Search Results : fire island

Jul 312017
 

Every year, my college girlfriends plan a weekend trip to Fire Island, New York.

I wasn’t able to go last year because Fabio and I had a wedding that weekend, but you better believe I wasn’t missing it this time!

Fire Island is a small island off the coast of Long Island in New York and is only accessible by boat. It’s also a pain in the butt for me to get to since I have to get up to New York, out to Long Island, and then over to the ferry. There are also no cars allowed on the island, so we take public transportation to get there. It takes forever, but is so worth it!

My friends and I all shared our locations with one another on Snapchat, and I got a kick out of seeing our bitmojis hanging out together on the beach. 🙂

To get up and out to Fire Island, I began my journey after work on Thursday with a 6:00 p.m. Amtrak train. My friend Megan lives outside of Baltimore, so she hopped on the train from there. We treated ourselves to a seriously overpriced train dinner (I got a chicken wrap) and some wine. Vacation time!

When we arrived in New York City, we spent the night at our friends’ apartment and in the morning we all made our way out to Fire Island. Before we knew it, we were on the ferry!

There were 13 of us on this trip, including my friend Catrina who lives in California. It was so good to see her!

Hi, ladies!

After quickly stopping by the house to drop of four bags and unload groceries, we made our way to the beach! Friday was a great beach day, and we spent the afternoon soaking up the sun and catching up.

At one point, a deer made its way onto the beach! (Deer are pretty prevalent in Fire Island.)

Oh deer! 🙂

We stayed on the beach until the sun started to dip in the sky, at which point we headed back to the house to shower and start making dinner. Our house had an awesome rooftop with a big table and chairs, so we enjoyed our meal outside! We also got really lucky with a beautiful sunset.

Our chefs of the evening (Vic, Malena, and Layne, mostly) made us burgers, hot dogs, corn, pasta salad, and salad. Yum!!

We spent way too long sitting outside in the dark chatting before moving our party inside.

We thought briefly about getting ourselves dressed up and walking to the bars in town, but we decided sitting around and creating bitmojis for each other was more fun. 🙂

We clearly missed each other and enjoyed the chance to catch up!

Saturday

Sadly, we woke up to rainy skies on Saturday which pretty much killed any plans we had of going to the beach. We made ourselves a delicious breakfast of eggs and bacon (mine was enjoyed on an English muffin) and sat around talking over coffee for a while.

Eventually the rain let up and we decided to walk into town for some shopping. I didn’t buy anything, but it was still nice to look around. The town in Fire Island where we were is called Ocean Beach, and it’s so cute!

Later in the afternoon, my friend Kristen told us that her parents would be stopping by for happy hour. They live in Long Island and were planning to be in Fire Island this weekend anyway (just a different part of the island), so we planned to meet up with them for drinks at around 3:30.

Our happy hour wound up turning into an epic dance-party/sing-along day drink at the bar, which was easily the highlight of the weekend for me. It was so fun!

The music at the bar we went to (called CJ’s) was spot-0n and we enjoyed popular songs from lots of different time periods. We were all singing and dancing loudly and definitely made a scene at the bar, but no one seemed to mind. 🙂 It’s the beach, after all!

I can’t think of any way I’d rather spend a rainy day at the beach!!

After the bar, we all headed back to the house for another rooftop dinner. We were treated to another gorgeous sunset!

On Saturday night we had chicken and steak with the most delicious glaze that my friend Vic made. Yum! I can’t wait for her to share the recipe.

We also had more salad and pasta salad. My plate:

After sitting around and having another sing-along/dance party in the living room after dinner, a group of us decided to head to the bars. We didn’t get too crazy since we were all tired from day drinking, so luckily I woke up on Sunday morning without a hangover at all. Woohoo! We are definitely getting older, haha!

Sunday

Sunday was the most beautiful day we’ve had in months, so we woke up early to pack up our bags and then head to the beach. Megan, Kristen, and I stayed on the beach until around 1:00, at which point we had to go back to the house to get ready to go home. Wahh!!

These weekends are always so much fun, and I hate when they’re over. I miss my friends so much and really appreciated having all this time to catch up with them. Can I do it over again, please?

Question of the day: Do you have annual trips with your friends? If so, where do you usually go?

 Posted by on July 31, 2017
Jul 272017
 

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?

 Posted by on July 27, 2017
Jul 012014
 

Hi friends! This past weekend I spent two nights in a large house with 12 of my best college girlfriends in Fire Island, NY.

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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.fireisland

[Source]

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!

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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 🙂

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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.

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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.

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Once everyone was done showering we started pulling dinner together, which was phenomenal.

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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!

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After dinner we hung around outside for a bit longer before eventually moving inside for an inevitable dance party in the living room.

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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.

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Such a perfect first day!

Saturday

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.

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This day unfolded much like Friday with snacks and drinks after the beach, then a delicious dinner, then some games outside.

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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!

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Sunday

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!

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Nom.

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(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!)

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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?

 Posted by on July 1, 2014
Aug 052013
 

Hey folks! Happy Monday!

I am officially back after a whirlwind weekend at the beach with some of my best girlfriends.

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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.fireislanddeer

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.

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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.

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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…

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After dinner the drinks kept flowing and we continued chatting and goofing around 🙂

Here I am with my two sorority sisters, Britt and Kristen!

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Here are Kristen and Megan!

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Some of the group 🙂
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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.

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We finished up the evening at a local bar in town and had a fabulous time. I love these girls.

Saturday

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.

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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.

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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!

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We were all feeling a little silly and giddy, so we took some goofy/awkward pictures.

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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.

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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!

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Then we went to the bar again and had another fun evening out!

Here I am with Catrina!meandtreen

Britt, Megan, and Catrina 🙂

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Megan, Kristen, and Britt at the bar…

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And me and Britt!

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Sunday

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!

lobbyEventually 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?

 

 Posted by on August 5, 2013
Aug 042017
 

Hello there! Happy Friday! Did you have a good week? Mine was a busy one and included lots of good workouts and good food! Let’s take a look.

Workouts

On Monday, I took Jack for a very short run (only about a mile). I wound up getting home from Fire Island pretty late and thought sleeping in sounded better than setting an early alarm. I still wanted to get some movement though, so a one-mile run did the trick.

On Tuesday, I joined my favorite workout buddy Anne for a class at Next Phase Studio via ClassPass (<– affiliate link for $40 off!). We wound up being the only two people in the class, so we got a custom workout. Sweet! Our class incorporated a ton of moves on the TRX – I always forget how many things you can do on there – and then we went through two interval circuits and a cooldown/stretch.

It was a good one, and my upper body was pretty sore afterward.

On Wednesday, I went for another one-mile run with Jack and then dropped him off at home before running over to the track at Washington Lee High School. I ran a couple of laps on the track – sprinting the straights and running the curves – and then ran the bleachers. I ran up and down the stairs on both sets of bleachers and then ran home.

This was a great workout because it was free, got me outside in the sunshine, and didn’t take too long!

While running up and down the bleachers was certainly tough, I actually felt way more winded after the sprints on the track. I really pushed myself, and I was definitely feeling it after.

On Thursday, I joined Anne and our other friend Kathleen for a workout at Urban Athletic Club! This week we tried out the Glover Park location to switch things up (and we liked the instructor who was teaching there better than the one at the Georgetown location that day).

The focus of the class was on strength, and we completed a bunch of intervals where we didn’t worry about speed and instead tried to push ourselves with heavier weights. It was a good one!

Tomorrow (it’s Thursday as I type this), I’m not sure what exactly my workout plan is. I’ve looked up a couple of classes but haven’t signed up for any yet, which likely means I will set my alarm early, hit snooze, and then wind up going on a run with Jack instead. Ha! Whatever it is, I’m definitely planning on getting some movement into my morning.

Eats

Fabio and I enjoyed lots of tasty dinners this week thanks to a Sun Basket subscription! Since I knew I would be getting home from the beach late on Sunday, I signed up for Sun Basket in advance and was so happy to get a delivery of ingredients on my door step on Monday afternoon.

If you’ve never tried Sun Basket, it’s the same concept as Blue Apron or Hello Fresh, but with slightly healthier recipes. You can choose from options like paleo, gluten free, vegetarian, or lean and clean, which is the option we chose.

Here are the tasty meals we had this week!

Asian noodle salad with jammy eggs: This one was delicious and had so many fresh veggies! Fabio doused his in sriracha which made it extra tasty. (I wanted to be able to taste the fresh veggies and the dressing, so I skipped the sriracha but had a bite of his which was definitely yummy.)

Spiced lamb patties with warm carrot salad: This dish! Ah! It was so flavorful and delicious, and I can’t wait to recreate it on my own. It was also really comforting with the warm veggies and toasted almonds in the salad. Yummmm. This one might have been my favorite of the three.

Chicken salad lettuce cups: This was another really tasty dish with chicken, green beans, new potatoes, and scallions. The dressing was a really yummy mustard, lemon, tarragon situation, which I loved. Actually, maybe this one was my favorite? Ha.

So good! Overall I really liked Sun Basket and would definitely order it again.

Oh and one last thing I have to mention: I want to give a big thank you to Giant for sending me a box of their new limited edition salted caramel products! I’m so excited to try the salted caramel pancake mix, and I’ve already put quite a big dent in this bag of salted caramel chocolates. #sorrynotsorry

Keep an eye out for these products at your local Giant!

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

Question of the day: How often do you order meal services like Blue Apron or Sun Basket?

We probably get it just a few times a year!

 Posted by on August 4, 2017
Jul 282017
 

Hi friends!

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!

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Question of the day: Do you know someone who might be at risk for type 2 diabetes? If so, please send them these videos!

 Posted by on July 28, 2017
Jul 142017
 

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…

Grilled chicken thighs with watermelon salsa (Fabio also grilled us some zucchini wedges on the side)

Seared tuna with cabbage fried rice

Turkey and feta burgers with peach salsa (we had this with grilled corn on the side)

Pssst – I spy Jack’s nose!

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?

 Posted by on July 14, 2017
Sep 142016
 

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!

Photo from my mini banana oatmeal chocolate chip muffins. Love those!

Innie or Outtie?

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 houseplanning 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…)

Photo from our recent trip to Colombia!

Elliptical or Treadmill?

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?

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Photo from our engagement session in Jamaica!

Lip Balm or Lipstick?

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. 🙂

Pictured above: Urban Decay matte lipstick in the color Tilt

Alone or with others?

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?

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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!

Right-handed or left-handed?

Right!

Beach or Mountains?

Beach! Although Aunt CC’s and Uncle Steve’s house in the Berkshires is making me consider the mountains much more.

So sad I missed the annual girls trip to Fire Island this year!

Mac or PC?

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.

Shy or Outgoing?

Outgoing. I can talk to anyone!

Question of the day: Your turn!

Beach or mountains?

Chocolate or vanilla?

Three squares or graze all day?

 Posted by on September 14, 2016
Jun 132016
 

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!

Thursday

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.

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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.

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Even though pork is definitely the specialty here, I opted for the gulf fish per another waitress recommendation. It was very fresh and flavorful!

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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!

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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.

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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. 🙂

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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!

Friday

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

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!

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I chose an everything bagel with veggie cream cheese, and it was perfect. Plus iced coffee on the side. Yum!!

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After breakfast we got ourselves ready for the day and walked over to Frankford Hall beer garden!

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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.

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Careful!!!

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Haha! What a fun day. 🙂

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After the beer garden we walked around a beer festival in the street for a while.

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A few girls tried their hand at the dunk tank, and Jess wound up sinking the guy! Nice one!

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Overall, it was a perfect afternoon with my best girl friends. 🙂

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Later in the evening, we cleaned ourselves up for dinner at a cute Italian place called La Locanda Del Ghiottone.

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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…

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…and then I enjoyed some amazing lobster raviolis for my entree.

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Delicious!

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Megan & me! 🙂

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Happy birthday, Kristen!! Thanks for inviting us all to celebrate with you!

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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. 🙂

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Sunday

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!

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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.

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It was really, really good. Salty + sweet is my favorite flavor combo!

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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?

 Posted by on June 13, 2016
Nov 252015
 

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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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!
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The elephants were pretty amazing too. 🙂

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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.

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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!

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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

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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.

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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.
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This one isn’t even zoomed in!

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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.
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Tuesday

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!

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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.

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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!

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After dinner we stopped for some fro-yo, before Catrina dropped me off at the airport for my lovely red eye flight back east.

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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?

 Posted by on November 25, 2015