getting the house ready for the day ahead.

When their friends arrived at a little past noon, we got the kayaks and paddleboards ready for an afternoon on the lake!

CC and Steve’s friends brought their adorable lab Ellie along for the trip (we sadly left Jack with my mom this time) and she even went on the kayak!

It was SUCH a beautiful afternoon on the lake with perfect temperatures and plenty of sunshine, and we wore ourselves out paddling around for a couple of hours.

When we got back to the house, we enjoyed a lovely happy hour on the deck!

It was around this time that Fabio got the call about his grandfather, so we stepped away from the festivities for a while so he could talk to his family members and coordinate his trip to Bolivia. It was a much more subdued night for us after that, but when we were ready to rejoin the group we enjoyed a delicious dinner of BBQ chicken, ribs, corn, and squash salad. Everyone was very understanding and sympathetic to Fabio, and I’m glad we had them there for extra support.

Monday

Monday morning was another beautiful day in Otis!

We all decided we wanted to go on an early morning bike ride, so we got ourselves ready to go and hit the road! I borrowed CC’s mountain bike, and though it was pretty challenging to keep up with the rest of the group who were all on road bikes, I think I did a pretty good job!

The views were gorgeous as well, and I enjoyed checking out all the lakes and ponds that we passed.

This was my first time riding a bike while being clipped in (other than on a stationary bike), so it took me some time to practice clipping out before stopping, but eventually I got the hang of it. I’m sure I’ll get better with practice too!

We wound up covering 20 miles (well, 19.9, which drove CC and me crazy) before heading back to the house.

At this point I did some work for a while, and then later in the afternoon we headed out for some more stand up paddle-boarding and kayaking!

We took it easier on Monday and spent more time relaxing and soaking up the sun on our boards compared to the more strenuous paddling from the day before. Ellie came again, and rode in the car with us on the way back.

In the afternoon, we had another concert at Tanglewood on the agenda (like I said, it’s a big summertime thing to do out in the Berkshires!), this time to see James Taylor. We stopped for dinner in Lenox again and enjoyed a nice meal outside at Firefly.

CC and I both ordered the white peach sangria, which was quite delicious.

And we got a bunch of appetizers to share for the table. Yum!

For my entree, I got a salad made with arugula, goat cheese, blueberries, strawberries, pistachios, and lobster, with a side order of truffle fries for good measure. 🙂 It was such a fun way to kick off the evening!

Then it was concert time! The Stockbridge Bowl was looking much prettier than it did on Saturday, now that the skies were clear.

We also brought a cooler and a picnic blanket this time, which meant we could enjoy our beverages right on the lawn.

The whole group of us!

The vibe for this concert at Tanglewood was really fun with lots of families picnicking, drinking, and playing lawn games. James Taylor performs every July 4 weekend at Tanglewood, and, according to Steve, it’s basically a Berkshires right of passage to go see him. There were tons of families who clearly come to the concert every year, and Fabio and I thought this would make a really fun tradition. We hope we can go back next year!

When it was time for the concert, we moved our cooler over to a spot near our seats (which were under the shed again) and we picked a spot that was also close to the bathrooms and the exit. Excellent game plan!

Though we couldn’t take our cooler or our drinks into the shed, we chose a spot under a tree that was pretty inconspicuous, and no one wound up stealing it or anything while we were at our seats. During the intermission we all came out to enjoy another drink, which worked out perfectly!

Truthfully James Taylor is not my favorite performer – I think his music is a little slow – but we had such a fun time at the concert anyway! I would absolutely go back next year; the atmosphere is just so fun!!

Tuesday

On Tuesday morning we left Otis by 7:30 a.m. since we had a long drive ahead of us. We made it home in the early afternoon and then I dropped Fabio off at the airport. Now I’m working on this post and trying to decide if I feel like venturing out amidst the crowds to watch any fireworks. I’m thinking watching them at home on TV in my PJs is sounding like a better option after this busy weekend! 🙂

Question(s) of the day: How often do you go to concerts? Do you like watching fireworks?

 Posted by on July 5, 2017
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