Hey friends! How was your week? I’m sorry I didn’t get my act together to get a real post up this week (other than my weekend recap). I started pulling together another honeymoon post that I wanted to schedule for Wednesday, but it took me a long time just to get the photos together, and by the time I was done with that I ran out of time and energy to write anything. Next week!
Work should also be much slower next week – two of the big projects that have been stressing me out and keeping me in the office late wrapped up this week – so I should have more time and energy to sit down and blog in the evenings. Woohoo!
As for today, I am heading off to Fire Island this evening for a weekend with my college girlfriends!
This is a trip my friends (aka, sloppytown) plan every year, but I haven’t been able to go for the last couple of years due to weddings and being out of town. I’m so excited to get out there again this year!
And even though I can’t wait to relax on the beach (and am praying for good weather — it looks kinda crappy right now…), what I’m most looking forward to is sitting around with my friends and just catching up. I feel like I barely got to talk to them during the wedding!
I’ll be arriving back into town late on Sunday night, so we’ll have to see how much energy I have for posting right away. You know I’ll get to it eventually, and I thank you for your patience! 🙂
Question of the day: Do you have any kind of annual trips with your friends?
Hi friends! This past weekend I spent two nights in a large house with 12 of my best college girlfriends in Fire Island, NY.
Fire Island is a long narrow island south of Long Island that is only accessible by ferry. There are no cars allowed on the ferry or island (except for the occasional golf cart), so it has a great beach town vibe.
To get to the ferry, my other DC-residing friends Megan and Mia took a 6:30 am Amtrak train with me to Penn Station, NYC, and then a 10:22 am Long Island Railroad train into Long Island. We met up with a few of our NYC-residing friends at Penn Station and a bunch of us took the journey together out into Long Island. From there we had to take a shuttle to the ferry, and then the ferry to the island. Phew!
The whole journey took quite some time (we finally arrived at around 12:45 pm) but being with friends made it manageable. We wound up taking up a huge part of the ferry!
Once we arrived on Fire Island, we had to lug the nearly $700 worth of groceries we had shipped over on a freight ferry to the house. You need a lot of food to feed 12 hungry girls for a long weekend!
From there we quickly dropped everything off, made some sandwiches, and hit the beach! It was a gorgeous day and we didn’t want to waste one minute of it.
The beach was just as beautiful as I remembered from last year, and I had a blast soaking up the sunshine next to so many of my best friends. It had been forever since we had all been together, but it was like no time had passed at all. We had really great conversations that ranged from the serious (work, family, & life) to the not-so-serious (food, books, & boys)
Although we normally go to Ocean Beach in Fire Island, this year we walked a little further to get to a part of the beach where snacks and alcoholic beverages were allowed. Although it was annoying to lug a giant cooler to the beach, it was so worth it to have snacks like cold grapes & strawberries, sandwiches, and an ice cold Coronas with lime. Ahhh.
This part of the beach also allowed dogs to be off their leashes, which I loved. I obviously tried making friends with all of them 🙂
As the sun sank in the sky, we headed back to our beach house for snacks and drinks. We had a great outdoor deck which was perfect for seating our large group.
From there we spent a few hours snacking on pita chips, hummus, and a delicious homemade feta dip (thanks, Britt!) while everyone took turns showering in the two indoor and one outdoor shower (I just love those outdoor showers at the beach). We often played Catch Phrase or just spent this time laughing with one another. It was easily one of my favorite parts of the day.
Once everyone was done showering we started pulling dinner together, which was phenomenal.
The first night we had grilled chicken with Caesar salad and pasta salad, and the second night we had hotdogs/hamburgers with potato salad and strawberry salad. So delicious!
After dinner we hung around outside for a bit longer before eventually moving inside for an inevitable dance party in the living room.
A dance party is pretty much guaranteed with this group 😉
We had such a fun evening having girl time in the house, before we eventually migrated to the fun Fire Island bars.
Such a perfect first day!
Saturday was almost identical to Friday except without all the travel in the morning. Woohoo!
We all woke up and headed to the local shop for iced coffee and breakfast sandwiches around 10:00 am. After making our snacks and sandwiches for the day, we headed back to the beach! Our towels and chairs were all set up by around 11:30 am, and the rest of the day was spent ocean-side.
Once again we had great weather, and it even got hot enough for us to frolic in the waves some. It was another perfect beach day.
This day unfolded much like Friday with snacks and drinks after the beach, then a delicious dinner, then some games outside.
Earlier in the day our friendly neighbors had stopped by to invite us all to their pregame. We headed next door at around 10:00 pm and had a good time getting to know some new people our age. Later in the evening we all headed to the bars together and had another great night dancing the night away!
Megan and I set our alarms for 9:00 am on Sunday so we could squeeze in a little more time at the beach before our long trek back to Arlington. We packed up our stuff beforehand and were able to get a decent amount of beach time in before we had to leave. We wound up taking the 12:30 pm ferry back to Long Island, and from there we went through our shuttle, train, bus saga all over again. It was a really long travel day but we made sure to have some tasty treats to keep us happy.
New York pizza and Fire Island crumb cake, FTW!
(BTW this crumb cake was so ridiculously buttery and sugary that we could only eat a little at a time. It wound up lasting us the whole trip back, and I even had some last night with Fabio after dinner. It’s so good!)
Megan and I returned to Arlington around 8:45 on Sunday night, which honestly wasn’t too bad. Of course by then I was so tired from our journey that I barely had enough energy left to unpack- not to mention blog- but that’s ok. It was well worth it for such a phenomenal weekend with my friends.
Question of the day: Do you bring snacks to the beach and/or on long journeys? What are your favorites?
I am officially back after a whirlwind weekend at the beach with some of my best girlfriends.
As I mentioned to you guys on Friday, I opted to use one of my last vacation days (tear) on a fabulous trip to Fire Island in New York. I’d never been to Fire Island before, but my friend Megan’s family rents a house there each year. She invited me last year as well as the year before, but for one reason or another I have never been able to attend. This year I was determined to participate in the fun weekend at the beach and I’m so glad I did!
Fire Island is a quaint beach town off the coast of Long Island. There are no cars allowed on the island and you have to get there by ferry. Because there are no cars on the island at all, the deer are super friendly and really brave.
A few of them came right up to me, and I totally could have reached out to pet them had my friends not lectured me on the dangers of petting wild animals. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I hear ‘ya. My friends are clearly not as obsessed with animals as I am haha.
Anyway, last time we chatted I was hanging out on the sand enjoying the most fabulous beach day. It was sunny, breezy, and absolutely perfect for soaking up rays. We spent the afternoon lounging in our beach chairs, catching up on life, and frolicking in the ocean (though the water was pretty cold, so we didn’t stay in too long).
Once the sun started to get lower in the sky we made our way to the beach house Megan’s family rented for the week. Megan’s mom Eileen is such a fantastic hostess and set up tons of snacks for us to munch on.
The cooler was also fully-stocked with beers and sodas, and the occasional pina colada came our way as well 😉 We wound up spending the rest of the afternoon playing Catch Phrase (you know how my friends love Catch Phrase), listening to good music, and just chatting about life. Most of these girls live in NYC and I haven’t seen some of them since May so it was great to see them all.
A little bit later in the evening we showered up and changed for dinner, which was delicious! Megan’s family did a great job cooking for all of us and everything we had to eat was fantastic.
Here I am with Britt! You can see we are a little sunburned…
After dinner the drinks kept flowing and we continued chatting and goofing around 🙂
Here I am with my two sorority sisters, Britt and Kristen!
Here are Kristen and Megan!
Some of the group 🙂
The house Megan’s family rented was pretty huge and a bunch of their family friends stayed there on Friday night as well. It wound up being quite crowded, but in a fun family way. Coming from a very small family myself (I don’t have many cousins and I grew up as an only child) it was really nice to spend so much time with Megan’s family and family friends.
We finished up the evening at a local bar in town and had a fabulous time. I love these girls.
Unfortunately Saturday morning wound up being rainy and cold. The girls and I went into town and did a little shopping, and Britt and I decided we really needed some neon Fire Island sweatshirts as souvenirs.
Nothing better than a cozy sweatshirt on a chilly day! Despite being a little grumpy about the rain, it was still nice to be in such good company 🙂
A little bit later we headed back to the house where we relaxed for a bit and hung out with Megan’s little cousins. Britt is a trooper, haha.
Around 1:00 pm it stopped raining but was still pretty overcast for the beach, so we broke out the beer pong tables instead. Gotta love a little BP action!
We were all feeling a little silly and giddy, so we took some goofy/awkward pictures.
Eventually around 3:30 it cleared up a lot so we headed back to the beach! I’m really glad we were able to get a little beach time in, even if it was only a couple of hours.
Once the sun started going down, we headed back to the house for dinner. It was very similar to the night before in that we drank some cocktails, played Catch Phrase, and ate a delicious dinner.
We tried (unsuccessfully) to get a group picture.
One of my favorite parts of the night was when we went around the circle and basically said our favorite things about each person. My friends and I often to little activities like this when we are drinking (e.g., what is your happiest memory ever, what do you love about this person, etc.) and it’s a really nice opportunity to just express our appreciation for each other. It’s not very often that people express their feelings so openly like this, so I think it’s a great little tradition we have. Sometimes it’s just so nice to hear what people love about you!
We also did a little silly dancing at the table. Ah well, so you can’t be serious all the time!
Then we went to the bar again and had another fun evening out!
Sunday was a beautiful day, however I spent the majority of it travelling back to DC and didn’t get to enjoy the weather much. I started by taking the 9:45 ferry back to Bay Shore, where I caught a shuttle and then got on a train. Then Fabio picked me up from the train station (he had been staying with his family in Queens) and then we drove back home.
On the way home we stopped in Manhattan to pick up Fabio’s sister, who was visiting from Baltimore. When we got to the place where she was eating, she asked us if we could wait a few more minutes so she could finish up her meal. This was just fine with us since we just happened to be about two blocks away from Fabio’s friend Hayden’s apartment. We brought Jack with us into his building, but Jack wasn’t allowed on the lobby floor – Fabio had to carry him! Haha it was such a funny and awkward sight- I guess those buildings aren’t used to big dogs!
Eventually we made it home by around 9:00 pm and I was pooped. What a fun weekend!
Question of the day: Have you ever gone on vacation with a big family? Have you ever been to Fire Island?
As I mentioned, I’m in Fire Island today with my friends, but I wanted to stop in with a quick work update!
As you know, I work for the American Diabetes Association on their Strategic Communications/PR team, and recently I’ve been spending a lot of time working on a joint campaign with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), American Medical Association (AMA), and the Ad Council to help raise awareness of prediabetes.
What is prediabetes, you ask? It’s when someone is at risk for developing type 2 diabetes but they’re not quite there yet. So maybe they are overweight, don’t exercise, and have a family history of diabetes. That will put you a risk! Sadly, there are 84 million Americans at risk for type 2 diabetes, which comes out to about 1 in 3. Wow!
Anyway, I just wanted to pop in to share some fun PSA videos I helped to create as part of the campaign. They’re really fun and feature hedgehogs, baby goats, and puppies, while also helping people learn if they’re at risk!
The videos are below – feel free to share them! For more information about the campaign, you can visit DoIHavePrediabetes.org. Enjoy!
Question of the day: Do you know someone who might be at risk for type 2 diabetes? If so, please send them these videos!
Hey friends! How was your week? I hope it went by quickly for you!
My workouts this week were just kind of meh – I took a bootcamp class, a spin class, and went for a couple of runs with Jack – but it was nothing too exciting and I didn’t feel super energized about them this week so I didn’t feel like dedicating a whole post to recapping them today.
Instead, I thought maybe we could casually catch up over a virtual coffee date! It’s been a while since I just blogged about whatever random thought crossed my mind, and I’ve missed chatting with you all!
1. Although it’s been super hot this week, I’ve still been drinking hot coffee instead of iced. Although I love iced coffee, I don’t love freezing in my office’s air conditioning and drinking iced coffee makes me ten times colder. Every day this week the temperatures have been around 90 degrees or more with humidity, but I’m always SO cold in my office! The other day I put two sweaters on and then put a blanket scarf over my legs. Ugh!! Anyone else freezing to death during the day?
2. I’ve been drinking a bit more wine that I usually do in the evenings, and although a daily glass of wine is not a good habit to slip into, it’s just so refreshing on a hot summer night, especially when we are sitting outside grilling! I don’t think I had a glass every night this week, but it was probably three or four nights. Oh well. Cheers to summer!
3. When meal planning this week, I relied heavily on the recipes I found in Giant’s Savory Magazine, and they were all awesome! I know I’ve mentioned this magazine on the blog a time ro two before, but it really is so great that it’s worth another mention. Giant, our local grocery store chain (I think Stop N Shop is the same company), issues its Savory magazine every month or two, and each issue is filled with seasonal, mostly healthy recipe ideas, and tons of coupons.
So for example, there will be a recipe for something like tacos, and then usually it will include a coupon for the tortillas. Amazing! The magazine is free with a Giant card, but I usually just grab one from the stand on my way out the door and don’t have to show my card or enter my phone number.
Here’s a peek at some of the meals we cooked up from the magazine this week…
All of the recipes were really tasty, and I especially enjoyed the cucumber sauce on the turkey burgers and the spice rub for the chicken thighs. Yum! I can’t wait to see what recipes come in next month’s issue of the magazine. 🙂
4. Now that the wedding is over, I’m feeling like there’s a slight void in my life since I am no longer spending so much time on wedding planning. I’m thinking about trying to earn some money through a new venture – either something like getting a fitness certification and teaching classes or (more likely) doing some freelance writing and editing in my spare time since that’s mostly what I do at work. I’m looking into sites like Fiverr for this, but would love to hear some recommendations from anyone else who dabbles in freelance work!
I also think it would be cool to be a freelance writer for a magazine, but I’m not sure how I would get started with that. Or maybe one day I’ll look into writing a book? That one seems far-fetched for now, but it’s something that’s crossed my mind. (What it would be about, however, I have no idea.)
5. I have a couple of fun weekend trips on the agenda, starting with some time spent at my grandparents’ house on the bay, then a trip to Fire Island with my girlfriends, and then later this summer another weekend trip to Otis with a couple of friends. I’m getting so excited for all of that, and am really trying to soak up these summer days while they last.
Alright friends, that’s all I have for you today. I hope your day passes quickly so you can jump into your weekend! Woohoo!
Question of the day: What’s the best weeknight meal you’ve cooked lately?
Hi friends! I didn’t really have anything specific to chat with you about today, so I thought it would be a good time to post a fun blog survey. Feel free to play along in the comments below! 🙂
Chocolate or Vanilla?
Chocolate, 100%. (Except when it comes to ice cream, in which case I prefer vanilla with chocolate toppings.) I would say that if there’s one food I crave more than any other, it’s chocolate. After almost every meal I wind up wanting something chocolatey, and it’s taken me a lot of practice over the years to not give in to those cravings every time. I’m still not perfect, but I’ve learned to stop buying bags of chocolate chips from the store because I can now admit to myself that eating a whole bag without ever having baked with them is not ok. Semisweet chips are my nemesis!
I have an in innie! Confession time: In high school when I was on cheerleading, I really wanted to get my belly button pierced. A few of my friends on the squad had theirs pierced, and I thought it was what all the “cool girls” were doing. Luckily for me (in hindsight) I was self-conscious of my weight at that time so I never did it. Thank goodness.
Oh hey, it’s Hana and Bianca!
I’m on the bottom there somewhere…
Hot, Hot Summer or Snowy Winter?
Hot summer! I loooove the summer and am one of those people who embraces the feeling of coming outside from an air conditioned building and feeling a wave of hot, humid air hit you in the face. I even kind of like getting into the car in the summer when it’s super hot. Something about the summer just makes me so happy, and lately I’ve been really trying to embrace my walks with Jack where I’m wearing shorts, a t-shirt, and flip flops because I know these days are numbered. I think February and March are the worst months ever, and I’d trade them for July and August any day.
Save or Spend?
Save. I am actually a really frugal (cheap?) person, and I hate to spend money when I don’t need to. I am not the sort of person who will shop at Bloomingdales or Nordstrom (even though I love them) because I know I can find better deals at TJ Maxx or Marshalls. I think I’ve gotten even more frugal since I started dating Fabio almost 8 years ago (!!) because he really is a budget master. This winds up being good for us though because it allows us to spend money on buying a town house, planning a wedding, and traveling! I think saving really helps us to prioritize the things that we really want to spend money on. (Although I could use some new workout gear from Lululemon…)
Meh – I’m not really a fan of either of these but I’ll say treadmill because it’s more versatile. Plus, you can always find a good treadmill workout to mix things up!
Banana or Apple?
I eat both of these almost every day, but I’ll have to go with bananas here. I can’t say I get too excited about an apple, but when I have a banana that’s perfectly ripe I actually get excited to eat it. Is that weird?
Morning or Night?
Morning! I am without a doubt a morning person, and I get so much energy from getting up and getting things done early in the day. Fabio is a night person and prefers to do all his productive activities right when I’m getting ready for bed, and it drives me nuts! By 10:45 pm, and I am already asleep. And, even though I hate when the alarm goes off at 5:00 am, I’d much rather get up and get stuff done at that time of day.
Love or Money?
Love. Does anyone ever choose money for this question?
Lipstick! While I will always carry a tube of Burt’s Bees Lip Balm in my purse, lately I’ve gotten really into lipstick and now have a bunch of fun colors in my purse as well! I think adding some lipstick to a normal ensemble can make things a little more fun, and I’m trying to make a conscious effort to wear it more often. 🙂
I have a lot of fun when I’m with others, but I like being alone too. Since I grew up as an only child (although I now have an 11-year-old half-sister and a step-sister close to my age) I am used to entertaining myself and am totally fine when left alone. That being said, I was also a daycare kid and would spend 12 full hours at daycare with other children growing up, so I’m also good at talking to just about anybody. While there is nothing better than a fun weekend surrounded by all of my best friends, I also enjoy a wine, sushi, and Netflix binge night on my own.
Coffee or Tea?
Yikes – this is a tough one. I used to be a tea person all the way, and while I still enjoy my mugs of green tea, lately I’ve been drinking a lot more coffee! Ah! What has the world come to?
Straight or Curly?
My hair is naturally straight – like don’t-blow-dry-it-or-straighten-it-at-all straight – so I like wearing it curly as a change of pace.
Oh look, it’s Hana and Bianca again, almost 10 years after that first picture. 🙂
Three Squares or Graze All Day?
Three squares during the week, but on weekends sometimes it’s two squares or more grazing. Since we eat more indulgently on the weekends, I don’t always eat three meals. During the week though, I need that three meal routine!
Mac! I use an iMac at home and a Macbook Pro at work, and although there are definitely some things that PCs do better, I like how Macs hardly ever seem to freeze, get viruses, or break down for no reason. Knock on wood.
Hi friends! Hows everyone doing today? Sorry for my absence on Friday; I was traveling to New Orleans for work and wasn’t able to get a post up during my down time. Luckily I’m back today with a recap of my adventures!
I flew into New Orleans late Thursday afternoon, and when I arrived I was starving! After checking into my hotel, I wound up at Two Chicks Cafe for a late lunch. Per a recommendation from the waitress, I ordered the Thai shrimp po boy, which definitely hit the spot.
Two Chicks Cafe also had wifi, so I spent some time answering emails while I ate. Multitasking at its finest!
After that, I spent a few hours finishing up some work in my hotel room and then my manager and I enjoyed dinner together at Cochon, a delicious little spot with lots of yummy cocktails and pork dishes.
Even though pork is definitely the specialty here, I opted for the gulf fish per another waitress recommendation. It was very fresh and flavorful!
My manager and I also shared an (unpictured) order of the creamiest, most delicious grits I’ve ever had. Yum!
After dinner, we walked around New Orleans!
A trip to NOLA wouldn’t be complete without one of their famous hurricane drinks, so we sipped on a couple of those while we walked around. Man, they sure are sweet! I knew it was going to give me a nasty headache in the morning but decided it was worth it. When in NOLA!
We took our beverages down to Bourbon St, where we had a great time popping into little shops (we went in a cool voodoo shop where I saw all kinds of weird things) and bars with live music.
I especially loved this one jazz band made up of a bunch of older white men. I couldn’t help wondering what they do for a living when they’re not playing jazz. Teachers? Lawyers? Engineers? It was fun to think about. 🙂
At the next bar we wound up dancing and drinking a little more, and at that point we realized we should probably call it a night since we had an important meeting in the morning. The good news is that I’m going back to New Orleans for work in November, so I’ll get to spend a bit more time in that magical city then!
Our big work meeting was on Friday morning, and it went so, so well. I had to plan all of the logistics for the meeting, and since mistakes always seem to happen I was thrilled when everything went according to plan. Success!
After the meeting ended (around 2:00 pm) I joined my manager and her boss for some celebratory margaritas, and then I hopped on a plane to…Philly!
One of my best friends, Kristen, celebrated her birthday last week, so this weekend we all convened in Philly for the celebrations. It was a lot of traveling, but worth it to be with so many of my best friends!
Saturday morning started with bagels from Philly Style Bagels! We got to watch them make the bagels while we waited for our order, which I thought was really cool. Talk about fresh!
I chose an everything bagel with veggie cream cheese, and it was perfect. Plus iced coffee on the side. Yum!!
After breakfast we got ourselves ready for the day and walked over to Frankford Hall beer garden!
It was a beautiful day, so nothing sounded better to us than drinking beer outside. We also played a bunch of games of Jenga, which is always entertaining.
Haha! What a fun day. 🙂
After the beer garden we walked around a beer festival in the street for a while.
A few girls tried their hand at the dunk tank, and Jess wound up sinking the guy! Nice one!
Overall, it was a perfect afternoon with my best girl friends. 🙂
For some reason we all wound up wearing white and black. Best friends think alike, I guess!
We started off by sharing a delicious house salad…
…and then I enjoyed some amazing lobster raviolis for my entree.
Megan & me! 🙂
Happy birthday, Kristen!! Thanks for inviting us all to celebrate with you!
For the rest of the evening, we went over to two of our guy friends’ houses from college, and then did some dancing out at the bars! It was the perfect end to a perfect day. 🙂
On Sunday morning, we slept in a bit then walked to brunch at Kensington Quarters, a cute restaurant with an in-house butcher. We started off brunch with a huge slab of bacon to share. Holy bacon! It was in a honey mustard sauce that was to die for. So good!
For my meal I got the French toast, which comes with homemade scrapple and a fried egg on top. The syrup was also infused with rosemary, so I had no problem gobbling this right up.
It was really, really good. Salty + sweet is my favorite flavor combo!
After breakfast we said our goodbyes, and then Megan and I made the drive back to DC. It was such a fun weekend and I’m really sad that it’s over. Wahhh! Now I’m not sure when I’ll get to see these girls next, since I won’t be able to make it to Fire Island with them later this summer (we have a wedding to go to that same weekend). Looks like we’ll need to get a fall reunion on the calendar!
Questions of the day: How often do you get to see your best friends? Have you ever been to New Orleans or Philly?
Hi friends! Today I’m back with the second (and final) recap of my vacation in San Diego with my good friend, Catrina. If you missed part 1 you can find that here!
Catrina and I both had the day off from work on Monday, so we decided to sleep in a bit (ha! Neither of us are good at sleeping in late) before hitting the pavement for a run! As I mentioned in my last post, Catrina lives in Pacific Beach which is an adorable beach town outside of San Diego. Her typical three mile route includes a run along the beach and the bay, which is just insane. Can you imagine running with views like this in perfect 70+ degree weather every day? I swear, this place is not real.
After running along the beach, we turned off onto a side street that would take us over to the bay. The side streets were so adorable, and I felt like I was in Fire Island or some other quaint beach town. All the bungalows were so charming!
We wound up running three miles and then walking about half a mile to cool down. Not a bad way to start the day!
After showering up at Catrina’s, we headed out for acai bowls for breakfast. I had never heard of an acai bowl, but here’s how Huffington Post describes it:
An acai bowl is basically a really thick smoothie that’s been topped with oatmeal, fruit or peanut butter, and then you wolf it down with a spoon. For breakfast. After eating a bowl, you will not only feel happily full (for hours) and have satisfied a sweet craving (no need to cave for a donut), you’ll have also done something that was good for you. Win win.
Sounds amazing! Acai bowls are everywhere in Southern California, but Catrina took us to her favorite spot: Cafe 976. Check out how cute the patio is! I love how all the restaurants in San Diego are so open and/or have outdoor seating; I guess that’s what happens when the weather is always perfect.
Catrina and I both started off with delicious coffees (if I’m remembering correctly, I ordered something like a Milky Way, which was chocolatey and delicious) and then it was time for the acai bowl!
If possible, it was even better than I was expecting. Underneath all the fresh fruit was a cold acai smoothie-like texture, and it was delicious! I definitely need to find a place that sells these on the east coast.
After breakfast, we headed off to our main destination of the day: the San Diego Zoo!
Haha! We are nerds. 🙂
Catrina knows I’m obsessed with animals, so she figured I would love the famous San Diego Zoo. Well, she was right! Although I am still partial to the National Zoo here in DC (it helps that it’s free…), I was very impressed with San Diego’s zoo and loved how close we were able to get to the animals!
We spent the day bopping around from animal to animal, and especially loved watching all the monkeys. They had so many different kinds!
The elephants were pretty amazing too. 🙂
After walking around for a while, we discovered a “Zoo Brew” and we each got ourselves a beer to sip on. Sunshine, animals, a best friend, and beer? Welcome to my happy place.
Soon enough we came upon the panda enclosure, which was so amazing! In DC the pandas are always really far away and you can barely see them, if they are even out (sometimes they are sleeping inside). That was not the case in San Diego at all!
I don’t know if it’s just the time we were visiting or what, but these pandas were very close to the edge of their enclosure so we could see them perfectly! One of them was even sitting back and watching us while he rested his bamboo on his tummy. #MySpiritAnimal
After we were done visiting the pandas, it was time for the tigers! At first we couldn’t see them anywhere, but then we discovered they were over by a watering hole playing with one another.
This was by far my favorite part of the day – we got an up-close look at the two tigers playing in the water! Please note these pictures were all taken with my cell phone and, although they aren’t great quality, it shows you how close we were to them.
This one isn’t even zoomed in!
Amazing, right? Overall I had such a fun time at the zoo, and I’m so thankful that Catrina thought to bring me there. She actually wound up having a really fun time too, which I don’t think she was expecting. 🙂
After the zoo, we walked around in downtown San Diego for a bit, before going back to Catrina’s to relax. We wound up ordering Thai food, drinking wine, and watching the latest Hunger Games movie, which was the perfect way to end the evening in my opinion.
Catrina and I both needed to work on Tuesday, so we wound up next to each other on the couch with our laptops open and Food Network on TV. Not a bad way to work at all!
At lunchtime we headed down to a Greek place in her neighborhood for salads, stuffed grape leaves, and about a hundred pieces of pita. Yum!
When we were done working, we headed down to the beach!
I really wanted to stick my toes in the Pacific Ocean – just to say I did it – so that’s exactly what I did! It was pretty cold, but beautiful. Catrina watched from afar; you can tell she lives in California now because she said it was too cold for her. 😉
After that, we headed to a CrossFit class! Catrina goes to CrossFit a lot during the week, and I loved being able to see where she works out.
Our workout was a tough one and at the end we wound up practicing all kinds of push-ups. Phew! It’s going to be a long time before I can do ring push-ups, that’s for sure. They’re so hard!
After showering up, we met up with Catrina’s friend Eden in Ocean Beach for Taco Tuesday, which is a big deal in Southern California. I really wanted to try a shark taco (!!) but sadly the restaurant ran out. Boo. Luckily the mahi-mahi and regular fish tacos were still delicious!
After dinner we stopped for some fro-yo, before Catrina dropped me off at the airport for my lovely red eye flight back east.
As if you couldn’t tell from these two posts, I had an absolutely amazing time in San Diego visiting Catrina, and I’m already looking forward to when I’ll be able to go back (slash move there? That weather!!). Thanks for having me, Treen!
Question of the day: Have you ever considered moving yourself to a totally different location?
This has been a phenomenal year for me, and I feel so lucky about each and every aspect of my life. I have a great guy who loves me, friends who mean the world to me, a family who will always be there for me, and a job that I enjoy that puts a roof over my head. What more could a girl ask for? A pup who licks her face and wags his tail incessantly when I walk in the door? Oh yeah, I’ve got that too. 😉
Since 2014 is almost over, I thought this would be a good time to look back on some of the highlights from the year. This is actually my favorite post to write all year, and you can view last year’s version, Top 13 in 2013, here.
And now, let’s take a look at some of my favorite memories from 2014!
14. Workouts with Urban Athletic Club. When I looked back at some of my favorite fitness-related pictures from the year, I realized that a lot of them came from adventures with Urban Athletic Club! From the cherry blossom OutRun that I did with some of my best friends, to the Row, Bike, Run adventure that brought me closer to Anne, one of my new favorite fitness buddies, I realized that I owed a lot of my happiest 2014 fitness memories to Urban Athletic Club. They just do a great job of providing really fun workouts, and I think that’s so important.
13. Army 10 Miler.Running the Army 10 Miler was something I decided to do at the very last second, and I was pretty nervous about how I’d do. However, when it actually came down to it, this wound up being one of my most favorite DC races. I loved the camaraderie of my fellow runners, especially those who have lost someone in the army. It’s just a great race to run, and it’s one of my happiest memories of 2014.
12. Cherry Blossom 10 Miler. Unlike the Army 10 Miler, running the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler was actually something I planned to do, and trained hard for. In addition to it being a really beautiful route around DC, it was also just a really good run for me. I remember feeling strong throughout the race, and was really happy with my pace the whole time. I remember when the race was over I finally considered myself a “runner,” which is just ridiculous since I’d been a runner long before this race. Either way, that just shows you how I was feeling at the time. Such a great race for me!
11. Double Date Dinners. This is cheating a bit since it’s not one memory that makes me happy but a few, but in 2014 I had somanyfun double date dinners with my friends Megan and Jess and their significant others. Both of them also got engaged this year, so it’s really fun to look back on our first dinner together in the Spring when no one was engaged, to now when they both are in the midst of wedding planning. It’s just such a fun time for them, and I truly cherish all the occasions we got to celebrate with one another in 2014.
10. Weekends in Otis, MA. This is one also cheating a bit since it’s two weekends that made me particularly happy, not one memory per se, but we had such a blast this year visiting my aunt CC and uncle Steve in their new house in the Berkshire mountains!! We went up both in the Summer and in the Winter, and I honestly can’t tell you which time was more fun. It’s just such a blast every time we go, and I can’t wait to go back soon.
9. Catrina’s Going Away Shindig. It was a pretty sad day when I learned that one of my best friends Catrina would be moving to San Diego, but luckily we’ve still been able to keep in touch as much as ever, and things haven’t changed a bit. Before she left, she had a fun going away party in New York, which was semi-combined with my birthday celebration. It was such a fun weekend, and I will always remember what a good time we had.
8. Fire Island with my gurlays!Each year my best friends from college and I spend a weekend in Fire Island, NY, sunning ourselves on the beach and just enjoying each other’s company. It’s always, always one of my favorite weekends of the year, and this year was no exception. So. Much. Fun.
7. Courtney and Kevin’s Wedding! Wow – I sure wish we could relive the day my good friends Courtney and Kevin got married. There is no other way to describe the day except for AMAZING. It was so beautiful, so fun, so loving – just everything you could ask for in a wedding. Court definitely set the bar high among my group of friends! (No pressure, Megan! Haha!)
6. My birthday surprises! This year for my birthday, Fabio really outdid himself and planned two awesome surprises for us. First, we spent a beautiful day wine tasting, and we even got to bring Jack!! For part two of my birthday, he took me to a Biggest Loser 5K! Both of these surprises were just so incredibly thoughtful, and so me. Who else would be SO EXCITED when told they had to wake up at 5:00 am for a fitness adventure on their birthday? Yep, he just gets me.
5. Holiday Half Marathon & Santacon in NYC! Successfully completing a half marathon in NY and having an amazing group of friends to cheer you on makes any weekend pretty amazing. Add a holiday-themed bar crawl to the plans, and I literally cannot think of anything better. This is exactly how my Holiday Half Marathon & Santacon weekend in NYC was. Definitely one of my favorite weekends. Ever.
5. Cochabamba, Bolivia! Oh yeah, remember that time I went to Bolivia in 2014? Yep. That happened. It was such an amazing adventure, and I saw so many beautiful places. Cochabamba was one of my favorite places we visited, partially because of the annoyingly-perfect-every-single-day-weather, but also because that’s where Fabio’s mom’s family lives, and I got to meet so many of his welcoming relatives.
4. Salar de Uyni – Bolivian Salt Flats! Another amazing adventure from 2014 has got to include the Bolivian Salt Flats. Seeing this phenomenon was seriously one of the most amazing things ever, and I can’t even really believe places like this exist on our planet. Like what? How is this a place??
2. Bryce Canyon! Another fun place I visited this year was Bryce Canyon in Utah. We went with my family for our summer vacation out West (read more here), and hiking in between the beautiful rock formations was just breath-taking. It’s hard to top these views!
1. Yellowstone! Last, but certainly not least, my favorite memory from 2014 has got to be exploring Yellowstone National Park with my family. From seeing wild wolves and buffalo in the morning, to swimming in a natural hot spring around lunchtime, to hiking mountains for some amazing views of colorful hot springs in the afternoon, I know this was an experience of a lifetime.
Wow, what a year I had. I sort of can’t believe all of those amazing things happened in 2014. I truly feel like the luckiest person alive to have been able to experience all that.
Let’s hope 2015 is just as good!
Question of the day: What’s your favorite memory from 2014?
Hi friends! Today I’m linking up with the lovely Amanda for another episode of Thursdays are for Thinking Out Loud. These are quickly becoming some of my favorite posts to write, and I hope you all enjoy them as much as I do!
With that, here are some of my random thoughts on this Thursday 🙂
1. Now that we are halfway through July, I feel like we are right in the middle of summer. How is it going by so fast? My schedule is also ridiculously full, and I think there is only one weekend where I don’t have plans between now and September. That’s just ridiculous. Even my weekdays are starting to fill up with plans! I just know I’m going to blink and it will be the season for all things pumpkin, so I’m trying to soak up every moment before the summer is gone.
2. Speaking of summer plans, I have some fun vacation plans on the horizon, which I’m getting pretty excited about.
First, I’ll be heading up to NYC again this weekend – which makes three trips to NY in 5 weeks – to visit one of my high school best friends, Hana. Even though I’m in New York allthetime, I hardly ever get to see Hana since I’m usually visiting Fabio’s family or my college friends. I’m really excited to see her apartment and check out her local hangout spots. It should be a good time!
Then in two weeks I will be heading up to the Berkshire mountains in southwestern Massachusetts to stay at my aunt CC’s and Uncle Steve’s new mountain house! They bought the house earlier this spring and it sounds amazing- it’s near a lake and a ski resort, making it perfect for both summer and winter.
CC and Steve are a lot like Fabio and me in terms of the activities they like, so I imagine there will be a fun combination of biking, hiking, playing outside, and enjoying our fair share of cocktails ;). It’s going to be so much fun!
Then a couple weeks after that, I will be visiting some awesome state parks in Utah and Wyoming with Fabio, my dad, stepmom, and sister for a family vacation! We will be flying out to Salt Lake City and will visit a few parks in that area, and then will drive to Jackson Hole and visit Yellowstone National Park. I’ve never been to this area of the country before so I’m really excited! We really don’t have big mountains near me (hence our need to drive to Massachusetts) so I can’t even imagine how beautiful it’s going to be. I’m excited for the wildlife too!
If you have been to any of these places and have recommendations for things to do/places that are a MUST see, I’d love to hear them!
My mom also just booked a Christmas-time trip to Jamaica for our family (woohoo!), and she is even talking about another trip to Italy over Labor Day (oh yeah, and she’s flying to Italy later today for a quick trip. I’m telling you- she’s obsessed). Anyway, that Italy trip is a big maybe right now and it might not even happen since it’s so last minute and I’m not sure if I can get off work, so we will just have to wait and see what happens! (Psst– you can check out reviews of our previous trips to Jamaica and Italy here).
So many trips, so little time.
3. So I have some work news for you guys- I got a promotion! When I started my new job back in mid-March, the deal was that I would work for three months, see how things were going, and then be eligible for a review/promotion. My three months were up in mid-June, and I had my review last week. My manager had the nicest things to say about me, and after talking things over with HR, they decided to promote me to Communications Manager! Woohoo! I got a nice little salary bump and a cool new title (manager? Me?) so I’m pretty happy about all of that 🙂
4. I ordered my bridesmaids dress for Fabio’s sister’s wedding this week, and I just got an email saying it shipped! For those of you who need a refresher, Fabio’s sister Diane is getting married in Jamaica next May (more trips to Jamaica!!), and she’s asked me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding :-D. From what I know, every bridesmaid will be wearing a slightly different dress in a different shade of pink. Here’s the one she chose for me:
5. Speaking of friends, one of my best entrepreneur friends Dom is starting up a new business in August and he’s asked me to tell you all about it! For my local friends: the company is called absorbDC and it’s apparently changing the way people do happy hour in DC, Maryland, and Virginia (because let’s be real, happy hour is a BIG deal in our city). Basically it’s a new mobile site that allows users to sign up to receive notifications of the best happy hour specials in the area, guaranteed. Each day a local bar will partner with absorbDC to offer amazing deals to users. All you have to do is open the app and find out where to go that day! Users will also be able to collect points and out-happy-hour one another, which I think could be really fun.
Stay tuned to see when absorbDC will be coming to a bar near you, and check out the website or follow them on social media for the latest updates and to have a chance to win some absorbDC merchandise: